Sraddhatraya Vibhaga Yoga
(The Threefold Division of Faith)
1. Arjuna said: "What, O Krishna, is the position of those who do
not conform to the rules of the scriptures and yet worship with
faith? Do they act from Sattva, Rajas or Tamas?"
2 The Blessed Lord said: "Threefold is the faith of men, born of
their intrinsic nature - it is Sattvik, Rajasik or Tamasik. Hear
thou of it,
3. "The faith of every man is in accord with his nature or
intrinsic disposition. Man is basically a creature of faith, and he
is what his faith makes him.
4. "The Sattvik persons worship the gods 80
; the Rajasik ones the demigods 81
and the demons 82
; and the Tamasik ones worship the manes and the spirits.
5 "Those men, who, given to hypocrisy and arrogance, and impelled
by the force of their lust and attachment practice fierce
austerities not enjoined by the scriptures,
6. "Fools that they are, they, whilst emaciating their bodies
torture also Me the Indweller - know them to be demonic in their
7. "Of three kinds again is the food that men enjoy, and so also
are sacrifice 83
, austerity and charity. Hear now their distinctions.
8. "Foods that promote longevity, intelligence, vigor, health,
happiness and cheerfulness, which are savory, sweet, soft,
nourishing, besides being gentle to the stomach, are dear to Sattvik
9. "The Rajasik ones relish food that is bitter, sour, salty,
over-hot, spicy, pungent, dry and burning - such eatables lead to
pain, sickness and disease.
10. "Food that is stale, tasteless, putrid, polluted, impure,
left over and unfit for use in sacrificial offering is what is dear
to the Tamasik type of people.
11. "That Yajna is Sattvik which is willingly performed, as duty
ordained, and without any desire for the fruits thereof.
12. "But, O Bharatasreshta, when the sacrifice is offered with an
expectation of reward or self-glorification, know it to be a Rajasik
13. "Sacrifice that is contrary to scriptural command, which is
devoid of charitable offerings of food and wealth, which is
deficient in sacred Mantras, and which is performed without faith is
of the Tamasik type.
14. "Worship of the gods, homage to Brahmins, to preceptors and
Wise men; cleanliness, uprightness, continence 84
and non-violence - these constitute the austerity of the
15. "Words that cause no hurt, that are truthful, pleasant,
beneficial, which are uttered during sacred recitations - these are
said to form the austerity of speech.
16. "Serenity, kindness, silence, self-control and purity - these
constitute the austerity of the mind.
17. "These three-fold austerities performed with total faith and
without any desire for reward belong to the category of Sattvik.
18. "[Hypocritic] austerity performed with an eye to gain praise,
honor, reward, and which is tainted with vanity is said to be
Rajasik - and its rewards if any, are fleeting and dubious.
19. "Austerity done under delusion and accompanied by sorcery
and/or torture either to one's own self or to others is of the
20. "Charity given as a matter of duty, without any expectation
of return or reward, and to the right person at the right time and
at the right place, is said to be of the Sattvik kind.
21. "Charity grudgingly given with expectations of benefits and
other returns of a similar nature is declared to be Rajasik.
22. "And that which is given at the wrong place, at the wrong
time and to the wrong person, or with contempt and disrespect, is of
the Tamasik type.
23. "Aum Tat Sat has been declared to be three-fold appellation
of the Absolute One 85
; and by that chant were created at Cosmic Dawn, the Vedas,
the Yajnas and the Brahmins.
24. "Therefore, noble souls always commence acts of sacrifice,
charity and other austerities as enjoined in the Vedas with the
sacred chant of AUM.
25. "Uttering 'Tat' and without seeking rewards, seekers of
Liberation perform various sacrifices, austerities and
26. "The term 'Sat' is employed in the sense of 'Real' and
'Good', and 'Sat', O Partha, is also used to describe meritorious
27. "Steadfastness in sacrifice, austerity and charity is also
called 'Sat'; so too are actions dedicated to the Lord.
28. "Contrarily, O Partha, Asat refers to seemingly good acts
such as the offering of oblations, the giving of gifts and the
observance of austerities but which are performed without faith. It
is of no account here or hereafter.
Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads,
the Science of Brahman,
the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna,
ends the seventeenth chapter, entitled:
SRADDHATRAYA VIBHAGA YOGA
84Observance of Brahmacharya.