The Quick, the Dead and the Ones in Limbo- The Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 17

Arjun asks Krishna about the faithful who reject the scriptures. Are they sattvic, rajasic or tamasic?

Krishna says it depends on their nature. Everyone falls in one of these three categories. The sattvic make offerings to deities, the rajasic to spirits and the tamasic to those who are no more.

Krishna then categorizes food too in these three types. The sattvic eat food which is hearty with the aim of being healthy. The rajasic want pungent food, but this often makes them ill. The tamasic like stale food.

When it comes to performing yagnas, the motives of all three differ. Those who do yagnas without thinking of gain are sattvics. When people do yagnas only for form and care about the outcome, they are rajasics. Those who perform yagnas without faith or to dethrone someone are tamasic.

3 types of austerity of a Sattvic

PureKrishna goes on to explain the three types of austerity a sattvic does. Body austerity involves celibacy, non violence and purity, as a reverence to deities.

Secondly, they practice speech austerity. Their words don’t hurt, are true and they chant the scriptures.

In terms of mind austerity, they are calm, self-controlled and pure. Those who practice all three austerities with faith and without ulterior motives, are sattvics.

Similarly, when it comes to gifting, a sattvic gifts without expectation, to the right person at the right place and time. A rajasic would rather gift something that’s equivalent to what she got, that too for form’s sake. A tamasic’s gift is disrespectful, to the wrong person at the wrong time and place.

Om tat sat

Finally, Krishna explains the Om tat sat mantra. Om is how to start a yagna, an action, austerity.

Tat or thus say those who want to free themselves through these means. They are not looking for material gains.

Sat or truth is for an action worthy of appreciation. Sattvic derives from that, so people who are steadfast in sacrifice, discipline and charity and do deeds accordingly- their deeds are sat. Those who give without faith, their acts are useless or asat.


So K, a sattvic’s acts flow

Throughout her life.


She can’t eat rich

Do good

Have a restless mind.


Healthy food feeds her mind

Pure mind leads to noble acts

So the cycle continues.


We ourselves derail

Wrecked by temptation


Little realizing

A small sin

Snowballs in an avalanche


Crushing us

If nothing else, in guilt.

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