--> Skip to main content

Why Is The Seventeenth Chapter Of Bhagavad Gita Known As Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga?

The seventeenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is known as "Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga" which translates to "The Yoga of the Threefold Faith." This title is reflective of the content and focus of the chapter, which delves into the nature and classification of faith (shraddha) based on the three gunas (qualities or modes of nature) — sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance).

Here's a breakdown of the key points explaining why this chapter is named "Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga":

Shraddha (Faith): The chapter begins with Arjuna asking Krishna about the faith of those who worship with devotion but do not follow the scriptural injunctions. Krishna responds by explaining that faith is influenced by the inherent nature (gunas) of individuals.

Traya (Threefold): Krishna elaborates that faith can be categorized into three types, corresponding to the three gunas. Each type of faith leads individuals to different kinds of worship and ultimately different results in life and afterlife. The threefold classification is:

  • Sattvic Faith: This is characterized by purity, wisdom, and harmony. Those with sattvic faith worship gods and engage in pure and selfless acts.
  • Rajasic Faith: This is driven by passion and desire. People with rajasic faith worship powerful beings or demigods, seeking material gains and achievements.
  • Tamasic Faith: This is marked by ignorance and darkness. Those with tamasic faith worship spirits or ghosts, often engaging in rituals that are harmful or misdirected.

Vibhaga (Division): The chapter not only categorizes faith but also discusses the corresponding types of food, sacrifices, austerities, and charity associated with each type of faith. This division helps in understanding how the nature of faith influences various aspects of life and spiritual practice.

Yoga (Union/Discipline): In the context of the Bhagavad Gita, "yoga" often means a path or discipline that leads to spiritual growth and self-realization. "Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga" thus refers to the discipline or path of understanding and categorizing faith, and how aligning one's faith with sattva leads to higher spiritual progress.

In summary, the chapter is named "Shraddha Traya Vibhaga Yoga" because it systematically explains the threefold nature of faith and its implications on human behavior and spiritual practices, guiding individuals on how to cultivate a faith that aligns with purity and goodness for spiritual advancement.