nibaddhaḥ svena karmaṇā
kartuḿ necchasi yan mohāt
kariṣyasy avaśo ’pi tat
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.60
Under illusion you are now declining to act according to My direction. But, compelled by the work born of your own nature, you will act all the same, O son of Kunti.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
If one refuses to act under the direction of the Supreme Lord, then he is compelled to act by the modes in which he is situated. Everyone is under the spell of a particular combination of the modes of nature and is acting in that way. But anyone who voluntarily engages himself under the direction of the Supreme Lord becomes glorious.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Here the Lord expands the meaning of what he has just said. You are fettered by your actions arising from previous life impressions that give you qualities of the ksatriya (svabhavajena).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.60 For, heroism is the duty of a Ksatriya born of his nature. Impelled by your own duty of heroism born of your own nature, you will lose self-control when you get the taunts of your enemies. Unable to suffer it, you will be compelled to engage them in battle, which, now, out of delusion and ignorance, you do not desire to do. All beings have been ordained by Me to follow their Prakrti acquired by their previous Karmas. Listen about it:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Continuing such chastisement Lord Krishna further expands the previous theme by explaining that the nature and impressions experienced in past lives is the cause of birth for everyone. So birth as a ksatriya or warrior is no different. Valour, courage, fearlessness are the qualities of ksatriyas as enumerated previously are a natural part of a ksatriyas constitution and cannot be thwarted. So if out of illusion a ksatriya thinks that they can go against their natural tendencies they are deluded.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Continuing the previous theme Lord Krishna affirms that actions which are one’s natural duty which due to illusion one is not willing do, will in spite of that compel one to do so by the predominating guna or mode of material nature which will coerce one to do them anyway. In this present situation a ksatriya warrior is naturally possesses valour, courage and a heroic tempermant and are situated in raja guna the mode of passion. This is not random but follows a thread from previous births. A ksatriya cannot tolerate even the slightest ridicule or insult. So upon hearing the raucous insults about his bravery and the degrading insults to his manhood dispaging his prowess from the opposing enemy a ksatriya cannot refrain from avenging their honor in battle iregardless the odds.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.60 And because of nibaddhah, being securely bound; svena, by your own; karmana, duty; svabhavajena, born of nature [Svabhava means those tendencies which are created by good bad actions performed in previous births, and which become the cause of performance of duties, renunciation, experience of happiness, sorrow, etc. in the present birth.-S.]-herosim etc. as stated (in 43); O son of Kunti, you avasah, being helpless, under another’s control; karisyasi api, will verily do; tat, that duty; yat, which duty; you na, do not; icchasi, wish; kartum, to do; mohat, owing to indiscrimination. For,
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:
nibaddhah svena karmana
kartum necchasi yan mohat
karisyasy avaso ’pi tat
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
svabhāva-jena — born of your own nature; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; nibaddhaḥ — conditioned; svena — by your own; karmaṇā — activities; kartum — to do; na — not; icchasi — you like; yat — that which; mohāt — by illusion; kariṣyasi — you will do; avaśaḥ — involuntarily; api — even; tat — that.