The Bhagavad-Gita

Shraddha-Traya Vibhaga Yoga
The Yoga of the Divisions of the Threefold Faith

17:1: Arjuna inquired: Those who abandon scriptural ordinances, yet endowed with faith sacrifice, O Krishna, are they situated in the quality of goodness, passion or ignorance?

17:2, 3: The Blessed One said: The faith of the embodied beings are of three kinds: that which is born of the material quality of goodness, passion and ignorance. Hear about these from Me.
O descendent of Bharata, all faith develops in accordance with one's own nature. This integral faith determines the faith and nature of the living entity.

17:4: Those in the quality of goodness worship the gods; those in the quality of passion worship the Yaksas and Raksasas and those in the quality of ignorance worship the Pretas and the hosts of Bhutas.

17:5, 6: People who practice severe austerities which are not ordained by the scriptures practice them out of religious hypocrisy. They are yoked by false ego and impelled by the forces of desire and attachment.
Abiding in the body yet torturing the combined material elements thereof, they have no consciousness of Me, although I am abiding within their bodies. Know their resolve to be demonic.

17:7: There are also three kinds of food which are dear, so too with sacrifices, austerities and charities; hear of their differences.

17:8: Foods which promote life, vitality, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction, and which are juicy, fatty, firm and agreeable are dear to one who is in the quality of goodness.

17:9: Foods which are bitter, sour, salty, excessively hot, pungent, dry, burning and which promote suffering, lamentation and disease are liked by one in the quality of passion.

17:10: Foods which are eaten three hours or more after being cooked, are tasteless, putrid, decayed, are the remnants of another's meal and which are unfit for sacrificing, such foods are dear to one in the quality of ignorance.

17:11: That sacrifice which is performed without desire for fruitive results, which is in accordance with the scriptural ordinances, which is performed and indeed ought to be performed, with the mind fixed, is in the quality of goodness.

17:12: That sacrifice which has fruitive results as its aim by reason of pride and which is therefore performed, O leader of the Bharatas, know to be in the quality of passion.

17:13: That sacrifice which is performed without regard for scriptural ordinances, in which no food is distributed and no sacred mantras are uttered, nor proper gifts given, and which is devoid of faith, is said to be in the quality of ignorance.

17:14: The austerities of the body include worship of the devas, brahmanas, spiritual preceptors, and those who have transcendental wisdom; they practice purity, uprightness, celibacy and non-violence.

17:15: The austerities of speech are said to be truthful words which are dear, beneficial and cause no agitation, as well as the regular recitation and constant study of the scriptures.

17:16: The austerities of the mind are said to be mental tranquility, kindness, silence, self-control and emotional purity.

17:17: This supreme threefold austerity, which is faithfully practiced by those who have no desire for fruitive results and who are thereby yoked, is called austerity in the quality of goodness.

17:18: That austerity which is hypocritically practiced in order to gain respect, honor and worship in this world is called austerity in the quality of ignorance. It is both mutable and transitory.

17:19: That austerity which is practiced out of a foolish perception of the self, to torment oneself, or which is performed for the purpose of destroying another, is said to be austerity in the quality of ignorance.

17:20: That charity is considered to be in the quality of goodness which is rightly given and is devoid of any expectation of repayment, is given in an appropriate place and time, and is offered to one who is worthy to relieve it.

17:21: That charity is considered to be in the quality of passion which is given with the intent of recompense, which aims at achieving some fruitive result or which is given grudgingly.

17:22: That charity is said to be in the quality of ignorance which is given at an improper place and time, is given to one who is unworthy to relieve gifts, or which is given disrespectfully or with contempt.

17: 23: The threefold particularization of Brahman as 'om tat sat' was ordained from ancient times for use by the brahmanas in the Vedic literatures and sacrifices.

17:24: Therefore the omkara ['om'] is always uttered by those who explicate Brahman when performing sacrifices, charities or austerities as enjoined in the scriptures.

17:25: 'Tat' is likewise uttered by those who do not desire fruitive results from their sacrifices, austerities, activities or charities; their activities being performed solely due to their desire for liberation.

17:26, 27: The sound vibration 'sat' is employed in the sense of 'real' or 'excellent'. 'Sat' is thus used to describe activities which are praiseworthy, O child of Partha.
Therefore 'sat' is resolutely uttered in sacrifices, austerities and charities. Activities which belong to 'sat' are therefore described.

17:28: Sacrifices which are offered, gifts which are given and austerities which are practiced without faith are called 'asat', O child of Partha. They are useless here and in the hereafter.

Here ends Chapter Seventeen.

Go to: Chapter Eighteen.

Go to Notes and References.

Go to: the Beginning.

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