na tyājyaḿ kāryam eva tat
yajño dānaḿ tapaś caiva
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.5
Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The yogis should perform acts for the advancement of human society. There are many purificatory processes for advancing a human being to spiritual life. The marriage ceremony, for example, is considered to be one of these sacrifices. It is called vivaha-yajna. Should a sannyasi, who is in the renounced order of life and who has given up his family relations, encourage the marriage ceremony? The Lord says here that any sacrifice which is meant for human welfare should never be given up. Vivaha-yajna, the marriage ceremony, is meant to regulate the human mind so that it may become peaceful for spiritual advancement. For most men, this vivaha-yajna should be encouraged even by persons in the renounced order of life. Sannyasis should never associate with women, but that does not mean that one who is in the lower stages of life, a young man, should not accept a wife in the marriage ceremony. All prescribed sacrifices are meant for achieving the Supreme Lord. Therefore, in the lower stages, they should not be given up. Similarly, charity is for the purification of the heart. If charity is given to suitable persons, as described previously, it leads one to advanced spiritual life.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
According to the Lord, even among kamya karmas, those sacrifices, charities and austerities, which are sattvika in nature, without desire for results, should be performed. This is explained in this verse. Sacrifice, austerity and charity must be done, because they cause purification of the consciousness.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.5 Acts such as sacrifices, gifts, austerities etc., enjoined in the Vedas should not be relinquished by the aspirant for release, but should be performed day after day until his death. Why? Acts like sacrifices, gifts and austerities associated with the different stations of life, are the means of purification for the wise., i.e., for those given to contemplation. Contemplation is worship. For the aspirants who perform such worship (Upasana) throughout their lives, they (sacrifices etc.) are a help to erase the previous Karmas which stand in the way of the fulfilment of such worship.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The absolute conclusion is being prepared by Lord Krishna in this verse and the next beginning with: To the manisinam or wise who are discriminative, prescribed Vedic activities are products of sattva guna the mode of goodness and are sanctifying and lead to purification of the mind.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna reveals His absolute conclusion by declaring that under no circumstances should prescribed Vedic activities be terminated. Activities such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation and worship, tapah or Vedic austerities and penance as well as danam or charity to Vaisnavas and Brahmins are sanctifying and purifying. They have been established at the beginning of creation to benefit all living entities and they elevate the minds of those aspirants who contemplate and meditate on the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.5 Yajna-dana-tapah-karma, the practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity-this threefold practice; na tyajyam, is not to be abandoned; tat, it; is eva, surely; karyam, to be undertaken. Why? Yajnah, sacrifice; danam, charity; and tapah, austerity; are eva, verily; pavanani, the purifiers, the causes of sanctification; manisinam, of the wise, i.e. of those who do not seek results for themselves.
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:
na tyajyam karyam eva tat
yajño danam tapas caiva
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
yajña — of sacriﬁce; dāna — charity; tapaḥ — and penance; karma — activity; na — never; tyājyam — to be given up; kāryam — must be done; eva — certainly; tat — that; yajñaḥ — sacriﬁce; dānam — charity; tapaḥ — penance; ca — also; eva — certainly; pāvanāni — purifying; manīṣiṇām — even for the great souls.