Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 40

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 40
Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVI

The Holy One said, 'Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in (the pursuit of) knowledge and Yoga meditation, gifts, self-restraint, sacrifice, study of the Vedas, ascetic penances, uprightness,[1] abstention from injury, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquillity, freedom from reporting other's faults, compassion for all creatures, absence of covetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of restlessness, vigour, forgiveness, firmness, cleanliness, absence of quarrelsomeness, freedom from vanity,—these become his, O Bharata, who is born to godlike possessions. Hypocrisy, pride, conceit, wrath, rudeness and ignorance, are, O son of Pritha, his who is born to demoniac possessions. God-like possessions are deemed to be for deliverance; the demoniac for bondage. Grieve not, O son of Pandu, for thou art born to god-like possessions. (There are) two kinds of created beings in this world, viz., the god-like and the demoniac. The god-like have been described at length. Hear now, from me, O son of Pritha, about the demoniac. Persons of demoniac nature know not inclination or disinclination. Neither purity, nor good conduct, nor truth exist in them.[2] They say that the universe is void of truth, of guiding principle, (and) of ruler; produced by the union of one another (male and female) from lust, and nothing else. Depending on this view, these men of lost selves, little intelligence, and fierce deeds, these enemies (of the world), are born for the destruction of the universe.[3] Cherishing desires that are insatiable, and endued with hypocrisy, conceit and folly, they adopt false notions through delusion and engage in unholy practices. Cherishing boundless thoughts limited by death (alone), and regarding the enjoyment of (their) desires as the highest end, they are persuaded that that is all. Fettered by the hundred nooses of hope, addicted to lust and wrath, they covet to obtain this wealth to-day,—This I will obtain later,—This wealth I have,—This (wealth) will be mine in addition,—This foe hath been slain by me,—I will slay even others,—I am lord,—I am the enjoyer,—I am successful, powerful, happy,—I am rich and of noble birth,—Who else is there that is like me?—I will sacrifice,—I will make gifts,—I will be merry,—thus deluded by ignorance, tossed about by numerous thoughts, enveloped in the meshes of delusion, attached to the enjoyment of objects of desire, they sink into foul hell. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with the pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices that are nominally so, with hypocrisy and against the (prescribed) ordinance. Wedded to vanity, power, pride, lust and wrath, these revilers hate Me in their own bodies and those of others.

These haters (of Me), cruel, the vilest among men, and unholy, I hurl continually down into demoniac wombs. Coming into demoniac wombs, deluded birth after birth, they, O son of Kunti, without attaining to Me go down to the vilest state. Three-fold is the way to hell, ruinous to the self, viz., lust, wrath, likewise avarice. Therefore, these three, one should renounce. Freed from these three gates of darkness, a man, O son of Kunti, works out his own welfare, and then repairs to his highest goal. He who, abandoning the ordinances of the scriptures, acts only under the impulses of desire, never attains to perfection, nor happiness, nor the highest goal. Therefore, the scriptures should be thy authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. It behoveth thee to do work here, having ascertained what hath been declared by the ordinances of the scriptures.'"



  1. I adopt Sankara's explanation of the last compound of the first line of this sloka. Sreedhara explains it differently.
  2. Prabritti I render "inclination" and Nivritti as "disinclination." The inclination is, as all the commentators explain, towards righteous actions, and the disinclination, consequently, is about all unrighteous actions. K. T. Telang renders these words as "action" and "inaction". Mr. Davies, following the French version of Burnouf, takes them to mean "the creation and its end.
  3. Sankara seems to connect the genitive Jagatas with achitas Sreedhara connects it (which is natural) with Kshayaya, which I accept.