daṇḍo damayatām asmi
nītir asmi jigīṣatām
maunaṁ caivāsmi guhyānāṁ
jñānaṁ jñānavatām aham

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 10.38

Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am punishment, and of those who seek victory I am morality. Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am the wisdom.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

There are many suppressing agents, of which the most important are those that cut down miscreants. When miscreants are punished, the agency of chastisement represents Krishna. Among those who are trying to be victorious in some field of activity, the most victorious element is morality. Among the confidential activities of hearing, thinking and meditating, silence is most important because by silence one can make progress very quickly. The wise man is he who can discriminate between matter and spirit, between God’s superior and inferior natures. Such knowledge is Krishna Himself.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Among those who punish, I am punishment. Here the genitive is used to indicate relationship.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

10.38 I am the power of punishment of those who punish, if law is transgressed. In regard to those who seek victory I am policy which is the means of getting victory. Of factors associated with secrecy. I am silence. I am the wisdon of those who are wise.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Of punishers Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is the rod of chastisement, the force by which the unruly are controlled. Of those desirous for success against opponents His vibhuti is diplomacy using the expedients of reconciliation, dissension, bribery and punishment. Of secrets with regard to esoteric and confidential matters His vibhuti is maunam or silence by maintaining nothing is revealed for verily the intention of one who keeps silent cannot be deciphered. Of the wise His vibhuti is wisdom.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Among the subduing power of rulers, Lord Krishna’s vibhuti or divine, transcendental opulence is the power of punishment that keeps the wrongdoers in line. His vibhuti is that policy which leads to success. Of secrets His vibhuti is maunam or silence which is inviolable being the master of all secrecy and His vibhuti of the wise is the wisdom of those who are self-realised.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

10.38 Damayatam, of the punishers; I am dandah, the rod, which is the means of controlling the lawless. I am the nitih, righteous policy; jagisatam, of those who desire to conquer. And guhyanam, of things secret; I am verily maunam, silence. I am jnanam, knowledge; jnanavatam, of the men of knowledge.

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:

daṇḍo damayatām asmi
nītir asmi jigīṣatām
maunaṁ caivāsmi guhyānāṁ
jñānaṁ jñānavatām aham

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

daṇḍaḥ — punishment; damayatām — of all means of suppression; asmi — I am; nītiḥ — morality; asmi — I am; jigīṣatām — of those who seek victory; maunam — silence; ca — and; eva — also; asmi — I am; guhyānām — of secrets; jñānam — knowledge; jñāna-vatām — of the wise; aham — I am.