Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 41

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 41
Bhagavad Gita Chapter XVII

Arjuna said, 'What is the state, O Krishna, of those who abandoning the ordinance of the scriptures, perform sacrifices endued with faith? It is one of Goodness, or Passion, or Darkness?

The Holy One said, 'The faith of embodied (creatures) is of three kinds. It is (also) born of their (individual) natures. It is good, passionate, and dark. Hear now these. The faith of one, O Bharata, is conformable to his own nature. A being here is full of faith; and whatever is one's faith, one is even that. They that are of the quality of goodness worship the gods; they that are of the quality of passion (worship) the Yakshas and the Rakshasas; other people that are of the quality of darkness worship departed spirits and hosts of Bhutas. Those people who practise severe ascetic austerities not ordained by the scriptures, are given up to hypocrisy and pride, and endued with desire of attachment, and violence,—those persons possessed of no discernment, torturing the groups of organs in (their) bodies and Me also seated within (those) bodies,—should be known to be of demoniac resolves. Food which is dear to all is of three kinds. Sacrifice, penance, and gifts are likewise (of three kinds). Listen to their distinctions as follows. Those kinds of food that increase life's period, energy, strength, health, well-being, and joy, which are savoury, oleaginous, nutritive, and agreeable, are liked by God. Those kinds of food which are bitter, sour, salted, over-hot, pungent, dry, and burning, and which produce pain, grief and disease, are desired by the passionate. The food which is cold, without savour, stinking and corrupt, and which is even refuse, and filthy, is dear to men of darkness. That sacrifice is good which, being prescribed by the ordinance, is performed by persons, without any longing for the fruit (thereof) and the mind being determined (to it under the belief) that its performance is a duty. But that which is performed in expectation of fruit and even for the sake of ostentation, know that sacrifice, O chief of the sons of Bharata, to be of the quality of passion. That sacrifice which is against the ordinance, in which no food is dealt out, which is devoid of mantras (sacred verse), in which no fees are paid to the brahmanas assisting to it, and which is void of faith, is said to be of the quality of darkness. Reverence to the gods, regenerate ones, preceptors, and men of knowledge, purity, uprightness, the practices of a Brahmacharin, and abstention from injury, are said to constitute the penance of the body.