satyaḿ priya-hitaḿ ca yat
vāń-mayaḿ tapa ucyate
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 17.15
Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
One should not speak in such a way as to agitate the minds of others. Of course, when a teacher speaks, he can speak the truth for the instruction of his students, but such a teacher should not speak to those who are not his students if he will agitate their minds. This is penance as far as talking is concerned. Besides that, one should not talk nonsense. The process of speaking in spiritual circles is to say something upheld by the scriptures. One should at once quote from scriptural authority to back up what he is saying. At the same time, such talk should be very pleasurable to the ear. By such discussions, one may derive the highest benefit and elevate human society. There is a limitless stock of Vedic literature, and one should study this. This is called penance of speech.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Anudvega karam means that in calling out to other persons who have done harm to oneself, one does not cause any disturbance to them.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
17.15 Verbal austerity consists in using words that do not hurt others, are true, are pleasing and are beneficial. It also involves studying scriptural texts.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Tapah or austerities of speech in sattva guna the mode of goodness are words that cause no worry or trepidation. Words that are truthful, encouraging and beneficial, giving an impetus for spiritual development and resulting in attraction to the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as well as proper recitation of Vedic mantras are all actions of speech in sattva guna.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna speaks of the austerity of speech as the recitation of the Vedas, Puranas, Upanisads, Ramayan, Mahabharata and others along with the chanting of Vedic mantras. Also speaking words that are totally truthful yet causes no offence to those addressed while speaking words that are pleasant to be heard as well as beneficial and gives satisfaction. All these are austerities of speech in sattva guna the mode of goodness.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
17.15 Yat, that; vakyam, speech; anudvegakaram, which causes no pain, which is not hurtful to creatures which is satyam, true; priya-hitam, agreeable and beneficial with regard to facts seen or unseen-. ‘Speech’ is qualified by characteristics such as being not hurtful, etc. The ca (and) is used for grouping together the qualifying characteristics. When a sentence is used in order to make another understand, if it happens to be avoid of one or two or three among the qualities-truthfulness, agreeability, beneficialness, and non-hurtfulness-, then it is not austerity of speech. As in the case of a truthful utterance there would occur a want of austerity of speech if it be lacking in one or two or three of the others, so also in the case of an agreeable utterance there would be no austerity of speech were it ot be without one or two or three of the others; and similarly, there would be no austerity of speech even in a beneficial utterance which is without one or two or three of the others. What, again, is that austerity (of speech)? That utterance which is true as also not hurtful, and is agreeable and beneficial, is the highest austerity of speech: As for example, the utterance, ‘Be calm, my boy. Practise study and yoga. Thereby you will gain the highest.’ Svadhyaya-abhyasanam, the practice of the study of scriptures, as is enjoined; ca eva, as well; ucyate, in said to be; tapah, austerity; vanmayam, of speech.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
17.14-16 Deva – etc. upto manasam ucyate : Honesty : uprightness, i.e., the courage regarding what needs no hiding. Which is true : This is explained by ‘Which is pleasant and beneficial’. Pleasant : at the time of [hearing] that speech. And beneficial : something in future. This type of speech, but not merely speaking what actually happened, is called ‘speaking the truth’. Purity of thought : ‘Thought’ denotes intention; its highest purity.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
satyam priya-hitam ca yat
van-mayam tapa ucyate
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
anudvega-karam — not agitating; vākyam — words; satyam — truthful; priya — dear; hitam — beneﬁcial; ca — also; yat — which; svādhyāya — of Vedic study; abhyasanam — practice; ca — also; eva — certainly; vāk-mayam — of the voice; tapaḥ — austerity; ucyate — is said to be.