paraḿ brahma paraḿ dhāma
pavitraḿ paramaḿ bhavān
puruṣaḿ śāśvataḿ divyam
ādi-devam ajaḿ vibhum
āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve
devarṣir nāradas tathā
asito devalo vyāsaḥ
svayaḿ caiva bravīṣi me
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.12-13
Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In these two verses the Supreme Lord gives a chance to the modern philosopher, for here it is clear that the Supreme is different from the individual soul. Arjuna, after hearing the essential four verses of Bhagavad-gita [BG. 10.8-11] in this chapter, became completely free from all doubts and accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He at once boldly declares, “You are param brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” And previously Krishna stated that He is the originator of everything and everyone. Every demigod and every human being is dependent on Him. Men and demigods, out of ignorance, think that they are absolute and independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That ignorance is removed perfectly by the discharge of devotional service. This has already been explained in the previous verse by the Lord. Now, by His grace, Arjuna is accepting Him as the Supreme Truth, in concordance with the Vedic injunction. It is not that because Krishna is Arjuna’s intimate friend Arjuna is flattering Him by calling Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Whatever Arjuna says in these two verses is confirmed by Vedic truth. Vedic injunctions affirm that only one who takes to devotional service to the Supreme Lord can understand Him, whereas others cannot. Each and every word of this verse spoken by Arjuna is confirmed by Vedic injunction.
In the Kena Upanishad it is stated that the Supreme Brahman is the rest for everything, and Krishna has already explained that everything is resting on Him. The Mundaka Upanishad confirms that the Supreme Lord, in whom everything is resting, can be realized only by those who engage constantly in thinking of Him. This constant thinking of Krishna is smaranam, one of the methods of devotional service. It is only by devotional service to Krishna that one can understand his position and get rid of this material body.
In the Vedas the Supreme Lord is accepted as the purest of the pure. One who understands that Krishna is the purest of the pure can become purified from all sinful activities. One cannot be disinfected from sinful activities unless he surrenders unto the Supreme Lord. Arjuna’s acceptance of Krishna as the supreme pure complies with the injunctions of Vedic literature. This is also confirmed by great personalities, of whom Narada is the chief.
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and one should always meditate upon Him and enjoy one’s transcendental relationship with Him. He is the supreme existence. He is free from bodily needs, birth and death. Not only does Arjuna confirm this, but all the Vedic literatures, the Puranas and histories. In all Vedic literatures Krishna is thus described, and the Supreme Lord Himself also says in the Fourth Chapter, “Although I am unborn, I appear on this earth to establish religious principles.” He is the supreme origin; He has no cause, for He is the cause of all causes, and everything is emanating from Him. This perfect knowledge can be had by the grace of the Supreme Lord.
Here Arjuna expresses himself through the grace of Krishna. If we want to understand Bhagavad-gita, we should accept the statements in these two verses. This is called the parampara system, acceptance of the disciplic succession. Unless one is in the disciplic succession, he cannot understand Bhagavad-gita. It is not possible by so-called academic education. Unfortunately those proud of their academic education, despite so much evidence in Vedic literatures, stick to their obstinate conviction that Krishna is an ordinary person.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Desiring to hear in detail what was just spoken briefly by the Lord, Arjuna speaks by first praising the Lord.
You are param brahma and you are the most attractive body in the form of Syamasundara (param dhama). According to Amara. Kosa, dhama means house, body, light and glory. That brahman is you. You have no difference between yourself and your body, unlike the jlva. What type of body is this? It is supremely purifying, taking away the contamination of ignorance for the person who sees it (paramam pavitram). Therefore all the rsis speak of the eternality of you in the human form (sasvatam purusam ahuh).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.12 – 10.13 Arjuna said — You are He whom the Srutis proclaim as the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Light, the Supreme Sanctifier. Thus the Srutis assert: ‘From whom all these beings are born, by whom, when born, they live and unto whom they go when they perish — desire to know that well. This is Brahman’ (Tai. U., 3.1.1); ‘He who knows Brahman attains the Highest’ (Ibid., 2.1.1); and ‘He who knows the Supreme Brahman becomes the Brahman’ (Mun. U., 3.2.9). Likewise He is the Supreme Light. The term ‘Dhaman’ connotes light. He is the Supreme Light as taught (in the Upanisads): ‘Now, the light which shines higher than this heaven …’ (Cha. U., 3.13. 7); ‘Attaining the Supreme Light. He appears with His own form’ (Ibid., 8.12.2); ‘The gods worship Him as the Light of lights’ (Br. U., 4.4.16). So also He is the Supreme Sanctifier: He makes the meditator bereft of all the impurities, and also destroyes them without any trace. The Srutis declares: ‘As water clings not to the leaf of a lotus-flower, so evil deeds cling not to him who knows thus’ (Cha. U., 4.14.3): ‘Just as the fibre of Isika reed (reed-cotton) laid on a fire is burnt up, so also all his sins are burnt up’ (Ibid., 5.24.3); and ‘Narayana is Supreme Brahman, Narayana is Supreme Light, Narayana is Supreme Self’ (Ma. Na., 9.4). Sages are those who know in reality the higher truth (the Supreme Brahman), and the lower truth (individual selves); they speak of You as the eternal Divine Person, Primal Lord, the unborn and all-pervading. So also divine sage Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa declare: ‘This Narayana, Lord of Sri, the resident of the Milk Ocean, has come to the city of Mathura abandoning his Serpent-couch.’ ‘Where Madhusudana is, there is the blessed Dvaravati. He is the Lord Himself, the ancient One and Eternal Dharma (Ma. Bh. Vana. 88. 24-25). Those who know the Vedas and those who know the self declare the great-minded Krsna to be the eternal Dharma. Of all sanctifiers, Govinda is said to be the most sanctifying, the most auspicious among the auspicious. The lotus-eyed God of gods, the eternal, abides as the three worlds … Hari who is beyond thought, abides thus. Madhusudana is there alone’ (Ma. Bha. Vana., 88.24-28). Similarly it is stated: ‘O Arjuna, where the divine, the eternal Narayana the Supreme Self is, there the entire universe, the sacred water and the holy shrines are to be found. That is sacred, that is Supreme Brahman, that is sacred waters, that is the austerity grove … there dwell the divine sages, the Siddhas and all those rich in austerities where the Primal Lord, the agent Yogin Madhusudana dwells. It is the most sacred among the sacred. For you, let there be no doubt about this’ (Ibid., 90.28-32); ‘Krsna Himself is the origin and dissolution of all beings. For, this universe, consisting of sentient and non-sentient entities, was generated for the sake of Krsna’ (Ma. Bha. Sabha., 38.23). And you yourself say so in the passage beginning with ‘Earth, water, fire, ether, mind, intellect and Ahankara — this Prakrti, which is divided eightfold, is Mine’ (7.4) and ending with ‘I am the origin of all; from Me proceed everything’ (10.8).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Wishing to know in more and more detail about Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or phenomenal transcendental opulence which have briefly been stated previously, Arjuna praises the Supreme Lord Krishna in this verse and the next six specifying that He alone is param brahma the Supreme Ultimate Truth, the absolute Lord of all and param dhama the Supreme Ultimate Absolute Abode of all. The most holy, the most sacred, the most exalted, the pinnacle of attainment. Why is this so? Because the Vedas sing His glories and call Him resplendent, self-effulgent, eternal and everlasting. Without a beginning, omniscient, omnipotent and all pervading. The primeval Lord of all lords, the primordial God of all gods, the source of every and any and all conceivable divinity. Who claims this so? All the mahatmanas or great liberated sages such as Asita, Devala and Bhrgu as well as avatars or divine incarnations such as Narada and Vyasa. And now Lord Krishna is revealing this as well.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is entirely complete within itself. This is why the Supreme Lord is called param brahma or the Supreme Brahma because He is even more superior. Since it assumes unlimited forms it is known as omni-present. The Varuna Purana states: All pervading, the energiser, the first before all, the Supreme Lord verily expands Himself as unlimitedly and by His will He becomes the many.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Listening attentively to the Supreme Lord Krishna’s unequivocal vibhuti or transcendental opulence, and unlimited supremacy in brief, Arjuna appetite for hearing more increased and he became enthusiastic to learn more and more about the infinite, divine glories of Lord Krishna and in order to assure the Lord that he was fully convinced of everything that was told to him, Arjuna first confirms Lord Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth with the words param brahma and then he confirms that Lord Krihsna is the shelter of all creation with the words param dhama and then he verifies these statements as being in total agreement with the mahatmanas or great liberated sages such as Narada and Vyasa who are able to perceive all truths and who can see the subtlest reality speak of Lord Krishna as the purest of the purest, the auspicious of the auspicious, self-manifest, self- effulgent, eternal, immutable, of unchangeable, divine form, the ultimate goal, residing in the highest, paramount spiritual abode as a personality with transcendental qualities, features and attributes. The prime cause of all causes, the source and origin of all that exists. omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and all pervading. The Vedic scriptures declare this to be the absolute truth, the mahatmanas proclaim this to be the absolute truth and Lord Krishna Himself also verifies that this is the absolute truth.
In Bhisma Parva of Mahabharata there is a hymn by Brahma that states: O king by brahmins, sages and demigods it was told in ancient times that the Supreme Lord Krishna is the God above all other gods such as myself and Shiva. The celestial sage Narada declared Lord Krishna as knowing the minds and hearts of all beings. The venerated sage Markandeya Rishi expressed Lord Krishna as embodying past, present and future. Venerable Bhrgu named Lord Krishna as the austerity of all austerities and the yagna or worshipful propitiation of all yagna. Vyasa proclaimed that Lord Krishna’s form is sac-cid-ananda unlimited knowledge, eternal existence and unending bliss. Lord Krishna is the bestower of moksa or liberation from material existence and He appoints Indra the ruler of the demigods on his throne in the heavenly worlds. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord of all lords and gods and every other conception of divinity.
The sage Angiras at the time of creation declared Lord Krishna as Daksa- Prajapati the creator of all lords, gods and demigods. The sage Devala proclaimed Lord Krishna was unmanifest in the body but manifest in the heart and mind of all beings. The sage Asita expressed Lord Krishna as pervading the sky with His head and the Earth with His chest while His stomach represents the three worlds. The four Kumaras headed by Sanat eulogise Lord Krishna as param brahma the supreme, eternal personality, parama dhama the supreme shelter, the ultimate goal for those endowed with the fruits of austerities, those who are self-satisfied and content through self-realisation and for those great, royal kings who are irrevocably committed to war and battle for the sake of establishing righteousness. So in all these various ways the Supreme Lord Krishna is worshipped and glorified by realised beings.
Also in the Bhishma Parva there is a dialogue between the Brahma and Narada and the Gandharvas who are celestial singers, musicians and dancers were extremely astonished to see Brahma exhibit great reverence and were eager to know who it was that he praised so wonderfully with such eloquent hymns. Being pleased Brahma stated: O best of beings I spoke with the Supreme Lord with joy who is neti neti or transcendental to this and that and beyond becoming and coming into being. The Supreme Lord Krishna is the atma or eternal soul of all beings and the Supreme Goal of all beings. I humbly prayed to Him to bless this world and evoked Him to come with the prayer: O Supreme Lord Krishna, I beseech you to bestow your causeless mercy and come to this world of mortals and appear on this Earth for the destruction of the demoniac. The demons such as the sons of Diti and Danu and the hosts of demoniac beings that were terminated by You in previous epochs, have now taken birth on Earth with terrible forms and great might. In order to eradicate the demoniac presence on Earth the Supreme Lord Krishna in association with Nara will manifest in His avatar or incarnation as Narayana and appearing in a human form will move about the Earth establishing righteousness. Those same two ancient and great sages of infallible lustre known as Nara-Narayana who were invincible in battle against all the demoniac hosts have appeared upon Earth again as Lord Krishna in His original form along with His friend and devotee Arjuna to destroy all the demoniac forces once more. The infatuated and deluded are unable to understand and perceive Him who is my eternal liege and Lord.
The Supreme Lord Krishna, the Paramount Lord of all creation and the ultimate goal of all beings should be the sole object of all endeavours and worship. The Supreme absolute ruler of all creation should never be forgotten or neglected. He is the highest reality, the Supreme glory, the ultimate destination, imperishable, eternal, the cause and the source of all that exists. Whose nama or name, rupa or transcendental form, lila or divine pastimes and dhama or eternal abode are sung and glorified throughout the Vedic scriptures. But who at the same time is beyond the scope of worldly knowledge. So all the demigods, humans and gods should never disregard Lord Krishna’s words which precisely presents the ultimate truth and one should never disrespect His activities which concisely represents the ultimate reality. Yet because His eternal, transcendental body appears in human form the foolish and deluded of wretched conception look at the infallible Supreme Lord as a mere human being and fallible like themselves.
In the Harivamsa there is a passage where Shiva instructs some brahmin sages stating: O’ devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna who have realised the truth. He is the ultimate reality and propitiation unto Him is the ultimate austerity. As there is nothing higher or superior to Him one should always meditate upon Him with a controlled mind because He the best well wisher and the prime duty of human life to worship. He is eternal piety, the reward of all penance, the abode of all merit and the goal as well as the bestower of moksa or liberation from the material existence. It is to He alone that the knowers of the brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence and those who have achieved atma-tattva or realisation of the soul, pay homage too and eulogise proficiently. He is the sole destination prescribed in the Vedic scriptures so sought after by those even after attaining moksa. It is he whom the the scholars of Samkhya and Astanga glorify. The Vaisnavas declare him as the path and the goal for the knowers of the brahman. But there is no need O’ devotees to ponder and deliberate further the purpose of existence is to realise Him only. Being amply endowed with the qualities of sattva guna the mode of goodness one should always meditate upon the Supreme Lord Krishna and His incarnations and expansions as authorised by Vedic scriptures as there is no higher god and no worthier goal.
In closing Arjuna reaffirms Lord Krishna glories by stating that He Himself also previously expressed the same in X:VIII, X.II and VII.VII confirming respectively that He is the cause of all creation, the prime source of all gods and sages and that nothing exists without Him,
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.12 Bhavan, You; are the param brahma, supreme Brahman, the supreme Self; the param dhama, supreme Light; the paramam pavitram, supreme Sanctifier. Sarve, all; rsayah, the sages-Vasistha and others; tatha, as also; the devarisih, divine sage; naradah, Narada; Asita and Devala ahuh, call; tvam, You; thus: Sasvatam, the eternal; divyam, divine; purusam, Person; adi-devam, the Primal God, the God who preceded all the gods; ajam, the birthless; vibhum, the Omnipresent-capable of assuming diverse forms. And even Vyasa also speaks in this very way. Ca, and; svayam, You Yourself; eva, verily; bravisi, tell; me, me (so).
10.13 Bhavan, You; are the param brahma, supreme Brahman, the supreme Self; the param dhama, supreme Light; the paramam pavitram, supreme Sanctifier. Sarve, all; rsayah, the sages-Vasistha and others; tatha, as also; the devarisih, divine sage; naradah, Narada; Asita and Devala ahuh, call; tvam, You; thus: Sasvatam, the eternal; divyam, divine; purusam, Person; adi-devam, the Primal God, the God who preceded all the gods; ajam, the birthless; vibhum, the Omnipresent-capable of assuming diverse forms. And even Vyasa also speaks in this very way. Ca, and; svayam, You Yourself; eva, verily; bravisi, tell; me, me (so).
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
10.12 Sri Abhinavagupta did not comment upon this sloka.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajam vibhum
ahus tvam rsayah sarve
devarsir naradas tatha
asito devalo vyasah
svayam caiva bravisi me
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; param — supreme; brahma — truth; param — supreme; dhāma — sustenance; pavitram — pure; paramam — supreme; bhavān — You; puruṣam — personality; śāśvatam — eternal; divyam — transcendental; ādi-devam — the original Lord; ajam — unborn; vibhum — greatest; āhuḥ — say; tvām — of You; ṛṣayaḥ — sages; sarve — all; deva-ṛṣiḥ — the sage among the demigods; nāradaḥ — Nārada; tathā — also; asitaḥ — Asita; devalaḥ — Devala; vyāsaḥ — Vyāsa; svayam — personally; ca — also; eva — certainly; bravīṣi — You are explaining; me — unto me.