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Chapter 17: Three kinds of faith

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Life is a dream
Staff member
(The three quality states taught in Chapter 14 is further elucidated in this chapter)

Arjuna said:-

Oh lord please tell me about those,
Who set aside the laws of scriptures?
And perform sacrifices with faith,
Is it Sathvic, Rajasic or Thamasic?

The Lord replied:-

That faith which naturally occurs in every being,
Is classified in to three classes,
Which are Sathwa, Rajhas and Thamas?
And please hear about them.

Oh Arjuna, each person’s faith,
Would be according to his personality,
And one’s self is personification of his faith,
And so everyone is classified according to his faith.

The person of Sathwa faith worships Gods,
The person of Rajhasa faith worship Yakshas and Rakshasas,
And the person of Thamasa faith worships devils and ghosts.

Those fools who perform severe austerities,
Not enjoined in the scriptures having,
Given themselves to egotism and pride,
With desire, attachment and tenacity,
And torture the senses of the body,
As well as me, who is within it?
Are to be understood as the ones,
Who are traveling in the demonic way?

Please understand that the people,
Who follow each of these three divisions?
Have separate food habits, perform,
Different type of sacrifices austerities and charity,
So please hear it from me, about them.

The people of the Sathwa faith like the food,
That increases span of life, wisdom, strength,
Health, pleasure and taste and which are,
Juicy, starchy, nourishing and agreeable.

The people of the Rajhasa faith prefer the food,
Which are bitter, sour, salty, hot, and pungent?
Dry and acidic and which would lead to,
Sorrow, pain, grief and diseases.

The people of the Thamasa faith prefer the food,
That is stale, tasteless, which has turned sour,
Which is old, remnant from what other people ate,
And that which is not suitable as offering to the God.

That sacrifice done by people not desiring anything,
Done as the performance of their enjoined duty,
And done according to scriptures with a stable mind,
Is the one which is performed in the Sathvic way?

That sacrifice done with an aim at something,
With ostentation and pride, Oh Arjuna,
Is the one which is performed in Rajhasic way?

That sacrifice done not according to rules,
Without free distribution of food,
Which is performed without holy chants,
And without suitable gifts to the priests,
Is the one which is performed in the Thamasic way?

Worship of Gods, the twice born, teacher,
And the wise and observing purity,
Honesty and also non violence,
Is termed as the physical austerity.

Talking of words that does not hurt,
Talking that which is truth, that which is dear,
That which causes good and
Recitation of the Veda that one has learnt,
Is termed as the vocal austerity.

Clarity of the mind, kind thoughts,
Silence, humility and pure aims in life,
Is termed as the mental austerity.

These three types of austerities,
Practiced with great devotion with,
No desire for the fruits of such action,
And with great stability of thought,
Is termed as Sathwika by great ones.
That austerity done with pride,
And with the aim to gain,
Respect, honor and adoration,
Is unstable and not permanent,
And is termed as Rajasika type of actions.

That austerity performed with foolish desire,
And practiced with self torture or,
With the aim of causing harm to others,
Is termed as the Thamasic type of action.

That charity done with no expectation,
Of return, done at the proper place,
At the proper time and given to the one,
Who has not done anything for us?
Is termed as the charity of the Sathvic type.

That charity given with pain in the heart,
Expecting something in return,
Or expecting some blessing in return,
Is termed as the charity of the Rajhasic type.

That charity given after insulting some body,
Given at the wrong place in the wrong time,
To the unworthy persons without any regard for him,
Is termed as the charity of the Thamasic type.

The Brahman is denoted
By “Om”, “Thath”, and “Sath,”
And by these were fashioned,
The Brahmins, Vedas and the fire sacrifices.

Because of that, the followers of Veda,
Always start the sacrifices, charities,
And austerities, which are carried out by them,
According to Vedas, with the chant of “Om”.

And the seekers of salvation,
Who do not bother about the results?
Start the sacrifices, charities,
And austerities with word “”Thath”.

Oh Arjuna, the word “sath” denotes,
The fact of existence and goodness,
And is also used to denote,
Anything that is auspicious.

Being steady and stable in,
Sacrifices, austerities and charity,
Is denoted by the word “sath”,
And it would also denote,
All actions carried out for these.

Sacrifices, charities and austerities,
Done without faith in them is,
Termed as the negative of “sath”,
And would not be of any use,
In this world or in attaining salvation.

Thus ends the seventeenth chapter of Bhagawad Gita,
Which is the essence of all Upanishads,
Which is the science of the eternal and yoga,
And the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna,
Which is called “Three kinds of faith.”
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