Suras and Asuras

Suras and Asuras

The stories of the Suras, Asuras, Rishis and Yogis are largely detailed in the Puranas. This includes the many “divine” antics of both Venus (Shukra) and Jupiter (Brihispati). Following the story line, Shukra was the Guru of the Asuras and Brihispati was the Guru of the Suras. The distinction between the two camps was explained in various ways, but the canonical division portrays the Suras holding the goals of Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksha, while the Asuras hold only the goals of Artha, Kama and Dharma.

It was the quest for Moksha which separated the Suras from the Asuras and gave them their distinct identities as opposing camps. The import of this distinction was intended to indicate a lack of spiritual inclination among the Asuras. Artha, Kama and Dharma are almost exclusively related to the body and lifespan. Moksha refers to release or liberation from the karmic cycle of death and rebirth on the earth plane. It is considered the highest of the four aims of life.

The battles between the Suras and Asuras remain ancient stories intended to convey material/spiritual values. If they strike a chord in the curious, I would recommend a study of the source texts available at most established academic libraries. Not much of a peep or PR on the topic of Moksha found in most quarters, though it remains the goal of spiritual yoga by definition. In my opinion, the idea of Sura and Asura can also be looked at as a race distinction. In this sense we are well aware of the inconsistencies that arise when one race defines another. The Asuras often spoke of the Suras as lazy. The Suras often spoke of the Asuras as materialistic.  Neither view correctly encompasses all members of either race. And the story goes on …

Kapilnath

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