Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 4.18, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 18 from the chapter 4 called “Jnana-Yoga (Yoga through Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 4.18:

कर्मण्य् अकर्म यः पश्येद् अकर्मणि च कर्म यः ।
स बुद्धिमान् मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्न-कर्म-कृत् ॥ १८ ॥

karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ |
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt || 18 ||

karmaṇi–within action; akarma–inaction; yaḥ–who; paśyet–can see; akarmaṇi–within inaction; ca–and; karma–action; yaḥ–who; saḥ–that; buddhimān–intelligent person; manuṣyeṣu–among mankind; saḥ–he; yuktaḥyogī; kṛtsna-karma–of all activities; kṛt–the performer.

One who sees action in inaction and inaction in action is truly wise among men. He is a yogī and transcendentally situated, even though he performs all sorts of activities.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Of the three types of action, the tattva of action and inaction is explained in this verse beginning with the word karmaṇi. Personalities such as Janaka Mahārāja, who were pure in heart, did not take sannyāsa, even though they were endowed with jñāna. Instead, they performed non-action (akarma) by selflessly offering the fruit of their activity to Bhagavān (niṣkāma-karma-yoga). Those who can see that this is not really action (karma) are themselves not bound by karma. A karma-sannyāsī whose heart is impure, who lacks real knowledge, and who possesses a mere intellectual knowledge of the scriptures, can only deliver exalted speeches. But those who can see action in the non-action of such sannyāsīs, and who realize that bondage to action, or karma, only leads to a miserable destination, are actually wise.

The pure-hearted person mentioned above performs all types of karma but does not completely reject the performance of prescribed duties, meaning he does not accept karma-sannyāsa. On the other hand, there are so-called karma-sannyāsīs who consider themselves to be knowledgeable but who are actually proud and garrulous. They do not seek higher association or follow the instructions of the scriptures; rather they only praise themselves. Those impure-hearted persons suffer miserably.

Śrī Bhagavān has also said:

yas tv asaṃyata-ṣaḍ-vargaḥ pracaṇḍendriya-sārathiḥ
jñāna-vairāgya-rahitas tri-daṇḍam upajīvati
surān ātmānam ātma-sthaṃ nihnute māṃ ca dharma-hā
avipakva-kaṣāyo’smād amuṣmāc ca vihīyate

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.18.40–41)

Sometimes, a person who is bereft of real knowledge and renunciation makes a show of accepting tridaṇḍa, the symbol of sannyāsa, to maintain his life. This is condemned if his intelligence, which should direct the senses, is instead controlled by the fiercely strong senses and by the six invincible enemies (lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy). Such a person is the killer of his own soul. Completely immersed in endless material desires, he denies the worshipable demigods, his own self and even Me, who am situated within his heart. Thus he is ruined both in this world and in the next.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

All karma performed by a niṣkāma-karma-yogī is inaction (akarma), in the form of karma-sannyāsa. Renunciation of the fruits of action constitutes his performance of niṣkāma-karma. Although niṣkāma-karma-yogīs perform all types of action, they are not considered karmīs, or fruitive workers. For them action and inaction are the same. On the other hand, so-called jñānīs who have artificially renounced their prescribed duties but whose conduct is poor due to their impure hearts, who are proud, and who praise themselves are condemnable.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: