guṇān etān atītya trīn
vimukto ’mṛtam aśnute
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 14.20
When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
How one can stay in the transcendental position, even in this body, in full Krishna consciousness, is explained in this verse. The Sanskrit word dehi means “embodied.” Although one is within this material body, by his advancement in spiritual knowledge he can be free from the influence of the modes of nature. He can enjoy the happiness of spiritual life even in this body because, after leaving this body, he is certainly going to the spiritual sky. But even in this body he can enjoy spiritual happiness. In other words, devotional service in Krishna consciousness is the sign of liberation from material entanglement, and this will be explained in the Eighteenth Chapter. When one is freed from the influence of the modes of material nature, he enters into devotional service.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
That person is beyond the gunas. That is explained in this verse.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
14.20 The embodied self — ‘crossing beyond these three Gunas,’ the Sattva and the rest, which ‘arise in the body,’ i.e., spring from Prakrti transformed into the form of the body — perceives the self as different from the Gunas and as of the form of knowledge only. Released thus from birth, death, old age and sorrow, It experiences the immortal self. This is what is meant by My likeness. Arjuna now wants to know about the characteristics of one who has transcended the Gunas and the means of such transcendence:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Thus by the cessation of all attachments and attractions associated with the three gunas or modes of material nature one transcends them along with the three evils of birth, old age and death one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence. Then the jiva or embodied being released from the transitory physical body attains an immortal spiritual body capable of associating with the Supreme Lord Krishna eternally.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Having transcended material existence in one’s physical body in this very life through atma tattva or realisation ot the immortal soul within the etheric heart. One effortlessly rises above the three gunas or modes of material nature no longer influenced by them. Lord Krishna confirms that when this transpires one is eternally freed from birth, old age, disease and death as well as all the effects of material nature and qualifies to enter the immortal spiritual realms forever in association with Him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
14.20 Atitya, having transcended, having gone beyond-even while living; etan, these; trin, three; gunan, qualities as have been described, which constitute the limiting adjunct Maya; and dehasamudbhavan, which are the origin of the body, which are the seed of the birth of the body; dehi, the embodied one, the enlightened one; vimuktah, becoming free-even in this life; janma-mrtyu-jara-duhkhaih, from birth death, old age and sorrow; asnute, experiences; [Some translate this as ‘attains’.-Tr.] amrtam, Immortality. In this way he attains My nature. This is the idea. Getting a clue to a question from the statement that one experiences Immortality, even in this life, by going beyond the qualities-
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:
gunan etan atitya trin
vimukto ’mrtam asnute
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
guṇān — qualities; etān — all these; atītya — transcending; trīn — three; dehī — the embodied; deha — the body; samudbhavān — produced of; janma — of birth; mṛtyu — death; jarā — and old age; duḥkhaiḥ — the distresses; vimuktaḥ — being freed from; amṛtam — nectar; aśnute — he enjoys.