Chapter 17: The Divisions of Faith

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 17.14


pūjanaḿ śaucam ārjavam

brahmacaryam ahiḿsā ca

śārīraḿ tapa ucyate


deva — of the Supreme Lord; dvija — the brāhmaṇas; guru — the spiritual master; prājña — and worshipable personalities; pūjanam — worship; śaucam — cleanliness; ārjavam — simplicity; brahmacaryam — celibacy; ahiḿsā — nonviolence; ca — also; śārīram — pertaining to the body; tapaḥ — austerity; ucyate — is said to be.


Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brāhmaṇas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence.


The Supreme Godhead here explains the different kinds of austerity and penance. First He explains the austerities and penances practiced by the body. One should offer, or learn to offer, respect to God or to the demigods, the perfect, qualified brāhmaṇas and the spiritual master and superiors like father, mother or any person who is conversant with Vedic knowledge. These should be given proper respect. One should practice cleansing oneself externally and internally, and he should learn to become simple in behavior. He should not do anything which is not sanctioned by the scriptural injunctions. He should not indulge in sex outside of married life, for sex is sanctioned in the scripture only in marriage, not otherwise. This is called celibacy. These are penances and austerities as far as the body is concerned.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness