nānyaḿ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraḿ
guṇebhyaś ca paraḿ vetti
mad-bhāvaḿ so ’dhigacchati
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 14.19
When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
One can transcend all the activities of the modes of material nature simply by understanding them properly by learning from the proper souls. The real spiritual master is Krishna, and He is imparting this spiritual knowledge to Arjuna. Similarly, it is from those who are fully in Krishna consciousness that one has to learn this science of activities in terms of the modes of nature. Otherwise, one’s life will be misdirected. By the instruction of a bona fide spiritual master, a living entity can know of his spiritual position, his material body, his senses, how he is entrapped, and how he is under the spell of the material modes of nature. He is helpless, being in the grip of these modes, but when he can see his real position, then he can attain to the transcendental platform, having the scope for spiritual life. Actually, the living entity is not the performer of different activities. He is forced to act because he is situated in a particular type of body, conducted by some particular mode of material nature. Unless one has the help of spiritual authority, he cannot understand in what position he is actually situated. With the association of a bona fide spiritual master, he can see his real position, and by such an understanding he can become fixed in full Krishna consciousness. A man in Krishna consciousness is not controlled by the spell of the material modes of nature. It has already been stated in the Seventh Chapter that one who has surrendered to Krishna is relieved from the activities of material nature. For one who is able to see things as they are, the influence of material nature gradually ceases.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Having shown the repeated births caused by association with the gunas, the Lord now shows liberation, which is beyond the gunas in two verses. When the jiva (drasta) does not observe any other doer than the gunas, which change into the form of agent, the action and the object; when he realizes that only the gunas are always the doers, and knows the soul is separate from the gunas; the jiva attains (adhigacchati) merging with me (mad bhavam). It should be understood from the second to last verse in this chapter that one must still perform bhakti even after practicing such jnana, in order to get this result.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
14.19 The seer has in the first place to totally subdue his Rajas and Tamas and stay in pure Sattva. This is accomplished through nourishment by Sattvika food and the performance of disinterested actions for the propitiation of the Lord. He then perceives ‘no agent of action other than the Gunas’ i.e., sees that the Gunas are themselves the agents according to their nature. Further he perceives what is ‘other than the Gunas,’ i.e., perceives the Gunas which are agents and the self who is not an agent of action. Such a seer attains to ‘My state,’ i.e., gains likeness with Me in transcending the three Gunas etc. The purport is this: The self, pure in nature by Itself, gains agency through varius actions by contact with the Gunas springing from past Karmas. When one perceives the self in this way, namely, that the self by Itself is no agent of actions and is of the nature of infinite knowledge, then It attains to My likeness. It is stated that one attains to the likeness of the Lord after perceiving the self as a non-agent and as other than the Gunas. What is meant by the state of likeness to the Lord? Sri Krsna now describes it:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Having briefly explained something about the many manifestations of the mundane worlds due to the conjunction of the three gunas or modes of material nature which arise from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence; Lord Krishna emphasises how moksa or liberation from material existence comes from careful discerment of them. The gunas have transformed themselves into the mind, intellect, etc- One should realise the fact that the gunas are actually performing all one’s actions and that the atma or immortal soul is different from and far beyond the gunas and is actually the monitor, the witness of all thoughts and actions. Such a person realising these thing attains the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
One who perceives the Supreme Lord as the one from where prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and the gunas the three modes of material nature arise from although distinct from Him. Know that He alone is the performer of all actions. Not only by observing that the Supreme Lord, the initiator of all actions is different from the gunas but also by seeing Him superior to everything such a one attains the consciousness of the Supreme Lord. The eternal consort of the Supreme Lord is Laxmi, the goddess of fortune known as Sri. A minute part of her is prakriti and so also is prakriti’s by products of sattva, rajas and tamas or goodness, passion and ignorance respectively. At the time of universal creation due to her great luminousity Sri is known as sat or eternal existence and because of her illumination Sri is known as tva. Sri is known as Bhu-devi the Earth because in the process of creation she is the creative enterprice and by this impulse Sri is also called Rajas. Since she manifests as the whole Earth Sri is known as Bhumi and by.her deluding potency which obscures the minds of the jivas or embodied beings she is known as Durga or Tamas. The unliberated humans are thus controlled by these three and the demigods are controlled directly by Sri herself and she binds them. Her expansions of Bhu-devi binds the humans and her expansion of Durga binds the demons to material existence. Yet if any of them by chance get the opportunity receive the mercy of a Vaisnava devotee of Lord Krishna and understand that He alone is the Supreme Lord of all, then they achieve moksa or liberation from material existence. The Visnu Purana states:That until the jiva or embodied being realises that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of all they remain like animals in human form. Thus the Supreme Lord Krishna should always be remembered and never forgotten.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Thus the definitions, characteristics, and types of bondage caused by the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature; which locks the jivas or embodied beings within the material existence has been definitively deleneated by Lord Krishna. All this was referring to His statement in chapter 13, verse 22 beginning purusa prakriti that the jivas infatuation with material nature is the sole cause of their imprisonment. But now He speaks of communion with Him, the ultimate attainment of all. In verse two of this chapter Healready revealed that those who take refuge in this knowledge He is giving achieve communion with Him. First one must engage themselves in eating only vegetarian foods which are in sattva guna or the mode of goodness and are beneficial for spiritual developement. Then one must rise above the qualities of raja guna or mode of passion which is full of desires and attachments and overcome the influence of tama guna or mode of ignorance which causes inertia, perverst and distorting reality. Then one will perceive that the three gunas are the doer and the motivating factors that impel the jivass to perform actions predicated upon samskaras or impulses from previous births. The atma or immortal soul is totally transcendental to prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and also of course to its by products the three gunas. In the state of bondage all actions are determined by the three gunas but they do not contaminate the jivas inherent eternal nature which is beyond them as their influence endures only as long as the activity lasts. When due to the predominance of sattva guna the heart finally becomes pure and tranquil the jiva by knowledge of atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul becomes detached from even the qualities of sattva guna which are unnecessary and such a one becomes established in the atma and free from the misery of samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
14.19 Yada, when; drasta, the witness, after becoming illumined; anupasyati, sees; na anyam, none other; gunebhyah, than the qualities that have transformed into the shape of body, orgnas and objects; kartaram,as the agent-(i.e.) he sees thus that the qualities themselves, in all their modes, are the agents of all activities; ca, and; vetti, knows; that which, standing as the witness of the activities of the qualities, is param, superior; gunebhyah, to the qualities; sah, he, the witness; adhigacchati, attains; madbhavam, My nature. How does he attain? That is being stated:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
14.16-20 Karmanah etc. upto asnute. Here, there are certain unconnected verses that have been concocted. They are of the nature of repetition, and hence they have to be necessarily rejected. A mode of life transcending these Strands turn to be nothing but emancipation.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
nanyam gunebhyah kartaram
gunebhyas ca param vetti
mad-bhavam so ’dhigacchati
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — no; anyam — other; guṇebhyaḥ — than the qualities; kartāram — performer; yadā — when; draṣṭā — a seer; anupaśyati — sees properly; guṇebhyaḥ — to the modes of nature; ca — and; param — transcendental; vetti — knows; mat-bhāvam — to My spiritual nature; saḥ — he; adhigacchati — is promoted.