Krishna pronounces the verdict, addressing Arjun, that whereas the richesLo of piety bring about perfect liberation and realization of the supreme state, the store of devilish impulses shackles and degrades the Self. But Arjun is at the same time assured that he need not despair, for he is blessed with the treasure of divinity.
“Since it is established, O Pandav,
that while the treasure of divinity liberates
and the demoniacal state acts as a shackle,
you have no need to grieve for you are blessed with divine riches.”
Possessed as he is of a sacred disposition, Arjun will surely attain to salvation and thus to the state of Krishna himself.
But in whom do the wealth of divinity and demoniacal impulses abide?
“There are in the world, O Parth,
two kinds of beings, the pious, on whom I have already dwelt at length,
and the devilish of whom you will now hear from me.”
There are in the world two kinds of men, godlike and demon-like. When sacred impulses are active within the heart, man is godlike; but he turns devilish if he is rife with demoniacal inclinations. Whether born in Arabia or Australia or anywhere else, people all over the world are divided into only these two classes.
After having spoken at length so far of godly disposition Krishna now proceeds to enlighten Arjun on the traits of demoniacal temper.
He further sings:
“Wanting in inclination to both engage in proper action
and avoid improper acts, the demoniacal have neither purity
nor the right conduct, nor even truthfulness.”
Men with devilish predilections are ignorant both of that which is worthy of being done and of that which ought to be escaped because it is unrighteous. So they are bereft of innocence, just conduct, and of the eternal verities.
How their minds function is represented in the following verse:
“Since the world, they say, is unreal,
without shelter and God,
and created by itself through mutual (male-female) intercourse,
what else is it for except physical indulgence?”
With such an assumption, the only purpose of worldly life is enjoyment of sensual pleasures. What else is there besides them?
“Depraved and dim-witted because they hold such a view,
these malicious and cruel people are born only to ravage the world.”
With their nature corrupted by their dependence on a mistaken outlook, the only purpose of their existence is to destroy others.
“Possessed of arrogance, conceit and wantonness,
and immersed in insatiable lust,
they subscribe to false doctrines out of ignorance and act wickedly.”
Maddened by ego and cherishing desires that cannot be satisfied, these ignorant persons entertain mistaken beliefs and indulge in religious practices that are in fact unholy and corrupt. Even the presumably sacred ceremonies and sacrificial rites performed by them are nothing but perversions.
“Beset by countless anxieties that stretch right up to death
and absorbed in the enjoyment of sensual objects,
they are firmly convinced that satisfaction of carnal desires is the highest goal.”
Gratification of sensual desires is the only happiness for them and they are so enamoured of this thought that they strive only to have as much of pleasure as they can, for there is to them nothing beyond this.
“Chained by hundreds of bonds of illusory hopes,
and at the mercy of desire and anger,
they wrongfully endeavour to store wealth for the satisfaction of their lust.”
Even a single rope is sufficient to hang a person, while these people are enmeshed in innumerable aspirations. Addicted to lust and anger, they are engaged day and night in wrongfully amassing of riches for the gratification of sensual desires. It is further said in this context:
“Their perpetual thought is:
I have gained this today and I shall have that wish;
I have these riches and I shall have more in the future.”
“I have slain that enemy and l shall also slay other enemies;
I am God and the holder of sovereignty.”
Besides being under the illusion that they are perfect, strong, and happy, they are also vain regarding their great fortune and noble birth, and they mistakenly believe that they are unequalled.
“Thus deluded by ignorance they think:
I am wealthy and noble-born.
Who can equal me?
I shall perform yagya, give alms, and lead a life of bliss.”
They are victims of even more delusions. However, there is a problem here. All that these men do are said to be an outcome of ignorance. Is it, we may ask, also ignorance to practise yagya and charity?
Before further dwelling upon the problem, Krishna takes up the question of the ultimate end of these ignorant, deluded men.
“Misled in many a way,
entangled in the webs of attachment,
and inordinately fond of sensual pleasure,
they fall into the most defiled hell.”
Krishna will later throw light upon the nature of this hell, but in the meantime he reverts to the problem of the apparently sacred acts of the ignorant:
“These conceited persons,
intoxicated by vanity and wealth,
offer ostentatious sacrifices which are yagya only in name,
in violation of scriptural injunction.”
Rendered arrogant and senseless by wealth and worldly honour, these persons perform ceremonies and sacrificial rites which are only nominally yagya, and sacrilegious to boot. They do not observe the mode of worship laid down by Yogeshwar Krishna.
“Subservient to vanity, brute force, arrogance, lust and anger,
these wicked and degraded persons have a feeling of enmity to me
who dwells in them and in all others.”
According to scripture, memory of God is yagya. They who forsake this way and perform only nominal yagya, or do something or the other instead of yagya, abhor God and are hostile to him. But there are persons who continue to abhor and are yet saved.
Are these enemies of God also going to be saved?
Krishna’s answer to the question is that it is not so.
“I forever condemn these abhorring, degraded,
and cruel persons, the most abject, among mankind,
to demoniacal births.”
They who worship in transgression of scriptural ordinance are the lowly-born and the most degraded of people, and it is they who are judged to be perpetrators of cruel deeds. Krishn has declared earlier that he hurls such degraded persons down into hell.
Now he reiterates the same when he says that he dooms them to perpetual devilish births. This is hell.
If the torments of a common prison are terrible, how much more so must be the endless fall into inferior forms of life? So it is imperative that one must always strive to acquire the treasure of divinity.
“Instead of realizing me, O son of Kunti,
these ignorant fools, conceived in devilish wombs birth after birth,
are doomed to fall yet lower to the most degraded slate.”
This degradation is given the name of hell.
So let us now view the origin of this hell.
“Since lust, anger, and greed are the three gateways to hell
because they are destructive of the Self, they ought to be forsaken.”
Lust, anger, and greed are the three bases on which demoniacal impulses rest. So giving them up is a profitable enterprise.
“The person, O son of Kunti,
who escapes these three doors to hell,
practises what is propitious for them
and thus attains to the supreme State.”
Only by keeping away from these three ways to hell is a person equipped for conduct that may reward them with sublime good and the final beatitude of attaining to Krishn.
Only by abandoning the three perversions can a person perform the ordained task, the outcome of which is the ultimate glory of redemption.
“The one who transgresses scriptural injunction
and acts indiscriminately according to his will
achieves neither perfection nor the Supreme Goal,
nor even happiness.”
The scripture in question is none other than the Bhagavad Gita itself, which Sri Krishna has described as “the most mysterious of all knowledge”.
The Bhagavad Gita is the perfect scripture; and the one who ignores it and acts wilfully is deprived of accomplishment, salvation, and bliss.
“So scripture is the authority on what ought and ought not to be done,
and having learnt that you have the ability
to act according to the provisions laid down by the scripture.”
Krishna told Arjun to do the ordained task. Besides stressing the ordained action, he has also pointed out that yagya is that action. Yagya is an image of that special form of worship which completely subdues the mind and leads one to the eternal, immutable God. He now adds that desire, wrath, and avarice are the three main approaches to hell.
Only after renouncing these three evils does action commence-the appointed action which Krishna has repeatedly portrayed as the conduct which brings one the highest glory and supreme good.
The more a person is engaged in external worldly business, the more alluring is the form in which desire, anger, and greed manifest themselves to him. The ordained action is on the other hand something to which access is secured only after the giving up of lust, wrath, and greed, and it is only then that such action is transformed into habitual conduct.
For the person who rejects it and acts wilfully, there is neither happiness nor accomplishment, nor the ultimate absolution. And scripture is the only authority that prescribes the righteous as well as the unrighteous.
So it is incumbent upon Arjun to conduct himself according to scripture and that scripture is the Bhagavad Gita.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~