Bhagavad Gita: Divine Qualities vs. Demonic Qualities

The Bhagavad Gita classifies people into two groups – those with divine qualities and those with demonic qualities.

Divine qualities lead one towards liberation. Demonic qualities lead one to bondage.

Liberation is happiness. Bondage is suffering.

Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita lists divine qualities and demonic qualities. I thought I share here some of qualities listed as divine or demonic that left an impression on me, along with a few questions to ponder.

Divine Qualities:

  • Equanimity, Composure, Level-headednessCan you treat success and failure alike? Can you handle gifts and disappointments alike?
  • FearlessnessAre you convinced that as long as you do your duty, no harm can come your way? And does that belief empower you to discharge your duty fearlessly?
  • Absence Of AngerEven when provoked. Yes, even when provoked. No more, “I wouldn’t generally get angry, but this is too much” excuse.
  • Abstaining From Frivolous PursuitsNothing further needs to be said on this!
  • Fortitude, Grit, DeterminationDo you stick to the path? Deviations always appear easy and fruitful, right?
  • CharityTo be performed without an eye on any reward. Neither material, nor emotional or spiritual. Not even for ‘self-satisfaction’. And certainly not the “Tube Light Sponsored By Vijven” type of charity that we see in temples today. Instead, donating only because someone else needs it.
  • CompassionTowards all living things. That includes animals. That’s easy, you say. And that includes your enemies and those who harmed you – whether unknowingly, or even purposefully. Now, how about that?
  • TruthfulnessForget about truthfulness in relationship with others, are you being true to yourself?
  • NonviolenceWe no longer indulge in physical violence. Good. What about emotional violence?
  • ForgivenessLet go. Please.
  • Worship GodI do, you say. Ok.
  • Worship EldersWhat? I am sure I am not even respecting them properly most of the time!

Let’s now look at the other side, see a few demonic qualities:

  • Desire, Anger, GreedBhagavad Gita describes these 3 as gates of hell, capable of destroying the soul, and advises us to forgo them.
  • IgnoranceInability to distinguish between right activity and right abstinence.
  • Vanity, Pride, ArroganceLead your life. Let others lead their lives.
  • HarshnessInsensitivity is inhuman, right?
  • HypocrisyIt is more common than we all think. And we are more hypocritical than we like to accept.
  • Insatiable DesiresDuty is divine. Desires may not be so.

The above 2 lists are not exhaustive. If you are interested, please check Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad Gita. You will be fascinated!

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