Chapter 4Approaching the Ultimate TruthVerse 17


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

A question may arise from the previous verse that if bodily activities are action and the absence of bodily activities is inaction then how is it that even those possessing discrimination are deluded in this matter? To answer this question Lord Krishna reveals that there are some special considerations to understand about the true nature of activities prescribed in the Vedic scriptures as well as the real nature of non performance of actions along with the factual nature of prohibited actions which are forbidden. The intricacies of action and inaction are mysterious and hard to fathom and are not commonly known in the world. For example action implies inaction as well as prohibited actions. How this is to be understood is very mysterious and will be explained next.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

Moksa or liberation from the material existence will not be achieved by mere knowing of the do's and don'ts of action. Only by correct knowledge of the nature of actions can one achieve moksa. Factually this means without knowledge of the resplendent Supreme Lord and how all actions are ultimately performed in relation to Him, it will be impossible to ever be delivered from samsara or the repetitive cycle of birth and death. Realisation of the Supreme Lord Krishna as paramatma or the Supreme Soul within the etheric heart of every living being is the indispensable ingredient for moksa, how can there be success any other way. Karma is performing actions, akarma is the non-performance of actions and vikarma is performing improper actions, which are prohibited. Actions filled with desire and craving are vikarma and prohibited. Why are they prohibited? Because they create bondage for the living entity to material existence. Therefore the wise after reflecting and contemplating the intricacies of action in this light should perform actions accordingly. Such sagacious persons do not become deluded and deviate from this course during adverse situations even though it is deluding and bewildering for others.

Now begins the summation.

Actions also have originated from Lord Krishna so for this reason as well, one desirous of their best welfare should by all means become knowledgeable of Him. Since everything has ultimately emanated from the Will of the Supreme Lord, including even the energy behind every action it is superfluous not to accept Him completely but at least every being should understand His supreme position. Only by knowledge of Him can one tread the path that leads to moksa or liberation from the material existence.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The actual nature of karma or prescribed Vedic actions performed for attaining moksa or liberation from material existence should be understood. Actions which are nitya or regular and actions which are naimittika or occasional if done with any sense of enjoyment in mind or if they are done with the desire for material rewards should both be known to be vikarma or improper actions. The absence of action known as akarma which sometimes can be considered action as well should also be comprehended. Therefore the path of karma is not easily discernible for one seeking moksa. The reason why regular and occasional activities should be clearly assimilated for an aspirant for moksa is because the rewards for each are varied but one should look at them all with equipoise and realising that they all have one uniform purpose and that is the fulfilment of the goal which is the attainment of moksa. Without proper teaching and understanding of the Vedic scriptures one will not perceive this critical conclusion but this is the Vedic conception as revealed by Lord Krishna already and thus it is not necessary to expatiate upon the subject further here.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Action is generally understood to be the activity of the body and senses while inaction is the opposite of this. How is it that those with discrimination and intelligence are bewildered by this? The true nature of action must be known as well as the real nature of inaction which includes the non-performance of prohibited actions. For the intricacies of action, sinful action and prohibited actions are mysterious and not generally known. The use in the genitive sense of the word karmano meaning actions infers the mysterious characteristics of the true nature of action, inaction and prohibited actions.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 4, verse 17 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 17

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