Shrimad Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 17

Shradhdha Traya Vibhag Yoga {The Yoga of Threefold Division of Faith}

Lord Shree Krishna Bhakti
Lord Shree Krishna Bhakti
Chapter 17

Arjuna said: O Lord Shree Krishna; those who disregarding the scriptural guidance, worship with faith indeed; what is their faith considered, Sattva (mode of goodness), Rajas (mode of passion) or Tamas (mode of ignorance)? (1)

Shree Bhagavan said: There are three kinds of faith in the embodied, that is inherent in one’s nature; hear that which is Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. (2)

Everyone has faith in accordance with the essence of one’s nature; O Arjuna, the scion of Bharata; possessing that faith, the human beings are whatever the nature of their faith is. (3)

Those with the Sattvic nature worship the Gods; those with the Rajasic nature, beings who exude power and wealth worship Semi-Celestial Gods and those persons with the Tamasic nature worship the Ghosts, Spirits and others. (4)

Those who practice severe austerities not prescribed by the scriptures; they are full of pride and egoism and are impelled by the force of desire and attachment. (5)

They torment the elements of the body and the consciousness dwelling in the body and even ME present within their bodies; know them to be of demoniacal resolves. (6)

Indeed, even food dear to all is of three kinds; hear now the distinction between sacrifice, austerity and charity. (7)

Foods which promote longevity, increase strength, health, happiness and satisfaction; which are juicy, succulent, nourishing, pleasing to the heart; are the foods dear to those of Sattvic nature. (8)

Foods that are bitter, sour, salty, very hot, pungent, dry, full of chilies are dear to persons of the Rajasic nature; these produce pain, grief, disease. (9)

Foods that are stale, tasteless, putrid, polluted and also which are left over and impure; such foods are dear to persons of Tamasic nature. (10)

That sacrifice which is performed without expectation of any reward is seen to be in accordance with the scriptural injunctions; that ought to be offered with conviction of the mind; is Sattvic in nature. (11)

But that which is performed motivated by the result and also for the sake of pride; O Arjuna, the best of the Bharatas; know that sacrifice as Rajasic. (12)

Without rituals, without preparation of food, without mantras, without gifts; sacrifice without faith; such sacrifice is to be considered Tamasic in nature. (13)

Worship of the Supreme Lord, Brahmins, Teachers and Scholars; purity and simplicity, celibacy and non-violence are declared as physical austerities. (14)

Truthful and beneficial words which do not cause distress; as well as, recitation of the Vedic scriptures is declared as the austerity of speech. (15)

Thus, serenity of thought, gentleness, silence, self-control, purity of purpose; these are declared as the austerity of the mind. (16)

The three kinds of austerities performed by persons devoted with firm faith without yearning for material rewards are designated as Sattvic in nature. (17)

That respect, honor, adoration, austerity which is performed for the sake of showoff; that is temporary and is said to be Rajasic. (18)

The austerities which are performed by tormenting the self by foolish efforts or for the destruction of another, that is called Tamasic. (19)

Thus, charity which is given to the worthy of charity, to one who cannot give in return, in the proper place, at the proper time and to a worthy person; that charity is regarded as Sattvic. (20)

But which is given with the hope of a return, reward, expectation or is given reluctantly; that charity is regarded as being Rajasic. (21)

Charity which is given at an untimely place and to the unworthy; that which is given with contempt and is without respect is declared to be Tamasic. (22)

Thus; OM, TAT and SAT, have to be remembered as the threefold instructions of the Supreme Absolute Truth; the Brahmanas, by that, the Vedas and the Sacrifices have been prescribed from the beginning of creation. (23)

Therefore, by chanting OM, the rituals of sacrifice, charity and austerities are performed; they are always carried out by the expounders of the Vedas according to the prescriptions of Vedic injunctions. (24)

Thus; the syllable TAT, is for the acts of sacrifice austerity and charity without desiring fruitive rewards. Various acts of charity are performed by those seeking salvation, freedom from material entanglements. (25)

Thus; the syllable SAT, is used with the intention of eternal existence and goodness; also, with auspicious intention; also, with auspicious action the word “SAT” is used; O Arjuna (O Partha, the son of Pritha). (26)

Thus, established in steadiness; in sacrifice, in penance and in charity is pronounced as SAT and thus indeed the action for such purposes is described as SAT. (27)

Thus, sacrifice, charity, penance which are practiced and done without faith are termed as false, non-existent, “ASAT”, O Arjuna (O Partha, the son of Pritha); and they do not exist here or hereafter. (28)