śauryaḿ tejo dhṛtir dākṣyaḿ
yuddhe cāpy apalāyanam
dānam īśvara-bhāvaś ca
kṣātraḿ karma svabhāva-jam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.43
Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kshatriyas.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
No commentary by Srila Prabhupada.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This verse describes the activities of the ksatriya, in whom raja guna becomes prominent and sattva becomes secondary. Courage (sauryam), confidence (tejah), fortitude (dhrtih), and controlling others (isvara bhavah), and not fleeing from battle are the activities of the ksatriya.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.43 ‘Valour’ is the ability of plunging into a battle without fear. ‘Invincibility’ is the capacity to remain undefeated by others. ‘Steadiness’ is the capacity to complete a work that has been started despite obstacles. ‘Adroitness’ is the ability in executing all works. ‘Apalayana’ is not fleeing in a battle though one is convinced of one’s death. ‘Generosity’ is parting with one’s own possessions to others even to its entirety. ‘Lordliness’ is the capacity to govern all others. This is the duty of a Ksatriya born of his inherent nature.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The natural duties of a ksatriya or royal warrior class is given by Lord Krishna. Heroism, valour, boldness, intrepidness, stableness, dexterity, fearlessness, and majesty are born of their nature in raja guna the mode of passion. Additional qualities of the ksatriyas are generosity, liberality and leadership and are of the nature of sattva guna the mode of goodness.
Now Lord Krishna commences a new theme with this verse explaining that the duties of the different classes of Vedic society such as brahmana or priestly class, ksatriya or royal and warrior class, vaisya or agricultural and mercantile class as well as sudra or menial worker class which is the only one not qualified to take part in any Vedic activity as they serve the other three classes. The duties enjoined for all the classes are clearly delineated and itemised with distinct divisions. The typical duties of all the four classes will be described according to the predominating influence of the three gunas which manifest the corresponding nature determined by the tendencies acquired in past lives and the impressions from the attendant karma or reactions to actions. The brahmins have a predominance of sattva guna, the ksatriya’s a predominance of raja guna with a little sattva guna, the vaisyas with raja guna mixed with tama guna and the sudras with a predominance tama guna and a little raja guna.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
The duties of ksatriyas or royal, warrior class according to their inborn qualities situated in raja guna the mode of passion are enumerated by Lord Krishna. Prowess and valour charcterised by fearless against all adversaries. Majesty is the reality of never being subjugated by others. Steadfastness is the absence of anxiety even in dangerous situations. Dexterity is skilfully fulfilling any action without hesitation even if death is an option. Generosity is donation to the pious and saintly. Rulership is protecting society from the encroachment of evil and unrighteousness.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.43 Svabhavajam, the natural; ksatra-karma, [A variant reading is ksatram karma.-Tr.] enjoined duties of the Ksatriyas, of the Ksatriya caste; are sauryam, heroism; tejah, boldness; dhrtih, fortitude, as is seen in the case of one who is not depressed under all circumstances, being sustained by doggedness; daksyam, capability engagement without confusion in duties which suddenly present them-selves; api ca, and also; apalayanam, not retreating; yuddhe, from battle, not fleeing from enemies; danam, generosity, being free in the distribution of gifts; isvarabhavah, lordliness, manifesting (exercising) rulership over those who have to be ruled.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
18.41-60 Brahmana – etc. upto avasopitat. Surely the intrinsic nature of the Brahmanas etc., does not voilate what has been difined (above) by way of classifying their duties. Therefore, as far as you are concerned, you have the intrinsic quality of the Ksatriya (warrior), and your nature i.e., intrinsic quality, does, without fail, assume the part of the inciter of yourself, even though you don’t like it. For, a person who acts simply being incited by that (natural condition), there is the strong bondage of the merit or demerit. Therefore, perform actions following the means of correct knowledge, taught by Me. In that case, the bondage would disappear. The intention of the principal sentence (statement of the entire passage under study) is to help to get this idea. The meaning of the subordinate sentences (statements) is evident. Briefly (verse 50) : in short. Knowledge : i.e. the one which has been explained earlier. Nistha conveys, avoiding verbal jugglary, the meaning ‘what has been determined’. He who is endowed with intellect totally pure etc. : All this has been almost explained already. Hence, no more trouble is taken [to comment upon it].
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam isvara-bhavas ca
ksatram karma svabhava-jam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śauryam — heroism; tejaḥ — power; dhṛtiḥ — determination; dākṣyam — resourcefulness; yuddhe — in battle; ca — and; api — also; apalāyanam — not ﬂeeing; dānam — generosity; īśvara — of leadership; bhāvaḥ — the nature; ca — and; kṣātram — of a kṣatriya; karma — duty; svabhāva-jam — born of his own nature.