Bhag Gita- Ch17 Shraddhaa Traya Vibhhaaga Yogah- Yoga of the Division of the Threefold Faith

yajne  tapasi daane cha sthitih saditi chochyate
    karma  chaiva tadartheeyam sadityevaabhidheeyate // 17.27 //

Steadfastness  in sacrifice, austerity and gift, is also called `Sat' and so also any action  for such purposes is called `Sat'.

The  term `Sat' is used to indicate man's faith and devotion in sacrifice, austerity  and gift. It indicates steadfastness in Yagna, Tapas and Dana. If these  activities are undertaken with faith and sincerity with the chanting of OM - the Supreme, TAT - the Universal and SAT - the Real  (the Infinite Brahman), the seeker's mind gives up all its selfishness,  arrogance and ego. The principle behind this advice is that actions will create  reactions depending upon the motive and attitude of the performer while  undertaking such actions.

ashraddhaayaa hutam dattam tapastaptam kritam cha  yat
    asadityuchyate paartha na cha tatpretya no iha // 17.28  //

Whatever  offering or gift is made, whatever sacrifice is performed, whatever rite is  observed, without faith, it is called `Asat' O Partha; it is of no account here  or hereafter.

Sri  Krishna in this concluding verse of this Chapter emphasizes that faith is man  and even if anyone performs most glorious acts without faith they are of no use  either here or hereafter. Actions create effects depending on the faith behind  the actions. The Lord states that whatever sacrifice is made, whatever penance  is performed or whatever charity is given it is called `Asat' if they are  undertaken without faith; they are mere barren actions. Such faithless actions  will produce no results.

The  Lord thus indicates that the spirit of faith is unavoidable and that without  faith no progress or evolution can ever take place. This is true in this life  and the life after death. Both in the secular activities as well as in the  sacred performances of the religion, the factor that determines the quality and  quantity of the result is our faith in our own goodness and in the field of  activity undertaken.

om tat sat iti  srimadbhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre sri  krishnaarjuna samvaade shraddhaaa traya vibhhaaga yogo naama saptadasho'dhyaayah  ||

Thus  in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal,  the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the  seventeenth discourse entitled  The Yoga  of the Division of the Threefold Faith

Concepts and Issues

Arjuna  raises an interesting question whether the Shraddhaa (faith) of the people who  worship the various deities, but without following the injunctions of the  scriptures is Sattvic or Rajasic or Tamasic.

Sri  Krishna replies that such Shraddhaa can be anyone of the three types depending  upon the nature of such persons, their mental make-up. The Sattvic persons  worship Gods, the Rajasic worship the demi-gods and the Tamasic worship the  Bhutas and the lower Spirits.

Like  faith, food also is of three types; so also sacrifice, austerity and  charity.  Food conducive to health,  strength and purity of mind and is pleasant is Sattvic. Food that is bitter,  sour or saltish, pungent and which produces disease is Rajasic. Old and stale  food that has lost its taste and flavor, petrified, spoiled and impure is  Tamasic.

Sacrifice  done as a duty and according to the injunctions of the scriptures is Sattvic.  If it is done with show and pomp and for the fruits thereof, it is Rajasic. The  Tamasic one is bereft of all the prescribed rules is done without faith and  lacks in Mantras and Dakshina.

Tapas  or austerity is of three kinds: Sarira - pertaining to the body, Vangmaya -  pertaining to the speech and Manasa - pertaining to the mind. Worship of Gods,  Brahmanas and teachers as also observing purity and continence is Tapas of the  body. Truthful and inoffensive speech as also study of one's branch of the  Vedas is Tapas of the speech. Peace of mind, control of thoughts and speech and  a pleasant demeanor is Tapas of the mind.

When  this threefold Tapas is performed with faith and without desire for its  rewards, it is Sattvic. If it is done in an ostentatious manner for name and  fame it is Rajasic. If done without regard in one's capacity and for harming  others it is Tamasic.

Dana  or gifts given as a matter of duty to persons of the right type and in the  right manner belong to the Sattvic kind. If given with the desire for future  rewards and not very willingly, it becomes Rajasic. Gifts given in contempt to  unworthy persons, violating the rules are Tamasic.

The  Lord concludes that the three terms `OM TAT SAT' which form a threefold name for  Brahman, act like a magic formula if uttered during Yajna, Tapas and Dana and while  correcting the deficiencies therein, if any.

Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live

This  Chapter tells us that there are devotees who are ignorant of the scriptural  injunctions and yet endowed with shraddhaa or faith. Their faith according to  its nature may be characterized as belonging to sattva, rajas or tamas. These  devotees should cultivate pure sattva by avoiding food, worship, gift, and  austerity that are of nature of rajas and tamas. They should be devoted to  sattva alone. When their gift, worship or austerity is found to be defective,  it should be purified by uttering “OM TAT SAT”. This will purify the minds of  the devotees and gradually enable them to realize Brahman.

Points to Ponder 
•What is understood by the term ‘shraddhaa’ or faith? 
•How do the three Gunas influence men in the choice of their goal in life? 
•Explain the terms `Om Tat Sat' and their significance while uttering them. 
•Write short notes on :Yajna, Dana and Tapas


Next time we shall take up Chapter 18


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