yasya sarve samarambha?
tam ahu? pa??ita? budha?
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 4.19
One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Only a person in full knowledge can understand the activities of a person in Krishna consciousness. Because the person in Krishna consciousness is devoid of all kinds of sense-gratificatory propensities, it is to be understood that he has burned up the reactions of his work by perfect knowledge of his constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is actually learned who has attained to such perfection of knowledge. Development of this knowledge of eternal servitorship to the Lord is compared to fire. Such a fire, once kindled, can burn up all kinds of reactions to work.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This concept is further explained in five verses. One who completely engages in activity (samarambha) devoid of desires to attain objects of enjoyment performs actions consumed by the fire of knowledge, whether the actions are prescribed (karma) or forbidden (vikarma). Just as the qualified person sees karma as not leading to bondage, he also sees vikarma or forbidden action as not accruing bondage. This verse is in agreement with the previous verse (seeing inaction in action). Later it will be said:
api ced asi papebhyah sarvebhyah papa-krt-tamah sarvarh jnana-plavenaiva vrjinarh santarisyasi yathaidhamsi samiddho ‘gnir bhasma-sat kurute ‘rjuna jnanagnih sarva-karmani bhasma-sat kurute tatha
Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries. As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities. BG 4.36-37
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
4.19 In the case of an aspirant for release, all undertakings of actions in the form of obligatory, occasional and desiderative acts accomplished through the acquisition of materials for their performance as also other works, are free from desire, i.e., are devoid of attachment to fruits. They are devoid of delusive identification. If the mind identifies the self with Prakrti and its Gunas, it is Sankalpa, i.e., ‘delusive identification.’ Genuine Karma Yoga is free from such identification. Such identification is overcome through contemplation on the real nature of the self as different from Prakrti. Those who know the truth call him a sage, who acts in this way and whose previous Karmas are thereby burnt up by the fire of knowledge of the real nature of the self generated along with his actions. He is a true Karma Yogin. Thus that knowledge is involved in true Karma Yoga, is established. Sri Krsna elaborates this point again:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The twofold dialectic based on scriptural evidence and inference respectively is one who sees inaction in action and is referred to by Lord Krishna in the previous verse. Those actions that are free from desire are known as samarambha or properly consummated. Actions are desired because of hankering for rewards and these actions are not properly consummated. One who is free from desire and hankering is considered to be intelligent and wise. This is because all actions of such a person turn into inaction by the fire of knowledge that is kindled within the purified mind that is free from all desires and hankerings. Another interpretation of this verse is that for one who is already properly situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of knowledge and is free from desires to enjoy and hankerings for rewards; whatever action they perform is done as a matter of duty and to inspire others.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
In this verse and the next five verses Lord Krishna describes the nature of karma or prescribed Vedic activities. The knowledge that one is completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord and that the Supreme Lord alone is the actual performer of all actions guarantees that all reactions to actions are neutralised by the fire of wisdom.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna propounds the manner in which the spiritually intelligent seeking moksa or liberation act in regards to action and inaction. That person whose every action is free from desire and hankering for rewards be it obligatory or not obligatory, daily or occasional even as well on special days such as festivals for the Supreme Lord’s appearance day. Their actions are incapable of sprouting reactions as they are free from even the thoughts of desire due to being purified by the fire of knowledge which manifests as not desiring the rewards of any action and this applies even up to the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
4.19 Budhah, the wise, the knowers of Brahman; ahuh, call; tam, him; panditam, learned, in the real sense; yasya, whose, of the one who perceives as stated above; samarambhah, actions-whatever are undertaken; are sarve, all; kama-sankalpa-varjitah, devoid of desires and the thoughts which are their (desires’) causes (see 2.62)-i.e., (those actions) are performed as mere movements, without any selfish purpose: if they are performed by one (already) engaged in actions, then they are for preventing people from going astray, and if they are done by one who has withdrawn from actions, then they are merely for the maintenance of the body-; and jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam, whose actions have been burnt away by the fire of wisdom. Finding inaction etc. in action etc. is jnana, wisdom; that itself is agnih, fire. He whose actions, karma, described as good and bad, have been dagdhani, burnt away by that fire of wisdom, is jnana-agni-dagdha-karma. However, one who is a perceiver of ‘inaction’ etc. [Perceiver of inaction etc.: He who knows the truth about action and inaction as explained before.-Tr.] is free from actions owing to the very fact of his seeing ‘inaction’ etc. He is a monk, who acts merely for the purpose of maintaining the body. Being so, he does not engage in actions although he might have done so before the dawn of discrimination. He again who, having been engaged in actions under the influence of past tendencies, later on becomes endowed with the fullest Self-knowledge, he surely renounces (all) [Ast. adds this word sarva, all.-Tr.] actions along with their accessories as he does nnot find any purpose in activity. For some reason, if it becomes impossible to renounce actions and he, for the sake of preventing people from going astray, even remains engaged as before in actions-without attachment to those actions and their results because of the absence of any selfish purpose-, still he surely does nothing at all! His actions verily become ‘inaction’ because of having been burnt away by the fire of wisdom. By way of pointing out this idea, the Lord says:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
4.19 Yasya etc. The actions, performed without intention for the desirable objects, – i.e., the fruits desired for – are burnt up by putting them into the fire of wisdom, the nature of which has been earlier described , and also is to be described in the sequel.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
yasya sarve samarambhah
tam ahuh panditam budhah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
yasya — one whose; sarve — all sorts of; samarambhah — attempts; kama — based on desire for sense grati?cation; sankalpa — determination; varjitah — are devoid of; jñana — of perfect knowledge; agni — by the ?re; dagdha — burned; karmanam — whose work; tam — him; ahuh — declare; panditam — learned; budhah — those who know.