ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं परिज्ञाता त्रिविधा कर्मचोदना |
करणं कर्म कर्तेति त्रिविधः कर्मसंग्रहः ||१८-१८||


jñānaṃ jñeyaṃ parijñātā trividhā karmacodanā .
karaṇaṃ karma karteti trividhaḥ karmasaṃgrahaḥ ||18-18||



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.

Shri Purohit Swami

18.18 Knowledge, the knower and the object of knowledge, these are the three incentives to action; and the act, the actor and the instrument are the threefold constituents.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

18.18 Jnanam etc. Prompting-in-action : the will to exert. At that time those things which - because they exist in one’s 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 :-

Sri Ramanuja

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.

Sri Shankaracharya

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:

Swami Adidevananda

18.18 Knowledge, object of knowledge and the knower are the threefold incitements to action. The instrument, the act and the agent are the threefold constituents of action.

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.

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.


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.