Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 3


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

Exactly how is karma yoga or performance of prescribed Vedic activities superior to renunciation? To answer this question Lord Krishna praises the followers of karma yoga who also renounce the rewards of their actions. Those who are free from attachment and aversion and who perform yagna or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord are to be known as renunciates. For one who is free from all dualities and has developed equanimity and purity of mind is easily free from samsara or the cycle of birth and death in the material existence.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The characteristics of sannyasa or renunciation of the rewards of actions is given here by Lord Krishna to emphasise the superiority of sannyasa in and of itself.

Now begins the summation.

Characteristics of sannyasa are being described here such as being free from aversion and attraction and all dualities. Asceticism or the practice of tapasya or austerities is not what is meant here. What is meant here is the complete cessation of desire for the rewards of action as well as complete renunciation of the influence of all dualities such as happiness and distress which causes bondage in the world. So there is no contradiction in these two points.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

One who is following karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities and has achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul will not desire anything else other than the bliss of the atma or soul. In this position one is almost oblivious of the external world and has no urge to crave or hate anything and thus is also able to endure the dualities seeing them all as the same. Such a person is known to be constantly situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge by every activity and is incessantly experiencing the bliss of the atma. Lord Krishna confirms that such a person easily performs karma yoga without effort and transcends samsara or the cycle of birth and death. That both karma yoga and the renunciation for the rewards of actions which is included in jnana yoga are both competent to give atma tattva is shown next.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Until now Lord Krishna has been referring to yogis or those following the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness as being renunciates. Such a yogi should always be considered a renunciate as being impelled for spiritual knowledge is the only motivation of action and thus being free from the influence of all dualities such as attraction and repulsion, happiness and distress, such a yogi is not subject to likes and dislikes and is free from samsara or the cycle of birth and death easily without effort.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 3 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 3

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