Asura Qualities – Proper Understanding of The Bhagavad Gita


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Updated on December 2, 2020

There are people who are ignorant of scriptures and their ordinances. Being influenced by desires for rewards or fulfillment of desires, perform rituals without overcoming desires, anger and greed, they never succeed in attaining spiritual success nor perfection.

Lord Krishna is further describing the characteristics of an evil person or persons with Asura qualities.

अहङ्कारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं च संश्रिता: |
मामात्मपरदेहेषु प्रद्विषन्तोऽभ्यसूयका: || 18||

ahankāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ cha sanśhritāḥ
māmātma-para-deheṣhu pradwiṣhanto abhyasūyakāḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch16 Verse18

General Meaning:

Being influenced by egoism, material strength, haughtiness, lust and anger, these malicious people are hostile to others. They hate Me, residing in their own bodies and in the bodies of others.

Explanatory Notes:

The Asuras or evil people are possessed by egoism, power, haughtiness, lust, and anger, always. They are blind to the presence of the soul or the spirit in their own bodies and in the bodies of others. As a result, they really hate God, who is their own soul and also the soul in others.

Karma or Destiny

तानहं द्विषत: क्रूरान्संसारेषु नराधमान् |
क्षिपाम्यजस्रमशुभानासुरीष्वेव योनिषु || 19||

tānahaṁ dviṣhataḥ krūrān sansāreṣhu narādhamān
kṣhipāmy ajasram aśhubhān āsurīṣhweva yoniṣhu

The Bhagavad Gita Ch16 Verse19

General Meaning:

Those cruel, sinful and hateful people, the worst among human beings, I throw these evildoers, countless times, into the wombs of demons.

Explanatory Notes:

Nobody can escape their Karma or destiny. This Karma or destiny is created by the actions of the person. People with negative or evil action in physical mental and verbal, have the worst destiny. For their sufferings, only they themselves are to be blamed, neither God nor any other person.  Life after life, these evil people (Asuras) obtain those births, which is a low form of life and mostly Taamasic or Raajasic Gunas. This leads to endless sufferings. Spiritual advancement can never be attained nor Self Realization.

The Fate of the Evil People

आसुरीं योनिमापन्ना मूढा जन्मनि जन्मनि |
मामप्राप्यैव कौन्तेय ततो यान्त्यधमां गतिम् || 20||

āsurīṁ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim

The Bhagavad Gita Ch16 Verse20

General Meaning:

These, enter into undivine wombs, become deluded birth after birth, not being able to attain Me, thus they descend into lower worlds.

Explanatory Notes:

Lord Krishna describes the fate of undivine or asura or evil people. Their karma forces them after death into the wombs of evil creatures, incarnation after incarnation. They, never are able to attain higher or spiritual attainments. Thus, they bring themselves into the lowest evolutionary status or hell.

Self Realization

त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मन: |
काम: क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् || 21||

tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśhanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet

The Bhagavad Gita Ch16 Verse21

General Meaning:

Desires, anger and greed, these three are the gates leading to hell, destructive of the Self. Therefore, one must give up these three.

Explanatory Notes:

Self-realization is the purest, highest and noblest purpose of life. This is called divine. Opposite to it is non-divine or evil or hell. Evil leads to hell, the lowest status of a being. The essence of the hell is endless sufferings of all types. These take away a person from spiritual pursuits and progress.

The Supreme Goal

एतैर्विमुक्त: कौन्तेय तमोद्वारैस्त्रिभिर्नर: |
आचरत्यात्मन: श्रेयस्ततो याति परां गतिम् || 22||

etaivimuktaḥ kaunteya tamo-dwāraistri bhirnaraḥ
ācharatyātmanaḥ śhreyastato yāti parāṁ gatim

The Bhagavad Gita Ch16 Verse22

General Meaning:

The person who is liberated from these three doors to darkness, O’ Kaunteya, practices what is good to him and proceeds to the Supreme Goal.

Explanatory Notes:

That spiritual seeker, who, by his practice of spirituality, gets himself freed from these three doors to darkness or hell, lives the right life and conducts himself, guided by wisdom, and attains perfection or Self Realization. This perfection or Self Realization is the Supreme Goal.

य: शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारत: |
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् || 23||

yaḥ śhāstra-vidhim utsṛijya vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 16 Verse 23

General Meaning:

That Supreme person, having rejected the rules and regulations as ordained in the scriptures, performs, guided by desires, neither attains perfection nor happiness nor the Supreme Goal.

Explanatory Notes:

There are people who are ignorant of scriptures and their ordinances. Being influenced by desires for rewards or fulfillment of desires, perform rituals without overcoming desires, anger and greed, they never succeed in attaining spiritual success nor perfection. Even they cannot attain peace and joy.

The Scriptures – Your Guide and Authority

तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ |
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि || 24||

tasmāch chhāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau
gyñātvā śhāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartu mihārhasi

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 16 Verse 24

General Meaning:

Therefore, the scriptures should be your guide and authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. Having understood what is said in the scriptures, you should act accordingly in the world.

Explanatory Notes:

The sura or Godly person, should not be influenced by ego, desires, anger, and greed. His actions should be guided by scriptural guidelines. If in doubt or lack knowledge of scriptures, one should consult the Guru or spiritual guide or scholars to know and determine the procedures and actions. The scriptures are the authority in determining what is right action and, wrong or forbidden action. Personal whims, influenced by lust anger, and greed should not be the guiding authority.

om tat sat iti srimad bhagavad gitaa su
upanisatsu brahma vidyaayaam yoga shaastre
sri lord krishna Arjunaa sambade daivasura sampad
bibhaaga yogo naama sodasho adhyaayah

General Meaning:

This is the concluding announcement of the 16th Chapter. Om Tat Sat

The Eternal Guidelines

Thus, in the Upanisads of the great Bhagavad Gita, in the science of the eternal, in the scriptures of the Yoga, in the dialogue between Sri Lord Krishna and Arjuna, the Sixteenth Discourse ends, entitled; The Divine and the Devilish State. Dear divine friends, these are eternal guidelines, not limited to any religion or sect, or community. This is eternal knowledge leading to happiness, health, and spiritual progress towards the realization of the eternal truth, Self- Realization. One should not react, one should act as per these guidelines, set in the Bhagavad Gita.

May God and Gurus Bless, Guide, Protect and Inspire you and your whole family.

With Love and Blessings to you. Humbly,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

Paramahansa Atmananda

A Doctor, A Yogi, A Teacher. He is a Yogi and highly qualified doctor. With his specialization in Internal Medicine and Neurology, he has been able to make many spiritual seekers understand about Kriya Yoga as a scientific technique for Self and God Realization.