We find these verses in 16th chapter of Gita.

tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu

āsurīṁ yonim āpannā mūḍhā janmani janmani mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim

English translation by Swami Prabhupada:

BG 16.19: Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men,I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life. BG 16.20: Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, O son of Kuntī, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.

English Translation By Swami Gambirananda

16.19 I cast for ever those hateful, cruel, evil-doers in the worlds, the vilest of human beings, verily into the demoniacla classes. 16.20 Being born among the demoniacal species in births after births, the foods, without ever reaching Me, O son of Kunti, attain conditions lower than that.

English Translation By By Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

16.19. These hateful, cruel, basest men, I hurl incessantly into the inauspicious demoniac wombs alone in the cycle of birth-and-death. 16.20. Having come to the demoniac womb, birth after birth, and not attaining Me at all, these deluded persons, therefore, pass to the lowest state, O son of Kunti !

English Translation By Swami Sivananda

16.19 Those cruel haters, worst among men in the world, I hurl those evil-doers into the wombs of demons only. 16.20 Entering into demoniacal wombs and deluded, birth after birth, not attaining Me, they thus fall, O Arjuna, into a condition still lower than that.

English Translation by Shri Purohit Swami

16.19 Those who thus hate Me, who are cruel, the dregs of mankind, I condemn them to a continuous, miserable and godless rebirth. 16.20 So reborn, they spend life after life, enveloped in delusion. And they never reach Me, O Prince, but degenerate into still lower forms of life.

Krishna seems to suggest eternal samsara and all translated those verses that way.

Do these verses of Gita support eternal cycle of birth and death for some living beings and they have no way out?

  • 4
    The question should NOT be edited after getting answer.
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 7:26
  • @commonman, Yes I agree. Your question now pre-supposes the existence of someone called 'evil people'. which is what my answer tackles. There is no one called 'evil' person or 'good' person permanently. A person is evil as long as he continues to do evil acts. And doing evil act or good act is the person's own free will. Can you rollback your edit ?
    – ram
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 22:52
  • @ram reverted the title change Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 1:49
  • @KrishnaVarna, thx
    – ram
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 3:00

3 Answers 3


Samsara = bhumi + svarga + naraka

Samsara is eternal. Creation and Destruction have always happened and will always happen. 'yatha purvam akalpayat' - RigVeda 10.190.3

Krishna says :

I forever punish evil men

You interpreted :

I punish evil men forever

Krishna says :

Evil men never reach me

You interpreted :

Evil men never reach me

Good or Evil are characteristics of an action, not of a person.

If a person does a good action, we 'temporarily' label him as good person.
If a person does a evil action, we 'temporarily' label him as evil person.

You're wrongly assuming that once a person is labeled Good or Evil, they remain that way forever. That's not necessarily true. Because after they finish facing consequences of action, the person goes back to blank slate (kind of, cos vasanas of action still exist, and these powerful vasanas propel you to do same acts as before).

Bhagavan does not damn sinners to hell forever.
Bhagavan does not deign saints to heaven forever.

Both are temporary. After exhaustion of the rewards or punishments, the Jiva has to return to earth. 'kshine punye martya lokam vishanti' - Bhagavad Gita 9.21

Since Samsara is eternal, there will always be saints, sinners and normal people.
As long as sinners exists, Krishna will do his duty of punishing them. Duration of punishment depends on type of sin.

The Jiva, out of his own free-will, can choose to stay in samsara, or get out. But only the will is free, the consequences are not. That is in Bhagavan's hands.
Where he stays within samsara, what happens to him during his stay, and how long he stays, is a combination of his free-will to act, and Bhagavan's free-will to react.

The whole point of Bhagavan using such harsh words in Gita is to drive home this point :

A person, as long as he does evil acts, cannot reach Me.

  • 2
    his karma may get exhausted a bit after sinful reactions, but he still acts bad b/c of previous bad impressions. which will lead him again to lower lives and thus he can never approach lord. The straight reading of verses say that evil people never get liberated. Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 17:00
  • @KrishnaVarna, what do you mean by 'evil ? if i kill a mosquito, does that make me evil? what if i kill a chicken ? how about a man ? the point is 'evil' is not some fixed quantity. there are varying degrees of evil & sin. all of them cannot get same punishment. and none of them can get permanent punishment. according to your reading, if I kill a chicken, that makes me evil, and I can never be liberated ?
    – ram
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 18:18
  • 1
    @ram I think you meant to say: "you interpreted : Never will evil men reach me"
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 13:46
  • @KrishnaVarna "The straight reading of verses say that evil people never get liberated" I agree that the translation is confusing. However, to my knowledge the answer of user ram is correct since it agrees with other scriptures like the garuda purana.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 13:48

Sri Krishna says :

9.17 Of this world I am the father, mother, ordainer, (and the), grand-father; I am the knowable, the sancitifier, the syllable Om as also Rk, Sama and Yajus.

9.18 (I am) the fruit of actions, the nourisher, the Lord, witness, abode, refuge, friend, origin, end, foundation, store and the imperishable seed.

He, Who is the Mother, Father and Friend of ALL is certainly not that cruel to retain some people in the world of suffering eternally. And, He is not only the ordainer but also controls every action staying in the heart of ALL. (18.61).

It is obvious that to Him, none is detestable and HENCE EVIL also:

9.29 I am impartial towards all beings; to Me there is none detastable or none dear. But those who worship Me with devotion, they exist in Me, and I too exist in them.


Srila Prabhupad Purport to BG16.20

"It is known that God is all-merciful, but here we find that God is never merciful to the demoniac. It is clearly stated that the demoniac people, life after life, are put into the wombs of similar demons, and, not achieving the mercy of the Supreme Lord, they go down and down, so that at last they achieve bodies like those of cats, dogs and hogs. It is clearly stated that such demons have practically no chance of receiving the mercy of God at any stage of later life. In the Vedas also it is stated that such persons gradually sink to become dogs and hogs. It may be then argued in this connection that God should not be advertised as all-merciful if He is not merciful to such demons. In answer to this question, in the Vedānta-sūtra we find that the Supreme Lord has no hatred for anyone. The placing of the asuras, the demons, in the lowest status of life is simply another feature of His mercy. Sometimes the asuras are killed by the Supreme Lord, but this killing is also good for them, for in Vedic literature we find that anyone who is killed by the Supreme Lord becomes liberated. There are instances in history of many asuras – Rāvaṇa, Kaṁsa, Hiraṇyakaśipu – to whom the Lord appeared in various incarnations just to kill them. Therefore God’s mercy is shown to the asuras if they are fortunate enough to be killed by Him."

Basically the Jiva who is envious of the Lord and his Devotee continues to commit Offense and based on his Offenses the Lord continues to Punish the soul for their Karma. They go into lower and lower species of life like Asuras, Chandalas etc. So ordinarily there is no Chance for them to come out of this situation but if by chance they come in contact with a Devotee of the Lord or Lord himself advents and kills them then they can be freed from situation. So ordinarily they cannot be Freed unless there is an intervention by the Lord or his Devotees, the hellish condition is not forced on the jiva, the Jiva is constantly Doing wrong things and Constantly suffering based on previous Impressions and Karmas, even if karma's are exhausted the previous impressions and propensity to do wrong is not hence they continue to do wrong and continue to suffer so unless they get Vaishnav or Hari Kripa they will keep going down and down. Same thing goes for Punya Aatmas, unless a Vaishnav Gives Kripa till that time they will continue to enjoy senses and not attain Moksha.

However it's not Literally Eternal as the Srimad Bhagvatam also says that

Srimad Bhagvatam 2.4.18

"Kirāta, Hūṇa, Āndhra, Pulinda, Pulkaśa, Ābhīra, Śumbha, Yavana, members of the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him."

Srimad Bhagvatam 10.87.23

"Simply by constantly thinking of Him, the enemies of the Lord attained the same Supreme Truth whom sages fixed in yoga worship by controlling their breath, mind and senses"

Bhagavat Gita 9.23

"O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth-women, vaisyas [merchants], as well as sudras [workers]-can approach the supreme destination."

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