Chapter 18Final Revelations of the Ultimate TruthVerse 17


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

Now the question which may arise in the minds of the spiritually intelligent is that being appraised of the pervasive scope of actions who is the sagacious person who cannot be tainted by actions? Lord Krishna addresses this question by stating that one who is free from the notion of I is free from the conception of I am the doer. In other words free from ideas of egoism which regard the body as the self and considers the self as the controller due to the performance of actions within the physical body one is untainted by all actions. Therefore one whose understanding is refined due to not being polluted by attachment to any action and without considering any action as agreeable or disagreeable is never tainted or influenced by any action. Such an evolved jiva or embodied being has realised that the atma or immortal soul as distinctly different from the physical body and immersed in this consciousness of relating solely to the atma thus perceives within themselves as performing no action; neither is such a jiva bound to any karma or reactions from any actions. Therefore due to internal purification of consciousness and intuitive realisation that perceives all activities of the mind, speech and body in relationship to the transcendental atma one is not bound by the restrictions of material nature. What to say of one who dedicates their mind, speech and body to the Supreme Lord. It has been confirmed by Lord Krishna long before in chapter 5, verse 10 that one who offers all there actions unto the Supreme Lord are not tainted by pious or sinful reactions.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

One who by knowledge has determined that they are not the actual performer of any action are not bound by the karma or reactions to any action. Only one who thinks that they are the physical body and the performer of actions are bound to the karma of actions.

Now begins the summation.

Realising that the Supreme Lord Krishna only is independent and it is He upon whom all others depend upon and that the jiva or embodied being is never independent under any circumstances in any stage of existence are aware that all jivas according to tartamya or gradation from Brahma the secondary creator who is the most evolved being in material creation down to an insignificant ant are perishable along with material existence itself. Whereas those who are unaware of their total dependence upon the Supreme Lord Krishna for their very existence come to possess the characteristics of demons born to perpetrate destruction. They are never receptive to the ultimate truth of the Vedic scriptures, neither are they performers of righteousness, nor are they ever entitled to moksa or freedom from material existence and samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. One who is conscious that they are fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord will not be affected by any defects for they will not possess the attitude that they are the doer of anything. This is the special dispensation that such consciousness bequeaths. Whose intellect is not polluted refers to those cognisant who fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord perform actions without attachment according to their prescribed duty in varnasrama the Vedic social structure of society. Those who imagine themselves independent of the Supreme Lord even if performing prescribed duties cannot be considered fully righteous due to their ignorance of Him. Hence there will be some defects and demerits accrued in their activities.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The word ahankarah means the ego and refers to one who thinks themselves the doer of actions. It is an erroneous figment of the mind that illusorily attaches itself to one's own self the conviction that: I myself am doing such and such action. This false notion arises out of identification with the false ego and infatuation to a bodily conception. Such notion and conceptions are completely absent in those of spiritual intelligence who have surrendered themselves to the Supreme Lord. The words na lipyate means not attached to the rewards of actions. Since one of spiritual intelligence understands that they are never independent they realise that the rewards from their actions is not of their concern. Hence they do not consider themselves the doer and are solely dependent upon the Supreme Lord. Whose intelligence has been refined in this manner is known to be purified and untainted. The inference is that although one may perform innumerable activities they perform them not because they are bereft of considering themselves the doer they are not subject to be a recipient to receive the consequent merits or demerits resulting from any action. This highly evolved consciousness of being fully dependent upon the Supreme Lord and never considering oneself as the doer of any action arises out of a jiva or embodied being prevalence of sattva guna the mode of goodness. Therefore it is a virtuous trait and worthy of acquisition to be cultured and implemented. Next the differentiation of actions resulting from interaction and influences of the three gunas or modes of material nature will be examined by Lord Krishna in detail to illustrate from where the inducement and incentive to perform actions arises.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Thus after describing that the indiscrimate and unfortunate jiva or embodied being who think of themselves merely as a material body and erroneously believe they are the independent doer of actions are ignorant and of perverse, distorted understanding that pollutes their mentality. Whereas a person bereft of egoism possessed of proper understanding is not tainted with the evil consequence of karma which binds one so perniciously to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. One whose mind has been purified through association with the Vaisnvas and instructions from the Vedic scriptures from hearing the words of the Vaisnava spiritual master no longer consider themselves the doer of actions nor are they ever attached to the desire of rewards for their actions. Such evolved beings have resolved that everything is completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord who is sustaining and energising everything and is the sole isvara the controller of all existence. Thus one has no conceptions of I will do or this is mine or I will achieve, etc. and so forth. One who has achieved the true nature of the atma the immortal soul automatically realises their eternal connection to the Supreme Lord Krishna. Such a blessd one is not affected by material activities or influenced by worldly conceptions. If a situation arises on its own accord where such a one must perform actions they never think of themselves as the doer but consider that the Supreme Lord is the doer of everything. Thus they are not fettered to actions and subsequently are not coerced to accept the resultant karma which forces one to experience the merits or demerits of actions.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 18, verse 17 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 17

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