Recension By William Quan Judge
Devotion through Discriminating between Godlike and Demoniacal Natures
“Fearlessness, sincerity, assiduity in devotion, generosity, self-restraint, piety, and alms-giving, study, mortification, and rectitude; (1) harmlessness, veracity, and freedom from anger, resignation, equanimity, and not speaking of the faults of others, universal compassion, modesty, and mildness; (2) patience, power, fortitude, and purity, discretion, dignity, unrevengefulness, and freedom from conceit—these are the marks of him whose virtues are of a godlike character, O son of Bharata. (3) Those, O son of Pritha, who are born with demoniacal dispositions are marked by hypocrisy, pride, anger, presumption, harshness of speech, and ignorance. (4) The destiny of those whose attributes are godlike is final liberation, while that of demoniacal dispositions, born to the Asuras’ lot, is continued bondage to mortal birth; grieve not, O son of Pandu, for thou art born with the divine destiny. (5) There are two kinds of natures in beings in this world, that which is godlike, and the other which is demoniacal; the godlike hath been fully declared, hear now from me, O son of Pritha, what the demoniacal is. (6)
“Those who are born with the demoniacal disposition—of the nature of the Asuras—know not the nature of action nor of cessation from action, they know not purity nor right behavior, they possess no truthfulness. (7) They deny that the universe has any truth in it, saying it is not governed by law, declaring that it hath no Spirit; they say creatures are produced alone through the union of the sexes, and that all is for enjoyment only. (8) Maintaining this view, their souls being ruined, their minds contracted, with natures perverted, enemies of the world, they are born to destroy. (9) They indulge insatiable desires, are full of hypocrisy, fast-fixed in false beliefs through their delusions. (10) They indulge in unlimited reflections which end only in annihilation, convinced until death that the enjoyment of the objects of their desires is the supreme good. (11) Fast-bound by the hundred cords of desire, prone to lust and anger, they seek by injustice and the accumulation of wealth for the gratification of their own lusts and appetites. (12) ‘This today hath been acquired by me, and that object of my heart I shall obtain; this wealth I have, and that also shall be mine. (13) This foe have I already slain, and others will I forthwith vanquish; I am the lord, I am powerful, and I am happy. (14) I am rich and with precedence among men; where is there another like unto me? I shall make sacrifices, give alms, and enjoy.’ In this manner do those speak who are deluded. (15) Confounded by all manner of desires, entangled in the net of delusion, firmly attached to the gratification of their desires, they descend into hell. (16) Esteeming themselves very highly, self-willed, full of pride and ever in pursuit of riches, they perform worship with hypocrisy and not even according to ritual,1 but only for outward show. (17) Indulging in pride, selfishness, ostentation, power, lust, and anger, they detest me who am in their bodies and in the bodies of others. (18) Wherefore I continually hurl these cruel haters, the lowest of men, into wombs of an infernal nature in this world of rebirth. (19) And they being doomed to those infernal wombs, more and more deluded in each succeeding rebirth, never come to me, O son of Kunti, but go at length to the lowest region.2(20)
“The gates of hell are three—desire, anger, covetousness, which destroy the soul; wherefore one should abandon them. (21) Being free from these three gates of hell, O son of Kunti, a man worketh for the salvation of his soul, and thus proceeds to the highest path. (22) He who abandoneth the ordinances of the Scriptures to follow the dictates of his own desires, attaineth neither perfection nor happiness nor the highest path. (23) Therefore, in deciding what is fit and what unfit to be done, thou shouldst perform actions on earth with a knowledge of what is declared in Holy Writ.” (24)
Thus in the Upanishads, called the holy Bhagavad-Gita,
in the science of the Supreme Spirit, in the book of devotion,
in the colloquy between the Holy Krishna and Arjuna,
stands the Sixteenth Chapter, by name—
DEVOTION THROUGH DISCRIMINATING BETWEEN
GODLIKE AND DEMONIACAL NATURES.
1. This refers to the irregular performance of Vedic sacrifices by those who are without the right spiritual gifts, and only wish to imitate ostentatiously the right performance.
2. This is final annihilation of those who deny their own soul and thus lose it. It is worse than the hell before spoken of, for there is no return.