Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 235

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

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CHAPTER 17
The Three Modes Applied to Religious Phenomena


Three Kinds of Faith
aruna uvaca
1. ye sastravidhtm utsrjya
yajante sraddhaya 'nvitah
tesam nistha tu ka krsna
sattvam aho rajas tamah
Arjuna said :
(1) Those who, neglecting the ordinances of scriptures, offer sacrifices filled with faith what is their position, 0 Krsna? Is it one of goodness or of passion or of dullness?
These do not wilfully defy the rules of scripture but are ignorant of them. S. argues that the nature of one's faith does not depend upon conformity to scriptural injunctions but on his character and the worship he adopts. R. adopts a less liberal view and thinks that those who violate the sastras out of ignorance or wilful neglect, whether with faith or without faith, are to be condemned

Sribhagavan uvaca
2. trividha bhavati sraddha
dehinam sa svabhavaja
sattviki rajasi cat 'va
tamasi ce tam srnu
The Blessed Lord said :
(2) The faith of the embodied is of three kinds, born of their nature, good, passionate and dull. Hear now about it.

3. sattvanuru]5a sarvasya
sraddha bhavati bharata
sraddhamayo 'yam puruso
yo yacchraddhah sa eva sah;
(3) The faith of every individual, 0 Bharata (Arjuna), is in accordance with his nature. Man is of the nature of his faith : what his faith is, that, verily, he is.
The author here takes up for consideration a number of questions which probably aroused interest at the time, about faith, diet, sacrifice, asceticism, almsgiving, renunciation and relinquishment. sattva: svabhava, nature. sraddha or faith, is not acceptance of a belief. It is striving after self-realization by concentrating the powers of the mind on a given ideal. Faith is the pressure of the Spirit on humanity, the force that urges humanity towards what is better, not only in the order of knowledge but in the whole order of spiritual life. Faith, as the inward sense of truth, points to the object over which fuller light is shed later. After all, the ultimate and incontrovertible evidence of any religious faith is the evidence of the believer's heart. A popular verse makes out that the aims which religion offers prove effective according to one's faith in them.[1] Bhagavata says that the fruit of worship follows the faith of the doer.[2] We are what we are on account of our past and we can create our future Cp. Plato: "Such as are the trend of our desires and the nature of our souls, just such each of us becomes."[3] Cp. Gbethe : "Earnestness alone makes life eternity."

4 yajante sattvika devan
yak araksarimsi rajasah pretan
bhataganams ca 'nye
Italic textyajante tamasa janah
(4) Good men worship the gods, the passionate worship the demigods and the demons and the others (who are) the dull, worship the spirits and ghosts.
Men of darkness are they who make a cult of the departed and of spirits

5. astravihitam Yoram
tapyante ye tapo ja
dambhahamkarasamyuktah
kamaragabalanvatah
(5) Those men, vain and conceited and impelled by the force of lust and passion, who perform violent austerities, which are not ordained by the scriptures,

6. karsayantah sarirastham
bhutagramam acetasah
mam cai 'va ' ntahsarirastham
tan viddhy asuraniscayan
(6) Being foolish oppress the group of elements in their body and Me also dwelling in the body. Know these to be demoniac in their resolves
The methods of self-torture undertaken by some for purposes of display such as wearing hair-shirts, or piercing the body with sharp spikes, are here condemned. Bodily weakness sometimes produces hallucinations which are mistaken for spiritual visions. Self-discipline is not to be confused with bodily torture. Cp. with this, Gautama the Buddha's admonition. "The habitual practice of asceticism or self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable, ought not to be followed.[4] The true discipline of the body by the practice of cleanliness, etc., is given in verse 14.

Three Kinds of Food
7. aharas tv api sarvasya
trividho bhavati priyah
yajnas tapas tatha danam
tesam bhedam imam srnu
(7) Even the food which is dear to all is of three kinds So are the sacrifices, austerities and gifts. Hear thou the distinction of these.


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References and Context

  1. mantre, tirthe, dvije, deve, daivajne, bhesaie, gurau yadrsi bhavana yasya siddhir bhavati tadrsi.,
  2. sraddhanurupam phalahetukatvat. VIII, 17
  3. Laws, 904-C.
  4. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.

Related Articles

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan
Chapter Chapter Name Page No.
Introductory Essay 1
1. The Hesitation and Despondency of Arjuna 63
2. Samkhya Theory and Yoga Practice 79
3. Karma Yoga or the Method of Work 107
4. The Way of Knowledge 124
5. True Renunciation 143
6. The True Yoga 152
7. God and the World 168
8. The Course of Cosmic Evolution 176
9. The Lord is more than His Creation 181
10. God is the Source of All; to Know Him is to Know All 192
11. The Lord's Transfiguration 200
12. Worship of the Personal Lord is better than meditation of the Absolute 211
13. The Body called the Field, the Soul called the Knower of the Field and Discrimination between them 215
14. The Mystical Father oF All Beings 222
15. The Tree of Life 227
16. The Nature of the Godlike and the Demoniac Mind 231
17. The Three Modes Applied to Religious Phenomena 235
18. Conclusion 239
19. Last Page 254