atha cet tvam ahańkārān
na śroṣyasi vinańkṣyasi
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.58
If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
A person in full Krishna consciousness is not unduly anxious about executing the duties of his existence. The foolish cannot understand this great freedom from all anxiety. For one who acts in Krishna consciousness, Lord Krishna becomes the most intimate friend. He always looks after His friend’s comfort, and He gives Himself to His friend, who is so devotedly engaged working twenty-four hours a day to please the Lord. Therefore, no one should be carried away by the false ego of the bodily concept of life. One should not falsely think himself independent of the laws of material nature or free to act. He is already under strict material laws. But as soon as he acts in Krishna consciousness, he is liberated, free from the material perplexities. One should note very carefully that one who is not active in Krishna consciousness is losing himself in the material whirlpool, in the ocean of birth and death. No conditioned soul actually knows what is to be done and what is not to be done, but a person who acts in Krishna consciousness is free to act because everything is prompted by Krishna from within and confirmed by the spiritual master.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Then what will happen? This verse describes the result: you will cross all obstacles.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.58 Thus, focusing your thought on Me, if you can perform all acts, you will, by My grace, cross over all difficulties of Samsara. If, however, out of ‘self-conceit,’ i.e., out of the feeling, ‘I know well what is to be done and what is not to be done’ — out of such a feeling, if you do not heed My words, you shall perish. Except Myself, there is none who knows what ought and what ought not to be done by all living beings; there is also none other than Myself who is in the position of a law-giver to them.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Now hear what will follow from such efforts. By fixing the mind on the Supreme Lord Krishna, by His grace any and all difficulties will be resolved whatever they may be; for such an aspirant all worldly troubles are overcome even if they seem to be insurmountable. Yet it should be clearly understood that if someone chooses to disregard or ignore the eternal teachings of the Vedic scriptures and out of egoism and self- conceit fall prey to the delusion that acting contrary to the Vedic scriptures is better. Then the disastrous result would be that they would commit sinful activities and fail the purpose of their existence. Subsequently at the time of death they would be hurled to the hellish worlds to suffer and rot in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
If one takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord with the mind fixed on Him while performing every activity. All obstacles and difficulties by His grace will be overcome. But if out of pride or vanity one disregards the instructions of the Supreme Lord Krishna thinking that one knows better then the eternal wisdom of the Vedic scriptures which originated from Him. Then one is doomed and will be deprived of the four goals of human existence: kama or enjoyment, artha or wealth, dharma or righteousness and moksa or liberation from material existence. One will thus be forced to continue to rot in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.58 Maccittah, having your mind fixed on Me; tarisyasi, you will cross over; sarva-durgani, alldifficulties, all cuases of transmigration which are difficult to overcome; mat-prasadat, through My grace. Atha cet, if, on the other hand; tvam, you; na srosyasi, will not listen to, will not accept, My words; ahankarat, out of egotism, thinking ‘I am learned’; then vinanksyasi, you will get destroyed, will court ruin. And this should not be thought of by you-‘I am independent. Why should I follow another’s bidding?’
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:
atha cet tvam ahankaran
na srosyasi vinanksyasi
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mat — of Me; cittaḥ — being in consciousness; sarva — all; durgāṇi — impediments; mat-prasādāt — by My mercy; tariṣyasi — you will overcome; atha — but; cet — if; tvam — you; ahańkārāt — by false ego; na śroṣyasi — do not hear; vinańkṣyasi — you will be lost.