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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Verse 18

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 18 श्लोक 18

ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना।
करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविधः कर्मसंग्रहः।।18.18।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

18.18 Knowledge, the object the knowledge and the knower-this is the threefold inducement to action. The comprehension of actions comes under three heads-the instruments, the object and the subject.

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

18.18 Knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the action and the agent form the threefold basis of action.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

18.18. The instrument of knowledge, the object-of-knowledge, and the knowing subject-the prompting-in-action, consisting of these three-fold elements is [itself] the proper grasping of action with three-fold elements viz., the instrument, the object and the agent.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

18.18 ज्ञानम् knowledge? ज्ञेयम् the knowable? परिज्ञाता the knower? त्रिविधा threefold? कर्मचोदना impulse to action? करणम् the organ? कर्म the action? कर्ता the agent? इति thus? त्रिविधः threefold? कर्मसंग्रहः the basis of action.Commentary Knowledge? the knower and the thing to be known? are together the seed of this world. This is known as the Triputi or the traid. It is the conjunction of these three that impels a man to threefold action? viz.? mental? verbal and physical. This triad is the driving force of all the activities of man. He rejoices at the sight of palatable sweetmeats and delicious fruits but is terrified at the sight of a cobra or tiger. The sight of pleasant or unpleasant objects affects him and he attempts either to possess the agreeable objects or to avoid the disagreeable ones.The Antahkarana (the inner instrument) consists of the mind? intellect? subconscious mind and egoism. The ear? the skin? the tongue? the nose and the eye are the five organs of knowledge. The individual soul? propelled by these five senses? is led into activity. He does actions with the help of the five organs of action? viz.? speech? hands? feet? genitals and anus.Jnanam Any knowledge knowledge in general knowledge of worldly objects? etc.Jneyam The object to be known objects in general.Parijnata The knower? the experiencer or the enjoyer? putting on the nature of the limiting adjuncts? a creature of ignorance.This triad forms the threefold impulse to all action? to action in general. The performance of an action in order to get a thing or to avoid an object is possible only when there is the conjunction of the three? viz.? knowledge? knowable and knower.Karanam The organ That by which something is done. The actions done by the five causes of action? viz.? the body? etc.? which are grouped under the three classes according to their respective seats? viz.? mind? speech and body? are all due to the interplay of the organ? etc.Karta The agent or the doer he who sets the organs in motion or action and puts on the nature of the limiting adjunct or vehicle in which he acts. All actions inhere in these three (the organ? the doer and the action itself) and they are? therefore? said to form the basis or the threefold constituents of action.As action? the various factors of action and the fruits are all made up of the Gunas? the Lord describes them in the following verses.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

18.18 Jnanam, knowledge (-being derived in the sense of that through which something is known, jnana means knowledge concerning all things in general-): so also jneyam, the object of knowledge (-that also is a reference to all objects in general-); similarly, parijnata, the knower, the experiencer, a product of ignorance, who partakes of the nature of the limiting adjuncts;-thus, this tripartite group formed by these is the trividha, threefold; karma-codana, inducement ot action, inducer of all actions in general. For, it is when the three, viz knowledge etc., combine that commencement of all actions meant either for acceptance or rejection [Acceptance, rejection or indifference.] are possible. After that, what are initiated by the five, viz locus etc., and are grouped in three ways according to the differences of their being based on speech, mind and body become comprehended under the three, viz instrument etc. This is what is being stated: Karma-sangrahah, the comprehension [It is well know that actions are based on the three-instrument etc.] of actions; iti, comes under; trividhah, three heads, three classes; viz karanam, the instrument (-derived in the sense of that through which anything is done-), i.e. the external (organs) (ear etc.) and the internal (organs) (intellect etc.); karma, the object (-derivatively meaning that which is most cherished by the subject and is achieved through an act-); and karta, the subject (agent), who employs the instrument etc., who partakes of the nature of the limiting adjuncts. Sangrahah is derived thus: that in which something is comprehended. The comprehension of action (karma) is karma-sangrahah. Indeed, action becomes included in these three. Hence is this threefold comprehension of action. Now then, since action, instrument and result are all constituted by the gunas, it becomes necessary to state the three fold variety in them based on the differences among the gunas, viz sattva, rajas and tamas. Hence it is begun:

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

18.18 Jnanam etc. Prompting-in-action : the will to exert. At that time those things which - because they exist in ones thought alone - are referable by the terms knowledge, obect-of-knowledge and knowing-subject; at the time of that will (to exert) taking the form I shall enjoy it; for it is caused by me as well as at the time of executing th act, the very same things-because they are fully absorbed [in desire for fruits] - get the names instrument, object and agent. Therefore, because there is no such absorption [in desire for fruits] in the case of the men of Yoga, there is no room in their action for the expressions instrument etc.; rather they exist only as knowledge etc. This is the purport here. Now [the Lord] speaks to explain, in brief, the classification of all these six items, basing on the classification of the Strands :-

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

18.18 (i) Knowledge means this knowledge about the acts which ought to be performed. (ii) The object of knowledge is the act which ought to be performed. (iii) The knower is the person who knows that act. The meaning is that the injunction to do acts, like Jyotistoma etc., is a combination of knowledge, object of knowledge, and the knower. Among these, action itself, which is the object of knowledge, is briefly described as threefold - these being the instrument, action and the agent. The instrument forms the materials etc., which are the means. The action consists of the sacrifice etc. The agent is the performer.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

The sattvika tyaga or sannyasa just described and approved by the Lord is for the jnanis. The bhaktas however reject karma yoga by its very nature. In the eleventh canto of Bhagavatam it is said: ajnayaiva gunan dosan mayadistan api svakan dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam bhajet sa ca sattamah He perfectly understands that the ordinary religious duties prescribed by Me in various Vedic scriptures possess favorable qualities that purify the performer, and he knows that neglect of such duties constitutes a discrepancy in one’s life. Having taken complete shelter at My lotus feet, however, a saintly person ultimately renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships Me alone. He is thus considered to be the best among all living entities. SB 11.11.32 Sridhara Svami has explained the meaning of the Bhagavatam verse as follows. “He who giving up his duties prescribed by me in the form of the Vedas and worships me, is the best. Is not such a person ignorant or an atheist? No, though knowing that following the principles of dharma has good qualities like purification, and on the other hand, knowing the sin of not following dharma, he gives up these practices with the firm conviction that just by being my devotee all will be accomplished, as these other things cause distraction to meditation upon me.” “Giving up dharma” in the verse does not mean mere giving up the results of those practices. It should be understood that there is no loss at all in giving up the results of those practices. The meaning is this. Understanding of the statements of Bhagavatam and the explanations of the commentators requires purity of the consciousness. In proportion to the degree of purification of the heart by niskama karma, there will be an awakening of knowledge. There is no other way. Therefore for attaining the awakening of knowledge even the sannyasis must perform karma yoga. However, such karma is no longer necessary for those who have attained purification of the heart completely by such karma. It is said: aruruksor muner yogam karma karanam ucyate yogarudhasya tasaiva samah karanam ucyate For one who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means. BG6.3 yas tv atma-ratir eva syad atma-trptas ca manavah atmany eva ca santustas tasya karyam na vidyate But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty. BG 3.17 But bhakti, being independent, supreme and most powerful, does not rely on purification of the heart. It is said: vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh sraddhanvito yah srnuyad atha varnayed yah bhaktim param bhagavati parilabhya kamam hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah Anyone who faithfully hears or describes the Lord’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrndavana will attain the Lord’s pure devotional service. Thus he will quickly become sober and conquer lust, the disease of the heart.     SB 10.33.39 Supreme bhakti enters from the beginning of practice into a person afflicted with material disease, which causes suffering, and removes lust and other impurities. pravistah karna-randhrena svanam bhava-saroruham dhunoti samalam krsnah salilasya yatha sarat The sound incarnation of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Soul [i.e. Srimad-Bhagavatam], enters into the heart, sits on the lotus flower of his loving relationship, and thus cleanses the dust of material association, such as lust, anger and hankering. Thus it acts like autumnal rains upon pools of muddy water. SB 2.8.5 Thus, if bhakti alone can purify the heart in such a way, why should the devotees perform prescribed duties? Now let us get back to the text at hand. The process of knowledge means to do acts with understanding that one is different from his body, (jnanam). The object of knowledge (jneyam) is the whole subject of atma (for the jnani this would be brahman). The shelter of such knowledge is a jnani (parijnata). But this is not all. These three are related to action. Thus these should be understood by the sannyasi. The verse explains this. The word codana means “rule.” The learned say that codana means teaching or rule. The first half of the verse is explained in the second half. Knowledge (jnana) is the means of action or instrumental case (karana), since knowledge literally means “that by which something is known.” What is to be known (jneyam), jivatma tattva, is the object of action (knowing) or the accusative case (karma). The knower (parijnata) is the subject (karta) or nominative case. These – the instrumental, the accusative, and the nominative – are the three factors in bringing about action (trividham). These three are accepted in the performance of niskama karma (karma samgrahah). Karma samgraha therefore acts as an explanation of karma codana. Thus, the process of knowledge, the object of knowledge and the knower act as a base for performance of niskama karma.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

By revealing the threefold impulses that manifest action and the threefold agents that forms the basis of actions; Lord Krishna establishes the point that the atma or immortal soul which is of an exclusively spiritual nature without material qualities and attributes has absolutely no connection with the cause, the basis and the rewards of actions which are all by products of the three gunas or modes of material nature. Knowledge is the cognizance to obtain a desired result. The knowable is the effort that achieves the result. The knower is the one possessing such knowledge and the means to achieve it. If one translates the word codana to mean impetus then these threefold impulses are the impetus by which all actions are enacted. If the word codana is interpreted to mean scriptural injunctions as the 8th century philosopher Kumarilla Bhatta has given, then the meaning would be that all injunctions in respect to actions are enacted dependent upon the threefold basis which is derived from the three gunas. In chapter two, verse 45 Lord Krishna has already stated that the Vedic scriptures proscribe subjects that are of the three gunas. So it should be understood that the basis of actions are the instrument which is the best means for effecting knowledge, the action that achieves the goal and the agent who performs the action. The words karma sangrahah mean that which epitomises action. In other words the triad consisting of the instrument, the action and the agent form the basis of action. Knowledge, the knowable and the knower are the subsidiary factors which support the basis of action indirectly.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

It is clarified that for those who understand the purport of this verse the desire for expectation and reward would not arise due to not seeing themselves as the doer and performer. Having described the primary threefold impetus as the basis of actions, the Supreme Lord Krishna explains the consequential threefold subsequent actions. Here the word sangrahah meaning foundation infers the consequential results that accumulated from the basis of actions. This also confirms with the Rig Veda statements: Relying on knowledge, the act of knowing and the knower all scriptural injunctions and ordinances become established. The cause, the performance and the performer factually constitute what is action. Even by the non-performance of action one becomes eligible to be qualified by hearing instructions from the Vaisnava spiritual master, by study of the Vedic scriptures and by the mercy bequeathed by devotion to the Supreme Lord. Thus the intention of bhakti exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord following the ordinances of the Vedic scriptures and the instructions of the Vaisnava spiritual master is the ultimate action for as one intends even so it is performed by the Supreme Lords grace. Thus actions that are dedicated to the Spreme Lord are bhakti and such performance factually becomes nimitta a procedure. Yet even in normal circumstances no one is actually the doer and it is only due to the misconceptions of bodily identification and egoism that one erroneously assumes that they are the performer. Since humans are endowed with freewill and self determination and have more independence then all other living entities on the Earth; humans alone are eligible and capable to reflect and appropriately act upon the injunctions, ordinances and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. Since this reality is established by experience no additional proofs are adduced to here. Now begins the summation. The Supreme Lord energises the entire creation and all jivas or embodied beings by His Supreme omniscient consciousness. The jivas respective to their manifested form assume the attributes of knower, knowing and knowledge similar to the Supreme Lord. As all jivas possess an atma or immortal soul which is eternal this is the similarity to the Supreme Lord which gives them eternality. But the jiva will not be able to access this eternality and achieve moksa or liberation from material existence until they have achieved realisation of the atma existing within the etheric heart. Failing this they will not become free from samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and must reincarnate perpetually in variegated material forms according to each jivas individual karma or reactions to actions enacted in the previous lifetime. So in such situations there is no concluding finality. Yet who is there in the world who does not experience that attitude of: I have done this, I have achieved that? Therefore without such conceptions how can we know that we exist? So how can there be any difference in the concepts of: I know and I exist? The answer is that when one perceives the eternal quality of the atma as distinctly different from the physical body the forms of different bodies ceases to be consequential and the essence of the atma is understood as the essential part. The words karma sangraha meaning foundation of actions refers to the fivefold factors constituting all action. The Supreme Lord by His omnipotence, by His omniscience, by His omnipresence and by His independence controls all creation through the threefold manner described. The jiva performs actions due to the influence of previous karma that determines the attributes, characteristics and form one incarnates into.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The threefold activities that are the motivating force of all actions are itemised now. 1) Jnanam means knowledge of the activity. 2) Jneyam means knowing how the activity is to be accomplished. 3) Parijnata means the knower who performs the activity. These three activities are prerequisite and are the impetus which impels one to perform prescribed Vedic activities for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Contrarily they are also the impetus to enact mundane activities for personal gratification. Among these three activities jneyam is comprised of three subdivisions and explained in context of the Vedas are: 1) karanam how the activity becomes reality such as by donations of wealth or materials. 2) karma or engagement in the act itself such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation. 3) karta the agent who performs the action or initiates the action to be performed.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The threefold activities that are the motivating force of all actions are itemised now. 1) Jnanam means knowledge of the activity. 2) Jneyam means knowing how the activity is to be accomplished. 3) Parijnata means the knower who performs the activity. These three activities are prerequisite and are the impetus which impels one to perform prescribed Vedic activities for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Contrarily they are also the impetus to enact mundane activities for personal gratification. Among these three activities jneyam is comprised of three subdivisions and explained in context of the Vedas are: 1) karanam how the activity becomes reality such as by donations of wealth or materials. 2) karma or engagement in the act itself such as yagna or ritualistic propitiation. 3) karta the agent who performs the action or initiates the action to be performed.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 18.18

Jnaanam jneyam parijnaataa trividhaa karmachodanaa; Karanam karma karteti trividhah karmasangrahah.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 18.18

jñānam—knowledge; jñeyam—the object of knowledge; parijñātā—the knower; tri-vidhā—three factors; karma-chodanā—factors that induce action; karaṇam—the instrumens of action; karma—the act; kartā—the doer; iti—thus; tri-vidhaḥ—threefold; karma-saṅgrahaḥ—constituents of action