अशास्त्रविहितं घोरं तप्यन्ते ये तपो जना: |
दम्भाहङ्कारसंयुक्ता: कामरागबलान्विता: || 5||
कर्षयन्त: शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतस: |
मां चैवान्त:शरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान् || 6||
aśhāstra-vihitaṁ ghoraṁ tapyante ye tapo janāḥ
karṣhayantaḥ śharīra-sthaṁ bhūta-grāmam achetasaḥ
māṁ chaivāntaḥ śharīra-sthaṁ tān viddhy āsura-niśhchayān
aśhāstra-vihitam—not enjoined by the scriptures; ghoram—stern; tapyante—perform; ye—who; tapaḥ—austerities; janāḥ—people; dambha—hypocrisy; ahankāra—egotism; sanyuktāḥ—possessed of; kāma—desire; rāga—attachment; bala—force; anvitāḥ—impelled by; karṣhayantaḥ—torment; śharīra-stham—within the body; bhūta-grāmam—elements of the body; achetasaḥ—senseless; mām—me; cha—and; eva—even; antaḥ—within; śharīra-stham—dwelling in the body; tān—them; viddhi—know; āsura-niśhchayān—of demoniacal resolves
Those vain and conceited men who, impelled by the force of their lust and attachment, subject themselves to severe austerities not ordained by the scriptures, And, fools that they are, torture all their bodily organs, and Me, too, who dwell within the body— know that they are fiendish in their resolves.
Asastravihitam: The Gita insists on adherence to the Sastras for spiritual advancement. Austerities which are prohibited by the Sastras should not be undertaken. They are only Tamasic and Rajasic types of Tapas frightful and horrid to themselves and other beings. Such inhuman forms of austerity show that these men are devoid of understanding.
Tapyante ye tapojanah: The true purpose of Tapas is the purification of the mind and not the torturing of the body. The evil tendencies of the mind should no doubt be burnt up before spiritual ilumination dawns on man. But cruel mortification of the flesh is not sanctioned by the Sastras as a means to self-purification.
Kamaragabalanvithah: Worldly power and physical powers count for nothing without Divine strength. Such men who are devoid of the Godly spirit in them are Asuras, whatever other qualities they may possess. Lust and longing for sensual pleasures wither away the Divine elements in man. The Divine is covered up by foul and filthy passions and impulses. Therefore those who seek spiritual illumination should annihilate these demonical qualities and take to devotion and knowledge from which flows divine strength and power.
Karsayantath bhutagramam: Those who wither away the body and sense-organs by fasting : are of Asuric nature. Of course, fasting for the sake of bodily health and on holy days for acquiring self-discipline are good. But the law of moderation should not be violated (yuktahara viharasya). Beyond a certain limit, fasting becomes cruel to the body and the senses. This will not take the man to the goal. One cannot kill the snake by striking the bush. The real enemy to be destroyed is the impurity of the mind, and this cannot be done by torturing the body. One has to be extremely cautious in this matter. Tapas is an act of self-discipline and ego-annihilation. To boast of one’s own capacities, to go without food and rest, or to perform physical gymnastics by keeping the heels in the air and the head on the ground, may show off his physical endurance, but is not a mark of devotion or jnana. Fasting and other forms of self-discipline are led to keep the body and senses under control, so that they may not impede man’s progress towards the Divine. They are means to this end and are not ends in themselves. The way of Yoga is moderation. Horrible forms of torturing the body are Tamasic austerity.
Mam chaiva anthah sarirastham: The Lord is dwelling within the body. So torturing the body is torturing the Lord Himself. The man who feels the presence of the Lord in all the limbs and senses, will not willingly injure them by demonical self-mortification. Of course, the Lord being the witness only is not affected by what happens to the body whether it is nourished or tortured. But from the point of view of the individual, it is an injury to the Lord. That is why men are called upon to practice ‘ahimsa‘-non-injury to all beings because the Lord is present in all beings. The same truth applies to one’s own person. Self-torture is thus ‘himsa‘ of the Lord Himself. It is clearly declared here that nothing truly spiritual could be achieved by these Tamasic austerities. In fact, the Asuras when they practice these austerities, do so, not for God-realisation, but for gaining some miraculous powers and personal enjoyments in this world or in another world. This aim is Kama and Raga, the thirst for sense-gratification. Thus the aim of these men of demonical nature is entirely different. The real seekers should cultivate pure Sattvic virtues, discriminate between the real and unreal, separate the five sheaths, and realise Paramatma in themselves.
Question: What is the nature of the Asuric type of people?
Answer: 1. They are subject to pride, self-conceit and pretension; 2. They are possessed by In lust and attachment; 3. They have no discrimination; 4. They torture the body and the senses and so they torture the in-dwelling Lord. torture the body and