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Bhagwad Gita

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Chapter 17


Arjuna said: What is the mode of devotion of those who perform spiritual practices with faith but without following the scriptural injunctions, O Krishna? Is it in the mode of goodness, passion, or ignorance?


Lord Krishna said: The natural faith of embodied beings is of three kinds: Goodness, passion, and ignorance. Now hear about these from Me.

O Arjuna, the faith of each is in accordance with one’s own natural disposition that is governed by Karmic impressions. A person is known by the faith. One can become whatever one wants to be, if one constantly contemplates on the object of desire with faith.

Persons in the mode of goodness worship celestial controllers; those in the mode of passion worship supernatural rulers and demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits.

They who practice severe austerities without following the prescription of the scriptures; who are full of hypocrisy and egotism; who are impelled by the force of desire and attachment; who senselessly torture the elements in their body and also Me who dwells within the body, know these ignorant persons to be of demonic nature.


The food preferred by all of us is also of three types. So are the sacrifice, austerity, and charity. Now hear the distinction between them.

The foods that promote longevity, virtue, strength, health, happiness, and joy are juicy, smooth, substantial, and nutritious. Persons in the mode of goodness like such foods.

Foods that are very bitter, sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry, and burning; and cause pain, grief, and disease; are liked by persons in the mode of passion.

The foods liked by people in the mode of ignorance are stale, tasteless, putrid, rotten, refuses, and impure (such as meat and alcohol).


Selfless service enjoined by the scriptures, and performed without the desire for the fruit, with a firm belief and conviction that it is a duty, is in the mode of goodness.

Selfless service that is performed only for show, and aiming for fruit, know that to be in the mode of passion, O Arjuna.

Selfless service that is performed without following the scripture, in which no food is distributed, which is devoid of mantra, faith, and gift, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.


The worship of celestial controllers, the priest, guru, and the wise; purity, honesty, celibacy, and nonviolence; these are said to be the austerity of deed.

Speech that is non-offensive, truthful, pleasant, beneficial, and is used for the regular study of scriptures is called the austerity of word.

The serenity of mind, gentleness, equanimity, self-control, and the purity of thought ¾ these are called the austerity of thought.


The above mentioned threefold austerity (of thought, word, and deed) practiced by yogis with supreme faith, without a desire for the fruit, is said to be in the mode of goodness.

Austerity that is performed for gaining respect, honor, reverence, and for the sake of show that yields an uncertain and temporary result is said to be in the mode of passion.

Austerity performed with foolish stubbornness, or with self-torture, or for harming others, is declared to be in the node of ignorance.


Charity that is given as a matter of duty, to a deserving candidate who does nothing in return, at the right place and time, is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness.

Charity that is given unwillingly, or to get something in return, or looking for some fruit, is said to be in the mode of passion.

Charity that is given at a wrong place and time, and to unworthy persons; or without paying respect to the receiver or with ridicule, is said to be in the mode of ignorance.


The Spirit is all pervading. The persons with divine qualities, the Vedas, and the selfless service were created by and from the Spirit.

Therefore, acts of sacrifice, charity, and austerity prescribed in the scriptures are always commenced by uttering any one of the many names of God such as OM, Amen, or Allah by the knowers of the Supreme.

The seekers of salvation perform various types of sacrifice, charity, and austerity by uttering "He is all" without seeking a reward.

The word "Truth" is used in the sense of Reality and goodness. The word Truth is also used for an auspicious act, O Arjuna.

Faith in sacrifice, charity, and austerity is also called Truth. The selfless service for the sake of the Supreme is verily termed as Truth.

Whatever is done without faith ¾ whether it is sacrifice, charity, austerity, or any other act ¾ is useless. It has no value here or hereafter, O Arjuna.

Chapter 18....

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