sargāṇām ādir antaś ca
madhyaḿ caivāham arjuna
vādaḥ pravadatām aham
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.32
Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Among the created manifestations, the first is the creation of the total material elements. As explained before, the cosmic manifestation is created and conducted by Maha-Vishnu, Garbhodakashayi Vishnu and Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, and then again it is annihilated by Lord Shiva. Brahma is a secondary creator. All these agents of creation, maintenance and annihilation are incarnations of the material qualities of the Supreme Lord. Therefore He is the beginning, the middle and the end of all creation.
For advanced education there are various kinds of books of knowledge, such as the four Vedas, their six supplements, the Vedanta-sutra, books of logic, books of religiosity and the Puranas. So all together there are fourteen divisions of books of education. Of these, the book which presents adhyatma-vidya, spiritual knowledge—in particular, the Vedanta-sutra—represents Krishna.
Among logicians there are different kinds of argument. Supporting one’s argument with evidence that also supports the opposing side is called jalpa. Merely trying to defeat one’s opponent is called vitanda. But the actual conclusion is called vada. This conclusive truth is a representation of Krishna.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
I am the creation (adih) and destruction (antah) of ether and other elements (sarganam), and the maintenance of them as well. One should meditate upon creation, maintenance and destruction as my vibhutis. This means that I, the Supreme Lord, am the creator, maintainer and destroyer. Among types of knowledge, I am knowledge of the self. Among types of argumentation in order to establish ones own idea and defeat others ideas, such as jalpa and vitanda, I am vada, which attempts to discern actual truth with the goal of coming to a conclusion.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.32 Those that undergo creation are ‘creatures’. Their beginning is the cause. The meaning is that, of the creatures which are being created at all times, I am Myself the creator. Similarly, I am the end, namely the destroyer of everyone of those who are being destroyed at all times. Similarly I am the middle, namely, the sustentation. The meaning is, I am the sustainer of those who are being sustained at all times. Of those who indulge in Jalpa (argument) and Vitanda (perverse criticism) etc., I am the fair reasoning which determines the truth.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna uses the word sarganam meaning of all created things. Things that are created are creations. Starting with the ether in the sky, then air, then fire, then water, then earth. Of all these things which in different combinations comprise completely all material existence, Lord Krishna is their beginning, middle and end. In verse 20 of this chapter Lord Krishna revealed that He is the origin, the preservation and the dissolution of all living entities but here He reveals that He is the beginning, the maintenance and the dissolution of all creations as well and that creation, preservation and destruction should be meditated upon as His vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence. The words adhyatma-vidya vidyanah are poignant and mean of all types of knowledge that exist Lord Krishna’s vibhuti is the paramount knowledge of the eternal soul which exists within all living entities. The three kinds of argumentation practised by the logicians and debaters are vada, jalpa and vitandi. Lord Krishna declares that His vibhuti is vadah which is the irrefutable, conclusive truth. When debating parties establish their individual hypothesis through direct and indirect proofs in the attempt to refute the hypothesis of each other through chhala or circumvention and jati or false generalisations is know as jalpa. When one party has an already established hypothesis and the opposing party ignoring truth and logic refutes it by superior arguments and faultfinding without establishing their own hypothesis is known as vitanda. Both jalpa and vitanda are nothing more then displays of mental gymnastics and do not determine what is the reality. But the result of vadah is the ascertaining of truth and an unbiased non-partisan agreement of reality.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna states that His vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is sarganam or creation as the beginning, middle and ending. In verse 20 of this chapter He revealed His vibhuti beginning, middle and ending of all living entitiess by the word bhutanam. But here He is referring to the insentient process that manifests as creation itself for the benefit and welfare for all sentient beings. Of all knowledge existing Lord Krishna’s vibhuti is adhyatma-vidya or the supreme knowledge of the eternal soul which includes the Supreme Lord who bestowed its eternality and how to attain His eternal association which is the paramount attainment.
Lord Krishna declares of the three methods of debate being vadah, jalpa and vitanda His vibhuti is vadah which is the absolute conclusive reality determined by the logical method of discussion and debate regarding the pro and cons of things by those who are established in satya guna or the mode of goodness in order to determine and ascertain the ultimate truth of any topic. Such beings are always free from passion and the duplicity of subterfuge and deception. Jalpa is the method of argument which uses calculated criticism and superficial suppositions to invalidate the opposition in an underhanded manner and is like a hedge of sharp thorns purposely keeping out any chance for a conclusive truth. Vitanda is the method of argument which uses false facts and absurd affirmations to destroy an opponents position without having ever established a position of their own. The fallacy of jalpa and vitanda is that they falsify facts, distort truth and misrepresent reality for the purpose of inserting their own deceptive hidden agenda.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.32 O Arjuna sarganam, of creations; I am the adih, beginning; ca, and ; he antah, end; ca eva, as also; the madhyam, middle-I am the origin, continuance and dissolution. At the commencement (verse 20) origin, end, etc. only of things possessed of souls were spoken of, but here the mention is of all creations in general. This is the difference. Vidyanam, among knowledges; I am the adhyatma-vidya, knowledge of the Self, it being the foremost because of its leading to liberation. Pravadatam, of those who debate; aham, I; am vadah, Vada, which is preeminent since it is a means to determining true purport. Hence I am that . By the word pravadatam are here meant the different kinds of debate held by debators, viz Vada, Jalpa, and Vitanda. [Vada: discussion with open-mindedness, with a veiw to determining true purport; jalpa: pointless debate; Vitanda: wrangling discussion. [Jalpa is that mode of debate by which both parties establish their own viewpoint through direct and indirect proofs, and refute the view of the opponent through circumvention (Chala) and false generalization (Jati) and by pointing out unfitness (of the opponent) tobe argued with (Nigraha-sthana). But where one party establishes his viewpoint, and the other refutes it through circumvention, false generalization and showing the unfitness of the opponent to be argued with, without establishing his own views, that is termed Vitanda. Jalpa and Vitanda result only in a trial of streangth between the opponents, who are both desirous of victory, But the result of Vada is the ascertainment of truth between the teacher and the disciple or between others, both unbiased.-Gloss of Sridhara Swami on this verse.]-Tr.]
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
10.19-42 Hanta te etc. upto jagat sthitah. I am the Soul etc. (verse 20) : By this [the Bhagavat] wards off the exclusion [of any being as different form Him]. Otherwise the sentences like ‘Of the immovable [I am] the the Himalayas’ (verse 25) etc., would amount to the exclusive statement that the Himalayan range is the Bhagavat and not any other one. In that case, the indiscriminateness of the Brahman is not established and hence the realisation of the Brahman would be a partial (or conditioned) one. For, the [present] text of exposition is intended for that seeker whose mind cannot contemplate on the all-pervasiveness [of the Brahman], but who [at the same time] is desirous of realising that [all-pervasiveness]. Hence, while concluding, [the Bhagavat] teaches the theory of duality-cumunity by saying ‘whatsoever being exists with the manifesting power’ etc., and then concludes the topic with the theory of absolute unity, as ‘Or what is the use of this elaboration;…..I remain pervading this [universe] by a single fraction [of Myself] This has been declared indeed [in the scriptures] as : ‘All beings constitute [only] His one-fourth; His [other] immortal three-forths are in the heaven.’ (Rgveda, X, xc, 3). Thus, all this and the prime cause of creatures, are nothing but the Bhagavat (Absolute). And hence, He Himself becomes the object of knowledge of all, but being comprehended with the different strange qualities.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
sarganam adir antas ca
madhyam caivaham arjuna
vadah pravadatam aham
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
sargāṇām — of all creations; ādiḥ — the beginning; antaḥ — end; ca — and; madhyam — middle; ca — also; eva — certainly; aham — I am; arjuna — O Arjuna; adhyātma-vidyā — spiritual knowledge; vidyānām — of all education; vādaḥ — the natural conclusion; pravadatām — of arguments; aham — I am.