Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA – Chapter 17 (SradhdhAthraya vibhAga yOga)

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA

<< Chapter 16

In the twenty first SlOkam of gIthArtha sangraham, ALavandhAr explains the summary of seventeenth chapter saying “In the seventeenth chapter – it is explained that all activities that are not ordained in SAsthram are for asuras (cruel natured) (and thus are useless), those activities which are ordained in SAsthram based on the qualities (sathvam, rajas and thamas) exist in three different ways. It is explained that for those activities that are ordained in SAsthram such as yAgam, etc., the words “Om thath sath” (by joining together, these distinguish such activities from others) and identifying them [such activities]”.

Important SlOkams/Verses

SlOkam/Verse 1

arjuna uvAcha
yE SAsthravidhim uthsrujya yajanthE SradhdhayAnvithA: |
thEshAm nishtA thu kA krishNa sathvam AhO rajas thama: ||

Oh krishNa! In which state are those who are performing yagya with faith even after disregarding the rules of SAsthram? Is it in sathva guNam (goodness), rajO guNam (passion) or in thamO guNam (ignorance)?

From 2nd SlOkam to 4th SlOkam, krishNa explains that the faith in a person can be sAthvika, rAjasika or thAmasika. This is in relation with activities which are ordained in SAsthram.

SlOkam/Verse 4

yajanthE sAthvikA dhEvAn yaksharakshAmsi rAjasA: |
prEthAn bhUthagaNAmS chAnyE yajanthE thAmasA janA: ||

Those who are having abundance of sathva guNam (goodness), and faith in such mode, worship dhEvas (celestial beings); those who are having abundance of rajO guNam (passion) and faith in such mode, worship yakshas (ghosts) and rAkshasas (demons); those others who are different from the aforementioned two categories of people and who are having abundance of thamO guNam (ignorance) and faith in such mode, worship dead people and devils.

In SlOkam 5 and 6, he explains that the activities which are not ordained in SAsthram, even when done with faith are not only futile but will also yield disastrous results.

SlOkam/Verse 7

AhAras thvapi sarvasya thrividhO bhavathi priya: |
yagyas thapas thathA dhAnam thEshAm bhEdham imam SruNu ||

For all living beings, food too is dear based on the three categories (sathva, rajas and thamas); so are sacrifices, penances and charities; listen (from me) the variances (based on sathva etc qualities) in food, sacrifices, penances and charities.

In SlOkams 8, 9 and 10, food items in the nature of sathva, rajas and thamas are highlighted. Food items in sathva guNam lead to eternal goodness, rajO guNam lead to grief, sorrow and illness and thamO guNam lead to eternal bondage/suffering.

In SlOkams 11, 12 and 13, yagya (fire sacrifice) performed in the nature of sathva, rajas and thamas are highlighted. sAthvika yagya is done as per SAsthram, without any expectation and as a worship of bhagavAn; rAjasa yagya is done with expectation of specific result, with the intent of acquiring fame; thAmasa yagya is done without the guidance of brAhmaNas, with unrighteous wealth, without a) proper manthra b) offering dhakshiNa and c) faith.

From 14th SlOkam to 19th SlOkam, thapas (penance) is discussed in detail. In that, SlOkams 14 to 16 explain about kAyika (body), vAchika (speech) and mAnasika (mind) based penance. SlOkams 17 to 19 explain about penance done in the nature of sathva, rajas and thamas.

From 20th SlOkam to 22nd SlOkam, dhAnam (giving charity) performed in the nature of sathva, rajas and thamas are highlighted.

SlOkam/Verse 23

Om thath sadh ithi nirdhESO brahmaNas thrividha: smrutha: |
brAhmaNAs thEna vEdhAS cha yagyAS cha vihithA: purA ||

The three words “Om thath sath” are said to be with vaidhika karma [rituals]. Those [brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya] who are qualified to learn vEdha and who are united with those three words, the vEdhams (scriptures) and yagyams (sacrifices) were created by me during creation.

Note: In the next 4 SlOkams, the principle explained in this SlOkam, is elaborated.

In the 24th SlOkam, it is explained that all vaidhika karmas should be performed by reciting praNavam first.

In the 25th SlOkam, it is explained that those thraivarNikas (brAhmaNas, kshathriyas and vaiSyas) who seek mOksham, perform yagya, thapas, dhAna etc, reciting “thath”, without any other expectation.

In the 26th SlOkam, it is explained that “sath” is recited with all auspicious actions. In the next SlOkam also, the significance of “sath” is explained.

SlOkam/Verse 28

aSradhdhayA hutham dhaththam thapas thaptham krutham cha yath |
asadhithyuchyathE pArtha na cha thath prEthya nO iha ||

Oh son of kunthI! That hOma (yagya, sacrifice), dhAnam (charity) and the penance which is performed (that) without faith is said to be as “asath”; that neither leads to mOksham (liberation) nor to any materialistic benefit.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in

pramEyam (goal) –
pramANam (scriptures) –
pramAthA (preceptors) –
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal –