pārtha naiveha nāmutra
vināśas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid
durgatiḿ tāta gacchati
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 6.40
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Son of Pritha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) Sri Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:
tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto ’bhajatam sva-dharmatah
“If someone gives up all material prospects and takes complete shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no loss or degradation in any way. On the other hand a nondevotee may fully engage in his occupational duties and yet not gain anything.” For material prospects there are many activities, both scriptural and customary. A transcendentalist is supposed to give up all material activities for the sake of spiritual advancement in life, Krishna consciousness. One may argue that by Krishna consciousness one may attain the highest perfection if it is completed, but if one does not attain such a perfectional stage, then he loses both materially and spiritually. It is enjoined in the scriptures that one has to suffer the reaction for not executing prescribed duties; therefore one who fails to discharge transcendental activities properly becomes subjected to these reactions. The Bhagavatam assures the unsuccessful transcendentalist that there need be no worries. Even though he may be subjected to the reaction for not perfectly executing prescribed duties, he is still not a loser, because auspicious Krishna consciousness is never forgotten, and one so engaged will continue to be so even if he is lowborn in the next life. On the other hand, one who simply follows strictly the prescribed duties need not necessarily attain auspicious results if he is lacking in Krishna consciousness.
The purport may be understood as follows. Humanity may be divided into two sections, namely, the regulated and the nonregulated. Those who are engaged simply in bestial sense gratifications without knowledge of their next life or spiritual salvation belong to the nonregulated section. And those who follow the principles of prescribed duties in the scriptures are classified amongst the regulated section. The nonregulated section, both civilized and noncivilized, educated and noneducated, strong and weak, are full of animal propensities. Their activities are never auspicious, because while enjoying the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, defending and mating, they perpetually remain in material existence, which is always miserable. On the other hand, those who are regulated by scriptural injunctions, and who thus rise gradually to Krishna consciousness, certainly progress in life.
Those who are following the path of auspiciousness can be divided into three sections, namely (1) the followers of scriptural rules and regulations who are enjoying material prosperity, (2) those who are trying to find ultimate liberation from material existence, and (3) those who are devotees in Krishna consciousness. Those who are following the rules and regulations of the scriptures for material happiness may be further divided into two classes: those who are fruitive workers and those who desire no fruit for sense gratification. Those who are after fruitive results for sense gratification may be elevated to a higher standard of life—even to the higher planets—but still, because they are not free from material existence, they are not following the truly auspicious path. The only auspicious activities are those which lead one to liberation. Any activity which is not aimed at ultimate self-realization or liberation from the material bodily concept of life is not at all auspicious. Activity in Krishna consciousness is the only auspicious activity, and anyone who voluntarily accepts all bodily discomforts for the sake of making progress on the path of Krishna consciousness can be called a perfect transcendentalist under severe austerity. And because the eightfold yoga system is directed toward the ultimate realization of Krishna consciousness, such practice is also auspicious, and no one who is trying his best in this matter need fear degradation.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
He does not have destruction in this life (iha) or the next (amutra). Having performed yoga, which gives auspiciousness (kalyana krt), he does not attain a destination of suffering.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
6.40 The Lord said — Neither here nor there is destruction for him who has begun Yoga with faith and has then fallen away from it. The meaning is that there is no destruction either in the form of failure of attainment of desires or in the form of Pratyavaya, which means the attainment of what is undesirable because of defects in the performance of works. Therefore no one who practises this incomparably auspicious Yoga ever comes to an evil end in the present, past or future. Sri Krsna explains how this is so:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Destruction in this world is caused by diminution due to failure to secure neither the goal of svarga or heaven nor the goal of moksa or liberation from material existence. Failure to accomplish one or the other results in a destructive situation in the hereafter. This means a hellish destination in the worlds after death in the next life. Lord Krishna answers the previous verse by assuring that for the righteous who perform virtuous activities it is not possible to ever have a destructive situation and hellish destination. This is due to the reality that one is on the path of righteousness by just commencing with faith the process of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Lord Krishna addresses Arjuna by the word tata meaning dear one like He would be speaking to a family member.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
In order to dispel all doubts Lord Krishna answers this question by addressing Arjuna in a very affectionate way by use of the word tata meaning dear one. Then He confirms to him that there is no downfall or setback in the present life or in the next life for an aspirant of moksa or liberation from the material existence who has abandoned the path of karma yoga or prescribed Vedic activities for attaining heaven in exchange for the sake of cultivating meditation and atma tattva or realisation of the soul. Even if one fails to reach perfection due to digressing from the path by negligence in dispassion or lethargy in practice still there is no demerits or diminution because there was no hankering for rewards and thus no reactions to suffer. If a person is worshipping the demigods with a desire to obtain some rewards and does not get it, then that person has to accept a reaction anyway because they deviated from the path right from the very start. Hence in their present life they feel censure and infamy because the reward could not be gained to be enjoyed. But in the next life after death one must still receive the reaction for seeking to enjoy independently of the Supreme Lord regardless of receiving it or not and the reaction will not be pleasant in the next life maybe even taking a birth as an animal. It is like a thief who goes to the market to steal and get caught before getting away still the thief is bound to be punished for attempting the action without having succeeded. But this will never be the situation for one who begins the practice of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. One who treads the path of yoga and righteousness never meets with an inauspicious or evil destiny.
The word tata is derived from the word tan meaning to expand. One who expands himself further is known as tat and one who expands himself as the son is the father. Thus the father himself is tata expanding himself as the son. So both the father and the son are addressed as tata. As an analogy the disciple is also accepted as the son by the guru or spiritual master and thus the use of the word tata illustrates the extreme mercy the guru gives to the disciple as Lord Krishna is giving to Arjuna.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
6.40 O Partha, eva vidyate, there is certainly; na vinasah, no ruin; tasya, for him; iha, here, in this world; or amutra, hereafter, in the other world. Ruin means a birth inferior to the previous one; that is not there for one who has fallen from Yoga. Hi, for; na kascit, no one; kalyana-krt, engaged in good; gacchati, meets with; durgatim, a deplorable end; tata, My son! A father is called tata because he perpetuates himself (tanoti) through the son. Since the father himself becomes the son, therefore the son also is called tata. A disciple is called putra (son). [Sri krsna addressed Arjuna thus because the latter was his disciple.] But what happens to him?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
6.40 Partha etc. The idea [here] is : There is no [question of] destruction for the fallen-from-Yoga, either is this world or in the other; because his faith is not lost. He has indeed performed as auspicious act of seeking the Bhagavat, and that act is not of perishing nature as the Agnistoma sacrifice etc., are.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
partha naiveha namutra
vinasas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyana-krt kascid
durgatim tata gacchati
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; na eva — never is it so; iha — in this material world; na — never; amutra — in the next life; vināśaḥ — destruction; tasya — his; vidyate — exists; na — never; hi — certainly; kalyāṇa-kṛt — one who is engaged in auspicious activities; kaścit — anyone; durgatim — to degradation; tāta — My friend; gacchati — goes.