ये शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य यजन्ते श्रद्धयाऽन्विताः।
तेषां निष्ठा तु का कृष्ण सत्त्वमाहो रजस्तमः।।17.1।।
17.1 Arjuna said But, ['But' is used to present a standpoint distinct from the earlier ones understand from 16.23-4.-S.] O Krsna, what is the state [i.e., where do the rites undertaken by them end?] of those who, endued with faith, adore [Adore-perform sacrifices, distribute wealth etc. in honour of gods and others.] by ignoring the injunctions of the scriptures? Is it sattva, rajas or tamas?
17.1 Tu, but; of Krsna, ka, what; is the nistha, state; tesam, of those-whosoever they may be; ye, who; being anvitah, endued; sraddhaya, with faith, with the idea that there is something hereafter; yajante, adore gods and others; utsriya, by ignoring, setting aside; sastra-vidhim, the unjunctions of the scriptures, the injunctions of the Vedas and the Smrtis? Is the state of those who are such sattvam, sattva; aho, or; rajah, rajas; or tamah, tamas? This is what is meant: Does the adoration of gods and others that they undertake come under the category of sattva or rajas or tamas? By 'those who, endued with faith, adore by ignoring the injunctions of the scriptures' are here meant those who, not finding any injunction which can be characterized as 'enjoined by the Vedas' 'or enjoined by the Smrtis', worship gods and others by merely observing the conduct of their elders. But, on the other hand, those who, though aware of some scriptural injunction, discard them and worship the gods and others in ways contrary to the injunctions, are not meant here by 'those who, ignoring scriptural injunctions, adore৷৷.' Why? Because of the alifying phrase, 'being endued with faith'. For, it cannot be imagined that even when they are aware of some scriptural injunction about worship of gods and others, they discard this out of their faithlessness, and yet they engage in the worship of gods and others enjoined by those scriptures by becoming imbued with faith! Therefore, by 'those who, endued with faith, adore by ignoring the injunctions of the scriptures' are here meant those very ones mentioned earlier. An answer to this estion relating to a general topic cannot be given without splitting it up. Hence,-
17.1 Arjuna said Those who, 'filled with faith but laying aside the injunctions of the Sastras,' engage themselves in sacrifices etc., what is their 'position or basis'? It is Sattva, Rajas or Tamas? Nistha means Sthiti. What is called Sthiti is that state in which one abides, has one's position or basis. Do they abide in Sattva, in Rajas or in Tamas? Such is the meaning of the estion. Thus estioned, the Lord, for affirming the futility of faith and of sacrifices not enjoined in the Sastras, and in order to show that the triple division in accordance with the Gunas refers only to sacrifices etc., enjoined in the Sastras - expounds here the threefold nature of faith enjoined in the Sastras: