The three kinds of faith – Chapter 17 – Slokas 17.01 – 17.28

Arjuna said, “ye sastra-vidhim utsrjya
yajante sraddhayanvitah
tesam nistha tu ka krsna
sattvam aho rajas tamah – 
But, O Krsna, what is the state of those, who, endued with faith, adore by ignoring the injunctions of the scriptures? Is it sattvarajas or tamas?”

 

The Blessed Lord said, “tri-vidha bhavati sraddha
dehinam sa svabhava-ja
sattviki rajasi caiva
tamasi ceti tam srnu
 – That faith of the embodied beings, born of their own nature, is threefold – born of sattvarajas and tamas. Hear about it.

 

sattvanurupa sarvasya
sraddha bhavati bharata
sraddha-mayo ‘yam puruso
yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah
 – O scion of the Bharata dynasty, the faith of all beings is in accordance with their minds. This person is made up of faith as the dominant factor. He is verily what his faith is.

 

Those having sattva quality worship the gods; those having rajas, the demi-gods and ogres; and other people possessed of tamas worship ghosts and host of spirits.

 

Those persons who, given to ostentation and pride and possessed of passion, attachment and strength, undertake severe austerities not sanctioned in the scriptures.

 

And who being non-discriminating, torture all the organs in the body as also even Me who reside in this body, – know them as possessed of demoniacal conviction.

 

Food also, which is dear to all, is of three kinds; and so also are sacrifices, austerity and charity. Listen to this classification of them.

 

Foods that augment life, firmness of mind, strength, health, happiness and delight, and which are succulent, oleaginous, substantial and agreeable are dear to one endowed with sattva.

 

Foods that are bitter, sour, salty, very hot, pungent, dry and burning and which produce pain, sorrow and disease are dear to one having rajas.

 

Food which is not properly cooked, lacking in essence, putrid and stale and ort and that which is unfit for sacrifice is dear to one possessed of tamas.

 

That sacrifice which is in accordance with the scriptural injunctions is performed by persons who do not hanker after results and with mental conviction that is surely obligatory is done through sattva.

 

But that sacrifice which is performed having in view a result, as also for ostentation, know that sacrifice to be done through rajas, O greatest among the descendants of Bharata.

 

They declare that sacrifice as ‘done through tamas’ which is contrary to injunction, in which food is not distributed, in which mantras are not used, in which offerings are not made to priests and which is devoid of faith.

 

The worship of gods, twice-born, venerable persons and wise; purity, straightforwardness, celibacy, non-injury are said to be bodily austerity – tapah.

 

anudvega-karam vakyam
satyam priya-hitam ca yat
svadhyayabhyasanam caiva
van-mayam tapa ucyate
– That speech which causes no pain, which is true, agreeable and beneficial; as well as the practice of study of the scriptures, – is said to be austerity of speech.

 

manah-prasadah saumyatvam
maunam atma-vinigrahah
bhava-samsuddhir ity etat
tapo manasam ucyate
 – Tranquillity of mind, gentleness, reticence, withdrawal of the mind, purity of heart – these are what is called mental austerity.

 

sraddhaya paraya taptam
tapas tat tri-vidham naraih
aphalakanksibhir yuktaih
sattvikam paricaksate
 –   When that threefold austerity is undertaken with supreme faith by people who do not hanker after the results and are self-controlled, they speak of it as born of sattva.

 

satkara-mana-pujartham
tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tad iha proktam
rajasam calam adhruvam
 – That austerity which is undertaken for earning a name, being honoured and worshipped and also ostentatiously, – that is spoken of as born of rajas, belonging to this world, uncertain and transitory.

 

That austerity which is undertaken with a foolish intent, by causing pain to oneself, or of the destruction of others – that is said to be born of tamas.

 

datavyam iti yad danam
diyate ‘nupakarine
dese kale ca patre ca
tad danam sattvikam smrtam
 – That gift is referred to as born of sattva which is given with the idea that it ought to be given, to one who will not serve in return, and at the appropriate place, appropriate time and to an appropriate person.

 

But the gift which is given expecting reciprocation, or again, with a desire for its result, and which is given grudgingly – that is considered to be born of rajas.

 

That gift which is made at an improper place and time, and to undeserving persons, without proper treatment and with disdain is declared to be born of tamas.

 

om tat sad iti nirdeso
brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
brahmanas tena vedas ca
yajnas ca vihitah pura 
– Om-tat-sat – this is considered to be the threefold designation of Brahman. The Brāhmanas and Vedas and the sacrifices were ordained by that in the days of yore.

 

tasmad om ity udahrtya
yajna-dana-tapah-kriyah
pravartante vidhanoktah
satatam brahma-vadinam
 – Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity and austerity as prescribed through injunctions, of those who study and expound the Vedas always commence after uttering the syllable OM.

 

tad ity anabhisandhaya
phalam yajna-tapah-kriyah
dana-kriyas ca vividhah
kriyante moksa-kanksibhih
 – After uttering the word tat, acts of sacrifice and austerity as also the various acts of charity are performed without regard for results by persons aspiring for Liberation.

 

sad-bhave sadhu-bhave ca
sad ity etat prayujyate
prasaste karmani tatha
sac-chabdah partha yujyate
 – This word sat is used or uttered with regard to, something coming into being and with regard to someone becoming good. So also, O son of Prthā, the word sat is used with regard to an auspicious rite.

 

yajne tapasi dane ca
sthitih sad iti cocyate
karma caiva tad-arthiyam
sad ity evabhidhiyate
 – And the steadfastness in sacrifice, austerity and charity is spoken of as sat. And even the action meant for these is verily called as sat. 

 

asraddhaya hutam dattam
tapas taptam krtam ca yat
asad ity ucyate partha
na ca tat pretya no iha
 – O son of Prthā, whatever is offered in sacrifice and given in charity as also whatever austerity is undertaken or whatever is done without faith is said to be of no avail. And it is of no consequence after death, nor here.”

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