Bhagavad-Gita-Rasika-ranjanaBhagavad-gita - Chapter Sixteen
Bhagavad-Gita-Rasika-ranjanaBhagavad-gita - Chapter Eighteen

Śraddhā-Traya Vibhāga Yoga
(The Yoga Explaining Three Types of Faith

With the Rasika-Rañjana Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

arjuna uvāca –
ye śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya yajante śraddhayānvitāḥ
teṣāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā kṛṣṇa sattvam āho rajas tamaḥ

Hearing this, Arjuna said – O Kṛṣṇa! I have one doubt. You said (4.39) that only persons possessing śraddhā achieve knowledge. Again, You said that one who abandons the injunctions of the śāstra and acts according to his own desires never attains perfection, happiness or the supreme destination. Now the question is, if one’s śraddhā is opposed to śāstra then what happens? Doe a person who possesses such śraddhā achieve the result of a purified consciousness by being situated in jñāna-yoga or not? Therefore, please tell me clearly – can the devotion of those who reject the injunctions of śāstra and take refuge in such śraddhā be called sāttvika (goodness), rājasika (passion) or tāmasika (ignorance)?

śrī bhagavān uvāca –
tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā
sāttvikī rājasī caiva tāmasī ceti tāṁ śṛṇu

Bhagavān replied – The śraddhā of those who possess a material body arises from their nature and is of three types – sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika.

sattvānurūpā sarvasya śraddhā bhavati bhārata
śraddhāmayo’yaṁ puruṣo yo yac chraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ

O Bhārata! All men are endowed with śraddhā. A person’s śraddhā corresponds with their type of existence. Whatever is his śraddhā becomes his inherent nature (svarūpa). The main point is this – by constitution, the jīva is My aṁśa (expansion), therefore he is nirguṇa (beyond the modes of nature). When he becomes forgetful of his relationship with Me, then the jīva possesses the modes of nature. While he remains in a bound state due to his previous mental impressions, his nature in connection with the modes of nature arises. From that nature, his internal senses (antaḥkaraṇa) are moulded. These internal senses are the consciousness. Purification of that consciousness is the state of fearlessness (abhaya). The śraddha existing in such a purified consciousness is the seed of nirguṇa-bhakti. The śraddhā in an impure consciousness is endowed with the modes of nature. As long as śraddhā is not aimed at that which is nirguṇa, it is known as kāma (the selfish hankering for material desires). Listen as I explain the topic of śraddhā imbued with kāma.

yajante sāttvikā devān yakṣa-rakṣāṁsi rājasāḥ
pretān bhūta-gaṇāṁś cānye yajante tāmasā janāḥ

Persons who are characterised by sāttvika-śraddhā worship the Devatās. Persons who are characterised by rājasika-śraddhā worship Yakṣas and Rākṣasas, and persons who are characterised by tāmasika-śraddhā worship Bhūtas and Pretas.

aśāstra-vihitaṁ ghoraṁ tapyante ye tapo janāḥ
dambhāhaṅkāra-saṁyuktāḥ kāma-rāga-balānvitāḥ

Those persons who engage in terrible austerities that are not enjoined by śāstra, who are full of lust, attachment and strength, are supported by pride and false ego.

karṣayantaḥ śarīra-sthaṁ bhūta-grāmam acetasaḥ

māṁ caivāntaḥ śarīra-sthaṁ tān viddhy-āsura-niścayān

They torture the elements that are situated within the body through severe austerities such as fasting etc, and thus they give pain to the jīva who is My expansion. They are established in the Asurika condition.

āhāras tv-api sarvasya tri-vidho bhavati priyaḥ
yajñas tapas tathā dānaṁ teṣāṁ bhedam imaṁ śṛṇu

The food of human beings are of threefold divisions – sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika. Similarly, you should know that their yajñas, austerities and charity are also of those threefold divisions.

āyuḥ sattva-balārogya-sukha-prīti-vivardhanāḥ
rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hṛdyā āhārāḥ sāttvika-priyāḥ

All foods which increase life, existence, strength, health, pleasure and love, which are juicy, mild, substantial and are favourable to the body are dear to those who are sāttvika.

āhārā rājasasyeṣṭā duḥkha-śokāmaya-pradāḥ

All foods that are extremely bitter such as nīma etc, too sour, too salty and spicy, excessively pungent such as chilis, peppers etc, too dry such as roasted chickpeas and mustard seeds etc, which increase suffering, sorrow and disease are dear to those persons who are rājasika.

yāta-yāmaṁ gata-rasaṁ pūti paryuṣitaṁ ca yat
ucchiṣṭam api cāmedhyaṁ bhojanaṁ tāmasa-priyam

Food which is cooked for more than one prahara,* which has become cold, which is tasteless, which has acquired a bad odour, which was cooked a day before, which has fermented, remnants of those who are not one’s respected elders, as well as impure ingredients such as alcohol, meat etc, are all dear to those persons who are tāmasika.

* Translator’s Note: A prahara is a measurement of time which last for approximately three hours.

aphalākāṅkṣibhir yajño vidhidṛṣṭo ya ijyate
yaṣṭavyam eveti manaḥ samādhāya sa sāttvikaḥ

The various yajñas are thus – yajñas that are performed devoid of any desire, which are performed out of duty and with respect for the proper injunctions are sāttvika-yajñas.

abhisandhāya tu phalaṁ dambhārtham api caiva yat
ijyate bharata-śreṣṭha taṁ yajñaṁ viddhi rājasam

Yajñās that are performed with the intent of achieving results and are executed out of pride, are said to be rājasika-yajñas.

vidhi-hīnam asṛṣṭānnaṁ mantra-hīnam adakṣiṇam
śraddhā-virahitaṁ yajñaṁ tāmasaṁ paricakṣate

Yajñas that are done without proper injunctions, where no food is given in charity, which is without proper mantras, where there is no dakṣiṇā* and which is devoid of śraddhā is a tāmasikayajña. In this regard, tāmasika-śraddhā cannot be called śraddhā because it’s very nature is corrupt.

* Translator’s Note: Dakṣiṇā refers to remuneration of the brāhmaṇas.

deva-dvija-guru-prājña-pūjanaṁ śaucam ārjavam
brahmacaryam ahiṁsā ca śārīraṁ tapa ucyate

The differences in austerities are thus –worship of the Devas, the brāhmaṇas, the guru and wise persons, as well as purity, sincerity, chastity and non-violence all pertain to austerity of the body.

anudvega-karaṁ vākyaṁ satyaṁ priyahitaṁ ca yat
svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ caiva vāṅmayaṁ tapa ucyate

Words that cause no distress to others, truth, words which are sweet and benevolent, the recitation of the Vedas etc. – this is austerity of speech.

manaḥ prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ maunam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
bhāva-saṁśuddhir ity-etat tapo mānasam ucyate

Mental tranquillity, simplicity, silence, self-control, purification of the mind etc. – this is austerity of the mind.

śraddhayā parayā taptaṁ tapas tat tri-vidhaṁ naraiḥ
aphalākāṅkṣibhir yuktaiḥ sāttvikaṁ paricakṣate

If a detached person engages in these three kinds of austerities along with superior śraddhā, in other words, when that śraddhā is aimed towards bhakti to Bhagavān and is devoid of the desire for results, then it is considered to be sāttvika austerity.

satkāra-māna-pūjārthaṁ tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tadiha proktaṁ rājasaṁ calam adhruvam

Those austerities which are performed with pride in order to achieve respect and worship, thinking that, “You will be called a sādhu!” which is temporary and uncertain, is rājasika austerity.

mūḍha-grāheṇātmano yat pīḍayā kriyate tapaḥ
parasyotsādanārthaṁ vā tat tāmasam udāhṛtam

Austerities which are performed out of foolishness, through pain to the self, and for destroying others are tāmasika.

dātavyam iti yad dānaṁ dīyate’nupakāriṇe
deśe kāle ca pātre ca tad dānaṁ sāttvikaṁ smṛtam

Differences in charity are thus – that charity which is done without expectation of remuneration, which is done out of duty, and with consideration of place, time and the recipient is sāttvika.

yat tu pratyupakārārthaṁ phalam uddiśya vā punaḥ
dīyate ca parikliṣṭaṁ tad dānaṁ rājasaṁ smṛtam

That charity which is done with hopes of remuneration, or with the purpose of attaining Svarga etc, or which is given with remorse, is rājasika,

adeśa-kāle yad dānam apātrebhyaś ca dīyate
asatkṛtam avajñātaṁ tat tāmasam udāhṛtam

Charity given at a place where there is no necessity, at a time which benefits nobody, or to people who are undeserving recipients such as dancers, prostitutes etc. is tāmasika. Even if one charity to a deserving recipient, but with negligence or contempt, that also becomes tāmasika charity.

oṁ-tat-sad iti nirdeśo brahmaṇas tri-vidhaḥ smṛtaḥ
brāhmaṇās tena vedāś ca yajñāś ca vihitāḥ purā

Listen to the explanation. Austerities, yajna, charity and food – all these are under the threefold categories of sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika. The śraddhā which is shown while engaged in these activities which are under the modes of nature, even if it is superior, medium or inferior, is still connected to the modes and is thus useless. When all those activities are performed with nirguṇa-śraddhā, in other words, with śraddhā which aims towards bhakti, then they become useful for achieving fearlessness in the form of purifying the consciousness. Throughout the śāstra there is advice to perform one’s activities with supreme śraddhā.

Oṁ tat sat – it is observed in the śāstra that these three conditions indicate Brahman. Along with this indication of Brahman, the brāhmaṇas, the Vedas and yajña are prescribed. That śraddhā that one adopts which abandons the injunctions of śāstra is within the modes of nature. It indicates the opposite of Brahman and awards the results of material desires. Thus, superior śraddhā is prescribed in the śāstra. Your doubts in relation to śāstra and śraddhā have only arisen due to lack of discrimination.

tasmād oṁ ity-udāhṛtya yajña-dāna tapaḥ kriyāḥ
pravartante vidhānoktāḥ satataṁ brahma-vādinām

The brahmavādīs constantly perform all yajñas, charity, austerities and activities mentioned in all the śāstra using the word oṁ which indicates Brahman.

tad ity-anabhisandhāya phalaṁ yajña-tapaḥ-kriyāḥ
dāna-kriyāś ca vividhāḥ kriyante mokṣa-kāṅkṣibhiḥ

In order to achieve deliverance from material bondage, one should focus upon tat-vastu (the transcendental object) which is beyond the atat-vastu (the mundane object) by performing yajñas, austerities, giving charity and other activities, while rejecting any direct material result.

sad-bhāve sādhu-bhāve ca sad ity-etat prayujyate
praśaste karmaṇi tathā sac-chabdaḥ pārtha yujyate

The word sat means Brahman and also refers to the brahmavādīs. Similarly, the word sat is understood to refer to all the auspicious activities which are directed towards Brahman.

yajñe tapasi dāne ca sthitiḥ sad iti cocyate
karma caiva tad-arthīyaṁ sad ity-evābhidhīyate

Yajña, austerity and charity are the explanation of the word sat, because all these activities are meant for that, in other words, when Brahman is to be indicated, the word sat is used. When it does not indicate Brahman, the activities of yajñā, austerity and charity etc. are all asat (mundane). All mundane activities are contrary to the intrinsic nature of the jīva. However, at the time when all these activities are centred on Brahman and committed to bring forth bhakti, then all these activities purify the jīva’s consciousness. In other words, they are suitable for perfecting one’s intrinsic nature as a servant of Kṛṣṇa.

aśraddhayā hutaṁ dattaṁ tapas taptaṁ kṛtaṁ ca yat
asad ity-ucyate pārtha na ca tat pretya no iha

O Arjuna! Whatever yajña, charity and austerity is performed without nirguṇaśraddhā, is all asat. All such activities are without benefit for this life nor for the next. Therefore, the entire śāstra teaches nirguṇa-śraddhā. By rejecting the śāstra, one rejects nirguṇaśraddhā. Nirguṇaśraddhā is the only seed for the creeper of bhakti.

In this chapter it has been explained that all activities performed while taking shelter in transcendental śraddhā lead to the jīva’s liberation. Thus ends the Seventeenth Chapter.

Bhagavad-Gita-Rasika-ranjanaBhagavad-gita - Chapter Sixteen
Bhagavad-Gita-Rasika-ranjanaBhagavad-gita - Chapter Eighteen

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