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Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 13

Vidhiheenam asrishtaannam mantraheenam adakshinam;Shraddhaavirahitam yajnam taamasam parichakshate.

They declare that sacrifice to be Tamasic which is contrary to the ordinances of the scriptures, in which no food is distributed, which is devoid of Mantras and gifts, and which is devoid of faith.

Interpretation

This shloka is concentrating on the Tamasic sacrifices that a person commits. We have already seen the Sattwik and the Rajasic sacrifices in the previous two shlokas. Lord in this shloka says that Tamasic people usually undertake sacrifices which are exactly opposite to the rules and regulations specified in the Vedic scriptures. They misinterpret what is said in the scriptures and that is the reason why they do the opposite of what is mentioned. There are three points that Lord talks here. One is the absence of any kind of alms, second is the absence of any kind of offering and Vedic chants and third is the absence of any kind of faith or belief in the sacrifices being performed by Tamasic people. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The major difference between Rajasic and Tamasic people is, Rajasic people depend on their own worth and doesn’t get into any rituals for accomplishing anything, but Tamasic people resort of all sorts of rituals that are either twisted or taken out of context and perform them to get the results. Anything that gives an instant result or benefit, a tamasic person doesn’t hesitate to do. Many categories of pujas and rituals which are linked to tantra, Vashikaran and Shanti pooja that is done for the benefit of the person comes under this tamasic category. Another type of ritual that is observed in many of the households which are tamasic in nature is “drishti” or “nazar utaarna” or remedy for an “evil eye cast”.

Many people believe that we fall ill or a work that is supposed to happen does not happen or you develop a dislike or hate for a particular food or set of activities because of this “drishti” or “evil eye”. In reality, there is no such thing called an evil eye. Karma theory propounds that we reap what we sow and many of the results that come are due to the result of acts that we committed in the past. Forgetting that we blame it on evil eye cast and we do remedies for that and transfer it out so that it goes to someone else! Am sure you would have seen lemons and vermilion thrown on the roads and you get scared to cross them. How can you even think that there will be rituals for transferring your bad luck to some other person? All these are the ills that a Tamasic person follows and unless he gets out of all this, he can never understand the plan of God and the law of Karma and its effects in one’s life. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7
Aahaarastwapi sarvasya trividho bhavati priyah;
Yajnastapastathaa daanam teshaam bhedamimam shrinu.
The food also which is dear to each is threefold, as also sacrifice, austerity and alms-giving. Hear thou the distinction of these.
Interpretation

After talking about the person misinterpreting the scriptures and going in the wrong way, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the food that the person consumes when he belong to a particular faith. We have already discussed that there are three types of faith, sattvik, Rajasic and Tamasic and Lord says that each person depending upon what guna he is dominated by, is attracted to or likes a particular type of food. The food that he consumes is getting reflected in the sacrifices that he commits, the austerities that he practices and the alms that he gives. Then Lord tells Arjuna to listen to them and starts speaking about them. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

A man’s taste for a particular food is determined according to the Guna prevalent in him. Many times it is said that what we eat decides our personality. It is quite logical because every item has a characteristic present in the nature and when it goes into your body, automatically you will see its impact of it on a person. You might have seen that a person who eats fruits and bland food is less aggressive than a person who consumes a lot of spicy food. So, Lord is going to talk about the food and its impact on the person. This if implemented in a person, can make a major impact on his life is what I feel. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 6

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 6
Karshayantah shareerastham bhootagraamamachetasah;
Maam chaivaantahshareerastham taanviddhyaasuranishchayaan.
Senseless, torturing all the elements in the body and Me also, 
who dwells in the body,—know thou these to be of demoniacal resolves.
Interpretation

This is the continuation of the previous shloka where Lord talks about how a person who for the sake of his own benefits turns the scriptures to his favour and does things so that they can work for him. Lord Krishna in this shloka is calling them senseless, as He feels that a person who has a sense of what God is and what God desires would never do such things. In the entire process he tortures all the elements of his body and also the God who is dwelling in that body as paramatma. Lord concludes the shloka by saying that these actions have a demonical resolves to them and can never bring the right kind of result to the person. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Here Lord is talking about a person who does things in the scriptures to suit to his own benefits and how it affects the body of the person as well as Him, who lives in that body. Let us take an example of a lady who for the sake of the benefit for the family or for bearing children decides to go on a fast 3 days in a week. Fasting is a ritual that was prescribed in Upanishads as a prayaschitta or penance for something wrong a person has committed. This lady who has no understanding of this and listening to a priest or a swamiji she decides to do this. Just for a second think about what she is doing and what is the purpose it is going to serve?

Prayaschitta is letting your body suffer for any mistake that you have done so that the senses and the body remembers them and will not allow the person to commit the same mistake again. Just see what happens if you take the same to fulfil your wishes. There are things that are not in our hands like success in a venture or bearing a male child only etc and when you do commit these things, thinking that they are prescribed in scriptures, will God be pleased? How can you force God to give you something by going on a fast or making your body suffer? It is equivalent to a type of black mailing, which is a sin that too when you are committing in the name of God.
Lord Krishna is calling those people senseless and He is very correct in doing so. These people cannot think anything beyond their own benefit. These rituals also include going to temples, giving offering to God, giving offering to poor etc. These are also prescribed in scriptures as things to be followed on routine basis and not expecting anything in return for God. But demonical people never think in those lines and that is what Lord Krishna is cautioning us against. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 24

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 24
Tasmaat shaastram pramaanam te kaaryaakaaryavyavasthitau;
Jnaatwaa shaastravidhaanoktam karma kartumihaarhasi.
Therefore, let the scripture be the authority in determining what ought to be done and what ought not to be done. 
Having known what is said in the ordinance of the scriptures, thou shouldst act here in this world.
Interpretation

This is a final and concluding shloka of this Yoga where Lord Krishna is concluding with what a person has to do to get over the demonic nature. He says that the authority for deciding what is demonic and what is not are only the scriptures. Everyone should follow these scriptures to do what is required to be done and should avoid what should not be done. Only after getting the knowledge of what should be done or not done, a person should act according to the ordinances of those scriptures. The ordinances given in those scriptures are only the parameters of how to act in this world on what to do and what not to do. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

The most important thing that is coming from this Yoga is coming in the last shloka. If you read the interpretation you would understand one thing very clearly that Lord is asking us to follow the rules and regulations for doing anything as prescribed in the scriptures. Vedas are the rituals are also called as rule book for doing various things. Upanishad actually means “come, sit near and hear”, where a guru will call his disciple near him and teach him certain things that only this disciple should know. Vedas are taught to everyone whereas Upanishads are only taught to select set of students on select set of topics. 

These Vedas and Upanishads have the directives or rules of things to be done. We need rules because we are fickle in our thought process and we quickly waver from what we do. A very basic rule which says, as soon as you get up you need to brush your teeth and take bath, before doing anything. Why was this basic thing created as rule? The reason is simple. When food goes inside us our body, the body should be clean and we should get rid of waste inside us as well as outside us. Inside waste is cleaned through brushing and through toilet while outside waste is cleaned when we clean our body with water which we call as bath. What happens when you dont follow this rule?
Food is the source of all energy and the energy is the source of all thoughts and actions. What happens when food is consumed in impure conditions? The food that goes inside also mixes with the waste present inside and this waste has lot of toxins, which also influences our thoughts and our actions negatively. Outside when we are dirty, it gives us problems related to hygiene. So, when your body is clean from inside and outside, the thoughts and the actions resulting from them are also clean. But our mind doesnt listen to us always. We feel like taking coffee without brushing teeth or eating food without going to toilet and taking bath.
These things are regulated and modulated through the rules wherein if you frame it as a rule and follow it judiciously, you will always tend to adhere to it. Many habits that we tend to lose on day to day basis also can be made as rules and can be followed. Thus God gives us the mantra for daivic way of living and that mantra is read the scriptures, understand the do’s and dont’s and follow them judiciously. If you do that automatically, you adopt yourself to daivic way of life which is a path to salvation. 

Bhagavdgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 23

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 23

Yah shaastravidhimutsrijya vartate kaamakaaratah;
Na sa siddhimavaapnoti na sukham na paraam gatim.

He who, casting aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of desire, attains neither perfection nor happiness nor the supreme goal.

Interpretation

This shloka talks about the results that the demonic souls who neglect the God get. Lord Krishna starts off by talking about these demonic people who set aside the ordinances of the scriptures. Ordinances of scriptures mean the Vedas and other holy scriptures which suggest a person what to do. They do so because they are drawn by the impulses of desire. They are filled with the bodily desires and when they overpower the reasoning and logic a person becomes impulsive. Lord Krishna in the later half of the shloka goes on to say that such a person will never attain perfection nor he will attain happiness and he will never ever accomplish the Supreme goal of moksha. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Vedas, Upanishads and Vedangas are considered to be the holy scriptures that give directions to an individual on the path to be followed. The scriptures usually gives two types of instructions. The first set of instructions are those rituals and other directives that an individual is supposed to perform to attain moksha. The other is the directives of what a person should not do. These directives are also called a prohibits or nishedh. A person has to always follow the instructions and do things for attaining moksha. A demonic person always disregards the instructions of the scriptures and take the opposite route. The question is why?

The answers to that are when a person reads in the scriptures what he should not do, he normally gets drawn to it. For example, scriptures say that womanizing is something which is prohibited for the one who is looking at Moksha. But the moment he reads that his senses get drawn to the pleasure of seeking multiple women and those ways he tends to follow most of the times what is prohibited. Scriptures say what should not be done, only to see how strong is the person’s will power to resist this. A person who is daivic will not fall for this, whereas a demonic person gets drawn to this and the result is he neither gets happiness or perfection or attains his goal of moksha.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7

Chapter 16 Daivasura Sampad Vibhaga Yoga Verse 7

Pravrittim cha nivrittim cha janaa na viduraasuraah;Na shaucham naapi chaachaaro na satyam teshu vidyate.

The demoniacal know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity nor right conduct nor truth is found in them.

Interpretation

This shloka starts off with Lord Krishna explaining the nature of the demoniacal guna in an individual. Lord says that the demoniacal nature in an individual is where the person will not be able to differentiate between what to do and what to refrain from. He loses that ability to stay away from doing certain things which are never considered good. Apart from that, Lord also says that the person with demoniacal nature has neither the purity of thoughts in him nor the right kind of conduct coming out of those thoughts. Finally, all this leads to the situation where the person has no truth found in him or any of the actions that he does.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

There is something that stops us from doing certain things. What is that? It is our ethical and moral values. Let’s take a businessman as an example to understand this. In business manipulation, arm twisting of enemies is something that is permissible to an extent and every businessman has his code of conduct which he would never try to violate. But there are some businessmen who would not hesitate to do anything for the sake of money or power. If a businessman feels that he can violate every rule to finish competition he is considered to be ruthless and he will not refrain from doing anything. It even includes taking away the life of an individual or finishing him off by trapping him through unlawful means.

Demonic nature exists in every individual and that is inversely proportional to purity, right conduct and truth. When you are pure, you are true to yourself and that stops you from doing many things. Thus you will follow the right conduct in everything that you do. Doing business with right conduct might not give you many profits but what is the use of profits that one acquires at the cost of other’s reputation and character? The World is filled with people who are demoniacal in nature and the lack of immediate punishment for their acts encourages them to tread this path. They forget the fact that just because God is allowing them to tread that path doesn‘t mean He is supporting their actions. One day or the other everyone has to face the consequences of their actions. 

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 9

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 9

Shrotram chakshuh sparshanam cha rasanam ghraanameva cha;
Adhishthaaya manashchaayam vishayaanupasevate.

Presiding over the ear, the eye, touch, taste and smell, as well as the mind, he enjoys the objects of the senses.

Interpretation

After talking about the soul carrying the information of the previous births into the next birth, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the objects of the senses and their influence on the mind. He says that Lord presides over the five sense objects like ear, eye, touch, taste and smell. Then these five senses are connected to the mind which is controlled by senses. This is how a person enjoys the objects of the senses, says Lord Krishna. 

Extending Interpretation on Mankind’s Life!

We have discussed in the previous shlokas that it’s the senses that rule the mind and the soul inside will have no control over the senses. It’s totally the mind that controls the senses. So, if the soul wants something it has to be given only by the mind. When the mind is unable to recognize what the soul wants then it will never be able to fulfil the wishes of the soul. I would like to explain this today with an example that will make you to think bit more. Some of us would have heard about Sant Tulsidas. He was the one who wrote Ramayana in Hindi. We know about him as a saint but there is a story that we need to know about Tulsidas, like Valmiki who wrote the original Ramayana. 

Tulsidas in his younger days was very attached to his wife. He could not stay away from her even for a day. Once it so happens that she goes to her father’s place leaving Tulsidas alone. Tulsidas unable to bear that separation even for few days also decides one night to visit her and sets out to his father in law’s place. On the way, he comes across a river and since it was nightfall, he couldn’t see any boat nearby. Plus since it was raining, there was nobody near the river. Still, Tulsidas wanted to meet his wife. Then he sees a dead body floating on the river coming near him. It was a rotten body fully bloated with water. He mistakes it for a wooden log and climbs on it and crosses the river.

As he reaches the home of his wife which is just on the banks of the river, he sees that it is a two-storied building and his wife was on the second floor. He didn’t want to disturb his father in law by knocking the door, so he climbs the tree nearby and tries to enter the balcony of the room where his wife was sleeping. On his way to the balcony, there was a snake hanging to the tree, he mistakes it for a rope and reaches the balcony, holding the snake. Finally, when he sees his wife he felt very happy. His wife asks him how he was able to come to her home in spite of the heavy rain, he tells about the wooden log and the rope through which he came to meet her. 

Surprised, his wife goes to the balcony and sees the snake. And when she looks at the wooden log she realises that it was a dead body. She shows him both and says if he had shown the same desire on knowing God instead of bodily pleasures, he wouldn’t have taken birth again. That hits Tulsidas hard and he realises his mistake. From then on he starts getting detached from the worldly pleasures and starts to concentrate on God and subsequently, pens Ramayana in Hindi. I would also like to quote one shloka from Tulsidas Ramayan which goes like this: “kamihi naari piari jimi lobhihi priya jimi dama, timi raghunatha nirantara priya lagahu mohi rama“, which means “As a lustful man desires a beautiful woman, and as a greedy person desires wealth, may my mind and senses constantly desire Lord Ram.”

So, the only way this mind can get over senses and their influences are only by focussing on God.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 2

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 2

Adhashchordhwam prasritaastasya shaakhaahGunapravriddhaa vishayapravaalaah; Adhashcha moolaanyanusantataaniKarmaanubandheeni manushyaloke.

Below and above spread its branches, nourished by the Gunas; sense-objects are its buds; and below in the world of men stretch forth the roots, originating action.

Interpretation

Lord Krishna has started this Yoga with the description of the great peepul tree which is inverted with its roots pointing up and the branches going down. It also talks about the life of a soul and goes through the cycles of birth and death. In this shloka, he further substantiates the qualities of this peepul tree. He compares the branches emerging out of the tree to the different gunas that a person holds and the buds that those branches produce are compared to the sensory objects of a being. He then goes on to compare the roots generated by these branches to the actions or karmas that people do in their lives. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

If you observe the peepul trees or the banyan trees in jungles you will find two sets of roots. One set of roots which are inside the earth surface that goes deep into the soil and the other is the roots that hang to the ground which originate from the branches. Lord Krishna in this shloka tries to connect the analogy of these two different kinds of roots into the kind of actions and the results we get from these actions. Firstly the branches and the trunk of the tree is connected to the roots underneath as well as above the surface. Now we have to extrapolate this to the inverted peepul tree with the main roots pointing upward and the roots that stem out of the branches going towards the earth surface. 

These two sets of roots are compared to two different types of actions or karmas that we do. If we do good actions the result is that the soul inside the trunk of the tree starts going towards the roots of the peepul tree which is pointing to the top. This is the path through which once the soul enters this main root it finds its way to escape this peepul tree and come out of the cycle of birth and death. But if we do bad karmas or bad actions, the soul starts going downwards towards the roots originating from the branches. This is the path of suffering and the soul which goes downward has to take an inferior birth and has to bear the fruits of all those bad karmas that the body has done.

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.

Interpretation

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.