Truth Amid Chaos – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 16

In this chapter, the Supreme God tells us there are just two kinds of people in the world. Divine and Demonic. Yikes! He has some very strong words about it. We already learned in the last chapter when he said ALL beings are inherently divine. Here he lays out the slippery slope of how to discern divine qualities from demonic qualities based on people’s actions and reactions.

The purpose of the Gita is to help us understand the universe and our place in it as a living soul. The goal of physical life is ascension, freedom from death and rebirth, to permanent union with God. This is not about religion, but rather the laws of Nature, Science, Universal Power, life, death, and these laws never change. The Bhagavad Gita is 18 chapters of richly symbolic ancient verses in Sanskrit, the sacred language of the Gods. If we open our eyes and ears to it, we suddenly discover how to see our modern challenges in a new light. It describes how to be free, how to use ascension techniques from thousands of years before Christ, by which we can ascend to freedom from the suffering and limitations of the 3D world. With each chapter the lessons become more specific and focused. Just enjoy and listen with an open mind, as you would hear a story.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, Gods ruled the Earth, and all learning took place in the form of stories and sacred verses, that people learned by heart and chanted generation after generation. 

The warrior prince Arjuna and his wise charioteer, the God Krishna, stand on a vast battlefield, between thousands of warriors gathered on both sides, determined to fight to the death. Today Arjuna and his brothers must vanquish their evil cousins, even his teacher and childhood friends, as they have chosen a selfish path that denies life to his branch of the family. As fate would have it, Arjuna’s duty is to vanquish them all. But he is horrified at the very idea, and refuses to fight. Krishna, the Blue God tells Arjuna patiently how to free his mind to become even stronger in battle, bring justice to the family, clear all the evil, and incur no sin in killing. Arjuna listens to the lessons, and finally accepts his destiny to fight. This is the bloody war from the famous Mahabharata epic. He and his brothers win although only a few are left standing. They vanquish the enemy, change the course of history, and eventually ascend to the heavenly realms.

In this chapter Krishna defines the qualities of people endowed with a divine nature. The Sankrit word is “daivim” meaning godly, divine, saintly. The qualities of such a person are fearlessness, purity of mind, steadfastness, charity, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of sacred books, austerity, honesty, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, peacefulness, aversion to fault-finding, compassion toward all living beings, freedom from envy, gentleness, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, and bearing enmity toward none.

Then he describes the demonic person. The word “Asurim” means dark, without light, depraved, irredeemable souls, demonic, cursed birth after birth, or moving downward.

These people are deceitful, two faced, lying, arrogant, conceited, angry, harsh, ignorant, and selfish. The Gita says these qualities cause a continuous destiny of bondage by illusion through many many lifetimes. He says demonic people are often born into traditions of wealth and strive to dominate others. They tend to be driven and find pleasure in achieving great wealth, seeing it as the most important purpose of civilization. Every soul has the possibility of turning to God, but at a certain point, the illusion is so powerful that it becomes very unlikely. So, demonic souls tend to live in the hell realms and rule over them lifetime after lifetime. Dark souls are often born in lineages of families connected by birth, genetics, and love of wealth. The term in the Gita “demonic womb” refers to inherited curses or negative tendencies at birth from parents.

Associating with this type of people can become a slippery slope and a challenge to maintain one’s balance. The physical senses in 3D are very strong. They are not bad, but they can become your entire experience and distract you from your highest goal in life which is internal, invisible, and eternal. In every age the dark ones use similar techniques to secure and maintain power. Demonic people are willing to kill to expand their circle of wealth and control, recruiting others to establish a pyramid to dominate the world. They are secretive, and remain at the top. To maintain power they use various tools such as lying, or dividing unsuspecting people against each other through wars, ideology, skin color, and religions. They work against God and religion portraying it as stupid, countryfied, or unsophisticated. They turn one religion against another, or infiltrate them to change interpretations of sacred texts. These dark souls amass great wealth, yet always want more expansion, and are never happy. They maintain that the world has no absolute Truth, so they challenge the Laws of Nature, science, government, see no basis for moral order, and deny the existence of God. They maintain that life is physical, created from sexual intercourse and has no purpose other than to gain power and please the senses. They appear sweet and generous, but secretly intend to use people for financial benefit and pleasure. 

Human beings possess a natural desire for happiness, higher states of awareness, and freedom. This is sometimes seen as a ladder, or a cosmic stairway to a godly state of being. Almost every religion describes this in some way. Hindu Mythology sees seven Higher God realms, and seven Hellish realms. To ascend, you must purify your thoughts steadily through a series of lifetimes toward freedom or Moksha, meaning your earthly lessons are finished, and you finally merge in union with God, ending the cycle of death and rebirth. While on earth you must try to move upward, not fall downward, to balance your physical duties with your goal of spiritual freedom. Finding the highest path requires sovereignty, protection, and discernment. 

The 3D world is designed so that each experience can assist your ascension path. It’s important to understand the 14 realms as a cultural backdrop of the Gita. 

These are the seven Heavenly REALMS or levels. 

The seven LOWER HELL REALMS are very interesting. This is not just a devil heating you in a pot of oil, it’s much more  hypnotic, illusory and “fun”. After all, hell happens in the mind. Moving down from the Earth plane, we have 

In addition, Krishna says there are just three gates to hell: 1) Desire of the senses (which includes sexual lust), 2) anger, and 3) greed. These three lead to self-destruction for the soul. If you perform good actions conducive to the welfare of your spirit, you will attain the supreme goal. But if you act under the impulse of desire, and forget the holy books, you’ll find no happiness, and you’ll lose your supreme destination.

As we listen to the verses of Chapter 16, I invite you to ponder these questions:

  1. What are the qualities of a good or divine person?
  2. What are the qualities of a demonic person?
  3. What are the three gates to Hell, according to the Bhagavad Gita?
  4. Name a few characters on the world stage that you would consider demonic by these definitions?  
  5. Name a few persons on the world stage that CLEARLY have a divine nature, and provide a positive example of a virtuous life? Are you sure?
  6. What are your favorite quotes from this chapter to remember for life lessons? 

Now let’s listen to the verses of Chapter 16.

Bhagavad Gita 16.1

The Blessed Lord said: O scion of Bharat, these are the godly virtues of those endowed with a divine nature—fearlessness, purity of mind, steadfastness in spiritual knowledge, charity, control of the senses, performance of sacrifice,

Bhagavad Gita 16.2

study of the sacred books, austerity, straightforwardness; non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, peacefulness, aversion to fault-finding, compassion toward all living beings,

Bhagavad Gita 16.3

freedom from envy, gentleness, modesty, and lack of fickleness; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, bearing enmity toward none, and absence of vanity. 

Bhagavad Gita 16.4

O Parth, the qualities of those who possess a demonic and dark nature are hypocrisy, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness, and ignorance.

Bhagavad Gita 16.5

The divine qualities lead to freedom, while the demoniac qualities cause a continuing destiny of bondage and slavery. Do not worry, O Arjun, as you were born with the divine qualities.  

Bhagavad Gita 16.6

O son of Prtha, in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demonic. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demonic.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.7

Those possessing a demoniac nature do not comprehend what actions are proper and what are improper. Hence, they possess neither purity, nor good conduct, nor even truthfulness.

Bhagavad Gita 16.8

They say that the world has no absolute Truth, no basis for moral order, and no God as creator or controller. They the world is created from the two sexes, and has no purpose other than to please the senses.

Bhagavad Gita 16.9

Following these views, the demonic souls are lost even to themselves, their intelligence reduced by engaging in non-beneficial, cruel actions and horrible works meant to destroy the world.

Bhagavad Gita 16.10

Living in insatiable desire for sensory enjoyments, full of pride, arrogance, and hypocrisy, the demonic souls cling to their false world view. Thus, living in illusion, they flourish, attracted to impermanent objects and are forever avowed toward evil

Bhagavad Gita 16.11

They are obsessed with endless anxieties that end only with death. Still, they fervently believe that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the highest purpose of life and human civilization.

Bhagavad Gita 16.12

Held in bondage by hundreds and thousands of desires, sexual lust and anger, they accumulate wealth unjustly, to gratify their desires as the highest purpose of life.

Bhagavad Gita 16.13

The demonic person thinks: So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more.

Bhagavad Gita 16.14

That enemy has been destroyed by me, and I shall destroy the others too! I am like God himself, I am the enjoyer, I am powerful, and I am happy. I am wealthy and I have highly placed relatives.

Bhagavad Gita 16.15

There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall be happy. In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.

Bhagavad Gita 16.16

Possessed and led astray by anxiety, enveloped in a network of illusions, and addicted to the enjoyment of sensuous beliefs and pleasures, they descend into the darkest hell.

Bhagavad Gita 16.17

Such self-complacent and stubborn people, full of pride and arrogance in their wealth, perform ostentatious sacrifices only for show, with no regard to laws or scriptures.

Bhagavad Gita 16.18

Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demon becomes envious of the Supreme God situated in his own body and in the bodies of others, to abuse me and preach against true religion.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.19

These cruel and hateful persons, the envious and mischievous lowest of humankind, I constantly hurl into the wombs of those with similar demonic natures in the endless cycle of rebirth of the ocean of material existence.

Bhagavad Gita 16.20

These ignorant souls take birth again and again in demonic wombs. Failing to reach me, O Arjun, they gradually sink to the most abominable type of existence.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.21

There are three gates leading to the hell: Sensory desire, anger, and greed. Therefore, every human should abandon these three as they lead to self-destruction for the soul.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.22

Those who escape the three gates of hell, perform actions conducive to the welfare of their soul, and thereby attain the supreme goal.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.23

But those who act under the impulse of desire, discarding the directions of the scriptures, attain neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.

 Bhagavad Gita 16.24

Therefore, let the scriptures be your authority in determining what to do and not to do.  Understand the scriptural rules and teachings, and then perform your actions in this world so that you may gradually be elevated.


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