niścayaḿ śṛṇu me tatra
tyāgo hi puruṣa-vyāghra
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.4
O best of the Bharatas, now hear My judgment about renunciation. O tiger among men, renunciation is declared in the scriptures to be of three kinds.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Although there are differences of opinion about renunciation, here the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, gives His judgment, which should be taken as final. After all, the Vedas are different laws given by the Lord. Here the Lord is personally present, and His word should be taken as final. The Lord says that the process of renunciation should be considered in terms of the modes of material nature in which they are performed.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In this verse the Lord states his opinion. Tyaga has three types: in sattva, rajas and tamas. Omitting to describe these three types till verse seven, and then starting with a description of tyaga in the mode of tamas, from the use of the word sannyasa in describing tamasic tyaga in that verse, it is understood that tyaga and sannyasa have the same meaning in the opinion of the Lord.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.4 Regarding contradictory versions on Tyaga among disputants, listen from Me My decision. Tyaga has been described by Me in respect of actions prescribed by the scriptures from three points of view: (1) as referring to fruits, (2) as referring to acts themselves and, (3) as referring to agency. It is contained in the statement, ‘Surrendering all your actions to Me with a mind focussed on the self,’ and ‘Free from desire and selfishness and cured of fever — fight’ (3.30). The renunciation of fruits consists in the following manner. ‘Heaven and such other results arising from acts do not belong to Me.’ Renunciation of acts is complete abandonment of the sense of possession in regard to one’s acts. This sense of possession is of the following nature: ‘Those acts are mine on account of their being the means for fruits which are to be mine.’ Renunciation referring to agency is the renunciation of agency of oneself by ascribing the agency to the Lord of all.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
After first explaining the two opposing views which are most prominent. The Supreme Lord Krishna now reveals the absolute conclusion to alleviate the confusion and conflicting opinions by declaring that renunciation is of three types. Although it is complicated and difficult to understand it should not be disregarded but should astutely understood with erudition as renunciation in tama guna the mode of ignorance, in raja guna the mode of passion and sattva guna the mode of goodness. This indicates that the renunciation of prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties is not appropriate as will be confirmed in the next verse.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Thus after relegating various divergent views regarding renunciation which is complicated and difficult to comprehend. The Supreme Lord Krishna prepares to give His conclusion stating it has been established by the wise and erudite that renunciation is of three disntinct types characterised as topmost, intermediate and lowest.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.4 Bharata-sattama, O the most excellent among the descendants of Bharata; srnu, hear, understand; me, from Me, from My statement; niscayam, the firm conclusion; tatra tyage, regarding that tyaga, regarding these alternative veiws on tyaga and sannyasa as they have been shown. Hi, for; purusavyaghra, O greatest among men; tyagah, tyaga; samprakirtitah, has been clearly declared, has been distinctly spoken of in the scriptures; to be trividhah, of three kinds, threefold, under the classes of tamasa (those based on tamas [Tamas: darkness, mental darkness, ignorance; one of the three qualities of everything in Nature. Also see 14.8, and note under 2.45.-Tr.], etc. The Lord has used the word tyaga with the idea that the (primary) meanings of tyaga and sannyasa are verily the same. Since it is difficult to comprehend this idea, that the primary meanings of the words tyaga and sannyasa can be threefold under the classification based on tamas etc. in the case of one who is unenlightened and who is qualified for rites and duties-but not in the case of one who has realized the supreme Goal-,therefore no one else is capable of speaking the truth in this connection. Hence, listen to the firm conclusion of the Lord with regard to the supreme Truth as revealved by the scriptures. Which, again, is this firm conclusion? In reply 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:
niscayam srnu me tatra
tyago hi purusa-vyaghra
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
niścayam — certainty; śṛṇu — hear; me — from Me; tatra — therein; tyāge — in the matter of renunciation; bharata-sat-tama — O best of the Bhāratas; tyāgaḥ — renunciation; hi — certainly; puruṣa-vyāghra — O tiger among human beings; tri-vidhaḥ — of three kinds; samprakīrtitaḥ — is declared.