How would we be able to recognize an awakened person? Krishna lists some important virtues and characteristics of the yogi. These qualities both identify a yogi and can be used to further guide him to awakened experiences. We must first remember that these are qualities and expressions that already reside within each and every one of us, not attributes that we obtain through the practice of yoga. They are awakened and more fully and clearly expressed as a result of our yoga. These yogic virtues include the power of analysis, self-reflection, meditation, freedom from fear, generosity, modesty and many others.
The explanation of these yogic qualities is provided along with Krishna’s acknowledgement of the demonic, dark aspects of creation. He tells us that there are two ways, in particular, in which we can fall into evil. Some people have the tendency toward demonic acts because they consistently choose to deny that there is any bigger “source” or deeper meaning to life than what they already experience. By doing so, they refuse to know that their actions have consequences and often embark on a path of self-destruction. As claimed by many, passion or desire is the root cause of evil. We learned earlier in the text that healthy passions could be the very fuel that drives us to seek out, align with and act in ways that serve the greater good of all. But if we let this rajasic quality get out of control, its power grows exponentially (which we have all experienced) until it is nearly impossible to stop. All evil powers can be traced back to an initial desire.
Evil is a matter of choice. Since we, and the universe, are innately free (svatantriya) we always have the freedom of choice. We can choose to make decisions and act in ways that reflect and serve greater divine expansion or we can choose actions and words that lead us into bondage, disillusion and pain. Douglas Brooks quotes Krishna as saying, “evil is a matter of one’s refusal to participate in anything greater than oneself; the demonic path is an indulgence of ignorance…” (PFG, p. 154)