tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tad iha proktaḿ
rājasaḿ calam adhruvam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 17.18
Penance performed out of pride and for the sake of gaining respect, honor and worship is said to be in the mode of passion. It is neither stable nor permanent.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Sometimes penance and austerity are executed to attract people and receive honor, respect and worship from others. Persons in the mode of passion arrange to be worshiped by subordinates and let them wash their feet and offer riches. Such arrangements artificially made by the performance of penances are considered to be in the mode of passion. The results are temporary; they can be continued for some time, but they are not permanent.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The austerity performed with ostentation, for the purpose of verbal respect by others who will say he is a great man, for the purpose of gaining bodily respect from others by having them stand up when he approaches, and for the purpose of gaining mental respect from others which will manifest in the future as gifts of money and other things, is rajasic austerity. Its results are very temporary (calam) if they appear at all, and uncertain (adhruvam) that they will appear.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
17.18 ‘Respect’ means recognition by others. ‘Praise’ means verbal adulation. ‘Reverence’ means corporeal actions such as prostration etc. That austerity, practised with expectation of rewards like respect, etc., mentioned above — it is here said to be Rajasa. It is unsteady and impermanent, because of the temporary nature of its rewards like heaven etc.; ‘unsteadiness’ is the result of the fear of falling. ‘Impermanent’ means the tendency to perish.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Here Lord Krishna commences with tapah or austerities that exemplify raja guna the mode of passion. The occasional enacting of ostentatious austerities for the hope of receiving praise, salutations and acclamation with a covert desire for prestige, honour and wealth results in rewards that are temporary, unstable and transient. Even if following perfectly the ordinances and injunctions of the Vedic scriptures such austerities are merely situated in raja 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 now describes austerities characterised by raja guna the mode of passion. Austerities that are enacted for the sake of gaining recognition and garnering praise and respect from others, that are enacted to receive adulation and adoration and whose enactment is ostentatious and pretentious are situated in raja guna and whatever results derived are uncertain, unstable and temporary.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
17.18 Yat, that; tapah, austerity; which is kriyate, undertaken; satkara-mana-pujartham, for earning a name, being honoured and worshipped-for earning a name, (i.e.) for being spoken of thus: ‘This Brahmana, who is given to austerity, is pious’; for being honoured by (others’) standing up respectfully, salutation, etc.; for being worshipped with washing of feet, adoration, feeding, etc.; for these-; ca eva, and also, (that) austerity which is performed dambhena, ostentatiously; tat, that; proktam, is spoken of; as rajasam, born of rajas; iha, belonging to this world; [i.e. yielding fruits only in this world.] calam, uncertain-its result being unpredictable; and adhruvam, transitory.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
17.17-19 Sraddhaya etc. upto tamasam udahrtam. There is faith in all the three-fold austerity. the faith of a man of the Sattva is full of austerity itself. The faith of a man of the Rajas is in the Rajas i.e, showing (or hyprocricy) etc. But, the faith (or desire) of a man well established in the Tamas is merely in ruining others. Thus the sage speaks of all the three-fold austerity practised with faith.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tapo dambhena caiva yat
kriyate tad iha proktam
rajasam calam adhruvam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
sat-kāra — respect; māna — honor; pūjā — and worship; artham — for the sake of; tapaḥ — austerity; dambhena — with pride; ca — also; eva — certainly; yat — which; kriyate — is performed; tat — that; iha — in this world; proktam — is said; rājasam — in the mode of passion; calam — ﬂickering; adhruvam — temporary.