In this Chapter the entire mankind has been classified as the divinely (Good-Deva) and the diabolical (Fallen-Asura). It enumerates their respective qualities and ways of conduct.
The demoniac always live contrary to scriptural injunctions in agitation, sorrow and bondage. With endless desires they go through the cycles of birth and death. The divine conquer their desires. They live in peace and happiness until they reach the goal of Enlightenment.
The purpose of this Chapter is that one may adopt the divine qualities and reject the demoniac qualities after fully understanding their nature in the journey towards God-realization. Hence this Chapter is designated as “Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal Traits”. Lord Krishna brings out quite clearly the intimate connection between ethics and spirituality, between a life of virtue and God realization and liberation.
Listing two sets of qualities of opposite kinds, the Lord urges us to eradicate the latter and cultivate the divine qualities. What kind of nature should one develop? What conduct must one follow? What way should one live and act if one must attain God and obtain divine bliss? These questions are answered with perfect clarity and very definitely.
TRAITS OF DIVINE NATURE
sri bhagavaan uvaacha
abhayam sattwasamshuddhih jnaanayogavyavasthitih
daanam damashcha yajnashcha swaadhyaayastapa aarjavam // 16.1 //
Sri Bhagavan said
Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and Yoga, charity , control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness,
The Lord had earlier described in Chapter 13 verses 7-11 twenty values of life. Here He enumerates the nobler traits in a cultured man who lives those twenty values of life.
Fearlessness - abhayaam - comes first in these Divine Qualities. Fear is the expression of ignorance and when there is knowledge there is fearlessness.
Purity of heart - honesty of intentions and purity of motives.
Steadfastness in Knowledge and Yoga - Ethical purity can not be brought about when the mind is turned outward. Only when it is turned inward it can renounce worldly desires. Devotion to knowledge is the positive way to persuade the mind to leave all low temptations and make it aware to the joys of the Self.
Charity, Restraint of the Senses and Sacrifice - These are the techniques by which steady devotion to knowledge is cultivated. Oneness between the giver and the recipient is the basis of real charity. It is the capacity to restrain one's instinct of acquisition and attachment to wealth and replacing it with the spirit of sacrifice and sharing. Charity can be at the level of head and heart also and need not be merely at the material level. Sharing with others our sympathy and kindness and to distribute one's knowledge are also charities. Restraint of the sense organs is the saving of energy for the higher purposes of meditation.
Study of the scriptures - It implies not only the regular study of scriptural texts but also the practice of their teachings.
Austerity - It means the denial of sensual requirements and concentrating on the divine.
Straightforwardness - Avoidance of crookedness in thoughts, words and actions.
These ethical qualities, if pursued sincerely, will contribute to the discovery of the Divine in oneself.
ahimsaa satyamakrodhas tyaagah shaantirapaishunam
dayaa bhooteshvaloluptwam maardavam hreerachaapalam // 16.2 //
Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness.
Harmlessness - This connotes not as much physical non-injury as avoidance of injury in the thought process itself because in the world of living physical injury in some form or the other to another can not be avoided. But in so living one can always maintain pure and clean motives in which case the harm caused is not an injury.
Truth is explained under straightforwardness in the previous verse.
Absence of anger - It is the capacity to check anger as it arises and manifests in actions under its influence.
Renunciation - Without renunciation an even temper can not be maintained.
Peacefulness - Keeping a balance in the midst of stormy conditions of life.
Absence of crookedness - Honesty of conviction and avoiding double-talk, full of devotion, love and sincerity to others.
Compassion towards beings - Recognising the imperfections in others and loving them.
Uncovetousness - Remaining in self-control over sense enjoyments.
Gentleness and modesty - This is the result of an individual's good training.
Absence of fickleness - Economy of physical energy in any activity.
tejah kshamaa dhritih shauchamadroho naatimaanitaa
bhavanti sampadam daiveem abhijaatasya bhaarata // 16.3 //
Vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, and absence of pride - these belong to the one born in a Divine State, O Bharata.
Vigor - This is not of the physical structure of the body but the brilliance of the seeker's intellect, his peaceful nature, quietitude in his activities and his love for all.
Forgiveness - It implies unruffled serenity even in the face of powerful oppositions and provoking situations in life.
Fortitude - Strength of faith, conviction of the goal, consistency of purpose, vivid perception of the ideal and the spirit of sacrifice in the task undertaken.
Purity - Purity of thoughts and motives, purity of environments, cleanliness of habits and personal belongings.
Non-hatred - It implies not only absence of hatred but also absence of even a vague desire to injure any living creature.
Absence of pride - Leaving the sense of one's own over exaggerated pride and notions of self honor and importance.
The twenty six qualities described above give a complete picture of the man of Divine State. They serve as a guide to all those who are in search of a right way of living and endeavor to become perfect.
Sri Krishna now starts the description of a man of demoniac (Asuric) nature in the following verses. It should, however, be born in mind that human race is not divided into two exclusive categories; many beings partake of the natures of both. Nothing is wholly good or wholly evil.