Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 11 Mar 2019

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QUALITIES OF ANGELS, HUMANS, AND DEMONS

Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji! You have said in the discourse on January 25, 2019, that the predominant qualities of angels, humans and demons are sattvam or knowledge, rajas or activity, and tamas or inertia respectively. The underlying presumption appears to be that the body has an effect on the mental qualities. Angels have a body of energy along with awareness, but no matter. So, it might be alright to say that their mental quality is predominantly sattvam since the absence of matter (tamas) in their bodies allows the full expression of sattvam. But to say that humans are predominantly rajasic in their mental quality and that demons are predominantly tamasic, seems odd. Humans have very little energy (power) and demons have tremendous power. So, demons should be said to be rājasic and we should be said to be tāmasic. We have bodies made out of matter. Our intelligence is dull (low sattvam) and our energy is extremely limited (low rajas). So, we should be predominantly tāmasic. The goodness (sattvam) present in humans might be intermediate between that of angels and demons, but demons clearly have more rajas and tamas than us humans. Perhaps there is a need to distinguish between the absolute ‘quantity’ of each of the three qualities and the ‘relative proportions’ of each of the three qualities present in the three types of souls. In any case, it seems to be quite confusing.

There are some other issues that are also connected to this point. For instance, in the same discourse, You have also said that due to the predominance of tamas in demons, they have material bodies made of highly condensed matter. If demons have bodies made out of highly condensed matter how can they then interact with angels, who have non-material bodies. Demons and angels are said to have had many wars in the Purāṇas. War or any substantial interaction should be possible only between beings of the same kind. On the other hand, if the asuras are assumed to be energetic beings like the devas, then how could they come and harass humans, who are material beings? Many accounts from the Purāṇas seem to suggest that the asuras might be energetic beings like the devas. They have many miraculous powers, such as appearing or disappearing, growing or shrinking in size, and so on which are generally not possible with material bodies.

Another issue is that You have said that the Martya Loka, which is part of the Bhu Loka, is the only material world. All the lokas above and below it are non-material, energetic worlds. In the discourse on July, 1, 2017, You have also stated that human beings and animals on earth are the only material bodies that souls can take. Astronomers have found numerous planets, which might have earth-like conditions and might be suitable for supporting life as we know it. They even feel hopeful that in the near future, we might be able to communicate with intelligent life forms on other planets. But You had said that no other planet has souls in material bodies as on earth (Martya Loka). This contradicts Your statement in the discourse on the 25th of January, 2019, where You say that the asuras have bodies made out of highly condensed matter. These asuras are supposed to be occupying the lower worlds (Atala, Vitala,…Pātāla). So, by inference, their lokas must also be made out of matter and energy.

A further contradiction comes from a story from the Purāṇas, which says that the devas and asuras are both the progeny of the same father, sage Kaśyapa from different mothers. If this is true, how could the devas have energetic bodies while the asuras have material bodies? Could You kindly resolve the contradiction?

Swami replied: The three fundamental qualities are inherent in all aspects of creation. In the context of the components of creation, sattvam is awareness, rajas is inert energy and tamas is matter. In the context of mental qualities, sattvam means knowledge, rajas means activity and tamas means ignorance. The Gita says “Uurdhvam gacchayanti sattvasthaah…”, which means that in the upper world, sattvam is predominant. In the middle world, rajas is predominant, and in the lower world, tamas is predominant. The middle world means the Martya Loka containing human beings. The upper world is the abode of angels while the lower world is the abode of demons. Actually, the bodies of angels are made of inert energy. The awareness in all beings including them is also a work-form of energy. Energy is rajas. So, rajas alone is predominant in them in quantity and they should have been said to be rajasic. But angels are more sattvic in their nature than humans. It means that predominance need not be understood in the sense of quantity alone. It can also be understood in the sense of quality. Angels having energetic bodies are said to predominantly have the quality of sattvam. This means that divine knowledge predominates in them. Angels are also said to be more powerful than humans. Actually, the inert energy present in the body of an angel is quantitatively lower than that of a human. But angels have tremendous miraculous powers associated with them. So, they are said to be more powerful. The word ‘more powerful’ does not mean that the angels have more amount of inert energy in their bodies compared to humans. It means that the inert energy of the bodies of angels is associated with the more valuable miraculous power granted by God.

The quantity of inert energy in the body of a human being is higher than the quantity of inert energy in the body of an angel. But the quality of inert energy of the angel is greater than the quality of the inert energy of the human being. This is because the former is associated with a lot of divine miraculous power. Since the inert energy in a human being is quantitatively more than that of an angel, the human being is said to be more rajasic than the angel. On the other hand, awareness is qualitatively superior in the case of an angel as compared to a human being since the angel’s awareness is associated with the miraculous power granted by God. Hence, the angel is more saattvic than the human being, qualitatively.

If you take the demons of the lower world, the quantity of matter is greater in the body of a demon as compared to the body of a human being. Hence, the demons are more taamasic than human beings. Of course, the demons in the lower world are not visible to the human eye due to the will of God. Due to the same will of God, the angels in the upper world are also not visible to the human eye. There is more free inert energy in the body of a human being than in the body of a demon. The activity of the body of a human being is greater than the activity of the body of a demon. Inactivity and laziness, which are the properties of tamas, are more in the demon than in the human being. The human being has quantitatively more kinetic energy than a demon. Hence, the human being is said to be more raajasic than the demon. The demon is said to be more powerful than the human being due to the greater mass of the body. Of course, demons also acquire miraculous powers from God including the ability to change their forms. So, they can be said to be more powerful than humans even in the sense of having more miraculous powers. Thus, when it is said that demons are ‘more powerful’ than angels and humans, it refers to the greater miraculous powers acquired by the demons as compared to the other two. It is due to these miraculous powers that we sometimes even find demons gaining victory over angels in the Purāṇas. The word powerful in this context can mean two things. One meaning is possessing a large quantity of inert energy since energy and power are similar in meaning. The other meaning is possessing a lot of miraculous power. In the case of demons, the miraculous powers possessed by them is vastly greater than the quantity of inert energy in their bodies. The greater power of demons as compared to humans should therefore be understood in the sense of their miraculous power. If we only go by the inert energy possessed by them, there will certainly be a misunderstanding.

Even though the father of both angels and demons is the same sage Kaśyapa, their mothers are different. The two mothers were different in their qualities and in the extent of God’s grace on them. Angels never did penance to attain supernatural miraculous powers, whereas demons did a lot of penance to attain the supernatural powers. Due to the good qualities of angels, God Himself gave miraculous powers to the angels even without any effort from their side. Due to the bad qualities of demons, God gave miraculous powers to them only after a lot of effort from their side. As a result of the mixed qualities of human beings, they can get a certain amount of miraculous powers from God by some effort.

Profile of Qualities:

Angels

Sattvam or knowledge is predominant in angels as a result of the God’s grace. They possess divine knowledge, which is qualitatively greater than the knowledge of human beings and demons. Angels are not much caught up in the illusion of performing worldly activities with an ambition for attaining the fruits of the actions (rajas). Ego, greed, ambition, and worldly activity are the characteristics of rajas, which are very low in angels.

Tamas or matter is almost nil in them. Their bodies are not made of matter but are made of inert energy or light. Yet, it cannot be said that the energetic bodies of angels have absolutely no tamas or matter-like inertia. Tamas exists even in the bodies of angels, but in a negligible amount. Energy in the form of light or radiation comes in packets of energy called photons. The only matter-like inertia in angels is corresponding to the rest mass of the photons which constitute their energetic bodies. So, all the three qualities exist even in angels. In fact, the three qualities always exist everywhere; only their proportions differ.

Since the bodies of angels are made of inert energy, the characteristics of rajas must also exist even though to only a slight extent. The evidence for this is from the Purāṇas, when angels had once become proud after their victory over the demons and they had to be corrected by God. Even though the bodies of angels are made out of inert energy, there is quantitatively more inert energy in human bodies. Angels are said to be more powerful than both humans and demons due to the higher quality of their energy. The higher quality of their energy means that their energetic bodies have divine grace in the form of supernatural miraculous powers. It also means that their energetic bodies have divine grace in the form of divine knowledge. Angels’ bodies are made of energy. Knowledge or mind is made of awareness, which is also a work-form of energy. So, their body and mind mix easily since both are basically forms of energy. Thus, in terms of energy or rajas, angels are superior to both humans and demons. However, it is the supreme knowledge which is the most significant characteristic of angels. Thus, angels are said to be embodiments of sattvam.

Humans

Sattvam is lower in humans than in angels due to the absence of God’s grace. Humans only possess knowledge related to worldly activities, which are done due to ambition and greed. Hence, the sattvam in humans is of a lower quality than angels. Even though the inert energy in the body of a human being is quantitatively greater than that of an angel, it is not associated with God’s grace which gives miraculous powers. Hence, the rajas of humans is qualitatively lower than that of angels. In the sense of the better quality of rajas, angels are more powerful than humans. In the sense of the quantity of rajas, humans are more raajasic than angels. However, humans have more of the inherent qualities of rajas, like worldly activities, greed and ego, since these inherent qualities are always related to the quantity of rajas. The human body is made of matter and hence, more of the inherent qualities of tamas are also found in humans as compared to angels.

Demons

Demons have a lot of tamas in the form of the large amount of matter in their bodies. The inherent qualities of tamas like laziness, ignorance, sleep etc., are also found to a larger extent in demons as compared to both humans and angels. The body of a demon is not very active because of a lower quantity of inert energy in it. The lower quantity of inert energy is seen as the lesser kinetic energy of the movement of the limbs of a demon’s body. Humans are more raajasic than demons due to the higher quantity of kinetic energy in the human body. As a result of the lower kinetic energy of their bodies, demons are less involved in multiple worldly activities as compared to humans. The raajasic activities in demons are, thus, mild due to the predominance of tamas.

As regards the existence of life in the form of material beings on other planets, it is not a scientifically established fact yet. Even if such life exists, whether it is expressed fully as human beings, is another doubt. At present, there is not the slightest trace of practical proof.

 
   

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