Bhagavad Gita: Demonic Qualities of Asuras, the Evil People

by Jayaram V

Demonic qualities (asura sampada) are the tendencies (pravrittis) that are opposed to God and liberation. They interfere with our spiritual practice by creating mental afflictions (klesas) and disturbances (vrittis) and lead us in the wrong direction (durgati). The demons are the dark forces of the universe. They are forever in conflict with gods, the forces of light. God is the balancing power. He makes sure that the demons stay in their ordained sphere and do not upset the universal peace or spread chaos and terror, which they love to do whenever they get an opportunity. The demons not only live in the dark worlds (asurya lokas), they also live in various aspects of manifestation, including our minds and bodies, as tendencies and impulses. When they invade the bodies, men lose their discretion and indulge in senseless acts of violence, anger, cruelty, delusion, greed, pride and lust.

According to our tradition, earth has a great significance in the creation of God. Liberation and ascent into higher worlds is possible only through mortal existence; so also the possibility of degradation and descent into the darkest hells. Whoever from the higher worlds wants to attain liberation, that being has to come here and take birth to move forward. Therefore, for the gods and demons, the earth is a battleground. The gods need the human beings for their nourishment; and the demons need them for increasing their strength. Both sides are always looking for opportunities to increase their influence upon earth. They do it mostly by influencing our thoughts and actions and guiding our lives according to their grand designs

We need to know how demonic nature arises and manifests in us and how it may interfere with our lives and liberation. Such knowledge helps us remain on the right side of things. By avoiding them and staying away from those who possess them, we can minimize our chances of falling into degradation. If you know how demonic people live and act, you can avoid their company and save yourself from a great calamity, for calamity it is to fall into the company of demonic people or become one like them. We need to know the distinction between the divine and demonic qualities, so that we develop discernment and make right choices in guiding our lives towards light and liberation and of those who depend upon us or look to us for inspiration and guidance. By knowing the distinction between the two, and cultivating proper discernment, we can lead righteous lives, performing our obligatory duties in obedience to the will of God. At the same time we can also avoid becoming vehicles of demonic forces and falling into depravity and degradation.

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