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ANNOUNCER: The following is a
class on the Bhagavad-gītā As It
Is, 17th chapter, text number 1,
given by His Divine Grace A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupāda, recorded on the 4th
of July, 1974 in Melbourne,

DEVOTEE: Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā


DEVOTEE: Caitanya-caritāmṛta…

PRABHUPĀDA: (three times:) Oṁ
namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.
(recites verses with devotees).

arjuna uvāca ye śāstra-vidhim
utsṛjya yajante śraddhayānvitāḥ
teṣāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā kṛṣṇa sattvam
āho rajas tamaḥ

śrī bhagavān uvāca tri-vidhā
bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā
svabhāva-jā sāttvikī rājasī caiva
tāmasī ceti tāṁ śṛṇu

sattvānurūpā sarvasya śraddhā
bhavati bhārata śraddhāmayo
’yaṁ puruṣo yo yac chraddhaḥ sa
eva saḥ

So arjuna uvāca means Arjuna
inquired from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is
teacher, and Arjuna is student. So
this is the process of spiritual
advancement. As it is indicated in
the Vedas, tad-vijñānārtham.
Tad-vijñānārtham means “To
understand that transcendental
science,” gurum eva abhigacchet
“one must take shelter of guru.”
It cannot be manufactured. Those
who manufacture the method of
understanding transcendental
science, they are not bona fide.
So we have already discussed
many times that śāstra-vidhi.
Guru means one who teaches the
regulative principle from śāstra,
from authorized scripture. That is
guru. Guru cannot be anyone.
Ācārya. Ācārya means one who
knows the regulative principle or
direction in the śāstra. He
practically behaves in terms of
the śāstra regulative principle
and teaches his student also in
the same way. He is called ācārya.
Acainoti yaḥ śāstrāṇi.(?) He
knows the purport of śāstra, he
behaves himself according to the
terms of the śāstra and he
teaches his disciple in the same
term. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam.
This is the process.

So Arjuna is asking, “So there are
many who actually do not follow
the principles of śāstra, but they
have got some faith. Then what is
the result of such mentality?” Ye
śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya: “Not
following the śāstra-vidhi, the
regulative principle mentioned in
the śāstra,” yajante
śraddhayānvitāḥ, “they also make
one guru or incarnation or this or
that. There are so many going on.
So what is the result of such
activities?” This is very important
question because there are so
many pseudo so-called gurus.
They do not know what is śāstra,
neither they follow the principle.
Still, they gather some people,
and the world is full with such
not bona fide gathering. So but
they have faith in their-so-called
guru that some way or other, so-
called meditation… These things
are going on.

So what is the result of this? It is
very important question. Ye
śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya yajante
śraddhayānvitāḥ. But they have
got faith. Faith is there but
misguided. Teṣāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā
kṛṣṇa: “Kṛṣṇa, that, then faith, that
blind faith, how it is to be
defined? Why? What will be the
result?” Teṣāṁ niṣṭhā tu kā kṛṣṇa.
Now, “Whether it is faith in
sattva-guṇa or faith in rajo-guṇa
or faith in tamo-guṇa?” Because
without coming to the platform
of sattva-guṇa, nobody can
advance in spiritual life. That is a
fact. Just like nobody is allowed
to enter the law college unless he
is graduate. This restriction is
there. What he will understand,
law? He must be a graduate. So
similarly, first of all, one has to
come to the platform of sattva-
guṇa. Then spiritual knowledge
begins. Because spiritual
knowledge is above sattva-guṇa.
Above sattva-guṇa. So sattva-
guṇa is the best quality, when
one brain is clear and he can see
things as they are, no hazy
understanding but clear
understanding. So sattva-guṇa is
the qualification of brāhmaṇa.

There are three guṇas. We should
always remember. The material
nature is working under three
guṇas, three divisions. Just like…
The example is that the fire,
smoke and the wood, Wood…
there is fire. Everyone knows that
from wood, fire will come out.
And when you ignite wood, there
is smoke first of all. And then the
blazing or the flame of the comes
out. So one may say… They are
saying like that, that “After all,
from… It is wood. So there is fire,
there is smoke and there is no
smoke—it is wood. It is all one.”
No. Although it is one. Still, you
require the flame, not the smoke,
neither the wood. If you want
work, then… “Now I have got the
wood. My work is finished.” No
From the wood, when you get
fire flame, then you can work.
You can cook; you can get heat;
you can get light, so many things.
So that is required, not that
“Because I have got the wood, I
have got everything.” This is
rascaldom. You have to ignite
fire, blazing fire, flame, And that
is sattva-guṇa.

Therefore, in our society we first
of all try to reform the fallen soul
or most infected materially
person to reform, to come to the
stage of flame, because without
there being flame you cannot
work. It is not possible. It is very
practical example. We want
flame. Just like yajña. Yajña… We
perform fire sacrifice, but we
want to see there is flame, not
smoke, although the same thing.
You cannot be satisfied: “Now
there is smoke. It is all right.
There is fire.” Without there
being fire, there cannot be
smoke. Parvato mandimān
dhūmāt(?). When there is smoke
one can understand there is fire,
even it is far away. When there is
forest fire, people understand,
when the smoke is coming from
the forest, then can immediately
understand there is forest fire. So
smoke is, although indication of
the fire, but it is not fire. So
similarly, so-called meditation,
so-called spiritualism, concocted
idea, there is some touch of
spiritual life, but that is not
spiritual life. One should
understand. That is not spiritual
life. It is called ābhāsa. Ābhāsa
means just like day, sunlight, full
sunlight. But early in the
morning, you cannot see the sun,
but there is light. There is no

So similarly, Arjuna’s inquiry is
very nice that “One who is not
following the śāstra-vidhi, the
direction of the śāstra, but has
got some faith, some vague idea,
then what will be considered?
They will be taken as sattva-guṇa
or rajo-guṇa or tamo-guṇa?” It
is… So Kṛṣṇa… Now, this is very
important question, and Kṛṣṇa…
It not said, “Kṛṣṇa said.” It is said,
it is mentioned here, śrī
bhagavān uvāca. Kṛṣṇa may be
taken by low-grade person as
ordinary human being as it is
done sometimes. Big, big
scholars, big, big philosophers,
they also become bewildered.
Just like in India, there is a party
called Arya-samaj. They accept
Kṛṣṇa as a very big person but
not God, not God. There is some
mistake some time. Avajānanti
māṁ mūḍhāḥ: “Those who are
rascals, they sometimes take Me
as ordinary human being.” That is
mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā.
He is Supreme Personality of
Godhead. Therefore, when there
is an authoritative judgement is
required, you’ll find in the
Bhagavad-gītā, it is said, śrī
bhagavān uvāca. That means you
cannot defy this judgement.
Bhagavān. Because the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is
speaking, that is final. No
argument. No commentation.
This is the meaning of śrī
bhagavān uvāca. Similarly, after
this inquiry, śrī bhagavān uvāca.
But Kṛṣṇa, Vyāsadeva has
purposefully written here, śrī
bhagavān uvāca: “Bhagavān the
Supreme Person, the ultimate…”
Bhagavān means the ultimate.
Just like in some country there is
supreme court. So when the
judgement is given by the
Supreme Court, that is final. And
when it was monarchy, the order
given by the king, that is final—
no more questioning. Similarly,
when it is mentioned, śrī
bhagavān uvāca, that means it is
final. No more argument, no
more logic Logic is there
argument is there but it is final.
No waste of time anymore. The
first utterances, order, or
statement, or judgement, is given
by the Supreme Lord, and if that
is followed through the disciplic
chain, that is real understanding,
real knowledge.

You… We are… First of all we are
very minute part and parcel of
Bhagavān. Mamaivāṁśaḥ. So,
according to our position, we
have got our knowledge, we have
got our understanding,
proportionately. Just like fire, big
fire and a small spot fire. Both of
them are fire, but you cannot
compare the small fragment of
fire with the big fire. That is not
possible. The big ocean and a
small drop of water from the
ocean. Because the taste of the
small drop of ocean is the same,
the Māyāvādī philosophers, they
conclude that “I am the same.”
But they have no common sense
that the small drop of water,
although the quality is the same,
it is very small. So our knowledge
is therefore imperfect. Although
we are qualitatively one with
God, still, being very small
quantity, our power, our
knowledge, our understanding—
everything is proportionately
small. You must first of all
understand that, that we are
simultaneously one and different.
One means qualitatively one. A
small particle of gold, you can
call it gold, but it is not the gold
mine, This is called dvaita-vāda,
advaita-vāda. The rascals they
think “Because I am gold, I am as
good as the gold mine.” No, That
is not. Gold mine is very big,
powerful, immense value. So we
should not forget this.

Therefore it is said… Now, tri-
vidhā bhavati śraddhā: “This
śraddhā, this faith,” Kṛṣṇa says,
“there are three kinds.” Tri-vidhā
bhavati śraddhā. Tri-vidhā
bhavati śraddhā dehināṁ sā
svabhāva-jā. Dehinām. Always
remember, dehinām means the
possessor, the owner of this
body. Therefore the owner is
different from the body. Those
who are under the conception
that there is no owner, and the
body is everything, they are less
than tamo-guṇa. Actually
animals. They have been
described as being animal. Those
who are thinking like the dog
that “I am this body…” The dog is
also thinking, “I am this body,”
and a man is also thinking, “I am
this body.” Then where is the
difference between the dog and
the man? When man comes to
the understanding that “I am not
this body; I am soul,” then
knowledge begins. Before that,
he is ignorant like animal.
Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-
dhātuke [SB 10.84.13].

Now, to come to the real
knowledge, real platform of
knowledge, the cultivation is
required. So cultivation is
required. Suppose somebody has
said, the same example, that
there is fire in the wood. So if you
simply remain satisfied with the
wood—“There is fire”—that is
called tamo-guṇa, not
developed. Again, when there is
smoke, that is another platform.
But when one appreciates the
flames of (the fire), that is sattva-
guṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says here,
tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā
dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā. If one is
cultivating his life like hogs and
cats and dogs—the behavior is
also like that and remaining in
that position—so his faith and
one who is advanced, who is
worshiping Deity, and having
three times bath, and chanting
mantras, Hare Kṛṣṇa, they are not
equal. That is not possible
because one is situated in the
sattva-guṇa and the other is
situated in tamo-guṇa, although
the tamo-guṇas, the persons who
are in the darkness of knowledge,
they have got their faith. It is not
that they have no faith. They
have got faith. But that faith is in
the lowest status of life. That faith
will not help him for spiritual
realization. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said,
tri-vidhā bhavati śraddhā
dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā.
Svabhāva-jā means natural.
Because his body is not yet
purified, therefore he remains in
the status of tamo-guṇa or
ignorance. Tri-vidhā bhavati
śraddhā dehināṁ sā svabhāva-jā.

Therefore we have to change.
Just like a man diseased, he can
be changed into a healthy person
provided he follows the medical
rules and regulation, takes
medicine, diet and… That is
possible. So if one does not
follow the regulation, rules and
regulation, he remains there,
diseased. It is not that, that “We
have become now free. We can
talk nonsensically and we can
behave like nonsense. Still, we
are advanced,” That is not
possible. Sāttvikī rājasī caiva
tāmasī ceti tāṁ śṛṇu. How? What
are the symptoms to know that
one is situated in the sattva-guṇa
or one is situated in the rajo-
guṇa or one is situated in tamo-
guṇa? By the symptoms. The
symptoms are also mentioned.
The sattva-guṇa means
brāhmaṇa. Sattva-guṇa in
brāhmaṇa, their symptoms are
mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Everything is there, characteristic.
You have to test it. Just like in the
chemistry there is analytical
study, whether it is pure or not.
So every chemical has got
characteristics, Its color, its
formation, its taste, so many
things. Those who are chemists,
they know how to test. So when
the characteristic and the test of
the chemical is found as “Yes, it is
according to the standard,” then
it is accepted as a pure chemical,
and it can be used for the
purpose. And if it is adulterated…
Everything… We are cooking
food. If the ghee is pure, then
taste is different. If the ghee is
impure, the taste is different. And
if it is not ghee at all. oil, the taste
is different. It is like that.

So people are being controlled
by the three kinds of material
nature, and if they do not follow
the shastric injunction, then he
will concoct, he will create
something according to his
position, either in the tamo-guṇa
or rajo-guṇa or sattva-guṇa. But
those, means superficially doing
something in the tamo-guṇa, he
will not be successful. He will not
be successful. Yaḥ śāstra-vidhim
utsṛjya vartate kāma… He is
going on, conducting himself
under the influence of the same
modes of nature, material nature,
which he has naturally adopted
from his birth. There are… We
have discussed all these, this
verse, that sad-asad-janma, yoni-
janmasu. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo
’sya. Everyone is getting a
particular type of body. So one
may say, “This body is very nice,
this body is not so nice and this
body is very good.” So why it is
so? Because according to the
association of the material
nature. After all, the living entity
falls down from the spiritual
world. Just like Jaya-Vijaya. There
is possibility, if you do not stick
to the spiritual principle, even if
you are in Vaikuṇṭha, you will fall
down, what to speak of this
material world? Because in the
Vaikuṇṭha or in the spiritual
world, no contaminated soul can
stay there. He will fall down.

Now, when the spirit soul falls
down? Just like Jaya-Vijaya. Jaya
and Vijaya became asuras. They
fell down from Vaikuṇṭha. But
they became asuras under the
circumstances. That is mentioned
we were reading Bhāgavata the
Kaśyapa Ṛṣi, his wife… Diti? What
is the name of? Anyway, she was
very lusty during the sandhyā,
just at the point of evening, the
day’s passing. So she wanted sex
with her husband. He said, “No,
this is not the time. This is not the
time.” But she was so lusty she
obliged the husband to have sex
life with her, and the result was
two asuras were born. We have
to take so much care. You see?
According to the time, according
to circumstances… Therefore the
Vedic principle has got
garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. To beget
a child, it requires also
reformation—time, mentality,
situation. So… Not like cats and
dogs. So, creating the
background very nicely, sattva-
guṇa, they will beget a child. That
child will come, some great man,
some great devotee. So
everything has got the material
relationship, how to do it. That is
śāstra. So you do it, but follow
the shastric injunction. So the
shastric injunction, so far is
concerned, as it is said here, that
is sāttvikī, rājasī, tāmasī.

The example is: just like the same
fire spark is falling down from the
blazing fire… You have seen the
sparks. There are sparks, fire
sparks, with the blazing fire. Now,
the sparks sometimes fall down
outside the fire. So take the fire
as spiritual world, and the spark
is in the spiritual world, within the
fire, but sometimes it falls down.
Now, when it falls down it comes
in the material world and… Now
what kind of falldown it is? Now,
the spark may fall down in dry
grass. As soon as it falls down in
dry grass, there is chance of
igniting fire in the dry grass—
sattva-guṇa. That is sattva-guṇa.
And if the fire spark falls down on
the ground, then for some time it
looks like fiery, but again it
becomes extinguished. That is
rajo-guṇa. And if the fire sparks
falls down in water—immediately
finished, no more fire. So that is
the distinction, the tamo-guṇa,
rajo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa. So
those who are in the tamo-guṇa,
they are hopeless. They can do
something, waste time, but being
in the tamo-guṇa, just like the
spark being in the water… Water
and fire, they are two opposite.
So if one remains in tamo-guṇa,
he has no chance of coming out
to become fire again. There is no

So therefore the process is to
bring from the tamo-guṇa to
rajo-guṇa, and from rajo-guṇa to
sattva-guṇa, and then surpass
sattva-guṇa. That is spiritual
platform. This is the way. So if
you stick to the tamo-guṇa
principle, then there is no hope
of spiritual realization. There is
only hope of becoming hogs and
dogs and like that. Their life is
finished. So those who are trying
to come to the platform of
spiritual realization, God
realization, they must stick to the
sattva-guṇa principle. Otherwise
it is hopeless. it is not hopeless.
Nothing is hopeless. It will take
very, very long time. Therefore in
the Bhagavad-gītā you will find
the statement, bahūnāṁ
janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ
prapadyate: [Bg. 7.19] “After
many, many births, when one is
actually wise…” Wise means in
the sattva-guṇa platform. “Then
he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa.” Then the
beginning of spiritual life is there,
and he may finish this course of
spiritual understanding even in
this life, simply by understanding

Janma karma me divyaṁ yo
jānāti tattvataḥ, tyaktvā dehaṁ
punar janma naiti mām eti kau…
[Bg. 4.9]. Everything is there,
described. So try to understand
Bhagavad-gītā very nicely, and
even in this life you can finish
your job of spiritual self-
realization and may go back to
home back to Godhead. Thank
you very much. [break]

…purified simply by chanting.
Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc.
Antya 20.12]. That is the
definition given by Caitanya
Mahāprabhu. Everything, purity,
impurity, everything is in the
heart. If one, in impure condition
he is thinking that “I have now
become pure,” that is rascaldom.
But in the purity platform, even
there is no Deity worship…
vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva [Bs.
5.38] He sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere.
Then Haridāsa… But we should
not imitate that. We are in the
lower stage. Therefore Deity
worship required. Mean, if there
is no temple, you can keep a
small Deity in a small box and
open it. After taking bath, sitting
down, you can offer Him little
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam.
Little you can offer, little water.
Where is the difficulty? Deity
worship. You can worship Deity
anywhere also. In a small box you
can keep the Deity. And after
taking bath you offer something.
If you have nothing to offer, offer
a little tulasī leaf. Or any leaf.
That Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ
phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me. The real
thing is whether you are lover
and devotee. Then Kṛṣṇa will
accept anything you offer. It is
not you have to cook very
sumptuously, very rich food.
Then Kṛṣṇa you’ll offer. Kṛṣṇa is
not after your food. Kṛṣṇa is after
your devotion and faith. That can
be created anywhere if you are
actually sincere.

SUDĀMĀ: There also is the
position of or some question is
raised as to how to actually
follow the authority. What is the
authority between…?

PRABHUPĀDA: Authority is your
spiritual master. You do not know
who is authority? Why this
question is there? If one is
initiated, then he accepted the
authority. And if he does not
follow the instruction of spiritual
master, he is a rascal. He is
defying the authority. That’s all.

SUDĀMĀ: The question also is
there: the authority is the
spiritual master, but the via
media to the spiritual master…
The difference between, like we
were discussing in the
automobile of śikṣā and dīkṣā-

PRABHUPĀDA: Then so śikṣā and
dīkṣā-guru… A śikṣā-guru who
instructs against the instruction
of spiritual, he is not a śikṣā guru.
He is a demon. Śikṣā-guru, dīkṣā-
guru means… Sometimes a dīkṣā-
guru is not present always.
Therefore one can take learning,
instruction, from an advanced
devotee. That is called the śikṣā-
guru. Śikṣā-guru does not mean
he is speaking something against
the teachings of the dīkṣā-guru.
He is not a śikṣā-guru. He is a

instructing with these sessions?

question) Because that is offense.
Guror avajñā. First offense is
guror avajñā, defying the
authority of guru. This is the first
offense. So one who is offensive,
how he can make advance in
chanting? He cannot make. Then
everything is finished in the
beginning. Guror avajñā.
Everything is there. If one is
disobeying the spiritual master,
he cannot remain in the pure
status of life. He cannot be śikṣā-
guru or anything else. He is
finished, immediately. Guror
avajñā śruti-śāstra-nindanam,
nāmno balād yasya hi… You do
not study all these things. You
become initiated. There are ten
kinds of offenses. Do you have
any regard for these things or
not? You must avoid these ten
kinds of offenses. The first
offense is to disobey the orders
of guru. That is first offense. So if
you are offensive, how you can
become advanced by chanting?
That is also not possible.

SUDĀMĀ: She wants to know
actually that should they just
have the chanting without
reading your books or without
instruction or following the

PRABHUPĀDA: But that chanting
must be pure. Your guru is
writing books. If you think, “There
is no necessity of reading books,”
that is guror avajñā. Do you
means to say I am writing these
books whole night for selling and
making money? What do you
think like that?

should just be chanting and
reading of the books.


much comment?


SUDĀMĀ: She says that how
much comment should there be
for reading the books. In other…
Actually the situation is that to be
proper śikṣā, means that one
must give instruction as the
spiritual master. He has to follow
your program, rising early…

PRABHUPĀDA: we have already
sung. Āra nā kariha mane āśā.
Guru-mukha-padma **. What is
that? Read.


PRABHUPĀDA: Ah. Mean do not
think otherwise. Whatever guru
has said accept it, finally. Āra nā
kariha mane āśā **. Don’t divert
from this. This is the instruction.
How you can divert from the
instruction of guru?

WOMAN DEVOTEE: So just read
it, not comment.

PRABHUPĀDA: Yes. You read it or
not read it, but you have to