sattvaḿ sukhe sañjayati
rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata
jñānam āvṛtya tu tamaḥ
pramāde sañjayaty uta

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 14.9

O son of Bharata, the mode of goodness conditions one to happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance, covering one’s knowledge, binds one to madness.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

A person in the mode of goodness is satisfied by his work or intellectual pursuit, just as a philosopher, scientist or educator may be engaged in a particular field of knowledge and may be satisfied in that way. A man in the mode of passion may be engaged in fruitive activity; he owns as much as he can and spends for good causes. Sometimes he tries to open hospitals, give to charity institutions, etc. These are signs of one in the mode of passion. And the mode of ignorance covers knowledge. In the mode of ignorance, whatever one does is good neither for him nor for anyone.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

The Lord summarizes what he has just said in this verse. Sattva subjugates or binds the jiva who is attached to the happiness he has achieved from his actions. Rajas binds the jiva- who is attached to the actions he performs. Tamas binds the jiva who is inattentive to his works, and produces ignorance in him (jnanam avrtya).

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

14.9 Sattva mainly attaches one to pleasure. Rajas mainly attaches one to actions. But Tamas, veiling knowledge of true things and being the cause of false knowledge, mainly attaches one to actions which are contrary to those which ought to be done. The Sattva and other qualities evolve from the nature of Prakrti, developed into the form of the body. Owing to this fact that they have evolved out of the nature of Prakrti, they always co-exist in bodies at all time. How, then, can they cause effects which are mutually contrary? He replies:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

The predominating effect of sattva guna or mode of goodness is that it instils in the jiva or embodied being the attraction for happiness even though the seeds of misery and sorrow are also inherent. So sattva guna by such natural but strong attraction for happiness binds the jiva to material existence and raja guna the mode of passion binds one by the work and effort constantly undertaken to achieve such happiness and tama guna or mode of ignorance binds one to material existence by distorted delusions and perverted perceptions of knowledge even if heard from liberated beings. Tamas also manifests as neglecting the teachings of great liberated beings or by acting contrary to these teachings because such teachings differ from ones personal understanding. The word uta means and so forth and indicates that tamas binds one as well to lethargy listlessness and laziness.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Here Lord Krishna describes in brief the functional capacity of the three gunas which are sattva guna or the mode of goodness, raja guna or the mode of passion and tama guna or the mode of ignorance. The quality of sattva impels the mind to be attracted to happiness. Although there may be situations of pain and discomfort the overall tendency of the mind is to seek knowledge and experience joy. The quality of rajas activates the mind to be attracted to action. Although there may be situations of tranquility and calm the overall tendency is constant activity. The quality of tamas is obscuring and distorting knowledge even if instructed by the spiritual master. Such perversion causes the jiva or embodied being to commit degenerative activities that hinder it’s well being and blocks it’s own best interests.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

14.9 O scion of the Bharata dynasty, sattva, sanjayati, attaches one; sukhe, to happiness; rajas (-attaches is understood-) karmani, to action; tu, while; tamas, avrtya, covering up, veiling; jnanam, knowledge, the discrimination produced by sattva; sanjayati, leads pramade, to inadvertence; uta, also. Pramada means non-performance of a duty on hand. When do the qualities produce the effects stated above? That is being answered:

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

14.9-10 Sattvam etc. Rajah etc. Dominates fully i.e. sets [to work]. The Sattva flourishes by overpowering the Rajas and the Tamas. But, the Rajas [flourishes by overpowering] both the Sattva and the Tamas; and the Tamas [does so by overpowering] both the Sattva and the Rajas. That has been stated : ‘The Strands augment by overpowering each other’.

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

sattvam sukhe sañjayati
rajah karmani bharata
jñanam avrtya tu tamah
pramade sañjayaty uta

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

sattvam — the mode of goodness; sukhe — in happiness; sañjayati — binds; rajaḥ — the mode of passion; karmaṇi — in fruitive activity; bhārata — O son of Bharata; jñānam — knowledge; āvṛtya — covering; tu — but; tamaḥ — the mode of ignorance; pramāde — in madness; sañjayati — binds; uta — it is said.