Chapter 5Action and RenunciationVerse 8, 9


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

That there is no contradiction in the statement that the follower of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without desire even though performing various activities is not affected or influenced is being clarified by Lord Krishna in these two verses. One engaged is this process of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness perceives themselves as separate from the activities of the body and that the senses reside in the very sense objects desired. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting are the functions of the organs of knowledge the eyes, ears, hands, nose and tongue. Moving is the function of legs, speaking the function of the mouth, sleeping the function of the mind, breathing the function of the vital force. So these are the distinctions which separate the body from the individual consciousness and thus it is not contradictory that one understands that one is not the doer of any action. The knowers of the Brahman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence being free from all conceptions of doership are not subject to reactions from their actions although performing so many activities. The Vedanta Sutra VI.I.XVI states that when knowledge of the Brahman is realised the result is the permanent eradication of all previous reactions and the inability to receive reactions for any subsequent actions. This is known because it is so declared many places in the Vedic scriptures one being the Mundaka Upanisad II.VIII.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Lord Krishna further clarifies renunciation in these two verses.

Now begins the summation.

How renunciation can become the form of equanimity is explained in these two verses. Energised solely by the all encompassing and pervading energy of the Supreme Lord a beings mind and body become active. The knowledge that no being is ever independent of the Supreme Lord is verily an essential and eternal truth.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

One who has realised the nature of the atma or soul knows the true nature of reality. Such a person reflects that through the senses of perception such as eyes and ears, the senses of action such as the voice, the pranas or life breaths, the physical body functions with all its corresponding objects; but factually I am separate as an individual consciousness from all these activities and virtually do not do any of these actions. The conception of doership is derived from contact with the senses which a living entity is coerced to accept from time immemorial due to past actions in past lives. But this doership is not an essential attribute of the atma and thus it is not necessary to accept. So I shall not accept it as being my essential nature. Thus does one situated in atma tattva or soul realisation reflect.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

How would the performer of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities without attachment who has achieved atma tattva or realisation of the soul behave? Lord Krishna replies to this in these two verses. The yogi or one following the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness comprehends the reality that all bodily functions along with the senses are functioning independently and thus one is not subject to conceptions of doership. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching are the functions of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. When the eyes open and close does one think they are the opener and closer? In this way one should think for all actions one performs. Moving is the function of the legs, speaking of the mouth, pleasure of the generating organs and so forth. Breathing is a function of the vital force and includes all others as it sustains the entire body. Lord Krishna explains this exposition in the way of artha-krama or where the order of the meaning is more potent than patha-krama or textual position. The purport is that one should live their life free from the ego of I-ness and my-ness and conceptions of doership, knowing that all actions are the functions of the organs and senses and are independent from the individual consciousness.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 5, verse 8, 9 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 8, 9

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