Chapter 17

  1. Arjuna said:
    Krishna, those who give up the wise teachings, but practice in their own way with full trust, in what element are they? Sattvas, rajas or tamas?
  2. The Blessed One said:
    Trust is divided into three kinds among those with bodies, depending on their dominant element, whether they are in the element of sattvas (truth), rajas (passion) or tamas (ignorance). Now hear what I have to say about this.
  3. Scion of Bharata, a person's trust will vary according to each person's reality. One who lets themselves trust will certainly become filled with trust.
  4. Those who are in the element sattvas will practice toward the divine spirits. Those who are in the element rajas will practice toward the spirits of nature. Those people who are in the element tamas will practice toward the ghosts, empty spirits.
  5. Those people who undergo unwise abstinences that are harmful to themselves and others, they are bound by pride and arrogance. They are driven by lusts and attachments.
  6. Torturing the natural impulses of the body because of a lack of true consciousness, understand that although I am within their individuality, they have also filled themselves with demons.
  7. There are three different kinds of foods that will be appealing to each of the kinds of people; as well as three different kinds of ritual, disciplines, and charities. Now hear of the differences between these.
  8. The food that is appealing to one who is in sattvas is positive to one's health, strength and long life. It brings more satisfaction and pleasure. It is juicy, fatty, filling and fulfilling.
  9. The food that appeals to one in rajas is bitter, sour, salty, spicy, pungent, dry, and hot. It causes sorrow, misery, and disease.
  10. The food that is the favourite of one in tamas is old, tasteless, foul smelling, rotting and left over from the meals of others. It is untouchable.
  11. The rituals that are performed according to wise guidance and without lust of result could only be performed by someone who focuses their mind in the element of truth (sattvas).
  12. Best of the Bharatas, be informed that ritual performed for the sake of some goal is done in the element of passion (rajas).
  13. And ritual performed without wise guidance, for greedy purposes, without the vibrating of mantras, without sharing or service, and without trust is to be considered as being in the element of ignorance (tamas).
  14. Practicing service to the divine, to the initiates, to the guru, and to others worthy of service; cleanliness, simplicity, directing all desires to Brahma, and nonviolence are said to be proper bodily disciplines.
  15. Words that are not disturbing, truthful, appealing and helpful and which do not contradict the teaching of the Masters; these are said to be discipline of speech.
  16. The gifted mind, without deceiving others, seriously focused on the soul, purifying one's being, is said to be practicing discipline of mind.
  17. Having committed with greater trust these threefold disciplines, men who have no ulterior motives or lust of result are said to be practicing in the element of sattvas (truth).
  18. Practicing worship for the sake of gaining honour or being respected by others, and practicing disciplines in this world out of pride are said to be done in the element rajas (passion). Their results are wavering and temporary.
  19. Those who foolishly strive against their own souls, who perform disciplines of self-torture, or who wish to do harm to others, they are said to practice in the element tamas (ignorance).
  20. Giving charity to those whom it is worth giving to, with no desire for return, in the right place and time and to the right person, is considered to be charity in the element sattvas.
  21. But charity done for some ulterior motive, lusting for a certain result, or given reluctantly, is considered to be charity in the element rajas.
  22. Charity done in a wrong place, at a wrong time, toward unworthy recipients, or without respect or proper attention, is said to be charity in the element tamas.
  23. Om, the real, symbolizes the threefold Brahma. The priests had used it in the past, in their scriptures and rituals.
  24. Thus, Om symbolizes acts of ritual, charity and discipline. The practitioners of the way of Brahma always begin any of these acts with it, in accordance with the teachings.
  25. Thus without lust of result, various acts of ritual, charity and discipline can be done by those who sincerely seek liberation.
  26. The real beings, the initiates thus bring the real into their sincere acts, and the sound of the real is used, scion of Partha.
  27. In ritual, in discipline, in charity the real is vibrated. That work is meant for the real, and so certainly the real is represented.
  28. That which is given with no trust, whether in ritual or discipline, is said without the real. Scion of Partha, it has no purpose in this life or the next.