aniṣṭam iṣṭaḿ miśraḿ ca
tri-vidhaḿ karmaṇaḥ phalam
bhavaty atyāgināḿ pretya
na tu sannyāsināḿ kvacit
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.12
For one who is not renounced, the threefold fruits of action—desirable, undesirable and mixed—accrue after death. But those who are in the renounced order of life have no such result to suffer or enjoy.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
A person in Krishna consciousness acting in knowledge of his relationship with Krishna is always liberated. Therefore he does not have to enjoy or suffer the results of his acts after death.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The fault of not following this process of tyaga is described. Those who do not renounce in the prescribed way get results in the form of suffering of hell (anistam), the pleasures of svarga (istam) and human birth (misram) in the next life (pretya).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.12 The ‘undesirable result’ is Naraka etc., ‘the desirable’ is heaven etc., ‘the mixed’ is sons, cows, food etc., which are combined with some undesirable results. Those who have not renounced, namely, those who are devoid of renunciation of agency, possessiveness and fruits — they meet with threefold consequences after death. The meaning of ‘after death’ (Pretya) may be understood as subsequent to the performance of actions. But ‘to those who have renounced, none whatsoever,’ viz., to those who have relinquished the sense of agency etc., no such results antagonistic to release accrue. Here the purport is this: Agnihotra, the great sacrifices etc. are obligatory throughout life and are required for attaining the objects of desire; but in regard to release their application is different. Though externally they appear to be the same in their nature in both the conditions, they are different in their fruits by virtue of difference in application. Their application to release is seen in such texts as ‘The Brahmanas desire to know Him by the study of the Vedas, by sacrifices, by gifts, by austerities conjoined with fasting’ (Br. U., 4.4.22). Here the performance of actions without sense of agency is enforced. Such giving up agency etc., are relevant only with regard to acts that are actually performed. Thus Sannyasa or renouncing of this kind is established in the Sastras. The same is also called Tyaga or giving up. Sri Krsna now explains the manner of realising that one is non-agent, by attributing all agency to God, who is the Supreme Person and the Inner Ruler, By cultivating this attitude, an aspirant can attain the renunciation of possessiveness with regard to actions and also their fruits. For it is the Supreme Person who performs all actions through the individual selves who belong to Him. The organs, bodies and Pranas of embodied beings are His. They exist for the sake of His own sport as the only purpose. Therefore, even the appeasement of hunger etc., and such other acts which affect the life of the individual souls and their works constitute only the means for accomplishing that purpose, namely, the sport of the Highest Purusa Himself. The purport of the argument is this: The analogy of seeds producing the tree and its fruits is not applicable to the actions of release-seekers. Their actions may look like those of fruit-seekers externally. But as mentally they do not entertain any such purpose, the consequence of their actions can be quite different. The purpose served by their actions is only affording sport for the Supreme Being.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The result of renunciation of the desire for rewards is being stated by Lord Krishna. The threefold results of actions are disagreeable such as birth in the hellish planets resulting from sinful activities. Agreeable such as birth in the heavenly planets resulting from virtuous activities and mixed which is birth as a human resulting from both sinful and virtuous activities. But these destinations are only awarded to those who have not fully engaged in renunciation. Those jivas or embodied beings who are full of desires, after death in their next life they get the opportunity to pursue these desires, but these limitations never apply to those situated in renunciation. The word sannyasinam means fully renounced and includes both those who abandon the desire for the rewards of actions as well as those who abandon all actions. The purport is that sinful activities that would propel one to hellish planets are impossible for the aspirant situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness and since whatever rewards they would receive for their virtuous actions have been renounced and offered to the Supreme Lord none of the threefold results of actions would have any effect or influence on them.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Renunciation is being praised and is beneficial for all humanity regardless of status or class. But merely renouncing actions is not sufficient. For those enlightened by the light of spiritual wisdom and those aspirants serious about moksa or liberation from material existence the desire for any rewards in the performance of prescribed Vedic activities have been completely abandoned. For them the only goal is the eternal bliss of attaining communion with the Supreme Lord which is their hearts desire. Such enlightened ones perform activities not for the expectation of any rewards but out of compassion for the benefit of all created beings. The word sannyasinam means totally renounced and this denotes that one never performs activities associated with desire even if they are for the benefit of others. Such sannyasi’s or celibate monks in the renounced order along with sages, ascetics, rishi’s and paramahamsa’s who have already surrendered everything to the Supreme Lord are no longer associated with desires as is a normal human being and thus they take action by inaction. They have terminated all karma or reactions to actions and have transcended samskara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. They exist aloof from the world both internally and externally and wholly devote themselves to atma tattva or realisation of the immortal soul and inner meditation on the Supreme Lord Krishna or any of His authorised incarnations and expansions as revealed in Vedic scriptures.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Others may speculate that just as milk products such as butter, cheese. cream and curds without thinking about them increasing the fat content of the body anyway increase bodily fat when eaten. Then likewise the performance of prescribed Vedic activities even without desire for any rewards would still yield rewards in the next life which would be obstacles in achieving moksa or liberation from material existence. So such aspirants should refrain from all actions. This conception is refuted by Lord Krishna as He clarifies that the result of those seeking rewards for actions are threefold. Those actions performed in righteousness are meritorious and they award birth in the heavenly spheres. Those actions performed unrighteously are unmeritorious leading to evil consequences and cause birth in the hellish planets and birth as animals. Those actions that are both a mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness cause one to take birth in the human realms. This applies only to those desirious of rewards for the actions they perform. For those who have renounced the desire for rewards completely they are not subject to the threefold births as there are no rewards for them to be attached to as obstacles for achieving moksa. Thus such righteous aspirants never indulge in unmeritorious conduct and hence no evil consequences are attached to them and as all their meritorious activities are already dedicated to the exclusive satifaction of the Supreme Lord, there is no possibilty of them being attached to their actions or any desire therof. So with this understanding there is no scope for any doubt about this matter.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.12 These trividham, threefold-of three kinds; phalam, results; karmanah, of actions characterized as the righteous and the unritheous; anistam, the undesirable, consisting in (birth in) hell, (among) animals, etc.; istam, the desirable, consisting in (birth as) gods and others; and misram, the mixed, having a mixture of the desirable and the undesirable, consisting in (birht as) human beings;-these results that are of these kinds, bhavati, accrues; pretya, after death, after the fall of the body; atyaginam, to those who do not resort to renunciation, to the unilllumined, the men with rites and duties, who are not men of renunciation in the truest sense. The derivative sense of the word phala (pha-la) is this: On accunt of being accomplished through the operation of diverse external accessories, and a result of ignorance, comparable to the charm cast by jugglery, a source of great delusion and appearing as though close to the indwelling Self, it is phalgu (unsubstantial), and as a consequence it undergoes layam (disappearance). (The result that is of this kind accrues to those who do not resort to renunciation). Tu, but; na kvacit, never; sannyasinam, to those who resort tomonasticism for the sake of the highest Reality, to the class of monks called paramahamsas who remain steadfast in Knowledge alone. For, it cannot be that those who are devoted wholly to steadfastness in complete enlightenment do not dig out the seed of transmigration. This is the meaning. Therefore it is only for those who have realized the supreme Truth that it is possible to become a monk who renounces actions totally, because action, accessories and results are superimmpositions on the Self through ignorance. But the renunciation of all actions is not possible for an unenlightened person who perceives the locus (the body etc.), action, agentship and accessories as the Self. This the Lord shows in the following verses:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
18.12 Anistam etc. To those who are not men of relinquishment : to those who are full of [desire for] fruit. Even at the stage of mundane life, where all the five factors do exist for actions, those persons, blind with their ignorance, obstinately burden their own Self with the entire load of agency. Hence they fetter their own Self with their own thinking. But, in fact, there is no bondage for Him (the Self). This is now being taught as :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
anistam istam misram ca
tri-vidham karmanah phalam
bhavaty atyaginam pretya
na tu sannyasinam kvacit
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
ani??am — leading to hell; i??am — leading to heaven; misram — mixed; ca — and; tri-vidham — of three kinds; karma?a? — of work; phalam — the result; bhavati — comes; atyaginam — for those who are not renounced; pretya — after death; na — not; tu — but; sannyasinam — for the renounced order; kvacit — at any time.