“Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.7)
pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca
janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro
na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate
Friend1: Do you think people are born good?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: For example, sometimes you hear people say things like “that person was born a leader.” They inherently have the skills necessary to lead others.
Friend2: I have heard that before.
Friend1: Do you think it applies to people’s nature in general? If we see a bad person, is it because they were born that way?
Friend2: It doesn’t matter what you or I think. We can always reference shastra to get the authoritative word.
Friend1: What does shastra say? And which scripture are you picking?
Friend2: The Bhagavad-gita suffices for all circumstances. Though it is not very long, it is comprehensive. It says that people in this world are born either with the divine qualities or the demoniac ones.
Friend1: I see. So if we see someone do something bad, does it mean that they can’t help it?
Friend2: In some ways.
Friend1: So should we excuse their behavior? If a child commits a mistake, it’s not held against them. Similarly, if a person born with the demoniac qualities commits a crime, shouldn’t they be let off?
Friend2: There’s always a choice in action. Just because you are born with certain qualities doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what they are.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: Can you tell if you were born with the divine qualities?
Friend1: I have no idea. I’d like to think that I’m a good person.
Friend2: But you don’t know for sure?
Friend2: Yeah, so it’s the same with everyone. Whatever qualities you are born with, there is the choice for action. The birth is representative of that choice as well. Those born with the demoniac qualities wanted it so; they desire to remain separate from God in consciousness.
Friend1: And those with the divine qualities want to be with Him?
Friend2: Or at least advance along that path. Have you ever seen it where the parents are not so good people and the children somehow turn out alright?
Friend1: I have.
Friend2: Based on inheritance you would think the children would automatically be born as demoniac. Since they sometimes show divine qualities, it means that heredity alone doesn’t determine the type of birth.
Friend1: Alright, here’s what I really wanted to ask you. People don’t understand how the culture has degraded, why the new generation has sunken so low in morals. Do you think it’s possible to intentionally do this to people? Even if they are born as divine, is it possible to guide them towards the demoniac tendencies?
Friend1: Care to explain.
Friend2: Let me ask you this. Is it possible to put a shade on a lamp?
Friend1: Umm, yeah.
Friend2: Is it possible to put such a shade on that the light gets blocked out almost one hundred percent?
Friend1: Again, yes.
Friend2: It’s the same way with the living entities. Everyone is ultimately good. That is what it means to be spirit soul. The demoniac and divine qualities assumed at birth relate to the covering to the soul; the body. Yet even that body can be conditioned. That is the point to education.
Friend1: Are you saying that if you don’t educate people, in halting their progress you’re keeping them a certain way?
Friend2: Not even just education. Imagine you had a kid. And from the start of their life all you did was give them stuff. Any toy they wanted, they got. They hardly had to do their schoolwork; you let them play video games all day. Now what kind of adult would they turn out to be?
Friend1: Pretty spoiled, I would imagine.
Friend2: And what does spoiled mean?
Friend1: Not very smart. Lazy. Thinking that the world owes them something. A sponge; living off others. Not dependable. Not accountable for their actions. Making up their own rules.
Friend2: Now does that sound familiar to you?
Friend1: Ah, those are the demoniac qualities!
Friend2: Exactly. That one example shows that despite what someone is born with, they are capable of being steered in a specific direction. If you implement discipline and provide a real education, then there is every chance that the good qualities will emerge. Ultimately, only the Supreme Lord knows what kind of qualities we are born with. Only He knows if we are capable of correcting our errors in just one lifetime. Through His guidance in works like the Bhagavad-gita, we can try to acquire the divine qualities and keep them. His Vedic culture is all-inclusive; advancement is available for even the demoniac. Such is the kindness of the Supreme Lord, who appears in this age through the sound of His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Even if with good qualities birth,
Can easily descend to behavior worst.
To child anything wanted give,
And each transgression forgive.
Then as adult spoiled and lazy,
Thinking divine path for the crazy.
Vedic culture to all giving a chance,
Even the demoniac eligible to advance.