17. Shradhaatraya Vibhaag Yoga”The Yoga of Division of ThreeFoldFaith”

Sreemadh Bhagavad Gita


The Glories of the Seventeenth Chapter of
the Bhagavad Gita from the Padma Purana

Lord Shiva said, “My dear Parvati, you have heard the unlimited glories of the Sixteenth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Now, kindly hear the nectarine glories of the Seventeenth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

King Khadgabahu’s son had a servant by the name of Dushasan who was very crafty and exceptionally foolish. Dushasan made a bet with the prince that he could ride the elephant, at which time he jumped upon the elephant and after going a few steps, the people there started requesting him, not to ride that dangerous elephant. But foolish Dushasan started to prod that elephant and used strong words to urge him on. Suddenly, that elephant became very angry and started to run wildly here and there. Unable to hold on, Dushasan fell to the ground. The elephant stomped on him and Dushasan died. After that he attained the body of an elephant in Simhaldwip, where he stayed in the king’s palace.

The king of Simhaldwip was a close friend of King Khadgabahu. One day the king of Simhaldwip decided to send that elephant as a present to his friend, King Khadgabahu, who in turn presented that elephant to one poet, who pleased him with his beautiful poetry.

Thereafter, that poet sold that elephant for one hundred gold coins to the king of Malva. After some time, that elephant contracted a terminal disease. When the elephant-keepers saw that the elephant had stopped eating and drinking, they reported the matter to the king. When the king found out, he went to the place of the elephant, along with the best of doctors. At that time, to the surprise of that king, the elephant started to speak, “My dear king you are very pious, and a strict follower of the Vedas. You always worship the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. So you should know, that at this time, these medicines and doctors will be of no use. Neither any kind of charity of sacrifice will help at the time of death. If you care for me and want to help me, then bring someone, who daily recites the Seventeenth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.”

As requested by that elephant, the king brought one great devotee, who regularly recited the Seventeenth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita. That devotee, while chanting the Seventeenth Chapter, sprinkled water on the elephant at which time he gave up his elephant body and attained a four-armed form, similar to that of Lord Vishnu. He immediately sat down in a flower airplane, which had been sent to take him to Vaikuntha. While sitting in that airplane, the king inquired from him about his previous birth, and Dushasan, after telling him everything, left for Vaikuntha. After which, that best of men, the king of Malva, started regularly reciting the Seventeenth Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita. After a short time he attained the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.

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Chapter 17. Shradhaatraya Vibhaag Yoga”The Yoga of Division of ThreeFoldFaith”

17:The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 1

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

Arjuna said, O Krsna, what is the situation of one who does not follow the principles of scripture but who worships according to his own imagination? Is he in goodness, in passion or in ignorance?

PURPORT

In the Fourth Chapter, thirty-ninth verse, it is said that a person faithful to a particular type of worship gradually becomes elevated to the stage of knowledge and attains the highest perfectional stage of peace and prosperity. In the Sixteenth Chapter, it is concluded that one who does not follow the principles laid down in the scriptures is called an asura, demon, and one who follows the scriptural injunctions faithfully is called a deva, or demigod. Now, if one, with faith, follows some rules which are not mentioned in the scriptural injunctions, what is his position? This doubt of Arjuna’s is to be cleared by Krsna. Are those who create some sort of God by selecting a human being and placing their faith in him worshiping in goodness, passion or ignorance? Do such persons attain the perfectional stage of life? Is it possible for them to be situated in real knowledge and elevate themselves to the highest perfectional stage? Do those who do not follow the rules and regulations of the scriptures but who have faith in something and worship gods and demigods and men attain success in their effort? Arjuna is putting these questions to Krsna.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 2

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

The Supreme Lord said, according to the modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one’s faith can be of three kinds–goodness, passion or ignorance. Now hear about these.

PURPORT

Those who know the rules and regulations of the scriptures, but, out of laziness or indolence, give up following these rules and regulations are governed by the modes of material nature. According to their previous activities in the modes of goodness, passion or ignorance, they acquire a nature which is of a specific quality. The association of the living entity with the different modes of nature has been going on perpetually since the living entity is in contact with material nature. Thus he acquires different types of mentality according to his association with the material modes. But this nature can be changed if one associates with a bona fide spiritual master and abides by his rules and the scriptures. Gradually, one can change his position from ignorance to goodness, or from passion to goodness. The conclusion is that blind faith in a particular mode of nature cannot help a person become elevated to the perfectional stage. One has to consider things carefully, with intelligence, in the association of a bona fide spiritual master. Thus one can change his position to a higher mode of nature.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 3

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

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.

PURPORT

Everyone has a particular type of faith, regardless of what he is. But his faith is considered good, passionate or ignorant according to the nature he has acquired. Thus, according to his particular type of faith, one associates with certain persons. Now the real fact is that every living being, as is stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, is originally the fragmental part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore one is originally transcendental to all the modes of material nature. But when one forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and comes into contact with the material nature in conditional life, he generates his own position by association with the different varieties of material nature. The resultant artificial faith and existence are only material. Although one may be conducted by some impression, or some conception of life, still, originally, he is nirguna, or transcendental. Therefore one has to become cleansed of the material contamination that he has acquired in order to regain his relationship with the Supreme Lord. That is the only path back without fear: Krsna consciousness. If one is situated in Krsna consciousness, then that path is guaranteed for his elevation to the perfectional stage. If one does not take to this path of self-realization, then he is surely to be conducted by the influence of the modes of nature.
The word sattva, or faith, is very significant in this verse. Sattva or faith always comes out of the works of goodness. One’s faith may be in a demigod or some created God or some mental concoction. It is supposed to be one’s strong faith in something that is productive of the works of material goodness. But in material conditional life, no works of material nature are completely purified. They are mixed. They are not in pure goodness. Pure goodness is transcendental; in purified goodness one can understand the real nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As long as one’s faith is not completely in purified goodness, the faith is subject to contamination by any of the modes of material nature. The contaminated modes of material nature expand to the heart. Therefore according to the position of the heart in contact with a particular mode of material nature, one’s faith is established. It should be understood, that if one’s heart is in the mode of goodness, his faith is also in the mode of goodness. If his heart is in the mode of passion, his faith is also in the mode of passion. And if his heart is in the mode of darkness, illusion, his faith is also thus contaminated. Thus we find different types of faith in this world, and there are different types of religions due to different types of faith. The real principle of religious faith is situated in the mode of pure goodness, but because the heart is tainted, we find different types of religious principles. Thus according to different types of faith, there are different kinds of worship.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 4

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

SYNONYMS

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

PURPORT

In this verse the Supreme Personality of Godhead describes different kinds of worshipers according to their external activities. According to scriptural injunction, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshipable, but those who are not very conversant with, or faithful to, the scriptural injunctions worship different objects, according to their specific situations in the modes of material nature. Those who are situated in goodness generally worship the demigods. The demigods include Brahma, Siva and others such as Indra, Candra and the sun-god. There are various demigods. Those in goodness worship a particular demigod for a particular purpose. Similarly, those who are in the mode of passion worship the demons. We recall that during the Second World War, a man in Calcutta worshiped Hitler because thanks to that war he had amassed a large amount of wealth by dealing in the black market. Similarly, those in the modes of passion and ignorance generally select a powerful man to be God. They think that anyone can be worshiped as God and that the same results will be obtained.
Now, it is clearly described here that those who are in the mode of passion worship and create such gods, and those who are in the mode of ignorance, in darkness, worship dead spirits. Sometimes people worship at the tomb of some dead man. Sexual service is also considered to be in the mode of darkness. Similarly, in remote villages in India there are worshipers of ghosts. We have seen that in India the lower class people sometimes go to the forest, and if they have knowledge that a ghost lives in a tree, they worship that tree and offer sacrifices. These different kinds of worship are not actually God worship. God worship is for persons who are transcendentally situated in pure goodness. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam. “When a man is situated in pure goodness, he worships Vasudeva.” The purport is that those who are completely purified of the material modes of nature and who are transcendentally situated can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The impersonalists are supposed to be situated in the mode of goodness, and they worship five kinds of demigods. They worship the impersonal Visnu, or Visnu form in the material world, which is known as philosophized Visnu. Visnu is the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the impersonalists, because they do not ultimately believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, imagine that the Visnu form is just another aspect of the impersonal Brahman; similarly, they imagine that Lord Brahma is the impersonal form in the material mode of passion. Thus they sometimes describe five kinds of gods that are worshipable, but because they think that the actual truth is impersonal Brahman, they dispose of all worshipable objects at the ultimate end. In conclusion, the different qualities of the material modes of nature can be purified through association with persons who are of transcendental nature.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

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

PURPORT

There are persons who manufacture modes of austerity and penances which are not mentioned in the scriptural injunctions. For instance, fasting for some ulterior purpose, such as to promote a purely political end, is not mentioned in the scriptural directions. The scriptures recommend fasting for spiritual advancement, not for some political end or social purpose. Persons who take to such austerities are, according to Bhagavad-gita,certainly demoniac. Their acts are against the scriptural injunctions and are not beneficial for the people in general. Actually, they act out of pride, false ego, lust and attachment for material enjoyment. By such activities, not only are the combination of material elements of which the body is constructed disturbed, but also the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself living within the body. Such unauthorized fasting or austerities for some political end are certainly very disturbing to others. They are not mentioned in the Vedic literature. A demoniac person may think that he can force his enemy or other parties to comply with his desire by this method, but sometimes one dies by such fasting. These acts are not approved by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He says that those who engage in them are demons. Such demonstrations are insults to the Supreme Personality of Godhead because they are enacted in disobedience to the Vedic scriptural injunctions. The word acetasah is significant in this connection–persons of normal mental condition must obey the scriptural injunctions. Those who are not in such a position neglect and disobey the scriptures and manufacture their own way of austerities and penances. One should always remember the ultimate end of the demoniac people, as described in the previous chapter. The Lord forces them to take birth in the womb of demoniac persons. Consequently they will live by demoniac principles life after life without knowing their relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If, however, such persons are fortunate enough to be guided by a spiritual master who can direct them to the path of Vedic wisdom, they can get out of this entanglement and ultimately achieve the supreme goal.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 7

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

Even food of which all partake is of three kinds, according to the three modes of material nature. The same is true of sacrifices, austerities and charity. Listen, and I shall tell you of the distinctions of these.

PURPORT

In terms of different situations and the modes of material nature, there are differences in the manner of eating, performing sacrifices, austerities and charities. They are not all conducted on the same level. Those who can understand analytically what kind of performances are in what modes of material nature are actually wise; those who consider all kinds of sacrifice or foods or charity to be the same cannot discriminate, and they are foolish. There are missionary workers who advocate that one can do whatever he likes and attain perfection. But these foolish guides are not acting according to the direction of the scripture. They are manufacturing ways and misleading the people in general.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 8-10

ayuh-sattva-balarogya-
sukha-priti-vivardhanah
rasyah snigdhah sthira hrdya
aharah sattvika-priyah
katv-amla-lavanaty-usna-
tiksna-ruksa-vidahinah
ahara rajasasyesta
duhkha-sokamaya-pradah
yata-yamam gata-rasam
puti paryusitam ca yat
ucchistam api camedhyam
bhojanam tamasa-priyam

SYNONYMS

ayuh–duration of life; sattva–existence; bala–strength; arogya–health; sukha–happiness; priti–satisfaction; vivardhanah–increasing;rasyah–juicy; snigdhah–fatty; sthirah–enduring; hrdyah–pleasing to the heart; aharah–food; sattvika–goodness; priyah–palatable. katu–bitter; amla–sour; lavana–salty; ati-usna–very hot; tiksna–pungent;ruksa–dry; vidahinah–burning; aharah–food; rajasasya–in the mode of passion; istah–palatable; duhkha–distress; soka–misery; amaya pradah–causing disease. 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–in the mode of darkness; priyam–dear.

TRANSLATION

Foods in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such nourishing foods are sweet, juicy, fatty and palatable. Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot, are liked by people in the modes of passion. Such foods cause pain, distress, and disease. Food cooked more than three hours before being eaten, which is tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed and unclean, is food liked by people in the mode of ignorance.

PURPORT

The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the past, great authorities selected those foods that best aid health and increase life’s duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables. These foods are very dear to those in the mode of goodness. Some other foods, such as baked corn and molasses, while not very palatable in themselves, can be made pleasant when mixed with milk or other foods. They are then in the mode of goodness. All these foods are pure by nature. They are quite distinct from untouchable things like meat and liquor. Fatty foods, as mentioned in the eighth verse, have no connection with animal fat obtained by slaughter. Animal fat is available in the form of milk, which is the most wonderful of all foods. Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures. It is only through brute mentality that this killing goes on. The civilized method of obtaining needed fat is by milk. Slaughter is the way of subhumans. Protein is amply available through split peas, dal, whole wheat, etc.

Foods in the mode of passion, which are bitter, too salty, or too hot or overly mixed with red pepper, cause misery by producing mucus in the stomach, leading to disease. Foods in the mode of ignorance or darkness are essentially those that are not fresh. Any food cooked more than three hours before it is eaten (except prasadam, food offered to the Lord) is considered to be in the mode of darkness. Because they are decomposing, such foods give a bad odor, which often attracts people in this mode but repulses those in the mode of goodness.
Remnants of food may be eaten only when they are part of a meal that was first offered to the Supreme Lord or first eaten by saintly persons, especially the spiritual master. Otherwise the remnants of food are considered to be in the mode of darkness, and they increase infection or disease. Such foodstuffs, although very palatable to persons in the mode of darkness, are neither liked nor even touched by those in the mode of goodness. The best food is the remnants of what is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Lord says that He accepts preparations of vegetables, flour and milk when offered with devotion. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Of course, devotion and love are the chief things which the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts. But it is also mentioned that the prasadam should be prepared in a particular way. Any food prepared by the injunctions of the scripture and offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be taken even if prepared long, long ago, because such food is transcendental. Therefore to make food antiseptic, eatable and palatable for all persons, one should offer food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 11

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

SYNONYMS

aphala-akanksibhih–devoid of desire for result; yajnah–sacrifice;vidhi–accordingly; distah–direction; yah–anyone; ijyate–performs;yastavyam–must be performed; eva–certainly; iti–thus; manah–mind;samadhaya–fixed in; sah–he; sattvikah–is in the mode of goodness.

TRANSLATION

Of sacrifices, that sacrifice performed according to duty and to scriptural rules, and with no expectation of reward, is of the nature of goodness.

PURPORT

The general tendency is to offer sacrifice with some purpose in mind, but here it is stated that sacrifice should be performed without any such desire. It should be done as a matter of duty. Take, for example, the performance of rituals in temples or in churches. Generally they are performed with the purpose of material benefit, but that is not in the mode of goodness. One should go to a temple or church as a matter of duty, offer respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offer flowers and eatables. Everyone thinks that there is no use in going to the temple just to worship God. But worship for economic benefit is not recommended in the scriptural injunctions. One should go simply to offer respect to the Deity. That will place one in the mode of goodness. It is the duty of every civilized man to obey the injunctions of the scriptures and offer respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 12

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

But that sacrifice performed for some material end or benefit or preformed ostentatiously, out of pride, is of the nature of passion, O chief of the Bharatas.

PURPORT

Sometimes sacrifices and rituals are performed for elevation to the heavenly kingdom or for some material benefits in this world. Such sacrifices or ritualistic performances are considered to be in the mode of passion.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 13

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

SYNONYMS

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

And that sacrifice performed in defiance of scriptural injunctions, in which no spiritual food is distributed, no hymns are chanted and no remunerations are made to the priests, and which is faithless–that sacrifice is of the nature of ignorance.

PURPORT

Faith in the mode of darkness or ignorance is actually faithlessness. Sometimes people worship some demigod just to make money and then spend the money for recreation, ignoring the scriptural injunctions. Such ceremonial shows of religiosity are not accepted as genuine. They are all in the mode of darkness; they produce a demoniac mentality and do not benefit human society.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 14

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

SYNONYMS

deva–the Supreme Lord; dvija–the brahmana; guru–the spiritual master; prajna–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

The austerity of the body consists in this: worship of the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother. Cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence are also austerities of the body.

PURPORT

The Supreme Godhead here explains the different kinds of austerity and penance. First He explains the austerities and penances practiced by the body. One should offer, or learn to offer, respect to God or to the demigods, the perfect, qualified brahmanas and the spiritual master and superiors like father, mother or any person who is conversant with Vedic knowledge. These should be given proper respect. One should practice cleansing oneself externally and internally, and he should learn to become simple in behavior. He should not do anything which is not sanctioned by the scriptural injunctions. He should not indulge in sex outside of married life, for sex is sanctioned in the scripture only in marriage, not otherwise. This is called celibacy. These are penances and austerities as far as the body is concerned.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 15

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

Austerity of speech consists in speaking truthfully and beneficially and in avoiding speech that offends. One should also recite the Vedas regularly.

PURPORT

One should not speak in such a way as to agitate the minds of others. Of course, when a teacher speaks, he can speak the truth for the instruction of his students, but such a teacher should not speak to others who are not his students if he will agitate their minds. This is penance as far as talking is concerned. Besides that, one should not talk nonsense. When speaking in spiritual circles, one’s statements must be upheld by the scriptures. One should at once quote from scriptural authority to back up what he is saying. At the same time, such talk should be very pleasurable to the ear. By such discussions, one may derive the highest benefit and elevate human society. There is a limitless stock of Vedic literature, and one should study this. This is called penance of speech.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 16

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

And serenity, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purity of thought are the austerities of the mind.

PURPORT

To make the mind austere is to detach it from sense gratification. It should be so trained that it can be always thinking of doing good for others. The best training for the mind is gravity in thought. One should not deviate from Krsna consciousness and must always avoid sense gratification. To purify one’s nature is to become Krsna conscious. Satisfaction of the mind can be obtained only by taking the mind away from thoughts of sense enjoyment. The more we think of sense enjoyment, the more the mind becomes dissatisfied. In the present age we unnecessarily engage the mind in so many different ways for sense gratification, and so there is no possibility of the mind’s becoming satisfied. The best course is to divert the mind to the Vedic literature, which is full of satisfying stories, as in the Puranas and the Mahabharata.

One can take advantage of this knowledge and thus become purified. The mind should be devoid of duplicity, and one should think of the welfare of all. Silence means that one is always thinking of self-realization. The person in Krsna consciousness observes perfect silence in this sense. Control of the mind means detaching the mind from sense enjoyment. One should be straightforward in his dealings and thereby purify his existence. All these qualities together constitute austerity in mental activities.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 17

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

This threefold austerity, practiced by men whose aim is not to benefit themselves materially but to please the Supreme, is of the nature of goodness.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 18

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

Those ostentatious penances and austerities which are performed in order to gain respect, honor and reverence are said to be in the mode of passion. They are neither stable nor permanent.

PURPORT

Sometimes penance and austerity are executed to attract people and receive honor, respect and worship from others. Persons in the mode of passion arrange to be worshiped by subordinates and let them wash their feet and offer riches. Such arrangements artificially made by the performance of penances are considered to be in the mode of passion. The results are temporary; they can be continued for some time, but they are not permanent.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 19

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

SYNONYMS

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–causing annihilation; va–or; tat–that; tamasam–in the mode of darkness; udahrtam–is said to be.

TRANSLATION

And those penances and austerities which are performed foolishly by means of obstinate self-torture, or to destroy or injure others, are said to be in the mode of ignorance.

PURPORT

There are instances of foolish penance undertaken by demons like Hiranyakasipu, who performed austere penances to become immortal and kill the demigods. He prayed to Brahma for such things, but ultimately he was killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To undergo penances for something which is impossible is certainly in the mode of ignorance.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 20

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

SYNONYMS

datavyam–worth giving; iti–thus; yat–that which; danam–charity;diyate–given; anupakarine–to any person irrespective of doing good;dese–in place; kale–in time; ca–also; patre–suitable person; ca–and;tat–that; danam–charity; sattvikam–in the mode of goodness; smrtam–consider.

TRANSLATION

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

PURPORT

In the Vedic literature, charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended. There is no recommendation for giving charity indiscriminately. Spiritual perfection is always a consideration. Therefore charity is recommended to be given at a place of pilgrimage and at lunar or solar eclipses or at the end of the month or to a qualified brahmana or a Vaisnava (devotee) or in temples. Such charities should be given without any consideration of return. Charity to the poor is sometimes given out of compassion, but if a poor man is not worth giving charity to, then there is no spiritual advancement. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended in the Vedic literature.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 21

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

SYNONYMS

yat–that which; tu–but; prati-upakara-artham–for the sake of getting some return; phalam–result; uddisya–desiring; va–or; punah–again; diyate–is given in charity; 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.

PURPORT

Charity is sometimes performed for elevation to the heavenly kingdom and sometimes with great trouble and with repentance afterwards. “Why have I spent so much in this way?” Charity is also sometimes made under some obligation, at the request of a superior. These kinds of charity are said to be made in the mode of passion.
There are many charitable foundations which offer their gifts to institutions where sense gratification goes on. Such charities are not recommended in the Vedic scripture. Only charity in the mode of goodness is recommended.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 22

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

SYNONYMS

adesa–unpurified place; kale–unpurified time; yat–that which;danam–charity; upatrebhyah–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 improper place and time and given to unworthy persons without respect and with contempt is charity in the mode of ignorance.

PURPORT

Contributions for indulgence in intoxication and gambling are not encouraged here. That sort of contribution is in the mode of ignorance. Such charity is not beneficial; rather, sinful persons are encouraged. Similarly, if a person gives charity to a suitable person without respect and without attention, that sort of charity is also said to be in the mode of darkness.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 23

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

SYNONYMS

om–indication of the Supreme; tat–that; sat–eternal; iti–that;nirdesah–indication; brahmanah–of the Supreme; tri-vidhah–three kinds; smrtah–consider; brahmanah–the brahmanas; tena–therefore;vedah–the Vedic literature; ca–also; yajnah–sacrifice; ca–also;vihitah–used; pura–formerly.

TRANSLATION

From the beginning of creation, the three syllables–om tat sat–have been used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth [Brahman]. They were uttered by brahmanas while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices, for the satisfaction of the Supreme.

PURPORT

It has been explained that penance, sacrifice, charity and foods are divided into three categories: the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. But whether first class, second class or third class, they are all conditioned, contaminated by the material modes of nature. When they are aimed at the Supreme–om tat sat, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the eternal–they become means for spiritual elevation. In the scriptural injunctions such an objective is indicated. These three words, om tat sat,particularly indicate the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Vedic hymns, the word om is always found.

One who acts without following the regulations of the scriptures will not attain the Absolute Truth. He will get some temporary result, but not the ultimate end of life. The conclusion is that the performance of charity, sacrifice and penance must be done in the mode of goodness. Performed in the modes of passion or ignorance, they are certainly inferior in quality. The three words om tat sat are uttered in conjunction with the holy name of the Supreme Lord, e.g., om tad visnoh. Whenever a Vedic hymn or the holy name of the Supreme Lord is uttered, om is added. This is the indication of Vedic literature. These three words are taken from Vedic hymns. Om ity etad brahmano nedistham nama indicates the first goal. Then tat tvam asi indicates the second goal. And sad eva saumyaindicates the third goal. Combined they become om tat sat. Formerly when Brahma, the first created living entity, performed sacrifices, he spoke these three names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The same principle holds by disciplic succession. So this hymn has great significance.Bhagavad-gita recommends, therefore, that any work done should be done for om tat sat, or for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one performs penance, charity, and sacrifice with these three words, he is acting in Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is a scientific execution of transcendental activities which enables one to return home, back to Godhead. There is no loss of energy in acting in such a transcendental way.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 24

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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

Thus the transcendentalists undertake sacrifices, charities, and penances, beginning always with om, to attain the Supreme.

PURPORT

Om tad visnoh paramam padam. The lotus feet of Visnu are the supreme devotional platform. The performance of everything on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead assures the perfection of all activity.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 25

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

SYNONYMS

tat–that; iti–they; anabhisandhaya–without fruitive result; phalam–result of sacrifice; yajna–sacrifice; tapah–penance; kriyah–activities;dana–charity; kriyah–activities; ca–also; vividhah–varieties; kriyante–done; moksa-kanksibhih–those who actually desire liberation.

TRANSLATION

One should perform sacrifice, penance and charity with the word tat. The purpose of such transcendental activities is to get free from the material entanglement.

PURPORT

To be elevated to the spiritual position, one should not act for any material gain. Acts should be performed for the ultimate gain of being transferred to the spiritual kingdom, back to home, back to Godhead.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 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

SYNONYMS

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

TRANSLATION

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

PURPORT

The words prasaste karmani, or prescribed duties, indicate that there are many activities prescribed in the Vedic literature which are purificatory processes beginning from the parental care up to the end of one’s life. Such purificatory processes are adopted for the ultimate liberation of the living entity. In all such activities it is recommended that one should vibrate om tat sat. The words sad-bhave and sadhu-bhave indicate the transcendental situation. One who is acting in Krsna consciousness is called sattva, and one who is fully conscious of activities in Krsna consciousness is called svarupa. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that the transcendental subject matter becomes clear in the association of the devotees. Without good association, one cannot achieve transcendental knowledge. When initiating a person or offering the sacred thread, one vibrates the words om tat sat. Similarly, in all kinds of yajnaperformances, the supreme object, om tat sat is invoked. These wordsom tat sat are used to perfect all activities. The supreme om tat satmakes everything complete.

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Chapter 17. The Divisions of Faith

TEXT 28

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

SYNONYMS

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; no–nor;iha–in this life.

TRANSLATION

But sacrifices, austerities and charities performed without faith in the Supreme are nonpermanent, O son of Prtha, regardless of whatever rites are performed. They are called asat and are useless both in this life and the next.

PURPORT

Anything done without the transcendental objective–whether it be sacrifice, charity or penance–is useless. Therefore, in this verse, it is declared that such activities are abominable. Everything should be done for the Supreme in Krsna consciousness. Without such faith, and without the proper guidance, there can never be any fruit. In all the Vedic scriptures, faith in the Supreme is advised. In the pursuit of all Vedic instructions, the ultimate goal is the understanding of Krsna. No one can obtain success without following this principle. Therefore, the best course is to work from the very beginning in Krsna consciousness under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. That is the way to make everything successful.

In the conditional state, people are attracted to worship demigods, ghosts, or Yaksas like Kuvera. The mode of goodness is better than the modes of passion and ignorance, but one who takes directly to Krsna consciousness is transcendental to all three modes of material nature. Although there is a process of gradual elevation, if one, by the association of pure devotees, takes directly to Krsna consciousness, that is the best way. And that is recommended in this chapter. To achieve success in this way, one must first find the proper spiritual master and receive training under his direction. Then one can achieve faith in the Supreme. When that faith matures, in course of time, it is called love of God. This love is the ultimate goal of the living entities. One should, therefore, take to Krsna consciousness directly. That is the message of this Seventeenth Chapter.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Seventeenth Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of the Divisions of Faith.