एवं ज्ञात्वा कृतं कर्म पूर्वैरपि मुमुक्षुभिः | कुरु कर्मैव तस्मात्त्वं पूर्वैः पूर्वतरं कृतम् ||४-१५||
evaṃ jñātvā kṛtaṃ karma pūrvairapi mumukṣubhiḥ . kuru karmaiva tasmāttvaṃ pūrvaiḥ pūrvataraṃ kṛtam ||4-15||
4.15. Realizing in this fashion, action had been under-taken also by ancient seekers of salvation. Hence, you too should perform, by all means, the more ancient action that had been performed by the ancients.
Shri Purohit Swami
4.15 In the light of wisdom, our ancestors, who sought deliverance, performed their acts. Act thou also, as did our fathers of old.
Sri Abhinav Gupta
4.15 Evam etc. Therefore being purified by this [sort of] conviction you too should perform actions that are to be necessarily performed. But, if it is said that success would result just from the non-performance of action, that is not correct. For -
4.15 Actions of the kind described above were performed even by the aspirants of old for liberation, who have become free from evil after knowing Me in this way. Therefore, after having got rid of the sins by knowledge of Me in the aforesaid way, perform actions in the same way as they were performed by those ancients like Vivasvan, Manu etc., in olden times, in the way in which their performance was taught by Me even then. I shall declare it again in what follows.
Sri Krsna stresses the difficulty of undertaking the type of Karma that is going to be taught now.
4.15 Jnatva, having known; evam, thus, that ‘I am not an agent; I have no desire for the results of actions’; karma, duties; krtam, were undertaken; api, even; purvaih, by the ancient; mumuksubhih, seekers of Liberation. Tasmat, therefore; tvam, you; kuru, undertake; karma, action; eva, itself. You ought not to sit ietly, or even renounce. Therefore, you (undertake actions) because they were performed by the ancients as well-if you have no Self-knowledge, then (undertake actions) for self-purification; or, if you have Self-knowledge, then (undertake actions) in order to prevent people from going astray-, as were krtam, performed; purvataram, earlier; purvaih, by the ancient ones, Janaka and others; not actions as are undertaken in the present day. [This last portion of the sentence is translated by some as follows: You should not undertake actions which are done in the present manner (i.e. do not perform actions in the manner undertakne by people nowadays, which neither purifies the mind nor helps people). (See G1. Pr. p. 114.) ‘If action has to be undertaken here, then I shall do so following Your instruction itself. What is the use of specifying that it was done earlier by the ancient ones?’ ‘The answer is: Because there is a great difficult as regards actions.’ How?
4.15 Knowing thus, even ancient seekers for liberation and work. Therefore, do your wok only as the ancients did in olden times.
4.15 Having known thus, duties were performed even by the ancient seekers of Liberation. Thererfore you undertake action itself as was performed earlier by the ancient ones.
4.15 Having known this, the ancient seekers after freedom also performed action; therefore do thou also perform action, as did the ancients in days of yore.
4.15 एवं thus? ज्ञात्वा having known? कृतम् (was) done? कर्म action? पूर्वैः by ancients? अपि also? मुमुक्षुभिः seekers after freedom? कुरु perform? कर्म action? एव even? तस्मात् therefore? त्वम् thou? पूर्वैः by ancients?,पूर्वतरम् in the olden time? कृतम् done.Commentary Knowing thus that the Self can have no desire for the fruits of actions and cannot be tainted by them? and knowing that no one can be tainted if he works without egoism? attachment and expectation of fruits? do thou perform your duty.If your heart is impure? perform actions for its purification. If you have attained AtmaJnana or the knowledge of the Self? work for the wellbeing of the world. The ancients such as Janaka and others performed actions in the days of yore. So do thou also perform action.