na tad asti pṛthivyāḿ vā
divi deveṣu vā punaḥ
sattvaḿ prakṛti-jair muktaḿ
yad ebhiḥ syāt tribhir guṇaiḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.40
There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Lord here summarizes the total influence of the three modes of material nature all over the universe.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Including those things not mentioned, the Lord now summarizes this section. There is not anything, living species or even non-living things (sattvam), which is free from the three gunas born of prakrti. Everything in existence is composed of the three gunas. The meaning of this section is that sattvika items are acceptable and those of rajas and tamas are not.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.40 There is no Sattva or creature born either among men etc., on the earth or among the gods in heaven, from Brahma down to immobile things, and having their basis in Prakrti, that is free from the dominance of the three Gunas of Prakrti. ‘Tyaga’, which has been determined as forming the means for release in the Sruti texts like ‘By Tyaga alone do they attain immortality’ (Ma. Na., 8.14), is of the same meaning as of the word ‘Sannyasa’. It is rooted in the relinquishment of the sense of agency in actions that are being performed. The relinquishment of the results and of possessiveness in actions, and the relinguishing of agency are to be gained by ascribing the agency to the Supreme Person. As all these are the effects of the increase of Sattva-guna, the differences of the effects of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas have been described at length with a view to instruct that Sattva is to be cultivated. Now Sri Krsna, with a view to inculcate that actions done including their fruits, as a means to release and attainment of Him, must be of the nature of the worship of the Supreme Person, and that the fruit thereof is the attainment of Him — describes the actions obligatory for the qualified classes of the people such as Brahmanas, differentiated by virtue of the natural qualities arising from the Gunas such as Sattva, as also the occupations prescribed for those classes.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Summing up what has not been specifically mentioned in the previous chapters the Supreme Lord Krishna reveals that there is no jiva or embodied being in a subtle body, physical body or etheric body anywhere in material existence throughout all creation that is free from the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature which arise from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence. No where in existence is any living entity in all of creation exempt from this reality.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Thus concluding His exposition on the threefold influences of the three gunas or modes of material nature the Supreme Lord Krishna reveals that there is no jiva or embodied being in a subtle body, physical body or etheric body in any species including human, demigod and demoniac in the material worlds, heavenly spheres or demoniac planets everywhere in creation that are exempt from the influence of the three gunas arising from prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence which is a manifested potency of the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.40 Na asti, there is no; tat, such; sattvam, entity, living creatures like men and others, or non-living things; prthivyam, in the world; va punah, or, again; an entity devesu, among the gods; divi, in heaven; yat, which; syat, can be [-this is connected with the preceding portion ‘na tat, there is no such (entity)’-]; muktam, free; ebhih, from these; trubhih, three; gunaih, gunas, sattva etc.; prakrti-jaih, born of Nature. It has been said that the entire transmigratory state together with its roots, characterized by action, agent and resuls-consisting of the gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas-, and projected by ignorance, is an evil. And this also has been said through the imagery of the Tree in the verse, ‘…which has its roots upward’ etc. (15.1). It has been further said that, ‘after felling that (Tree), with the strong sword of detachment, thereafter, that State has to be sought for’ (15.3-4). And, as to that, since all things consist of the three gunas, there arises the impossibility of the eradication of the cause of worldly existence. Hence, it has to be shown how it can be eradicated. Besides, the purport of the scripture Gita has to be summed up, and it has also to be shown that the import of all the Vedas and the Smrtis, which must be put into practice by those who long for the Goal of human life, is verily this much. Hence begin the verses, ‘The duties of the Brahmanas, the Ksatriyas and the Vaisyas…’, etc.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
18.40 Na tad asti etc. In this manner, the agent, the object and the instrument, the intellect and content, and happiness are classified under different heads of the Sattva etc. Because they have a mutual relationship of subordinate-and-principal or of the oppressed-and-opressor or of the togetherness; becuase they have modifications occuring either together or in a specific sequence; and because they, on that account, have varieties beyond all counting; they are capable of bringing forth fruits (results) of umpteen variety. This (statement) logically demonstrates in detail the uncomprehensibility of actions (their results) which has been indicated earlier (above IV, 17ff.). All these beings, starting from the gods down to the immovables, do not transcend the relation with the traid of the Strands. Indeed it has been said – ‘Commencing from Brahma (personal god) down to the [insignificant] worm, no one is really happy; all, without exception, having desire to live, undertake different acts of agitation (or commit different frauds to appear to be happy).’ Indeed the real happiness is [only] to him whose mind has gone beyond the Strands and not to anyone else. This is what is intended here. So far, the three-fold nature of each of the six items and also of the content etc., has been explained. ‘Among them, he who is occupied with the group of the Sattva (Strand) and who has attained the divine wealth is fit for the subject under study; and you are of that sort’ – telling in this manner, Arjuna has been encouraged. Now the following is declared : If you engage yourself in the action with this reslove for correct knowledge, then because of your undertaking of your own righteous action and because of your sanctity through wisdom, there is no bondage of aciton for you. On the other hand, if you don’t follow this, [even] then there must necessarily be some activity in you; because your birth itself stands to that effect. Since, being controlled by its own intrinsic nature, everything, though it may have, for a short while, its nature concealed due to some fault, regains its own nature that becomes perceivable when the concealing agent disappears. For example, the nature of the castes is of this nature. Thus when an effort necessarily takes place, there would be [for its agent] its fruit. This [the Bhagavat] says-
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na tad asti prthivyam va
divi devesu va punah
sattvam prakrti-jair muktam
yad ebhih syat tribhir gunaih
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — not; tat — that; asti — there is; pṛthivyām — on the earth; vā — or; divi — in the higher planetary system; deveṣu — amongst the demigods; vā — or; punaḥ — again; sattvam — existence; prakṛti-jaiḥ — born of material nature; muktam — liberated; yat — that; ebhiḥ — from the inﬂuence of these; syāt — is; tribhiḥ — three; guṇaiḥ — modes of material nature.