Bhagavad Gita English 17

”’अथ सप्तदशोऽध्यायः”’

The topics discussed in this chapter are:      







Position of one who worships God without

Faith and approval of scriptures



Three modes of food, yajnya, tapas and




Commenteray on Om Tat Sat
















VERSE – 17: 01

What is the position of those who perform sacrifice with faith but neglect rules of shastras

अर्जुन उवाच

ये शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धयान्विताः ।

तेषां निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वमाहो रजस्तमः ॥१७:१॥

arjuna uvāca

yē śāstravidhimutsr̥jya yajantē śraddhayānvitāḥ |

tēṣāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā kr̥ṣṇa sattvamāhō rajastamaḥ ||17:1||


ये शास्त्रविधिम् उत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धया अन्विताः ।

तेषाम् निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वम् अहो रजः तमः  

arjuna -Arjuna uvāca-said

ये- who शास्त्रविधिम्-injunction of scriptures उत्सृज्य- disregarding यजन्ते-worship श्रद्धया अन्विताः-with faith तेषाम्-their निष्ठा- faith तु-indeed  का-what कृष्ण- O Krsihna सत्त्वम्- mode of sattva अहो- or रजः-mode of rajas  तमः- mode of tamas (ignorance) 


Ajuna said

O Krishna! What is the condition of those who perform

sacrifice  endowed with faith but disregarding the injuctions of scriptures? Is it Sattva (pure), Rajas (passionate) or Tamas (dark)?

In the last verse of previous chapter Krishna said, “ तस्मात् शास्त्रम् प्रमाणम् ते”. Threfore, Shastras are your foot rule. Go according to them. In the first verse Arjuna expresses his doubt What is the status of a person who disregards shastras but perform sacrifice with faith. The Lord had explained that men of daivi sampatti perform selfless  actions; and men of asuri sampatti perform sinful actions.


ये शास्त्रविधिम् उत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धया अन्विताः –Those who have intense shrddha or faith and perform sacrifice but do not follow the ordinances of shastras. The question is why they did not follow the scriptures? Did they know the rues of shastras or did not know. Were they not able to read the rules? or understand it? Krishna gives satisfactory answer in this chapter.

Krishna has already discussed about the men who disregard the shastras in verse 23 of chaper 16. here is the verse.

यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः ।

न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् ॥१६:२३॥


One who acts under the impulse of desire, discarding the

injunctions of the scriptures, attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme goal in life.

The present verse discusses about the men who do not

follow shastras due to ignorance.


In 16:23, there was no shraddha or faith. They disdainfully reject the rules of shastras under impulse of pleaure (वर्तते कामकारतः).  But the present verse  speaks of men who are endowed with faith but for some reason do not follow shastras (श्रद्धया अन्विताः). The men of demonic disposition neither believe shastras or have faith in God. They lead a sinful life acting on impulse of lust, anger and fear.


तेषाम् निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वम् अहो रजः तमः   Krishna what is their faith who perform sacrifice casting aside the rules of the game? is it sattva, rajas or tamas.


VERSE – 17: 02

Every human being is born with three types of innate faith.

They are sattva, rajas and tamas.


त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनां सा स्वभावजा ।

सात्त्विकी राजसी चैव तामसी चेति तां शृणु ॥१७:२॥

trividhā bhavati śraddhā dēhināṁ sā svabhāvajā |

sāttvikī rājasī caiva tāmasī cēti tāṁ śr̥ṇu ||17:2||


त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनाम् सा स्वभावजा ।

सात्त्विकी राजसी च एव तामसी च इति ताम्  शृणु    


त्रिविधा- three kinds भवति- is श्रद्धा-faith  देहिनाम्-embodied beings  सा-which स्वभावजा-born of innate nature सात्त्विकी- sattvik राजसी- rajasik च-and एव-indeed तामसी- tamasik च-and इति-thus  ताम्- them शृणु- listen   


Every human being is born with innate faith, which can be of three kinds—sāttvic, rājasic, or tāmasic. Now hear about this from me.


त्रिविधा भवति श्रद्धा देहिनाम् सा स्वभावजा Every human being is born with three types of innate faith. They are sattva, rajas and tamas. Such a faith is called swabhavaja or innate or congential. It is not learnt or acquired. It has come with birth. It has come due to tendencies over several birth. There is

another type of faith called shastraja (शास्त्रजा). This faith is acquire by the individual due to his studies of scriptures or teaching by Guru and his sadhanas. The hunter Ratnakara

became Valmiki due to the teaching of Narada Guru.

सात्त्विकी राजसी च एव तामसी च इति ताम्  शृणु     The innate faith are of three kinds, sattvik, rajasic and tamasik.


VERSE – 17: 03

The mind and nature of human beings is according to their faith.

सत्त्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत ।

श्रद्धामयोऽयं पुरुषो यो यच्छ्रद्धः स एव सः ॥१७:३॥


sattvānurūpā sarvasya śraddhā bhavati bhārata |

śraddhāmayō’yaṁ puruṣō yō yacchraddhaḥ sa ēva saḥ ||17:3||


सत्त्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत ।

श्रद्धामयः अयम्  पुरुषः यः यच्छ्रद्धः सः एव सः  


सत्त्वानुरूप-  according the nature of his mind (सत्व अनुरूप)  सर्वस्य-of all श्रद्धा-faith भवति- is भारत-O Arjuna श्रद्धामयः- full of  faith अयम्-this पुरुषः-human being यः- who यच्छ्रद्धः- (यत्- श्रद्धः) whatever is the nature of his faith सः-he  एव-verily सः- he


The faith of all humans conforms to the nature of their mind. The mind is in accordance with their faith.  and whatever the nature of their faith, that is verily what they are.

सत्त्वानुरूपा सर्वस्य श्रद्धा भवति भारत – The faith of all

corresponds to the nature of their mind. सत्त्वानुरूपा means according to ones’ own mind. Each of us has different types of faith. The faith depends on the nature of our mind (सत्व अनुरूप).  It may be faith of scriptures, or science or rationalism. If one says I have no faith in God, that means he has faith in his judgment.  The faith is according to his mind. The mind may be sattvik, rajasik or tamasik. So is the faith. Why we have diversified faith?. It depends on our actions over several births.

श्रद्धामयः अयम्  पुरुषः यः यत् श्रद्धः सः एव सः   The soul is full of faith. Whatever is the nature of faith, the man is verily that. As mentioned in verse 22 of chapter 13, the purusha or soul being seated in prakruti gets connected with the three gunas. Here is he verse.

पुरुषः प्रकृतिस्थो हि भुङ्‌क्ते प्रकृतिजान्गुणान् ।

कारणं गुणसङ्गोऽस्य सदसद्योनिजन्मसु ॥१३:२२॥


Purusha seated in prakrati experiences the three gunas born of prakrati. And it is the attachment with these gunas that is responsible for purusha (soul) to take birth in good or evil wombs.


Only the soul identified with prakruti is full of faith. But the supreme Purusha is beyond the gunas and so, he has no faith.


VERSE – 17: 04

The object of  worship  by men depends on their nature of  gunas

यजन्ते सात्त्विका देवान्यक्षरक्षांसि राजसाः ।

प्रेतान्भूतगणांश्चान्ये यजन्ते तामसा जनाः ॥१७:४॥


yajantē sāttvikā dēvānyakṣarakṣāṁsi rājasāḥ |

prētānbhūtagaṇāṁścānyē yajantē tāmasā janāḥ ||17:4||


यजन्ते सात्त्विकाः देवान् यक्ष रक्षांसि राजसाः

प्रेतान्  भूतगणान्  च अन्ये यजन्ते तामसाः जनाः


यजन्ते- they worship सात्त्विकाः-men of satvik disposition देवान्-celestial gods  यक्ष-semi-celestial beings who exude power and wealth  रक्षांसि-demons राजसाः- men of rajasik temperament प्रेतान्-spirits of the dead  भूतगणान्-ghosts and spirits  च- and अन्ये-others यजन्ते- worship तामसाः- men of tamasik nature जनाः- men, persons


Those in the mode of Sattva worship celestial gods. Those in the mode of rajas worship yakshas and rakshasas; those men of tamasika disposition worship the spirit of dead and ghosts.


यजन्ते सात्त्विकाः देवान् यक्ष रक्षांसि राजसाः –The sattvik men worship devas. It is said that the good are drawn to the good and the bad to the bad. The word devas include surya, Chandra, agni, vayu, Indra, varuna and yama. The worship is sattvik without much fanfare and sound. Those in the mode of rajas worship yakshas and rakshasas.


प्रेतान्  भूतगणान्  च अन्ये यजन्ते तामसाः जनाः – The tamasik men worship yaksha and rakshasa. They worship deities to obtain fulfilment of of their desired object. They use violence, rage, and hatred in their worship.

How to find out what is the  guna of a person. Guna or trait is an objective conclusion. It has to be inferred by certain parameters like what is his life style, what type of food he eats, who are his friends, what type of books he reads, how does he manage conflict, what type of deities he worship and what is the objective of his worship.

In the 4th verse Krishna uses this method. He says sattvik people worship devas Rama. Krishna, Ganapati, Devi etc without much of fanfare and silently. The object of worship is control of mind and  jnyana prapti.


VERSE – 17: 05

Such men perform austerities  austentioously impelled by lust,  attachment and power.

अशास्त्रविहितं घोरं तप्यन्ते ये तपो जनाः ।

दम्भाहंकारसंयुक्ताः कामरागबलान्विताः ॥१७:५॥


aśāstravihitaṁ ghōraṁ tapyantē yē tapō janāḥ |

dambhāhaṁkārasaṁyuktāḥ kāmarāgabalānvitāḥ ||17:5||


अशास्त्रविहितम् घॊरम् तप्यन्ते ये तपो जनाः ।

दम्भाहंकारसंयुक्ताः कामरागबलान्विताः ॥

अशास्त्रविहितम् – not enjoined by scriptures (अशास्त्र  विहितम्) घॊरम्-dire तप्यन्ते- perform ये-who तपः-penance जनाः- men दम्भाहंकारसंयुक्ताः (दम्भ- hypocracy अहंकार- conceipt संयुक्ताः-possesed with)  कामरागबलान्विताः- ((काम- desire राग- attachment  बल-force  अन्विताः-impelled by)


Those men who practice dire austerities without the sanction of scriptures, impelled by hypocracy, and egotism under the sway of lust, attachment and pride of power are asuras.


अशास्त्रविहितम् घॊरम् तप्यन्ते ये तपो जनाः -They perform dire austerities which are not sanctioned by the scriptures. They have no faith in scriptures and guru. They are deeply

attached to worldy enjoyments.

दम्भाहंकारसंयुक्ताः कामरागबलान्विताः -They are possed with hypocracy, conceipt  and egotism. The austerity is just a show off. They want to gain popularity and publicity. Since hey are lacking in faith, the austerities undertaken by them is

impelled by lust, attachment and pride of power.


VERSE – 17: 06

The senseless men who perform dire austerities torment their body as well as me

कर्षयन्तः शरीरस्थं भूतग्राममचेतसः ।

मां चैवान्तःशरीरस्थं तान्विद्ध्यासुरनिश्चयान् ॥१७:६॥

karṣayantaḥ śarīrasthaṁ bhūtagrāmamacētasaḥ |

māṁ caivāntaḥśarīrasthaṁ tānviddhyāsuraniścayān ||17:6||


कर्षयन्तः शरीरस्थम् भूतग्रामम् अचेतसः

माम् च एव अन्तःशरीरस्थम् तान् विद्धि असुरनिश्चयान्  


कर्षयन्तः-emaciating शरीरस्थम्-dwelling in the body भूतग्रामम्- the elements, the group of organs (भूत ग्रामम्)  अचेतसः- senselessly माम्- me च- and एव-even अन्तःशरीरस्थम्- who dwells in the body within (अन्तः शरीरस्थम्)  तान्- them विद्धि- know as असुरनिश्चयान्-of demoniacal resolve   (असुर-demoniacal  निश्चयान्- resolve)    



The senseless men torment the sense organs, as well as me residing in their body. Know them as of demoniac resolve.


कर्षयन्तः शरीरस्थम् भूतग्रामम् अचेतसः –those who senselessly  emaciate the elements constituting their body. Goyandka states: –Bhoota gramam indicates agglomeration of bodily organs like liver, heart, kidney and digestive organs. Kalidasa says: शरीरमाद्यम् खलु धर्म साधनम् the body is the first tool of spiritual discipline. If you do not have healthy body how can you do sadhanas. It is necessary to practice austerity in order to control the sense organs. But one should not torment thesense organs. Ill-treating the body is violation of scriptural injunction. The body has to be kept fit in order to achieve our sadhanas.

अचेतसः -the stupid men who violate he injunctions of the shastras and  whose intellect is clouded.

माम् च एव अन्तःशरीरस्थम् तान् विद्धि असुरनिश्चयान्  – In the process they torture me also who dwels in the heart of all men.


VERSE – 17: 07

The food, sacrifice, auterity, and charity are also of three gunas

आहारस्त्वपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधो भवति प्रियः ।

यज्ञस्तपस्तथा दानं तेषां भेदमिमं शृणु ॥१७:७॥


āhārastvapi sarvasya trividhō bhavati priyaḥ |

yajñastapastathā dānaṁ tēṣāṁ bhēdamimaṁ śr̥ṇu ||17:7||


आहारः तु अपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधः भवति प्रियः ।

यज्ञः तपः तथा दानम् तेषाम् भेदम् इमम्  शृणु ॥   

आहारः-food  तु- indeed अपि-even सर्वस्य-of all त्रिविधः-three kinds भवति- is प्रियः- dear यज्ञः-sacrifice तपः-austerity तथा-and दानम्-charity तेषाम्-of them भेदम्-distinction  इमम्-this  शृणु-hear from me 


Arjuna’s question was “what is the status of those who worship God disregarding the  injunction of scriptures? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas. After answering this question. Krishna voluntarily informs about the three categories of आहारः यज्ञः तपः  and दानम् food, puja, austerity and charity.



The food partaken by all, is also of three types according to their mental disposition. Similarly, sacrifice, austerity, and charity are also of three types . Hear their distinction from me.


आहारः तु अपि सर्वस्य त्रिविधः भवति प्रियः –My dear Arjuna, the food taken by all men is also of three types. तु अपि (is also) of three types. Having classified faith and worship under three headings, now the Lord proceeds to classify the food also under three headings. The shruti says, “आहार शुद्धे सत्व शुद्धिः meaning “pure food pure mind.” Pure mind promotes purity of thought, faith and action.

A man’s guna (mode) can be assessed by the type of food he consumes.

Once jaimini maharshi was seated under a tree. A bird sitting on a branchof the tree chirped, “ का भुक् का भुक्”, meaning what to eat. The Rushi replied, “ हित भुक् मित भुक् “ meaning “eat in limit, eat wholesome” !

The food should be partaken in limit. Eat half of the capacity of tummy. The remaining half is for water and air. The food, and recreation should be in balance.

युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु।
युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा।।6.17।।


यज्ञः तपः तथा दानम् तेषाम् भेदम् इमम्  शृणु– The sacrifice, austerity,  as well as charity is also of three types. They can be sattvik, rajasik or tamasik.


VERSE – 17: 08

Qualities of sattvik food

आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः ।

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिरा हृद्या आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः ॥१७:८॥

āyuḥsattvabalārōgyasukhaprītivivardhanāḥ |

rasyāḥ snigdhāḥ sthirā hr̥dyā āhārāḥ sāttvikapriyāḥ ||17:8||


आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः ।

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिराः हृद्याः आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः 

आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः –those which increase आयुः-life सत्त्व-purity, intellect  बल- strength आरोग्य-health सुख-happiness प्रीति-satisfaction विवर्धनाः- promoting  रस्याः- juicy स्निग्धाः- succulent स्थिराःnourishing- हृद्याः- pleasing to the heart आहाराः- foods सात्त्विकप्रियाः- dear to those in the mode of sattvika.


Foods which promote longevity, purity,  strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction and which are juicy, succulent, nourishing, and naturally agreeable are dear to sattvika type of men.


आयुःसत्त्वबलारोग्यसुखप्रीतिविवर्धनाः This covers all articles of food of sattvika type, such as milk, butter, vegetables, fruits, sugar, wheat, barley, grams rice etc.

रस्याः स्निग्धाः स्थिराः हृद्याः आहाराः सात्त्विकप्रियाः 

रस्याः These include milk, sugar and other substances having sweetish flavour. स्निग्धाः butter, oil and other vegetable fatty products. स्थिराः are the foods which sustain the body for a long time हृद्याः means pleasing to the heart or medicine to heart.

Such foods are dear to men of sattvika disposition. By implication, these food promote sattva guna.

आयुः increases longevity. One should have immunity to the diseasses. It should be easy to digest.

बला -It should increase our strength to work and bear difficulties in sadhana. शरीरमाद्यम् खलु धर्म साधनम्. For spiritual progress active body and alert mind is the prerogative.

सत्त्व -not only the food should be sattvik but the method of earning should also be sattvik. Wealth should be earned in a legal and dharmik way. If we give happiness, peace and love at the time of earning, the food bought from such money  becomes sattvik.  If the money is earned illegally, causing distress and agony to others, without payment of salary it amounts to sin. The food purchased from such money is also a sin, or rajasik.


VERSE – 17: 09

Rajasik foods

कट्‌वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः ।

आहारा राजसस्येष्टा दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः ॥१७:९॥

kaṭ–vamlalavaṇātyuṣṇatīkṣṇarūkṣavidāhinaḥ ।

āhārā rājasasyēṣṭā duḥkhaśōkāmayapradāḥ ||17:9||



आहाराः राजसस्य इष्टाः दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः ॥  

कट्‌वम्ललवणात्युष्णतीक्ष्णरूक्षविदाहिनः– (कटु- bitter आम्ल-sour लवण-salty अत्युष्ण- very hot तीक्ष्ण- pungent रूक्ष- dry विदाहिनः-burning) आहाराः- food राजसस्य-to persons in the mode of passion इष्टाः- dear दुःखशोकामयप्रदाः – (दुःख-pain शोक- grief आमयप्रदाः-causing disease


Foods which are bitter sour, salty, overhot, spicy (pungent) , dry and causes burning suffering, grief and sickness. They are dear to the rajasika type of men


विदाहिनः-burning., promoting acidity. If you take milk and salt together, it casuses burning after digestion.


VERSE – 17: 10

Tamasik foods

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् ।

उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ॥१७:१०॥

yātayāmaṁ gatarasaṁ pūti paryuṣitaṁ ca yat |

ucchiṣṭamapi cāmēdhyaṁ bhōjanaṁ tāmasapriyam ||17:10||


यातयामम् गतरसम् पूति पर्युषितम् च यत्

उच्छिष्टम् अपि च अमेध्यम् भोजनम् तामसप्रियम् ॥ 

यातयामम्-half cooked  गतरसम्-tasteless  पूति- putrified पर्युषितम्- stale च- and यत्- which उच्छिष्टम्-left over, offal अपि-and  च-also  अमेध्यम्- impure, not fit for sacrifice  भोजनम्-  the food तामसप्रियम्-  is dear to a tamasaik person.


Foods that are  stale, putrid, polluted, and impure are dear to persons in the mode of ignorance. 


VERSE – 17: 11

Sattvik sarifice explained

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्यज्ञो विधिदृष्टो य इज्यते ।

यष्टव्यमेवेति मनः समाधाय स सात्त्विकः ॥१७:११॥

aphalākāṅkṣibhiryajñō vidhidr̥ṣṭō ya ijyatē |

yaṣṭavyamēvēti manaḥ samādhāya sa sāttvikaḥ ||17:11||


अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः यज्ञः विधिदृष्टः यः इज्यते

यष्टव्यम् एव इति मनः समाधाय सः सात्त्विकः 

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः- by those who expect no return (अफला- without expectation आकाङ्क्षिभिः- of any reward) यज्ञः- sacrifice विधिदृष्टः- approved by scriptures  (विधि-scripture दृष्टः- approved by)  यः-which इज्यते- is performed यष्टव्यम्- must be offered एव-only इति- thus मनः-mind  समाधाय- with conviction सः- that सात्त्विकः-is sattvik


Sacrifice that is performed according to the scriptural injunctions without expectation of rewards, with the firm conviction  that such a sacrifice is his duty, is sattvika incharacter.

A sacrifice of sattika nature has three conditions:

  1. अफलाकांक्षी – expects no return by the performance of yajnya. What are the rewards one expects? Blessing in the form of wife, children, wealth, property, progeny, honour or fame, prestige, victory or heavenly bliss, or eradication of any evil. Such disinterested actions for personal gain is called karmayoga. A sacrifice performed for selfish gain or ulterior motive cannot be called a sattvika type.
  2. विधिदृष्टः– in accordance with the rules of sacrifice mentioned in the shastras. If one bypasses the rules because it very difficult, that sacrifice will be called rajasik
  3. यष्टव्यम् – It is my duty to perform the sacrifice.


VERSE – 17: 12

Rajasik sacrifice

अभिसंधाय तु फलं दम्भार्थमपि चैव यत् ।

इज्यते भरतश्रेष्ठ तं यज्ञं विद्धि राजसम् ॥१७:१२॥

abhisaṁdhāya tu phalaṁ dambhārthamapi caiva yat |

ijyatē bharataśrēṣṭha taṁ yajñaṁ viddhi rājasam ||17:12||


अभिसंधाय तु फलम् दम्बार्थम्  अपि च एव  यत्

इज्यते भरतश्रेष्ठ तम् यज्ञम् विद्धि राजसम्  


अभिसंधाय-motivated by तु- however फलम्-fruit, reward दम्बार्थम्- mere show, ostentation (दम्भ-pride अर्थम्-to gain)  अपि-also च-and एव- even यत्- that which इज्यते- is performed भरतश्रेष्ठ- O the best of Bharatas तम्- that यज्ञम्- sacrifice विद्धि- know राजसम्-  is in the mode of passion or rajas.


 O best of the Bharatas, know that sacrifice, which is performed for material benefit, or with ostentation, to be in the mode of passion.


अभिसंधाय तु फलम् दम्बार्थम्  अपि च एव  यत् – the sacrifice which is performed with a view to gaining material benefit or to make a show off that the concerned person is a great


तु – the indeclinable ’तु’ which means however, is added to show that there is a change of subject. In the previous verse was discussed a sacrifice done by person who has no personal gain. This verse however speaks of a person who performs sacrifice for material gain or prestige and power.


A rajasik sacrifice has following characteristics:

  1. It is done with a motivation of personal gain

2.It is done for a show off.


फलम्– fruit, reward. What are the rewards for for which a sacrifice is performed? for securing a wife, progeny, wealth, victory, property, honour, fame, power, position, eradiction of an evil, enjoyment in this world or thereafter.


VERSE – 17: 13

Tamasik Sacrifice

विधिहीनमसृष्टान्नं मन्त्रहीनमदक्षिणम् ।

श्रद्धाविरहितं यज्ञं तामसं परिचक्षते ॥१७:१३॥


vidhihīnamasr̥ṣṭānnaṁ mantrahīnamadakṣiṇam |

śraddhāvirahitaṁ yajñaṁ tāmasaṁ paricakṣatē ||17:13||


विधिहीनम्- without regard for rules laid out in scriptures (विधि-scriptural rules  हीनम्-devoid of) असृष्टान्नम्-in which no food is offered  (असृष्ट-without distribution of अन्नम्- food, prasada) मन्त्रहीनम्-no chanting of vedic mantras  अदक्षिणम्- with no remuneration and gift  to the priest श्रद्धाविरहितम्- devoid of faith यज्ञम्- sacrifice तामसम्- of tamasik nature परिचक्षते- is considered.  


A sacrifice which has no respect for the rules laid out by the scriptures, in which no food is offered, no gifts and remuneration is paid to the priests, no sacred mantras are chanted, and devoid of faith is considered as tamasik.


Tamasik sacrifices, tamasik charity, help to poor and destitutes are done with a view to gaining poplarity and advertisement.


VERSE – 17: 14

Bodily penance

देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनं शौचमार्जवम् ।

ब्रह्मचर्यमहिंसा च शारीरं तप उच्यते ॥१७:१४॥


dēvadvijaguruprājñapūjanaṁ śaucamārjavam |

brahmacaryamahiṁsā ca śārīraṁ tapa ucyatē ||17:14||


देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनम् शौचम् आर्जवम्

ब्रह्मचर्यम् अहिंसा च शारीरम् तप उच्यते   


देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनम्- worship of देव-gods द्विज- Brahmins गुरु- spiritual master प्राज्ञ-the wise, eders  पूजनम्-worship

शौचम्-cleanliness आर्जवम्- straitforwarness, simplicity ब्रह्मचर्यम्- celibacy अहिंसा-non-injury च-and  शारीरम्- of the body तप-austerity उच्यते- is called


Worship of the gods , the Brahmins, the spiritual master, the wise, and the elders, cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy, and non-injury—is declared as the austerity of the body.


After completing the discussion about two categories of food, and worship,  the Lord now starts to discuss thee kinds of tapas or austerity. Tapas means self denial to establish my mastery over the sense organs. Forced denial results into  suppression. We allow some comforts to the sense organs in our daily life. For exsample we give coffee, soft bed,a pillow  foot wear, good and warm cloathing etc. With this type of pampering the organs become addicted to such comforts. One day if you do not have a bed or a pillow to sleep,  if do not get coffee on time, the mind revots and refuses to do any work. If coffee and days’s news paper is not available the body refuses to engage in work. So once in a way, it is good to check if we are the masters of the senses or the senses are empowered to defeat my sadhana. Fasting on certain days  of the week, on special occasions like ekadahsi, Shivatri are good practices. Reclusive living away from the busy world without TV, Newspaper etc. is a good idea. Reticence or maunam is a good form of tapas.

Shruti adds many more forms of tapas. These are Rrutam, satyam, danam, shantam, dama,and  shama.

Tapas is classified intotwo types. According to guna गुण द्रष्ट्या and कारण द्रष्ट्या .


देवद्विजगुरुप्राज्ञपूजनम्-worship of, paying respect to gods, Brahmins, teachers and elders, wise men, puity, straitnesss, continence and non-injury.

Deva includes, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwara, Surya, Chandra, Durga, agni, varuna, yama, Indra and such gods mentioned in the holy books. The word dwija denotes Brahmins and includes priests of temples. The word Guru covers one’s parents, aged folks, learned men of arts, music and science.The word shoucha means cleanliness. This is of two types internal and external. inernal shaucha has been explained as सत्व संशुद्धि in chapter 16. It is also covered in verses 15 and 16.

Arjava means straightforwardness, being not crooked.

Brahmacharya indicates abstinence from sexual activity. Ahimsa is never inflicting any pain to others men or animals.

The above virtues are mainly connected to the body. Hence they are called bodily penance.


VERSE – 17: 15


Austerity of speech

अनुद्वेगकरं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियहितं च यत् ।

स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्मयं तप उच्यते ॥१७:१५॥


anudvēgakaraṁ vākyaṁ satyaṁ priyahitaṁ ca yat |

svādhyāyābhyasanaṁ caiva vāṅmayaṁ tapa ucyatē ||17:15||


अनुद्वेगकरम् वाक्यम् सत्यम् प्रियहितम् च यत्

स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनम् च एव वाङ्मयम् तपः उच्यते   


अनुद्वेगकरम्-causing no annoyance (अनुद्वेग-non-offensive करम्-causing  वाक्यम्- words सत्यम्- truthful प्रियहितम्- agreeable and wholesome च-and  यत्- which स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनम्- (स्वाध्याय- vedas and shastras अभ्यसनम्-study of)  च- and एव- verily वाङ्मयम्- of speech तप-austerity उच्यते-  is called   


The words which does not cause offense, is truthful, agrreable and wholesome and beneficial to the practice and study of vedas and shastras is called austerity of speech.


अनुद्वेगकरम्- Speech which does not cause offense and provocation is called अनुद्वेगकरम्. Provocation may be in the form of anger, hatred, fear or grief. Manusmruti says: सत्यम् ब्रूयात् प्रियम् ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् . Speak truth. Speak pleasant. Don’t speak truth which is unpleasant.

सत्यम् -truth. Truth is a representation of fact which you have seen, heard or experienced without bias. Truth is God. God is truth. Satya Harischandra has become immortal because he always spoke truth.

प्रियम् हितम् – agreeable and wholesome. This excludes columny, sarcasm etc.

स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनम् – Reading and teaching of scriptures every day. This includes smruti, purana, uttering the glory and sports of god, offering prayers etc . Taittiriyopanishad says:

स्वाध्याय प्रवचनाभ्याम् न प्रमदितव्यम्  do not let go the practice of study and teaching of  scriptures. (svadhyaya)


VERSE – 17: 16

Austerity of the mind

मनः प्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रहः ।

भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते ॥१७:१६॥


manaḥ prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ maunamātmavinigrahaḥ |

bhāvasaṁśuddhirityētattapō mānasamucyatē ||17:16||


मनः प्रसादः सौम्यत्वम् मौनम् आत्मविनिग्रहः

भावसंशुद्धिः  इति ऎतत् तपः मानसम् उच्यते 


मनः प्रसादः- cheerfulness of mind सौम्यत्वम्-gentleness  मौनम्-silence आत्मविनिग्रहः-control of mind  (आत्म-mind विनिग्रहः-control, self- control) भावसंशुद्धिः-purity of inner feelings (भाव-feelings संशुद्धिः-purity) इति- thus ऎतत्- these तपः- austerity मानसम्-of the mind  उच्यते-  is called


Cheerfulness of mind, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of inner feelings —all these are declared as the austerity of the mind.

मनः प्रसादः– cheerfulness of mind . Vivacity.  When the mind becomes free from morbidities like fear, lust, grief and

attachment it becomes cheerful. Such a mind is free from fear, anxiety and tension.

सौम्यत्वम्– gentleness. A cheeful mind naturally becomes gentle. Equipoised mind. It does not get perturbed due to any provocation. So the intellect can decide what is right and what is wrong.

मौनम् – reticence, keeping quite, silence. It is not only external practice. The mind also keeps quite internally. There is no internal dialogue, defence of ones version or finding fault with others. There is maunam of the body, mind and speech.

It is said मौनम् सर्वार्थ साधनम् . Silence is the key to accomplishments. While smile resolves disputes, silence avoids disputes.

आत्मविनिग्रहः -control of mind. This is also called samyama or restraint (मनोनिग्रहः). In this state the restlessness of the mind totally stops. It is thoroughly disciplined. The senses obey the command of the mind. Mind is disciplined.

भावसंशुद्धिः  -Purity of mind. When the mind becomes pure?

When all morbidities of mind such as lust, anger, delusion, greed, infatuation, jealousy, animosity and idle thoughts are at rest. At the same time, virtues described under the head daivi sampatti blossom. This is spoken as auterities of the mind.  

Swami mukundananda says:

“Austerity of the mind is higher than the austerity of body and speech, for if we learn to master the mind, the body and speech automatically get mastered, while the reverse is not necessarily true. Factually, the state of the mind determines the state of an individual’s consciousness. Shri Krishna has stated in verse 6:5, “Elevate yourself through the power of your mind and not degrade yourself, for the mind can be the friend and also the enemy of the self.”

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् |

आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ||6:5||


The mind may be likened to a garden, which can either be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild. Gardeners cultivate their patch, growing fruits, flowers, and vegetables in it. At the same time, they also ensure that it remains free from weeds. Similarly, we must cultivate our own mind with rich and noble thoughts, while weeding out the negative and debilitating thoughts. If we allow resentful, hateful, blaming, unforgiving, critical, and condemning thoughts to reside in our mind, they will have a debilitating effect on our personality. We can never get a fair amount of constructive action out of the mind until we have learned to control it and keep it from becoming stimulated by anger, hatred, dislike, etc. These are the weeds that choke out the manifestation of divine grace within our hearts.

People imagine that their thoughts are secret and have no external consequences because they dwell within the mind, away from the sight of others. They do not realize that thoughts not only forge their inner character but also their external personality. That is why we look upon someone and say, “He seems like a very simple and trustworthy person.” For another person, we say, “She seems to be very cunning and deceitful. Stay away from her.” In each case, it was the thoughts people harbored that sculpted their appearance.


VERSE – 17: 17

Sattvik tapas

श्रद्धया परया तप्तं तपस्तत्त्रिविधं नरैः ।

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिर्युक्तैः सात्त्विकं परिचक्षते ॥१७:१७॥


śraddhayā parayā taptaṁ tapastattrividhaṁ narai: |

aphalākāṅkṣibhiryuktai: sāttvikaṁ paricakṣatē || 17||


श्रद्धया परया तप्तम् तपः  त्रिविधम्  नरै:

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः युक्तै: सात्त्विकम् परिचक्षते 


श्रद्धया-with faith परया-supreme तप्तम्- practised तपः-austerity  त्रिविधम्- threefold नरै:-by men अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः- expecting no return (अफला-material rewards  आकाङ्क्षिभिः- without expecting)  युक्तै:- self-disciplined men सात्त्विकम्- in the mode of sattvika परिचक्षते-  is declared



The three-fold austerity practised by self-disciplined men, with utmost faith, without yearning for material gain is called sattvik tapas


Sattvik tapas is said to be the best because it is the foundation for enlightenement. Rajasik and tamasik tapas does not lead to liberation. The characteristics of sattvik tapas is explaind

श्रद्धया परया – with supreme faith, Consummate faith in the Guru, Shastras . The faith in the three types of tapas performed by the body, speech and mind inspite any obstacles and difficulties is called supreme faith. It is only a man with faith can obtain spiritual knowledge. श्रद्दावान् लभते ज्ञानम्.  If you have supreme faith you can work with greatest zeal and enthusiasm. You can overcome all the obstacles that come in your way. Hanuman was able to cross the ocean because he had abundant faith in Rama. Sant Mirabai drank poison with ultimate faith and love for Krishna. The poison turned into nectar.

अफलाकाङ्क्षिभिः– by the learned men expecting no gain from the performance of the three-fold tapas. They do it  with disinterested spirit as a duty and reverence to the lord. They remain unshaken by any difficulties they may face in attaining their goal.

युक्तै – by the perfect men who are extremely disciplined. Yukta means joined with. With whom? Brahman. They have no body consciousness. They remain always in communion with God.

सात्त्विकम् परिचक्षते – If the three tapas  of body, mind and speech is performed as said above in a disinterested spirit for the pleasure of God it is called Sattvika tapas


VERSE – 17: 18

Characteristics of rajasic penance

सत्कारमानपूजार्थं तपो दम्भेन चैव यत् ।

क्रियते तदिह प्रोक्तं राजसं चलमध्रुवम् ॥१७:१८॥


satkāramānapūjārthaṁ tapō dambhēna caiva yat |

kriyatē tadiha prōktaṁ rājasaṁ calamadhruvam ||17:18||


सत्कारमानपूजार्थम्  तपः दम्भेन च एव  यत्

क्रियते तत् इह प्रोक्तम् राजसम् चलम् अध्रुवम्  


सत्कारमानपूजार्थम्- for the sake of reverence, honour and self adoration (सत्कार-, reverence, respect  मान- honour पूजा-adoration आर्थम्-for the sake of  तपः- austerity दम्भेन-with ostentation च- and एव-even  यत्- which क्रियते- is performed तत्- इह-that प्रोक्तम्- is said राजसम्-in the mode of rajas चलम्- unstable अध्रुवम्- temporary 


Austerity that is performed with ostentation for the sake of gaining honor, respect, and adoration is in the mode of passion. Its benefits are unstable and transitory.


What is the difference between a sacrifice performed by a sattivik person and a rajasik person? Both of them perform austerities like yajnya, charity, donation, feeding the poor, construction of hospitals and distribution of medicine, cloath, education of deserving students etc. Both of them have faith in the shastras and the reward of penance. The difference is the sattvika person performs sacrifice without any self-cented motive for the welfare of the people at large and as his duty o the Lord. But a rajasik person also having faith performs penance without regard to the rules of shastras in a grand scale with pomp. He wants publicity for his action. He wants every one to acknowledge his greatness. Such a penance is recognied as rajasik. The reward by such penance is unstable and temporary


VERSE – 17: 19

charactristics of tamasik tapas

मूढग्राहेणात्मनो यत्पीडया क्रियते तपः ।

परस्योत्सादनार्थं वा तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥१७:१९॥


mūḍhagrāhēṇātmanō yatpīḍayā kriyatē tapaḥ |

parasyōtsādanārthaṁ vā tattāmasamudāhr̥tam ||17:19||


मूढग्राहेण आत्मनः यत् पीडया क्रियते तपः

परस्य् उत्सादनार्थम्  वा तत् तामसम् उदाहृतम्  


मूढग्राहेण-out of perversity  (मूढ -confused  men ग्राहेण-with perverted notion, विकृति ) आत्मनः-one’ own self यत्- which पीडया- torturing क्रियते-is performed तपः- the austerity परस्य्-of others  उत्सादनार्थम्- the sake of harming वा- or तत्-that तामसम्- in the tamasik mode उदाहृतम्-   is described as



Austerity that is performed by those with confused notions, and which involves torturing the self or harming others, is described to be in the mode of ignorance.


आत्मनः यत् पीडया –By dreadful acts as self-mortification like hanging upside down on the branch of a tree, sitting on spikes. walking on fire, performing penance under water, or digging himself in a pit are acts of tamasik nature. They have no sanction of the shastras and such people have no faith in the shastras. They do such acts by way of ostentation or ignorance.

Bhagawan Buddha also practiced such self-mortifying tapas foregoing food and sleep for a long time. He became emaciated and was no longer able to continue his practice. One day while he was meditating, a group of village women passed by singing a song which said: tighten the string of Tanpura (Tambura) but do not tighten it so much as to flap  the string. Buddha said what a philosophical knowledge?


परस्य् उत्सादनार्थम् – harming others. They perform penance for usurping the property of others, for the ill health of others. Jnyanadev says, just as a boulder falling down a hill is broken into pieces, the tamasik performers bring down their own or others fall.


VERSE – 17: 20

Charecteristcs of sattvik charity

दातव्यमिति यद्दानं दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे ।

देशे काले च पात्रे च तद्दानं सात्त्विकं स्मृतम् ॥१७:२०॥


dātavyamiti yaddānaṁ dīyatē’nupakāriṇē |

dēśē kālē ca pātrē ca taddānaṁ sāttvikaṁ smr̥tam ||17:20||


दातव्यम् इति यत् दानम् दीयते अनुपकारिणे 

देशे काले च पात्रे च तत् दानम्  सात्त्विकम्  स्मृतम्   


दातव्यम्-ones duty to give इति-thus यत्-which  दानम्- charity दीयते-is given  अनुपकारिणे-to one who is not supposed to give a return gift  देशे- at proper place काले-at proper time च- and पात्रे-to a worthy person च-and तत्-that  दानम्-charity   सात्त्विकम्- is in the mode of sattik  स्मृतम्-is said to be   


Charity given to a worthy person simply because it is right to give, without consideration of anything in return, at the proper time and in the proper place, and poper recipient is stated to be in the mode of sattvika.


दातव्यम् इति यत् दानम् दीयते अनुपकारिणे  -It is my duty to give charity. Here help is rendered to a deserving person. One should not expect anying in return for the charity done. It is done in a disinterested spirit. The important point here is that the donor should not expect anything in return for his kind act at present time or in future.

देशे काले च पात्रे च तत् दानम्  सात्त्विकम्  स्मृतम्   

at the proper time and in the proper place, and poper recipient is stated to be in the mode of sattvika. Now a question arises. What is proper time, proper place and poper person?

The time when a desired object becomes unavailable, charity of such a thing at the particular moment and place is called sattvik gift. Helping the men with who are hungry, destitutes, in grief,  afflicted by a disease,  incapacitated, beggars etc. with whatever obects they are in dire need are the patra or proper persons to receive the charity. Such a charity is called sattvik in nature. Wise people, practising brahmins and students are said to be good recepients at any time.


VERSE – 17: 21

Rajasik donation

यत्तु प्रत्युपकारार्थं फलमुद्दिश्य वा पुनः ।

दीयते च परिक्लिष्टं तद्दानं राजसं स्मृतम् ॥१७:२१॥


yattu pratyupakārārthaṁ phalamuddiśya vā punaḥ |

dīyatē ca parikliṣṭaṁ taddānaṁ rājasaṁ smr̥tam ||17:21||


यत् तु प्रत्युपकारार्थम् फलम् उद्दिश्य वा पुनः

दीयते च परिक्लिष्टम्  तत् दानम् राजसम् स्मृतम्  


यत्- which तु-however प्रत्युपकारार्थम्-  with the hope of getting a return gift (प्रति- return उपकारार्थम्-favour) फलम्-reward उद्दिश्य-with a view to वा-or पुनः- again दीयते- is given च- and परिक्लिष्टम्  -reluctantly तत्- that दानम्- charity राजसम्- in the mode of rajas स्मृतम्- is said to be 


 But charity given with reluctance, or with the hope of getting a return favour or in expectation of a reward, is said to be in the mode of passion.


यत् तु प्रत्युपकारार्थम् फलम् उद्दिश्य वा पुनः –The particle “तु” in this verse indicates a change of subject. So far Krishna was speaking about sattvik gifts. Now he has come to the subject of rajasik gift. A donation which is offered with an expectation that such help will be rendered back to the donor in futu is rajasik donation. If a person givesa  donation to a  senior citizen’s home expecting that he will also be admitted there when he becomes old  or incapacitated is rajasik gift. Again a gift given with with expectation of a favour is also a rajasik gift.  If one gives a gift to a government servant who is in a position to issue favourable orders to him, it is also a rajasik gift.

दीयते च परिक्लिष्टम्  तत् दानम् राजसम् स्मृतम् – charity given with reluctance or grudgingly by coercion, due to pressure exerted by respectable and influential persons, or with a feeling of discomfiture or sorrow si called  परिक्लिष्टम्  or grudgingly, reluctantly.


VERSE – 17: 22

Characteristics of Tamasik dana

अदेशकाले यद्दानमपात्रेभ्यश्च दीयते ।

असत्कृतमवज्ञातं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् ॥१७:२२॥


adēśakālē yaddānamapātrēbhyaśca dīyatē |

asatkr̥tamavajñātaṁ tattāmasamudāhr̥tam ||17:22||


अदेशकाले यत् दानम् अपात्रेभ्यः च दीयते

असत्कृतम् अवज्ञातम् तत् तामसम् उदाहृतम्   

अदेशकाले- at wrong time and place (अदेश- wrong place अकाल- wrong time  यत्- which दानम्- charity अपात्रेभ्यः- to unworthy persons च- and दीयते- is given असत्कृतम्-without respect (असत्- कृतम्-) अवज्ञातम्-with contempt, disdainfully तत्- that danam तामसम्-is in the mode of tamas उदाहृतम्- is held to be  


And that charity, which is given at the wrong place and wrong time to unworthy persons, without showing respect, or with contempt, is held to be of the nature of nescience.


अदेशकाले– in improper place and time. Suppose you have decided to gift some money for the education of a poor man whom you meet in a funeral, and immediately you pull  out your wallet and pay him a note of Re. 500/-, such a gift becomes अदेश. Or you wake up a sleeping person in the night and tell him I have decided to gift my bike to you it becomes


अपात्रेभ्यःto an undeserving person. Who is an undeserving person? A swindler, imposter, cruel and a burden to the earth. One who deprives others of their means of subsitence, a criminal and a looter. this is a small  list of apatra. A charity given to them is a door to hell. However this does not preclude any help rendered to them when they are in dire need, and it is a question of life and death for them.

असत्कृतम् – without respect, badly treated. You have invited a person to come to your place to receive a trophy. If you

receive him without formal greeting and polite words,  but hand over the trophy  in a cold manner your action is called  असत्कृतम्.

अवज्ञातम्– disdainfully, with contempt. It is a gift which is made in contempt of the person who comes to you seeking a donation, or an endowment. If you ridicule him and threaten him not to come again for such donations,  but as an exception you condescend to make a gift this time, it is called अवज्ञातम्

तत् तामसम् उदाहृतम्   such donations are said to be in the mode of tamas


VERSE – 17: 23

Significance of ॐ तत् सत्

ॐतत्सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणस्त्रिविधः स्मृतः ।

ब्राह्मणास्तेन वेदाश्च यज्ञाश्च विहिताः पुरा ॥१७:२३॥

ōm̐tatsaditi nirdēśō brahmaṇastrividhaḥ smr̥taḥ |

brāhmaṇāstēna vēdāśca yajñāśca vihitāḥ purā ||17:23||


ॐ तत् सत् इति निर्देशः ब्रह्मणः त्रिविधः स्मृतः

ब्राह्मणाः तेन वेदाः च यज्ञाः च  विहिताः पुरा  


ॐ तत् सत्- the three syllables representing the aspects of transcendence इति- thus निर्देशः-designation, indication ब्रह्मणः-of the absolute (who is truth, consciousness and bliss solidified) त्रिविधः-three fold  स्मृतः-have been declared ब्राह्मणाः-the priests  तेन-from them वेदाः-the  च- यज्ञाः- च-  विहिताः- पुरा- in the beginning of creation 


The words “Om Tat Sat” have been declared as symbolic representations of the Supreme Absolute Truth, from the beginning of creation. From them came the priests, scriptures, and sacrifice.


ॐ तत् सत् इति निर्देशः ब्रह्मणः त्रिविधः स्मृतः –Om tat sat these three words are the symbolic representation of ब्रह्मन् (Brahman) or ब्रह्म brahma the supreme truth. ब्रह्म is singular neuter gender. ब्रह्मणः means of the absolute truth.

These three words are the indications of absolute truth. ब्रह्म  brahma , is the creator. It is singular masculine word.

In  chaturthi vibhakti it is declined as below.








So, ब्रह्मणः means of the Brahman. Om tat sat are the three names of Brahman.

Om represents the transcendental and self. which is the substratum on which projection of mind, body and intellect are maintained. The term Tat is used to indicate the eternal goal. Tat means that which refers to something not near to us but available far away. It is not available to sense organs or mind. So it is called that. Sat means existence. A thing should be in existence for ever. It is not fleeting existence. Brahman is truth. Brahman is existence. One which has a permanent existence is truth.

निर्देशः– indication. Brahman is beyond our capacity to see, hear and think of. So. these three words are used to indicate the absolute reality which is changeless and ever perfect. The import of this verse is that one should remember the transcendental truth, bliss and existence by uttering these three holy words.

ब्राह्मणाः तेन वेदाः च यज्ञाः च  विहिताः पुरा   From them meaning from om, tat sat came the priests, scriptures, and sacrifice. Brahmins means those who have realized brahman. The word yajnya has a comprehensive meaning which includes all sacrifices, charities, austerities and other duties of obligatory nature.  Swami Chinamayanda writes: “When acts of worship, gift, and austerities were found defective they may be perfected by uttering the phrase om tat sat”

Now a question arises. In chaper 3:10, the lord says, the entire creation including yajnya has emanated from ब्रह्मा brahmā , the lord of creation. Here is the verse

सहयज्ञाः प्रजाः स्रष्ट्वा पुरोवाच प्रजापतिः।
अनेन प्रसविष्यध्वमेष वोस्त्विष्टकामधुक् ॥३ -१०॥


In the begining, prajapati, the creator,  created human beings together with yajnya and said, “you shall prosper by this (yajnya), this will be a milch cow of your longings”


As against this, in the present verse he says, from God himself (om tat sat,  ब्रह्मन् ब्रह्म Brahma ) was created  ब्राह्मणाः तेन वेदाः च यज्ञाः च  विहिताः पुरा.- From them came the priests, scriptures, and sacrifice. How to reconcile these two conflicting statements? It is just the same. ब्रह्मा brahmā , the lord of creation. is also created by ब्रह्मन् ब्रह्म Brahma)


VERSE – 17: 24

Impotance of the word Om ऒम्

तस्मादोमित्युदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः ।

प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ताः सततं ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ॥१७:२४॥

tasmādōmityudāhr̥tya yajñadānatapaḥkriyāḥ |

pravartantē vidhānōktāḥ satataṁ brahmavādinām ||17:24||


तस्मात् ऒम् इति उदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः

प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ताः सततम् ब्रह्मवादिनाम्  

तस्मात्-therefore ऒम्-sacred syllable Om इति-thus  उदाहृत्य- by uttering यज्ञदानतपःक्रियाः- acts of sacrifice, charity and penance (यज्ञ-sacrifice दान-charity  तपः-penance क्रियाः-acts ) प्रवर्तन्ते-begin विधानोक्ताः-accroding to prescription of vedic injunctions सततम्-always ब्रह्मवादिनाम्- expounders of vedas


Therefore, when performing acts of sacrifice, offering charity, or undertaking penance, expounders of the Vedas

always begin by uttering “Om” according to the prescriptions of Vedic injunctions.


ब्रह्मवादिनाम्  – by the practitioners of vedas. They start the activities of sacrifice, charity and penance by uttering the devine representative name of God in the form of “OM”.   

The syllable OM corrects the flaws and defects in the performance of yajnya, dana and tapas. It lends a sacred blessed character to such noble activities.


VERSE – 17: 25

Importance of ‘tat’ तत्

तदित्यनभिसन्धाय फलं यज्ञतपःक्रियाः ।

दानक्रियाश्च विविधाः क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः ॥१७:२५॥


tadityanabhisandhāya phalaṁ yajñatapaḥkriyāḥ |

dānakriyāśca vividhāḥ kriyantē mōkṣakāṅkṣibhiḥ ||17:25||


तत् इति अनभिसन्धाय फलम्  यज्ञतपःक्रियाः

दानक्रियाः च विविधाः क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः  


तत्- the syllable तत् इति-thus अनभिसन्धाय-without desiring  फलम्-fruit यज्ञतपः-sacriice and austerity  क्रियाः-acts  दानक्रियाः- the acts of charities च-as well  विविधाः-various क्रियन्ते- are done मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः-seekers of blessedness (मोक्ष-liberation आकाङ्क्षिभिः-seekers )


The persons who do not desire material rewards, but seek the blessedness of liberation (moksha)  utter the word “Tat” before commencing the  activities of austerity, sacrifice, and charity.


तत् इति अनभिसन्धाय फलम्  यज्ञतपःक्रियाः दानक्रियाः च –A  yogi who has no desire to get material benefits, performs the rites of austerity, charity and  penance by uttering the word ‘tat’ तत्.

विविधाः क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभिः-  A desirer of liberation performs various acts of yajnya, dana and tapas. A seeker of beatitude entirely gives up he feeling of “I” and “mine” by

remembering that everything belongs to God. He performs the acts of yajnya, dana and tapa at the behest of God and for the pleasure of God. He has no personal  or ulterior

motive in it


VERSE – 17: 26

Importance of the word sat सत्

सद्भावे साधुभावे च सदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते ।

प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सच्छब्दः पार्थ युज्यते ॥१७:२६॥

sadbhāvē sādhubhāvē ca sadityētatprayujyatē |

praśastē karmaṇi tathā sacchabdaḥ pārtha yujyatē ||17:26||



सद्भावे साधुभावे च सत् इति एतत् प्रयुज्यते

प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सत् शब्दः पार्थ युज्यते   

सद्भावे- in the sense of truth (सत्- existence, truth भावे- in the sense of )  साधुभावे- in he sense of goodness (साधु-goodness, auspiciousness भावे-in the sense of) च- and सत्-the syllable SAT इति-thus  एतत्- this प्रयुज्यते-is used  प्रशस्ते-laudatory, excellent कर्मणि- in tasks तथा- also सत् शब्दः-the wod SAT पार्थ- Arjuna, युज्यते- used    


Arjuna!, The syllable sat (सत्) is employed in सद्भाव, साधुभाव and laudatory and auspicious deeds.  

After explaining the use of the syllables om and tat, The lord now explains the significance of the syllable sat.

सत्– existence, truth The existence refers to eternity or

immortal truth which lasts for ever. Such is the essential character of God. Sat was  present yesterday, present today, and will be present tomarrow. It is there in सृष्टि स्थिति लाय (creation, sustenance and dissolution). God is also called by the epithet सत्.

सदेव सौम्य इदमग्र आसीत् –This is an upanishad statement. My dea,r there existed in the beginning only sat or God. Then he decided to populate and therefore, the pluralistic world happened.

साधुभाव – सद्भाव is the sense of goodness, auspiciousness . The guileless and noble disposition of mind is called sadhubhava. It is conductie to God- realization. We use the word

sadhu -sant to indicate good people or सत्पुरुष

प्रशस्त auspicious, fit. The deeds such as wedding, shanti homa, thread ceremony are called prashasta or sat karma.


VERSE – 17: 27

Explanation of the use of word sat

यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सदिति चोच्यते ।

कर्म चैव तदर्थीयं सदित्येवाभिधीयते ॥१७:२७॥

yajñē tapasi dānē ca sthitiḥ saditi cōcyatē |

karma caiva tadarthīyaṁ sadityēvābhidhīyatē ||17:27||


यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सत् इति च उच्यते

कर्म च एव तदर्थीयम् सत् इति एव अभिधीयते  


यज्ञे-in sacrifice तपसि- in peance दाने- in charity च-and स्थितिः-steadfastness, steadyness सत्-the syllable sat इति-thus  च- and उच्यते- is spoken of कर्म-action च- and एव-indeed  तदर्थीयम्- for the sake of supreme (तत्- God अर्थीयम्-performed for the sake of him)  सत्-the syllable sat इति-thus  एव- indeed अभिधीयते-  is described  



The sthiti or steadiness in sacrifice, penance and charity is called sat. Any action done in furtherance of this sthiti is also called sat


यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थितिः सत् इति च उच्यते –The steadfastness in sacrifice, penance and charity is called sat. स्थितिः means the unswerving stand, position or conviction regarding performance yajnya, tapas and charity. The equanimity and equilibrium of the mind after performing yajnya dana and tapas is called sat. It is also called निष्ठा. It refers to decisiveness and devotion.

कर्म च एव तदर्थीयम् सत् इति एव अभिधीयते   All actions done for the sake of God is called sat.


VERSE – 17: 28

An oblation, austerity, or gift given without faith becomes null and void.

 So it is called asat.

अश्रद्धया हुतं दत्तं तपस्तप्तं कृतं च यत् ।

असदित्युच्यते पार्थ न च तत्प्रेत्य नो इह ॥१७:२८॥


aśraddhayā hutaṁ dattaṁ tapastaptaṁ kr̥taṁ ca yat |

asadityucyatē pārtha na ca tatprētya nō iha ||17:28||


अश्रद्धया- without faith हुतम्-that which is offered  as an oblation दत्तम्- that which is given तपः- austerity तप्तम्- practiced कृतम्-done  च- and यत्- which असत्- asat (naught) इति-so  उच्यते-is declared  पार्थ- Arjuna न-not  च-and  तत् that – प्रेत्य-hereafter, in the next world  न-not  इह-  here 


O son of Pritha, Arjuna! an oblation which is offered, a gift given, an austerity practiced and whatever good deed is

performed wihout faith, it is all  termed as “asat”. It is of no avail here or hereafter.


In the previous verse, the Lord pointed out the value of actions such as sacrifice, austerity and charity performed with faith. What happens if faith is missing but actions are performed?


Many disciplines are mentioned in the Vedas under the heading Yajnya, dana and tapa. If these rites ae performed as mandated in the Vedas with faith, one will get the rewards mentioned therein. Faith is as important as the rules mentined and chanting of mantras as prescribed. Noble deeds without faith are useless to give fruit either in this world or next.  



ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे

श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे श्रद्धात्रयविभागयोगो नाम सप्तदशोऽध्यायः ॥१७॥


Aum Tat Sat

In the Upanishad of the holy Bhagavad Gita – the discourse of Lord Krishna to Arjuna, which in the scriptures of yoga and the science of God realization—this is the seventeenth  chapter, called Shraddhatraya vibhaga yoga.



Summary of 17th chapter