adharmaḿ dharmam iti yā
manyate tamasāvṛtā
sarvārthān viparītāḿś ca
buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.32

That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance.

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

Intelligence in the mode of ignorance is always working the opposite of the way it should. It accepts religions which are not actually religions and rejects actual religion. Men in ignorance understand a great soul to be a common man and accept a common man as a great soul. They think truth to be untruth and accept untruth as truth. In all activities they simply take the wrong path; therefore their intelligence is in the mode of ignorance.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Ya manyate is used for yaya manyate. The intelligence by which one considers everything opposite of the truth is tamasic intelligence. The statements in these verses, such as this verse, which literally says “the intelligence which considers adharma to dharma” but actually means “the intelligence by which a man considers adharma to be dharma” are similar to saying, “The axe cuts the tree” instead of saying “the man cuts the tree using an axe.”

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

18.32 That Buddhi is of the nature of Tamas which is ‘enveloped in Tamas’ and ‘reverses every value.’ The meaning is that it regards Adharma as Dharma and Dharma as Adharma, existent as non-existent, and non-existent as existent, and higher truth as the lower and the lower truth as the higher, and thus reverses every value.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Lord Krishna asserts that those whose buddhi or intellect is situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance are enveloped in darkness with a mentality whose understanding is distorted. They are unable to discriminate between what is real and what is false. What is to be done and what should not be done. Embracing inferior conceptions that are devoid of actual knowledge. They desire what ought to be rejected and reject what ought to be desired hence their delusion increases.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Now the influence on buddhi or intellect of one situated in tama guna or mode of ignorance is described by Lord Krishna. That intellect which is enveloped in ignorance and warped by distortion. Which considers the highest reality as an insignificant entity. Who understands the Supreme absolute truth to be lower than an abstract, impersonal conception. That considers the conditioned jiva to be erqual to the Supreme Lord. To imagine the Supreme Lord who ioverflowing with all divine qualities, attributes and potencies to be on the same platform as all other gods. Who negate the eternal and imperishable Vedic scriptures for some impermanent, temporal religious texts applicable for limited time. Who cannot tell what is real in this world and who thinks what is unreal is real.Who are unable to fathom that the Supreme Lord in one with and different from His creation simulataneously. Such a one is unavoidably situated in tama guna.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

18.32 O Partha, sa, that; buddhih, intellect; tamasi, is born of tamas; ya, which; tamasavrta, being covered by darkness; manyate, considers, understands; adharmam, vice, what is prohibited; iti, as; dharmam, virtue, what is prescribed; and ca, verily; perceives sarvarthan, all things, all objects of knowledge without exception; viparitan, contrary to what they are.

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

18.30-32 Pravrttim etc. upto Tamasi mata. Incorrectly ; not properly.

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

adharmam dharmam iti ya
manyate tamasavrta
sarvarthan viparitams ca
buddhih sa partha tamasi

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

adharmam — irreligion; dharmam — religion; iti — thus; yā — which; manyate — thinks; tamasā — by illusion; āvṛtā — covered; sarva-arthān — all things; viparītān — in the wrong direction; ca — also; buddhiḥ — intelligence; sā — that; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; tāmasī — in the mode of ignorance.