Proper understanding of the Bhagavad Gita Part – 124


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Updated on November 29, 2020

Those people, who reject the prescriptions of the authorized Holy Scriptures and, with faith, perform religious rituals, what happens to them, O Lord Krishna. Is it Saatwik, Raajasik or Taamasik.

This cosmic zoo is perpetuated by Guna or Karma. This, Lord Krishna, has described in Chapters 14th, 16th, and 17th of the Bhagavad Gita

The Science of the 3-fold Faith

We have covered up to the 16th Chapter in Kriya Yoga Sandesh Aug/Sept 2015. Now we start with the 17th Chapter. This Chapter is known as the Science of the 3 FOLD FAITH, or, SHRADDHAA TRAYA BIBHAAGA YOGA. Arjuna uvaacha (Arjuna is asking):

अर्जुन उवाच |
ये शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धयान्विता: |
तेषां निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्वमाहो रजस्तम: || 1||

arjuna uvācha
ye śhāstra-vidhimutsṛijya yajante śhraddhayānvitāḥ
teṣhāṁ niṣhṭhā tu kā kṛiṣhṇa sattvamāho rajastamaḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 1

General Meaning:
Arjuna is asking-“Those people, who reject the prescriptions of the authorized Holy Scriptures and, with faith, perform religious rituals, what happens to them, O Lord Krishna. Is it Saatwik, Raajasik, or Taamasik?”

Explanatory Notes:

Arjuna raises a practical point. It is true that people are there in this world who have their own original views and do not care for authorized procedures. Maybe they do not get the opportunity to consult the right scriptures or the right authorities. They may have tremendous faith and eagerness to perform the rituals depending on their likes and dislikes or individual preferences. What are the consequences of such acts? Do they get Saattwik or Raajasik or Taamasik states or fate?

The 3 Basic Natural Inherent Qualities

Sri Bhagawan uvaacha (the Blessed Lord speaks):

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनां सा स्वभावजा |
सात्विकी राजसी चैव तामसी चेति तां शृणु || 2||

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha
tri-vidhā bhavati śhraddhā dehināṁ sā swabhāva-jā
sāttwikī rājasī chaiva tāmasī cheti tāṁ śhrunu

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 2

General Meaning:

Three types are the faith present in the embodied. This is their inborn nature, i.e. the Saattwik or pure, the Raajasik or passionate and the Taamasik or the impure. This, you please listen to me.

Explanatory Notes:

Here, Lord Krishna is describing the three basic natural qualities inherent in the embodied person. These are the Saattwik or pure and transparent or, the good and divine. Raajasik or, restless and passionate. Taamasik or, impure, and bad. As per these inherent inborn basic natures, a person‟s conduct and personality can be good and divine, or, passionate and restless lacking in peace, or, dark, dull and evil i.e. the Taamasik. Lord Krishna is reminding Arjuna to listen to him carefully as these are also described in the authorized Holy Scriptures.

Inherent Nature determines the Faith

सत्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत |
श्रद्धामयोऽयं पुरुषो यो यच्छ्रद्ध: स एव स: || 3||

sattwānurūpā sarvasya śhraddhā bhavati bhārata
śhraddhā-mayo ayaṁ puruṣho yo yachchhraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 3

General Meaning:

The faith of each person is the same as his inherent nature. Each being is the totality of his faith. As is a person‟s faith, so he becomes.

Explanatory Notes:

The inherent nature of a person determines his faith. It is also true that the inherent nature of a person is an expression of his faith. The behavioral pattern of a person depends on his inherent nature. Similarly, the character of a person is an exercise of his faith too. Theoretically, these appear to be different but, practically these two can be considered to be the same and vice versa. Both these are rooted in the Gunas.

The 3 Kinds of Worshippers

यजन्ते सात्विका देवान्यक्षरक्षांसि राजसा: |
प्रेतान्भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जना: || 4||

yajante sāttwikā devān yakṣha-rakṣhānsi rājasāḥ
pretān bhūta-gaṇām schānye yajante tāmasā janāḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 4

General Meaning:

The Saattwik people worship Gods in heaven. The Raajasik people Yakhyas and Rakhyasas. The Taamasik people worship ghosts, goblins and multiple nature spirits.

Explanatory Notes:

The inherent natures in every person determine their faith and religion. Saatwik people are good and pure and of high intellect. According to their faith, they worship Gods and Goddesses in Heaven and God. The Raajasik people are restless and passionate with much less Self-control. They worship Yakhyas or demigods and Raakhyasas or impure bloodthirsty quarter Gods. The Taamasik people, the dull and ignorant ones, according to their lower faith, worship ghosts, evil spirits and hosts of nature spirits.

अशास्त्रविहितं घोरं तप्यन्ते ये तपो जना: |
दम्भाहङ्कारसंयुक्ता: कामरागबलान्विता: || 5||

aśhāstra-vihitaṁ ghoraṁ tapyante ye tapo janāḥ
dambhāhankāra-sanyuktāḥ kāma-rāga-balānwitāḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 5

General Meaning:

These men practice horrible and terrible ascetic practices which are not prescribed by the authorized scriptures. They are under the influence of egoism and hypocrisy and are impelled by the force of desires and attachments.

Explanatory Notes:

In response to Arjuna‟s question, “what happens to men who have no regard for authorized scriptures and saturated with egoistic faith, perform forbidden mysterious acts in the name of religion and spirituality?‟ Lord Krishna replies, “These egoistic men, charged with lust and attachment behave hypocritically. They overdo things, puffed up with pride and lust. They give way to uncontrolled desires and perverse practices and also engage in terrible illogical and unreasonable ascetic practices.”

कर्षयन्त: शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतस: |
मां चैवान्त:शरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान् || 6||

karṣhayantaḥ śharīrasthaṁ bhūtagrāmam chetasaḥ
māṁ chaivāntaḥ śharīrasthaṁ tān viddhyāsura-niśhchayān

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 6

General Meaning:

Mindlessly they torture all the elements situated inside the body. You please know that these are people of demoniac nature.

Explanatory Notes:

Lord Krishna is advising Arjuna to be aware of people, who torture their bodies which is the home of all elements, to be of demoniac nature. All the elements of creation abide in the body. God too dwells within this body. Pancha Mahabhuta (5 Great Elements). The five great elements of the body, i.e. the earth, water, fire, air, and space, are also known as Pancha Mahabhuta. In the Vedas, they are known as Gods or deities. They are the building blocks of the body.

These are living entities held together by Prana, the primordial life energy or Mother Nature. They make the body habitable where God moves in and abides there. So, these people with demoniac resolves, with their perverse self torturing ascetic practices, torture, not only the elements but God too. Lord Krishna reminds Arjuna to be careful of them.

3 Types of Food, Austerity, Religious Activities and Charity

आहारस्त्वपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधो भवति प्रिय: |
यज्ञस्तपस्तथा दानं तेषां भेदमिमं शृणु || 7||

āhārastwapi sarvasya trividho bhavati priyaḥ
yajñastapastathā dānaṁ teṣhāṁ bhedamimaṁ śhṛuṇu

The Bhagavad Gita Ch 17 Verse 7

General Meaning:

The food and drinks, which are dear to all beings, are of three groups. So also sacrifices, austerity and alms-giving. Listen to me about the different types of these.

Explanatory Notes:

In this verse, Lord Krishna draws Arjuna’s attention to him and advises him to listen attentively. This shows the great importance of this topic. Food and drink is life-giving. Hence, are dear to all beings. As food and drinks are of three main types, so also are religious activities (sacrifices), self-disciplining (austerities) and charity (alms-giving). Dear divine friends, please study these closely, think about it and enrich your life by making necessary adjustments. The world or the creation is training ground or school to evolve higher. Enrich life and make it more enjoyable spiritually. Gradually evolving higher, every second continuously, one reaches perfection, becomes self-realized, goes beyond all sufferings, attains the blissful state of SAT CHIT AANANDA, one’s own absolute state. Please do try to attain this; it is worth it. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE. You are here to win this race. There is no other way.

May God and Kriya Yoga Masters Bless, Guide, Protect and Inspire you. He loves you.

With Love and Best Wishes,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji

Paramahansa Atmananda

A Doctor, A Yogi, A Teacher. He is a Yogi and highly qualified doctor. With his specialization in Internal Medicine and Neurology, he has been able to make many spiritual seekers understand about Kriya Yoga as a scientific technique for Self and God Realization.