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Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 17, Verse 13

Chapter 17: The Divisions of Faith
Verse: 13
vidhi-hinam asrishtannam
mantra-hinam adakshinam
sraddha-virahitam yajnam
tamasam paricakshate

Any sacrifice performed without regard for the directions of scripture, without distribution of prasadam [spiritual food], without chanting of Vedic hymns and remunerations to the priests, and without faith is considered to be in the mode of ignorance.

Krishna explains what makes a sacrifice in the mode of ignorance. The last two verses are indirectly giving us the things we need to avoid to ensure that the sacrifices are in the mode of goodness. The following items will contaminate a sacrifice by the modes of ignorance.
– Performed whimsically, without regard to the scriptural injunctions
– Without distribution of prasadam: This is an essential component of a bona fide sacrifice.
– Chanting of Vedic hymns: These hymns attract the appropriate deity to accept the oblations in the sacrifice. If they are not chanted, or chanted incorrectly, then the sacrificer receives no benedictions
– Remuneration to the priests – Must be given ungrudgingly and in proportion to their service. The priests are the representative of the Lord and are the media to connect the performer of the sacrifice to the desired results.
– With faith: Faith is the most important ingredient, which if missing, makes the sacrifice defunct. Even if every thing is done perfectly, if there is no faith, there will be no results. This is because, every thing, the chants, the oblations, the procedure etc. are carriers of the faith of the performed. Even if the carriers are perfectly situated, if there is no content (faith), the results will be missing. The faith must be there is the yanjaman (one for whose benefit the yanja is being conducted) and in the priests who are performing the yanja.

Srila Prabhupada comments, "Faith in the mode of darkness or ignorance is actually faithlessness. Sometimes people worship some demigod just to make money and then spend the money for recreation, ignoring the scriptural injunctions. Such ceremonial shows of religiosity are not accepted as genuine. They are all in the mode of darkness; they produce a demoniac mentality and do not benefit human society."

Please read the Sanskrit Verse and the Prabhupada's Purport.

You can view the previous verses at the following address: http://groups.google.com/group/sloka-a-day


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