Bhagavad-gita As It Is
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada




kamam asritya duspuram


mohad grhitvasad-grahan

pravartante ’suci-vratah

kamam—lust; asritya—taking shelter of; duspuram—insatiable; dambha—pride; mana—false prestige; mada-anvitah—absorbed in conceit; mohat—by illusion; grhitva—taking; asat—nonpermanent; grahan—things; pravartante—flourish; asuci—unclean; vratah—avowed.


The demoniac, taking shelter of insatiable lust, pride and false prestige, and being thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.


The demoniac mentality is described here. The demons’ lust is never satiated. They will go on increasing and increasing their insatiable desires for material enjoyment. Although they are always full of anxieties on account of accepting nonpermanent things, they still continue to engage in such activities out of illusion. They have no knowledge and cannot tell that they are heading the wrong way. Accepting nonpermanent things, such demoniac people create their own God, create their own hymns and chant accordingly. The result is that they become more and more attracted to two things—sex enjoyment and accumulation of material wealth. The word asuci-vratah, unclean vow, is very significant in this connection. Such demoniac people are only attracted by wine, women, gambling and meat eating; those are their asuci, unclean habits. Induced by pride and false prestige, they create some principles of religion which are not approved by the Vedic injunctions. Although such demoniac people are most abominable in the world, still, by artificial means, the world creates a false honor for them. Although they are gliding toward hell, they consider themselves very much advanced.


TEXTS 11–12

cintam aparimeyam ca

pralayantam upasritah


etavad iti niscitah

asa-pasa-satair baddhah


ihante kama-bhogartham


cintam—fears and anxieties; aparimeyam—unmeasurable; ca—and; pralaya-antam—unto the point of death; upasritah—having taken shelter of them; kama-upabhoga—sense gratification; paramah—the highest goal of life; etavat—thus; iti—in this way; niscitah—ascertain; asa-pasa—entanglement in the network of hope; sataih—by hundreds; baddhah—being bound; kama—lust; krodha—anger; parayanah—always situated in that mentality; ihante—desire; kama—lust; bhoga—sense enjoyment; artham—for that purpose; anyayena—illegally; artha—wealth; sancayan—accumulate.


They believe that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus there is no end to their anxiety. Being bound by hundreds and thousands of desires, by lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.


The demoniac accept that the enjoyment of the senses is the ultimate goal of life, and this concept they maintain until death. They do not believe in life after death, and they do not believe that one takes on different types of bodies according to one’s karma, or activities in this world. Their plans for life are never finished, and they go on preparing plan after plan, all of which are never finished. We have personal experience of a person of such demoniac mentality, who, even at the point of death, was requesting the physician to prolong his life for four years more because his plans were not yet complete. Such foolish people do not know that a physician cannot prolong life even for a moment. When the notice is there, there is no consideration of the man’s desire. The laws of nature do not allow a second beyond what one is destined to enjoy.

The demoniac person, who has no faith in God or the Supersoul within himself, performs all kinds of sinful activities simply for sense gratification. He does not know that there is a witness sitting within his heart. The Supersoul is observing the activities of the individual soul. As it is stated in the Vedic literature, the Upanisads, there are two birds sitting in one tree; the one is acting and enjoying or suffering the fruits of the branches, and the other is witnessing. But one who is demoniac has no knowledge of Vedic scripture, nor has he any faith; therefore he feels free to do anything for sense enjoyment, regardless of the consequences.


TEXTS 13–15

idam adya maya labdham

imam prapsye manoratham

idam astidam api me

bhavisyati punar dhanam

asau maya hatah satrur

hanisye caparan api

isvaro ’ham aham bhogi

siddho ’ham balavan sukhi

adhyo ’bhijanavan asmi

ko ’nyo ’sti sadrso maya

yaksye dasyami modisya

ity ajnana-vimohitah

idam—this; adya—today; maya—by me; labdham—gained; imam—this; prapsye—I shall gain; manoratham—according to my desires; idam—this; asti—there is; idam—this; api—also; me—mine; bhavisyati—will increase in the future; punah—again; dhanam—wealth; asau—that; maya—by me; hatah—has been killed; satruh—enemy; hanisye—I shall kill; ca—also; aparan—others; api—certainly; isvarah—the lord; aham—I am; aham—I am; bhogi—the enjoyer; siddhah—perfect; aham—I am; balavan—powerful; sukhi—happy; adhyah—wealthy; abhijanavan—surrounded by aristocratic relatives; asmi—I am; kah—who else; anyah—other; asti—there is; sadrsah—like; maya—me; yaksye—I shall sacrifice; dasyami—I shall give in charity; modisye—I shall rejoice; iti—thus; ajnana—ignorance; vimohitah—deluded by.


The demoniac 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. He is my enemy, and I have killed him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the lord of everything, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.





prasaktah kama-bhogesu

patanti narake ’sucau

aneka—numerous; citta-vibhrantah—perplexed by anxieties; moha—of illusions; jala—by a network; samavrtah—surrounded; prasaktah—attached; kama—lust; bhogesu—sense gratification; patanti—glides down; narake—into hell; asucau—unclean.


Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, one becomes too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and falls down into hell.


The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire to acquire money. That is unlimited. He only thinks how much assessment he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth farther and farther. For that reason, he does not hesitate to act in any sinful way and so deals in the black market for illegal gratification. He is enamoured by the possessions he has already, such as land, family, house and bank balance, and he is always planning to improve them. He believes in his own strength, and he does not know that whatever he is gaining is due to his past good deeds. He is given an opportunity to accumulate such things, but he has no conception of past causes. He simply thinks that all his mass of wealth is due to his own endeavor. A demoniac person believes in the strength of his personal work, not in the law of karma. According to the law of karma, a man takes his birth in a high family, or becomes rich, or very well educated, or very beautiful because of good work in the past. The demoniac thinks that all these things are accidental and due to the strength of his personal ability. He does not sense any arrangement behind all the varieties of people, beauty, and education. Anyone who comes into competition with such a demoniac man is his enemy. There are many demoniac people, and each is enemy to the others. This enmity becomes more and more deep—between persons, then between families, then between societies, and at last between nations. Therefore there is constant strife, war and enmity all over the world.

Each demoniac person thinks that he can live at the sacrifice of all others. Generally, a demoniac person thinks of himself as the Supreme God, and a demoniac preacher tells his followers: “Why are you seeking God elsewhere? You are all yourselves God! Whatever you like, you can do. Don’t believe in God. Throw away God. God is dead.” These are the demoniac’s preachings.

Although the demoniac person sees others equally rich and influential, or even more so, he thinks that no one is richer than him and that no one is more influential than him. As far as promotion to the higher planetary system is concerned, he does not believe in performing yajnas or sacrifices. Demons think that they will manufacture their own process of yajna and prepare some machine, by which they will be able to reach any higher planet. The best example of such a demoniac man was Ravana. He offered a program to the people by which he would prepare a staircase so that anyone could reach the heavenly planets without performing sacrifices, such as are prescribed in the Vedas. Similarly, in the present age such demoniac men are striving to reach the higher planetary systems by mechanical arrangement. These are examples of bewilderment. The result is that, without their knowledge, they are gliding toward hell. Here the Sanskrit word mohajala is very significant. Jala means net; like fishes caught in a net, they have no way to come out.



atma-sambhavitah stabdha


yajante nama-yajnais te


atma-sambhavitah—self-complacent; stabdhah—impudent; dhana-mana—wealth and false prestige; mada-anvitah—absorbed in pride; yajante—perform sacrifices; nama—in name only; yajnaih—with such a sacrifice; te—they; dambhena—out of pride; avidhi-purvakam—without following any rules and regulations.


Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes perform sacrifices in name only without following any rules or regulations.


Thinking themselves all in all, not caring for any authority or scripture, the demoniac sometimes perform so-called religious or sacrificial rites. And since they do not believe in authority, they are very impudent. This is due to illusion caused by accumulating some wealth and false prestige. Sometimes such demons take up the role of preacher, mislead the people, and become known as religious reformers or as incarnations of God. They make a show of performing sacrifices, or they worship the demigods, or manufacture their own God. Common men advertise them as God and worship them, and by the foolish they are considered advanced in the principles of religion, or in the principles of spiritual knowledge. They take the dress of the renounced order of life and engage in all nonsense in that dress. Actually there are so many restrictions for one who has renounced this world. The demons, however, do not care for such restrictions. They think that whatever path one can create is one’s own path; there is no such thing as a standard path one has to follow. The word avidhi-purvakam, meaning disregard for the rules and regulations, is especially stressed here. These things are always due to ignorance and illusion.



ahankaram balam darpam

kamam krodham ca samsritah

mam atma-para-dehesu

pradvisanto ’bhyasuyakah

ahankaram—false ego; balam—strength; darpam—pride; kamam—lust; krodham—anger; ca—also; samsritah—having taken shelter of; mam—Me; atma—one’s own; para-dehesu—in other bodies; pradvisantah—blasphemes; abhyasuyakah—envious.


Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demon becomes envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in his own body and in the bodies of others, and blasphemes against the real religion.


A demoniac person, being always against God’s supremacy, does not like to believe in the scriptures. He is envious of both the scriptures and of the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is caused by his so-called prestige and his accumulation of wealth and strength. He does not know that the present life is a preparation for the next life. Not knowing this, he is actually envious of his own self, as well as of others. He commits violence on other bodies and on his own. He does not care for the supreme control of the Personality of Godhead because he has no knowledge. Being envious of the scriptures and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he puts forward false arguments against the existence of God and refutes the scriptural authority. He thinks himself independant and powerful in every action. He thinks that since no one can equal him in strength, power, or in wealth, he can act in any way and no one can stop him. If he has an enemy who might check the advancement of his sensual activities, he makes plans to cut him down by his own power.



tan aham dvisatah kruran

samsaresu naradhaman

ksipamy ajasram asubhan

asurisv eva yonisu

tan—those; aham—I; dvisatah—envious; kruran—mischievous; samsaresu—into the ocean of material existence; naradhaman—the lowest of mankind; ksipami—put; ajasram—innumerable; asubhan—inauspicious; asurisu—demoniac; eva—certainly; yonisu—in the wombs.


Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.


In this verse it is clearly indicated that the placing of a particular individual soul in a particular body is the prerogative of the supreme will. The demoniac person may not agree to accept the supremacy of the Lord, and it is a fact that he may act according to his own whims, but his next birth will depend upon the decision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and not on himself. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto, it is stated that an individual soul, after his death, is put into the womb of a mother where he gets a particular type of body under the supervision of superior power. Therefore in the material existence we find so many species of life—animals, insects, men, and so on. All are arranged by the superior power. They are not accidental. As for the demoniac, it is clearly said here that they are perpetually put into the wombs of demons, and thus they continue to be envious, the lowest of mankind. Such demoniac species of life are held to be always full of lust, always violent and hateful and always unclean. They are just like so many beasts in a jungle.



asurim yonim apanna

mudha janmani janmani

mam aprapyaiva kaunteya

tato yanty adhamam gatim

asurim—demoniac; yonim—species; apannah—gaining; mudhah—the foolish; janmani janmani—in birth after birth; mam—unto Me; aprapya—without achieving; eva—certainly; kaunteya—O son of Kunti; tatah—thereafter; yanti—goes; adhamam—condemned; gatim—destination.


Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.


It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac. It is clearly stated that the demoniac people, life after life, are put into the wombs of similar demons, and, not achieving the mercy of the Supreme Lord, they go down and down, so that at last they achieve bodies like those of cats, dogs and hogs. It is clearly stated that such demons have practically no chance of receiving the mercy of God at any stage of later life. In the Vedas also it is stated that such persons gradually sink to become dogs and hogs. It may be then argued in this connection that God should not be advertised as all-merciful if He is not merciful to such demons. In answer to this question, in the Vedanta-sutra we find that the Supreme Lord has no hatred for anyone. The placing of the asuras, the demons, in the lowest status of life is simply another feature of His mercy. Sometimes the asuras are killed by the Supreme Lord, but this killing is also good for them, for in Vedic literature we find that anyone who is killed by the Supreme Lord becomes liberated. There are instances in history of many asuras—Ravana, Kamsa, Hiranyakasipu—to whom the Lord appeared in various incarnations just to kill. Therefore God’s mercy is shown to the asuras if they are fortunate enough to be killed by Him.



tri-vidham narakasyedam

dvaram nasanam atmanah

kamah krodhas tatha lobhas

tasmad etat trayam tyajet

tri-vidham—three kinds of; narakasya—hellish; idam—this; dvaram—gate; nasanam—destructive; atmanah—of the self; kamah—lust; krodhah—anger; tatha—as well as; lobhah—greed; tasmat—therefore; etat—these; trayam—three; tyajet—must give up.


There are three gates leading to this hell—lust, anger, and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.


The beginning of demoniac life is described herein. One tries to satisfy his lust, and when he cannot, anger and greed arise. A sane man who does not want to glide down to the species of demoniac life must try to give up these three enemies which can kill the self to such an extent that there will be no possibility of liberation from this material entanglement.



etair vimuktah kaunteya

tamo-dvarais tribhir narah

acaraty atmanah sreyas

tato yati param gatim

etaih—by these; vimuktah—being liberated; kaunteya—O son of Kunti; tamah-dvaraih—the gates of ignorance; tribhih—three kinds of; narah—a person; acarati—performs ; atmanah—self; sreyah—benediction; tatah—thereafter; yati—goes; param—supreme; gatim—destination.


The man who has escaped these three gates of hell, O son of Kunti, performs acts conducive to self-realization and thus gradually attains the supreme destination.


One should be very careful of these three enemies to human life: lust, anger, and greed. The more a person is freed from lust, anger and greed, the more his existence becomes pure. Then he can follow the rules and regulations enjoined in the Vedic literature. By following the regulative principles of human life, one gradually raises himself to the platform of spiritual realization. If one is so fortunate, by such practice, to rise to the platform of Krsna consciousness, then success is guaranteed for him. In the Vedic literature, the ways of action and reaction are prescribed to enable one to come to the stage of purification. The whole method is based on giving up lust, greed and anger. By cultivating knowledge of this process, one can be elevated to the highest position of self-realization; this self-realization is perfected in devotional service. In that devotional service, the liberation of the conditioned soul is guaranteed. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, there are instituted the four orders of life and the four statuses of life, called the caste system and the spiritual order system. There are different rules and regulations for different castes or divisions of society, and if a person is able to follow them, he will be automatically raised to the highest platform of spiritual realization. Then he can have liberation without a doubt.



yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya

vartate kama-karatah

na sa siddhim avapnoti

na sukham na param gatim

yah—anyone; sastra-vidhim—the regulations of the scriptures; utsrjya—giving up; vartate—remains; kama-karatah—acting whimsically in lust; na—never; sah—he; siddhim—perfection; avapnoti—achieves; na—never; sukham—happiness; na—never; param—the supreme; gatim—perfectional stage.


But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.


As described before, the sastra-vidhim, or the direction of the sastra, is given to the different castes and orders of human society. Everyone is expected to follow these rules and regulations. If one does not follow them and acts whimsically according to his lust, greed and desire, then he never will be perfect in his life. In other words, a man may theoretically know all these things, but if he does not apply them in his own life, then he is to be known as the lowest of mankind. In the human form of life, a living entity is expected to be sane and to follow the regulations given for elevating his life to the highest platform, but if he does not follow them, then he degrades himself. But even if he follows the rules and regulations and moral principles and ultimately does not come to the stage of understanding the Supreme Lord, then all his knowledge becomes spoiled. Therefore one should gradually raise himself to the platform of Krsna consciousness and devotional service; it is then and there that he can attain the highest perfectional stage, not otherwise.

The word kama-caratah is very significant. A person who knowingly violates the rules acts in lust. He knows that this is forbidden, still he acts. This is called acting whimsically. He knows that this should be done, but still he does not do it; therefore he is called whimsical. Such persons are destined to be condemned by the Supreme Lord. Such persons cannot have the perfection which is meant for the human life. The human life is especially meant for purifying one’s existence, and one who does not follow the rules and regulations cannot purify himself, nor can he attain the real stage of happiness.



tasmac chastram pramanam te


jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam

karma kartum iharhasi

tasmat—therefore; sastram—scriptures; pramanam—evidence; te—your; karya—duty; akarya—forbidden activities; vyavasthitau—in determining; jnatva—knowing; sastra—of scripture; vidhana—regulations; uktam—as declared; karma—work; kartum—to do; iha arhasi—you should do it.


One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.


As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Krsna. If one understands Krsna from the Bhagavad-gita and becomes situated in Krsna consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is to be understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly. Of course, for the ordinary persons who are not in Krsna consciousness or who are not engaged in devotional service, what is to be done and what is not to be done must be decided by the injunctions of the Vedas. One should act accordingly, without argument. That is called following the principles of sastra, or scripture. Sastra is without the four principal defects that are visible in the conditioned soul: imperfect senses, the propensity for cheating, certainty of committing mistakes, and certainty of being illusioned. These four principal defects in conditioned life disqualify one from putting forth rules and regulations. Therefore, the rules and regulations as described in the sastra—being above these defects—are accepted without alteration by all great saints, acaryas, and great souls.

In India there are many parties of spiritual understanding, generally classified as two: the impersonalist and the personalist. Both of them, however, lead their lives according to the principles of the Vedas. Without following the principles of the scriptures, one cannot elevate himself to the perfectional stage. One who actually, therefore, understands the purport of the sastras is considered fortunate.

In human society, aversion to the principles of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of all falldowns. That is the greatest offense of human life. Therefore, maya, the material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always giving us trouble in the shape of the threefold miseries. This material energy is constituted of the three modes of material nature. One has to raise himself at least to the mode of goodness before the path to understanding the Supreme Lord can be opened. Without raising oneself to the standard of the mode of goodness, one remains in ignorance and passion, which are the cause of demoniac life. Those in the modes of passion and ignorance deride the scriptures, deride the holy man, and deride the proper understanding of the spiritual master, and they do not care for the regulations of the scriptures. In spite of hearing the glories of devotional service, they are not attracted. Thus they manufacture their own way of elevation. These are some of the defects of human society, which lead to the demoniac status of life. If, however, one is able to be guided by a proper and bona fide spiritual master, who can lead one to the path of elevation, to the higher stage, then one’s life becomes successful.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Sixteenth Chapter of the Srimad-Bhagavad-gita in the matter of the Divine and Demoniac Natures.

Next chapter (Bg 17)