|Chapter 18||Final Revelations of the Ultimate Truth||Verse 6|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Now the absolute conclusion is revealed that even prescribed Vedic activities which are sanctifying and purifying and are so essential are in fact to be performed as acts of devotion to the Supreme Lord without desire for recompense and without a sense of ego attached to them. They should be performed for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. If that consciousness has not been attained then they should be verily performed as a matter of duty. This is the best comprehensive conclusive view.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
The different classes of prescribed Vedic activities are delineated. The types of yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or austerities and danam or charity have been classified in the previous chapter according to the three gunas or modes of material nature. Yet here Lord Krishna emphasises that all these activities should be forthrightly performed and never given up because such activities are sanctifying and purifying. Only the desire for rewards for such activities should be abandoned and not the activity itself. If this were not true then there would be contradiction with the hallowed revelations of Vedavyasa who stated that: An aspirant whether a married householder, a forest dweller or mountain recluse who is striving for moksa or liberation from material existence must perform prescribed Vedic activities for their own best welfare and interests. Yagna is the form of acquired wisdom, tapah is the form of acquired faith and danam is the form of acquired fearlessness. So they all should be always performed. The purport is that no one can permanently avoid activity it is not possible, but everyone can give up the desire for rewards from activities and that is actual renunciation.
Now begins the summary.
One should sincerely offer charity to the Vaisnavas and Brahmins according to one's capacity. One should sincerely instruct spiritual knowledge to supplicants to the best of one's ability and one should perform personal austerities according to one's varnasrama or class and stage in life. A grihasta or householder of the vaisya or mercantile class has a different parameter for austerities then a brahmacari or celibate student of Vaisnava brahmanas or ordained spiritual order and their activities are very different. A ksatriya from the royal or warrior class may perform exceedingly extreme austerities such as fasting in desert heat or meditating in intense cold that would not appeal to a grihasta or brahmacari. Even a lowly sudra of the worker class may advance by doing some penance such as fasting and by speaking truthfully and serving the other three orders faithfully. Although one is born in various situations in life the true quality of a jiva or embodied being is inherent within and this is what determines one's actual character in life. This theme will be examined more by Madhvacarya's comments on verses 47 and 48.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Due to the fact that the performance of prescribed Vedic activities are sanctifying, purifying and lead to bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. They should be performed daily and during special occasions throughout the whole life until the moment of death as a matter of joy or a matter of duty without desiring any reward and without any sense of ego involved. This is the final and best conclusion.
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
It might be submitted by an erudite enquirer that Lord Krishna Himself has stated that karma or reactions to action leads to the bondage of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death so can how can actions be sanctifying and purifying. To answer this Lord Krishna assures that absolutely such prescribed Vedic activities such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or austerities and danam or charity to the Vaisnavas and Brahmins as well as daily obligatory duties must be performed with firm conviction and full faith in the injunctions and ordinances of the Vedic scriptures; or else demerits, offenses and contamination will be incurred. But although these activities are not to be abdicated they must be performed without any sense of ego as the doer and without even the slightest desire for rewards. This can be accomplished either as a matter of duty or for the exclusive satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures.