Spiritual Fall

What are the signs of ‘Spiritual Fall’ ?What are the main causes of spiritual fall?

What are the signs of ‘Spiritual Fall’ ?

When a man is deluded with regard to his duty and when his conduct exhibits degraded values, he is fallen spiritually.

prawrttim cha niwrttim cha janAh na widuh AsurAh
na shaucham na api cha AchArah na satyam teshu widyate ||16.7||
“The demoniac know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity, nor right conduct, nor truth is found in them. The list enumerating the negative tendencies of the ‘fallen’ starts with the idea of ‘ignorance.'”

One who is incapable of deciding the actions to be pursued as well as those to be avoided by him, has no harmony within; and therefore, there is no inner purity, or outer cleanliness (saucha), for such an individual. If the mind is undisciplined there cannot be a decent, and well-regulated life, since outward behaviour (Achara) is nothing but an expression of the mind. Therefore, Krishna indicates that in them good conduct is conspicuous by its absence.

He who is confused about ‘action’ and ‘inaction,’ who has no purity, or external cleanliness, and who fails in good conduct, cannot maintain TRUTHFULNESS in his words. All through, if you read these terms very carefully in the spirit in which the Divine Charioteer has given them out you will find in them a divine tenderness for such ‘Diabolically Fallen’ folks. There is no revengefulness for the sinner anywhere, even hinted at, in the entire length of the Geeta. It is a logical conclusion that such a man must necessarily be untruthful in words, not because he is deliberately pursuing dishonesty, but because by temperament he is incapacitated to be honest.

What are the main causes of spiritual fall?

Man’s yielding to desire, anger and greed brings about his soul’s devolution.

yat tu pratyupakArArtham phalam uddishya wA punah deeyate cha pariklishtam tat dAnam rAjasam smrtam ||17.21||
“And that gift which is given with a view to receiving in return, or looking for fruit again, or reluctantly, is held to be RAJASIC.”

DESIRE, ANGER, GREED – The main theme of the entire chapter is to call man away from a life of sense-gratification into the ampler fields of desireless actions and egoless perfections. Where there is desire, anger is a natural corollary. The constant flying of an individual’s thoughts towards an object of gratification is called ‘desire,’ and when the steady flow of these thoughts of aggrandisement and possession are deflected by some obstacle, the refracted thoughts are called ‘anger.’ When disappointed in desire-gratifications, a storm of revolt rises in the mind, as a consequence of which anger soars up to toss, wreck, and sink the boat of life.

If ANGER is thus the thought-storm arising in our mind at the disappointment of a desire, GREED is the erosion of our mental strength and inner peace when desires are more and more satiated. When a desire gets fulfilled, an insatiable thirst for more and more joy holds the individual, and this endless appetite ruins the mental strength and saps dry the personality-vitality in the individual. Greed is a sense of dissatisfaction constantly pursuing and poisoning the sense of satisfaction that we have already experienced. In an undisciplined man, there can be no satisfaction at any time; even when his desires are satisfied he is unhappy, because his appetite for enjoyment is thereby sharpened and he hungers for more; if the desires are throttled, the disappointment brings into him anger, and he suffers the consequent wretchedness.

If this logic about the action and interaction between desire, anger, and greed is accepted, then we are forced to accept Krishna’s conclusion in this stanza: “THEREFORE ONE SHOULD FORSAKE THESE THREE.”