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Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 15 – Explanation

The sinful, deluded, lowest of men, deprived of understanding by maya and following evil ways, (the ways of the asuras) do not take refuge in Me. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 15)

All sin is a form of ignorance. When our intelligence is clouded by maya, or ignorance, we then become sinful. We lose sight of the Truth, that in reality all beings are united in God, that in the last analysis we are all one Spirit appearing as different individuals. And we mistake the differentiation  for the true state of affairs. In other words, we see separation and lose sight of the underlying oneness.

The Upanishad says, ‘Where one sees another, where one hears another, that is small. Where one does not see another, where one does not hear another, that is infinite.’

Seeing and feeling separation brings selfishness, the source of all evil. As this cloud of ignorance becomes heavier and thicker, the feeling of separateness increases. With it also increases egotism and sinfulness.

Sri Krishna speaks here of the lowest class of human beings possessed of asuric tendencies or evil qualities like cruelty and untruthfulness.

Such persons are so entirely enveloped by ignorance that their understanding has become very much clouded. They are atheistic and in their intense egotism they cannot admit of any power superior to their own.

They look upon God, eternal Life and a supreme Ruler of the universe as so many myths. How can they then take refuge in God, whose very existence they deny? They are unable to see or understand Truth. They hear, but understand not; they see, but perceive not. Their evil deeds, committed in the past, prevent them in the form of samskaras (that is in the form of stored-up impressions and tendencies) from accepting Truth, even when presented to them. They scoff. They cannot do otherwise. It is their nature. The fever patient suffering for a long time loses all healthy appetite. He craves for unhealthy food that will only increase his malady and suffering. His taste has become perverted.

So it is with those who suffer the fever of egotism, lust and desire. Their taste has become degenerated. Vulgar, unhealthy tendencies make them crave sinful enjoyments. The holy, unselfish, loving, sacrificing life appears to them most unattractive. They feel at home wallowing in the mire. But all are not like that. These are only the very lowest class, who care not for God or Truth.

Others accept Truth, though in different measures. And Sri Krishna mentions all this in the next verse, where He divides them into four classes of devotees, according to their motives and spiritual capacity.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter VII Verse 15 – Source - Reflections on the Bhagavad Gita By Swami Atulananda – Prabuddha Bharata August 2003 Issue