त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः |
कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किञ्चित्करोति सः ||४-२०||


tyaktvā karmaphalāsaṅgaṃ nityatṛpto nirāśrayaḥ .
karmaṇyabhipravṛtto.api naiva kiñcitkaroti saḥ ||4-20||



4.20. By abandoning attachment for fruits of actions, remaining ever content and depending on nothing, that person, even though he is engaged in action, does not at all perform anything.

Shri Purohit Swami

4.20 Having surrendered all claim to the results of his actions, always contented and independent, in reality he does nothing, even though he is apparently acting.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

4.20 See Comment under 4.21

Sri Ramanuja

4.20 Whoever performs actions, renouncing attachment to their fruits and is satisfied with the eternal, i.e., satisfied with his own self, and dependent on none, i.e., devoid of dependence on transient Prakrti (body and external nature) - such a perosn, even though fully engaged in actions, does not act at all. He is engaged in the practice of knowledge under the form of action.

Again, Karma, having the form of knowledge, is examined:

Sri Shankaracharya

4.20 With the help of the above-mentioned wisdom, tyaktva, having given up the idea of agentship; and phala-asangam, attachment to the results of action; he who is nitya-trptah, ever-trptah, ever-contented, i.e. has no hankering for objects; and nirasrayah, dependent on nothing-. Asraya means that on which a person leans, desiring to achieve some human goal. The idea is that he is dependent of any support which may be a means of attaining some coveted seen or unseen result. In reality, actions done by a man of Knowledge are certainly inactions, since he is endowed with the realization of the actionless Self. Actions together with their accessories must be relinished by one who has become thus, because they have no end to serve. This being so, api, even though; he remains abhi-pravrttah, engaged as before; karmani, in actions-getting out of those (actions) being impossible-, either with the intention of preventing people from going astray or with a view to avoiding the censure of the wise people; sah, he; eva, really; na karoti, does not do; kincit, anything, because he is endued with the realization of the actionless Self. [From the subjective standpoint of the enlightened there are no actions, but ordinary people mistakenly think them to be actions, which in reality are a mere semblance of it.] On the other hand, one who is the opposite of the above-mentioned one, (and) in whom, even before undertaking works, has dawned the realization of his identity with Brahman, the all-pervasive, inmost, actionless Self; who,being bereft of solicitation for desirable objects seen or unseen, has renounced actions along with their accessories, by virtue of seeing no purpose to be served by undertaking actions meant to secure some seen or unseen result, and makes effort only for the maintenance of the body, he, the monk steadfast in Knowledge, becomes free. Hence, in order to express this idea the Lord says:

Swami Adidevananda

4.20 Having renounced attachment to the fruits of his actions, ever contented with the eternal self, and dependent on none, one does not act at all, even though engaged in action.

Swami Gambirananda

4.20 Having given up attachment to the results of action, he who is ever-contented, dependent on nothing, he really does not do anything even though engaged in action.

Swami Sivananda

4.20 Having abandoned attachment to the fruits of the action, ever content, depending on nothing, he does not do anything though engaged in activity.


Swami Sivananda

4.20 त्यक्त्वा having abandoned? कर्मफलासङ्गम् attachment to the fruits of action? नित्यतृप्तः even content? निराश्रयः depending on nothing? कर्मणि in action? अभिप्रवृत्तः engaged? अपि even? न not? एव verily? किञ्चित् anything? करोति does? सः he.Commentary The same idea of inaction in action is repeated here to produce a deep impression on the minds of the aspirants. He who works for the wellbeing of the world and he who performs actions without egoism and attachment for the fruits? to set an example to the masses? really does nothing at all though he is ever engaged in activity? as he possesses the knowledge of the Self which is beyond all activity and as he has realised his identity with It.As Brahman the Absolute is selfcontained? all the desires are gratified if one realises the Self. He is ever satisfied and does not depend on anything? just as a man who has the favour of the king does not depend on the minister or the government official for anything. (Cf.IV.41)