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Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 17

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 17

Shraddhayaa parayaa taptam tapastattrividham naraih;Aphalaakaangkshibhiryuktaih saattwikam parichakshate.

This threefold austerity practised by steadfast men with the utmost faith, desiring no reward, they call Sattwik.


After talking about the three fold path or the austerities of body, speech and mind Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about how it can be connected to the three gunas of Sattwik, Rajasic and Tamasic. This shloka focuses on Sattwik alone. Lord Krishna again talks about a steadfast mind adopting this three fold austerity because a mind which doesnt waver at all can only take this. Faith is the other point that Lord is mentioning saying that a person who has utmost faith and the one who doesn’t desire any kind of reward practice these austerities then he is called as a sattwik person. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The shloka reminds me Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s iconic film Anand, where the protagonist Anand, the role essayed by legendary Rajesh Khanna, exhibits the characteristics portrayed in this shloka. Anand is a cancer patient left with few months to survive in this world and so he decides to use this time to lead a simple life, speak good about others and good about things which brings happiness with a mind which is serene and pure. It is very difficult for a person to have a control on himself and his emotions when he knows that he is dying in few months. This austerity of body, speech and mind has only made him to have that state of mind. 

If you see him, he makes people around him so happy that people develop an instant attachment towards him. That is only possible when you have no desires left in you. You only work for the betterment of the society and people around you and thats when people gets emotionally attached to you. He fixes up the marriage of his best friend and in the process teaches some valuable lessons in life about attachment and detachment to various people around him. Faith is the bedrock of everything that happens in his life and his faith alone has given him that energy. Cant think of a more sattwik person than Anand to give as an example. Watch the movie and you will understand what he is and what sattwik personality can do. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 2

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 2

Sri Bhagavaan Uvaacha:
Trividhaa bhavati shraddhaa dehinaam saa swabhaavajaa;
Saattwikee raajasee chaiva taamasee cheti taam shrinu.

The Blessed Lord said:
Threefold is the faith of the embodied, which is inherent in their nature— the Sattwic(pure), the Rajasic (passionate), and the Tamasic (dark). Do thou hear of it.


After listening to the question of Arjuna, who asks about worshipping God with faith even though one does not follow scriptures, Lord Krishna starts to answer the question. Lord says that everyone in this Universe is born with a faith which is very much embodied or hidden inside them. This hidden faith usually gets observed in their nature, which is the way one speaks, acts and does different things. Lord says that the names of the threefold faith are Sattwik which is also called pure, Rajasic which is passionate in its faith and the third fold is the tamasic faith which is equated to darkness. Then He asks Arjuna to hear about them.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here the main point we are discussing is faith. Everyone in this world will have some faith. Have you ever seen a person who is not having faith upon anyone or anything? It is impossible to find such a person.

First, many people have faith in the religion that they believe in. Then they have faith in things that they should perform within their own faith. For example, two people who have a very different way of following their religion. Faith is something which is very personal to a person that is why everyone has their own beliefs and follow certain things in life which are very different from others.

Secondly, people who do not follow any religion and are considered atheists also have faith. He might not believe in God but he might believe in his abilities, which include his positives, his nature and his strengths. That is linked to one of the faiths of sattvik, Rajasic or Tamasic. He might not be believing in any of the scriptures like Vedas or Upanishads but he might believe in science and technology which is also linked to Rajasic guna. Thus everyone who is born in this world has some faith or the other and Lord is now going to talk about each of these faiths. Let’s see what the Lord says.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 22

Etairvimuktah kaunteya tamodwaaraistribhirnarah;
Aacharatyaatmanah shreyas tato yaati paraam gatim.

A man who is liberated from these three gates to darkness, O Arjuna,  practises what is good for him and thus goes to the Supreme goal!


After talking about the three gates of hell that is lust, anger and greed, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about what can happen to a person if he liberates himself from the three gates of hell. Lord compares this three gates of hell to the three gates of darkness because as hell is nothing short of the darkness and the person who lives in the hell is always in the darkness. Lord says that if a person is liberated from this darkness then he will go on to do what is destined for him. This happens when he realises what he is missing out on by being in the darkness. Once that happens then automatically he will be on his way to achieving the Supreme goal. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Sometimes it so happens that we end up seeing what we don’t see. It happens to everyone. We do things the way we want to. We have our own objective for doing things, which can be money, name fame etc. Let’s take for an example a bank employee who is working in the bank. Every day he meets many people and helps them with their finances. But he will not get attached to anyone nor he is bothered to look at anyone’s financial situation because it is not his job and he is not paid for that. Then suddenly one day if he sees that a retired man taking a loan from the bank to get his son educated, he feels for that person. He empathises him and treats his differently by being more friendly.

What brought this change in the person? He would have met people who were more in need than him and he would not have taken note of them. But now why he is feeling empathy for that old man? It is because somewhere we are shut off from the other people by our own biases and needs. It is also one kind of darkness which prevents us from seeing the other’s problems. But if even for a moment that darkness lifts you will see people differently. Every profession has the same thing. Look at a teacher teaching his students. A teacher only thinks about what he is getting and how many subjects he has to teach and only concentrates on that, never thinking for a minute also about his students.

But once the thought comes to his mind that so many students sitting in front of him are his responsibility and he needs to give them the basic foundation and he in a way is responsible for shaping their interest in studies, he becomes very careful. The way he teaches changes. The same is the case with a doctor who treats patients for his living when he understands that the patient’s life is in his hands, his approach will change. When darkness lifts a new angle emerges and that new angle will make us to see things differently and that is the foundation for us to start doing things in a way that makes you to achieve the Supreme goal, which is nothing but unifying your soul with God.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Ahankaaram balam darpam kaamam krodham cha samshritaah;
Maamaatmaparadeheshu pradwishanto’bhyasooyakaah.

Given over to egoism, power, haughtiness, lust and anger, 
these malicious people hate Me in their own bodies and those of others.


This shloka talks about the behaviour of the demonical people towards their own creator. In the last shloka talked about how they go against the scriptures to promote their own benefits. This shloka Lord talks about how these people who tend to submit themselves to the egoism coupled with the feeling of unlimited power. He talks about haughtiness which is a tendency of a person to be arrogantly superior and also about the lust and anger that takes over an individual. On acquiring all these qualities a person becomes so malicious and harmful in nature that they start talking bad things about God to themselves as well as to the others. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

When you see an atheist what is the first thought that would come to your mind? You would say, it’s his life, let him lead the way he wants to. What will he do? Will he allow you to lead the way you want to? He makes fun of you for believing in idols and going to temples and he says I just believe in my hard work and I don’t need any God to support me. At some corner, you might think that he is right. If you are a 12-year-old boy listening to these words, you will feel more attracted to him than towards words of God, soul, moksha and right path of life. Wrong things in this world can easily be attracted to and the wrong people will end up influencing more innocent people. This is where one needs to be careful of these demonical people.

How does a person reject the existence of God? It is because he has developed an ego which is much bigger than himself. He forgot the fact that there is a creator above who is responsible for giving every emotion to us, including the emotion of not believing in the Almighty. So, people around should be careful and should question themselves about their existence and about the existence of others. When you don’t know, you really don’t know. So, it is important for you to know the right things. The first thing is about the existence of God. Second is about He being the almighty and we are just the humble followers of him.

Demonic people preach about the non-existence of God. Just look around you and see, everything that you are getting, the source of it is coming from the God and the universe that He has created. Whatever food you eat, just see the source of it, whatever energy you are using, just see the source of it. Understand that we should never lose track of the roots from which we came. Our intelligence and our development is because of our hard work and innovation but who is responsible for giving those ideas of innovation? All around you, you will find the voice of God and that is something that demonic people can never see. Don’t fall prey to their words or their beliefs.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 16

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 16
Anekachittavibhraantaah mohajaalasamaavritaah;
Prasaktaah kaamabhogeshu patanti narake’shuchau.
Bewildered by many a fancy, entangled in the snare of delusion, 
addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell.
This shloka sees Lord Krishna talking about the behaviour of the demonic people. He says that the person with demonic nature will be taken over by anything different that he sees. He starts showing interest in all sorts of wrong things, gets too attached to them and then starts to waver his mind as he proceeds in that delusion. The second part of the shloka talks about how this person only lives and survives for the gratification of lust and doesn’t have any other thing in his mind. Such a kind of person will go to the murkiest and dirtiest part of the hell, says Lord Krishna.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The phrase “Bewildered by many a fancy” needs to be understood here in this shloka. There are many things around us, which pulls us in that way but we can do only one thing at a given time. Suppose, there would have been a stage in your life, where you have to choose between what your soul wants and what your mind wants to do. At that time, if you are a sattvik individual then you would go with your soul but if you are either Rajasic or Tamasic then you would go with your mind. Your mind will make you to choose a wrong thing and you have no option but to live with it once you have chosen it. That is when you get entangled with that task and will never be able to come out.

Entanglement is one of the major aspects of demonic personality and entanglement is nothing but a compromise of a situation. This happens when you choose something more out of sensual pressures and the person gets so entangled in it that when he is not able to come out of such situations. In such a condition he has no other option but to become deluded as he himself is not aware of how to handle that entanglement. Such kind of people spend their whole life in created entanglements and finally go to hell with so many sins committed. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Verse 10 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10

Chapter 16 Verse 10 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 10
Kaamamaashritya dushpooram dambhamaanamadaanvitaah;
Mohaadgriheetvaasadgraahaan pravartante’shuchivrataah.
Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, 
holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolves.
Continuing his discourse on the qualities of a demonic person, Lord Krishna talks here about some more ill-qualities of a person with demonic nature. Firstly these people have wishes that are very hard for them to fulfill. They are also filled with hypocrisy, pride and arrogance which makes them to things against the dharma. In the other half of the shloka Lord says that these people hold evil ideas because of the constant wavering nature that they have. All this translates into a work that has got an impure resolve.
Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!
Why would anyone have desires that are insatiable? Insatiable means something that cannot be fulfilled. One can have insatiable desires only when he is too greedy. Greed for wealth, greed for power, greed for physical desires etc. There is a simple rule that one cannot get everything that is there in the Universe. Only God is permitted to own them. Can you be the most powerful man on this planet? Many who tried to become, were shown the reality in quick time. Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Mussolini are just some of the examples. The same is the case with wealth and lust. Everyone who tried to own all of it through force have burnt themselves in the same unfulfilled desires. 

The very fact of wanting to possess more than what is required is an impure resolve and anyone working for that impure resolve would be led by pride, arrogance and delusion. When you have more than what you deserve, it brings a sense of pride in your behavior. It also makes a person arrogant where he never tries to understand the other person’s point of view. A resolve is essential for any task to be completed and wanting more than what you deserve automatically puts an impure resolve in a person’s mind. That resolve is what is adharma and any karma that an individual does to fulfill those impure resolves would be termed as demonic acts or “ku-karma”. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 2

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 2

Ahimsaa satyamakrodhas tyaagah shaantirapaishunam;
Dayaa bhooteshvaloluptwam maardavam hreerachaapalam.

Harmlessness, truth, the absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, the absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, the absence of fickleness…


This is the 2nd part of the three-part shloka that talks about the qualities of a daivic person or person with divine qualities. In the previous shloka He talked about Fearlessness, purity of heart, control of senses as some of the qualities. In this shloka, He is talking about Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger and absence of crookedness as very important qualities of divinity. Lord also says that one should have compassion towards beings as a divine quality that a person should possess. Lord also talks about uncovetousness, gentleness and modesty as requisites with the absence of the fickleness. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

For me, the most important quality that one needs to possess in the list given is the absence of fickleness. Fickleness is the weakness that a person possesses where he changes his mind very often. One has to understand that thought in the mind is the gift of God and many thoughts that come countering that is the work of the devil. If you are fickle, you will keep changing between one thought to another and in the process lose the original thought put by God. How do you know which thought is from the devil and which is from God when all thoughts look similar? This answer you will get when you develop some wisdom. 

The thought of God is what your inner mind says and the thought of the devil are the counters to the original thought. If you get a thought that you should perform particular work, it is the work of divinity. But all other thoughts that are alternatives or counters of that particular thought are demonic in nature. The other important quality is the absence of crookedness. Crooked nature is the art of presenting things in a different way than what it is. This is one quality that takes you away from the path of divinity. Apart from other qualities, if a person focuses on these two things a person will surely get onto the path of divinity.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 26

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 26

Brahmano hi pratishthaa’ham amritasyaavyayasya cha; Shaashwatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikaantikasya cha.

For I am the abode of Brahman, the immortal and the immutable, of everlasting Dharma and of absolute bliss.


This is the concluding shloka of the Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga. After talking about the nature of all the gunas and also about the gunas of the person who has transcended all the three gunas. In the previous shloka, Lord talked about how a person can become Brahman. Now in this Shloka Lord Krishna ultimately does what is remaining to be done that is defining Himself. He says that He is the place where Brahman resides, that Brahman who is immortal and immutable. Immutable is something that cannot be moved or changed. He also says that the Brahman is the everlasting superpower with absolute bliss. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here we are getting another dimension of the power of the Lord. He is compared to everlasting Dharma and of Supreme bliss. If we probe a bit into this and understand the meaning of it we would know that God is one power which constantly reminds us of our Dharma. Whenever you walked on the path of your dharma, you would get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment doing that task as that defines your dharma. Whoever follows dharma will always experience a blissful feeling. Now one should not mistake it with the feeling generated by artificially creating that bliss in ourselves.

All we look for is satisfaction and that satisfaction can be arrived at only through following your dharma. But following dharma is not easy as it involves facing many difficulties, setbacks and hardships on our path. Every time you face a hardship the maya in us tends to deviate us from our path. It also takes you closer to illusionary ways of achieving blissful feeling by consuming alcohol and other intoxicants. They always drive you away from you dharma and gives you the feeling of satisfaction in an artificial way which makes a person forget about real God and worship God in a false way. 

If one resists falling for those deviations and goes through the hardships and fulfils his dharma, he will feel satisfied and happy. That blissful feeling is merrier than any feeling given by these artificial intoxicants. Dharma and the series of dharmas that soul has to go through in its path to achieving brahman. Lord is the storehouse of all this dharma and who is immortal, immutable with everlasting bliss. One last thing to remember here is Lord Sri Maha Vishnu, whose avatar is Lord Krishna and that’s the place where the Brahman whom we just defined resides. 

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19

Chapter 14 Guna Triya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19

Gunaanetaanateetya treen dehee dehasamudbhavaan; Janmamrityujaraaduhkhair vimukto’mritamashnute.

The embodied one, having crossed beyond these three Gunas out of which the body is evolved, is freed from birth, death, decay and pain, and attains to immortality.


After talking about the direction in which a person following each guna will progress, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about a person who attains immortality. Lord Krishna starts off by saying that every being in this planet is evolved from the three gunas that are present in the nature. That means that the nature that we exhibit is from our body that has evolved from Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic gunas. Lord Krishna also goes on to explain the nature of these three gunas that include birth, death, decay and pain. Immortality is achieved only when a person moves beyond the natures that sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic gunas create in an individual.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There are a few points that we need to have a clarity on. The first is can we change ourselves from a particular guna to a different guna, because it is desirable? The answer is, it is not possible. I say so because, the evolution of the body is based on the energy of the gunas present in the universe. We have already studied that the soul chooses to be born to whom it wants to, based on the vibes that it gets. In a way, soul is the seed for the guna to get established. Then once that seed is sown, automatically the body gets built on the guna characteristics of the soul. That means the body attracts the energies present in the universe pertaining to those gunas.

We also have to understand that the nature has energies dominated by Sattvik guna in the early hours of the morning, it has dominant guna of Rajasic during the other part of the day and the night will be dominated by the Tamasic guna. Body when it is developing in the womb, draws these energies at the appropriate times and develops itself. Once they are developed and once the baby comes out of the womb, the child grows up into a man or a woman based on these characteristics only. Thus a person turns into sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasic by nature. 

The influence of the environment also plays a significant role as a Rajasik person invites more Rajasik vibes from the universe by working hard during the time when these energies are available in plenty. He also attracts people who have similar energies and makes them as his friends, colleagues and partners. Thus we are all embodied by these gunas. The same applies to a sattvik person or a Tamasic person. So, if one has to liberate himself from this cycle of birth and death, pain and decay he needs to raise above all these gunas and has to acquire attachment only with God and none else, then only immortality or moksha is possible, says Lord Krishna.