na me viduḥ sura-gaṇāḥ
prabhavaḿ na maharṣayaḥ
aham ādir hi devānāḿ
maharṣīṇāḿ ca sarvaśaḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.2
Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
As stated in the Brahma-samhita, Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord. No one is greater than Him; He is the cause of all causes. Here it is also stated by the Lord personally that He is the cause of all the demigods and sages. Even the demigods and great sages cannot understand Krishna; they can understand neither His name nor His personality, so what is the position of the so-called scholars of this tiny planet? No one can understand why this Supreme God comes to earth as an ordinary human being and executes such wonderful, uncommon activities. One should know, then, that scholarship is not the qualification necessary to understand Krishna. Even the demigods and the great sages have tried to understand Krishna by their mental speculation, and they have failed to do so. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam also it is clearly said that even the great demigods are not able to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They can speculate to the limits of their imperfect senses and can reach the opposite conclusion of impersonalism, of something not manifested by the three qualities of material nature, or they can imagine something by mental speculation, but it is not possible to understand Krishna by such foolish speculation.
Here the Lord indirectly says that if anyone wants to know the Absolute Truth, “Here I am present as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am the Supreme.” One should know this. Although one cannot understand the inconceivable Lord who is personally present, He nonetheless exists. We can actually understand Krishna, who is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, simply by studying His words in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The conception of God as some ruling power or as the impersonal Brahman can be reached by persons who are in the inferior energy of the Lord, but the Personality of Godhead cannot be conceived unless one is in the transcendental position.
Because most men cannot understand Krishna in His actual situation, out of His causeless mercy He descends to show favor to such speculators. Yet despite the Supreme Lord’s uncommon activities, these speculators, due to contamination in the material energy, still think that the impersonal Brahman is the Supreme. Only the devotees who are fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord can understand, by the grace of the Supreme Personality, that He is Krishna. The devotees of the Lord do not bother about the impersonal Brahman conception of God; their faith and devotion bring them to surrender immediately unto the Supreme Lord, and out of the causeless mercy of Krishna they can understand Krishna. No one else can understand Him. So even great sages agree: What is atma, what is the Supreme? It is He whom we have to worship.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“This can be known only by my extreme mercy and by no other means. The devatas do not know my most extraordinary (pra) birth (bhavam) from Devaki.”
“Well, the devatas may not know because they are absorbed in material pleasure, but the sages know.”
“No, they also do not know (na maharsayah).”
The Lord explains the reason that they do not know: I am the cause in all ways. The sons do not know about the birth of the father.
One should not think of another meaning of the word prabhavam because in verse 14 Arjuna says in confirmation of that meaning that neither the demons or devas know about the appearance of the Lord.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.2 However supernatural the vision and however great the knowledge of the host of the gods and the wise seers may be, they cannot comprehend My powers. They do not know My name, actions, essence, attributes etc., for the reason that I am the source in every way of these gods and great seers. I am the source of their nature and knowledge, power etc. The knowledge given to them by Me according to their meritorious deeds constitutes the cause of their being gods, the great seers etc. That knowledge is limited. Thus, they have limited knowledge and do not know the real nature of My essence. Sri Krsna proceeds to explain that knowledge about His real nature, which is beyond the grasp of gods etc., and which is the means for release from the evil that stands in the way of the rise of devotion.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Incomprehensibility is being given as the reason for repeating what had already been stated previously. Neither the 330 million demigods who are Lord Krishna’s servants responsible for universal management throughout the total material existence; nor the great sages such as Bhrigu knowledgeable about the His divine appearances and disappearances. This is because He alone is the sole cause of all gods and demigods and sages and everything else in all respects as their creator and as the indwelling monitor directing their intelligence. Therefore without Lord Krishna bestowing His grace it is not possible to know Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The word prabhavam means supremely sublime divine appearance denoting the splendorous glory of Lord Krishna as the source of all creation and the origin of all beings. Therefore all principles spoken herein are the self- evident premises. If the demigods and all other gods existed previous to the Supreme Lord then they would have been aware of His manifestation or would have perceived Him through their comprehensive awareness. Hence it is self-evident that they were not existing previously. Lord Krishna states the words aham adih meaning He is the root origin of all. So it is self evident. How could other gods know of Him before when the entire material manifestation is subservient to Him? So it is only for the sake of remembrance that He again mentions that He is the origin of all. The Vedic scriptures state: Who verily knows the Supreme Lord and can state whence He became and where creation came from. The demigods and all other gods came subsequently after creation. So who can declare when creation came into existence.The Rig Veda X.CXXIX.VI declares: When His splendour is not even fathomable by the gods then how can mere mortals of limited knowledge know Him.
Now begins the summation.
The word sura-ganah is used to make reference to all other gods who are minor and lesser.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
One may wonder how to remedy the fact that there are so many philosophers, theosophical thinkers, and erudite scholars who are unable to realise Lord Krishna’s supreme, transcendental position as the cause, source and ultimate controller of all creation. To augment this view Lord Krishna referring to the demigods and the great liberated sages states the words na viduh which means that even they are unable to understand Him. Neither Indra the chief of the celestial demigods nor Bhrigu the crest jewel of sages are able to perceive beyond the parameters of their mind and senses and comprehend the divine reality of Lord Krishna’s transcendental appearance in human form endowed with supreme indomitable never ending glory. Saccidananda or eternal existence, unlimited consciousness and endless bliss. Unlike the jivas or embodied beings inhabiting various bodies throughout creation who take birth due to their actions and whom the Supreme Lord bestows upon them knowledge and power according to their merits. As the jivas are His creation arising from Him although eternal as well they are severely limited possessing only finite knowledge. Hence it is impossible to know the reality of the Supreme Absolute Truth without being properly instructed in parampara or disciplic succession from one of the four sampradayas or spiritual channels authorised in Vedic scriptures.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.2 Na sura-sanah, neither the gods-Brahma and others; viduh, know;-what do they not know?-me, My; prabhavam (prabhavam), majesty, abundance of lordly power-or, derived in the sense of ‘coming into being’, it means origin. Nor even the maharsayah, great sages, Bhrgu and others [Bhrgu, Marici, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasistha.-Tr.] devanam, of the gods; ca, and; maharsinam, of the great sages. Besides,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
10.1-5 The subject-matter that has been indicated in the previous nine chapters – the same in being detailed here in this chapter by citing individual instances. That is why [the Bhagavat] says ‘Yet again etc.’ (10.X, 1). He thus indicates ‘Hear the subject matter, which has already been related to you, but which once again being explained in order to make it clear’. Arjuna too says in the sequel likewise ‘Tell me once again etc.’ (10.X, 18). This is the purport of [this] chapter. Other items are clear by mere reciting. Hence, why to repeat them ? However, whatever is doubtful that shall be decided [then and there]. Bhuyah etc. upto prthagvidhah. Steadiness is that which induces one.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na me viduh sura-ganah
prabhavam na maharsayah
aham adir hi devanam
maharsinam ca sarvasah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — never; me — My; viduḥ — know; sura-gaṇāḥ — the demigods; prabhavam — origin, opulences; na — never; mahā-ṛṣayaḥ — great sages; aham — I am; ādiḥ — the origin; hi — certainly; devānām — of the demigods; mahā-ṛṣīṇām — of the great sages; ca — also; sarvaśaḥ — in all respects.