śrī bhagavān uvāca –
abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhir jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam
ahiṁsā satyam akrodhas tyāgaḥ śāntir apaiśunam
dayā bhūteṣv-aloluptvaṁ mārdavaṁ hrīr acāpalam
tejaḥ kṣamā dhṛtiḥ śaucam adroho nātimānitā
bhavanti sampadaṁ daivīm abhijātasya bhārata
(Bhagavān said) Now, you may have a doubt in your mind that all the śāstras provide a system to acquire knowledge after practicing dharma in the mode of goodness. What is its nature? With the intention of removing that doubt, I will state that the aśvattha tree of repeated birth and death has two fruit. One fruit creates intense bondage for the jīva, and one fruit produces deliverance from saṁsāra. The jīva is comprised of pure goodness. In his bound state, the pure nature becomes secondary. Cleansing his pure consciousness is fearlessness for the jīva. For the purpose of cleansing the pure consciousness, the śāstra has made arrangements for jñāna–yoga. All those activities whose purpose is to purify the pure consciousness are all daivī-sampat (of a divine nature). All those activities that hinder the cleansing of the jīva’s pure consciousness are all āsurī-sampat (of an impious nature). Fearlessness, purification of the consciousness, jñāna-yoga, charity, control of the senses, yajñā, simplicity, study of the Vedas, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, renunciation, peacefulness, freedom from criticising others, compassion, lack of greed, gentleness, modesty, steadiness, strength, forgiveness, patience, purity, absence of malice and pride – these twenty-six qualities are known as daivī-sampat. If one is born at an auspicious moment, one achieves this nature.
dambho darpo’bhimānaś ca krodhaḥ pāruṣyameva ca
ajñānaṁ cābhijātasya pārtha sampadam āsurīm
Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, cruelty, and a lack of discrimination – these are the qualities of a person born with āsurī-sampat.
daivī sampad vimokṣāya nibandhāyāsurī matā
mā śucaḥ sampadaṁ daivīm abhijāto’si pāṇḍava
Through divine nature, it is possible to endeavour for liberation, and an impious nature leads one be bound. O Arjuna! The cleansing of the pure consciousness will occur by engaging in varṇāśrama-dharma, through jñāna-yoga. You have attained daivī-sampat through the varṇa of a kṣatriya. The destruction of friends in a war of dharma and firing arrows according to śāstra do not count as āsurī-sampat. Therefore, listening to these instructions, you should abandon your grief.
dvau bhūta-sargau loke’smin daiva āsura eva ca
daivo vistaraśaḥ prokta āsuraṁ pārtha me śṛṇu
O Pārtha! There are two kinds of created beings in this world, namely the Deva and the Āsura. I have specifically spoken in relation to divine nature. Now please listen as I speak about the nature of the impious.
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate
Persons with the nature of an Āsura do not know the difference between pravṛtti (proper activities) and nivṛtti (improper activities). They do not care for cleanliness, proper conduct or truthfulness.
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ kim anyat kāma-haitukam
Persons of an impious nature claim this world is false, without shelter and devoid of a Controller. Their conclusion is that the reciprocation of cause and effect is not the origin of the creation of this world – in other words, there is no cause, yet an effect exists. Also, there is no necessity of a Controller. If someone says there is a Controller, then He has created because He is subject to material desires. He is not worthy of our worship.
etāṁ dṛṣṭim avaṣṭabhya naṣṭātmāno’lpa buddhayaḥ
prabhavanty-ugra-karmāṇaḥ kṣayāya jagato’hitāḥ
By supporting these types of conclusions, being bereft of knowledge of the ātmā, lacking intelligence, and engaging in horrible deeds, such persons with impious natures gain influence by performing activities that destroy the world.
kāmam āśritya duṣpūraṁ dambha-māna-madānvitāḥ
mohād gṛhītvāsad grāhān pravartante’śuci-vratāḥ
Those persons who have taken refuge in unquenchable lust, who are hypocritical, proud and intoxicated, who take vows in an unclean state, become infatuated by material things due to bewilderment.
cintām aparimeyāṁ ca pralayāntām upāśritāḥ
kāmopabhoga-paramā etāvad iti niścitāḥ
āśā-pāśa-śatair baddhāḥ kāma-krodha-parāyaṇāḥ
īhante kāma-bhogārtham anyāyenārtha-sañcayān
Up till the end, they take refuge in countless thoughts and anxieties, and they understand that sense-enjoyment should be the most important activity. Bound by the ropes of hundreds of hopes and possessed by lust and anger, such persons accumulate wealth through illicit means to enjoy their desires.
idam adya mayā labdham imaṁ prāpsye manoratham
idam astīdam api me bhaviṣyati punar dhanam
asau mayā hataḥ śatrur haniṣye cāparān api
īśvaro’ham ahaṁ bhogī siddho’haṁ balavān sukhī
āḍhyo’bhijanavān asmi ko’nyo’sti sadṛśo mayā
yakṣye dāsyāmi modiṣya ity-ajñāna-vimohitāḥ
They think, “I have attained this wealth today! My wishes have been fulfilled. I possess this wealth now, and it will be mine again in the future. I have destroyed this enemy, and other enemies will be destroyed very soon. I am the controller! I am the enjoyer! I am perfect! I am happy! I am wealthy and I have many followers. Who is like me? I will perform yajñas and give in charity and will experience bliss.” Being bewildered by ignorance, they speak in this way.
prasaktāḥ kāma-bhogeṣu patanti narake’śucau
Bewildered by various things, covered by a network of illusion, their minds attached to enjoying material desires, such men fall into a filthy hell such as Vaitaraṇi etc.
ātma-sambhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhana-māna-madānvitāḥ
yajante nāma-yajñais te dambhenāvidhi-pūrvakam
Proud of themselves, stubborn, wealthy, proud and intoxicated, these persons engage in worship in name only, and perform yajñas without following the proper injunctions.
ahaṅkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ
mām ātma-para-deheṣu pradviṣanto’bhyasūyakāḥ
They are submissive to their pride, strength, arrogance, lust and anger. As the Supreme Controller, they hate Me who resides within their own body and within the bodies of others, and they find faults with the qualities of sādhus.
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krurān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy-ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv-eva yoniṣu
These envious, cruel persons, who are the lowest of mankind, are constantly hurled by Me into saṁsāra and into inauspicious, impious wombs. In other words, by the actions of their nature, their impious disposition gradually increases.
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty-adhamāṁ gatim
Having accepted impious wombs, such foolish persons are unable to attain Me birth after birth, and they achieve the most degraded destination.
tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet
There are three gates leading to hell that destroy the self – lust, anger and greed. Thus, great persons reject all three of these.
etair vimuktaḥ kaunteya tamo-dvārais tribhir naraḥ
ācaraty-ātmanaḥ śreyas tato yāti parāṁ gatim
Being freed from these three kinds of gates, a person engages in activities that are beneficial for the ātmā. Then, he attains the supreme destination. The meaning is this – the inherent nature of the system of cleansing the purified consciousness is that by taking support of a regulated life and by constantly engaging in dharma, then the ultimate destination of kṛṣṇa-bhakti is achieved. The main principle of the method and objective of karma and jñāna as explained in śāstra is this – when the jīva maintains a relationship with pure karma and jñāna, he achieves a state of fearlessness in the form of cleansing the purified consciousness. This is liberation, whose inherent position is that of a maidservant of Bhakti Devī.
yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim
The śāstrika rules are as follows – one who rejects (these rules) in order to fulfil material desires does not attain perfection, happiness, and does not achieves the highest destination. The main point is that even if a person acquires all kinds of knowledge through the senses, but does not take refuge in morality, then he is the lowest of mankind. And if he possesses knowledge through the senses and morality, but does not accept subordination to the Supreme, then everything is inauspicious for him. Even if one accepts subordination to the Supreme, but does not cultivate bhagavad–bhakti with the help of pure knowledge, then he is not qualified to attain the supreme destination. Thus, all the śāstras explain that bhakti is beneficial for the jīva.
tasmāc-chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau
jñātvā śāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi
Thus, śāstra is the sole authority in relation to what is to be done and what is not to be done. By understanding that śāstra explains bhakti, you will become qualified to engage in action.
The meaning of this chapter is that one attains the supreme destination through theism, and all atheists attain a hellish condition. Thus ends the Sixteenth Chapter.