kathaḿ vidyām ahaḿ yogiḿs
tvāḿ sadā paricintayan
keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu
cintyo ’si bhagavan mayā
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.17
O Krishna, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
As it is stated in the previous chapter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is covered by His yoga-maya. Only surrendered souls and devotees can see Him. Now Arjuna is convinced that His friend, Krishna, is the Supreme Godhead, but he wants to know the general process by which the all-pervading Lord can be understood by the common man. Common men, including the demons and atheists, cannot know Krishna, because He is guarded by His yoga-maya energy. Again, these questions are asked by Arjuna for their benefit. The superior devotee is concerned not only for his own understanding but for the understanding of all mankind. So Arjuna, out of his mercy, because he is a Vaishnava, a devotee, is opening for the common man the understanding of the all-pervasiveness of the Supreme Lord. He addresses Krishna specifically as yogin because Sri Krishna is the master of the yoga-maya energy, by which He is covered and uncovered to the common man. The common man who has no love for Krishna cannot always think of Krishna; therefore he has to think materially. Arjuna is considering the mode of thinking of the materialistic persons of this world. The words kesu kesu ca bhavesu refer to material nature (the word bhava means “physical things”). Because materialists cannot understand Krishna spiritually, they are advised to concentrate the mind on physical things and try to see how Krishna is manifested by physical representations.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“O Lord, one who possesses the yogamaya sakti (yogin)!” This is similar to the construction of vanamalin, one who wears a garland of flowers. How can I, thinking of you, know you (vidyam) at all times? Of course you say bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah: only by bhakti can I be known as I am in truth. (BG 18.55) But in which objects (bhavesu) can I think of you? This means “How can I perform bhakti by thinking of you in various objects?”
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.17 I, ‘Your devotee’ (Yogin), namely, one engaged in Bhakti Yoga, and ‘constantly meditating on You’ with devotion, namely, embarked on meditation on You, — how am I to know You, the object of meditation, as possessing a multitude of auspicious attributes like sovereignty etc.? And in what varied modes of mental dispositions, which are as yet untold and which are different from the intelligence, knowledge etc., described earlier, are You the Controller of all, to be meditated upon by me.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Expressing the need for Lord Krishna to definitively reveal precisely how He should be meditated upon; He is humbly beseeched in this verse and the next. Although the Supreme Lord can be meditated upon by focusing on His different potencies, qualities and glories, Arjuna’s concern was what was the best way for him to contemplate the Supreme Lord. In which way specifically should he always think of Lord Krishna throughout his life in order that he would most assuredly attain Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
The necessity of accurately and distinctly knowing the Supreme Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is expressed by Arjuna with the word katham vidyam aham meaning how to know. The word yogim is expressing that Lord Krishna is the master of yoga or the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciousness. Being inferior to the Supreme Lord it is not possible to fathom His glories, powers and paramount supremacy without His mercy so he is requesting Lord Krishna to explain His unimaginable glories that are beyond even elevated and advanced conceptions so he can get an idea how to correctly meditate upon the Supreme Lord and not imagine or concoct some ideas that have no validity to reality. Because only the Supreme Lord knows Himself and it is not possible to understand and meditate upon Him in full.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.17 O Yogi, katham, how; aham vidyam, shall I know tvam, You; sada pari-cintayan, by remaining ever-engaged in meditation? Ca, and; kesu kesu bhavesu, through what objects; bhagvan, O Lord; cintah asi, are You to be meditated on; maya, by me?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
10.17 Sri Abhinavagupta did not comment upon this sloka.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
katham vidyam aham yogims
tvam sada paricintayan
kesu kesu ca bhavesu
cintyo ’si bhagavan maya
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
katham — how; vidyām aham — shall I know; yogin — O supreme mystic; tvām — You; sadā — always; paricintayan — thinking of; keṣu — in which; keṣu — in which; ca — also; bhāveṣu — natures; cintyaḥ asi — You are to be remembered; bhagavan — O Supreme; mayā — by me.