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Deva Asura Fight in Hindu Scriptures – Symbolic Meaning in the Never Ending Fight Between Gods and Demons in Hinduism

Often we read in Puranas descriptions of fighting between Devas and Asuras. Sometimes the Devas get the better, sometimes the Asuras. There is a symbolic meaning in the never ending fight between gods and demons in Hinduism. 

Symbolic Meaning in the Never Ending Fight Between Gods and Demons in Hinduism

They Devas and Asuras should be taken to be the representatives of two opposite forces — spiritual and material.

Since time immemorial fight has been going on between these two opposite forces in different planes of Nature. But this struggle is most marked in the human plane.

In man sometimes spiritual forces rise supreme and sometimes the material.

The first conquest of the spiritual over the material has always been the beginning of religion.

A moment comes in the life of individuals when Nature with her infinite charms loses all attraction, when life with its various enjoyments seems quite dull. Man gets disgusted with the ordinary routine of work and asks himself, ‘Am I born to be Nature’s bond-slave, to be tossed hither and thither by her freaks, have I taken this birth to lead the life of eternal eating, drinking and talking nonsense and do nothing higher?’ Religion commences with such unrest of the mind, with such dissatisfaction about things all around and with a desire to rise higher and get beyond the limitation of the senses.

Perfect mastery of spirit over matter, complete freedom from the bondage of senses — in a word, perfection and nothing short of it — is the goal of religion. The sages are at one as regards the highest aim of religious aspirants; they differ only as to the paths leading to it.

Religion does not consist in filling the mind with unhealthy, weak, sensational ideas, or in committing to memory all the philosophies of the world, or in getting some supernatural power, but in bringing the real man out by manifesting the divinity potential in all.

As we cannot do without a practical teacher in any department of knowledge, so in religion we require a spiritual guide. The real spiritual teacher is he who has crossed this ocean of samsara and out of love is ever ready to help others to do so. The way to be spiritual is to live with the spiritual. Well has it been said by Sankara in his Moha Mudgara, ‘The contact alone with the good even for a moment becomes like a boat to cross the ocean of samsara.’

But it is very difficult to discern good, great and holy men. … One cannot be too careful in this matter. We generally mistake fools and mystery-mongers for great men. … The real teacher must be pure, a knower of Truth and have no worldly motive.

SourceAn article by Swami Prakashananda in Prabuddha Bharata August 1903.

The fight symbolically represents fight between real and unreal; permanent and impermanent; ignorance and self realization.

It must be noted here that many Asuras (demons) have confessed that they know what they are not doing right but are not able to defeat the tamasic quality in them. The Deva Asura fight is the fight that is constantly going inside a human being – the fight between Sattva and Tamas.