मूढग्राहेणात्मनो यत्पीडया क्रियते तप: |
परस्योत्सादनार्थं वा तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् || 19||
mūḍha-grāheṇātmano yat pīḍayā kriyate tapaḥ
parasyotsādanārthaṁ vā tat tāmasam udāhṛitam
mūḍha—those with confused notions; grāheṇa—with endeavor; ātmanaḥ—one’s own self; yat—which; pīḍayā—torturing; kriyate—is performed; tapaḥ—austerity; parasya—of others; utsādana-artham—for harming; vā—or; tat—that; tāmasam—in the mode of ignorance; udāhṛitam—is described to be
The austerity that is practised with a determination based on foolishness, by means of self-torture, or for the purpose of ruining another is declared to be of the nature of tamas.
Mudhagrahena: Determination is no doubt good, but it should be right and wisely set up. Otherwise, it results in self-destruction or in the destruction of others.
Atmanah pidaya: The Lord has already said that torturing the body is the sign of a demonical nature. Fasting, silence and other vows should be adopted after due consideration and discrimination. Otherwise, they turn out to be harmful and injurious to one’s own self. And, austerity undertaken for the purpose of destroying another is most objectionable. Tapas is a means for self-realisation, and to use it for injuring and killing others should be strongly condemned. It is Asuric nature. It is due to dark ignorance and evil passions. The seekers should abandon them completely, and take up the Sattvic austerity, practise it sincerely, and reach the goal.
This verse is a warning to all those who tread the path of Tapas; 1. There should not be any foolish obstinacy and hasty resolution regarding the austerity practises; 2. No one should torture the body and cause injury to one’s self by horried practices of self-mortifications; 3. No austerity should be undertaken for injuring other beings. It is the very negation of all spiritual ideals.
Question: What is the nature of Tamasic austerity?
Answer: That which is performed with foolish obstinacy by self-torture and for the purpose of destroying others is called Tamasic austerity.