Sanatan Dharma

Daivi (Divine) and Āsuri (Demonic) Qualities in Gītā Adhyāya 16

Updated on: Created on 26-09-2020

Part I - Dharma, Chapter 2/5 - Daivi (Divine) and Āsuri (Demonic) Qualities in Gītā Adhyāya 16

This is Part I - Dharma, Chapter 2 / 5

Table of Contents

Created on 26-09-2020

6.10 Bhagavāna on Dharma, developing Daivi and Āsuri sampatti as given in Gītā adhyāya 16

After understanding what is dharma in general and few quotes from śāstras explaining what is dharma, let us understand what Gītā says on dharma and mind control. Gītā lays great emphasis on mind control and has dedicated a whole chapter on it, adhyāya 6 named Ātmasayyam yoga is often referred to as Abhyāsa Yoga or Dhyāna Yoga. Adhyāya indeed means ‘that of which Adhyayan (study) is to be done’. Gītā also lays high importance on acting as per one’s prakṛti known as svadharma and on character building. Two adhyāyas, adhyāya 16 and 17 (daivāsūra sampata vibhāga yoga and shraddhā-traya vibhāga yoga) are focused on developing divine qualities and the fruits of karma done by persons having triggered by different qualities - sātvika, rājasika and tāmasika. Later, in the last chapter moksha sanyāsa yoga, Bhagavāna asks us to renounce all dharmas and surrender unconditionally to him, the result of which will be eternal peace and moksha.

We have already discussed rising above dharma in earlier article referring to adhyāya 18. We will now focus on adhyāya 16 ‘daivāsūra sampata vibhāga yoga.

Daivī – āsurī sampatti vibhāga yoga, as the name suggests means division of lesson in divine and demonic qualities. Sampatti generally means property or possession or that which is valuable. Here it means possession of qualities or simply qualities or guṇas. This chapter also explains the fruits of person having divine qualities and demonic qualities. It refers to the nāstika (atheists, materialists) and their progress.

In first few slokas, Bhagavāna explains both types of qualities or guṇas. Let us understand them.

Daivi saṃpatti (divine qualities)

1. abhayaṃ - Fearlessness,

2. sātvika śuddhi - purity of heart,

3. Jñāna Yoga avyaya sthiti - steadfastness in Jñāna (knowledge) and Yoga,

4. dāna - almsgiving,

5. dama - control of the senses,

6. yajna – performing vedika yajñas like agnihora,

7. svādhyāya – selfstudy of scriptures and contemplation,

8. tapa - austerity and

9. ārjavaṃ - straightforwardness.

10. ahiṃsā – Non injury

11. satyam – truth

12. a-krodha – absence of anger

13. tyāga – renunciation

14. śānti – peacefulness (peaceful nature)

15. a-paiśucham - absence of crookedness

16. dayā – compassion in [all] beings

17. a-loluptvaṃ - non covetousness

18. mārdavaṃ - gentleness

19. hrī – modesty

20. a-chapalaṃ - absence of fickleness / restlessness

21. teja – vigour

22. kshamā – Forgiveness

23. dhṝtiḥ - fortitude

24. śauchȧ - purity (inner and outer purity)

25. a-droḥ - freedom from malice / hatred,

26. na-atimāna - absence of haughtiness (over pride)

- All these are daivi guṇas or divine qualities.

Āsurī saṃpatti (demonic qualities, lower qualities)

1. dambha – hypocracy

2. darpa – arrogance

3. abhimāna – ego / pride / harshness

4. krodha – anger

- All these are āsuri saṃpatti (demonic qualities / lower animal qualities)

These qualities lead one to –

5. lobha - greediness and

6. kāma - living a life full of passion, and impulsive behaviour.

People with demonic qualities are full of pride, passion, anger and arrogance. They are engrossed in the enjoyment of desirable objects.

The door that leads to hell is made up of Kāma, (passion, desires), krodha (anger) and lobha (greediness). Thus these three should be avoided and one should strive for moksha.

Divine qualities are helpful in liberation while demonic qualities are the reason for bondage.

Person acting upon impulse of desire and not as per scriptural inunctions will have no control over himself and will open the door of hell. Therefore ‘shreyas’ (that which is best for you) is always better than ‘preyas’ (that which is dear to you). This is one of the purpose of dharma. Not giving in to impulses, thoughts and emotions and doing what is necessary. Control over mind is one of the quality that dharma gives.

Bhagavad Gītā begins with the sloka BG1.1 ‘māmakā evam pāṇḍava’ … by Dṝtrāṣtra (Dritarashtra), a blind yet powerful king and father of kauravas.

धृतराष्ट्र उवाच

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।

मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय।।1.1।।

BG 1.1 Dṝtrāṣtra said O Sanjay! What have my sons and the sons of Paṇḍu [my younger brother’s sons] have done so far in the war happening at kurukshetra, a dhārmika place.

Dṝtrāṣtra is a blind yet powerful king and father of kauravas. Blindness symbolically means the one who is mohāndha i.e. the one blinded by moha i.e. attachment. He is depicted as physically very strong and egoistically asks Sanjay, who can see the war from distance by divine vision, that ‘what have mine and by brother Pāṇḍu’s sons have done [so far in battlefield]’.

Here he is blinded by attachment ‘me and mine’ and this attachment is very strong. Blinded by attachment, he loses his power of discrimination and wishes for the victory of his sons who are against dharma.

Gītā ends with the last sloka of Arjuna BG 18.73, which is the realization of his true nature saying, ‘naṣṭo moha smṛtir labhdhā … kariṣye vachanam tava’

नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत।

स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देहः करिष्ये वचनं तव।।18.73।।

BG 18.73 Arjuna said O Acyuta (Kṛṣṇa), [my] delusion (attachment with non-Self) has been destroyed and memory [of my true nature of Ātman] has been regained by me through Your grace. I stand with my doubt removed; I shall follow Your instruction.

Here we note that Arjuna is now free of any attachment and has regained the knowledge of his true Self which is Ātman or Brahman – all by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and not by his own effort signifying the destruction of ego. Now there is no doubt in him and he is ready to do whatever Kṛṣṇa asks him to do i.e. either fight or renounce and live a life of a monk. This indicates he has risen himself above bondage. That is why he refers to Bhagavāna Kṛṣṇa as ‘achyuta‘ meaning ‘the imperishable one‘ i.e. the supreme Godhead or Paramātmā

The journey of Gītā is from recognizing our attachment, getting detached, unconditionally surrendering to Paramātmā and knowing our True nature by being ‘witness’ and not as a doer. Being a witness helps one remain neutral and increases intensity of surrender. It also helps reduce our ego. A Witness flows with the divine flow without any internal resistance.

Let us now understand svadharma.


Those who are interested to know the slokas and their translations, please find them below

Daivi and asuri sampatti

16.1 अभयम् fearlessness? सत्त्वसंशुद्धिः purity of heart? ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः steadfastness in knowledge and Yoga? दानम् atmsgiving? दमः control of the senses? and? यज्ञः sacrifice? and? स्वाध्यायः study of Sastras? तपः austerity? आर्जवम् straightforwardness.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.1 The Blessed Lord said Fearlessness, purity of mind, persistence in knowledge and yoga, charity and control of the external organs, sacrifice, (scriptural) study, austerity and recititude;

English Translation By Swami Sivananda

16.1 The Blessed Lord said Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and Yoga, almsgiving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness.

16.2 अहिंसा harmlessness? सत्यम् truth? अक्रोधः absence of anger? त्यागः renunciation? शान्तिः peacefulness? अपैशुनम् absence of crookedness? दया compassion? भूतेषु in beings? अलोलुप्त्वम् noncovetousness? मार्दवम् gentleness? ह्रीः modesty? अचापलम् absence of fickleness.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.2 Non-injury, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, control of the internal organ, absence of vilification, kindness to creatures, non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, freedom from restlessness;

English Translation By Swami Sivananda

16.2 Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, non-covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness.

16.3 तेजः vigour? क्षमा forgiveness? धृतिः fortitude? शौचम् purity? अद्रोहः absence of hatred? नातिमानिता absence of overpride? भवन्ति belong? सम्पदम् state? दैवीम् divine? अभिजातस्य to the one born for? भारत O descendant of Bharata (Arjuna).

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.3 Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, freedom from malice, absence of haughtiness-these, O scion of the Bharata dynasty, are (the alties) of one born destined to have the divine nature.

English Translation By Swami Sivananda

16.3 Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride these belong to the one born for a divine state, O Arjuna.

16.4 दम्भः hypocrisy? दर्पः arrogance? अभिमानः selfconceit? and? क्रोधः wrath? पारुष्यम् harshness? एव even? and? अज्ञानम् ignorance? and? अभिजातस्य to the one born for? पार्थ O Partha? सम्पदम् state?,आसुरीम् demoniacal.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.4 O son of Prtha, (the attributes) of one destined to have the demoniacal nature are religious ostentation, pride and haughtiness, [Another reading is abhimanah, self-conceit.-Tr.], anger as also rudeness and ignorance.

English Translation By Swami Sivananda

16.4 Hypocrisy, arrogance and self-conceit, anger and also harshness and ignorance, belong to one who is born for a demoniacal state, O Partha (Arjuna).

16.5 दैवी divine? सम्पत् state? विमोक्षाय for liberation? निबन्धाय for bondage? आसुरी the demoniacal? मता is deemed? मा not? शुचः grieve? सम्पदम् state? दैवीम् the divine? अभिजातः one born for? असि (thou) art? पाण्डव O Pandava.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.5 The divine nature is the Liberation, the demoniacal is considered to be for inevitable bondage. Do not grieve, O son of Pandu! You are destined to have the divine nature.

16.6 द्वौ two? भूतसर्गौ types of beings? लोके in world? अस्मिन् (in) this? दैवः the divine? आसुरः demonical? एव even? and? दैवः the divine? विस्तरशः at length? प्रोक्तः has been described? आसुरम् demoniacal? पार्थ O Partha? मे from Me? श्रृणु hear.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.6 In this world there are are two (kinds of) creation of beings: the divine and the demoniacal. The divine has been spoken of elaborately. Hear about the demoniacal from Me, O son of Prtha.


Let us now understand svadharma.