Chapter 17 Saptodasho Adhyaya -Three Modes of Devotion and Faith
In the previous chapter lord has spoken about the demonic characteristics of lust anger and greed to Arjuna and as an advice he had instructed him to follow the path set up scriptures in leading the pious life that can take him closer to the supreme truth and he can get integrated with the supreme soul of the lord. In the previous chapter lord had advised Arjuna that the worship undertaken by way of the fulfilling a desire does not yield the necessary results i.e., it may not take the protagonists closer to the supreme truth and result into emancipation of the soul form the mortal world . Arjuna had been advised by the lord Krishna that any selfless activity undertaken for larger universal welfare and as prescribed by the scriptures can definitely result into eh freedom from the vicious cycle of the mortal world. Arjuna in order to understand as to what happens to those persons who may not be familiar with the modes of the worship and devotion as advised by the scriptures asks lord Krishna as to what is the mode the people adopt who do not follow the scriptures.
Says he to lord Krishna,
Ye shaastra vidhimutsrajay Yajante shradhayaanvitaa
Teshaam nishthaa tu kaa Krishna satav maaho rajastam (1)
“Oh lord Krishna! Pray tell me what is the mode of the devotion of those persons who undertake spiritual practices without following the laid down rules by the scriptures. Do they fall under the satava mode, the rajas mode or do they come under the tamas mode i.e., the modes of goodness, passion or the ignorance?”
Lord Krishna who had referred to these modes in the previous chapter, thus satisfies his disciple’s query,
Trividhaa bhavati shradhaa dehinam sa svabhaavjaa
Saatvikaa raajsi chaiv taamsi cheti taam shrunu (2)
“Hey Arjuna! . There exists three kinds of devotion amongst the embodied souls which is acquired by the soul from the materialistic nature i.e., satavik, pure hearted and full of goodness, the Rajasi-the full of passion, and the taamsi- the one that is of demonic nature. You should now hear about these from me”.
Satva anurupaa sarvasaya shradhaa bhavati bharat
Shraadhaam yogyam purusho yo yachshddh SA aiv SA (3)
“All devotees possess the devotion as per their internal emotional built up. Each devotee represents the kind of person as per the devotion that he has”.
Yajante saatvikaa devaanyaksharkshaansi rajasaa
Pretaan bhootaganaansh chaanya Yajante taamsaa janaa (4)
“The saatvikaa (the pious persons) worship the celestial gods, the rajas (the passionate persons) worship supernatural rulers and demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits”.
Ashaastra vihitam ghoram tapayante ye tapo janaa
Dambha ahamkara sanyuktaa kaamraaga balaanvitaa (5)
Karshayant shareerastham bhootagraam chetsa
Maam chaivaant shareerastham taanvidhyaa asur nishchyaan (6)
“Those persons who practice severe austerities without following the prescription as laid down by the holy scriptures are full of hypocrisy and egotism. They are incited by the power of desire and attachment. They senselessly torture the elements in their body. They torment me the supreme truth that dwells within their physical body. You should know these ignorant persons to be of demonic nature”.
Ahaarsdatavapi sarvasaya trividho bhavati priya
Yagyastapasatathaa daanam Teshaam bhedmimam sharnu (7)
“Just as the food we prefer is of three types depending on the kind of nature we all possess, the same way sacrifices, meditation and the charity are of three types. You should listen to the differences among stall three of them”.
Aayu satava balaa aarogyaa sukha priti vividharnaa
Rasyaa snigdhaa sthiraa hahyaa aahaaraa satavik priya (8)
“ The pure natured persons who live in the mode of goodness (saatvikaa) like the foods that promote long life, virtue, strength ,health, happiness, and joy “.
Katvamla lavnaatyushanan tikshan ruksha vidaaheen
Aahaaraa raajasasyeshtaa dukha shoka mayapradaa (9)
“The persons of passionate nature (who live in the mode of rajoguna) like the foods that are bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry, and burning. Such foods cause pain, grief, and disease”.
Yaatyaamam gatarasam pooti paryushitam cha yata
Uchchhishtimapi chaamedhyam bhojanam tamas priyam (10)
“ such people who live in the mode of ignorance (tamas)like the stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, refuses, and impure (such as meat and alcohol) kinds of food”.
Aphlaa kadkshibhir yagyo vidhi drashtu ya ijayate
Yashtayavmeveti mana samaadhaay sa saatvikaa (11)
“The selfless service undertaken by the persons who do it without attachments and take it as the sacred duty enjoined by the scriptures is done in the mode of goodness (saatvikaa)”.
Abhisandhaay tu phalam dambha arthmapi chaiv yata
Ijayate bharat shreshath tam yagyam viddhi rajasam (12)
“The service that is devoid of self-interest and undertaken as a mere formality for a show off and with attachment to the fruit of the service rendered is the service done in the mode of passion (rajoguna)”.
Vidhiheenam srashtaanam mantra heenam dakshinaam
Shraddhaavirhitam yagyam taamsam parichakshyate (13)
“ the selfless service that is done without following the scriptures and in which no offerings to the gods offered no foods are to the participants are distributed, a service that is performed without the chanting of the hymns, the holy mantras and without the faith and the gift is done in the mode of ignorance and darkness (tamas)”.
Deva dwij guru praagay poojanam shauchmaarjavam
Brahamcharayam himsaa ch Shaareeram tapa uchchayate (14)
“The worship of the celestial gods, the priests, the teachers, and of the enlightened persons, purity, simplicity, celibacy and non violence are the physical austerity of the body”.
Anudweg karam vaakyam satyam priya hitam cha yata
Sawaadhayaay abhayasanam vaadmayam tapa uchchayate (15)
“The words that are spoken without aggression, are non offensive, are pleasant beneficial and are used as an exercise for studying and chanting the name of the Supreme Truth is known as the austerity of the word”.
Mana praasaad saumayatavam maun maatam vinigraha
Bhaav sanshudhi rityettapo maan samuchayate (16)
“The expression of the serenity of the mind, gentleness, the equanimity,, the control of the self , and the purity of the internal emotions is called the austerity of the thought”.
Shradhayaa paryaa tapantam tapastantrividham narai
Aphlaakaaadkshibhiryuktai saatvikam parichyakshyate (17)
“All the three kinds of austerities performed by the enlightened ones with full dedication and faith, without the attachment to the fruit are performed in the mode of goodness (satva guna)”.
Satkaar maan pujaartham tapo dambhen chaiv yata
Kriyate tadih proktam rajasam chalam dhruvam (18)
“The meditation that is undertaken for gaining respectability, honour, and worship and to fulfill for some other motive of selfish interest by way of a mere show off and as a pretense yields an uncertain and periodic results is said to belong to the category of the mode of passion (rajoguna)”.
Moodh graahaenaatmano yatpidyaa Kriyate tapa
Parasyotsaadnaarthm vaa tattam samudaahatam (19)
“The austerity that is undertaken by way of obstinacy, by way of self torture of the mind and the body, or with an intention to do harm to others has been called the austerity in the mode of darkness of the mind and ignorance (taamsi nature)”.
Daatavaymiti yaddaanam diyate anupkaarane
Deshe kaale cha paatre cha taddaanam saatvikam samaratam (20)
“ a person who does charity with the emotions that giving charity is a duty ,and gives it without expressing anything in return at the right place, time and to the deserving is considered to eb a charity done in the mode of goodness (satva guna)”
Yatu pratayupkaararthm phalam uddheshya vaa puna
Deeyate cha parikalishatham taddaanam rajasam samaratam (21)
“But any charity done unwillingly with the intentions of getting something in return, and in expectations is considered to be a charity in the mode of passion (rajoguna)”.
Adeshkaale yadyaanm paatrebhayashch Deeyate
Asatkratamav gyaatam tattam samudaahatam (22)
“A charity that is done without showing due respects and with an intention of ridiculing the receiver, at the wrong place and time to an unworthy person is a charity considered to be done in the darkness of ignorance (tamoguna)”.
Om tatsiditi nirdesho brahaman stri vidha samarat
Brahaman aasten vedaashch vihitaa puraa (23)
“Om, the spirit and the supreme truth and all pervading are the names of the person with divine transcendental qualities . Out of the supreme truth, the vedas, the brahaman, and the yagya have been created”.
Tasmaadomityu daaharatay yagya daan tap kriya
Pravatarante vidhaanoktaa satatam braham vaadinaam (24)
“That is why all acts of charity, of austerity and acts of sacrifice performed by the enlightened persons begin with the auspicious word, “om”, which is the name of the God, the supreme truth”.
Tadityanabhi sandhaay phalam yagya tapa kriya
Daan kriyaashch vividhaa kriyante moksham kaadkshibhi (25)
“All this that exists in the universe belongs to the supreme truth known as tatta, and the seekers of the emancipation from the mortal life perform various types of sacrifice, charity, and austerity by uttering “He is the supreme truth” without expecting a reward”.
Sadbhaave saadhubhaave cha sadityet prayujayate
Prashaste karamni tatha sachchhabad parth yujayate (26)
“Supreme Truth” is the name of the God that is used in the sense of the reality and the goodness, and in supremeness. And hey Arjuna! The word Truth is also used in the auspicious acts that men perform”.
Yagse tapasi daane cha stithi saditi chochayate
Karam chaiva tadthirayam saditayev vaabhidheeyate (27)
“And the faith expressed in the sacrifice, charity and the austerity is also called the supreme truth and is treated as the action performed for the God is the Ultimate supreme truth”.
Ashraddhyaa hutam datam tapastapatam kratam ch yatt
Asditya uchayate parth na cha tatpretaya no ieha (28)
“Hey parth! Any act performed without faith and devotion whether it is charity, sacrifice or austerity or any other action is of no use as it is all considered untruth and holds no value either in this life or the life beyond”.