Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God - Bhagavad Gita Daily Reading - Chapter 17: 1

November 8, 2019


 arjuna uvāca
™ye śāstravidhim utsṛjya yajante śraddhayā ’nvitāḥ
teśāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā kṛṣṇa sattvam āho rajas tamaḥ (XVII-1)

XVII/1. Arjuna said: Those who, setting aside the ordinances
of the scriptures, perform sacrifice with faith, what is their
condition,O Krishna? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?

Swamiji's Commentary

     The Indian philosopher does not encourage evil but he does recognize its inevitable presence in society. He aims at a perfect society, but realizes that this itself means taking note of the existing imperfections. He is a realistic idealist. He is like the wise schoolmaster who wants his students to pass the examination with distinction, but does not expect them to be brilliant on the day of their admission to the school; and is patient enough to correct their errors during their school career.

     To adhere to the injunctions of a scripture is, of course, the simple, ideal course. However, there are those who do not; and whatever be the reason, not all of them are diabolical in their outlook on life. The revisions and editions of a scripture generate suspicion in the heart of some. The primitiveness of a scripture shocks others. A third group may well ask: “When we have the open book of life in front of us, why need we waste our time on other scriptures?” Still another group may be illiterate and hence cannot study a scripture and may, at the same time, not be able to enjoy the privilege of hearing the scripture from someone else, particularly someone who inspires their confidence.

     Life teaches you, if you have faith. Faith is most important. Your own inner equipment will fit you into one or other of the three qualities of nature. Sattva-based activity will increase sattva; tamas-based activity will intensify darkness. The former, by bestowing peace and happiness, will confirm the faith into conviction; the latter, by bringing restlessness and misery in its train, will be detected by the inner faith as the path to be abandoned – but only if there is genuine faith. This faith is not a religious cult or a doctrine or a dogma. It is light in the midst of darkness which leads you from falsehood it truth.

     Even the most unorthodox are not barred from salvation!

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