mayi sarvan?i karman?i
nirasir nirmamo bhutva
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 3.30
Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Krishna conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with dependence on Krishna, because that is the constitutional position of the living entity. The living entity cannot be happy independent of the cooperation of the Supreme Lord, because the eternal constitutional position of the living entity is to become subordinate to the desires of the Lord. Arjuna was therefore ordered by Sri Krishna to fight as if the Lord were his military commander. One has to sacrifice everything for the good will of the Supreme Lord, and at the same time discharge prescribed duties without claiming proprietorship. Arjuna did not have to consider the order of the Lord; he had only to execute His order. The Supreme Lord is the soul of all souls; therefore, one who depends solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration, or in other words, one who is fully Krishna conscious, is called adhyatma-cetas. Nirasih means that one has to act on the order of the master but should not expect fruitive results. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for himself. Similarly, one has to realize that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is the real purport of mayi, or “unto Me.” And when one acts in such Krishna consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything. This consciousness is called nirmama, or “nothing is mine.” And if there is any reluctance to execute such a stern order, which is without consideration of so-called kinsmen in the bodily relationship, that reluctance should be thrown off; in this way one may become vigata-jvara, or without feverish mentality or lethargy. Everyone, according to his quality and position, has a particular type of work to discharge, and all such duties may be discharged in Krishna consciousness, as described above. That will lead one to the path of liberation.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The word adhyatma is here taken as an avyayi bhava compound, meaning “related to (adhya) the atma.” rather than meaning the Supreme Soul. The phrase adhyatma cetasa therefore means “with consciousness fixed in the atma.”
Therefore, offering (sannyasya) all works to me, by consciousness fixed in the atma rather than in material objects, being without desires for the results, being niskama (nirasih), devoid of possessiveness in all respects (nirmamah), fight.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
3.30 Do all prescribed acts such as war etc., (here a duty) free from desire or selfishness and devoid of fear, with a mind focussed on the self. Surrender all acts to Me, the Lord of all, who constitutes the inner pervading Self of all beings. ‘Adhyatma-cetas’ is that mind which is focussed on the self by knowledge of the essential nature of the self as declared in hundreds of Vedic texts. That this individual self constitutes the body of the Supreme Self and is actuated by Him, is taught by Sruti texts like: ‘He who has entered within, is the ruler of all beings and is the Self of all’ (Tai. Ar., 3.11), ‘Him who has entered inside and is the doer’ (Ibid., 3.23), ‘He who, dwelling in the self, is within the self, whom the Self does not know, whose body is the self, who controls the self from within — He is your internal ruler and Immortal Self’ (Br. U., 3.7.22). Smrti texts also speak in the same manner: ‘Him who is the ruler of all’ (Manu, 12.122). Sri Krsna will say later on: ‘And I am seated in the hearts of all; from Me are memory, knowledge and the faculty of reason’ (15.15); ‘The Lord, O Arjuna, lives in the heart of everything causing them to spin round and round by His power, as if set on a wheel’ (18.61). Hence, dedicate to Me, the Supreme Person, all actions considering them as done by Me, by contemplating on the self as actuated by Me by reason of Its constituting My body. And do every thing, considering the actions as My worship only; becoming free from desire for fruits and therefore free from selfishness as regards actions, engage in acts like war etc., devoid of ‘fever’, i.e., the excitement caused by passions like anger. Contemplate that the Supreme Person, Lord of all, Principal of all, gets done His own works only for the purpose of getting Himself worshipped with His own instruments, namely, the individual selves which belong to Him and are His agents. Become free from selfish attachment to action. Also be free from the feverish concern originating from such thoughts as ‘What will become of me with an ancient, endless accumulation of evil arising from beginningless time?’ Perform Karma Yoga with ease, for the Supreme Person Himself, worshipped by acts, will free you from bondage. His Lordship and Principalship over all are settled by Sruti texts like: ‘Him who is the supreme and great Lord of lords, Him the Supreme Divinity of divinities’ (Sve. U., 6.7), ‘The Lord of the Universe’ (Tai. Na., 11.3), ‘The Supreme Ruler of rulers’ (Sve. U., 6.6-7). Isvaratva is the same as Sesitva, which means controllership. Sri Krsna declares that this alone is the essential meaning of the Upanisads:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
So it has been shown that even those in jnana yoga or the cultivating of spiritual knowledge should perform prescribed Vedic activities. But as for Arjuna who was not situated in jnana yoga and had not achieved atma-tattva or soul realisation; the only alternative for him was to perform actions in karma yoga or activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures according to qualification. The word sannyasa means renounce. What is to be renounced? Lord Krishna is explaining to Arjuna to renounce all actions for himself and instead to dedicate all his actions as yagna or worship as an offering to the Supreme Lord. One should try to be guided by the Lord in every action they perform. One should think that they are being guided by the Supreme Lord at all times. Relinquishing both desire and attachment and thereby being free from any ego conceptions of I-ness or my-ness and any conceptions of ownership; one should cheerfully perform all actions for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. In this way Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to free himself from delusion and to fight banishing all lamentation.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The words adhytma-cetasa means in one’s mind offer all actions within to paramatma or the supersoul of the Supreme Being. Here Lord Krishna is giving the conclusion by instructing that one should dedicate all actions to Him alone eradicating all deluded concepts that one is the doer of any actions. Sannyasya means renouncing all activities that are not dedicated to the Supreme Being. The word nirmamah means without any ego sense of attachment. Those situated in the spiritual wisdom of the Vedas dedicate all their actions as well as their thoughts to paramatma within, without attachment.
Now begins the summation.
The jivas or the subatomic living entity existing as consciousness within every living being is certainly not the doer of any action. The Supreme Lord Krishna through the medium of prakriti or material nature is the doer. Yagna or worship adoring Him is verily the essence of all actions. Even the yagna offered to Him is only possible His mercy and grace alone and not otherwise. Devotion to the Supreme Lord is its own reward and bequeaths His mercy and grace perpetually. Performance of yagna to the Supreme Lord Krishna is exclusively the ordained activity to be performed for all human beings, as well as to any of His authorised incarnations such as Rama, Vishnu or Narasimhadeva as revealed in the Vedic scriptures. Only the Supreme Lord alone is an independent performer of actions. All beings are impelled by Him but He is impelled by nothing. Dependence upon Him and Him alone is the ordained action. The actions of the jivas are fraught with modifications due to being constantly influenced by the gunas known as the modes of goodness, passion and nescience. It is stated in the Brahma Tarka that one should always understand the performance and non-performance of actions as differentiated between the Supreme Lord, the jiva and prakriti. In the Shabda Nirnaya prakriti or material nature is to be understood in some instances as the jivas inclination, in other instances as the gunas and yet in special cases because of His creation potency the Supreme Lord Himself can be so understood. By inclination the jiva is three fold consisting of the best, the worst and the intermediate. The best are the devas or demi-gods, the worst are the asuras or demons and the humans are intermediate. There will never be any change in the disposition or modification in the inclinations of any of the three. The devas will always act noble and godly, the demons will always act ignoble and ungodly and humans will always show qualities vacillating between both. Some humans due to receiving spiritual association will exhibit the noble qualities of the devas and other humans receiving degraded influences will exhibit the ignoble qualities of the asuras.
The jivas who are devas are qualified for moksa or liberation from the cycle of birth and death, the jivas who are intermediates are qualified for primordial life and the jivas who are asuras are only qualified for eternal darkness. The redemption of each is achieved only by each following there positive inclination. In the absence of a positive inclination the path of the three continues endlessly. Because there is eternal continuity in our primordial world by the will of Lord Krishna the cycle is endless. The knowledge of the asuras who are degraded is always distorted. The knowledge of the mortal human intermediates is mixed, influenced by the three gunas. The knowledge of the essential principles and conclusions of the Vedic scriptures and devotion for Lord Krishna is reserved for the demi-gods and the higher order of human beings such as Vaisnava’s and brahmana’s and liberated yogis.
All jivas being subservient to the Supreme Being each perform activities according to their natural attributes. Paramatma or the supersoul within monitors the actions performed by every jiva according to each’s natural inclination. The deluded believe that they are the cause and sole performer of all their actions; but those situated in spiritual Vedic wisdom are aware that the senses are energised by the will of the Supreme Being and interact with the three gunas within the prakriti totally dependent upon Him. These jivas realising they have no independent actions exceedingly please the Supreme Being by there devotion.
The deluded jivas by the influence of their own attributes consider themselves to be knowledgeable and independent from the Supreme Being. The deluded do not consider that their actions or attributes are dependent on anything except themselves. Being unqualified by their ignorance they never become illuminated with the light of wisdom. In the Prakasa Samhita it is stated : That the deluded of impure minds can never conceive the truth of the ultimate reality and attain perception of the Supreme Being residing within. The deluded possibly could be convinced about it in their minds with strong arguments founded in logic; but never in their hearts so deluded by maya or illusion are they.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
From the beginning of this chapter the necessity of performing actions without desire and attachment has been shown. That such actions are essential for the avoidance of bondage in the cycle of birth and death as well as being beneficial for maintaining world order has also been illustrated. But how in the world is all this possible one might wonder. Lord Krishna out of compassion declares that by dedicating all prescribed Vedic activities exclusively to Him with the consciousness absorbed in His localised manifestation the atma or soul within the heart one will realise and experience these things without fail. One must think that the eternal atma is causing all one’s actions and that one is not the independent doer. Therefore dedicate all one’s actions to the Supreme Being, free from desire and attachment whether they are physical, mental, material or spiritual while renouncing all ego conceptions of I and mine. Then the all-pervading, omniscient and omnipotent Supreme Lord will accept your offering and free you from samsara the endless cycle of birth and death. The purport herein is that one should perform the prescribed activities enjoined in the Vedic scriptures as a matter of duty. The results being purity of mind, freedom from attachment and maintenance of world order. Accordingly it was Arjuna’s duty to fight and this is what Lord Krishna is propounding to him about.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
3.30 Vigata-jvarah, devoid of the fever of the soul, i.e. being free from repentance, without remorse; yuddhyasva, engage in battle; sannyasya, by dedicating; sarvani, all; karmani, actions; mayi, to Me, who am Vasudeva, the omniscient supreme Lord, the Self of all; adhyatma-cetasa, with (your) mind intent on the Self-with discriminating wisdom, with this idea, ‘I am an agent, and I work for God as a servant’; and further, bhutva, becoming; nirasih, free from expectations [‘Free from expectations of results for yourself’]; and nirmamah, free from egoism. You from whom has vanished the idea, ‘(this is) mine’, are nirmamah.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
3.30 Mayi etc. You should perform the worldly act of fighting a war, being desirous of doing favour for the world; renouncing all actions in Me with the thought ‘I am not the doer [of any act]’; and being convinced ‘None but the Sovereign Supreme Lord is the doer of all acts, and I am nobody’.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
mayi sarvani karmani
nirasir nirmamo bhutva
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mayi — unto Me; sarvan?i — all sorts of; karman?i — activities; sannyasya — giving up completely; adhyatma — with full knowledge of the self; cetasa — by consciousness; nirasih? — without desire for profit; nirmamah? — without ownership; bhutva — so being; yudhyasva — fight; vigata-jvarah? — without being lethargic.