Bhagavad-Gita (Besant 4th)/Discourse 17

SEVENTEENTH DISCOURSE.

अर्जुन उवाच ।

ये शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धयाऽन्विताः ।

तेषां निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वमाहो रजस्तमः ॥ १ ॥

Arjuna said:

Those that sacrifice full of faith,[1] but casting aside the ordinances of the Scriptures, what is verily their condition, O Krishna? Is it one of Purity, Passion, or Darkness[2]? (1)

श्रीभगवानुवाच ।

त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनां सा स्वभावजा ।

सात्त्विकी राजसी चैव तामसी चेति तां शृणु ॥ २ ॥

The Blessed Lord said:

Threefold is by nature the inborn faith of the embodied—pure, passionate, and dark. Hear thou of these. (2)

सत्त्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत ।

श्रद्धामयोऽयं पुरुषो यो यच्छ्रद्धः स एव सः ॥ ३ ॥

The faith of each is shaped to his own nature, O Bhârata. The man consists of his faith[3]; that which his faith is, he is even that. (3)

यजन्ते सात्त्विका देवान्यक्षरक्षांसि राजसाः ।

प्रेतान्भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जनाः ॥ ४ ॥

Pure men worship the Gods; the passionate the gnomes and giants[4]; the others, the dark folk, worship ghosts and troops of nature-spirits[5]. (4)

अशास्त्रविहितं घोरं तप्यन्ते ये तपो जनाः ।

दम्भाहङ्कारसंयुक्ताः कामरागबलान्विताः ॥ ५ ॥

The men who perform severe austerities, unenjoined by the Scriptures, wedded to vanity and egoism, impelled by the force of their desires and passions, (5)

कर्शयन्तः शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतसः ।

मां चैवान्तःशरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान् ॥ ६ ॥

Unintelligent, tormenting the aggregated elements forming the body, and Me also, seated in the inner body, know these demoniacal in their resolves. (6)

आहारस्त्वपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधो भवति प्रियः ।

यज्ञस्तपस्तथा दानं तेषां भेदमिमं शृणु ॥ ७ ॥

The food also which is dear to each is threefold, as also sacrifice, austerity and almsgiving. Hear thou the distinction of these. (7)

आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः ।

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः ॥ ८ ॥

The foods that augment vitality, energy, vigour, health, joy and cheerfulness, delicious, bland, substantial and agreeable, are dear to the pure. (8)

कट्‌वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः ।

आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः ॥ ९ ॥

The passionate desire foods that are bitter, sour, saline, over-hot, pungent, dry and burning and which produce pain, grief and sickness. (9)

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् ।

उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ॥ १० ॥

That which is stale and flat, putrid and corrupt, leavings also and unclean, is the food dear to the dark. (10)

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्यज्ञो विधिदृष्टोय इज्यते ।

यष्टव्यमेवेति मनः समाधाय स सात्त्विकः ॥ ११ ॥

The sacrifice which is offered by men without desire for fruit, as enjoined by the ordinances, under the firm belief that sacrifice is a duty, that is pure. (11)

अभिसन्धाय तु फलं दम्भार्थमपि चैव यत् ।

इज्यते भरतश्रेष्ठ तं यज्ञं विद्धि राजसम् ॥ १२ ॥

The sacrifice offered with a view verily to fruit, and also indeed for self-glorification, O best of the Bhâratas; know thou that to be of passion. (12)

विधिहीनमसृष्टान्नं मन्त्रहीनमदक्षिणम् ।

श्रद्धाविरहितं यज्ञं तामसं परिचक्षते ॥ १३ ॥

The sacrifice contrary to the ordinances, without distributing food, devoid of words of power[6] and without gifts[7], empty of faith, is said to be of darkness. (13)

देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम् ।

ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते ॥ १४ ॥

Worship given to the Gods, to the twice-born, to the teachers[8] and to the wise, purity, straightforwardness, continence and harmlessness, are called the austerity of the body. (14)

अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत् ।

स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते ॥ १५ ॥

Speech causing no annoyance, truthful, pleasant and beneficial, the practice of the study of the Scriptures, are called the austerity of speech. (15)

मनःप्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रहः ।

भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते ॥ १६ ॥

Mental happiness, equilibrium, silence, self-control, purity of nature—these are called the austerity of the mind[9]. (16)

श्रद्धया परया तप्तं तपस्तत्त्रिविधं नरैः ।

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैः सात्त्विकं परिचक्षते ॥ १७ ॥

This threefold austerity, performed by men with the utmost faith, without desire for fruit, harmonised, is said to be pure. (17)

सत्कारमानपूजार्थं तपो दम्भेन चैव यत् ।

क्रियते तदिह प्रोक्तं राजसं चलमध्रुवम् ॥ १८ ॥

The austerity which is practised with the object of gaining respect, honour and worship, and for ostentation, is said to be of passion, unstable and fleeting. (18)

मूढग्राहेणात्मनो यत्पीडया क्रियते तपः ।

परस्योत्सादनार्थं वा तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥ १९ ॥

That austerity done under a deluded understanding, with self-torture, or with the object of destroying another, that is declared of darkness. (20)

दातव्यमिति यद्दानं दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे ।

देशे काले च पात्रे च तद्दानं सात्त्विकं स्मृतम् ॥ २० ॥

That alms given to one who does nothing in return, believing that a gift ought to be made in a fit place and time to a worthy person, that alms is accounted pure. (20)

यत्तु प्रत्युपकारार्थं फलमुद्दिश्य वा पुनः ।

दीयते च परिक्लिष्टं तद्दानं राजसं स्मृतम् ॥ २१ ॥

That given with a view to receiving in return, or looking for fruit again, or grudgingly, that alms is accounted of passion. (21)

अदेशकाले यद्दानमपात्रेभ्यश्च दीयते ।

असत्कृतमवज्ञातं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥ २२ ॥

That alms given at unfit place and time, and to unworthy persons, disrespectfully and contemptuously, that is declared of darkness. (22)

ओं तत्सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणस्त्रिविधः स्मृतः ।

ब्राह्मणास्तेन वेदाश्च यज्ञाश्च विहिताः पुरा ॥ २३ ॥

"Aum Tat Sat," this has been considered to be the threefold designation of the Eternal. By that were ordained of old Brâhmanas, Vedas and sacrifices. (23)

तस्मादोमित्युदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः ।

प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ताः सततं ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ॥ २४ ॥

Therefore with the pronunciation of "Aum" the acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity as laid down in the ordinances are always commenced by the knowers of the Eternal. (24)

तदित्यनभिसन्धाय फलं यज्ञतपःक्रियाः ।

दानक्रियाश्च विविधाः क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः ॥ २५ ॥

With the pronunciation of "Tat" and without aiming at fruit are performed the various acts of sacrifice, austerity and gift, by those desiring liberation. (25)

सद्भावे साधुभावे च सदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते ।

प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सच्छब्दः पार्थ युज्यते ॥ २६ ॥

"Sat" is used in the sense of reality and goodness; likewise, O Pârtha, the word "Sat" is used in the sense of a good work. (26)

यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सदिति चोच्यते ।

कर्म चैव तदर्थीयं सदित्येवाभिधीयते ॥ २७ ॥

Steadfastness in sacrifice, austerity and gift is also called "Sat", and action for the sake of the Supreme[10] is also named "Sat." (27)

अश्रद्धया हुतं दत्तं तपस्तप्तं कृतं च यत् ।

असदित्युच्यते पार्थ न च तत्प्रेत्य नो इह ॥ २८ ॥

Whatsoever is wrought without faith, oblation, gift, austerity, or other deed, "Asat" it is called, O Pârtha; it is nought, here or hereafter. (28)

इति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता॰ श्रद्धात्रयविभागयोगो नाम सप्तदशोऽध्यायः ।

Thus in the glorious Upanishads of the Bhagavad-Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Shrî Krishna and Arjuna, the seventeenth discourse, entitled:

THE YOGA OF THE DIVISION OF THREEFOLD FAITH.




  1. Shraddhâ.
  2. The three qualities, Sattva, Rajah, Tamah, are here used in their moral correspondences, and are therefore translated as Purity, Passion, and Darkness
  3. That is, the man's faith shows what is the man's character.
  4. Yakshas, gnomes, are the servants of the Lord of Wealth, i. e., are connected with metals; Râkshasas, giants, or Titans, are the gigantic inhabitants of Atlantis versed in magic and sorcery.
  5. Pretas, ghosts, are departed men; while Bhûtas, nature-spirits, are of a somewhat goblin-like type.
  6. Mantras.
  7. To the officiating priests.
  8. Gurus.
  9. Manah.
  10. Tat.