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According to Krishna, who is an Asura? || Acharya Prashant, on Bhagavad Gita (2020)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
27 min
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Acharya Prashant (AP): In chapter 16 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna has done something quite special—special even by his own exalted standards. He has made it amply clear what the difference between the Asurī man, the man with demonic tendencies, and the divine man is. Even among these two, he has elaborated upon the demonic man, the Asurī man in greater detail. Just a few verses are devoted to the one having the right disposition, the divine disposition, but a lot more verses, more than ten, are devoted to the one having the Asurī disposition. ’Asurī’ you understand? Monstrous, demonic, Asura.

So, verses 19, 23, 24, and then many others, but from verse 7 to verse 18 all have been quoted. I’ll start from verse 19, then move to 23 and 24.

तानहं द्विषतः क्रूरान्संसारेषु नराधमान् ।

क्षिपाम्यजस्रमशुभानासुरीष्वेव योनिषु ॥ 16.19 ॥

tān ahaṁ dviṣhataḥ krūrān sansāreṣhu narādhamān

kṣhipāmy ajasram aśhubhān āsurīṣhv eva yoniṣhu

These malicious and cruel evil-doers, most degraded of men, I hurl perpetually into the wombs of Asuras only, in these worlds.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 19

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Now, then the description of the Asura:

यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः ।

न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् ॥ 16.23 ॥

yaḥ śhāstra-vidhim utsṛijya vartate kāma-kārataḥ

na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

He who, setting aside the scriptures, the Shastras, acts under the impulse of his own desire, he attains not to perfection, nor happiness, nor the Goal Supreme.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 23

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Then, verse 24:

तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ ।

ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि ॥ 16.24 ॥

tasmāch chhāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau

jñātvā śhāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi

Let the Shastra, the Scripture, bear authority in ascertaining what needs to be done and what ought not to be done. Having known what is said in the scriptures, you should act.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 24

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Questioner (Q): Shri Krishna has defined Asuras as the ones who act under the impulse of their desire. He also says that Asuras keep on taking birth in Asura-wombs. If that is so, then how will the cycle break?

In modern times, reading the Shastras and respecting them has been given a rather derogatory meaning. This makes it even more difficult for people to come closer to the spiritual scriptures. How come we came this low, and what should be done now?

AP: Right. So, the first part of the question. Who is an Asura? An Asura is one who keeps the scriptures aside, detests them, ignores them, even derides them, and says, “What I know is right. What I feel like saying is the Truth. My own experience determines the Truth.” That is the relation of the demon with the spiritual scriptures — he disregards spiritual scriptures, even hates them. That’s what Shri Krishna is very concretely saying in chapter 16 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.

Instead of listening to the scriptures, they want to act under the impulse of their own desire. Their desire they take as supreme. In fact, there is nothing higher for them than the dictates of their own desires and tendencies. That’s what they call as their ‘liberty’ and their ‘freedom’. They say, “If I feel like doing something, I'll do that. That is the determinant of my action—my feeling. If I have an impulse to do something, I’ll go ahead and do that. And if I do that, I’ll call myself as a 'free person'. And Truth is freedom; therefore, if I follow the path of my desire, I'll reach Truth.”

Equally they say, “That which makes you happy is worth doing.” According to Shri Krishna, this is an outright demonic approach to life. The moment you come across someone who says, “Do that which makes you happy,” remember Shri Krishna. He is saying, “This approach is an Asurī approach.” Shri Krishna is saying the defining characteristic of Asura is that he will not listen to the scriptures. He will just not want to read the scriptures. Why will he not want to read the scriptures? Because the scriptures will not allow him to do what he wants to do.

And that’s what Shri Krishna is advising him here. He says, in verse 24 of chapter 16 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, “Let the scripture be the authority.” Let the scripture be the authority. And it's a great fashion these days to say, “I'll not accept any authority.” For the information of those who detest any kind of authority, here is Shri Krishna for you—chapter 16 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, if that means something to you—who is saying, "Yes, the scriptures are the authority." And he says, “Arjuna, let the scriptures be the authority. Let them ascertain what ought to be done and what ought not to be done; your own tendencies, your own likes, dislikes, prejudices, proclivities will not determine what is worth doing, what is worth rejecting.”

Refer to the scriptures. Go to them, listen to them, seek advice from them. Let them tell you what you should do and what you should not do. If you’ll not listen to them, then who is it that you are going to listen to? There is only one force or entity then left to command your life, and that force is called 'ego'. You'll either listen to the scriptures, or follow the commands of your ego. And your ego, yes obviously, is quite dear to you; you are quite identified with it, but it is not your friend. It’s not going to do you any good to live by your ego.

Not only is your ego not your friend, the ego is actually quite foolish. Even if it tries to do you good, it will end up harming you badly. Therefore, do not be so confident of yourself. Have some discretion; have some respect for what the scriptures are saying.

The scriptures are not just utterances coming from some deluded place. The scriptures do not contain somebody’s whimsical utterances coming from a tranced state, or a mystical stupor, or something. The scriptures, you can call as research documents of a very high quality.

Just as you have research in the external field, similarly the scriptures are outputs of deep internal research. There have been generations and generations of people who have bothered to go deep within themselves, observe their mind, observe their tendencies, emotions, actions, and the entire world. They have worked really hard. They have observed, they have meditated, they have thought deeply, and then they have presented their findings in these documents to you. It has taken centuries, for example, for the Upanishads to take shape. The Upanishads didn’t get written in a day or in a month. The Upanishads are the output of, the summit of a Vedic process that continued for several centuries. And the Upanishads remained a work-in-progress for very long. So, they are research documents that come from a process of deep honesty, and patience, and commitment to the Truth. You'd better benefit from them.

That’s what Shri Krishna is advising.

Look at yourself. You are one person, and your entire life experience is 20 years, 40 years, 60 years, right? And you know how smart you are. Come on, be honest! And where do, for example, the scriptures come from, the Upanishads come from? They really come from a collective process. Be it the Vedas or the Guru Granth Sahib—I’m keeping a few other scriptures aside for the while—they all have come to us as documents arising out of almost communal work. When I say 'communal', what do I mean? I refer to a community.

There were hundreds of seers and sages who were contributing their best. You can probably visualize. Six of them have met, and someone offers two verses. He says, “I have worked a lot, I have meditated and thought a lot, and most of what I could think of or produce was not worth it. Only two verses I have. These two, in my appreciation, are the highest I could come up with.”

And then somebody else says, “Well, I have nothing today. Maybe after six months, I'll come up with one verse.” And somebody says, “I have come with a bounty today: four verses from my side.” And then, they are collected. And then there is another team—you could call it a committee—that examines all of them. It's an informal thing, you see, there were no real committees. And then finally, from all this, some three or four verses are selected, and then they are put in that scriptural—you could call it an encyclopedia, an encyclopedia of the utmost quality.

So, here you are, one person with 40 years of experience. Contrast that against generations and generations of dedicated, committed sages—and hundreds and thousands of them. One person with 20, 40 years of experience with no dedication towards Truth—and there you have generations and generations of hundreds and thousands of sages with absolute commitment to the Truth. Wouldn’t you want to listen to them? Won’t you want to at least read that scripture?

But if you are an Asura, you won’t, because you know with great certainty that if you read that scripture, you will not remain an Asura. And that’s what the ego really loathes—changing, giving itself up. "I can tolerate anything except a deep change. You want me to change my clothes? I'm alright with that. You want me to change my soul? No, not at all." Who wants to give up the soul? Giving up the soul is almost like giving up the ghost. You are gone, dead.

To defend his perverted life, the Asura comes up with fantastic arguments. Those arguments have all been listed by Shri Krishna, and they all look so relevant, so contemporary. It's almost as if Shri Krishna and Arjuna are standing today right here, in front of us, and Shri Krishna is talking about the utterances and arguments and defenses of all those who want to run away from the scriptures.

I’m reading out the verses for you starting from verse 7 of chapter 16.

प्रवृत्तिं च निवृत्तिं च जना न विदुरासुराः ।

न शौचं नापि चाचारो न सत्यं तेषु विद्यते ॥ 16.7 ॥

pravṛittiṁ cha nivṛittiṁ cha janā na vidur āsurāḥ

na śhauchaṁ nāpi chāchāro na satyaṁ teṣhu vidyate

The persons of Asurīka nature do not know what to do and what to avoid; neither is purity found in them, nor good conduct, nor Truth.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 7

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What do they say? They say, “Oh, there is nothing called the Truth. The universe is without Truth.” Don’t you hear that? That sounds familiar, does it not? There are prevailing ideologies today, dominant ideologies today that say there is nothing called a central Truth. They say there are multiple truths. There are as many truths as there are minds, and even one particular mind is free to change its truths 20 times a day. So, that’s a great characteristic, a defining characteristic of the Asura.

असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।

अपरस्परसम्भूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ 16.8 ॥

asatyam apratiṣhṭhaṁ te jagad āhur anīśhvaram

aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ kim anyat kāma-haitukam

They say, “The universe is without truth, without a (moral) basis, without a God, brought about by mutual union, with lust for its cause; what else?”

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 8

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They say, the universe is without truth, without any basis really, in the sense that there is nothing concrete, nothing metaphysical that upholds this physical world. The physical world is all that there is. There is no God, and that we are the ones, as human beings, as persons, who have been brought about only by sexual union of people. So, that’s their identity. You ask them, “Who are you?” They say, "Oh, we are bodies and we are here due to the sexual mating of our mother and father." That’s how they look at themselves. They do not believe in consciousness at all. Does that not sound pretty contemporary? People who say, “Oh, all are but bodies. Why do you want to talk of consciousness?”

And if you will ask an Asura what is the cause behind this universe, they will say, “Lust—what else? Lust—what else?" To them, what's another name for God? Lust. Because who is God? The first cause of the universe. And according to the Asura, there is no God, so the cause of the universe is lust. We are products of lust. We are bodies, and bodies come from lust.

एतां दृष्टिमवष्टभ्य नष्टात्मानोऽल्पबुद्धयः ।

प्रभवन्त्युग्रकर्माणः क्षयाय जगतोऽहिताः ॥ 16.9 ॥

etāṁ dṛiṣhṭim avaṣhṭabhya naṣhṭātmāno ’lpa-buddhayaḥ

prabhavanty ugra-karmāṇaḥ kṣhayāya jagato ’hitāḥ

Holding such views, these ruined souls of a source of small intellect and fierce deeds, rise as the enemies of the world for its destruction.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 9

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They hold their views very confidently, very furiously, very stubbornly. These ruined souls of small intellect, but fierce deeds. Their intellect is small but their action is vigorous.

काममाश्रित्य दुष्पूरं दम्भमानमदान्विताः ।

मोहाद्गृहीत्वासद्ग्राहान्प्रवर्तन्तेऽशुचिव्रताः ॥ 16.10 ॥

kāmam āśhritya duṣhpūraṁ dambha-māna-madānvitāḥ

mohād gṛihītvāsad-grāhān pravartante ’śhuchi-vratāḥ

Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolve.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 10

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Desires, hypocrisy, pride, arrogance, evil ideas. Not at all something that you cannot relate to. Not all something that was found exclusively on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is found everywhere: in our cities, in our communities, in our houses, and within ourselves, is it not?

चिन्तामपरिमेयां च प्रलयान्तामुपाश्रिताः ।

कामोपभोगपरमा एतावदिति निश्चिताः ॥ 16.11 ॥

chintām aparimeyāṁ cha pralayāntām upāśhritāḥ

kāmopabhoga-paramā etāvad iti niśhchitāḥ

Beset with immense cares ending only with death, regarding gratification of lust as the highest, and feeling sure that that is all.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 11

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They are very sure that that is all. What is all? Lust. They say that’s all. That's the summum bonum (ultimate goal) of life. That’s the highest that life can offer you, its greatest potential.

आशापाशशतैर्बद्धाः कामक्रोधपरायणाः ।

ईहन्ते कामभोगार्थमन्यायेनार्थसञ्चयान् ॥ 16.12 ॥

āśhā-pāśha-śhatair baddhāḥ kāma-krodha-parāyaṇāḥ

īhante kāma-bhogārtham anyāyenārtha-sañchayān

Bounded by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and wrath, they strive to secure by unjust means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 12

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"Strive to secure by unjust means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment"—seen that before? Seen that everywhere—striving to hold wealth by unjust means just for the sake of sensual enjoyment? That’s the characteristic of an Asura. You find somebody doing this, he’s an outright Asura.

इदमद्य मया लब्धमिमं प्राप्स्ये मनोरथम् ।

इदमस्तीदमपि मे भविष्यति पुनर्धनम् ॥ 16.13 ॥

idam adya mayā labdham imaṁ prāpsye manoratham

idam astīdam api me bhaviṣhyati punar dhanam

This has been gained by me today; this desire I shall obtain; this is mine, and this wealth also shall be mine in the future.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 13

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"This has been gained by me today," the Asura says. “This has been gained by me today; I have achieved this today. And this desire shall I obtain in the future. This I have already achieved, and this I will obtain next. This is mine, and this wealth also shall be mine in the future. Some things I have attained, and the other things I would attain.” That’s how the mind of the Asura works. That’s the thought he is always filled up with. "What have I attained? What remains to be attained?"

असौ मया हतः शत्रुर्हनिष्ये चापरानपि ।

ईश्वरोऽहमहं भोगी सिद्धोऽहं बलवान्सुखी ॥ 16.14 ॥

asau mayā hataḥ śhatrur haniṣhye chāparān api

īśhvaro ’ham ahaṁ bhogī siddho ’haṁ balavān sukhī

That enemy I have slain, and others also shall I slay. I am the Lord, I enjoy, I am successful, powerful, and happy.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 14

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"That enemy I have slain, and others also shall I slay"—that’s what the Asura is saying. "I have slain that enemy and that one is the next. I am the Lord. There is no God, so obviously I am the Lord. I am the Lord, I enjoy, I am successful, powerful, and happy." You see how timeless these Asuras are? And we talk of this time, age as ‘kaliyuga’ (time when consciousness is limited to gross matter). Asuras were in equal abundance even at that time. In no way does this look like something historical or outdated. This is extremely contemporary. This is directly relevant. In fact, if I do not tell you this is coming from the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, you would take it as a commentary on the current times, won't you

आढ्योऽभिजनवानस्मि कोऽन्योऽस्ति सदृशो मया ।

यक्ष्ये दास्यामि मोदिष्य इत्यज्ञानविमोहिताः ॥ 16.15 ॥

* āḍhyo ’bhijanavān asmi ko ’nyo ’sti sadṛiśho mayā

yakṣhye dāsyāmi modiṣhya ity ajñāna-vimohitāḥ

I am rich and well-born. Who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice, I will give, I will rejoice. Thus deluded by ignorance.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 15

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"I'm rich, I'm well-born. Who is equal to me? I will conduct religious ceremonies. I will make donations. I will rejoice. Who is equal to me? I can do anything. And because I do not follow the real religion, therefore, I will delight in religious ceremonies."

Don’t you see religious ceremonies prevailing all over? All external forms of religion are prospering—this method, that technique, this asana (body posture), that kriya (cleansing technique). The one central thing is missing. What is the central thing that Shri Krishna is saying? The scriptures. The scriptures are missing. All else is there. “I’ll follow all external kinds of, all external marks of religion—I’ll just avoid the scriptures.”

And Shri Krishna was very clear so many millennia back. He said, this is what the Asuras do and will continue to do. He does not say, mind you, that the Asuras totally avoid religion. He says the Asuras do actually participate in religion—but what is their participation all about? “Oh, can we wear the sacred thread?” So, there is the yajñopavīta (thread) ceremony. "Can we worship this animal? Can we engage in this kind of kriya? Can we celebrate that festival?” All these things they will do, except going right to the scriptures. And which scriptures is Shri Krishna talking of?

Don’t forget that the Bhagavad Gita itself is a part of Prasthānatrayī, and the other two members of Prasthānatrayī are the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra. The Upanishads are what we call as Vedanta. Shri Krishna is definitely talking of Vedanta because the Bhagavad Gita itself is called an Upanishad. Shri Krishna is referring to Vedanta here.

Who are the Asuras? Who will engage in all kinds of pseudoscience, even pseudo-religion, but will with great determination avoid Vedanta. That’s the mark of the Asura.

And remember that the Asura, the demon really need not have all the ostensible and external characteristics that we attribute to a monster. He might be looking almost like a rishi (sage) in appearance. He might take up the form and shape and all the external and artificial attributes of a sage, a seer. Do not judge him by that. Know him by his attitude towards the scriptures. Shri Krishna is very clear. If somebody avoids the scriptures, he is an Asura. And if you want to know in life what to do, what not to do, who you are, and who you are not, then you have to go by scriptural advice.

अनेकचित्तविभ्रान्ता मोहजालसमावृताः ।

प्रसक्ताः कामभोगेषु पतन्ति नरकेऽशुचौ ॥ 16.16 ॥

aneka-chitta-vibhrāntā moha-jāla-samāvṛitāḥ

prasaktāḥ kāma-bhogeṣhu patanti narake ’śhuchau

Bewildered by many a fancy, covered by the meshes of delusion, addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall down into a foul hell.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 16

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Yeah, they surely do—but they still don’t learn.

आत्मसम्भाविताः स्तब्धा धनमानमदान्विताः ।

यजन्ते नामयज्ञैस्ते दम्भेनाविधिपूर्वकम् ॥ 16.17 ॥

ātma-sambhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhana-māna-madānvitāḥ

yajante nāma-yajñais te dambhenāvidhi-pūrvakam

Self-conceited, haughty, filled with the pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform religious ceremonies in name, out of ostentation, disregarding the scriptures.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 17

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So, that's fine. We already talked of this in advance. They will perform all kinds of religious activities but only as an ostentation, just to demonstrate. But they will disregard the ordinance, the scriptural advice. They'll not listen to the scriptures. They'll keep performing religious ceremonies and activities and this and that, some dance they will perform, some other gathering in the name of religion. One thing will always be missing: scriptures.

अहङ्कारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं च संश्रिताः ।

मामात्मपरदेहेषु प्रद्विषन्तोऽभ्यसूयकाः ॥ 16.18 ॥

ahankāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ cha sanśhritāḥ

mām ātma-para-deheṣhu pradviṣhanto ’bhyasūyakāḥ

Possessed of egoism, power, insolence, lust, wrath, these malignant people hate Me (the Truth within) in their own bodies and those of others.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Verse 18

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Obviously, they have to hate Krishna; they will not talk of Krishna, they will not refer to the Bhagavad Gita, they will not refer to the Upanishads, they will not go to the saints, seers, sages. Darkness cannot survive in the face of light. Why will they go to the sages? Shri Krishna does not merely say that they will not go to the sages; he uses a strong word. He says, “These malignant people hate Me in their own bodies and in the bodies of others.”

So, within their own self, if somehow by grace a spark arises, they will despise themselves for having some inner light. If somehow inner light manages to arise in them, it will spoil their mood. They'll say, “Unnecessarily today, I was having some insight. It totally ruined my day.” Similarly, if they find somebody else full of insight and respect towards the scriptures, they will turn enemies to that person.

Today, if the situation is so bad as the questioner says, “How did we come so low and what should be done?” He is saying, “In modern times, in today’s times, going to the scriptures has almost become a derogatory thing. And this is making it even more difficult for people to read the scriptures.” He is asking, “How have we come so low and now what should be done?”

How have we come so low? Maya (illusion). I could go to history and talk of the historical forces that brought us to this unfortunate point, but that won’t serve much purpose. So, I simply say Maya. Maya has brought us to a position where we are not merely ignoring the scriptures but actually insulting them. It has become a thing of pride to proclaim that one has not read any scripture. In fact, if you are an intellectual, then it adds to your accomplishments or to your stature if you say that you actively avoid the scriptures.

"Oh, I don’t read any religious books. I read only intellectual nonsense"—sometimes erotica probably, but nothing spiritual of any kind. Man’s ego touches the words of the religious masters and spoils those words. The religious injunctions are corrupted and degraded by man’s touch.

Man corrupts religion, and when religion indeed does get corrupted, man blames religion for corrupting him. It is astonishing wizardry performed by man.

There are the words of the sages that have been bequeathed to man. Man has them. Now, man makes a formal, organized structure, a formal religion out of those words. And because man has made that structure, that structure has imperfections. And in the course of time, those imperfections only grow. Several centuries pass, and the entire religious structure becomes corrupted, degraded, starts to crumble, and becomes a basis for all kinds of insanities and exploitation.

And then, what does man do? Instead of accepting that man created an organized structure around the holy scriptures and that structure was imperfect, man starts blaming the scriptures. Why must man blame the scriptures? So that man need not blame himself.

Once I said, you see, your face is smeared with mud, and religion is like pure water meant to be thrown on your face so that you get cleaned up. Religion is pure water. You are ego; your face is smeared with mud. But when that water hits your face, the water too gets muddy. But falling on your face, the water has cleared away some of the mud, so now you can open your eyes. And when you open your eyes, you find dirty water around you. And then, what is it that you say? “Oh, this dirty water has spoiled my face. I see this water is dirty; it has spoiled my face!” No, the water is absolutely clean. Coming in contact with you, the water has become dirty.

Now, instead of looking at your own dirtiness, your own filth, your own tendency to remain dirty, you are blaming that which could have relieved you from your foul state. That’s what has been man’s approach towards religion.

We corrupt the holy words of the prophets, of the seers, sages, our well-wishers. And when religion is corrupted, we start blaming religion as the root cause of all our troubles. And then, what is our prognosis? What do we conclude? We say, “Throw religion out of the window.” We say, “Religion is what is causing all the trouble. Throw religion out.” Throw religion out? But then ask yourself, why was religion needed in the first place?

Religion was needed in the first place because man is a conscious animal. You cannot survive without religion.

You do not merely live on food and money and clothes and all the social things that can be given. You need something that uplifts your consciousness. Your consciousness is a caged bird crying for freedom. Religion is the key that will open up the cage. Religion is the key that will unlock the cage. Otherwise, you can keep giving all the material goodies to the bird within the cage, the bird would still be deeply discontented.

Man cannot live without spirituality, and you cannot have personal spirituality. It is nonsensical. You cannot say, “My spirituality is entirely personal.” What kind of spiritual person are you? "You see, I just learn from life." This is stupid. You'll have to go to the scriptures. That does not mean that you have to follow the scriptures blindly, but at least go to them. If you have any sincerity, if you are even half serious about knowing life, then why will you avoid a document that contains deep insights into life? If I say I'm a student of life, and still with great determination I avoid a document that contains deep insights into life, that merely shows that I'm not at all sincere as a student. I just don’t want to know about life. Else, how could I have avoided that document?

Nobody is asking you, I repeat, to blindly follow that document—but how have you managed to not even read it? That’s why your foundation (Advait) is trying really hard to bring these eminent scriptures to everybody. This course that you are participating in right now is a part of that initiative. This is what probably mankind needs the most at this juncture.

We need the scriptures to reach every single human being. We need people to read these documents with attention. You might find some parts there that have become outdated, that are no more relevant today. There is no compulsion to take them seriously or abide by them. But then, there is a lot there that is extremely relevant, extremely useful, starkly contemporary.

That’s what we are trying. We are hosting courses in both Hindi and English—you know of that—and we are making these discussions available to the general public, everybody. As our efforts gain strength, as our mission gains more resources, we’ll be able to, hopefully, penetrate every dark corner of humanity with new light. The enemies of scriptures were there when Krishna spoke to Arjuna, and the haters of scriptures exist equally today. At the same time, there were people then who spoke of the centrality of scriptures, and there are forces today that want to uphold the scriptures.

I request everybody who is watching this today or anytime in the future to support the right force, to choose the right side. Be with the scriptures. Help us, support us, take this mission ahead.

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