ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā
rājasās tāmasāś ca ye
matta eveti tān viddhi
na tv ahaḿ teṣu te mayi

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 7.12

Know that all states of being—be they of goodness, passion or ignorance—are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they, on the contrary, are within Me.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

All material activities in the world are being conducted under the three modes of material nature. Although these material modes of nature are emanations from the Supreme Lord, Krishna, He is not subject to them. For instance, under the state laws one may be punished, but the king, the lawmaker, is not subject to that law. Similarly, all the modes of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance—are emanations from the Supreme Lord, Krishna, but Krishna is not subject to material nature. Therefore He is nirguna, which means that these gunas, or modes, although issuing from Him, do not affect Him. That is one of the special characteristics of Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

The expression of my powers, being the cause of things or the essence of inanimate objects and such living entities as raksasas and others have been mentioned. There is no need to list these more extensively. All things are dependent on me, and are an expression of my power. Those things (bhava) in the mode of goodness, like sense and mind control and the devatas; those in the mode of passion, such as lust and pride, and the asuras like Hiranyakasipu; and those in the mode of ignorance like lamentation, illusion and the raksasas—these are all the products of the gunas of prakrti belonging to me. I do not exist in them: I do not depend on them like the jivas. But they exist in me: they are dependent on me.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

7.12 Why should this be declared with particular illustrations? The reason is as follows: Whatever entities exist in the world partaking of the qualities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in the forms of bodies, senses, objects of enjoyment and their causes — know them all to have originated from Me alone, and they abide in Me alone, as they constitute My body. ‘But I am not in them.’ That is, I do not depend for My existence on them at any time. In the case of other beings, though the body depends for its existence on the self, the body serves some purpose of the self in the matter of Its sustenance. To Me, however, there is no purpose at all of that kind served by them constituting My body. The meaning is that they merely serve the purpose of My sport.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Lord Krishna states that even the three modes which result from the actions of all living entities being the serene sattvikas in mode of goodness who have total control over their minds and bodies, as well as the rajasikas in the mode of passion who are full of pride and desire pleasure, and also the tamasikas in the mode of nescience which contain anguish, despair and deluison. All these three modes arise from Lord Krishna as they are products of prakriti or material nature which manifests solely from Him. Yet He is not part of prakriti nor is He influenced by them like all embodied beings because prakriti abides within Him and is under His complete control.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Lord Krishna declares na tu aham tesu meaning I am not in them which denotes that He is not dependent on them but they are dependent on Him. The Gita Kalpa states: All the worlds are dependent upon the Supreme Lord but He is not dependent on anything.

Now begins the summation.

The three gunas or the modes of sattvas or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience all arise from prakriti or material nature which manifests from Lord Krishna alone but He is not influenced by them nor is He dependent upon anything.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

What more needs to be said. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the sole cause of creation and all living entities. He iterates this with the words ye caiva meaning and certainly all these others of the three gunas or modes being those born in sattvas or goodness with discrimination and sense control, those born in rajas or passion with pride and desire and those born in tamas or ignorance with inertia and delusion. The original source of all living entities is exclusively Lord Krishna but their birth in any of the three gunas is caused exclusively by their own actions and subsequent reactions since time immemorial. If one is to say that the reactions may be the Supreme Lords also because He is the original, it is refuted by this verse stating that although they emanate from Him, He is not dependent upon the living entities as in the case of the atma or soul is for residence because all living entities abide in Him and are dependent upon Him.

The particle tu meaning however suggests another interpretation of this verse which may be explained as the demi-gods evolve from the quality of sattvas, humans evolve from the quality of rajas and animals evolve from the quality of tamas. All have evolved from Lord Krishna but He is not dependent upon them. At times He incarnates in the material creation for the purpose of maintaining universal order or to enjoy His lilas or divine pastimes but to do so He does not have to give up His transcendental, spiritual form for a material body as His attributes, powers and qualities all remain intact. All creation comprised of animate and inanimate beings emanates solely from Him is sustained by Him and likewise is dissolved again back into Him. In the relationship between cause and effect the Supreme Lord is always superior due exclusively to His personal potency of powers, qualities and attributes with no other support. This is because He alone is the cause and the source, the maintainer and sustainer of the entire creation and is completely independent.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

7.12 Ye bhavah, those things; sattvikah eva, that indeed are made of (the quality of) sattva; and ye rajasah, those that are made (of the quality) of rajas; and tamasah, those that are made of (the quality of) tamas-whatever things are made (of sattva, rajas and tamas) according to the creatures’s own actions: viddhi, know; tan, them, all without exception; mattah eva iti, to have sprung from Me alone when they come into being. Although they originate from Me, still, tu, however; aham, I; am na tesu, not in them-I am not subject to them, not under their control, as are the transmigrating bengs. Te, they, again; mayi, are in Me, subject to Me, under My control. [For sattva, rajas, and tamas see note under 2.45 as also Chapters 14, 17 and 18.-Tr.] ‘The world does not know Me, the supreme Lord, even though I am of this kind, and am eternal, pure, intelligent and free by nature, [See note on p.4.-Tr.] the Self of all beings, free from all qualities, the cause of burning away the seed of the evil of transmigration!’-in this way the Lord expresses regret. And what is the source of that ignorance in the world? That is being stated:

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

7.12-13 Ye ca etc. Tribhih etc. The [Strands] Sattva etc., are derived from Me, and not I from them. That is why he who has achieved his identity with the Bhagavat (the Absolute), properly realises all [objects] as being the Bhagavat [Himself]. On the other hand, the person who is established in the knowledge of objects of umpteen varieties does not understand the reality of the Bhagavat. This krama (traditional order) pleases the mind of all. With this idea only the Lord is going to declare presently ‘Vasudeva is all’. There the meaning is this : He, whose internal organ is favoured by the descent of the Supreme Energy or grace (Sakti-pata) that arises after [teaching the stage of] equableness of effects of actions (karma-samata) that is brought about by the enjoyment [of effects] through many births; and who realises the reality of Bhagavat, with conviction ‘verily all is Vasudeva’ – that person is the great Soul and he is difficult to find. But, not knowing in this manner and, on the contrary, being duluded by the Strands, Sattva etc., this world, fails to perceive the reality of Vasudeva, transcending the Strands. [The Lord] declares why the persons established exclusively in the Sattva etc. (Strands), are not conscious of the real nature of the Bhagavat :

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

ye caiva sattvika bhava
rajasas tamasas ca ye
matta eveti tan viddhi
na tv aham tesu te mayi

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

ye — all which; ca — and; eva — certainly; sāttvikāḥ — in goodness; bhāvāḥ — states of being; rājasāḥ — in the mode of passion; tāmasāḥ — in the mode of ignorance; ca — also; ye — all which; mattaḥ — from Me; eva — certainly; iti — thus; tān — those; viddhi — try to know; na — not; tu — but; aham — I; teṣu — in them; te — they; mayi — in Me.