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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17: Faith and its Nature

May 25, 2022

Then clarifying Arjuna’s doubts on faith, Krishna continued. “Faith is intrinsic to human beings, which are Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic in nature. People are what their faith is. Accordingly, those in goodness mode worship celestial Gods, the passionate, Yakshas and Rakshasas, and the ignorant worship spirits. Further, people should perform austerities only as ordained by scriptures and not for desire or egotism. Simply tormenting the body and Me, the dweller therein, through attachment-driven austerities exhibit only demonic nature. And same is the case with food, sacrifice, and charity. The virtuous consume juicy, nourishing, and naturally tasty foods that enhance life span, virtue, and heath. However, the passionate like hot, spicy, or sour food that gives only disease and pain, whereas the ignorant consume impure or stale items. Likewise, sacrifices done with conviction and no-expectation are of goodness; those done for material benefits are of passion-mode, while those performed contrary to scriptural principles with no Mantras or offerings are of ignorant mode. Similarly, when people worship the Lord and the revered with cleanliness, celibacy, and non-violence, that becomes the austerity of the body; when words spoken are truthful and kind, it is the austerity of speech; and thoughts, serene and pure, become the austerity of the mind. When practiced by the devout with faith and no expectations of rewards, these become the austerities of goodness. But the one performed for ostentation and public consumption is the austerity of passion that is transitory, whereas the austerity involving harming the self and others is ignorant. Similarly, charity to the worthy at the right time and place, without any consideration, is goodness. However, a reluctantly done charity with expectation is of passion mode, while that made to the unworthy is the charity of ignorance. Further, the term ‘Om Tat Sat’ represents the Absolute Truth. Hence people begin all sacred activities like sacrifice by uttering ‘Om,’ while the non-seekers of material rewards utter ‘Tat.’ And ‘Sat’ means goodness and eternity that describes all auspicious and noble activities like charity. But such acts performed without faith become ‘Asat,’ worthless for this world and the other.”

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