buddhyā viśuddhayā yukto
dhṛtyātmānaḿ niyamya ca
śabdādīn viṣayāḿs tyaktvā
rāga-dveṣau vyudasya ca
ahańkāraḿ balaḿ darpaḿ
kāmaḿ krodhaḿ parigraham
vimucya nirmamaḥ śānto
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.51-53
Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful—such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
When one is purified by intelligence, he keeps himself in the mode of goodness. Thus one becomes the controller of the mind and is always in trance. He is not attached to the objects of sense gratification, and he is free from attachment and hatred in his activities. Such a detached person naturally prefers to live in a secluded place, he does not eat more than what he requires, and he controls the activities of his body and mind. He has no false ego because he does not accept the body as himself. Nor has he a desire to make the body fat and strong by accepting so many material things. Because he has no bodily concept of life, he is not falsely proud. He is satisfied with everything that is offered to him by the grace of the Lord, and he is never angry in the absence of sense gratification. Nor does he endeavor to acquire sense objects. Thus when he is completely free from false ego, he becomes nonattached to all material things, and that is the stage of self-realization of Brahman. That stage is called the brahma-bhuta stage. When one is free from the material conception of life, he becomes peaceful and cannot be agitated. This is described in Bhagavad-gita (2.70):
samudram apah pravishanti yadvat
tadvat kama yam pravishanti sarve
sa shantim apnoti na kama-kami
“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.”
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
One should be endowed with sattvika intelligence (buddhya visuddhaya), controlling the mind (atmanam niyamya) with similar sattvika determination.
One should be completely devoted to thinking of bhagavan (dhyana yoga parah).
One should be devoid of strength (bala) related to material attachment and desire, rather than physical strength.
With the cessation of ignorance (avidya) characterized by freedom from ahankara, price, lust, anger and possessions, there is also the cessation of sattva guna (santah). This is the achievement of jnana samnyasa, giving up jnana itself. This is understood from the statement in the eleventh canto of Bhagavatam jndnam ca mayi sannyaset: one should renounce all jnana to attain me. This means that without the cessation of both ignorance and knowledge (ajnana and jnana), there can be no attainment of brahman realization. Being freed from all these, it is possible (kalpate) to realize (bhuyaya) brahman.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.51 – 18.53 ‘Endowed with a purified understanding’ means endowed with the Buddhi capable of understanding the self as it is in reality; ‘subduing the mind by steadiness’ means making the mind fit for meditation by turning away from external and internal objects; ‘relinquishing sound and other objects of senses’ means keeping them far away, casting aside love and hate occasioned by them (i.e., the sense objects). ‘Resorting to solitude’ means living in a lonely place free from hindrances to meditation; ‘eat but little’ means eating neither too much nor too little; ‘restraining speech, body and mind’ means directing the operations of body, speech and mind to meditation; ‘ever engaged in the Yoga of meditation’ means being like this, i.e., constantly engaged in the Yoga of meditation day after day until death; ‘taking refuge in dispassion’ means developing aversion to all objects except the one entity to be meditated upon, by considering the imperfections of all objects and thus cultivating detachment to everything. Forsaking ‘egoism’ means abandoning the tendency to consider what is other than the self, as well as neutralising the power of forcible Vasnas (tendencies) which nourish (egoism), and the resulting pride, desire, wrath and possessiveness. ‘With no feeling of mine’ means free from the notion that what does not belong to oneself belongs to oneself; ‘Who is tranquil’ means, who finds sole happiness in experiencing the self. One who has become like this and performs the Yoga of meditation becomes worthy for the state of Brahman. The meaning is that, freed from all bonds, he experiences the self as It really is.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Endued with purified intelligence of a nature secured in sattva guna or mode of goodness, tenacious control of the mind insuring that one’s purified intelligence is constant and steady. Relinquishing all desires for sense objects and abandoning the ever fickle dualities of likes and dislikes such a one is qualified to realise the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Such an aspirant will sequester themselves in a pure, remote location such as forest or mountain. Restraining speech, the impulses of the mind and the impetus of the body, always devoted to the practice of yoga or facilitating communion with the Supreme Lord which comes from reflection, contemplation and meditation upon the Supreme Lord Krishna constantly striving in this endeavour with firm dispassion so that it remains constant and unbroken. Rejecting the egoism of the delusion that one is the doer and controller which gives the illusion that one is free from worldly attachment. Rejecting all things superfluous which are inclined to lead one away from spiritual pursuits. Rejection of objects of the senses and the desire to enjoy them even if they appear unsolicited. Thus one who has steadfastly arrived at this state has become totally tranquil and serene having achieved supreme peace and such a one is qualified to realise the brahman.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna is stating that by imbibing and actualising these attributes one assumes the nature of brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna explains that one endowed with spiritually purified intelligence is naturally predominated with sattva guna the mode of goodness. The classification of higher and lower living entities is determined by the degree in which the mind is controlled and the senses are restrained. The mind is controlled by not indulging in positive or negative thoughts and illusory conceptions and the control of the senses is neutrality towards them without aversion or attraction towards their objects. By living in pure and remote place, exercising a light, vegetarian diet, moderation of speech, mind and body, three times daily meditating on the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord morning, noon and evening in full dispassion, completely eradicating all egoism and conceptions that one is the physical body. Lack of craving bodily sense gratification and soliciting pleasure of the senses, absence of amassing excessive possessions and freedom from mental disturbances bestows the tranquillity and peace of mind to qualify an aspirant to realise the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading al existence which is transcendental to material nature and situated on the spiritual platform is pure and impeccable without any defect or blemish.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.51 Yuktah, being endowed; buddhya, with an intellect-which is identical with the faculty of determination; visuddhaya, pure, free from maya (delusion); and niyamya, controlling, subduing; atmanam, oneself, the aggregate of body and organs; dhrtya, with fortitude, with steadlines; tyaktva, rejecting; visayan, the objects; sabdadin, beginning from sound -from the context it follows that ‘rejecting the objects’ means rejecting all things which are meant for pleasure and are in excess of those meant only for the mere maintenance of the body; and vyudasya, eliminating; raga-dvesau, attachment and hatred with regard to things which come to hand for the maintenance of the body-. Therefore,
18.52 Vivikta-sevi, one who resorts to solitude, is habituated to repairing into such solitary places as a forest, bank of a river, mountain caves, etc.; laghuasi, eats sparingly, is habituated to eating a little-repairing to solitary places and eating sparingly are nentioned here since they are the causes of tranquillity of mind through the elimination of defects like sleep etc.-; the person steadfast in Knowledge, yata-vak-kaya-manasah, who has speech, body and mind under control. Having all his organs withdrawn thus, dhyana-yoga-parah nityam, one to whom meditation and concentration are ever the highest (duty)-meditation is thinking of the real nature of the Self, and concentration is making the mind one-pointed with regard to the Self itself; one to whom these meditation and concentration are the highest (duty) is dhyana-yoga-parah-. Nityam, (ever) is used to indicate the absence of other duties like repetition of mantra [A formula of prayer sacred to any deity.-V.S.A.] etc. Samupasritah, one who is fully possessed, i.e. ever possessed; of vairagyam, dispassion, absence of longing for objects seen or unseen-. Further,
18.53 (That person) vimucya, having discarded; ahan-karam, egotism, thinking of the body, organs, etc. as the ego; balam, force-which is associated with desire and attachment; not the other kind of strength consisting in the fitness of the body etc., becuase being natural it cannot be descarded-; darpam, pride, which follows elation and leads to transgresson of righteousness-for the Smrti says, ‘An elated person becomes proud; a proud man transgresses righteousness’ (Ap. Dh. Su. 1.13.4); kamam, desire; krodham, anger, aversion; parigraham, superfluous possessions-even after removing the defects in the organs and the mind, there arises the possibility of acceptance of gifts either for the maintenance of the body or for righteous duties; discarding them as well, i.e. becoming a mendicant of the param-hamsa class; nirmamah, free from the idea of possession, becoming devoid of the idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ even with regard to so much as one’s body and life; and for the very same reason, santah, serene, withdrawn; the monk who is effortless and steadfast in Knowledge, kalpate, becomes fit; brahma-bhuyaya, for becoming Brahman.
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:
buddhya visuddhaya yukto
dhrtyatmanam niyamya ca
sabdadin visayams tyaktva
raga-dvesau vyudasya ca
ahankaram balam darpam
kamam krodham parigraham
vimucya nirmamah santo
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
buddhyā — with the intelligence; viśuddhayā — fully puriﬁed; yuktaḥ — engaged; dhṛtyā — by determination; ātmānam — the self; niyamya — regulating; ca — also; śabda-ādīn — such as sound; viṣayān — the sense objects; tyaktvā — giving up; rāga — attachment; dveṣau — and hatred; vyudasya — laying aside; ca — also; vivikta-sevī — living in a secluded place; laghu-āśī — eating a small quantity; yata — having controlled; vāk — speech; kāya — body; mānasaḥ — and mind; dhyāna-yoga-paraḥ — absorbed in trance; nityam — twenty-four hours a day; vairāgyam — detachment; samupāśritaḥ — having taken shelter of; ahańkāram — false ego; balam — false strength; darpam — false pride; kāmam — lust; krodham — anger; parigraham — and acceptance of material things; vimucya — being delivered from; nirmamaḥ — without a sense of proprietorship; śāntaḥ — peaceful; brahma-bhūyāya — for self-realization; kalpate — is qualiﬁed.