Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 4


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

So it can be understood that both karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desiring rewards includes renunciation of action as well when a person arrives at that realisation. Thus both paths can be practised in sequence according to a persons stage of spiritual development. The question of which one is factually superior is only applicable to the ignorant and misinformed as the discriminating and knowledgeable understand that the person who practices both thoroughly achieves the same result. The meaning Lord Krishna is intending is that they do not produce separate results.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Renunciation is certainly essential for the acquisition of spiritual wisdom which has been stated in Vedic scriptures as being impossible to acquire for one who is unable to relinquish enjoying the objects of the senses. If this is the case then how can it be assumed that renunciation is inferior to karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities. Therefore Lord Krishna is explaining that both are inherent in each other and not contradictory. One who observes a yagna or offerings of worship to propitiate the Supreme Lord and experiencing the smoke arising from the ghee and seed grains offered to the fire reflects that the yagna is not sanctified due to its being performed for desires of the rewards upon its completion. But for the same yagna being performed without desires but solely for the propitiation of the Supreme Lord is considered the highest wisdom. Those that think otherwise are not conversant with the Vedic scriptures and thus their speculations do not need to be considered.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

They are misinformed and not conversant with Vedic scriptures who think that karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities and jnana yoga the renunciation of rewards of actions by the cultivation Vedic knowledge give different results and do not both award atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Although karma yoga may go through the path of jnana yoga it may also independently achieve atma tattva by its own merit. So as long as an aspirant firmly adopts either path with determination they are assured of success. This is further expanded by Lord Krishna in the next verse.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

How renunciation can apply to the yogi or the follower of the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness who is performing karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities is being clarified here by Lord Krishna. The ignorant and uniformed mistakenly see these two paths as separate yielding divergent results; but this is not accepted by those who are self-realised as it has been seen that a person who determinedly follows either path achieves the same result.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 4 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 4

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