na ca māḿ tāni karmāṇi
asaktaḿ teṣu karmasu
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.9
O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached from all these material activities, seated as though neutral.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
One should not think, in this connection, that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no engagement. In His spiritual world He is always engaged. In the Brahma-samhita (5.6) it is stated, atmaramasya tasyasti prakritya na samagamah: “He is always involved in His eternal, blissful, spiritual activities, but He has nothing to do with these material activities.” Material activities are being carried on by His different potencies. The Lord is always neutral in the material activities of the created world. This neutrality is mentioned here with the word udasina-vat. Although He has control over every minute detail of material activities, He is sitting as if neutral. The example can be given of a high-court judge sitting on his bench. By his order so many things are happening—someone is being hanged, someone is being put into jail, someone is awarded a huge amount of wealth—but still he is neutral. He has nothing to do with all that gain and loss. Similarly, the Lord is always neutral, although He has His hand in every sphere of activity. In the Vedanta-sutra (2.1.34) it is stated, vaisamya-nairghrnye na: He is not situated in the dualities of this material world. He is transcendental to these dualities. Nor is He attached to the creation and annihilation of this material world. The living entities take their different forms in the various species of life according to their past deeds, and the Lord doesn’t interfere with them.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“But then, since you do so much activity, how is it that you do not get bound like the jivas?” This verse answers.
Activities like creation do not bind me. Bondage arises from attachment to action. Because all my desires are fulfilled spontaneously without having to act, I don’t have attachment to action, nor bondage. I am like an indifferent person who is not affected by the mixture of happiness and distress of quarreling parties (udasinavad).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.9 But actions like unequal creation do not bind Me. There can be no imputation of cruelty etc., to Me, because the previous actions (Karmas) of individual selves are the causes for the inequality of conditions like that of gods etc. I am untouched by the inequality. I sit, as it were, apart from it as one unconcerned. Accordingly, the author of the Vedanta-sutras says: ‘Not inequality and cruelty, on account of (creation) being dependent, for so scripture declares’ (Br. Su., 2.1.34), and ‘If it be said that there is no Karma on account of non-distinction, it is replied that it is not proper to say so, because it is beginningless …’ (Ibid., 2.1.35). [The idea is this: Creation has no first beginning. It is an eternal cyclic process of creation and dissolution of the universe. So the differentiation of Karma, Jiva and Isvara even before creation has to be accepted. Only in the creative cycle the differentiation becomes patent, and in the dissolved condition it remains latent.]
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
But then it could be wondered how is it that the Supreme Lord being responsible for so many diverse activities in creation is still not bound by them like the embodied souls. Anticipating such a question Lord Krishna states that He is udasinavad asinam or situated in neutrality, so no actions can bind Him. Attachment to the result of actions is what causes bondage. The Supreme Lord has no such attachments being that He is complete possessing everything with nothing to desire. Therefore the state of neutrality precludes indifference and does not lead to bondage. Desire is incompatible with indifference and vice versa thus by neutrality one is not attached.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Indifferent and neutral is what Lord Krishna is indicating by the word asaktam meaning unattached. The Vedic scriptures declare the Supreme Lord is neither known by speech nor engaged in actions. The Bhagavat Purana states: The elements, the performance of actions, time as well as the variegated attributes of all beings are due to His grace for without His grace nothing would exist. The Supreme Lord causes the creation and dissolution of unlimited universes again and again continuously in regulated cyclic succession without any effort. Understanding this how can He ever be attached to His actions. This is the purport. He never increases by creation or diminishes by dissolution while enacting His pastimes of performing any action. Naturally the Supreme Lord who controls all actions can never be bound any action.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
When the Supreme Lord initiates such actions as creation which appears at times to be unequal and unbalanced how is it that He is not bound by these actions like the jivas or embodied beings. It is because He is udasinavad asinam or neutral and indifferent, because He is completely self-satisfied. What Lord Krishna is also indicating is that one who is self content is unattached to the results of actions while one with attachment to actions is bound by such attachment and must accept the subsequent reactions. If Lord Krishna was not neutrally disposed to all acts of creation, sustenance, preservation, dissolution, etc. then His doership could have some bias and not be equally justifiable for all. The adjective asaktam meaning unattached denotes that the Supreme Lord is complete and fulfilled in all respects.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.9 O Dhananjaya, na ca, nor do; tani, those; karmani, actions-which are the sources of the creation of the multitude of beings unequally; nibadhnanti, bind; mam, Me, who am God. As to that, the Lord states the reason for His not becoming associated with the actions: Asinam, remaining (as I do); udasinavat, like one unconcerned, like some indifferent spectator- for the Self is not subject to any change; and asaktam, unattached; tesu karmasu, to those actions-free from attachment to results, free from the egoism that ‘I do.’ Hence, even int he case of any other person also, the absence of the idea of agentship and the absence of attachment to results are the causes of not getting bound. Otherwise, like the silkworm, a foolish man becomes bound by acitons. This is the idea. There (in th previous two verses) it involves a contradiction to say, ‘Remaining like one unconcerned, I project forth this multitude of beings.’ In order to dispel this doubt the Lord says:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.9-10 Na ca etc. Maya etc. There is for Me no bondage of actions, because I remain unconcerned. That is why, not resorting to any activity, I am the pirme cause in the process of world-creation.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na ca mam tani karmani
asaktam tesu karmasu
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — never; ca — also; mām — Me; tāni — all those; karmāṇi — activities; nibadhnanti — bind; dhanam-jaya — O conqueror of riches; udāsīna-vat — as neutral; āsīnam — situated; asaktam — without attraction; teṣu — for those; karmasu — activities.