Chapter 3The Eternal Duties of a Human BeingsVerse 19


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

Activities are unnecessary for one situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation; but all others must perform the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures according to qualification. This is compulsory. Furthermore Lord Krishna is stating that one should be unattached to the results but perform actions as duty requires. There are regular activities such as being vegetarian and fasting on Ekadasi and there are occasional activities like offerings to one's ancestors once a year. But for all activities one must remain unattached and by doing so one attains spiritual insights which purifies the mind, leading to the highest attainment of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Only one situated in the state of atma-tattva or soul realisation is not required to perform activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. So Lord Krishna is indicating to Arjuna that since he is not established in this state he should perform actions as a matter of duty.

Now begins the summation.

For all those who have not achieved atma-tattva and are not situated in moksa or liberation, the performance of prescribed actions of the Vedic scriptures is mandatory according to qualification. Therefore the need for desireless, unattached actions is necessary. For those who are attached performance of actions exclusively to please the Supreme Lord are the best. Arjuna had not attained moksa at that time; but he and his brothers the Pandava's were certainly well endowed in wisdom being knowledgeable of the path to atma-tattva and were dedicated to pleasing the Supreme Lord and following all the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. The differences in consciousness between the righteous Pandavas and the liberated ones was not that big; but the Pandavas still needed to perform actions while the liberated ones had no actions to perform.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The person who is neither in need of karma yoga the path of action or jnana yoga the path of cultivating spiritual knowledge is naturally one who is situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation. To such a person the atma or soul and the Supreme Lord are the only objects of attention and one is completely content within by them. No satisfaction that is felt in any other situation such as eating delicious foods or drinking nectarian beverages can compare with the satisfaction that the atma gives. Neither beautiful scents, nor beautiful music nor the experience of beautiful panorama's can compare either with the bliss of the atma. To that person whose focus, whose attention, whose inspiration, whose support, whose everything is emanating from the atma. What need is there to perform prescribed Vedic activities to attain atma-tattva? Such a person is already situated in atma-tattva and has attained moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material existence. So such a person has no need to perform prescribed Vedic activities. Both karma yoga and jnana yoga are paths for those whose minds need to be diverted and directed from the material illusion to the spiritual reality. But once one who has achieved atma-tattva there is no need to resort to any external assistance any longer. Any action such a one performs is not bound to the material nature as cause and effect due to the reality that such a person is always performing every action while in blissful contemplation and meditation on the wonders of the atma. Performing actions in this state is easy and bereft of any danger as in the case of jnana yoga furthermore sets a good example for the welfare of the world following the path of the Supreme Spirit in all beings. In this verse the word karyam means duty bound and the word asaktah means unattached. So one should perform prescribed Vedic actions in karma yoga as a matter of duty without attachment to the results until atma-tattva is achieved. In this way karma yoga is performed without ego centred conceptions of the self as the doer

Because karma yoga is recommended even to those in jnana yoga great Maharishi's and rulers of great wisdom such as King Janaka also achieved atma-tattva and attained moksa solely by karma yoga performing actions following the prescribed injunctions of the Vedas. This illustrates that the aspirant for moksa who is not qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga can still achieve the highest attainment through karma yoga. Furthermore it has also been shown that there are some advantages in performing prescribed Vedic activities in karma yoga even for one qualified to tread the path of jnana yoga. In the next verse another aspect of karma yoga will be shown as the inevitable duty of a specifically distinguished and qualified class of people in society.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

A person who is interested in attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation must perform activities without desire unattached to the results. The reason being that one without desires has their mind focused on the Supreme Lord and such direction leads to spiritual knowledge. So Lord Krishna is emphasising this point that while performing prescribed Vedic actions in this way without attachment, with the consciousness directed towards the Supreme Lord, naturally purity of mind developes and then spiritual knowledge after which the highest moksa or liberation from the material existence is attained

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 3, verse 19 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 19

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