Chapter 4Approaching the Ultimate TruthVerse 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

The twofold dialectic based on scriptural evidence and inference respectively is one who sees inaction in action and is referred to by Lord Krishna in the previous verse. Those actions that are free from desire are known as samarambha or properly consummated. Actions are desired because of hankering for rewards and these actions are not properly consummated. One who is free from desire and hankering is considered to be intelligent and wise. This is because all actions of such a person turn into inaction by the fire of knowledge that is kindled within the purified mind that is free from all desires and hankerings. Another interpretation of this verse is that for one who is already properly situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of knowledge and is free from desires to enjoy and hankerings for rewards; whatever action they perform is done as a matter of duty and to inspire others.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

In this verse and the next five verses Lord Krishna describes the nature of karma or prescribed Vedic activities. The knowledge that one is completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord and that the Supreme Lord alone is the actual performer of all actions guarantees that all reactions to actions are neutralised by the fire of wisdom.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The person performing karma or actions accrues reactions by attachment to desires and hankering for rewards. This is delusion as desires are imagined and fantasised before enactment. Thus it is merely a false idea or wrong notion of the mind. The fantasising alluded to here consists of the mentality which erroneously identifies the atma or soul with prakriti or material nature along with the three gunas being the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance and mistakenly conceives of them as all being one principle. But to that person seeking moksa or liberation all acts regular and occasional performed by them and necessitated by bodily maintenance are not subject to reactions being devoid of desire. Further exemption is guaranteed as the aspirant for moksa is not living in a world of imagination or fantasy because such a person performs every action while being cognisant of the eternal atma. Whoever performs karma in this manner while meditating on the atma is one of spiritual intelligence situated in atma tattva or soul realisation and all reactions to a myriad of past actions have been eradicated by the fire of knowledge. Thus Lord Krishna is praising the person who performs prescribed Vedic activities in atma tattva as being highly laudable. This is in sharp contrast to the karmi or one who performs actions for fruitive rewards being forced to accept reactions.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Lord Krishna propounds the manner in which the spiritually intelligent seeking moksa or liberation act in regards to action and inaction. That person whose every action is free from desire and hankering for rewards be it obligatory or not obligatory, daily or occasional even as well on special days such as festivals for the Supreme Lord's appearance day. Their actions are incapable of sprouting reactions as they are free from even the thoughts of desire due to being purified by the fire of knowledge which manifests as not desiring the rewards of any action and this applies even up to the Supreme Lord.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 4, verse 19 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 19

Copyright © Bhagavad-Gita Trust 1998-2015