Ancient India
The Kinds of Faith

Arjuna

   What is the state of those, O Krishna, who worship with faith, but abandoning the ordinances of the sacred writings—are they dominated by lucidity, passion, or dark inertia?


Krishna   Faith is of three kinds in embodied beings, it is produced from the three qualities. It is of the quality of lucidity, of the quality of passion, and of the quality of dark inertia. Hear about it.

   The faith of all, O descendant of Bharata, is conformable to the heart. A being here is full of faith, and whatever is a man's faith, that is a man himself.

   Those of the quality of lucidity worship the gods; those of the quality of passion the Yakshas and Rakshases ; and the others, the people ol the quality of dark inertia, worship departed spirits and the multitudes of Bhûtas. Know those to be of demonic convictions, who practise fierce penance not ordained by sacred writings, who are full of ostentatiousness and individuality, and of desire, attachment, and stubbornness; who are without discernment and who torment the groups of organs in their bodies, and me also seated within those bodies.

   The food also, which is liked by all, and likewise the sacrifice, the penance, and gifts, are of three kinds. Listen to the distinctions regarding them as follows.

   The kinds of food which increase life, energy, strength, health, comfort, and relish, which are savoury, oily, full of nutrition, and agreeable, are liked by the lucid.

   The kinds of food which are bitter, acid, saltish, too hot, sharp, rough, and burning, and which cause pain. grief, and disease, are desired by the passionate.

   And the food which is cold, tasteless, stinking, stale, impure, and even leavings from the table, are liked by the darkly inert.

   That sacrifice is lucid which, being ordained in sacred writings, is performed by persons not wishing for the fruit of it and after determining in their mind that the sacrifice must be performed.

   But when a sacrifice is performed, O highest of the descendants of Bharata, with an expectation of fruit from it, so that other men may see, know that sacrifice to be passionate.

   They call that sacrifice darkly inert which is against the ordinances of the sacred writings, in which no food is dealt out to Brahmanas and others, which is devoid of Mantras, devoid of Dakshinâ presents, and which is without faith.

   Paying reverence to gods, Brahmanas, teachers, and men of knowledge; purity, straightforwardness, life as Brahmakarin, and harmlessness, this is called bodily penance.

   The speech which causes no sorrow, which is true, agreeable, and beneficial, and the study of the Vedas, this is called vocal penance.

   Calmness of mind, mildness, silence, self-restraint, and purity of heart, this is called the mental penance.

   This threefold penance, practiced with perfect faith, by men who do not wish for the fruit, and who are possessed of discipline, is called lucid.

   The penance which is done for respect, honor, and reverence, so that other men may see, and which is uncertain and transient, is called passionate.

   And that penance is described as darkly inert which is performed under a misguided eonvietion, with pain to oneself, or for the destruction of another.

   That gift is said to be lucid which is given because it ought to be given to one who can do no service in return, at a proper place and time and to a proper person.

   But that gift which is given with much difficulty, for a return of services, or even with an expectation of fruit, is said to be passionate.

   And that gift is deseribed as darkly inert which is given to unfit persons at an unfit place and time, without respect, and with contempt.

   Om, Tad and Sat, this is said to be the threefold designation of the Brahman. By that, the Brahmanas and the Vedas and saerifices were created in ancient times. Hence, the performance by those who study the Brahman, of sacrifices, gifts, and penances, prescribed by the ordinances of the sacred writings always commence after saying 'Om.' Those who desire final emaneipation perform the various acts of sacrifice and penance, and the various acts of gift-giving without expectation of fruit, after saying 'Tad.' 'Sat' is employed to express existence and lucidity, and likewise, O son of Pritha, the word 'Sat' is used to express an auspicious act. Constancy in making sacrifices. penances, and gifts, is ealled 'Sat ;' and all action, too, of which that is the object, is also called 'Sat.'

   Whatever oblation is offered, whatever is given, whatever penance is performed, and whatever is done, without faith , that, O son of Pritha, is called 'Asat,' and that is nothing, both after death and here in this world.

Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telano, 1882
Edited and annotated by Richard Hooker



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