Question 151: Self and self-awareness

three demons The young Rama tells the sage, you have advised me to be like Bhim, Bhas and Dridh and not like Dam, Vyal and Kat. Sage Vasishtha tells the story of Dam, Vyal and Kat, and so doing, exposes sankalpa (will), ego, and awareness of the body and the desires that arise from that. It is an interesting – and thoughtful – narrative.

patala desh netherworld; underworld; lower astral plane,

akash space

vasana impressions from previous births


Question 151: Sir, you have advised me to be like Bhim, Bhas and Dridh and not like Dam, Vyal and Kat. Kindly narrate this story to me and enrich my knowledge.

Answer: Ramji, I shall first narrate the story of Dam, Vyal and Kat. As you reflect on it, you will be relieved of your doubts and agony. There lived in the netherworld (patala desh) a great demon named Samber who wielded immense occult powers. With these powers he created in akash a fancy city which included palaces, shrines, parks, the sun, the moon, demons with their wives, and trees that bore fruits as beautiful as the moon. Also, the city had been made attractive with many other features. All the demons and their ladies recognised Samber as their king.

When Samber went to sleep or out of the town, the soldiers of the gods would attack and plunder this city. Samber, therefore, created an army general for protection of his subjects and the city, but he was killed by the gods. This enraged Samber and he invaded Amarpuri, a city of gods. The gods fled in different directions. When Samber found none there, he was enraged still further, and ordered the area to be burnt and ran in search of gods to massacre them. With his occult powers, the enraged demon created three more powerful generals to take care of his army. The three generals were huge like rocks and fought like replicas of death. Their names were Dam, Vyal and Kat. They carried huge weapons with them and acted as they pleased. They had no dharma because they did not carry with them the impressions (vasana) of previous births; they were just consciousness.

They did not possess body-ego. They were just an ideation and were created for the destruction of their enemies, and they continued to do that. They were free from vasana for any particular action, and carried on their functions without vasana. They had no idea of their own fall or that of others and did not know running away. They were unaware of defeat or victory and knew only how to operate their weapons. They were so powerful that a rock could be smashed into rubble with their blow. Samber was pleased with them and was sure that no one would be able to vanquish them. All the three warrior-demons were unaware of the being of their bodies and hence nobody could kill them. Samber appointed them as the chief of his forces for the protection of his subjects.

When the gods learnt about this, they came out of hiding, and there was a severe fighting between the opposing forces in which heavy losses were suffered by each side. The three demons had many bouts with the gods but they were unaffected; they had no consciousness of their bodies and no weapon could kill them. They inflicted heavy losses on the gods who were ultimately defeated in the battle. On their return to the netherworld (patala desh), the demons fully narrated the events to their master — Samber — who was highly pleased with them. On the other hand, the gods were highly concerned and thought of ways and means of protecting themselves from the demons and defeating them. Seeing them in distress, Lord Brahma approached them and the gods acquainted Him with their problems, and sought His guidance.

Lord Brahma said, “It is not easy to kill them because they are established in the sankalpa of Samber and are without a sankalpa of their own. Those who have ego can be killed easily, but Dam, Vyal and Kat are without ego and cannot be killed at all. The only way to destroy them is to arouse ego in them, and I shall suggest to you a way. While fighting with them, change your positions before them continuously, sometimes keep to the right, sometimes to the left, sometimes in front and sometimes run away. When this technique is followed for a sufficient time, ego will sprout in them and they will feel they have some entity. Thereafter, they will have the idea of being individuals as Dam, Vyal or Kat. When their ego is strengthened, you will be able to defeat them. It is easy to conquer those who are bound with desires (vasana) and are engaged in vice under the influence of their vasanas. But those who are wise and desireless, whose intelligence is free from bondage and who are in tranquillity, both in favourable and in unfavourable situations, cannot be vanquished. Do not depend upon weapons, but try to arouse vasana in Dam, Vyal and Kat and you will be able to gain victory over them. These three demons are the creations of demon Samber’s sankalpa and are free from vasana in their minds. When you engage them in battle continuously, ego will arise in them and you will be able to conquer them. I have suggested to you the way of winning the battle.”

As advised by Lord Brahma, the gods invaded these demons and engaged them in action. They kept changing their positions continuously and only occasionally used their weapons on them, with the result that in due course ego was aroused in Dam, Vyal and Kat. Vasana grew in them and they started chasing the gods in different directions and tried to save their bodies. They were seized with a fear of death and a feeling arose in them that they would not be able to fight properly. They were overtaken by desires and their attention was fixed on their bodies. They lost courage and patience, cognised the gods as their enemies and tried for their own safety. Their powers declined. Due to ego and ideation, desire for food and such grew in them. They became afraid of gods and looked for their own safety. They became unhappy and could not kill those who were against them. They were so much seized with the fear of death that they fled for their safety from the battlefield along with their armies. Thus the gods won the battle.

Fearing the fury of Samber, the three demons Dam, Vyal and Kat ran away to the kingdom of Lord Yama (the god of death) where they sought refuge with the agents of Lord Yama. There they got married and had children. They were bound in attachment to their children. One day when Lord Yama came to that place, all his agents showed due courtesy and respect to Him, but the three demons being unaware of the majesty of the Lord did not greet Him. This earned them the wrath of Yama who ordered his agents to throw them into fire and all the three were burnt. Due to their inferior tendencies at the time of their death, they had rebirth in the house of a hunter. There they spent their life-time catching birds and fish. After death, they had different births as of elephants, foxes, falcons, mosquitoes, insects, etc. They kept wandering in this cycle but did not get peace.

Ramji, ego and vasana are great sources of misery, and one gets peace only when one abandons them. A jiva who is deprived of discrimination, undergoes immense sufferings. Therefore, realise the falsehood of ego and recognise yourself as a non-entity. On attaining this firm faith, you will enjoy immense bliss.

When you break a coconut in the temple, you should feel that your egoism is broken too. The coconut offering is not made so that God may consume the kernel! It is a symbol of the destruction of ahamkara (the tyranny of the ego), which has to be split into two at one stroke, the stroke of wisdom. When do you get that effect? When does the coconut break at one stroke? When the fibrous cover of the shell is removed, isn’t it? So too, man must remove the fibrous matter that encases his heart, lust, anger envy and the rest of the wicked brood. Man is the repository of vast power; he is no weakling. It is the vicious tendencies that make him weak, the dur-vasanas as they are called. Draw inspiration from the Divine in you and earn the glory of being good, sincere, honest self-sacrificing, lovable. Hear good things, see good, do good, think good – then, all the evil tendencies will be uprooted.

You can be involved in Samsara or the qualities of life, but remember, no harm can accrue if you consider the life of a house-holder, with wife and children, as a training ground for spiritual life. You wear glasses to correct the vision, to improve the sight. So too, enter the family, society and also politics to correct the vision and improve the sight. Use the opportunities confronting you there for developing detachment and self-sacrifice. If you don’t, you are like the fool who puts on wrong glasses and spoils his vision! -Vidwanmahasabha 13-12-64


three demons
three demons sans vasana



Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”