rajo rāgātmakaḿ viddhi
tan nibadhnāti kaunteya
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 14.7
The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The mode of passion is characterized by the attraction between man and woman. Woman has attraction for man, and man has attraction for woman. This is called the mode of passion. And when the mode of passion is increased, one develops the hankering for material enjoyment. He wants to enjoy sense gratification. For sense gratification, a man in the mode of passion wants some honor in society, or in the nation, and he wants to have a happy family, with nice children, wife and house. These are the products of the mode of passion. As long as one is hankering after these things, he has to work very hard. Therefore it is clearly stated here that he becomes associated with the fruits of his activities and thus becomes bound by such activities. In order to please his wife, children and society and to keep up his prestige, one has to work. Therefore, the whole material world is more or less in the mode of passion. Modern civilization is considered to be advanced in the standard of the mode of passion. Formerly, the advanced condition was considered to be in the mode of goodness. If there is no liberation for those in the mode of goodness, what to speak of those who are entangled in the mode of passion?
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Know that raja guna consists of attachment (ragatmakam). When one does not obtain ones desired objects, one develops desire (trsna), and when one obtains one objects, one develops attachment (sanga). Raja guna gives rise to these two. Raja guna binds up the soul (dehinam) by attachment (sangena) to actions, in quest of present and future goals. Attachment to action arises by desire and attachment (trsna and sanga).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
14.7 Rajas is of the nature of passion, namely, it causes sexual desire. ‘Passion’ (Raga) is mutual yearning between a man and a woman. ‘Springing from thirst and attachment’ means it is the source of sensuality and attachment. ‘Trsna’, (thirst, sensuality) is the longing for all sense-objects, such as sound etc. ‘Sanga’ (attachment) is the inordinate longing for union with one’s sons, friends and such other relations. By creating longing for actions, it binds the embodied self. Whatever actions have been begun by the self from longiing for sensual enjoyments, they become the cause of births in bodies that constitute the means for experiencing such enjoyments. Therefore Rajas binds the embodied self through attachment to actions. What is said is this: Rajas is the cause of sexuality, sensuality and attachment, and of constant engagement in actions.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The binding nature of rajas or mode of passion and its characteristics are now stated by Lord Krishna. It should be understood that rajas is the root of sense gratification and lust. Therefore rajas is the source of desire and attachment. Desire is hankering for that which is yet to be experienced and attachment is the obsession to have that which has been experienced already. By instigating and increasing the propensity to continuously perform actions rajas binds the jiva or embodied being tightly in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death due to accute desire and attachment to enjoy apparent and inapparent results.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Because of attraction the attachment to craving binds by becoming incessant and insatiable.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Here Lord Krishna explains raja guna or the mode of passion and describes how it binds the jiva or embodied being to material existence. The quality of passion gives the impetus to perform activities for the desire of sense gratification and identifying in the mind such sense objects to be enjoyed by the senses. Desire is the hankering for the acquisition of objects to be acquired and attachment is obsession for objects that have already been acquired. This rajas tightly binds the jiva through incessant readiness to perform actions to satisfy desires and attachment to the lure of perceived and unperceived results for such actions.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
14.7 Viddhi, know; rajas to be ragatmakam, of the nature of passion (-raga is derived in the sense of that which colours-), having the property of colouring, like the ochre pigment etc.; trsna-asanga-samud-bhavam, born of hankering and attachment-hankering is the longing for things not acquired; attachment is the clining-of the nature of fondness-of the mind to things in possession. O son of Kunti, tat, that, that rajas; nibadhnati, binds; dehinam, the embodied one; karma-sangena, through attachment to actions. Deep involvement in actions related to seen or unseen objects is karmasangah. Rajas binds through that.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
14.6-8 Tatra etc. upto Bharata. The Sattva is dirtless. [Source of craving-attachment] : that from which the attachment of craving springs up. Negligence : wasting the human birth which is difficult to get, but got by means of hundreds of merits accumulated for a very long period, and which is the sole means for attaining emancipation. That has been also said- ‘Not even a single moment of life is gained by (spending] all the gems. [Hence], he, who wastes it, is a man of negligence and is the lowest of men’. Laziness : i.e., in doing good deeds. Sleep : being poor totally i.e. a contemptible course.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
rajo ragatmakam viddhi
tan nibadhnati kaunteya
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
rajaḥ — the mode of passion; rāga-ātmakam — born of desire or lust; viddhi — know; tṛṣṇā — with hankering; sańga — association; samudbhavam — produced of; tat — that; nibadhnāti — binds; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; karma-sańgena — by association with fruitive activity; dehinam — the embodied.