CHAPTER 17: The three types of Faith
©2001, TheBhagavatGita.com



Text: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26-27, 28

TEXT 1

arjuna uvaca
ye sastra-vidhim utsrjya
yajante sraddhayanvitah
tesam nistha tu ka krsna
sattvam aho rajas tamah

WORD FOR WORD

arjunah uvaca -- Arjuna said; ye -- those who; sastra-vidhim -- the regulations of scripture; utsrjya -- giving up; yajante -- worship; sraddhaya -- full faith; anvitah -- possessed of; tesam -- of them; nistha -- the faith; tu -- but; ka -- what; krsna -- O Krishna; sattvam -- in goodness; aho -- or else; rajah -- in passion; tamah -- in ignorance.

TRANSLATION

Arjuna inquired: O Krishna, what is the situation of those who do not follow the principles of scripture but worship according to their own imagination? Are they in goodness, in passion or in ignorance?

 



TEXT 2

sri-bhagavan uvaca
tri-vidha bhavati sraddha
dehinam sa svabhava-ja
sattviki rajasi caiva
tamasi ceti tam srnu

WORD FOR WORD

sri-bhagavan uvaca -- The Supreme said; tri-vidha -- of three kinds; bhavati -- becomes; sraddha -- the faith; dehinam -- of the embodied; sa -- that; sva-bhava-ja -- according to his mode of material nature; sattviki -- in the mode of goodness; rajasi -- in the mode of passion; ca -- also; eva -- certainly; tamasi -- in the mode of ignorance; ca -- and; iti -- thus; tam -- that; srnu -- hear from Me.

TRANSLATION

The Supreme said: According to the modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one's faith can be of three kinds -- in goodness, in passion or in ignorance. Now hear about this.

 



TEXT 3

sattvanurupa sarvasya
sraddha bhavati bharata
sraddha-mayo 'yam puruso
yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah

WORD FOR WORD

sattva-anurupa -- according to the existence; sarvasya -- of everyone; sraddha -- faith; bhavati -- becomes; bharata -- O son of Bharata; sraddha -- faith; mayah -- full of; ayam -- this; purusah -- living entity; yah -- who; yat -- having which; sraddhah -- faith; sah -- thus; eva -- certainly; sah -- he.

TRANSLATION

O son of Bharata, according to one's existence under the various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to the modes he has acquired.

 



TEXT 4

yajante sattvika devan
yaksa-raksamsi rajasah
pretan bhuta-ganams canye
yajante tamasa janah

WORD FOR WORD

yajante -- worship; sattvikah -- those who are in the mode of goodness; devan -- demigods; yaksa-raksamsi -- demons; rajasah -- those who are in the mode of passion; pretan -- spirits of the dead; bhuta-ganan -- ghosts; ca -- and; anye -- others; yajante -- worship; tamasah -- in the mode of ignorance; janah -- people.

TRANSLATION

Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits.

 



TEXTS 5-6

asastra-vihitam ghoram
tapyante ye tapo janah
dambhahankara-samyuktah
kama-raga-balanvitah

karsayantah sarira-stham
bhuta-gramam acetasah
mam caivantah sarira-stham
tan viddhy asura-niscayan

WORD FOR WORD

asastra -- not in the scriptures; vihitam -- directed; ghoram -- harmful to others; tapyante -- undergo; ye -- those who; tapah -- austerities; janah -- persons; dambha -- with pride; ahankara -- and egoism; samyuktah -- engaged; kama -- of lust; raga -- and attachment; bala -- by the force; anvitah -- impelled; karsayantah -- tormenting; sarira-stham -- situated within the body; bhuta-gramam -- the combination of material elements; acetasah -- having a misled mentality; mam -- Me; ca -- also; eva -- certainly; antah -- within; sarira-stham -- situated in the body; tan -- them; viddhi -- understand; asura-niscayan -- demons.

TRANSLATION

Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride and egoism, who are impelled by lust and attachment, who are foolish and who torture the material elements of the body as well as the Supersoul dwelling within, are to be known as demons.

 



TEXT 7

aharas tv api sarvasya
tri-vidho bhavati priyah
yajnas tapas tatha danam
tesam bhedam imam srnu

WORD FOR WORD

aharah -- eating; tu -- certainly; api -- also; sarvasya -- of everyone; tri-vidhah -- of three kinds; bhavati -- there is; priyah -- dear; yajnah -- sacrifice; tapah -- austerity; tatha -- also; danam -- charity; tesam -- of them; bhedam -- the differences; imam -- this; srnu -- hear.

TRANSLATION

Even the food each person prefers is of three kinds, according to the three modes of material nature. The same is true of sacrifices, austerities and charity. Now hear of the distinctions between them.

 



TEXT 8

ayuh-sattva-balarogya-
sukha-priti vivardhanah
rasyah snigdhah sthira hrdya
aharah sattvika-priyah

WORD FOR WORD

ayuh -- duration of life; sattva -- existence; bala -- strength; arogya -- health; sukha -- happiness; priti -- and satisfaction; vivardhanah -- increasing; rasyah -- juicy; snigdhah -- fatty; sthirah -- enduring; hrdyah -- pleasing to the heart; aharah -- food; sattvika -- to one in goodness; priyah -- palatable.

TRANSLATION

Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one's existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart.



TEXT 9

katv-amla-lavanaty-usna-
tiksna-ruksa-vidahinah
ahara rajasasyesta
duhkha-sokamaya-pradah

WORD FOR WORD

katu -- bitter; amla -- sour; lavana -- salty; ati usna -- very hot; tiksna -- pungent; ruksa -- dry; vidahinah -- burning; aharah -- food; rajasasya -- to one in the mode of passion; istah -- palatable; duhkha -- distress; soka -- misery; amaya -- disease; pradah -- causing.

TRANSLATION

Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause distress, misery and disease.



TEXT 10

yata-yamam gata-rasam
puti paryusitam ca yat
ucchistam api camedhyam
bhojanam tamasa-priyam

WORD FOR WORD

yata-yamam -- food cooked three hours before being eaten; gata-rasam -- tasteless; puti -- bad-smelling; paryusitam -- decomposed; ca -- also; yat -- that which; ucchistam -- remnants of food eaten by others; api -- also; ca -- and; amedhyam -- untouchable; bhojanam -- eating; tamasa -- to one in the mode of darkness; priyam -- dear.

TRANSLATION

Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness.

 



TEXT 11

aphalakanksibhir yajno
vidhi-disto ya ijyate
yastavyam eveti manah
samadhaya sa sattvikah

WORD FOR WORD

aphala-akanksibhih -- by those devoid of desire for result; yajnah -- sacrifice; vidhi-distah -- according to the direction of scripture; yah -- which; ijyate -- is performed; yastavyam -- must be performed; eva -- certainly; iti -- thus; manah -- mind; samadhaya -- fixing; sah -- it; sattvikah -- in the mode of goodness.

TRANSLATION

Of sacrifices, the sacrifice performed according to the directions of scripture, as a matter of duty, by those who desire no reward, is of the nature of goodness.

 



TEXT 12

abhisandhaya tu phalam
dambhartham api caiva yat
ijyate bharata-srestha
tam yajnam viddhi rajasam

WORD FOR WORD

abhisandhaya -- desiring; tu -- but; phalam -- the result; dambha -- pride; artham -- for the sake of; api -- also; ca -- and; eva -- certainly; yat -- that which; ijyate -- is performed; bharata-srestha -- O chief of the Bharatas; tam -- that; yajnam -- sacrifice; viddhi -- know; rajasam -- in the mode of passion.

TRANSLATION

But the sacrifice performed for some material benefit, or for the sake of pride, O chief of the Bharatas, you should know to be in the mode of passion.

 



TEXT 13

vidhi-hinam asrstannam
mantra-hinam adaksinam
sraddha-virahitam yajnam
tamasam paricaksate

WORD FOR WORD

vidhi-hinam -- without scriptural direction; asrsta-annam -- without distribution of prasadam; mantra-hinam -- with no chanting of the Vedic hymns; adaksinam -- with no remunerations to the priests; sraddha -- faith; virahitam -- without; yajnam -- sacrifice; tamasam -- in the mode of ignorance; paricaksate -- is to be considered.

TRANSLATION

Any sacrifice performed without regard for the directions of scripture, without distribution of prasadam [spiritual food], without chanting of Vedic hymns and remunerations to the priests, and without faith is considered to be in the mode of ignorance.

 



TEXT 14

deva-dvija-guru-prajna-
pujanam saucam ariavam
brahmacaryam ahimsa ca
sariram tapa ucyate

WORD FOR WORD

deva -- of the Supreme Lord; dvija -- the brahmanas; guru -- the spiritual master; prajna -- and worshipable personalities; pujanam -- worship; saucam -- cleanliness; arjavam -- simplicity; brahmacaryam -- celibacy; ahimsa -- nonviolence; ca -- also; sariram -- pertaining to the body; tapah -- austerity; ucyate -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence.

 



TEXT 15

anudvega-karam vakyam
satyam priya-hitam ca yat
svadhyayabhyasanam caiva
van-mayam tapa ucyate

WORD FOR WORD

anudvega-karam -- not agitating; vakyam -- words; satyam -- truthful; priya -- dear; hitam -- beneficial; ca -- also; yat -- which; svadhyaya -- of Vedic study; abhyasanam -- practice; ca -- also; eva -- certainly; vak-mayam -- of the voice; tapah -- austerity; ucyate -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.

 



TEXT 16

manah-prasadah saumyatvam
maunam atma-vinigrahah
bhava-samsuddhir ity etat
tapo manasam ucyate

WORD FOR WORD

manah-prasadah -- satisfaction of the mind; saumyatvam -- being without duplicity towards others; maunam -- gravity; atma -- of the self; vinigrahah -- control; bhava -- of one's nature; samsuddhih -- purification; iti -- thus; etat -- this; tapah -- austerity; manasam -- of the mind; ucyate -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one's existence are the austerities of the mind.

 



TEXT 17

sraddhaya paraya taptam
tapas tat tri-vidham naraih
aphalakanksibhir yuktaih
sattvikam paricaksate

WORD FOR WORD

sraddhaya -- with faith; paraya -- transcendental; taptam -- executed; tapah -- austerity; tat -- that; tri-vidham -- of three kinds; naraih -- by men; aphala-akanksibhih -- who are without desires for fruits; yuktaih -- engaged; sattvikam -- in the mode of goodness; paricaksate -- is called.

TRANSLATION

This threefold austerity, performed with transcendental faith by men not expecting material benefits but engaged only for the sake of the Supreme, is called austerity in goodness.



TEXT 18

satkara-mana-pujartham
tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tad iha proktam
rajasam calam adhruvam

WORD FOR WORD

sat-kara -- respect; mana -- honor; puja -- and worship; artham -- for the sake of; tapah -- austerity; dambhena -- with pride; ca -- also; eva -- certainly; yat -- which; kriyate -- is performed; tat -- that; iha -- in this world; proktam -- is said; rajasam -- in the mode of passion; calam -- flickering; adhruvam -- temporary.

TRANSLATION

Penance performed out of pride and for the sake of gaining respect, honor and worship is said to be in the mode of passion. It is neither stable nor permanent.

 



TEXT 19

mudha-grahenatmano yat
pidaya kriyate tapah
parasyotsadanartham va
tat tamasam udahrtam

WORD FOR WORD

mudha -- foolish; grahena -- with endeavor; atmanah -- of one's own self; yat -- which; pidaya -- by torture; kriyate -- is performed; tapah -- penance; parasya -- to others; utsadana-artham -- for the sake of causing annihilation; va -- or; tat -- that; tamasam -- in the mode of darkness; udahrtam -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

Penance performed out of foolishness, with self-torture or to destroy or injure others, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.

 



TEXT 20

datavyam iti yad danam
diyate 'nupakarine
dese kale ca patre ca
tad danam sattvikam smrtam

WORD FOR WORD

datavyam -- worth giving; iti -- thus; yat -- that which; danam -- charity; diyate -- is given; anupakarine -- irrespective of return; dese -- in a proper place; kale -- at a proper time; ca -- also; patre -- to a suitable person; ca -- and; tat -- that; danam -- charity; sattvikam -- in the mode of goodness; smrtam -- is considered.

TRANSLATION

Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.

 



TEXT 21

yat tu Pratyupakarartham
phalam uddisya va punah
diyate ca pariklistam
tad danam rajasam smrtam

WORD FOR WORD

yat -- that which; tu -- but; prati-upakara-artham -- for the sake of getting some return; phalam -- a result; uddisya -- desiring; va -- or; punah -- again; diyate -- is given; ca -- also; pariklistam -- grudgingly; tat -- that; danam -- charity; rajasam -- in the mode of passion; smrtam -- is understood to be.

TRANSLATION

But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion.

 



TEXT 22

adesa-kale yad danam
apatrebhyas ca diyate
asat-krtam avajnatam-
tat tamasam udahrtam

WORD FOR WORD

adesa -- at an unpurified place; kale -- and unpurified time; yat -- that which; danam -- charity; apatrebhyah -- to unworthy persons; ca -- also; diyate -- is given; asat-krtam -- without respect; avajnatam -- without proper attention; tat -- that; tamasam -- in the mode of darkness; udahrtam -- is said to be.

TRANSLATION

And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.

 



TEXT 23

om tat sad iti nirdeso
brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
brahmanas tena vedas ca
yajnas ca vihitah pura

WORD FOR WORD

om -- indication of the Supreme; tat -- that; sat -- eternal; iti -- thus; nirdesah -- indication; brahmanah -- of the Supreme; tri-vidhah -- threefold; smrtah -- is considered; brahmanah -- the brahmanas; tena -- with that; vedah -- the Vedic literature; ca -- also; yajnah -- sacrifice; ca -- also; vihitah -- used; pura -- formerly.

TRANSLATION

From the beginning of creation, the three words om tat sat were used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth. These three symbolic representations were used by brahmanas while chanting the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme.

 



TEXT 24

tasmad om ity udahrtya
yajna-dana-tapah-kriyah
pravartante vidhanoktah
satatam brahma-vadinam

WORD FOR WORD

tasmat -- therefore; om -- beginning with om; iti -- thus; udahrtya -- indicating; yajna -- of sacrifice; dana -- charity; tapah -- and penance; kriyah -- performances; pravartante -- begin; vidhana-uktah -- according to scriptural regulation; satatam -- always; brahma-vadinam -- of the transcendentalists.

TRANSLATION

Therefore, transcendentalists undertaking performances of sacrifice, charity and penance in accordance with scriptural regulations begin always with om, to attain the Supreme.

 



TEXT 25

tad ity anabhisandhaya
phalam yajna-tapah-kriyah
dana-kriyas ca vividhah
kriyante moksa-kanksibhih

WORD FOR WORD

tat -- that; iti -- thus; anabhisandhaya -- without desiring; phalam -- the fruitive result; yajna -- of sacrifice; tapah -- and penance; kriyah -- activities; dana -- of charity; kriyah -- activities; ca -- also; vividhah -- various; kriyante -- are done; moksa-kanksibhih -- by those who actually desire liberation.

TRANSLATION

Without desiring fruitive results, one should perform various kinds of sacrifice, penance and charity with the word tat. The purpose of such transcendental activities is to get free from material entanglement.

 



TEXTS 26-27

sad-bhave sadhu-bhave ca
sad ity etat prayujyate
prasaste karmani tatha
sac-chabdah partha yujyate

yajne tapasi dane ca
sthitih sad iti cocyate
karma caiva tad-arthiyam
sad ity evabhidhiyate

WORD FOR WORD

sat-bhave -- in the sense of the nature of the Supreme; sadhu-bhave -- in the sense of the nature of the devotee; ca -- also; sat -- the word sat; iti -- thus; etat -- this; prayujyate -- is used; prasaste -- in bona fide; karmani -- activities; tatha -- also; sat-sabdah -- the sound sat; partha -- O son of Prtha; yujyate -- is used; yajne -- in sacrifice; tapasi -- in penance; dane -- in charity; ca -- also; sthitih -- the situation; sat -- the Supreme; iti -- thus; ca -- and; ucyate -- is pronounced; karma -- work; ca -- also; eva -- certainly; tat -- for that; arthiyam -- meant; sat -- the Supreme; iti -- thus; eva -- certainly; abhidhiyate -- is indicated.

TRANSLATION

The Absolute Truth is the objective of devotional sacrifice, and it is indicated by the word sat. The performer of such sacrifice is also called sat, as are all works of sacrifice, penance and charity which, true to the absolute nature, are performed to please the Supreme Person, O son of Prtha.

 



TEXT 28

asraddhaya hutam dattam
tapas taptam krtam ca yat
asad ity ucyate partha
na ca tat pretya no iha

WORD FOR WORD

asraddhaya -- without faith; hutam -- offered in sacrifice; dattam -- given; tapah -- penance; taptam -- executed; krtam -- performed; ca -- also; yat -- that which; asat -- false; iti -- thus; ucyate -- is said to be; partha -- O son of Prtha; na -- never; ca -- also; tat -- that; pretya -- after death; na u -- nor; iha -- in this life.

TRANSLATION

Anything done as sacrifice, charity or penance without faith in the Supreme, O son of Prtha, is impermanent. It is called asat and is useless both in this life and the next.

 


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Bhagavad-Gita