punyo gandhah prithivyam ca
tejas casmi vibhavasau
tapas casmi tapasvisu
I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.
Commentary by Srila Prabhupada
Punya means that which is not decomposed; punya is original. Everything in the material world has a certain flavor or fragrance, as the flavor and fragrance in a flower, or in the earth, in water, in fire, in air, etc. The uncontaminated flavor, the original flavor, which permeates everything, is Krishna. Similarly, everything has a particular original taste, and this taste can be changed by the mixture of chemicals. So everything original has some smell, some fragrance, and some taste. Vibhavasu means fire. Without fire we cannot run factories, we cannot cook, etc., and that fire is Krishna. The heat in the fire is Krishna. According to Vedic medicine, indigestion is due to a low temperature in the belly. So even for digestion fire is needed. In Krishna consciousness we become aware that earth, water, fire, air and every active principle, all chemicals and all material elements are due to Krishna. The duration of man’s life is also due to Krishna. Therefore by the grace of Krishna, man can prolong his life or diminish it. So Krishna consciousness is active in every sphere.
Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
Punya means “pleasing” or “natural” according to Amara Kosa. I am the natural fragrance of earth element. Ca indicates that this statement applies to all the elements. Thus I am the pleasing taste of water, the pleasing form of fire. I am the power of fire, the essence—that which can burn, illuminate, and relieve cold in all things. I am the life span of all entities—their essence. I am the toleration of suffering, the essence of those performing austerities.