Go to the bottom of this page.



(Chapter-wise Summary)



When a liking for any subject goes deeper and deeper into the mind it develops into a love for that subject.  This is what happens to seekers of Knowledge. They start with a curiosity regarding Knowledge and that curiosity turns into a liking and desire for Knowledge;  but as long as that liking does not develop into love they are not sure whether they would ever gain Knowledge and if they do gain it, whether it would last.  Therefore the seeker should first ponder over the questions:

He should also worry about In this chapter Shri Krishna, in order to enable the curious seekers to get  rid of things that impede the path of  knowledge and concentrate on those which are beneficial,  speaks about This topic, namely that of how the two types of natures cause good and bad effects was already mentioned in the ninth chapter but was not discussed in detail there. Therefore this sixteenth chapter may be considered as an extension of the ninth chapter. The present topic concerns the fact that the power of these two endowments causes a good or a bad form to be imparted to Knowledge.

The Divine endowment will be discussed first.  The Divine endowment guides the seekers to cross the darkness of delusion.  Now, collection of several objects that support one another is called wealth. Divine wealth creates happiness. One gets it as a gift from the Divine and therefore it is called Divine endowment.  There are twenty-six qualities of the Divine endowment that make the Divine wealth create happiness.



Fearlessness is the best among the qualities of this Divine endowment.  A person who has abandoned the ego completely is not afraid of this world. He develops the sense of non-duality and realises that the whole universe is filled with Brahman.  This spirit of non-duality destroys fear.  These are the indications of the quality of fearlessness.  It is part of the path towards true Knowledge.


The quality of the purity of the mind is indicated by the following. After one gives up the tendency towards desires and doubts and frees himself of the effects of the Raja and Tama attributes, the intellect is attracted towards contemplation about the Self.  It does not get enticed by sense objects any more.  Having developed a liking for the Self he becomes a dedicated seeker. This is what is called purity of the mind.


Keeping the mind steady on the  selected spiritual path (that of Knowledge or of Yoga) for attaining Self, while abandoning other tendencies of the mind and ridding one's mind of all doubts is the third quality called steadiness,


Practising charity by helping a distressed person in every possible way and in all sincerity, even if he were an enemy, giving whatever one can and not sending him away empty handed is a quality which shows the path to real Knowledge.


A yogi does not indulge in sense pleasures. He keeps his mind away from sense objects by controlling the organs by discipline.  He fosters detachment to expel the tendencies for sense objects hidden in the corners of the mind. He ceaselessly observes routines stricter that those of breath control (Pranayama).  These are the indications of self-restraint.

Yajna or sacrifice

All men and women should perform religious actions as appropriate to their caste and according to the Shastras.  This is a kind of Yajna or sacrifice. A Brahmin observing the six rituals and a Shudra making obeisance to him, both do a like sacrifice.  But this performance should not be contaminated by the desire of fruits or by the I-am-the-doer ego. This is what is called appropriately conducted sacrifice and should be considered as a knowledgeable guide in the path to liberation.

Personal study of the Vedas

God is the subject of discussion in the Vedas which one should study constantly in order to understand Him.  For attaining Self, Brahmins should contemplate over the writings related to the Brahman. Others should frequently sing songs praising God or utter His name.  This is what is called the personal study of Vedas.

[NOTE: In today’s situation, the term “Vedas” may be replaced by “scriptures”]

Austerity (Tapas)

Best way of using one’s possessions is to give them all away and that is real austerity.  To extend the same principle, straining one's body, organs and life force for experiencing the Self is also austerity.  People speak of many types of austerities but apart from the above two, the rest must be critically examined to determine if they fit the above principle.

Austerity keeps the sense of discrimination which separates “I am the living soul” feeling from the  “I am the body” feeling alive in a person.  While contemplating on the Self, the intellect turns inwards.  Just as when one wakes up both sleep and dreams vanish, similarly that which makes a person turn to contemplating about the Self is the real nature of austerity.


To show gentleness to all, because all have the same life-force, is called uprightness.


To behave by words, actions and feelings with the intention of making the world happy and not to hurt anybody, is the indication of non-injury.


Truthfulness is pointed but soft and bright but comfortable.  It is hard like iron in crushing doubts but is sweet to the ears.  With its strength it penetrates the principle of the Brahman.  In short, that which is sweet but not deceptive (like the song of a trapper), and which does not hurt and proves to be true and which is without evil aspects, is to be considered as truthfulness here.

Absence of wrath

The state of mind in which a person does not get angry by even the harshest words is called absence of wrath.


Relinquishment is the giving up worldly affairs by freeing oneself of the  “I  am the body" attitude.


Tranquillity is the state in which both the knower and the Knowledge dissolve after knowing the Knowable (i.e. experiencing the Brahman).


When one sees somebody drowning, he does not bother whether that person is a Brahmin or an untouchable, but thinks that saving him is his first duty.   Such a person, instead of bothering about the failings of another, tries to overcome them by his own good qualities and does not taunt him about them.   Not taunting people for their failings by comparing them with perfect persons is the indication of non-calumny.  There is no doubt that this is one of the resting stages in the path to liberation.


Compassion is the tendency and desire to help remove the miseries of the unfortunate without ever distinguishing between high and low. When he sees the sorrows of others he thinks nothing of sacrificing everything he possesses in order to mitigate them. His life is spent in helping the miserable. Such a person is compassion personified. Even God becomes indebted to him.

Lack of greed

When one is averse to enjoying the pleasures of this world or the next, even if they are available to him at his mere wish and when one has no desire of any kind for sense-pleasures, that state of mind is the indication of lack of greed.


A  tender loving behaviour towards all creatures  and a life devoted to welfare of the world is the indication of gentleness.


When a person feels ashamed of being imprisoned in this body of three and a half hand-span length, of being born and dying again and again, of remaining in the uterus immersed in blood and urine to be cast as a human being, is the sign of humility.  Only persons without blemish feel so ashamed, but others take pleasure in it.  [See earlier notes in Ch 13 on foetus being immersed in blood and urine in the uterus].

Absence of fickleness

When life-force is controlled the organs of action become slow.  Similarly, the sense-organs become dull after the mind is controlled.  Thus, all the ten organs become inactive by the control of mind and life force.  This condition is called absence of fickleness.

Spiritual vigour

When the determination to follow the path of Knowledge for attaining God is very strong then there is no dearth of strength. The individual, anxious to realise his master the Soul, follows the difficult path towards the formless Brahman, treating the sense objects like poison.  In this path he is not hindered by the ritualistic rules nor is he attracted by the great Siddhis.  This quality of mind, which goes towards God automatically, is called spiritual vigour.


Forgiveness is the quality of being tolerant without being proud about it.


The quality which keeps a person from feeling distressed in the face of calamities by maintaining one’s courage and enables him to tolerate all distresses of spiritual, divine and earthly origin, is called fortitude.


Doing actions without desire of fruits and maintaining discretion in the mind is the indication of Cleanliness. A person, with cleanliness from inside and outside, liberates others who are bound to this world and removes the difficulties of the afflicted.  He gains his goal by helping others to be happy.

Absence of envy

The idea of hurting anybody for his own success never touches the mind. Of a person in whom there is an absence of envy.

Lack of pride

Feeling shy after one gets recognition (as an achiever) is the quality called lack of pride.

These are the twenty-six qualities of Divine endowment and are the gift of the great Emperor of Liberation.


Just as one should know about good qualities, one should know about bad qualities also, so that they can be avoided. The failings of the demoniacal endowment lead to failures and causes sorrow, therefore one must know fully about them. The serious defects which together subject people to horrible tortures of hell are actually the demoniacal endowment.  It is the storehouse of all failings.  These failings are described below.


The principal among the failings of the demoniacal endowment is hypocrisy. Dharma (the code of righteous conduct) is one’s companion and friend in life, in this world and the next.  But if one publicises his practising of Dharma then, instead of helping to take him towards liberation it actually becomes a hindrance. The righteous behaviour becomes in effect unrighteous behaviour (Adharma). This doing of Adharma in the name of Dharma must be considered as hypocrisy.


Possession of women, wealth and learning, listening to praise and honour bestowed on him makes a person haughty. Swelling by pride of his possessions and position is called arrogance.


Whole world adores and worships God because of Faith. People enthusiastically praise God with a desire to gain a high position and reach heaven. But there is always a person who burns with jealousy and says that he is going to swallow God, poison the scriptures (Vedas) and destroy their power by his strength.  Overcome by pride, he is unable to tolerate people uttering God’s name.  His nature is such that he gives step-motherly treatment to his own father for the fear that he will be a claimant to his wealth.  Such a person is said to possess conceit and is arrogant.  Such conceit is a certain path to hell.


A person gets angry by seeing the happiness in others. He is annoyed at seeing the learning, development, wealth and fortune of others. This is what is called wrath.


A person with poisonous mind, penetrating looks, burning speech, whose actions as well as external and internal behaviour are troublesome to others is a very contemptible person and an icon of harshness.


Being blind to thoughts of evil deeds, lack of understanding of what is good and what is bad is called ignorance.

These six failings make the demoniacal endowment become strong.   That there are only six failings does not mean that they are unimportant. On the other hand the coming together of these six can create horrible consequences for a person.  He who immerses himself in the worldly affairs, ignoring his inclination towards the path of liberation, descends down the ladder of rebirth to states even below that of the non-moving species (trees etc.).


Of these two endowments, the first i.e. the Divine endowment is like the dawn before the sunrise of liberation while the second, the demoniacal endowment is really like iron shackles in the form of delusion.

There are well-established modes of behaviour of people possessing these two types of endowments. Out of these the Divine endowment has been discussed earlier in detail.  The following discussion pertains to the demoniacal endowment.

The demoniacal endowment does not become evident unless it has taken shelter in the body. After taking shelter in the body it takes its possession and grows with it.

People afflicted with demoniacal endowment do not understand what is action and what is non-action.  They do not even dream about what is purity. Thoughts that one should be inclined towards meritorious actions or averse to sinful actions do not enter their minds.

They do not bother about prescribed actions, do not follow the path of their elders and do not even know what proper behaviour should be. Their behaviour is uninhibited and they are always averse to truth. They may not have done anything bad yet, but by nature they are evil.


Those people not affected by demoniacal endowment believe that this universe has been going on from time without beginning and is controlled and ruled by God; that Scriptures (Vedas), which speak about God and the universe, clearly state about what is moral and what is immoral. Immoral people are punished by being sent to hell while the moral go to heaven where they remain happily.

On the other hand, the thinking of the persons afflicted by the failings of the demoniacal endowment is perverse.  They say the strangest things, for example, they say

Thus, the people afflicted with demoniacal endowment say that there is no reason for the creation of the world other than the sensual pleasure.

Evil Nature

They despise god and spend time in meaningless talk.  Having already decided that God does not exist, they openly profess to be atheists. Atheism is well entrenched in them.  Belief in the existence of heaven or fear of hell has completely disappeared from their minds.  They are then caught in the trap of the body and like a bubble of gas in dirty waters they get immersed in the mire of sensual desires.  Persons with demoniacal endowment are born for destruction of people.  They are like living victory towers of sin.  Like fire which does not care about what it burns, they destroy everybody who comes near them.

They sustain insatiable lust, the foremost among the insatiable desires and add hypocrisy and pride to it.  As they grow in age these persons with demoniacal endowment become arrogant. To the obstinacy is added foolishness too.  And then who can say what they decide to do? Right from birth their tendency is to do things which create misery for others or destroy their life.  They treat the world as trivial and brag about their own deeds.  They spread the net of their desires in all directions.  The persons with demoniacal endowment increase their load of sins with great vigour.

Pining for futile sense-objects, the persons with demoniacal endowment worry endlessly about attaining them. The idea that there is nothing better than enjoyment of sex is fixed in their minds.  They are then ready to go to heaven or hell or to the four corners of the world.

All their actions are thus governed by this approach as long as they live.  And they worry in the same way about their future after death. The boundless worry about the future after death does not leave them until the end.

The Trap of Desire and Anger

People afflicted with demoniacal endowment have  such a desire for sense objects that it makes them heedless of the consequences.  If their desire is not fulfilled then they wistfully hope that it will get fulfilled some day and if it is still not fulfilled then immediately the frustration creates hatred and anger.

Now, how can a desire be satisfied without money?  Therefore they raid the world for earning enough money to satisfy the desires at least.  They scheme and plot to destroy somebody. They waylay and kill people and loot their wealth and feel happy by the illicit gains.

The person with demoniacal endowment says, “I have taken away the wealth of many.  I am happy and satisfied.”  And immediately, greedy thoughts of looting more people rise in his mind.  He decides to use his gains to earn more estate and to own ultimately everything that he sets his eyes on in this world.   He says, “I shall kill bigger enemies than what I have destroyed so far and I alone shall enjoy the wealth. Then they would become my servants.  Besides, I shall destroy others and become the master of the living and non-living universe.  I shall be the king of this mortal world and gain all happiness. Even Indra will be put to shame when he sees my splendour.  How can anything fail when I apply my mind to it? Who is there more powerful than me to command?  Time may brag about his power as long as he has not seen my power and me.  I am really the bundle of all happiness.  Kuber is wealthy no doubt but he is nothing as compared to me; and even Vishnu, husband of Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth is not as wealthy as  I am. The greatness of my family, my friends and relatives is such that even Brahmadeo will be lower in comparison. Therefore, none of those who consider themselves superior in the name of God can be compared with me. Now I shall revive the forgotten techniques of black magic and perform yajnas that will cause distress to people.  As for people who sing my praises and entertain me by dances and dramas, I shall give them whatever they ask.  I shall enjoy the pleasure of intoxicating food and drinks and of embracing women in these three worlds.”

The crazy persons of demoniacal endowment thus hope to smell celestial flowers and babble away their thoughts like a person in delirium. Their ignorance raises their hopes and makes them daydream. They desire endless sensual pleasures and then one day their daydreams get shattered.  As delusions grow in their minds, their desire for sensual pleasures also grows. That gives shelter to sins. When sins become strong and numerous, he has to suffer like hell even while he is alive.

And after death, the persons with demoniacal endowment reach a horrible place where trees have leaves like sharpened swords, where mounds of embers smoulder and oceans of boiling oil rage.  They reach hell where agonies are lined up for them and Yama the Lord of death imposes fresh kinds of suffering every day.

These unfortunate people are destined to suffer only hell but some of them born in some better situations, may be found to perform yajnas. Now, their yajna rituals are more of a show business, which makes the rituals fruitless rather than beneficial. Their yajna need not have proper arrangements like kunda, vedi or a pandal (a roofed enclosure) nor the usual materials.  They are averse to following prescribed rituals. They cannot tolerate the names of deities uttered in their presence. These persons invite people for the yajna and loot them by accepting presents from them. Thus the performance of yajna is for their own benefit with desire that others should lose everything.

Then they make a fanfare and pretend that they have been initiated in the learning.  With this false status these crafty people become all the more conceited;  and their ego and excesses multiply.  They use their power to ensure that no name other than theirs is mentioned around. Once their ego increases so does the arrogance.  Once arrogance becomes unleashed then lust also rises and the combination of the two makes anger flare up. When ego intensifies and arrogance gets entangled in lust and anger they will kill any creature they feel like killing.

Shri Krishna (as Bhagwan) laments,  “These so-called initiated persons waste their own blood and flesh by getting obsessed with black magic. When they do this, the exertion they cause to their body harasses Me, the soul occupying their body. And when they harass others by black magic, since I am in their bodies, again it is I who is really harassed.
“If any person luckily escapes their black magic then they bombard him by nasty talk. Saintly women, saints, donors, performers of yajnas, great tapasis, sanyasis, or devotees and great souls all of which are favourite places of My presence, rendered pure by fire-sacrifices are the targets of their sharp poisonous talk.”

Shri Krishna then tells how He punishes these sinners who try to hold Him in enmity.


These sinners are really fools occupying human body but hate the world.  I punish these fools in various ways.  Some of them are punished by making them to be reborn not as human beings but in species of Tama attribute, of type that have to suffer the worst kind of filth and tortures.  They are made to be born as tigers, scorpions etc. in places where not even a blade of grass grows for them to eat. They bite their own flesh to feed their hunger and after death they are reborn in the same species.  Or, I make them be born as snakes who burn their skin by their own poison and confine themselves to holes.
 I do not permit these evil souls even a breathing time for taking rest.  And I do not take them out of this situation even after millennia pass.  But this is only the first stage of their journey towards the final destination.  Imagine the extent of tortures they would suffer when they reach this low state due to their demoniacal nature.

Then I snatch whatever little rest they get in species like tiger etc. and put them in pitch darkness. Thus these vile people reach this lowest state after suffering through rebirths in all the species of Tama attribute.

This Tama attribute is so terrible that even the tongue weeps when describing it. Its very memory causes the mind to shudder.  Alas! How these fools have earned hell!  Why do they nurture the demoniacal endowment that leads to such a downfall?  Therefore the company of those who possess all the six aspects of demoniacal endowment should be totally shunned.

Inauspicious things and misfortunes occur and people experience pain and sorrow wherever desire, anger and greed prevail. These three failings are the real detriment in the world.  They are the lowest type of failings and the gateway to hell.  But one need not at all worry about reaching the various kinds of hell after death if the mind does not let them in.  Therefore it is important to totally give up this harmful trio of desire, anger and greed. It is only then that one can be successful in fulfilling the four obligations (viz. Dharma or righteous conduct, Artha or earning, Kama or conjugal life and Moksha or liberation).

Only he who rids himself of desire, anger and greed is able to become happy and attain the Self. Such a person gains the company of saints and gets set on the path of liberation. Finally, with the power of the company of saints, with the help of righteous actions and Guru’s benevolence he crosses the stage of births and deaths, attains Self-realisation and gains peace.

But there are people who are not inclined towards Self-realisation. They get engrossed in passions and commit self-destruction.  A person of this type does not heed Vedas, which are like a guiding lamp showing what is good, and what is bad. He does not bother about moral behaviour and instead indulges in sense pleasures without considering the consequences. He misses the enjoyments not only of this world but of the world beyond as well. How can then there be any scope for liberation? Therefore, one should not show disrespect to the edicts in the Vedas. The disciple who listens sincerely to the advice given by the true Guru gains Self-realisation. Similarly one who desires to achieve success in the four obligations should be reverent to the Shrutis (Vedas) and Smritis (Codes of religious and social conduct).

Shri Krishna thus explained to Arjuna the signs of demoniacal endowment and their ill effects.

[Comments:  The description of persons affected by the demoniacal endowment aptly applies to erstwhile dictators like Hitler and Stalin who caused wars and death of millions of innocent people under the banner of ideologies, which are totally defunct today.  But as the simile of tree shows, the birth, rise to power and death of such “demons” is perpetual; new ones are born every now and then and vanish in the course of time.  In olden days they came in the form of marauders like Attilla the Hun, Chenghij Khan etc., tyrant kings, emperors and their men. Today we see them in the garb of fundamentalists and terrorists who are not averse to killing the innocent, even women and children under the name of religion. They even consider it as religion.

Another class of people under the influence of the demoniacal endowment are the political opportunists and commercial swindlers who try to hold power over others. They are the very personifications of ego, desire, greed, lust and anger. The keen observation of human nature by Dnyaneshwar Maharaj is really astounding. Fortunately, saints like him negate many of the consequences of the demoniacal endowment by their Divine endowment. It may appear that this negation occurs only after the acts of the  “demons” have taken their toll.

In the the biography of Shri Aurobindo of Pondicherry by his personal secretary Nirodabaradan, instances of Divine intervention are mentioned.  During the Second World War the Divine Power was taking steps against the destructive demoniacal actions of Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini axis, through Aurobindo and Mataji.

Nirodabaradan has given instances of how German attacks on England were prevented. Even before Hitler raided Poland, Aurobindo had sensed the rise of the dark evil powers and instead of remaining a mute witness or critic to the war, he had donated funds to fight the war saying, “This war is being fought for upholding the human culture and the highest cultural, social and spiritual values and for the good of humanity.” Mataji had told Nirodbardan that “Things have been decided much earlier, even before your and my birth.  Our work is going on accordingly for years.  Do not believe your narrow mind and get confused.  This struggle is of Divine against evil powers.  Leave everything to God.”

Many of the characteristics mentioned in connection with the demoniacal endowment may be seen in people we know and even in ourselves if we introspect honestly. These bad tendencies are required to be conscientiously removed if spiritual progress is desired and even for a better life. For pointing this out in clear terms we must feel highly indebted to Dnyaneshwar Maharaj. In the final reckoning, real saints are our only hope].




CH:  1 / 23  / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18

All rights with

Dr V. V. shirvaikar,                                     email: vshirvaikar@yahoo.com
A-23 Yashodhan Soc.
Chintamaninagar 2,
Pune 411037, INDIA

  Return to the top of this page.