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Bhagavadgita Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Chapter 17 Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga Verse 18

Satkaaramaanapoojaartham tapo dambhena chaiva yat;Kriyate tadiha proktam raajasam chalamadhruvam.

The austerity which is practiced with the object of gaining good reception, honour and worship with hypocrisy, is here said to be Rajasic, unstable and transitory.


This shloka talks about the austerities that a Rajasic mind prefers. We have seen in the previous shloka how a steadfast mind practices Sattwik austerities. The Rajasic austerities are aimed at gaining a good reception, which actually means that whatever work the person undertakes, he is expecting an appreciation for the same. Apart from that Rajasic person’s austerities are also aimed at giving him honor and worship of people around and the person also becomes a hypocrite who in the process, says one and does another. Also, Lord tells that this Rajasic behaviour exhibited by the person is unstable and transitory.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Why is Lord Krishna saying that the Rajasic nature of an individual is unstable and transitory? Here we have to understand the true nature of a Rajasic person. A Rajasic person is someone who strives for excellence in everything he does. He is hardworking and fulfills all his responsibilities without any delay. But the problem is, as the person completes his work and achieves success and takes rewards, he starts attributing them to himself. He feels that only because of his abilities he was able to achieve success. That builds a sense of over confidence in him and gives him false sense of invincibility and superiority, which in the due course becomes the reason for his downfall.

Take a look at any businessman or a political leader or a community head, we have seen that many of them steadily rise to glory and then go through a sharp decline to depths of degradation. It happens because from a lazy and easy going and static tamasic state a person becomes dynamic and hardworking, taking him to the Rajasic state. Till that point he is alright. But one aspect of his personality has to undergo a change to take him to sattwik stage, but that doesn’t happen. That is, whatever was achieved was mandated and charted by Almighty and he is just a doer. This process gets delayed because he believes in self and becomes a hypocrite also, by saying one thing and doing another. 

All this he does only to keep his success and name and even resorts to rituals to prevent himself from any kind of a downfall to his glory. Till this feeling remains he is a Rajasic person. Lord calls it transitory because like the way he changed from tamsic to Rajasic, one day he will realise that nothing was his achievement alone, and that takes him to sattwik stage. Thus whatever he is doing in the Rajasic stage is just temporary and like the way he came from Tamasic to Rajasic, he has to one day progress from Rajasic to Sattwik.

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.

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 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.

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. 

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 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 18

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 18

Yasmaat ksharam ateeto’hamaksharaadapi chottamah;
Ato’smi loke vede cha prathitah purushottamah.

As I transcend the perishable and am even higher than the imperishable, I am declared as the highest Purusha in the world and in the Vedas.


After talking about the Supreme being and Him pervading all the three worlds, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking further about His supremacy over the perishable and imperishable beings. He says that as a Supreme being He alone transcends all the perishable beings in this universe. He is also greater than all the beings that have attained imperishability. In the second part of the shloka, He talks about the Supreme being, Himself. He says that Vedas have declared Him as the highest Purusha in this World.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

This is a small shloka that talks about reiteration of Lord as the Supreme being. He rules us all and gives us as well as takes away things from us according to our karmas and he also bestows results accordingly. In that process, Lord teaches discipline to every being and that takes the person on the path of salvation and he attains imperishability. As the Lord is responsible for a person to attain imperishability, He is considered to be higher than the imperishable. The Vedic texts that talks about different rituals have declared Lord Sri Maha Vishnu as the Highest Purusha in this Universe and puts every other being under Him.

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 16

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 16

Dwaavimau purushau loke ksharashchaakshara eva cha;
Ksharah sarvaani bhootaani kootastho’kshara uchyate.

Two Purushas there are in this world, the perishable and the imperishable.  All beings are perishable, and the liberated is called the imperishable.


After talking about Him being the memory in an individual as well as the absence of it, Lord Krishna in this shloka is talking about the perishable and imperishable purushas living in this world. Lord says that there are two kinds of beings in this world, first, one is called Kshar or perishable and the second is Akshar or imperishable. Then Lord in the second part of the shloka talks about the difference between them. He says that all beings that are living in this world are perishable which means they have death and all the liberated ones who are away from this cycle of birth and death are imperishable. 

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

What our senses can see is perishable and what it cannot see is imperishable. Look around you once. You will see hundreds of people moving in the busy streets and they are very much like you, perishable. Perishable means those who have an expiry date. Soul gets ejected from the body one day or the other for a perishable being. It can happen by disease or by accident or by natural ageing. People when they get incurable diseases the body perishes and the soul gets ejected. This is a long and painful process of suffering. A person also can have an accident. In olden days, wild animals attacking humans was considered to be an accident. But nowadays accidents can happen by various human created entities like vehicles, buildings, roads, dams, airports etc. 

A person when he doesn’t succumb to any of these will have his body ageing naturally and there comes a stage when his body becomes so old that it cannot move from one place to another. Slowly he starts giving up and soul leaves the body. Whatever it is, death is something that is inevitable for any being who takes birth in the world. Death a being causes enormous pain to those who are attached to the ones who perish and thus pain becomes a part of their lives. If one wants to get liberated from all these cycles of birth and death, pain and pleasure, diseases and accidents the only way is imperishability and that can happen to beings that are liberated. So, the duty of every being in this world should be to move from perishability to imperishability, which is aptly described as “Mrithyoma Amritham gaymaya” in Upanishads.

Bhagavadgita Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 11

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 11

Yatanto yoginashchainam pashyantyaatmanyavasthitam;
Yatanto’pyakritaatmaano nainam pashyantyachetasah.

The Yogis striving for perfection behold Him dwelling in the Self; but, the unrefined and unintelligent, even though striving, see Him not


After talking about ignorant body enjoying through the senses and not bothering about the soul which has an imprint of the Lord, in this shloka, Lord Krishna differentiates the yogis and the unintelligent in understanding the needs of the soul. He says that apart from the people who are wise, the Yogis who have been striving for perfection in their field also have been able to behold the Lord in them and understand the needs of the soul. Then Lord also says that the only people who cannot understand the needs of the soul are the unintelligent ones, even though they have a lot of knowledge.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

One thing we all need to understand is that our mind has the natural tendency to reject anything that does not fit into the frame of our scientific and philosophical beliefs. Some one might still call himself a believer, but a believer should not pick and choose in his beliefs. He cannot apply the yardstick of his knowledge in accepting or rejecting things. We feel that certain things that people believe in, looks illogical for us as they dont fit into the belief system of ours. Then naturally we make fun of that belief system and discard that knowledge. One has to understand that things change with time and technological advancements should never be taken as the only basis for defining the truth.

Once it so happens that a big frog which stays in the rocks adjacent to the ocean travels a bit far and accidentally falls into a well. There it meets another frog which has been living in that well for quite sometime. They both start to discuss about the size of their dwelling. The frog in the well asks “How big is the ocean that you live in”? Is it 5 times bigger? The frog says, no its much bigger. Then it asks, is it 10 times or 100 times? The frog from the ocean says much bigger. Then the frog in the well says, you must be lying, how can ocean be more than 100 times bigger than the well where I live? You must be crazy, it says. This is exactly how we react when someone talks about things we cannot perceive.
There was a time when we used to think that Pluto is the farthest planet in the solar system. That was in 1930 when Pluto was discovered. When it came inside the orbit of Neptune for sometime it was thought that pluto might be a satellite or moon of Neptune. Then it was discovered that Pluto around itself has some satellites revolving. Then scientists had a confusion on its status. Finally in 2006 it was clearly decided that Pluto is a dwarf planet and a separate category of dwarf planets was created to accommodate pluto and some other smaller planets that were discovered. Similarly there was a time when we thought Jupiter has a solid surface like Earth. Then the space shuttles that went and videographed Jupiter have given a clear indication that Jupiter doesnt have solid surface but has a thick layer of gas which appears like solid surface. That means if someone falls down from space into Jupiter, he would never hit the surface but will get deeper and deeper into these thick layered gases.
These amazing facts if told 100 years ago nobody believes and what people dont believe today, might get a proof 100 years later. So, one has to clearly understand that knowledge is not the only thing that is required for a person to judge things. What is required is the belief system and the ability to foresee things. This is something that a Yogi can only achieve and thus he is more qualified to understand the needs of a soul than a person who has got a lot of knowledge in his work area. In short, many knowledgeable people are actually ignorant, as they can never see things beyond their realm. 

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.


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 8

Chapter 15 Purushottama Yoga Verse 8

Shareeram yadavaapnoti yacchaapyutkraamateeshwarah;
Griheetwaitaani samyaati vaayurgandhaanivaashayaat.

When the Lord obtains a body and when He leaves it, He takes these and goes with them as the wind takes the scents from their seats that is flowers….


After talking about the five senses and the mind which is an eternal portion of the Lord, Lord Krishna in this shloka talks about the migration of the soul from one body to another. He starts off by saying “when Lord leaves the body obtained by Him”, which actually is talking about the migration of a soul which has God element present in it. Lord says that when soul moves from one body to another it carries all the characteristics of the previous birth along with it. To explain this he took the example of the air that carries the fragrance of the flowers from one place to another, similarly, soul carries the information of senses from one birth to another.

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

Every soul has an element of God in it and it never dies. When it leaves one body it takes the impressions of the previous birth to the next birth. This is similar to how the fragrance spreads from one place to another by the moving air. But there is always a debate that, do you really carry information from one birth to another? Some people even question the existence of multiple births. Lord Krishna in Gita talks about the existence of multiple births. But what about today’s world where there is so much of technological advancement, do people really believe in multiple births and soul carrying information from one birth to another?

I have done a small research on blind people and their ability to dream. We all dream and we also sometimes remember our dreams and we do talk about it. We know that dreams are the information stored in our sub-conscious mind and it is the mixture of present and past life. If you are asked to recollect the person who you saw in a dream, you will be able to recollect if you have seen him in this birth. But there are many instances where we cant recollect the name or relationship of the person we saw in our dreams. This happens because that person is from our previous births and since the senses in the present life didnt see that person, we are unable to recognize him. 

So, if we look at whether a person who is born blind, can he really dream or not? Since he has never seen anything in his life, it is not possible for him to dream and get any images in the dream. I looked at different researches done on blind people and has come across this research finding of 2017: “When a blind man is asked if he dreams the answer is immediate: “Yes!” But if we ask him if he sees anything in the dream, the answer is always doubtful because he does not know what it is to see. Even if there were images and colours in his brain during the dream how could he recognize them? There is, therefore, no direct way, through the dream reports, to evaluate the presence of visual activation in the dream of congenitally blind subjects.” –Bértolo, Mestre, Barrio, & Antona, 2017.

The above research clearly indicates that blind people do dream but can’t explain to them since they don’t have the cognitive abilities to do so. Thus the modern day science does prove the existence of multiple births and soul carrying information from one birth to another.