BG 17.19

मूढग्राहेणात्मनो यत्पीडया क्रियते तपः।परस्योत्सादनार्थं वा तत्तामसमुदाहृतम्।।17.19।।

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


That austerity which is practised out of a foolish notion, with self-torture, or for the purpose of destroying another, is declared to be of the Tamasic nature.


17.19 मूढग्राहेण out of a foolish notion? आत्मनः of the self? यत् which? पीडया with torture? क्रियते is practised? तपः austerity? परस्य of another? उत्सादनार्थम् for the purpose of destroying? वा or? तत् that? तामसम् Tamasic? उदाहृतम् is declared.Commentary Some burn sulphur in a pot and place it on their head. Some thrust hooks of iron into their flesh. Some hang themselves with their head downwards

over fire and swallow smoke. Some stand in cold water immersed up to the neck. Some torture the body by lighting fires on the four sides (with the sun as the fifth fire -- this is known as the Panchagni Tapas). Some sit in the centre of a circle of fire. Such austerities are Tamasic. These will not help one to attain knowledge of the Self.