Bhagavad Gita - Swami B.G. NarasinghaChapter 16 - Daivāsura Sampad Vibhāga Yoga (The Yoga of Discretion-Pious and Impious Natures)
Bhagavad Gita - Swami B.G. NarasinghaChapter 18 – Mokṣa Yoga (The Yoga of Supreme Perfection)

Bhagavad Gita

Chapter 17 – Śraddhā-Traya Vibhāga Yoga (The Yoga Explaining Three Types of Faith)

In Chapter 17 – Śraddhā-Traya Vibhāga Yoga (The Yoga Explaining Three Types of Faith) of Swami B.G. Narasingha’s Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa answers Arjuna's question about faith in goodness, passion and ignorance. He also explains food, sacrifice, austerity and charity in the three modes of nature. Finally he explains the vedic aphorism, 'Oṁ Tat Sat'.

VERSE 1
अर्जुन उवाच
ये शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धयान्विताः ।
तेषां निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वमाहो रजस्तमः ॥१॥

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

Arjuna said: O Kṛṣṇa, what is the position of those that neglect the rules of the Vedas, yet worship with faith. Is such worship considered to be in the mode of goodness, passion or ignorance?

VERSE 2
श्रीभगवानुवाच ।
त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनां सा स्वभावजा ।
सात्त्विकी राजसी चैव तामसी चेति तां शृणु ॥२॥

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

Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied: The faith of the embodied living beings is of three types – goodness, passion and ignorance. That faith arises from their own nature from impressions of previous lives. Please hear about this.

VERSE 3
सत्त्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत ।
श्रद्धामयोऽयं पुरुषो यो यच्छ्रद्धः स एव सः ॥३॥

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

O Bhārata, according to their consciousness, all living beings develop a particular type of faith. Indeed, a person is made of his faith.

VERSE 4
यजन्ते सात्त्विका देवान्यक्षरक्षांसि राजसाः ।
प्रेतान्भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जनाः ॥४॥

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

Those in goodness worship the demigods; those in passion worship the ancestors and demoniac forces and those in ignorance worship ghosts.

VERSE 5-6
अशास्त्रविहितं घोरं तप्यन्ते ये तपो जनाः ।
दम्भाहंकारसंयुक्ताः कामरागबलान्विताः ॥५॥
कर्षयन्तः शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतसः ।
मां चैवान्तःशरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान् ॥६॥

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

karṣayantaḥ śarīra-sthaṁ bhūta-grāmam acetasaḥ
māṁ caivāntaḥ śarīra-sthaṁ tān viddhy-āsura-niścayān

Out of pride and egotism, those who are ignorant undergo severe austerities that have no basis in the Vedas. Driven by lust, ambition and the desire for power, they torture the body and thus they also torture Me who resides within the body – know that such persons are of the nature of asuras.


Anuvṛtti

In this chapter Śrī Kṛṣṇa answers the question of Arjuna regarding those who reject the Vedas, but perform worship with some faith. Arjuna wants to know to which mode of material nature they belong. The first lesson to learn here is that by not following the Vedic injunctions one automatically acts as one likes, but is henceforth always under the modes of material nature – goodness, passion and ignorance. Thus, one is never situated in transcendence. Śrī Kṛṣṇa then further describes food, sacrifice, austerity and charity as they are influenced by, or born of, the three modes of material nature.

First faith (śraddhā) is discussed. Śrī Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that śraddhā arises in this life due to one’s own nature and from impressions in the mind from previous lives. All activities in life depend on faith to one degree or another. It does not matter what one’s creed may be – theist or atheist, one must have faith. The theist has faith that there is a God, and the atheist has faith that there is no God. If one states a particular doctrine or philosophy, but says he has no ‘faith’ then that is pure hypocrisy.

Kṛṣṇa says that when one’s faith is in the mode of goodness, one worships the demigods such as Gaṇeśa, Śiva, Sūrya, Indra and Sarasvatī etc. When one’s faith is in the mode of passion, one worships the spirits in nature or the ancestors – this also includes humanists and atheists. When one’s faith is in the mode of ignorance, one is found to worship ghosts and spirits. All these types of worship are current in the world today.

In India, many people worship the demigods by building big temples and offering fire sacrifices known as yajñas. In the Far East, ancestor worship is very popular amongst the Buddhists, Shintoists and Taoists. Similarly, in Europe and America, great monuments are erected to revere scientists, politicians, soldiers, movie stars, rock stars etc. In Africa, Tibet, Mexico and South America, the worship of ghosts and spirits is popular. All these forms of worship are conducted in the three modes of material nature. Therefore, having rejected the Vedas, it is to be concluded that the worshippers of demigods, ancestors, famous personalities, ghosts and spirits are not transcendentally situated.

To be transcendental to material nature means to accept the Vedas and thus be situated beyond the modes of nature in the realm of viśuddha-sattva, pure goodness. When one’s faith is situated in pure goodness, one worships the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa. This is the highest stage of monotheism – the acceptance of one Supreme Being. Pure-goodness is described by Śiva as follows:

sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudeva-śabditaṁ yad īyate tatra pumān apāvṛtaḥ
sattve ca tasmin bhagavān vāsudevo hy adhokṣajo me namasā vidhīyate

One should always worship Kṛṣṇa in pure goodness. Pure goodness is always pure consciousness in which the Absolute Truth, known as Vāsudeva, is revealed without any covering. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.3.23)

In the stage of pure consciousness, one is guided by the highest type of faith called nirguṇa-śraddhā, transcendental faith that is uncontaminated by the modes of material nature. After many lifetimes of following the Vedas and associating with the virtuous and pious, one develops sukṛti, accumulated merit. This sukṛti then leads one to the association of sādhus (self-realised yogīs) and under their guidance nirguṇa-śraddhā develops and progresses through various stages – ultimately reaching the highest stage of self-realisation, prema-bhakti.

Nirguṇa-śraddhā awakens in the heart of the bhakti-yogī and enables one to see, hear and feel the subjective world, the Absolute Truth. Nirguṇa-śraddhā is that which reveals Kṛṣṇa just as a flash of lightning reveals the shape of a monsoon rain cloud in the dead of night. In the darkness of night, the cloud cannot be seen, but when lightning appears, the form of the cloud becomes visible. Similarly, when nirguṇa-śraddhā appears in the heart of the yogī, one can perceive the ultimate form of beauty that is Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Guided by nirguṇa-śraddhā, the student of bhakti-yoga will feel that one is meant for Kṛṣṇa – that he is not an independent being. One must feel completely dependent on Kṛṣṇa. Such is the process of understanding the Supreme Person, who is beyond the modes of material nature.

Kṛṣṇa says that one who is driven by lust, ambition, power, pride and egotism often undergoes severe austerities that are not prescribed in the Vedas or in the process of bhakti-yoga – such austerities parch the senses of the body. These may include austerities such as prolonged periods of fasting, self-flagellation, self-crucifixion, wearing cilice chains, piercing the body, walking on hot coals and so on. Because these austerities are performed in the mode of ignorance they neglect the Paramātmā within – thus leading to no good result. Kṛṣṇa says the performers of such austerities are to be known as asuras.

VERSE 7
आहारस्त्वपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधो भवति प्रियः ।
यज्ञस्तपस्तथा दानं तेषां भेदमिमं शृणु ॥७॥

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

The food that people enjoy as well as the methods of sacrifice, austerity and charity are also of three types. Listen now about the distinctions between them.

VERSE 8
आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः ।
रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः ॥८॥

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

Food that increases one’s life, energy, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction, that is succulent, fatty, wholesome and appealing is dear to those in the mode of goodness.

VERSE 9
कट्वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः ।
आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः ॥९॥

kaṭv-amla-lavaṇāty-uṣṇa-tīkṣṇa-rūkṣa-vidāhinaḥ
āhārā rājasasyeṣṭā duḥkha-śokāmaya-pradāḥ

Food that is too bitter, too sour, too salty, too hot, too pungent, too dry and creates a burning sensation within, causes pain, sorrow and disease. Such food is dear to those in the mode of passion.

VERSE 10
यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् ।
उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ॥१०॥

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

Food that is stale, tasteless, foul-smelling, rotten, left by others and unfit for sacrifice is dear to those in the mode of ignorance.


Anuvṛtti

As Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the French politician, lawyer and connoisseur wrote in 1826, “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es – Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” In other words, you are what you eat. But in ancient times this was better understood than in today’s world. Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that all food is divided into three groups and is dear to one according to the acquired mode of nature.

Food that increases life, gives energy, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction is in the mode of goodness. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, sugar, salt, spices and milk products. These are basically known as vegetarian foods and are dear to those in the mode of goodness.

Food that is too bitter, too sour, too sweet, too salty, too spicy, too pungent and too dry, that creates excessive heat in the stomach, causes pain, creates gas and disease is to be known as food in the mode of passion. Such food may be vegetarian, but it is usually over-salted, and over-spiced. Too much salt and spice creates mucus in the body and leads to such diseases as high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and cancer. Such food should be avoided.

Kṛṣṇa says that food that is stale, tasteless, foul smelling, rotten, left behind by others or unfit for sacrifice, is food in the mode of ignorance. Food left behind by others means the scraps left behind on someone’s plate, that in western countries, are usually fed to dogs and cats. Food not fit for sacrifice means that food contaminated by an animal, or that has come in contact with something filthy and impure.

Food in the mode of ignorance may include some vegetarian food that has become contaminated. Food in the mode of ignorance generally pertains to all varieties of non-vegetarian foodstuff such as meat, fish and eggs. These include beef, mutton, goat, pig, chicken, venison, turkey, duck, turtle, prawn, crab, frog, insect, snake, clam, oyster, shark, whale, caviar, horse and dog, just to name a few. Absurd as it may sound to the student of bhakti-yoga, all the food mentioned above is very popular in various parts of the world. Such food is to be avoided by all classes of yogīs, as well as by progressive human beings in general.

All types of yogīs prefer food in the mode of goodness, but the bhakti-yogīs prefer to eat only the remnants of food in the mode of goodness that has first been offered to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with love and devotion (yo me bhaktyā prayacchati). Such remnants are called prasādam or mahā-prasādam.

Even eating food in the mode of goodness carries a karmic reaction if it is not first offered to Kṛṣṇa. This has also been mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Three, verse 13 as follows:

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ
bhuñjate te tvaghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty-ātma-kāraṇāt

Saintly persons are liberated from all types of impiety by accepting the remnants of foodstuffs offered in sacrifice (to Kṛṣṇa). However, those who only cook for themselves perpetuate their own bondage.

Food that is to be offered to Kṛṣṇa must be prepared with love and devotion, and in a kitchen that is clean and where domestic pets such as cats and dogs do not enter. Everyone loves their pets – indeed, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself loves His two pet dogs, Vyāghra and Bhramaraka, as well as other animals. However, pets should not be allowed in the kitchen where offerings are prepared.

The student of bhakti-yoga should not be a fanatic, but should practice moderation in all things. However, the yogī should be diligent to avoid food in the modes of passion and ignorance.

VERSE 11
अफलाङ्क्षिभिर्यज्ञो विधिदृष्टो य इज्यते ।
यष्टव्यमेवेति मनः समाधाय स सात्त्विकः ॥११॥

aphalākāṅkṣibhir yajño vidhidṛṣṭo ya ijyate
yaṣṭavyam eveti manaḥ samādhāya sa sāttvikaḥ

Sacrifices that are resolutely performed according to Vedic injunctions, by those who have no desire for any personal gain are said to be in the mode of goodness.

VERSE 12
अभिसन्धाय तु फलं दम्भार्थमपि चैव यत् ।
इज्यते भरतश्रेष्ठ तं यज्ञं विद्धि राजसम् ॥१२॥

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

However, O best of the Bharata Dynasty, those sacrifices that are performed out of pride and with selfish intent should be considered to be in the mode of passion.

VERSE 13
विधिहीनमसृष्टान्नं मन्त्रहीनमदक्षिणम् ।
श्रद्धाविरहितं यज्ञं तामसं परिचक्षते ॥१३॥

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

That sacrifice which disregards Vedic rules, where no food is given in charity, which is without the chanting of proper mantras and without charity to the brāhmaṇas – such a sacrifice is faithless and in the mode of ignorance.


Anuvṛtti

For every age the Vedic literature recommends a particular sacrifice for those desiring self-realisation. It should be noted that those sacrifices are never in the category of blood sacrifice. In other words, those seeking self-realisation never perform animal or human sacrifice. Both animal and human sacrifice have been practiced in many parts of the world since ancient times, but at no time in history have there been animal or human sacrifices performed by those seeking self-realisation in bhakti-yoga.

In today’s world, some religious sects sacrifice animals before eating them. Similar rituals are performed in other sects wherein a symbolic representation of the blood and body of a saint are eaten. However, one should know that all such barbaric activities are completely absent in the practice of bhakti-yoga.

In the modern age, the Vedic literature gives recommendation for only one sacrifice and that is kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana in which one chants the mahā-mantra, preceded by the pañca-tattva mantra:

jaya śrī kṛṣṇa caitanya, prabhu nityānanda
jaya advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

The chanting of the pañca-tattva mantra is to precede the mahā-mantra and frees the chanter from any previous offences that may have been committed knowingly or unknowingly. When the performance of kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana is done alongside the distribution of Kṛṣṇa mahā-prasādam it is considered perfect and complete. In the age of Kali-yuga no other sacrifice is necessary.

VERSE 14
देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम् ।
ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते ॥१४॥

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

Proper physical austerity consists of worshipping the Supreme, the brāhmaṇas, the spiritual master and the wise, as well as purity, sincerity, celibacy and non-violence.

VERSE 15
अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत् ।
स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते ॥१५॥

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

Truthful speech that does not disturb others, which is pleasing and beneficial as well as the recitation of the Vedas – this is known as verbal austerity.

VERSE 16
मनः प्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रहः ।
भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते ॥१६॥

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

Mental austerity is said to be peace of mind, gentleness, silence, self-control and purity of heart.

VERSE 17
श्रद्धया परया तप्तं तपस्तत्त्रिविधं नरैः ।
अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैः सात्त्विकं परिचक्षते ॥१७॥

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

When these three types of austerity are taken up with strong faith by one who is strict and who is without selfish motivation, they are said to be in the mode of goodness.

VERSE 18
सत्कारमानपूजार्थं तपो दम्भेन चैव यत् ।
क्रियते तदिह प्रोक्तं राजसं चलमध्रुवम् ॥१८॥

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

Austerities that are performed with pride in order to achieve prestige, name and fame are said to be in the mode of passion. The results of such austerities are unstable and temporary.

VERSE 19
मूढग्राहेणात्मनो यत्पीडया क्रियते तपः ।
परस्योत्सादनार्थं वा तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥१९॥

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

Austerities performed out of foolishness that inflict pain on oneself and others, are said to be in the mode of ignorance.


Anuvṛtti

Austerity is called tapasya, or the undertaking of some measure of practice that diminishes material activities and promotes a conscious awareness of the Absolute Truth. These austerities are described in verses 14, 15 and 16. Physical austerities are described as maintaining purity (cleanliness), sincerity, celibacy and non-violence. Celibacy means not to engage in acts of illicit sex (sex outside of marriage). Physical austerity also includes the worship of the Supreme Person and honouring the guru and saintly persons.

Austerities that are performed out of pride and for the purpose of prestige, name and fame are to be rejected. This may also include fasting for political, social or economic advantages. Austerities performed out of foolishness that cause pain and suffering should also be rejected. All such austerities are thus abandoned because they are performed in the modes of passion and ignorance – the results of which are temporary and do not promote self-realisation.

Speaking truthfully, but not in such a way as to offend others, is known as verbal austerity. The saying is, ‘the truth hurts’, but this does not apply to Bhagavad-gītā. The truth should be presented in such a way that it is attractive and pleasing to hear.

satyaṁ brūyāt priyaṁ brūyānna brūyāt satyam-apriyaṁ
priyaṁ ca nānṛtaṁ brūyād eṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ

One should only speak the truth, and one’s speech should be pleasing. One should not speak any truth that offends and one should not speak any lie even if it is pleasing – such is eternal dharma. (Manu-saṁhitā 4.138)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the friend and well-wisher of all living beings and His message should be presented in that way. Bhagavad-gītā does not condemn – it simply points to that which should be done and that which should not be done.

VERSE 20
दातव्यमिति यद्दानं दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे ।
देशे काले च पात्रे च तद्दानं सात्त्विकं स्मृतम् ॥२०॥

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

Charity that is given without any expectation of reward, at a proper place, at an auspicious time, to a qualified recipient with the mentality that it should be given, is in the mode of goodness.

VERSE 21
यत्तु प्रत्युपकारार्थं फलमुद्दिश्य वा पुनः ।
दीयते च परिक्लिष्टं तद्दानं राजसं स्मृतम् ॥२१॥

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

However, charity that is given reluctantly, with the expectation of return and with a selfish desire for results, is in the mode of passion.

VERSE 22
अदेशकाले यद्दानमपात्रेभ्यश्च दीयते ।
असत्कृतमवज्ञातं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥२२॥

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

Charity that is given with disdain, at the wrong time and place, to an unworthy beneficiary, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.


Anuvṛtti

Now the ideal of charity is being discussed – what types of charity should be performed, to whom and for what purpose. It is certainly the duty of every person to look out for his fellow human being. As such, no one should go hungry in this world, be without clothing, proper shelter, education or sufficient medical care. That is the ideal for human society. But our present reality is quite different – there are shortages of food, inadequate clothing, shelter, education and medical treatment in many places in the world, causing millions of human beings to suffer unnecessarily. This suffering, however, is not due to a lack of commodities as much as it is due to mismanagement and hoarding. There are sufficient facilities to maintain everyone on this Earth in a proper state of health and well-being, but the facilities are simply mismanaged. And more to blame than the mismanagement between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ of this world, is hoarding. There is enough wealth in the world to easily solve the problems facing humanity, particularly that of hunger – but that wealth is being hoarded by a very small minority of people. They have amassed so much that no individual could spend or use that much wealth within one or even a dozen lifetimes. Corporate giants receive millions of dollars in annual bonuses while millions of children die each year due to malnutrition. Is this not shameful?

Charity, like other things discussed in this chapter, is also in the different modes of nature according to how it is given and whom it is given to. There is charity in goodness, passion and ignorance as stated by Śrī Kṛṣṇa above, but ultimately the highest charity is to give that which helps the human being bring an end to all material miseries and even to death itself. Such charity is the distribution of the spiritual wealth found in Bhagavad-gītā.

The root cause of all suffering in the world is a lack of understanding of who we are, where we have come from, what the purpose of life is and where we will go at the time of death. One who understands these things from the perspective of Bhagavad-gītā becomes full in knowledge, free from the illusion of the body as the self and ultimately defeats death. This is the highest gift and greatest charity that one can give a fellow human being.

VERSE 23
ॐतत्सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणस्त्रिविधः स्मृतः ।
ब्राह्मणास्तेन वेदाश्च यज्ञाश्च विहिताः पुरा ॥२३॥

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

The three words oṁ tat sat are described by the Vedas to represent the Absolute Truth. In ancient times, the brāhmaṇas, the Vedas and the process of sacrifice were manifested from these three words.

VERSE 24
तस्मादोमित्युदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः ।
प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ताः सततं ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ॥२४॥

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

Thus, those that seek the Supreme always chant the syllable oṁ when they commence sacrifices, give in charity, perform austerities and undertake other activities prescribed in the Vedas.

VERSE 25
तदित्यनभिसन्धाय फलं यज्ञतपःक्रियाः ।
दानक्रियाश्च विविधाः क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः ॥२५॥

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

By uttering the word tat, those that aspire for liberation perform various types of sacrifices, austerities and charity without the selfish desire to enjoy the results.

VERSE 26
सद्भावे साधुभावे च सदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते ।
प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सच्छब्दः पार्थ युज्यते ॥२६॥

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

The word sat indicates the nature of the Absolute as well as the sādhus that seek Him. Therefore, O Pārtha, the word sat is uttered during all virtuous activities.

VERSE 27
यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सदिति चोच्यते ।
कर्म चैव तदर्थीयं सदित्येवाभिधीयते ॥२७॥

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

Steadiness in the performance of sacrifices, austerities and charity is known as sat. Any activity that is performed for the Supreme is known as sat.

VERSE 28
अश्रद्धया हुतं दत्तं तपस्तप्तं कृतं च यत् ।
असदित्युच्यते पार्थ न च तत्प्रेत्य नो इह ॥२८॥

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

O Pārtha, any sacrifice, austerity, charity or activity that is performed without faith is known as asat – false. Such activities bear no auspicious results in this world or the next.

Anuvṛtti

One who acts whimsically never achieves happiness or perfection in this life or the next. One should therefore perform all austerities, sacrifice and acts of charity in the mode of goodness as prescribed in Bhagavad-gītā, for passion and ignorance simply drag one down to the lower stages of consciousness.

Herein, it is stated that in ancient times all acts and injunctions of the Vedas were accompanied with the words, oṁ tat sat, indicating the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This practice however is no longer in vogue in Kali-yuga. To the contrary, the real purpose of human life is all but forgotten and people regrettably live their lives aimlessly, eating, drinking and merrymaking.

Kṛṣṇa has already said in Bhagavad-gītā that what a great man does, the common men will follow (yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ). Therefore, we call upon all good-hearted men and women of the world to hasten to the message of Bhagavad-gītā and accept Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Person. Such a movement in the world, under the banner of Bhagavad-gītā, will surely bring about the greatest fortune and well-being of humanity. No greater good can be done than this and there is no greater time for this than the present.

ekaṁ śāstraṁ devakī-putra-gītam eko devo devakī-putra eva
eko mantras tasya nāmāni yāni karmāpy ekaṁ tasya devasya sevā

The most ideal literature is Bhagavad-gītā, which was sung by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī. The Absolute Truth is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The topmost mantra to be chanted is the mahā-mantra and the ultimate duty of everyone is the service of that one Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (Gītā-māhātmya 7)


ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमहाभारते शतसाहस्रयां संहितायां
वैयासिक्यां भीष्मपर्वणि
श्रीमद्भगवदीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायं योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे
श्रद्धात्रयविभागयोग नाम सप्तदशोऽध्यायः।।

oṁ tat saditi śrī-mahābhārate-śata-sāhasryāṁ saṁhitāyāṁ
vaiyāsikyāṁ bhīṣma-parvāṇi
śrīmad bhagavad-gītāsūpaniṣatsu brahma-vidyāyāṁ yoga-śāstre śrī kṛṣṇārjuna-saṁvāde
śraddhātraya-vibhāga-yogo nāma saptadaśo’dhyāyaḥ

OṀ TAT SAT – Thus ends Chapter Seventeen entitled Śraddhā Traya Vibhāga Yoga from the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in the Upaniṣad known as Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, the yoga-śāstra of divine knowledge, from the Bhīṣma-parva of Mahābhārata, the literature revealed by Vyāsa in one hundred thousand verses.

Bhagavad Gita - Swami B.G. NarasinghaChapter 16 - Daivāsura Sampad Vibhāga Yoga (The Yoga of Discretion-Pious and Impious Natures)
Bhagavad Gita - Swami B.G. NarasinghaChapter 18 – Mokṣa Yoga (The Yoga of Supreme Perfection)
Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja (Jagat Guru Swami) appeared on Annadā Ekādaśī at Corpus Christi, USA in 1946. After studies in haṭha-yoga, he took initiation from his guru, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda in 1970 and preached in the African continent for 3 years before accepting sannyāsa in 1976. After Prabhupāda’s disappearance, Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja took śīkṣā (spiritual instruction) from Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī and Śrīla B.P Purī Gosvāmī. Although he spent most of his spiritual life preaching in India, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja also travelled to Europe, Mexico and the United States to spread the message of his spiritual masters. He penned over 200 essays and 13 books delineating Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta. He left this world in his āśrama in South India in 2020.