tasmad asaktah? satatam´
karyam´ karma samacara
asakto hy acaran karma
param apnoti purus?ah?
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 3.19
Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Supreme is the Personality of Godhead for the devotees, and liberation for the impersonalist. A person, therefore, acting for Krishna, or in Krishna consciousness, under proper guidance and without attachment to the result of the work, is certainly making progress toward the supreme goal of life. Arjuna is told that he should fight in the Battle of Kurukshetra for the interest of Krishna because Krishna wanted him to fight. To be a good man or a nonviolent man is a personal attachment, but to act on behalf of the Supreme is to act without attachment for the result. That is perfect action of the highest degree, recommended by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
Vedic rituals, like prescribed sacrifices, are performed for purification of impious activities that were performed in the field of sense gratification. But action in Krishna consciousness is transcendental to the reactions of good or evil work. A Krishna conscious person has no attachment for the result but acts on behalf of Krishna alone. He engages in all kinds of activities, but is completely nonattached.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Therefore (tasmad) since you do not have qualification for rising to the platform of jnana, and performing actions with desires is not suitable for you since you have spiritual intelligence, you should perform action without desire. That is explained in this verse. Therefore you should perform obligatory prescribed, actions. By doing this you will attain liberation (param).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
3.19 Therefore, considering that work has to be performed with detachment, you perform it, considering yourself a non-agent. This will be declared in the words ‘with detachment’ and ‘which ought to be done,’ meaning that one attains the Supreme by Karma Yoga itself.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Activities are unnecessary for one situated in atma-tattva or soul realisation; but all others must perform the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures according to qualification. This is compulsory. Furthermore Lord Krishna is stating that one should be unattached to the results but perform actions as duty requires. There are regular activities such as being vegetarian and fasting on Ekadasi and there are occasional activities like offerings to one’s ancestors once a year. But for all activities one must remain unattached and by doing so one attains spiritual insights which purifies the mind, leading to the highest attainment of moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Only one situated in the state of atma-tattva or soul realisation is not required to perform activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. So Lord Krishna is indicating to Arjuna that since he is not established in this state he should perform actions as a matter of duty.
Now begins the summation.
For all those who have not achieved atma-tattva and are not situated in moksa or liberation, the performance of prescribed actions of the Vedic scriptures is mandatory according to qualification. Therefore the need for desireless, unattached actions is necessary. For those who are attached performance of actions exclusively to please the Supreme Lord are the best. Arjuna had not attained moksa at that time; but he and his brothers the Pandava’s were certainly well endowed in wisdom being knowledgeable of the path to atma-tattva and were dedicated to pleasing the Supreme Lord and following all the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. The differences in consciousness between the righteous Pandavas and the liberated ones was not that big; but the Pandavas still needed to perform actions while the liberated ones had no actions to perform.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
A person who is interested in attaining atma-tattva or soul realisation must perform activities without desire unattached to the results. The reason being that one without desires has their mind focused on the Supreme Lord and such direction leads to spiritual knowledge. So Lord Krishna is emphasising this point that while performing prescribed Vedic actions in this way without attachment, with the consciousness directed towards the Supreme Lord, naturally purity of mind developes and then spiritual knowledge after which the highest moksa or liberation from the material existence is attained
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
3.19 Since this is so, therefore, asaktah, remaining unattached; samacara, perform; satatam, always; karyam, the obligatory; daily karma, duty; hi, for; acaran, by performing; (one’s) karma, duty; asaktah, without attachment, by doing work as a dedication to God; purusah, a person; apnoti, attains; param, the Highest, Liberation, through the purification of the mind. This is meaning. And (you should perform your duty) for the following reason also:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
3.17-19 Yas ca etc. upto purusah. However, for a person who rejoices in the Self and performs action simply as a [routine] business of organs of action, there is no difference between (his) action and nonaciton. That is why he inflicts punishment on, or does favour to, every being, not with desire for any gain for himself, but with a conviction that it a is thing that deserves to be performed. Therefore, just unattached, one should perform action that is to be performed.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tasmad asaktah satatam
karyam karma samacara
asakto hy acaran karma
param apnoti purusah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
tasmat — therefore; asaktah? — without attachment; satatam — constantly; karyam — as duty; karma — work; samacara — perform; asaktah? — unattached; hi — certainly; acaran — performing; karma — work; param — the Supreme; apnoti — achieves; purus?ah? — a man.