यस्य सर्वे समारम्भाः कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः |
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहुः पण्डितं बुधाः ||४-१९||


yasya sarve samārambhāḥ kāmasaṅkalpavarjitāḥ .
jñānāgnidagdhakarmāṇaṃ tamāhuḥ paṇḍitaṃ budhāḥ ||4-19||



4.19. He, whose every exertion is devoid of intention for the desirable objects, and whose actions are burnt up by the fire of wisdom-him the wise call a man of learning.

Shri Purohit Swami

4.19 The wise call him a sage, for whatever he undertakes is free from the motive of desire, and his deeds are purified by the fire of Wisdom.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

4.19 Yasya etc. The actions, performed without intention for the desirable objects, - i.e., the fruits desired for - are burnt up by putting them into the fire of wisdom, the nature of which has been earlier described , and also is to be described in the seel.

Sri Ramanuja

4.19 In the case of an aspirant for release, all undertakings of actions in the form of obligatory, occasional and desiderative acts accomplished through the acisition of materials for their performance as also other works, are free from desire, i.e., are devoid of attachment to fruits. They are devoid of delusive identification. If the mind identifies the self with Prakrti and its Gunas, it is Sankalpa, i.e., ‘delusive identification.’ Genuine Karma Yoga is free from such identification. Such identification is overcome through contemplation on the real nature of the self as different from Prakrti. Those who know the truth call him a sage, who acts in this way and whose previous Karmas are thery burnt up by the fire of knowledge of the real nature of the self generated along with his actions. He is a true Karma Yogin.

Thus that knowledge is involved in true Karma Yoga, is established.

Sri Krsna elaborates this point again:

Sri Shankaracharya

4.19 Budhah, the wise, the knowers of Brahman; ahuh, call; tam, him; panditam, learned, in the real sense; yasya, whose, of the one who perceives as stated above; samarambhah, actions-whatever are undertaken; are sarve, all; kama-sankalpa-varjitah, devoid of desires and the thoughts which are their (desires’) causes (see 2.62)-i.e., (those actions) are performed as mere movements, without any selfish purpose: if they are performed by one (already) engaged in actions, then they are for preventing people from going astray, and if they are done by one who has withdrawn from actions, then they are merely for the maintenance of the body-; and jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam, whose actions have been burnt away by the fire of wisdom. Finding inaction etc. in action etc. is jnana, wisdom; that itself is agnih, fire. He whose actions, karma, described as good and bad, have been dagdhani, burnt away by that fire of wisdom, is jnana-agni-dagdha-karma. However, one who is a perceiver of ‘inaction’ etc. [Perceiver of inaction etc.: He who knows the truth about action and inaction as explained before.-Tr.] is free from actions owing to the very fact of his seeing ‘inaction’ etc. He is a monk, who acts merely for the purpose of maintaining the body. Being so, he does not engage in actions although he might have done so before the dawn of discrimination. He again who, having been engaged in actions under the influence of past tendencies, later on becomes endowed with the fullest Self-knowledge, he surely renounces (all) [Ast. adds this word sarva, all.-Tr.] actions along with their accessories as he does nnot find any purpose in activity. For some reason, if it becomes impossible to renounce actions and he, for the sake of preventing people from going astray, even remains engaged as before in actions-without attachment to those actions and their results because of the absence of any selfish purpose-, still he surely does nothing at all! His actions verily become ‘inaction’ because of having been burnt away by the fire of wisdom. By way of pointing out this idea, the Lord says:

Swami Adidevananda

4.19 He whose every undertaking is free from desire and delusive identification (of the body with the self), whose actions are burnt up in the fire of knowledge - him the wise describe as a sage.

Swami Gambirananda

4.19 The wise call him learned whose actions are all devoid of desires and their thougts, [Kama-sankalpa is variously translated as ‘desires and purposes’, ‘plans and desires for results’, ‘hankering for desires’, etc. But Sankarcarya shows sankalpa as the cause of kama. -Tr.] and whose actions have been burnt away by the fire of wisdom.

Swami Sivananda

4.19 He whose undertakings are all devoid of desires and (selfish) purposes and whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge, him the wise call a sage.


Swami Sivananda

4.19 यस्य whose? सर्वे all? समारम्भाः undertakings? कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः devoid of desires and purposes? ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणम् whose actions have been burnt by the fire of knowledge? तम् him? आहुः call? पण्डितम् a sage? बुधाः the wise.Commentary A sage performs actions only with a view to set an example to the masses. Though he works? he does nothing as he has no selfish interests? as his actions are burnt by the fire of wisdom which consists in the realisaion of inaction in action? through the knowledge of the Self or BrahmaJnana. BrahmaJnana is a mighty spiritual fire which consumes the results of all kinds of actions (Karmas)? good and bad? and makes the enlightened sage ite free from the bonds of action. The sage who leads a life of perfect renunciation does only what is reired for the bare existence of his body. (Cf.III.19IV.10IV.37).