In Chapter 17, Krishna repeats his teaching of the gunas. He then explains OM TAT SAT to us: ‘OM TAT SAT: these three words designate Brahman, by whom the seers, the Vedas and the sacrificial rites were created in ancient times. Therefore OM is always uttered by the devotees of Brahman, as the scriptures direct, before undertaking any act of sacrifice, almsgiving or austerity. TAT, meaning the Absolute, is uttered by seekers after liberation who desire no reward for their deed, when they are about to make sacrifice, austerity or give alms, or practise some austerity. SAT means goodness, and existence. It also means an auspicious act. All perseverance in sacrifice, austerity or almsgiving is SAT. ‘

Interesting to contemplate the way folk have reacted to being told that we must follow a policy of austerity, in order to put our country’s finances in order. In this quote from the Gita, austerity is seen as a virtue and a self-discipline. Using measures of austerity will ensure that the country rebalances, and that the vulnerable will be sheltered and protected.