TEXT 19
mūḍha-grāheṇātmano yat
pīḍayā kriyate tapaḥ
parasyotsādanārthaṁ vā
tat tāmasam udāhṛtam
SYNONYMS
mūḍhafoolish; grāheṇawith endeavor; ātmanaḥof one's own self; yat—which; pīḍayā—by torture; kriyate—is performed; tapaḥpenance; parasyato others; utsādanārthamcausing annihilation; —or; tatthat; tāmasamin the mode of darkness; udāhṛtamis said to be.
TRANSLATION
And those penances and austerities which are performed foolishly by means of obstinant self-torture, or to destroy or injure others, are said to be in the mode of ignorance.
PURPORT
There are instances of foolish penance undertaken by demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu, who performed austere penances to become immortal and kill the demigods. He prayed to Brahmā for such things, but ultimately he was killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To undergo penances for something which is impossible is certainly in the mode of ignorance.

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