duḥkham ity eva yat karma
sa kṛtvā rājasaḿ tyāgaḿ
naiva tyāga-phalaḿ labhet
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.8
Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome or out of fear of bodily discomfort is said to have renounced in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
One who is in Krishna consciousness should not give up earning money out of fear that he is performing fruitive activities. If by working one can engage his money in Krishna consciousness, or if by rising early in the morning one can advance his transcendental Krishna consciousness, one should not desist out of fear or because such activities are considered troublesome. Such renunciation is in the mode of passion. The result of passionate work is always miserable. If a person renounces work in that spirit, he never gets the result of renunciation.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Even though one knows that performance of nitya karma is necessary and to do it is praiseworthy and to neglect to do it is a sinful, if one rejects the action thinking it is useless trouble to the body, it is rajasa tyaga. One will not attain the desired result of tyaga, knowledge, by doing so.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.8 Although actions constitute the indirect menas for release, yet they produce mental depression, since they can be done only by collecting materials involving painful effort and since they cause bodily strain on account of their requiring strenuous exertion. If, on account of such fear, one decides that the practice of knowledge alone should be tried for perfection in Yoga, and abandons actions like the great sacrifices applicable to one’s station in life, he practises renunciation rooted in Rajas. Since that is not the meaning of the Sastras, one cannot win the fruit of renunciation in the form of the rise of knowledge. So it will be shown further one: ‘That reason by which one erroneously knows, O Arjuna, is Rajasika’ (18.31). In fact, actions do not directly cause purity of the mind but indirectly by winning the grace of God.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
If one renounces actions out of fear of repercussions or due to inconvenience or bodily discomfort and gives up prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory duties such renunciation is understood to be clearly situated in raja guna or mode of passion. For pain and discomfort and its opposites pleasure and comfort are products of raja guna. Lord Krishna confirms that such jivas or embodied beings will definitely not derive the benefits of such renunciation in the form of purifying their minds and sanctifying their existence which are prerequisites for moksa or liberation from material existence.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Unless one is deluded, they will reject all that they see as nothing but misery. But misery in itself is a mental projection based upon angle of perception. It is because normally what is spoken of as affecting the physical body is considered to be separate from the mind that misery is merely a mental condition arising from an unwelcome reception. This is the meaning Lord Krishna is conveying. The Shabda Nirnaya states: Aggravation should be known as an external phenomena having an external source; with proper discrimination this is apparent.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Here Lord Krishna speaks of the renunciation characterised by raja guna or mode of passion. The phrase dukham eva can mean troublesome. One who is unhappy about executing their obligations and forsakes their duties due to discomfort or else performs them reluctantly with minimal exertion and effort will acquire no benefit or reap any reward for their endeavors. They are known to be situated in raga guna and such renunciation will bestow neither spirirtual knowledge nor advancement in spiritual life.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.8 Yat, whatever; karma, action; tyajet, one may relinquish, eva, merely; iti, as being; kuhkham, painful; [As being impossible to accomplish.] kaya-klesa-bhayat, from fear of physical suffering, out of fear of bodily pain; sah, he; krtva, having resorted; tyagam, to renunciation; rajasam, based on rajas, arising from rajas; will eva, surely; na labhet (shuld rather be labhate), not acquire; tyaga-phalam, fruits of renunciation, the result called Liberation, which follows from renunciation of all actions as a consequence of Illumination. Which, again, is the renunciation based on sattva?
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:
duhkham ity eva yat karma
sa krtva rajasam tyagam
naiva tyaga-phalam labhet
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
duḥkham — unhappy; iti — thus; eva — certainly; yat — which; karma — work; kāya — for the body; kleśa — trouble; bhayāt — out of fear; tyajet — gives up; saḥ — he; kṛtvā — after doing; rājasam — in the mode of passion; tyāgam — renunciation; na — not; eva — certainly; tyāga — of renunciation; phalam — the results; labhet — gains.