vidhi-hīnam asṛṣṭānnaḿ
mantra-hīnam adakṣiṇam
śraddhā-virahitaḿ yajñaḿ
tāmasaḿ paricakṣate

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 17.13

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.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

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.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Asrsta annam means without giving food in charity.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

17.13 They say that sacrifice is Tamasa, which is bereft of the authority of injunction of Brahmanas of learning and good conduct as ‘Do this sacrifice,’ which is ‘Asrstanna’ viz., which uses offerings (materials) not sanctioned by the Sastras; which is performed without recitation of hymns; and which is bereft of gifts and faith. Now, to explain the threefold division of austerities according to their source in the Gunas, Sri Krsna describes their differences in respect of the body, speech and mind:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Furthermore Lord Krishna states that rituals contrary to the Vedic scriptures meaning those which are forbidden and prohibited in the Vedic scriptures as well as ceremonies not endorsed by the Vedic scriptures meaning all those where the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures are not observed; both are irrevocably locked in tama guna the mode of ignorance. Whatever religious activity or ritual that is enacted anywhere in creation, if it is devoid of duly initiated Vaisnavas and brahmanas chanting prescribed Vedic mantras, if it is devoid of propitiation and worship to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations as revealed in Vedic scriptures and if it is devoid of faith in the Supreme Lord Krishna it is known to be irrefutably and irrevocably situated in the inertia of tama guna.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

The ritual or ceremony of any kind that is devoid of guidance of the Vedics scriptures and ignores and refrains from following the injunctions and ordinances of the Vedic scriptures due to indifference or belligerence is know to be firmly situated in tama guna. Wherever no Vedic mantras are chanted by duly initiated Vaisnavas and brahmanas, wherever there is no devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures ad wherever there is an absence of faith in Lord Krishna is always irrevocably situated in tama guna.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

17.13 Paricaksate, they delclare; that yajnam, sacrifice; as tamasam, done through tamas; which is vidhi-hinam, contrary to injunction, opposed to what is enjoined; asrstannam, in which food is not distributed-a sacrifice in which food (annam) is not distributed (asrstam) to Brahmanas; mantra-hinam, in which mantras are not used, which is bereft of mantras, intonation and distinct pronunciation; adaksinam, in which offerings are not made to priests as prescribed; and which is sraddha-virahitam, devoid of faith. After that, now is being stated the three kinds of austerity:

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

17.11-13 Aphala-etc. upto paricaksate. Stabilizing mind : by firmly believing. Also for the sake of display etc. Display : an intention ‘Let the world take me to be of this natrue’. That which is devoid of scriptural injunction : that which is devoid of rituals prescribed in the scriptures. The same

  • is elaborated by the attributives ‘That in which no food is distributed’ etc.

    Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

    vidhi-hinam asrstannam
    mantra-hinam adaksinam
    sraddha-virahitam yajñam
    tamasam paricaksate

    Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

    vidhi-hīnam — without scriptural direction; asṛṣṭa-annam — without distribution of prasādam; mantra-hīnam — with no chanting of the Vedic hymns; adakṣiṇam — with no remunerations to the priests; śraddhā — faith; virahitam — without; yajñam — sacrifice; tāmasam — in the mode of ignorance; paricakṣate — is to be considered.