NOTE: This question is NOT a duplicate of this question.

The Manusmriti has this verse about the types of bodies one can enter due to different Gunas. Here are the bodies can can be born in due to being Sattvic:

12.39 - I am now going to describe, briefly, in due order, those migratory states into which one falls through each quality [Guna] from among these.


12.48 - Ascetics and hermits, Brāhmaṇas, celestial beings, lunar asterisms, and Daityas represent the first state partaking of ‘Sattva.’

This verse talks about the bodies one can be born in due to partaking in Sattva, as well as the actual Guna composition of the bodies, because another verse says:

12.81 - With whatever disposition a man performs an act, the fruit thereof he reaps with a body of that same quality.

And Medhatithi's commentary for verse 81:

When a man performs a certain act with a disposition partaking of the quality of ‘Sattva,’ or of that of ‘Rajas,’ or of that of ‘Tamas,’—the act also partaking of one of these same qualities of Sattva, Rajas or Tamas,—then it is ‘with a body of the same quality’—i.e., by one abounding either in Sattva or in Rajas or in Tamas—that ‘he reaps the result thereof,’—this result also partaking of either Sattva or Rajas or Tamas.

But my question is, why are Daityas said to be Sattvic in this verse? Daityas are Asuras (demons) who live in Patala and frequently attack the Devas in Swarga, and commit planetary genocide. Here is what Hiranyakashipu, a Daitya, did on Earth:

SB 7.2.10 — While I am engaged in the business of killing Lord Viṣṇu, go down to the planet earth, which is flourishing due to brahminical culture and a kṣatriya government. These people engage in austerity, sacrifice, Vedic study, regulative vows, and charity. Destroy all the people thus engaged!

SB 7.2.11 — ..... When the brāhmaṇas are killed, no one will exist to encourage the kṣatriyas to perform yajñas, and thus the demigods, not being appeased by yajña, will automatically die.

SB 7.2.14 — The demons set fire to the cities, villages, pasturing grounds, cowpens, gardens, agricultural fields and natural forests. They burned the hermitages of the saintly persons, the important mines that produced valuable metals, the residential quarters of the agriculturalists, the mountain villages, and the villages of the cow protectors, the cowherd men. They also burned the government capitals.

This doesn't sound very Sattvic.

Now, elsewhere, in other scriptures, Asuras are said to partake of the quality of Rajas.

From the Srimad Bhagavatam:

SB 7.1.8 — When the quality of goodness is prominent, the sages and demigods flourish with the help of that quality, with which they are infused and surcharged by the Supreme Lord. Similarly, when the mode of passion is prominent the demons [Asuras] flourish, and when ignorance is prominent the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas flourish. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone’s heart, fostering the reactions of sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa.

SB 11.25.19 — With the increase of the mode of goodness, the strength of the demigods similarly increases. When passion increases, the demoniac [Asuras] become strong. And with the rise of ignorance, O Uddhava, the strength of the most wicked [Rakshasas] increases.

What do other Manusmriti commentators, like Bharuci, say about this verse? Perhaps this could be a case of Kalpa-bheda, and Daityas were Sattvic in some Kalpa or time period.

  • Thenword Sattva does not necessarily mean the first of the three gunas. pl see sanskritdictionary.com/… – user17294 Feb 6 at 15:53
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    @ParthaBanerjee In the case of these Manusmriti verses, it is talking about the sattva guna, and not any other meaning of sattva. – Ikshvaku Feb 6 at 16:03
  • what do you mean by always? A word can hwve different meanings in the same book or passage! If Daityas are sattwika, it can never mean sattwa guna. As there are three consecutive slokas all having the different grades of sattwa – user17294 Feb 6 at 16:07
  • @ParthaBanerjee Those are the grades of Sattva guna: low, middling, and high. "I am now going to describe, briefly, in due order, those migratory states into which one falls through each quality from among these." – Ikshvaku Feb 6 at 16:17
  • yes, and that means its not just sattva raja and tama – user17294 Feb 6 at 16:19

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