Chapter 16 – The Godly and the Ungodly Natures

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Lord Krishna said, The qualities of people with a godly nature are fearlessness; purity of heart; development of spiritual knowledge; charity and generosity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity and simplicity; non-violence; honesty; freedom from anger; detachment from the mundane; tranquillity; disinclination to find fault with others; compassion; freedom from greed; freedom from envy, malice and the passion for honour; gentleness and modesty; steadfastness; vigour; forgiveness and patience; cleanliness; and purity.

The ungodly qualities are pride, vanity, anger, arrogance, cruelty and ignorance.

The godly qualities are the cause of liberation, whereas the ungodly qualities are the cause of bondage. Do not worry Arjuna, because you possess the godly qualities.

In this world, the living beings are of two natures – the godly and the ungodly. I have elaborately described the godly qualities, now hear from me about the ungodly.

The ungodly cannot distinguish between right and wrong action. Purity, truth or correct behaviour cannot be found in them.

They say this world has no law and order, no basis and no God in control. They say male and female union creates this world and that life has no cause other than lust.

Holding such a perspective, the ungodly, who are decadent and have no intelligence, engage in cruel and harmful actions that will destroy the world.

The ungodly surrender to insatiable desires, pride and arrogance, and being thus deluded, they engage in misconduct and wrongdoing.

They think the goal of human life is the enjoyment of sensual pleasure and so they remain burdened with endless anxieties until death.

Bound by hundreds of desires, lust and anger, they try to amass wealth unlawfully to satisfy their desires.

The ungodly person says, ‘Today I have so much wealth, and tomorrow I will gain more. This wealth is all mine, and I will get even more in the future. I have destroyed one of my enemies, and I will destroy others.’

‘I am successful, powerful and happy. I am rich and aristocratic. Who can compare with me? I shall perform sacrifices, give some charity, and enjoy myself.’ These people are deceived by ignorance.

Confounded by anxiety, strongly attached to sensual enjoyment and caught in a web of illusion they fall into a hellish existence.

They are conceited, impudent and intoxicated by wealth and false prestige. Ignoring the scriptural rules and regulations, they hypocritically perform sacrifices in name only.

Bewildered by egotism, pride, power, lust and anger, they become resentful of me, situated as the Supersoul in their own body and in the bodies of others, and they criticise the principles of true religion.

I cast those who are envious, resentful, cruel and decadent into the ocean of material existence in various ungodly species of life. Repeatedly being born into the ungodly species, these people cannot approach me. Gradually they descend to lower and lower planes of existence.

Lust, anger and greed are the three gates which lead to hell. You must abandon them because they degrade the soul. Those who avoid these three gates endeavour for the benefit of the soul and thus reach the supreme destination.

Those who act according to their own desires without regard for the scriptural regulations cannot achieve perfection, happiness, or the ultimate goal.

The scriptures are the authority for determining right and wrong action. Knowing the scriptural rules and regulations regarding your duty in this world, you should act accordingly.

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