na buddhi-bhedam´ janayed
vidvan yuktah? samacaran
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 3.26
So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krishna consciousness].
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. That is the end of all Vedic rituals. All rituals, all performances of sacrifices, and everything that is put into the Vedas, including all direction for material activities, are meant for understanding Krishna, who is the ultimate goal of life. But because the conditioned souls do not know anything beyond sense gratification, they study the Vedas to that end. But through fruitive activities and sense gratification regulated by the Vedic rituals one is gradually elevated to Krishna consciousness. Therefore a realized soul in Krishna consciousness should not disturb others in their activities or understanding, but he should act by showing how the results of all work can be dedicated to the service of Krishna. The learned Krishna conscious person may act in such a way that the ignorant person working for sense gratification may learn how to act and how to behave. Although the ignorant man is not to be disturbed in his activities, a slightly developed Krishna conscious person may directly be engaged in the service of the Lord without waiting for other Vedic formulas. For this fortunate man there is no need to follow the Vedic rituals, because by direct Krishna consciousness one can have all the results one would otherwise derive from following one’s prescribed duties.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
You should not disturb the minds of those attached to action; because their impure hearts by saying “This karma is despicable! Give up action and become successful like me by the practice of jnana.” Instead one should engage them in action (josayet) by saying “Perform action without desire and become successful.” Doing those actions, you set an example for others.
“But according to the Bhagavatam, this is contrary to the statement of the Lord:
svayam nihsreyasam vidvan na vakty ajnaya karma hi
na rati rogino ‘pathyam vanchato ‘pi bhisaktamah
A pure devotee who is fully accomplished in the science of devotional service will never instruct a foolish person to engage in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, not to speak of helping him in such activities. Such a devotee is like an experienced physician, who never encourages a patient to eat food injurious to his health, even if the patient desires it.” SB 6.9.50
True, but this is in relation to instructions given about bhakti. It is not contradictory to giving instructions about jnana. Jnana is-dependent on purity of the heart, and purity of the heart is dependent on action without desire. But bhakti is by nature very: strong, and is not dependent even on the purity of the heart. If it is possible for you to produce faith in bhakti, then you may disturb the minds of those attached to action, for those who have faith in bhakti have no obligation for performing karma. should be understood from such statements as the following:
tavat karmani kurvita na nirvidyeta yavata
mat-katha-sravanadau va sraddha yavan na jayate
One should continue to perform the Vedic ritualistic activitie until one actually becomes detached from material sense gratification and develops faith for hearing and chanting about Me. SB 11.20.9
dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam bhajet sa tu sattamah
Having taken complete shelter at My lotus feet, however, a saintly person ultimately renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships Me alone. He is thus considered to be the best among all living entities. SB 11.11.32
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekaih saranarh vraja
Give up all dharmas and surrender to me alone. Gita 18.66
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo ‘tha patet tato yadi
If someone gives up his occupational duties and works in Krishna consciousness and then falls down on account of not completing his work, what loss is there on his part? And what can one gain if one performs his material activities perfectly? SB 1.5.17
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
3.26 Do not bewilder the minds of ignorant aspirants by saying that there is, besides Karma Yoga, another way to the vision of the self. They cannot practise Jnana Yoga on account of their incomplete knowledge of the self, and attachment to action. They are qualified for Karma Yoga because of their being fit only for activity on account of the subtle impressions of their beginningless Karma. What then follows from this? It is this: Even though one is qualified for Jnana Yoga because of the complete knowledge of the self, one should do work, holding the view as said previously, that Karma Yoga by itself without Jnana Yoga is an independent means for the vision of the self. He should thus generate love for all types of activity among those who do not know the complete truth. Sri Krsna declares (in the verses 27 to 30) the way in which the self is to be contemplated on as not being an agent as required by Karma Yoga, after demonstrating the difference between the enlightened and unenlightened among those practising Karma Yoga.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
It may be put forth that if one feels compassion for the ignorant one should give them knowledge of atma-tattva or soul realisation which is the highest. Lord Krishna neutralises this argument by stating na vicalayet tan meaning on should not try to impart knowledge to them. The ignorant should not be influenced to refrain from performing their duties by superior instructions about the atma or soul that they are not qualified to understand. The spiritually wise in Vedic knowledge should inspire the ignorant to perform their duties with attentiveness and care. If the minds of the ignorant become disturbed and unsettled then they may lose faith in working altogether and with actions stopped and knowledge not rising the ignorant would lose out in both ways.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
As a person who falls in the mud is stained by the mud in the same way an ignorant person attached to the rewards of their actions is stained with having to receive negative reactions. Lord Krishna is stating that a person of Vedic spiritual wisdom should impart knowledge to them but in a simplified way knowing that the ignorant are lacking in purity of mind and are not qualified to perform prescribed Vedic activities one of spiritual wisdom should not disturb their equilibrium and confuse them with superior teachings as this will only acerbate their self esteem. The spiritually wise should merely encourage the ignorant to continuously perform their daily activities as a matter of duty without attachment and also perform occasional duties on special occasions in the same spirit as well.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
3.26 Vidvan the enlightened man; na janayet, should not create; buddhi-bhedam, disturbance in the beliefs-disturbance in the firm belief, ‘This has to be done; and the result of this action is to be reaped by me’; ajnanam, of the ignorant, of the non-discriminating one; karma-sanginam, who are attached to work. But what should he do? Himself samacaran, working, performing those very activities of the ignorant; yuktah, while remaining diligent; josayet, he should make them do; sarva-karmani, all the duties. How does an anillumined, ignorant person be come attached to actions? In reply the Lord says:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
3.26 Na buddhi-etc. Himself knowing in this way, let him perform actions and let him not disturb the minds of common men. [In the last verse] reference is made ‘of the ignorant person’. [The Lord] now demonstrates their ignorance –
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na buddhi-bhedam janayed
vidvan yuktah samacaran
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — not; buddhi-bhedam — disruption of intelligence; janayet — he should cause; ajñanam — of the foolish; karma-sanginam — who are attached to fruitive work; jos?ayet — he should dovetail; sarva — all; karman?i — work; vidvan — a learned person; yuktah? — engaged; samacaran — practicing.