na dveṣṭy akuśalaḿ karma
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.10
The intelligent renouncer situated in the mode of goodness, neither hateful of inauspicious work nor attached to auspicious work, has no doubts about work.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
A person in Krishna consciousness or in the mode of goodness does not hate anyone or anything which troubles his body. He does work in the proper place and at the proper time without fearing the troublesome effects of his duty. Such a person situated in transcendence should be understood to be most intelligent and beyond all doubts in his activities.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This verse describes the characteristics of one fixed in such sattvika tyaga. Akusalam means those activities, which bring suffering to the body, such as bathing during the winter. Kusala means those activities, which are pleasurable for the body, such as bathing during the summer.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.10 Thus, ‘filled with Sattva,’ endowed with right knowledge, i.e., with the knowledge of the reality as it is, and as a consequence of it ‘having all doubts shattered’ — he alone becomes a renouncer of attachment to work and the fruits of work. He ‘neither hates works productive of harmful effects,’ nor ‘loves others productive of worldly prosperity.’ Disagreeable acts are fraught with undesirable fruits; and agreeable acts bring about desirable results such as heaven, sons, cows, food etc. On account of his renouncing all results other than the Brahman and on account of his renouncing the sense of agency, he shows neither love nor hatred for above-mentioned types of works. Here ‘sinful acts having undesirable fruits’ are only such acts as are inadvertently performed. For it has been taught in the Srutis that nor turning away from bad conduct is antagonistic to the production of knowledge. ‘But one who has not ceased from bad conduct, who is not tranquil, is not composed, is not of peaceful mind, cannot obtain Him by knowledge’ (Ka. U., 1.2.24). Thus, ‘the abandonment’ according to the Sastras is renunciation of the sense of agency, attachment and fruits of actions, and not total relinquishment of actions as such. He explains this further:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The characteristics of one well established by renunciation in sattva guna or the mode of goodness is that they are permeated and saturated through and through with goodness. They are neither ruffled by disagreeable duties such as taking predawn bath in the cold of winter nor do they relish agreeable duties such as taking noon bath in the heat of summer. The reason is that the mentality of such a one is constant and steady and discriminative even if criticised and humiliated by others due to misunderstanding their state of equipoise endures. Those situated in sattva guna have even renounced the pleasures of heaven and the desire for liberation so what to say of paltry subjections to the painful and the temporary influence of the pleasurable? Therefore any doubts or queries due to incorrect understanding in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities regarding bodily comfort and bodily discomfort has been conclusively resolved.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The qualified aspirant would never shun or disregard prescribed Vedic activities merely because they contained an element of discomfort or difficulty. Such a qualified one would simply look at it as tapah or penance because the merit of meritorious austerities performed over the course of many lives are not to be wasted in the temporary enjoyments of the heavenly planets. The qualified aspirant who knows the fundamental principles of karma or reactions to actions and bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord, joyfully surrender all their actions without any desire for rewards for the satisfaction of Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures. In this way one is not enslaved into bondage by karma because prescribed Vedic activities unto the Supreme Lord do not incur or accrue any karma whatsoever at any time in any situation or circumstance.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna explains that the aspirant who is imbued and saturated with sattva guna the mode of goodness has achieved spiritual knowledge by renunciation and possess discrimination regarding spirit and matter. The word medhavi means superior intelligence, which bequeathes upon one the faculty of retentive focus which gives the ability to comprehend the ultimate truth through any experience. Such a one neither abhors that which is undesirable nor seeks that which is desirable. Such a one does not avoid prescribed Vedic activities because they may cause discomfort such as: predawn bath daily in the cold of winter or following ekadasi by fasting from all grains on the 11th day of the waxing and waning moons and staying up all night chanting sacred incantations and meditating, etc. Such a one never gets attached to that which gives comfort and a sense of well being such as eating rich vegetarian foods, enjoying the pleasantness of beautiful environments, etc. The purport is that such a one is prepared to undergo comfort or discomfort in executing prescribed Vedic activities without attachment.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.10 Na devesti, he does not hate; akusalam, unbefitting; karma, action, rites and duties meant for desired results-with the idea, ‘What is the usefulness of this which is a cause of transmigration through fresh embodiment?’ Na anusajjate, he does not become attached to; kusale, befitting activity, daily obligatory duties, by thinking that this is the cause of Liberation by virtue of its being the cause of purification of the mind, rise of Knowledge and steadfastness in it. That is to say, he does not entertain any liking even for it, because he finds no purpose in it. Who, again, is he? Tyagi, the man of renunciation, who has become so by having given up attachment and rewards of action in the manner stated above. He is a tyagi who performs nityakarmas by relinquishing attachment to those acts and (their) results. Again, it is being stated as to when that person does not hate an unbefitting act and does not become attached to a befitting activity: When he has become sattva-samavistah, imbued with sattva, i.e., when he is filled with, possessed of, sattva, which is the means to the knowledge that discriminates between the Self and the not-Self; and hence medhavi, wise-endowed with intelligence (medha), intuitive experience, characterized as knowledge of the Self; one possessed of that is medhavai (wise)-; and owing to the very fact of being wise, chinnasamsayah, freed from doubts-one whose doubts created by ignorance have been sundered, one who is freed from doubts by his firm conviction that nothing but abiding in the ture nature of the Self is the supreme means to the highest Good. The person competent (for rites and duties) who, having gradually become purified in mind through the practice of Karma-yoga in the way described above, has realized as his own Self the actionless Self, which is devoid of modifications like birth etc., he, ‘…having given up all actions mentally, remaining at without doing or causing (others) to do anything at all’ (cf. 5.13), attains steadfastness in Knowledge, which is characterized as ‘actionless-ness’. In this way, the purpose of the aforesaid Karma-yoga has been stated through the present verse. On the other hand, since, for the unenlightened person-who, while being qualified (for rites and duties), holds on to the body owing to the erroneous conception that the body is the Self, and who has the firm conviction, ‘I am the agent,’ because of the persistence of his idea that the Self is the agent-it is not possible to renounce actions totally, therefore he has competence only for performing enjoined duties by giving up fruits of actions. But he is not to renounce them (actions). In order to point out this idea the Lord says:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
18.4-11 Niscayam etc. upto abhidhiyate. The conclusion here is this : Due to the manifoldness of the nature of the Strands, that have been defined earlier, the act of relinquishment itself is performed with a certain mental disposition which is a modification of the Sattva, the Rajas and the Tamas (the Strands). Because it reflects (is contaminated by) the nature of the person having the same (the said mental dispositon), what is called the real (unalloyed) relinquishment is the performance of the actions by the knowers of the Supreme Brahman by giving up desire to achieve fruits and by avoiding the craving and hatred on account of their equanimity to [the pairs of opposites like] success and failure etc. That is why [the Bhagavat] says : ‘By the act of relinquishment born of the Rajas or of the Tamas (Strands), no connection with the fruit [of relinquishment] is attained’. However, for an act of relinquishing, born of the Sattva (Strand), there is the fruit in the form of honouring the purport of the scriptures. The application of the term ‘relinquishment’ stands to reason, in fact, only in the case of a sage who has relinquished his holding on the multitude of the Strands.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na dvesty akusalam karma
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — never; dveṣṭi — hates; akuśalam — inauspicious; karma — work; kuśale — in the auspicious; na — nor; anuṣajjate — becomes attached; tyāgī — the renouncer; sattva — in goodness; samāviṣṭaḥ — absorbed; medhāvī — intelligent; chinna — having cut off; saḿśayaḥ — all doubts.