tapasvibhyo ’dhiko yogī
jñānibhyo ’pi mato ’dhikaḥ
karmibhyaś cādhiko yogī
tasmād yogī bhavārjuna
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 6.46
A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances, be a yogi.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
When we speak of yoga we refer to linking our consciousness with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Such a process is named differently by various practitioners in terms of the particular method adopted. When the linking process is predominantly in fruitive activities it is called karma-yoga, when it is predominantly empirical it is called jnana-yoga, and when it is predominantly in a devotional relationship with the Supreme Lord it is called bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga, or Krishna consciousness, is the ultimate perfection of all yogas, as will be explained in the next verse. The Lord has confirmed herein the superiority of yoga, but He has not mentioned that it is better than bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga is full spiritual knowledge, and therefore nothing can excel it. Asceticism without self-knowledge is imperfect. Empiric knowledge without surrender to the Supreme Lord is also imperfect. And fruitive work without Krishna consciousness is a waste of time. Therefore, the most highly praised form of yoga performance mentioned here is bhakti-yoga, and this is still more clearly explained in the next verse.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Among those practicing karma, jnana, tapas and yoga, who is the best? It is my opinion that the yogi, worshipper of paramatma, is better than the performers of austerities such as the difficult candrayana vrata, and is better than the jnanis worshipping brahman. If the yogi is better than the jnanis, it goes without saying that he is better than the karmis.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
6.46 Whatever end of human endeavour is attained by mere austerity, by knowledge of different subjects (i.e., different from experience of the self) and by mere rituals like the horse-sacrifice etc., —- greater than all these is the end achieved through Yoga. Consequently the Yogin is superior to those who practise austerity, to those who possess learning and to those who perform rituals. Therefore, O Arjuna, become a Yogin. Thus, so far the vision of the self, which has been expounded in the teaching of Prajapati as forming a part of supreme Vidya, has been taught; then Sri Krsna extols that supreme Vidya:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The result of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness verifies that the yogi is greater than the ascetics who perform ritualistic penance’s like Chandrayana or fasting with the cycles of the moon, the jnani’s or knowers of Vedic scripture without the requisite realisation and the karmi’s or those who perform prescribed Vedic activities for fruitive results and rewards such as Ishta’s or rites and rituals for attaining material gains in the present life or in svarga loka the heavenly spheres in the afterlife and Purta or acts of charity such as well digging for public use, giving food in charity etc. Therefore Lord Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to be a yogi.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Therefore a person sincerely seeking their eternal well being should rely on yoga more than any other means for accomplishing the fundamental purpose of human existence. The yogi or one perfecting the science of the individual consciousness with the ultimate consciousness is superior to the ascetics who practice ritualistic austerities like the fasting vows which follow the cycle of the moon. The yogi is regarded to be superior to those who are well versed and knowledgeable of the Vedic scriptures and a yogi is also superior to those who perform prescribed Vedic activities for fruitive results like an Agnihotra or fire sacrifice. Therefore Lord Krishna is encouraging Arjuna to be a yogi.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
6.46 A yogi is adhikah, higher; tapasvibhyah, than men of austerity; he is matah, considered; adhikah, higher than, superior to; api, even; jnanibhyah, men of knowledge. Jnana here means scriptural learning. (A yogi is superior) to even those who possess that (learning). The yogi is adhikah, higher, greater; karmibhyah, than men of action-karma means Agnihotra etc.; (greater) than those who adhere to them. Since this is so, tasmat, therefore; O Arjuna, bhava, do you become a yogi.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
6.46 Tapasvibhyah etc. The superiority [of Yogin] over the men of austerities has already been indicated. The knowledge is the fruit of Yoga. Hence Yogin’s superiority over the men of knowledge. He is superior to men of action, because he alone knows how to perform action. The God-discarding difficult Yoga, does not itself yield success. This is stated [as]-
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tapasvibhyo ’dhiko yogi
jñanibhyo ’pi mato ’dhikah
karmibhyas cadhiko yogi
tasmad yogi bhavarjuna
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
tapasvibhyaḥ — than the ascetics; adhikaḥ — greater; yogī — the yogī; jñānibhyaḥ — than the wise; api — also; mataḥ — considered; adhikaḥ — greater; karmibhyaḥ — than the fruitive workers; ca — also; adhikaḥ — greater; yogī — the yogī; tasmāt — therefore; yogī — a transcendentalist; bhava — just become; arjuna — O Arjuna.