śārīraḿ kevalaḿ karma
kurvan nāpnoti kilbiṣam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 4.23
The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Becoming fully Krishna conscious, one is freed from all dualities and thus is free from the contaminations of the material modes. He can become liberated because he knows his constitutional position in relationship with Krishna, and thus his mind cannot be drawn from Krishna consciousness. Consequently, whatever he does, he does for Krishna, who is the primeval Vishnu. Therefore, all his works are technically sacrifices because sacrifice aims at satisfying the Supreme Person, Vishnu, Krishna. The resultant reactions to all such work certainly merge into transcendence, and one does not suffer material effects.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
For one who performs actions for the purpose of yajna which will now be described, karma dissolves. The state of non-action or no reactions to work is attained by this.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
4.23 Of a person whose attachment to all objects is gone because of his mind being established in the knowledge of the self, who is therefore liberated from accepting all worldly possessions and who is engaged in the performance of sacrifices etc., as described above — in the case of such a person his beginningless load of Karma, which is the cause of his bondgae, is completely dissolved, i.e., destroyed without leaving any residue. So far the nature of Karma as having the form of knowledge has been described as emerging from constant contemplation on the nature of the self as different from Prakrti. And now Sri Krsna says that all actions together with their ancillaries, have the form of knowledge because of constant contemplation by the aspirant on the Supreme Person who is the Supreme Brahman, as being his soul.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
One who is desireless, free from attraction and repulsion, who performs every action as an act of yagnaya or as offering and worship to the Supreme Lord Krishna. For one situated in karma yoga or the performance of prescribed Vedic activities all their actions become inaction and all reactions along with any impressions are dissolved. For one situated in jnana yoga or the cultivation of Vedic knowledge who has already attained atma tattva or realisation of the soul; the word yagnaya denotes worshipping the Supreme Lord to set an exemplary example in society.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Now Lord Krishna summarises the conclusion of the previous five verses. The compound words gata- sangasya means being freed from desires for rewards. The word muktasya means being free from bodily vanity. The words jnanavasthita.cetasah means one who has communion with the ultimate consciousness residing in the heart.
Now begins the summation.
Being free from all dependence means to take complete refuge in the Supreme Lord and to be totally under His protection. Liberated means to be free from all sense of pride.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
It is being stated by Lord Krishna why a yogi or one whose individual consciousness is in communion with the ultimate consciousness is not bound by actions although engaged in actions. Because such a one is free of passion and likes and dislikes. Devoid of attachment to the rewards of actions due to one’s mind being firmly fixed in the bliss of the atma or soul and who performs all actions completely according to the Vedic injunctions as a yagna or an offering of worship for the propitiation to the Supreme Lord. This is why such a person is never bound. When such a one is not interested in achieving merit or distinction how can they ever get demerits by being tempted to perform any prohibited act. Although the doer is known to hold equal shares of merit or demerit with the one who caused, the inspirer and the on who proposed in positive or negative results. Such a yogi is never implicated because others perform actions solely for desires of rewards while the yogi does not.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
4.23 Muktasya, of the liberated person who has become relieved of such bondages as righteousness and unrighteousness, etc.; gatasangasya, who has got rid of attachment, who has become detached from everything; jnana-avasthita-cetasah, whose mind is fixed in Knowledge only; his karma, actions; acaratah, undertaken; yajnaya, for a sacrifice, to accomplish a sacrifice [A.G. takes yajna to mean Visnu. So, yajnaya will mean ‘for Visnu’. Sankaracarya also interprets this word similarly in 3.9.-Tr.]; praviliyate, gets destroyed; samagram, totally-saha (together) agrena (with its consequence, result). This is the meaning. For what reason, again, does an action that is underway get destroyed totally without producing its result? This is being answered: Because,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
4.23 Gatasangasya etc. For sacrifice (yajnaya) : The singular number is to be construed with the class [yajnatva]. [Hence the meaning is] : ‘The sacrifice’ that are being defined in the sequel. It has been said ‘for the sake of sacrifice etc.’ Now their general nature, [the Lord] describes :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
gata-sangasya — of one unattached to the modes of material nature; muktasya — of the liberated; jñana-avasthita — situated in transcendence; cetasah — whose wisdom; yajñaya — for the sake of Yajña (Krsna); acaratah — acting; karma — work; samagram — in total; praviliyate — merges entirely.