na me pārthāsti kartavyaḿ
triṣu lokeṣu kiñcana
varta eva ca karmaṇi
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 3.22
O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I a need to obtain anything—and yet I am engaged in prescribed duties.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures as follows:
tam ishvaranam paramam maheshvaram
tam devatanam paramam ca daivatam
patim patinam paramam parastad
vidama devam bhuvanesam idyam
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya shaktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca
“The Supreme Lord is the controller of all other controllers, and He is the greatest of all the diverse planetary leaders. Everyone is under His control. All entities are delegated with particular power only by the Supreme Lord; they are not supreme themselves. He is also worshipable by all demigods and is the supreme director of all directors. Therefore, He is transcendental to all kinds of material leaders and controllers and is worshipable by all. There is no one greater than Him, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.
“He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence.” (Shvetasvatara Upanishad 6.7–8)
Since everything is in full opulence in the Personality of Godhead and is existing in full truth, there is no duty for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to perform. One who must receive the results of work has some designated duty, but one who has nothing to achieve within the three planetary systems certainly has no duty. And yet Lord Krishna is engaged on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra as the leader of the kshatriyas because the kshatriyas are duty-bound to give protection to the distressed. Although He is above all the regulations of the revealed scriptures, He does not do anything that violates the revealed scriptures.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In three verses the Lord uses himself as an example.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
3.22 For Me, who is the Lord of all, who has all desires fulfilled, who is omniscient, whose will is always true, and who, at My own will, remains in the three worlds in the forms of gods, men and such other beings, there is nothing whatever to achieve. Therefore though there is for Me nothing ‘unacquired’, i.e., nothing yet to be acquired by work, I go on working for the protection of the world.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
In this regard Lord Krishna is using Himself as an example citing that fact that as the creator of all the worlds He has nothing to gain as He controls everything and yet He still performs His transcendental pastimes completely in line with the Vedic scriptures to benefit the welfare of all beings and the world.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna is clarifying His position by stating that there is no performance of any prescribed Vedic action required of Him; yet and still He performs actions for the benefit of the world. So in the same way Arjuna should perform prescribed actions for maintaining world order and offering the results of the actions to the Supreme Lord. This has been revealed in the Krishna Samhita. By sustenance, by maintenance and by destruction the Supreme Lord has nothing to gain. Without any objective whatsoever the Supreme Lord Krishna according to His creative impulse performs all actions perpetually throughout all of creation. Just as a person who is extremely happy may spontaneously sing and dance to express their special pleasure in the same way the Supreme Lord performs all actions to express His consciousness which is perpetually in a state of Supreme Bliss.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna is clarifying that He is not only giving this instruction but that He follows the performance of prescribed Vedic activities as well for the welfare of the world. Although He is the Supreme Lord of all with no need to attain what He already possesses still Lord Krishna performs Vedic activities in His form or the form of any of His authorised incarnations to set the example and so that all the worlds will beneftit.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
3.22 O Partha, na asti, there is no; kartavyam, duty; kincana, whatsoever; me, for Me (to fulfill); even trisu lokesu, in all the three worlds. Why? There is na anavaptam, nothing (that remains) unachieved; or avaptavyam, to be achieved. Still varte eva, do I continue; karmani, in action.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
3.21-22 Yad yad acarati etc. Na me etc. The Bhagavat cities Himself as an example to illustrate the idea that to favour the world is the [only] purpose for such a person to exert in action, eventhough he has already attained whatever is to be attained, and is fully satisfied in his mind.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na me parthasti kartavyam
trisu lokesu kincana
varta eva ca karmani
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — not; me — Mine; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; asti — there is; kartavyam — prescribed duty; triṣu — in the three; lokeṣu — planetary systems; kiñcana — any; na — nothing; anavāptam — wanted; avāptavyam — to be gained; varte — I am engaged; eva — certainly; ca — also; karmaṇi — in prescribed duty.