Are Demons Guilty?

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Today, while I was walking, I was thinking about how to answer your question. I saw a bum in the street, and then the answer came to my mind.

I imagined taking this really dirty and stinky person to a place where he could take a bath, shave his hairs, take a course on good manners, and treat his psychiatric problems. If we could do that, then that bum would be like anyone of us.

That condition is external, and it depends on external circumstances. It has nothing to do with what his real potential is, i.e. a human being.

Similarly, a demon is a very fallen and contaminated soul. He has thick layers of hate, lust, rage, and greed. But below all that dirt there is a pure spirit soul, brilliant as the sun. In some time, maybe after a few lives, who knows, he might have paid the reactions of his sins and get liberated, maybe becoming a gopa, a gopi, or a great acarya saving millions of follen souls.

Yes, as long as those layers of dirt remain hidden and suppressing his glorious svarupa, he can’t go back to Krishna.

But there are various ways by which that soul can begin his rehabilitation.
The most common is that even in during the most intense sense gratification, something in the heart of each and every living being there is something telling us that this is wrong.

That feeling is a starting point because Paramatma notices it. Srila Rupa Gosvami calls that moment as sraddha, the initial impetus for knowledge. That can take one year, one life, or several hundred lives. Nobody can tell when, but the path of return has begun.

The second part of your questions says:
If one causes problems to others, is his karma and dharma to do that, and then, what fault does he have?
Your reasoning sounds like this: “If I have a contagious disease, why shouldn’t I go around and mingle normally with people? It’s not my fault if I am sick.”
But actually, you are only innocent if you don’t know your state of health. If you know and you still mingle, you are guilty.

So, the fact that somebody has a demoniac nature does not deprive him of the results of his actions because he always has a choice. Just like some devotees, sometimes they misbehave even though they have all the instruments to avoid incurring in sin. They have perfect knowledge, association, and so on, but they still misbehave. Why? Because free choice is always there and our own nature is partially an excuse. He sins simply because he wants to sin.

Demons hurt people simply because they want to hurt people, and therefore they are guilty.


“Its own independent sweet will” means “natural”. It’s natural for trees to burn in presence of fire, even if they are not doing anything active to burn. In the same way, it’s natural for a Jiva to start advancing in spiritual life even if he has scarce desire.

The word ahaituki in the Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 verse is significant. There is nothing in this material world that can help in advancing in spiritual life. This is why bhakti is also called hetu, without material cause.
Therefore, the meaning of the word yadricchaya is that Bhakti is attractive and by its own actractive nature will eventually draw us toward the all-actractive Lord Krishna.

Thanks for your always wonderful questions. It is a pleasure to spend part of the day thinking on how to answer them.


This is a section of the book “A Sidelong Glance”.

To buy the complete book, click above



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