Shloka

न तदस्ति पृथिव्यां वा दिवि देवेषु वा पुनः |
सत्त्वं प्रकृतिजैर्मुक्तं यदेभिः स्यात्त्रिभिर्गुणैः ||१८-४०||

Transliteration

na tadasti pṛthivyāṃ vā divi deveṣu vā punaḥ .
sattvaṃ prakṛtijairmuktaṃ yadebhiḥ syāttribhirguṇaiḥ ||18-40||

Translations

Dr.S.Sankaranarayan

18.40. Whether on the earth, or again among the gods in the heaven, there exists not a single being, which is free from these three Strands, born of the Material-Nature.

Shri Purohit Swami

18.40 There is nothing anywhere on earth or in the higher worlds which is free from the three Qualities - for they are born of Nature.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

18.40 Na tad asti etc. In this manner, the agent, the object and the instrument, the intellect and content, and happiness are classified under different heads of the Sattva etc. Because they have a mutual relationship of subordinate-and-principal or of the oppressed-and-opressor or of the togetherness; becuase they have modifications occuring either together or in a specific seence; and because they, on that account, have varieties beyond all counting; they are capable of bringing forth fruits (results) of umpteen variety. This (statement) logically demonstrates in detail the uncomprehensibility of actions (their results) which has been indicated earlier (above IV, 17ff.). All these beings, starting from the gods down to the immovables, do not transcend the relation with the traid of the Strands. Indeed it has been said -

‘Commencing from Brahma (personal god) down to the [insignificant] worm, no one is really happy; all, without exception, having desire to live, undertake different acts of agitation (or commit different frauds to appear to be happy).’

Indeed the real happiness is [only] to him whose mind has gone beyond the Strands and not to anyone else. This is what is intended here. So far, the three-fold nature of each of the six items and also of the content etc., has been explained. ‘Among them, he who is occupied with the group of the Sattva (Strand) and who has attained the divine wealth is fit for the subject under study; and you are of that sort’ - telling in this manner, Arjuna has been encouraged.

Now the following is declared : If you engage yourself in the action with this reslove for correct knowledge, then because of your undertaking of your own righteous action and because of your sanctity through wisdom, there is no bondage of aciton for you. On the other hand, if you don’t follow this, [even] then there must necessarily be some activity in you; because your birth itself stands to that effect. Since, being controlled by its own intrinsic nature, everything, though it may have, for a short while, its nature concealed due to some fault, regains its own nature that becomes perceivable when the concealing agent disappears. For example, the nature of the castes is of this nature. Thus when an effort necessarily takes place, there would be [for its agent] its fruit. This [the Bhagavat] says-

Sri Ramanuja

18.40 There is no Sattva or creature born either among men etc., on the earth or among the gods in heaven, from Brahma down to immobile things, and having their basis in Prakrti, that is free from the dominance of the three Gunas of Prakrti.

‘Tyaga’, which has been determined as forming the means for release in the Sruti texts like ‘By Tyaga alone do they attain immortality’ (Ma. Na., 8.14), is of the same meaning as of the word ‘Sannyasa’. It is rooted in the relinishment of the sense of agency in actions that are being performed.

The relinishment of the results and of possessiveness in actions, and the relinguishing of agency are to be gained by ascribing the agency to the Supreme Person. As all these are the effects of the increase of Sattva-guna, the differences of the effects of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas have been described at length with a view to instruct that Sattva is to be cultivated.

Now Sri Krsna, with a view to inculcate that actions done including their fruits, as a means to release and attainment of Him, must be of the nature of the worship of the Supreme Person, and that the fruit thereof is the attainment of Him - describes the actions obligatory for the alified classes of the people such as Brahmanas, differentiated by virtue of the natural alities arising from the Gunas such as Sattva, as also the occupations prescribed for those classes.

Sri Shankaracharya

18.40 Na asti, there is no; tat, such; sattvam, entity, living creatures like men and others, or non-living things; prthivyam, in the world; va punah, or, again; an entity devesu, among the gods; divi, in heaven; yat, which; syat, can be [-this is connected with the preceding portion ’na tat, there is no such (entity)’-]; muktam, free; hih, from these; trubhih, three; gunaih, gunas, sattva etc.; prakrti-jaih, born of Nature. It has been said that the entire transmigratory state together with its roots, characterized by action, agent and resuls-consisting of the gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas-, and projected by ignorance, is an evil. And this also has been said through the imagery of the Tree in the verse, ‘৷৷.which has its roots upward’ etc. (15.1). It has been further said that, ‘after felling that (Tree), with the strong sword of detachment, thereafter, that State has to be sought for’ (15.3-4). And, as to that, since all things consist of the three gunas, there arises the impossibility of the eradication of the cause of worldly existence. Hence, it has to be shown how it can be eradicated. Besides, the purport of the scripture Gita has to be summed up, and it has also to be shown that the import of all the Vedas and the Smrtis, which must be put into practice by those who long for the Goal of human life, is verily this much. Hence begin the verses, ‘The duties of the Brahmanas, the Ksatriyas and the Vaisyas৷৷.’, etc.

Swami Adidevananda

18.40 There is no creature, either on earth or again among the gods in heaven, that is free from these three Gunas born of Prakrti.

Swami Gambirananda

18.40 There is no such entity in the world or, again, among the gods in heaven, which can be free from these three gunas born of Nature.

Swami Sivananda

18.40 There is no being on earth or again in heaven among the gods, that is liberated from the three alities born of Nature.

Commentaries

Swami Sivananda

18.40 न not? तत् that? अस्ति is? पृथिव्याम् on the earth? वा or? दिवि in heaven? देवेषु among the gods? वा or? पुनः again? सत्त्वम् being? प्रकृतिजैः born of Prakriti (matter)? मुक्तम् freed? यत् which? एभिः from these? स्यात् may be? त्रिभिः from three? गुणैः by alities.Commentary The Gunas form the warp and woof of everything as threads do in the case of cloth.Here in the world of mortals or there in the heavenworld? there is no creature that is not bound by the three alities of Nature. Can there be a cloth without threads Can there be a man without blood and bones Can there be a mountain without stones Even so there is not a single creature in the whole universe into whose composition the three alities of matter do not enter. The whole of creation is wrought of these three alities. They have given rise to the Trinity (Brahma? Vishnu and Siva). In the world of mortals the triplicity of agent? action and fruit owe their origin to them. They are the cause of the different functions of the four castes. This Samsara has been compared to the peepul tree in chapter XV.1. This Samsara is made up of the three alities and is kept up by the force of ignorance.Action? instruments of action and fruits have set the wheel of Samsara in motion and this wheel is revolving from beginningless time. It is only a liberated sage who has attained knowledge of the Self who puts a check to this wheel? goes beyond the cause and the effect? and breaks the bonds of Karma.Cut this mysterious tree of Samsara with the strong sword of nonattachment? transcend the three Gunas and rest in your own essential divine nature as ExistenceKnowledgeBliss Absolute.