kāryam ity eva yat karma
niyataḿ kriyate ’rjuna
sańgaḿ tyaktvā phalaḿ caiva
sa tyāgaḥ sāttviko mataḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 18.9
O Arjuna, when one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Prescribed duties must be performed with this mentality. One should act without attachment for the result; he should be disassociated from the modes of work. A man working in Krishna consciousness in a factory does not associate himself with the work of the factory, nor with the workers of the factory. He simply works for Krishna. And when he gives up the result for Krishna, he is acting transcendentally.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Performing the nitya karma (niyatam karma) thinking “this should be done” while rejecting doership and desired results is called sattvika tyaga. It is understood here that the result of renouncing the fruits and not renouncing the action in this sattvika tyaga is knowledge.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
18.9 When rites like obligatory and occasional ceremonies and the great sacrifices enjoined on one’s station and stage in life, are practised for their own sake, as worship of Myself and as a duty, relinquishing possessiveness and fruits — such abandonment is regarded as Sattvika. It is noted in Sattva. The idea is that it is rooted in the knowledge of the meaning of the Sastras as it really is. That Sattva generates the knowledge of things as they really are, has been taught in: ‘From Sattva arises knowledge’ (14.17), and it will be further declared: ‘That reason by which one knows action and renunciation, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and release, O Arjuna, is Sattvika’ (18.30).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna concludes this exposition by stating that when prescribed Vedic activities and obligatory rites which are compulsory for all human beings such as following ekadasi which is fasting from all grains and beans on the 11th day during both the waxing and waning moon and is performed in knowledge as a matter of duty without any attachment or desire for rewards is known to be clearly situated in sattva guna the mode of goodness. The Skanda Purana beginning matraha pitraha caiva bhatraha guruha tatha ekadasyantu confirms that all who eat grains on ekadasi can never achieve liberation from material existence and attain communion with the Supreme Lord. So it is for the ultimate benefit of all human beings that it is compulsory not to eat grains on ekadasi and this axiom applies also to all the Vedic ordinances and injunctions.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna reveals renunciation characterised with the mode of goodness. Prescribed Vedic activities performed as karyam iti eva a sense of duty and tvaktya sangam abandoning attachment to receiving rewards for one’s actions and any and all ego sense are situated in sattva guna because they are performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord by the grace of the Vaisnava preceptor. This includes both daily activities and occasional activities. The purport is that activities performed with an intent of offering them to the Supreme Lord purifies the consciousness and bestows spiritual knowledge.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
18.9 Yat, whatever; niyatam karma, daily obligatory duty; kriyate, is performed, accomplished; iti eva, just because; it is karyam, a bounden duty; O Arjuna, tyaktva, by giving up; sangam, attachment; and phalam, the result; ca eva, as well; sah, that; tyagah, renunciation, giving up of attachment and (hankering for) the resutls of daily obligatory duties; matah, is considered; to be sattvikah, based on sattva, arising from sattva. We said that the Lord’s utterance is proof of the fruitfulness of daily obligatory duties. Or, even if the niyakarmas be understood (from the Lord’s worlds) to be fruitless, still the ignorant man does certainly imagine that the nityakarmas (daily obligatory duites) when performed produce for oneself a result either in the form of purification of the mind or avoidance of evil. As to this, the Lord aborts even that imagination by saying, ‘by giving up the result’. Hence it has been well said, ‘by giving up attachment and the result’. Objection: Well, is not the threefold relinquishment of actions, also called sannyasa, under discussion? As regards this, the renunciation based on tamas and rajas have been stated. Why is the relinquishment of attachment and (desire for their) results spoken of here as the third? This is like somebody saying, ‘Three Brahmanas have come. Of them two are versed in the six auxiliaries [The six auxiliaries are: Siksa (Phonetics), Kalpa (Code of Rituals and Sacrifices), Vyakarana (Grammar), Nirukta (Etymology), Chandas (Meter, Prosody), and Jyotisa (Astronomy).-Tr.] of the Vedas; the third is a Ksatirya!’ Reply: This is not wrong, for this is meant as a eulogy on the basis of the common factor of renunciation. Between renunciation of actions and renunciation. of hankering for results, there is, indeed, the similarity of the fact of renunciation. While on this subject, by condemning ‘renunciation of actions’ on account of its being based on rajas and tamas, the ‘renunciation of desire for results of actions’ is being praised on account of its being based on sattva, by saying, ‘that renunciation is considered to be based on sattva.’ The internal organ of a person who is qualified for rites and duties, who performs the nityakarmas by giving up attachment and hankering for results, becomes pure on account of its being untainted by attachment to results etc. and refined by the nitya-karmas. When it is pure and tranquil, it becomes capable of contemplating on the Self. Since, for that very person whose internal organ has become purified by performing the nityakarmas and who has become ready for the knowledge of the Self, the process by which he can become steadfast in it has to be stated, therefore the Lord says:
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:
karyam ity eva yat karma
niyatam kriyate ’rjuna
sangam tyaktva phalam caiva
sa tyagah sattviko matah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
kāryam — it must be done; iti — thus; eva — indeed; yat — which; karma — work; niyatam — prescribed; kriyate — is performed; arjuna — O Arjuna; sańgam — association; tyaktvā — giving up; phalam — the result; ca — also; eva — certainly; saḥ — that; tyāgaḥ — renunciation; sāttvikaḥ — in the mode of goodness; mataḥ — in My opinion.