Gita Daily Readings

30th October
Chapter XVI: 6
There are two types of beings in this world, the divine and the demoniacal; the divine has been described at length; hear from me, Oh Arjuna, of the demoniacal.

Commentary

The expression is extremely well guarded! This created universe has two aspects. Both good and evil are found in it, for that is the meaning of creation. (One alone, would be like painting a portrait in one color on identically colored paper.) Good and evil differ in their destinations. The divine path leads to liberation or God-realization; the demoniacal path leads to bondage. Well, then, choose!

In spite of the warnings contained in our scriptures not to wrack the poor brain with transcendental questions like the origin of the world, of karma, or “which came first - hen or egg,” people do ask: “How did the first man commit sin?” The answer is simple: “God gave you intelligence and free-will - and you chose to taste the forbidden fruit! Why did you do it? Ask yourself!” Even in the biblical story, we read that God, having created Adam and Eve, expressly warned them not to taste the forbidden fruit; yet, the “snake” (obviously created by God himself?) was able to tempt them. It was Adam’s choice. There is no sense in arguing “why”; it is a statement of fact concerning an event in history! Never argue beyond a certain point! If you demand an explanation, the Indian philosopher answers: “It is because of avidya” ("I've no idea" is phonetically similar) or ignorance. Wisdom and spiritual maturity consists in being alert, inwardly aware and watchful so that at every step and in every circumstance the right choice is made.

We have seen that the entire nature is made up of three gunas (qualities), sattva, rajas and tamas. Sattva is, of course, good; and tamas evil. Rajas can be both good and evil: if it is based on sattva it is good, and if it is based on tamas, it is evil. If we compare these three qualities to the three qualities of fire (light, heat and smoke), we realize that light is always good and smoke (which blinds us) is always bad and that heat can be either good or bad depending upon the use we make of it. Vice holds one down like a vice. Virtue liberates us.

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