Bhagavad Gita/Conversation 17. Threefold Division of Faith
Threefold Division of Faith
17:1. What is the state of those who are endowed with faith but disregard the precepts of the Holy Scriptures? Are they in the state of sattva, rajas, or tamas?
Lord Krishna said:
17:2. The faith of incarnate ones can be of three kinds: sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Hear about all three!
17:3. A person’s faith corresponds to this person’s essence, and the person corresponds to his or her faith: what your faith is, so you are.
17:4. Sattvic people worship the Divine, rajasic people worship beings of demonic nature, tamasic people worship lower spirits and the dead.
17:5. Know that they who perform severe ascetic exploits non-prescribed by the Holy Scriptures for the sake of self-admiration and pride, yet are subjected to sexual passions, attachments, and violence,
17:6. unwise, torturing the elements that compose their bodies as well as Me residing in their bodies — know that their decisions are demonic!
17:7. Even so the food pleasant to all can be of three kinds, also sacrifice, ascetic exploits, and gifts. Hear from Me about the difference between them!
17:8. Food that promotes longevity, strength, health, jocundity, and serenity of mood, which is succulent, oily, substantial, and tasty — such food is dear to the sattvic.
17:9. Passionate ones hunger for bitter, sour, salty, too spicy, exciting, dry, and burning food, i.e. the food that causes sorrow, suffering, sickness.
17:10. Spoiled, tasteless, with bad smell, putrid, cooked of garbage, unclean food is dear to the tamasic.
17:11. Sacrifice performed without any thought about reward, in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, with firm belief that it is a duty — such sacrifice is sattvic.
17:12. Sacrifice performed with the expectation of reward and for the sake of pleasing oneself — know that such sacrifice originates from rajas!
17:13. Sacrifice that contradicts the religious precepts, performed without feeding the hungry, without sacred words, without charity, without faith — such sacrifice is called tamasic.
17:14. Homage paid to the Divine, to brahmans, to teachers, and to sages, purity, simplicity, abstention, non-harming (the body) — such is the asceticism of the body.
17:15. Speech causing no dislike, honest, pleasant, and beneficial, also chanting the holy texts — such is the asceticism of the speech.
17:16. Clarity of thoughts, lowliness of the mind, control over thoughts, amicability towards everyone, naturalness of life — such is the asceticism of the mind.
17:17. This threefold asceticism, if performed by steady people endowed with deep faith and without any the expectation of reward — is considered sattvic.
17:18. Asceticism performed for the sake of praise, honor, and glory, as well as asceticism performed with pride — is rajasic in its nature, unsteady, not firm.
17:19. Asceticism performed under delusion, with self-torture, or with the purpose of destroying someone — is tamasic in its nature.
17:20. The gift, which is given without any thought about reward, with the feeling of doing this as a duty, at the right time and in the right place to a worthy person — such a gift is considered sattvic.
17:21. That which is given with the expectation of repayment or reward, or with grudging — such a gift is called rajasic.
17:22. A gift given in an inappropriate place, at inappropriate time, to unworthy people, with disrespect or disregard — such a gift is tamasic.
17:23. “AUM — TAT — SAT” is a threefold designation of Brahman in the Vedas. In old time, it was used in performance of sacrifices.
17:24. Therefore, knowers of Brahman begin sacrificial acts and acts of self-restraint with the word AUM, as it is prescribed by the Holy Scriptures.
17:25. When those seeking the Liberation perform various sacrifices and purifying acts of self-restraint, or give sattvic gifts — then it is performed with the word TAT.
17:26. The word SAT is used for designating the true reality and good, as well as righteous acts, O Partha.
17:27. The word SAT is also always uttered in sacrificing, self-restraint, and charity. And the actions aimed at these purposes are also designated by the word SAT.
17:28. And that which is performed without faith — whether it is sacrifice, exploit, or giving — is ASAT, that is NOTHING both here and after death!
Thus in the Upanishads of the blessed Bhagavad Gita, the Science of Eternal, the Scripture of Yoga, says the seventeenth conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna, entitled:
Threefold Division of Faith.