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Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 16: Divine and Demoniac Natures: Text 10

kāmam āśritya duṣpūraṁdambha-māna-madānvitāḥmohād gṛhītvāsad-grāhānpravartante ’śuci-vratāḥ


kāmam — lust; āśritya — taking shelter of; duṣpūram — insatiable; dambha — of pride; māna — and false prestige; madaanvitāḥ — absorbed in the conceit; mohāt — by illusion; gṛhītvā — taking; asat — nonpermanent; grāhān — things; pravartante — they flourish; aśuci — to the unclean; vratāḥ — avowed.


Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

This chapter talks about the  The Divine and Demoniac Natures. Here the Lord explains both the transcendental nature and its qualities and the demoniac nature and its qualities. He also explains the advantages and disadvantages of these qualities. In Bhagavad Gita, 9th  Chapter, also, there is a description of the Devas, or godly, and the asuras, the ungodly, or demons

So, who  are the  Demons and who are Divine, or Demigods ?

Demigods (devas) means those who are devotee of the Lord. There are 26 qualities for a devotee. Some are 

1)He is very kind to everyone.

2)He does not make anyone his enemy.

3)He is truthful.

4)He is equal to everyone.

5)No one can find any fault in him.

6)He is magnanimous.

7)He is mild.

8)He is always clean.

9)He is without possessions……etc…

 But the Demons (asuras) are those who are not devotees of the Lord.  Some of the demoniac qualities are 







According to Vedic rites, activities in the mode of goodness are considered auspicious for progress on the path of liberation, and such activities are known as “daivīprakṛti”, transcendental by nature. Those who are situated in the transcendental nature make progress on the path of liberation. For those who are acting in the modes of passion and ignorance, on the other hand, there is no possibility of liberation. Either they will have to remain in this material world as human beings, or they will descend among the species of animals or even lower life forms. Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control and believe this world is to satisfy their sex desires and they have  no cause other than lust. Following such conclusions, the demoniac, people are lost to themselves, have no intelligence and engage themselves in unbeneficial, horrible works  which is meant to destroy the world and themselves. Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

Major points mentioned in the verse are 

1)Insatiable lust,

2)Absorbed in conceit of pride and false prestige 


4)Attracted by impermanent 

5)Unclean work

Insatiable lust

Insatiable means impossible to satisfy.(kāmam—lust; āśritya—taking shelter of; duṣpūram—insatiable; ) . Kāmamāśritya here the  basic principle of demoniac people is to satisfy their  lusty desire. Aśritya means he has taken shelter of principally the lusty desire. But our constitutional position is we have to take shelter of Supreme Lord since we are part and parcel of the Lord and our duty is to serve him. Example the constitutional position of the dog is that it must have a good master. Then he is happy. Our position is similar, we have to serve our Master who is good. We cannot live independently. It is not possible. Therefore, in the Vedic injunction it is said that

nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān

Translation: He is the prime eternal among all eternals. He is the supreme living entity of all living entities, and He alone is maintaining all life. One cannot do anything without intelligence, and Kṛṣṇa also says that He is the root of all intelligence. Unless a person is intelligent, he cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. (KaṭhaUpaniṣad2.2.13) 

This means that  living entities are maintained by God. We cannot maintain ourself. We are not independent but  dependent on God in so many things. Example : God has engaged the servant, the Sun- God. He’s also demigod. He is working under the order of the Supreme Lord. The Sun-God, or the sun planet, is the eye of all other planets. Because unless there is sunshine, even though we may be very proud of our tiny eyes— still we cannot see. So, unless we take shelter of Supreme Lord, we will  be taking  shelter of lust. Lust means, our desires for material enjoyment. 

In BG 3.37

śrī-bhagavān uvācakāma eṣa krodha eṣarajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥmahāśano mahā-pāpmāviddhy enam iha vairiṇam

Translation: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

Supreme is defined in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as Janmādyasyayatonvayāditarataśca: Everything emanates from the Supreme. The origin of everything is the Supreme Brahman. Therefore. the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness –or, in other words, desiring everything for Kṛṣṇa–then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. When our desires are not in line with the desires of the Lord, we have lusty desires. We have to learn how to control such desires by associating with devotees who are actually practicing  doing devotional services, then we can change our desires to please the Supreme Lord.

Absorbed in conceit of pride and false prestige

Dambha-māna-madānvitāḥ.•dambha means false pride; māna means false prestige; mada-anvitāḥ means absorbed in the conceit. These asuras, these demons, are simply falsely proud. They have no possession to be proud  of; still, they are proud. Krishna has given us the sunlight so that we can see. Krishna has given us the nice air. Therefore, we can live; we can breathe. So, for everything  we are dependent on Krishna. Without light, without air, without rain or water, how we can live? but on account of false prestige and being  less intelligent we are thinking that we are free, we think . “I am God. I can do anything.” This is the  demonic attitude. As soon as the death comes, immediately we have to leave this position. We cannot say “Sir, let me stay for one hour more.” “No, not even a minute.” This is our position.

Every one of us is endowed with many wonderful gifts by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the case of materialists, who misuse the gifts for their own enjoyment, pride kills them from the very beginning (closing their access to spiritual path), by inducing them to falsely think that they have reached great heights. No amount of materialistic education (arts or sciences) can enable one to cross the ocean of worldly existence, which is full of misery. It is therefore futile and foolish to  be proud on these things .They create some principles of religion which are not approved by Vedic injunctions. By artificial means the world creates a false honor for them. Although gliding towards hell, they considered themselves very advanced. Rather, giving up pride, one must learn the art and science of Krishna consciousness and achieve that abode from where one will never fall.


Illusioned (mohāt—by illusion; ) •Illusion means to accept something which is not: māyā. Māyā means “what is not.” Everyone is accepting the body as the self. If I ask you what you are, you will say, “I am Mr. John; I am a rich man; I am this; I am that.” All these are bodily identifications. But you are not this body. This is illusion. They have no knowledge and cannot tell that they are heading the wrong way. They are always full of anxieties because of accepting non-permanent things. Therefore to come out of illusion, we have to approach a Spiritual Master who has overcome the effect of Maya, gain knowledge from by submissively surrendering to him.

Attracted by impermanent & unclean work

(Asat—nonpermanent; ) & unclean work (pravartante—they flourish; aśuci—to the unclean; ). Attracted to nonpermanent temporary happiness materialist create own God, own hymns. Engage in ‘Asuchi-vratah’: means Unclean vows. Primarily two things sex enjoyment and accumulation of material wealth.‘Asuchi’ (Unclean habits) like engaging in wine, women, gambling and meat-eating.

What should be done to gain control over lusty desires

We have to learn how to control lusty desires by associating with devotees who are actually practicing  devotional services. We can change our desires to please the Supreme Lord. We just need to turn all these demoniac qualities for the service of Krishna. Best way to  come out of illusion is by approaching a spiritual master who has overcome the effect of Maya, gain knowledge from him  by submissively surrendering to him.

Story of Bilvamangala Thakura

Bilvamaìgala Thakura, who was a very rich South Indian brahmana. But he spent all his money on a prostitute named Cintamani. One night, during a terrible rainstorm, Bilvamangala went to see Cintamani, but the prostitute was thinking, “Surely tonight Bilvamangala will not come. This is a terrible storm.” Nonetheless, Bilvamangala came, despite all difficulties. Somehow, he managed to cross the raging river, and when he saw the gates of Cintamani’s house closed, he somehow managed to jump over them. Despite all the dangers, he reached Cintamani’s house, and the prostitute, being very astonished, said, “How is it you have come tonight? Oh, you are so attracted to this skin! If you just had this much attraction for Krishna, it would certainly be to your benefit.” Bilvamangala then immediately left the prostitute’s house and went to Vrindavana. The fact was that in his previous life he had executed devotional service up to bhava-bhakti. Thus ,the prostitute Cintamani actually became his Guru. While in Vrindavana, Bilvamangala Thakura wrote a book named Krishna-karnamrita, which has been recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In that book, Bilvamangala Thakura writes: “If we have devotion fixed on You, My Lord Bhagavan, then we can easily see Your divine form as kaisora-murti, a young boy.” 

When Bilvamangala Thakura was going to Vrindavana, he was still attracted to women. One night he stayed at the house of a very rich merchant, and the merchant’s wife told her husband that Bilvamangala Thakura was attracted to her. She asked her husband what to do, and the merchant simply said, “Serve him.” Finally, Bilvamangala Thakura came to his senses, and he thought, “These eyes are my enemies.” When the beautiful woman approached him, Bilvamangala Thakura said, “Mother, please give me the pins out of your hair. I am very mad after the beauty of women. So, let me pluck out my eyes.” In this way, he blinded himself. Although he could not see, in Vrindavana he was supplied milk by Krishna Himself. Thus, he personally realized Krishna through bhakti and wrote of his personal experience. He wrote, “Mukti is not a very important thing. She is always at my service with folded hands, saying, ‘My dear sir, what can I do for you?’ “Thus, a devotee is not very anxious for Mukti because he is already liberated. If a man has a million dollars, why should he hanker after ten rupees?

Bhakti should be animitta, without motive. Actually, Krishna can fulfill all of our wishes without difficulty because He is almighty and full of all opulences. If we want material happiness from Krishna, it is certainly not difficult for Him to grant it. He can also give us Mukti, liberation, but it is foolishness to ask anything from Krishna except bhakti. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that asking God for Mukti or anything else other than bhakti is like going to a rich man and asking for ashes. 


The conditioned living entities are divided into two classes in this world. One is called divine (means those who are devotee of the Lord ) and the other demoniac (one who are not devotees of the Lord)

Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. Mentality of such people are that they take shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige. 

The demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

From the story of BilvamangalaThakur we learned that Lust is  the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world. We just need to turn all these demoniac qualities for the service of Krishna.

We just have to associate with bonafied devotees of the Lord and follow their path; Then we can control all our demoniac qualities and turn ourself to people qualified to go back to Home and eventually go back to Krishna Loka.


By Admin

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