Chapter 18Final Revelations of the Ultimate TruthVerse 11


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

It may be postulated that better than renunciation of the rewards of actions, it is better to simply renounce all actions; for then there is no distraction from meditation and contemplation and one can unhindered attain the joy of a stable, steadfast state of consciousness. In anticipation of this Lord Krishna explains the reality that no living entity can completely stop all actions entirely. No one ever remains inactive even for a moment as the heart is beating, the lungs are breathing, the pulse is pulsing, the eyes are blinking, the mind is reflecting, etc. etc. Therefore renouncing the desire for rewards is true renunciation.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Lord Krishna explains that since it is impossible for any living entity to completely renounce actions entirely it is clear that renunciation of the desire for rewards of actions and all ego sense as the doer of actions is actual renunciation and not the mere cessation of activities.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

It should be clearly understood that whether confined to a physical body or a subtle body it is virtually impossible to entirely give up all action completely. In the physical body the heart is beating, the lungs are breathing, water must be drunk, some form of nourishment must be ingested. If it is a subtle body then sunshine must be absorbed or prana or energy must be assimilated. These things are indispensable for life in a physical or subtle body. Thus while residing in a physical body the observance of prescribed Vedic activities are essential and must be performed. It is the renouncing of desires for the rewards of actions that is factual renunciation and not the mere abandoning of activities. Such renunciation also includes idea of authorship and the bane of attachment. It may be argued that prescribed Vedic activities have rewards automatically associated with them such as entry to Svarga the heavenly planets so by such inseparable relationships they are clear incentives. This is also applicable to the merits accrued from nitya or daily duties and naimittika or occasional duties as well. These actions can be compared to planting a mango tree and the fruits can be considered the rewards thereof. But motivation for the rewards of actions opposed to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna and is inimical to moksa or liberation from material existence. Verily this is true. So all rewards whether or not desirable or undesirable must be renounced as only activities performed without motive and hankering for rewards are to be enacted and this is actual renunciation.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Some may conclude that if those imbued with sattva guna or the mode of goodness neither welcomes nor avoids actions conducive to happiness or unhappiness, then they should not indulge in any activities at all because anyway they are not desirous of rewards. Contrarily the very same activities if they are motivated by desire for rewards keep one enslaved in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. So to be safe it would be better to abandon all actions. Lord Krishna resolves this predicament in this verse by confirming that it is impossible for any jiva or embodied being in a gross or subtle body to completely stop all actions entirely. This is because there is always some activitiy operating for the maintenance of the subtle and physical body even if it is beyond the threshold of comsciousness. So in conclusion one who has relinquished the desire for rewards for their actions performing prescribed Vedic activities with bhakti or exclusive loving devotion or performing them as a matter of duty is designated as situated in actual renunciation and not the mere abstainer of actions.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 18, verse 11 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 11

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