mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham
udbhavaś ca bhaviṣyatām
kīrtiḥ śrīr vāk ca nārīṇāḿ
smṛtir medhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.34
I am all-devouring death, and I am the generating principle of all that is yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
As soon as a man is born, he dies at every moment. Thus death is devouring every living entity at every moment, but the last stroke is called death itself. That death is Krishna. As for future development, all living entities undergo six basic changes. They are born, they grow, they remain for some time, they reproduce, they dwindle, and finally they vanish. Of these changes, the first is deliverance from the womb, and that is Krishna. The first generation is the beginning of all future activities.
The seven opulences listed—fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience—are considered feminine. If a person possesses all of them or some of them he becomes glorious. If a man is famous as a righteous man, that makes him glorious. Sanskrit is a perfect language and is therefore very glorious. If after studying one can remember a subject matter, he is gifted with a good memory, or smriti. And the ability not only to read many books on different subject matters but to understand them and apply them when necessary is intelligence (medha), another opulence. The ability to overcome unsteadiness is called firmness or steadfastness (dhrti). And when one is fully qualified yet is humble and gentle, and when one is able to keep his balance both in sorrow and in the ecstasy of joy, he has the opulence called patience (ksama).
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Among all types of deaths which are happening at every moment, I am death which takes away all memory. It is said mrtyur atyanta-vismrtih: death is extreme forgetfulness. (SB 11.22.39) Among the transformations which will take place for the living entities in the future, I am birth, the first transformation. Among women, I am fame, beauty, and refined speech (vak), these three and also the four: memory, intelligence, fortitude and tolerance. Ca indicates the other wives of Dharma such as Murti.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
10.34 I am also death which snatches away the life of all. Of those that shall be born I am that called birth. Of women (i.e., of goddesses who are the powers of the Lord) I am prosperity (Sri); I am fame (Kirti); I am speech (Vak); I am memory (Smrti); I am intelligence (Medha); I am endurance (Dhrti); and I am forgiveness (Ksama).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Of annihilators Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is mrtyah or death which annihilates all memories and remembrance. Of the six transformations of the body that lead up to death His vibhuti is birth the first. Of women Lord Krishna’s vibhuti is kirti meaning excellent reputation, srir means lustrous beauty, vak means articulate speech, smrtir means good memory, medha means discerning intelligence, dhritih is patient fortitude and ksama is causeless foregivness. These are the seven qualities of a virtuous and by just possessing even a reflection of these qualities one becomes praiseworthy.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Among annihilators Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is myrtuh or all devouring death. Of the seven transformations of the physical body His vibhuti is birth. Of the seven feminine qualities of utmost virtue His vibhuti comprises them all as described.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
10.34 Death which is of two kinds-one destroying wealth, and the other destroying life-, [Here Ast. adds: tatra yah prana-harah sah (sarva-harah ucyate)-Among them, that which destroys life (is called sarva-harah).-Tr.] is called sarva-harah, the destroyer of all. I am that. This is the meaning. Or, the supreme God is the all-destroyer because He destroys everything during dissolution. I am He. And I am udbhavah, prosperity, eminence, and the means to it. Of whom? Bhavisyatam, of those destined to be prosperous, i.e. of those who are fit for attaining eminence. Narinam, of the feminine qualities; I am kirtih, fame; srih, beauty; vak, speech; smrtih, memory; medha, intelligence dhrtih, fortitude; and ksama, forbearance. I am these excellent feminine quialities, by coming to possess even a trace of which one considers himself successful.
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:
mrtyuh sarva-haras caham
udbhavas ca bhavisyatam
kirtih srir vak ca narinam
smrtir medha dhrtih ksama
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mṛtyuḥ — death; sarva-haraḥ — all-devouring; ca — also; aham — I am; udbhavaḥ — generation; ca — also; bhaviṣyatām — of future manifestations; kīrtiḥ — fame; śrīḥ — opulence or beauty; vāk — ﬁne speech; ca — also; nārīṇām — of women; smṛtiḥ — memory; medhā — intelligence; dhṛtiḥ — ﬁrmness; kṣamā — patience.