samaḥ śatrau ca mitre ca
santuṣṭo yena kenacit
bhaktimān me priyo naraḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 12.18-19
One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service—such a person is very dear to Me.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
A devotee is always free from all bad association. Sometimes one is praised and sometimes one is defamed; that is the nature of human society. But a devotee is always transcendental to artificial fame and infamy, distress or happiness. He is very patient. He does not speak of anything but the topics about Krishna; therefore he is called silent. Silent does not mean that one should not speak; silent means that one should not speak nonsense. One should speak only of essentials, and the most essential speech for the devotee is to speak for the sake of the Supreme Lord. A devotee is happy in all conditions; sometimes he may get very palatable foodstuffs, sometimes not, but he is satisfied. Nor does he care for any residential facility. He may sometimes live underneath a tree, and he may sometimes live in a very palatial building; he is attracted to neither. He is called fixed because he is fixed in his determination and knowledge. We may find some repetition in the descriptions of the qualifications of a devotee, but this is just to emphasize the fact that a devotee must acquire all these qualifications. Without good qualifications, one cannot be a pure devotee. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah: one who is not a devotee has no good qualification. One who wants to be recognized as a devotee should develop the good qualifications. Of course he does not extraneously endeavor to acquire these qualifications, but engagement in Krishna consciousness and devotional service automatically helps him develop them.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Aniketah means he is not attached to his material house.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
12.18 – 12.19 The absence of hate etc., towards foes, friends etc., has already been taught in the stanza beginning with, ‘He who never hates any being’ (11.13). What is now taught is that equanimity to be practised even when such persons mentioned above are present before one who is superior to those having a general equanimous temperament referred to earlier. Who has no ‘home’, namely, who is not attached to home, etc., as he possesses firmness of mind with regard to the self. Because of this, he is ‘same even in honour and dishonour.’ He who is devoted to Me and who is like this — he is dear to Me. Showing the superiority of Bhakti-Nistha over Atma-nistha, Sri Krsna now concludes in accordance with what is stated at the beginning of this chapter in Verse 2.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
13 One who is impartial to friend and foe alike and is free from the influence of dualities such as honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, who is unattached to anything other than bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to Lord Krishna, who is satisfied with what comes unsolicited of its own accord, who is firm in equanimity, of controlled speech and confidence in the teachings of the Vedic scriptures is very dear to Lord Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In the previous verse Lord Krishna speaks that His devotee who is subhasubha parityagi meaning fully renouncing the results of pious and impious actions and their derivatives of merits or demerits. The special attribute being parityagi or full renunciation. In this verse there may appear to be repetition in speaking of freedom from duality such as pleasure and pain, joy and grief, praise and censure etc. but this is to emphasise the equanimity that comes from renunciation. When something is repeated its importance is being asserted to emphasise its value and to remind His devotees that renunciation of the desire for rewards is essential.
Now begins the summation.
Full renunciation is renouncing the performance of all actions that do not support bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna. This can also mean renouncing all actions that do not please Lord Krishna. For example Lord Krishna is not pleased by pride but He is pleased by humility. He is not pleased by one who seeks recompense for their devotion to Him but He is pleased by one seeks no reward for their devotion to Him.
One who does not desire anything except bhakti is known as truly renouncing all actions and the results of all actions as both pious and impious activities result in karma or good and bad reactions from past actions.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
One who is impartial to friend and foe alike, free from the influence of passion and hatred as well as honour and disgrace, who remain balanced in heat and cold, pleasure and pain and is free from attachment to anything not supportive of bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna, who is given to silence being of controlled speech, is content with whatever comes along unsought by its own accord without attachment to a fixed residence, of sober and stable mind and determinate in the teachings of the Vedic scriptures, such a devotee of Lord Krishna is very dear to Him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
12.18 Samah, who is the same; satrau ca mitre, towards friend and foe; ca tatha, and so also; mana-apamanayoh, in honour and dishonour, in adoration and humiliation; who is the same sita-usna-sukha-duhkhesu, under cold, heat, happiness and sorrow; and sanga-vivar-jitah, free from attachment to everything; Moreover,
12.19 Narah, the person; tulya-ninda-stutih, to whom denunciation and praise are the same; mauni, who is silent, restrained in speech; santustah, content; yena-kenacit, with anything-for the mere maintenance of the body, as has been said in, ‘The gods know him to be a Brahmana who is clad by anyone whosoever’ (Mbh. Sa. 245.12); further, aniketah, he who is homeless, who has no fixed place of residence-‘without a home’ [ The whole verse is ‘He,however is certainly the knower of Liberation who has attachment neither for a hut, nor for water, nor cloth, nor the three places of pilgrimage, nor a home, nor a seat, nor food.’], as said in another Smrti; sthira-matih, steady-minded, whose thought is steady with regard to the Reality which is the supreme Goal; and bhaktiman, who is full of devotion-(he) is dear to Me. [There is a repeated mention of Bhakti in this Chapter because it is means to the Knowledge which leads to the supreme Goal.] The group of qualities of the monks who meditate on the Immutable, who have renounced all desires, who are steadfast in the knowledge of the supreme Goal-which (qualities) are under discussion beginning from ‘He who is not hateful towards any creature’ (13), is being concluded:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
12.15-20 Yasmat etc. upto Me priyah. One who has no fixed thought : One who has no resolution, [in his mundane life] like ‘This alone must be done by me’. He, who enjoys, with contentment, both pleasure and pain as they come, and has his mind completely absorbed in Supreme Lord – that person happily (or easily) attains the Supreme Isolation (Emancipation)
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
samah satrau ca mitre ca
santusto yena kenacit
bhaktiman me priyo narah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
samaḥ — equal; śatrau — to an enemy; ca — also; mitre — to a friend; ca — also; tathā — so; māna — in honor; apamānayoḥ — and dishonor; śīta — in cold; uṣṇa — heat; sukha — happiness; duḥkheṣu — and distress; samaḥ — equipoised; sańga-vivarjitaḥ — free from all association; tulya — equal; nindā — in defamation; stutiḥ — and repute; maunī — silent; santuṣṭaḥ — satisﬁed; yena kenacit — with anything; aniketaḥ — having no residence; sthira — ﬁxed; matiḥ — determination; bhakti-mān — engaged in devotion; me — to Me; priyaḥ — dear; naraḥ — a man.