SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA: CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
The Three Types of Faith
arjunah uvacha–Arjuna said: (he) krsna–O Krishna; ka–what; nistha–is the position; tesam–of those; ye–who; utsrjya–ignore; sastra-vidhim–the scriptural injunctions; tu–yet; sraddhaya-anvitah (santah)–faithfully; yajante–worship? (sa kim)–Is that; sattvam–in goodness; aho rajah–or passion; (uta) tamah–or ignorance?
1 Arjuna inquired: O Krishna, what is the position of those who worship with faith, but ignore the injunctions of the scriptures? Is their faith in the mode of goodness, passion, or ignorance?
sri-bhagavan uvacha–The Supreme Lord said: sraddha eva–Faith; dehinam–of the living beings; bhavati–is; tri-vidha iti–of these three types: sattviki–good; rajasi cha–passionate; tamasi cha–and ignorant. sa–That faith; sva-bhava-ja–is born of their own nature acquired from impressions of previous lives. tam srnu–Now hear of that.
2 The Supreme Lord said: Faith is of three types, born of the embodied soul's acquired nature, whether good, passionate, or ignorant. Now hear of this:
sattvanurupa sarvasya, sraddha bhavati bharata
(he) bharata–O descendant of Bharata; sraddha–the faith; sarvasya–of all living beings; bhavati–is; sattva-anurupa–according to their consciousness. ayam purusah–The living being; sraddha-mayah–possesses faith by constitution. sah–He; sah eva–is that; yah yat sraddhah–which his faith is.
3 O Bharata, the faith of all living beings is governed by their consciousness. The living being possesses faith by constitution. He is that which his faith is.
yajante sattvika devan, yaksa-raksamsi rajasah
sattvikah–Those with faith of the nature of goodness; yajante–worship; devan–demigods of the nature of goodness. rajasah–Those of passionate faith; yajante–worship; yaksa-raksamsi–the Yaksa demigods and Raksasa demons of passionate nature. anye–Others; tamasah janah–who possess ignorant faith; (yajante)–worship; pretan bhuta-ganan cha–the ghosts and spirits of the nature of ignorance.
4 Persons with faith of the nature of goodness worship the demigods, persons with faith of a passionate nature worship the Yaksa demigods and Raksasa demons, while those with faith of the nature of ignorance worship the ghosts and spirits.
asastra-vihitam ghoram, tapyante ye tapo janah
achetasah–Ignorant; janah–persons; ye–who; tapyante–perform; ghoram–severe; tapah–austerities; asastra-vihitam–unsanctioned by the scriptures; dambha-ahankarasam yuktah–full of pride and egoism; kama-raga-bala-anvitah–and impelled by desire, attachment and power; karsayantah–torture; bhuta-gramam–the five basic material elements; sarira-stham–in the body; (karsayantah) mam cha eva–and also torment Me, in the form of My particle, the spirit soul, the jivatman; antah sarira-stham–in the body. viddhi–Know; tan–them; asura-nischayan–to be of demoniacal conviction.
5-6 Full of pride and egoism, motivated by ambition, attachment and power, ignorant persons perform severe austerities unsanctioned by the scriptures and torture the body's natural elements and the soul within. Know them to be of demoniacal faith.
aharas tv api sarvasya, tri-vidho bhavati priyah
(guna bhedat)–According to the three modes of material nature; bhavati tu api–there are also; tri-vidhah aharah–three kinds of food; priyah–pleasing; sarvasya–to everyone. tatha–There are similarly; (tri vidham)–three kinds; yajnah–of sacrifice; tapah–austerity; danam–and charity. srnu–Now hear of; imam–this; bhedam–classification; tesam–of them.
7 According to the three modes of material nature, there are also three kinds of food preference. In the same way, there are three kinds of sacrifice, three kinds of austerity, and three kinds of charity. Now hear of these:
aharah–Foods; ayuh-sattva-bala-arogya-sukha-priti-vivardhanah–that increase longevity, vitality, strength, health, happiness and loving kindness; rasyah–tasty; snigdhah–succulent; sthirah–wholesome; hrdyah–and pleasant; (bhavati)–are; sattvika-priyah–dear to persons of the nature of goodness.
8 Foods that increase longevity, vitality, strength, health, happiness and loving kindness, and which are tasty, succulent, wholesome and pleasant, are dear to persons of the nature of goodness.
aharah–Food; katu-amla-lavana-ati-usna-tiksna-ruksa-vidahinah–that is too bitter, too sour, too salty, too hot, too pungent, too dry, and overheating; duhkha-sokaamaya-pradah–and which cause pain, sorrow and illness; (bhavati)–are; istah–dear; rajasasya–to the passionate.
9 Foods dear to persons of passionate nature are too bitter (nimba, etc.), too sour, too salty, too hot, too pungent (chilli pepper, etc.), too dry (dry-roasted chickpeas, etc.), and too heating (mustard seed, etc.). Such foods cause pain, sorrow and illness.
yata-yamam gata-rasam, puti paryusitam cha yat
yat bhojanam–That food which is; yata-yamam–cooked, but left to become cold; gata-rasam–tasteless; puti–odoriferous; paryusitam cha–putrid; uchchhistam api–remnants (other than that of worshippable persons); amedhyam cha–and impure foods unofferable in sacrifice (meat, wine and onions, etc.); (tat bhavati)–such food is; tamasapriyam–dear to the ignorant.
10 Dear to the ignorant are foods that are stale, tasteless, foul-smelling or were cooked the day before, remnants (other than that of worshippable persons), and impure foods (such as meat, wine, and onions).
aphalakanksibhir yajno, vidhi-disto ya ijyate
sah yajnah–That sacrifice; yah ijyate–which is performed; vidhi-distah–according to scriptural injunctions; aphala-akanksibhih–by one who does not hanker for its fruit; manah samadhaya–with the firm conviction; yastavyam eva iti–and dutifully; sattvikah–is sacrifice of the nature of goodness.
11 That sacrifice which is in accordance with scriptural injunctions and faithfully performed by a person free from fruitive desire, is sacrifice of the nature of goodness.
abhisandhaya tu phalam, dambhartham api chaiva yat
tu–But; (he) bharata-srestha–O Bharata; yat–that which; ijyate–is performed; abhisandhaya–motivated by; phalam–remuneration; dambha-artham api cha eva–and which is a show of pomp and grandeur; viddhi–know; tam yajnam–that sacrifice; rajasam–to be of a passionate nature.
12 But, O Bharata, know that sacrifice which is performed in fruitive expectation and as a display of pomp and grandeur, is sacrifice of the nature of passion.
vidhi-hinam asrstannam, mantra-hinam adaksinam
vidhi-hinam–Non-scriptural; yajnam–sacrifice; asrsta-annam–without the distribution of food, etc.; mantra-hinam–without mantra; adaksinam–without appropriate offerings to the priests; sraddha-virahitam–and without faith; parichaksate–is called; tamasam–ignorant.
13 And that sacrifice which ignores the injunctions of the scriptures, which is performed without the distribution of foodstuffs, without uttering the appropriate mantras, without offerings to the priests and without faith, is known as sacrifice in ignorance.
deva-dvija-guru-prajna-, pujanam saucham arjavam
deva-dvija-guru-prajna-pujanam–Worship of the deity, the brahmana, the guru, and the enlightened soul; saucham–internal and external purity; arjavam–simplicity; brahmacharyam–celibacy; ahimsa cha–and nonviolence; uchyate–are called; sariram–bodily; tapah–austerity.
14 Worship of the deity, the brahmana, the spiritual master and the enlightened soul, purity, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence-these all constitute austerity of the body.
anudvega-karam vakyam, satyam priya-hitam cha yat
satyam–Truthful; vakyam–speech; yat–which; anudvega-karam–does not disturb; priya-hitam cha–and is pleasing yet beneficial; svadhyaya-abhyasanam cha eva–and regular recitation of the Vedas; uchyate–is called; vak-mayam–verbal; tapah–austerity.
15 Speech which does not disturb others, which is truthful, pleasing yet beneficial, as well as regular recitation of the Vedas-all these are known as verbal austerity.
manah prasadah saumyatvam, maunam atma-vinigrahah
iti etat–All these; uchyate–are called; manasam–mental; tapah–austerity: manah prasadah–self-satisfaction; saumyatvam–benevolence; maunam–stability; atma-vinigrahah–mental control; bhava-samsuddhih–and pureheartedness.
16 Self-satisfaction, benevolence, stability, mental control and pureheartedness are all known as mental austerity.
sraddhaya paraya taptam, tapas tat tri-vidham naraih
taptam–When practised; yuktaih–by the devout; aphala-akanksibhih–desireless; naraih–person; paraya–with deep; sraddhaya–faith; tat–that; tri-vidham tapah–threefold austerity (bodily, verbal, and mental); parichaksate–are designated as; sattvikam–being of the nature of goodness.
17 When performed by a desireless, devout soul with deep faith in the Supreme Lord, this threefold austerity of thought, word and deed is of the nature of goodness.
satkara-mana-pujartham, tapo dambhena chaiva yat
tat–That; chalam–unenduring; adhruvam–transitory; tapah–austerity; yat–which; kriyate–is performed; satkara-mana-puja-artham–for the sake of gain, worship, and fame; dambhena cha eva–and performed with great pride; iha proktam–is designated in this world as; rajasam–passionate austerity.
18 That unenduring, transitory austerity which is proudly performed for the sake of gain, worship, name and fame, is known as austerity of the nature of passion.
mudha-grahenatmano yat, pidaya kriyate tapah
tat tapah–That austerity; yat–which; kriyate–is performed; mudha-grahena–with dubious intent; pidaya–causing pain; atmanah–to oneself; va–or; utsadana-artham–for harming; parasya–others; udahrtam–is described as; tamasam–ignorant.
19 That austerity which is performed with dubious intent, causing self-torture or meant to harm others, is known as austerity of the nature of ignorance.
datavyam iti yad danam, diyate 'nupakarine
danam–The gift; yat–which; diyate–is given; anupakarine iti–without expectation of return; dese–at an auspicious or holy place; kale cha–at an astrologically auspicious time; patre–to a qualified recipient; datavyam cha–and with the conviction that it ought to be given; tat danam–that gift; smrtam–is considered; sattvikam–to be of the nature of goodness.
20 The gift which is given without expectation of return, with the conviction that it ought to be given, at an appropriate place and time, and to an appropriate recipient, is considered to be of the nature of goodness.
yat tu praty-upakarartham, phalam uddisya va punah
yat tu–And that which; diyate–is given; prati-upakara-artham–with expectation of return; va–or; phalam uddisya–for the purpose of a reward; punah cha–and moreover; pariklistam–(is given) begrudgingly; tat danam–that gift; smrtam–is considered; rajasam–to be of the nature of passion.
21 Otherwise, the gift begrudgingly given in expectation of gaining something in return, or with a desire for a reward (such as the attainment of heaven), is considered to be of the nature of passion.
adesa-kale yad danam, apatrebhyas cha diyate
yat danam–That gift which; diyate–is given; asat-krtam–disrespectfully; avajnatam cha–and scornfully; adesa-kale–at an improper place and time; apatrebhyah–to an undeserving recipient; tat–that gift; udahrtam–is described as; tamasam–being of the nature of ignorance.
22 The gift given disrespectfully and scornfully to an unworthy recipient at an improper place and time is considered to be of the nature of ignorance.
om-tat-sad iti nirdeso, brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
iti–These; tri-vidhah–three words: om-tat-sat–Om Tat Sat; smrtah–are known in the scriptures as; nirdesah–indicating; brahmanah–Brahman, the Supeme Spirit. pura–In ancient times, at the universal manifestation; brahmanah–the brahmanas; vedah cha–the Vedas; yajnah cha–and sacrifices; vihitah–were manifested; tena–by these three words.
23 The scriptures say that the words Om Tat Sat indicate Brahman, the Supreme Spirit. At the time of the universal manifestation, the brahmanas, the Vedas and sacrifices were manifested by these three words.
tasmad om ity udahrtya, yajna-dana-tapah-kriyah
tasmat–Therefore; vidhana-uktah–scripturally prescribed; yajna-dana-tapah-kriyah–duties of sacrifice, charity and austerity; brahma-vadinam–of the followers of the Vedas; satatam pravartante–are always initiated; udahrtya–uttering; om iti–the syllable Om, representing Brahman, the Absolute.
24 Thus the followers of the Vedas always utter the syllable Om representing Brahman, the Absolute, to initiate their prescribed duties of sacrifice, charity and austerity.
tad ity anabhisandhaya, phalam yajna-tapah-kriyah
moksa-kanksibhih–Persons aspiring for liberation; (udahrtya)–uttering; tat iti–the word Tat, representing Brahman, the Absolute; kriyante–perform; vividhah yajnatapah-kriyah–acts of various kinds of sacrifice and austerity; dana-kriyah cha–and acts of charity; anabhisandhaya–without motivation; phalam–for the fruits.
25 Persons aspiring for liberation utter the word Tat, representing Brahman, the Absolute, to invoke the performance of various acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity without motivation for the results.
sad-bhave sadhu-bhave cha, sad ity etat prayujyate
(he) partha–O son of Kunti; sat iti–the word Sat, representing Brahman, the Absolute; prayujyate–is used; sat-bhave–to indicate truth, the nature of Brahman; sadhu-bhave cha–and persons dedicated to the truth, knowers of Brahman. tatha–Therefore; etat satsabdah–this word Sat; yujyate–is uttered; prasaste karmani–during auspicious activities.
26 O Partha, the word Sat, representing Brahman, the Absolute, indicates the truth and persons dedicated to the truth. Therefore, the word Sat is uttered to invoke the performance of auspicious activities.
yajne tapasi dane cha, sthitih sad iti chochyate
sthitih–The eternality; yajne–in sacrifice; tapasi–austerity; dane cha–and charity; uchyate–is described; sat iti cha–by this word Sat. karma cha eva–And action; tatarthi yam–for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord; abhidhiyate–is designated; sat iti eva–by the word Sat.
27 The word Sat is said to indicate the eternality of sacrifice, austerity and charity. And action for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord is called Sat—truth.
asraddhaya hutam dattam, tapas taptam krtam cha yat
(he) partha–O Arjuna; yat–whatever; hutam–sacrifice is offered; dattam–charity is given; tapah taptam–austerity is endured; cha–and; krtam–action is performed; asraddhaya–without faith; tat–that; uchyate–is described; asat iti–as asat, untruth; (yatah tat)–because that; (phalati)–fructifies; na u iha–neither in this world; na cha pretya–nor the next.
28 O Partha, sacrifice, charity and austerity or any action performed without faith in the Supreme is known as asat, or untruth. Such works cannot bring an auspicious result, either in this world or the next.
iti sri-mahabharate sata-sahasryam samhitayam vaiyasikyam
End of Chapter Seventeen
The Three Types of Faith
from the conversation
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