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Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 14

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 14

Devadwijagurupraajna poojanam shauchamaarjavam;
Brahmacharyamahimsaa cha shaareeram tapa uchyate.

Worship of the gods, the twice-born, the teachers and the wise, purity, straightforwardness, celibacy and non-injury—these are called the austerities of the body.

Interpretation

In this shloka, Lord Krishna is talking about the austerities that a person who is on the spiritual path should follow. These austerities are the guidelines for every individual who wants to lead a happy, spiritual and fulfilling life without any unnecessary desires and cravings. Belief in God and His worship is the primary thing prescribed here. Apart from that, one should worship people who are sages, teachers and other wise men who have a purity of thought and straightforwardness in their actions. Then Lord tells a person to be celibate and believes in Ahimsa or non-injury. These are the austerities that one needs to follow for one’s body. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

We have already learnt from the previous chapters that there are 3 kinds of austerities, austerities of body, speech and mind. Lord in this shloka was talking about the austerities of the body. When we worship or admire or do service to good people, the goodness of them spreads to you. God created this universe and there is His element in every being. But some people are able to enhance it and bring it out and those people are called wise people and teachers. The second word in the shloka is “Jaguru” who is a teacher. According to Krishna, teaching is one activity that a person undertakes only when he has the supreme sense of sacrifice in him.

Why is a teacher so important in life?

Imparting knowledge selflessly is the purest thing that anyone can do. When you acquire a skill you would want to use that for your benefit with an intention to earn wealth or name and fame. But would you prefer imparting that knowledge selflessly for others and don’t use that knowledge for your own benefits?

Here I would like to give an example of a person who learnt stock markets and had the intention of earning some money from it, but at the same time, he also became a teacher. When he was selflessly teaching he was not able to trade or the trades that he took were not giving him any satisfaction. That is when he decided to stay away from trading and concentrate only on teaching. It happens to many teachers who selflessly undertake the activity of spreading knowledge.

When you set out on this path your thoughts become pure and your actions become selfless. Purity according to the Lord comes only when one is celibate and follows the tradition of non-injury. Celibate here means staying away from desires of lust. Non-injury is when you do not cause any kind of physical and mental harm to anyone, which includes staying away from physically abusing and hitting anyone. It also includes non-usage of derogatory and abusive language against people as well as staying strictly vegetarian. This, if practised by an individual then he would have achieved austerities of the body.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 5

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 5

Ashaastravihitam ghoram tapyante ye tapo janaah;
Dambhaahamkaarasamyuktaah kaamaraagabalaanvitaah.

Those men who practise terrific austerities not enjoined by the scriptures,  given to hypocrisy and egoism, impelled by the force of lust and attachment,

Interpretation

This is a two-part shloka where Lord Krishna is talking about what is written in the scriptures and how people deviate from it and what happens to them. It’s a very important thing that Lord is talking where He says that there are people who practice austerities that are not prescribed in the scriptures. Austerities here means spending very little money and leading a very simple way of life. Lord then goes on to say that the real motive of these austerities is many times hypocrisy and egoism. The other possible reason could be that the person might also be doing that with a hidden agenda of lust and attachment. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Why do people go for austerities? The answer is simple. When they want something in life, they go on fasting, leaving luxuries in life so that God will be pleased by their attitude and bestow them with the things that they are aspiring for. The scriptures has always said that a person should lead a simple life to go closer to God and become dearer to Him. This is interpreted differently by different people.

Take the example of a business man who wants success and wealth in life. He would be advised by a priest that if he leads a simple life as prescribed in scriptures then he will become dearer to God. This person interprets that once he gets dearer to God, then God will give him everything that he wishes for.

Many people who practice austerities do this keeping in mind the ulterior benefits or motives. They are mostly hypocritical and egoistic. You need to see a person who is leading such life. Simple life comes with a very simple attitude but this person will show a lot of pomp even in this lifestyle. He celebrates his simplicity and gives an impression to people around him that he is such a devoted person to God that he can leave anything for the sake of God. Such people, Lord Krishna say will never be dearer to Him and will never get the wisdom that is required for moksha.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 3

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 3
Sattwaanuroopaa sarvasya shraddhaa bhavati bhaarata;
Shraddhaamayo’yam purusho yo yacchraddhah sa eva sah.
The faith of each is in accordance with his nature, O Arjuna! 
The man consists of his faith; as a man’s faith is, so is he.
Interpretation

This shloka has a description of faith which we have also seen in the previous shloka. Lord Krishna in this shloka explains us what faith actually is. He states that the faith of a person is the result of his nature. The faith develops in a person as per his nature. Lord Krishna also says that the identity of any man is completely in sync with his faith. He uses the phrase “The man consists of his faith”. Then He finally goes on to say that whatever is the type of the faith that a man possess, the nature of the man is according to that only. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Many great people in this world are known from the faith they had. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Dream of it. Think of it. Live on that idea. Let the brain, body, muscles, nerves and every part of your body be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced”. This is the faith of Swami Vivekanada, who in the last century has influenced millions across the world and continue to inspire people of today also. “In a gentle way you can shake the World” said Mahatma Gandhi, who is considered to be the greatest man to have walked on this land in 20th Century.

When you read the faiths of these people you will be amused by their unequivocal dedication to them. We all know how Gandhiji remained stubborn and fought for the freedom of the country on his own terms and also on Hindu-Muslim unity on his own terms. He had a pay the price for it with his life. Swami Vivekananda with his faith on sticking to one idea and making it the mission of one’s life was able to inspire us. Today also we remember him as a brave man who stood by his beliefs. We all need to develop a faith for each of us which will become our identity and we will all be known by that identity alone, says Lord Krishna in this shloka. 

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.

Interpretation

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!

Interpretation

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 19

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 19
Taanaham dwishatah krooraan samsaareshu naraadhamaan;
Kshipaamyajasram ashubhaan aasureeshweva yonishu.
These cruel haters, the worst among men in the world,—
I hurl all these evil-doers forever into the wombs of demons only.
Interpretation

After talking about the actions committed by the demonic people in the previous shlokas Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the punishment that He would want to give to those people. Lord is seen getting unusually angry here. He says that these people are cruel in nature and hate everyone around them and He calls them the worst men among the people in this world. Then in the second part of the shloka Lord talks about the punishment that He is giving to those people. He says that He is going to throw those dirty evil doers forever into the wombs of the demons.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

How can Lord be so cruel to throw someone forever into the wombs of the demons? This is what you might be thinking when you are reading the interpretation of the shloka. It would have also arisen a sense of fear in you. Anger is an emotion that needs to used only to restore order and God is using that emotion to restore the order here. Anger results in punishment and any punishment with a purpose always yields a positive outcome. But the next question is, what positive outcome will throwing an evil doer into demonic world can do? What change can it bring to him?

Excess of anything is dangerous and when a person leads a demonic life every minute enjoying the world and getting the sensual pleasures of it, there comes a stage when his mind and body will say enough is enough, how much more will I enjoy! That is when the soul wakes up and makes his senses do something for the pleasure of the soul. It could be reading Ramayan or listening to a discourse of a learned person. That is when the soul inside gets awakened and makes the mind feel miserable for all those sins that a person has committed over a period of many births. There is no bigger repentance than realising their own sins and feeling bad about them.
The real meaning of Lord when He says that He will throw these people into the wombs of demons means, He is going to give them all the comforts that they need to satisfy their ugly urges. That is why you might be seeing rich people getting more money and they enjoy more and more. God gives them everything and they enjoy unlimited till the point of realization. All things have to come to end somewhere and when his enjoyment also ends, he then realises how much he lost in that false sense of enjoyment. That feeling is required for self transformation and like I said before, every punishment has something good hidden in it, this also has the secret of realization hidden in it. 

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.

Interpretation

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 15

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 15

Aadhyo’bhijanavaanasmi ko’nyosti sadrisho mayaa; Yakshye daasyaami modishye ityajnaanavimohitaah.

“I am rich and born in a noble family. Who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice. I will give charity. I will rejoice,” —thus, deluded by ignorance,

Interpretation

This shloka will see Lord telling few more things about the demonic natured people. He starts the shloka by mentioning about a rich person who is born in a noble family. He is proud of his birth in that family and thinks that nobody can be equated to him and he is above everyone in everything that he does. He also starts feeling that he can give sacrifices to any other noble person. He also feels that he will give money to poor and needy in his name and that would, in turn, bring popularity to him. This is nothing but ignorance and illusion says, Lord Krishna. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

How can a person born in a rich and noble family be demonic in nature? As we have already discussed in the previous chapters, the soul decides to make an entry into the body through its own assessment and without using any senses. So, there can be situations where the soul does make an entry into the wrong womb. Thus you will have a Tamasic person born to a Sattvik father. If that family is noble, he is one person who doesn’t suit to the family, but he demands respect and attention from that family. Instead of learning good things from the family, he will learn things only to use it for the purpose of earning money.

Example for such people is those who do learn Vedic Astrology from the family but end up commercializing it for the sake of earning. They make it into a big business. Second is about giving charity. Charity is usually given as a part of a ritual, but many people give that for their own name, fame and their enjoyment. You would be seeing people organizing lunch in the honour of a politician or a businessman. On whose name it is done? It is done only in the name of that person only but not God. In this world all humans are equal and worship is something that needs to be done only to God. Demonic minds forget this and want people to worship them.

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 12

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 12

Aashaapaashashatairbaddhaah kaamakrodhaparaayanaah;
Eehante kaamabhogaartha manyaayenaarthasanchayaan.

Bound by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and anger, 
they strive to obtain by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about a person who is bound by a hundred ties of hope. Here the ties of hopes that the Lord is referring to are the hopes given by the senses about the pleasure and bodily comforts that the body gets. When those hopes of pleasure and comforts are unfulfilled this gives rise to the sense of anger and lust for achieving that. Then Lord in the second part of the shloka talks about the way in which the person starts to proceed because of lust and anger. He then starts looking at all the unlawful means and achieves a lot of wealth for the sensual enjoyment. Sensual enjoyment talks about bodily pleasures. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The above shloka just focuses on one thing: “Obtains by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyment”. Wealth is the ill around which the entire demonical world revolves. Every man in this world is after earning wealth for one’s sensual pleasure. Then the question is, is earning wealth a sin in the eyes of God? Why is it being called demonical? Wealth is nothing but value and one should have as much wealth as required for giving comforts to his body so that his soul can make the senses make him to walk the path of salvation. But wealth also has a loophole. The more you earn the more you want to earn and there is no end to this want in an individual.

According to the writ of God, one is allowed only to keep that much wealth which is necessary for his well-being and comforts. If he is violating that then it is going against the will of God. God has not sent you into this world either to earn a lot of money or give comforts to your future generations. So, if you violate this rule, you will have to face the consequences and that comes to you in the form of punishment. At the time of death, none of your wealth will actually be with you or the people for whom you have accumulated all the wealth will also not be around you. Do you really feel we need to wait until the end of one’s life to realise his mistake? 

One has to understand this and need to start spreading the wealth. It is important to do that because there are so many people in this world who don’t have money to fulfil their basic needs also. In that way, they can never understand the meaning and importance of the soul and salvation. By spreading his wealth, a rich person will bring them out of poverty and make him also think about the needs of his soul. But the World doesn’t run that way as there are so many demonic people around. They will keep these people poor and exploit them to create more and more wealth for their body comforts. Both are violations of the writ of God.