ākhyāhi me ko bhavān ugra-rūpo
namo ’stu te deva-vara prasīda
vijñātum icchāmi bhavantam ādyaḿ
na hi prajānāmi tava pravṛttim

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 11.31

O Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my obeisances unto You; please be gracious to me. You are the primal Lord. I want to know about You, for I do not know what Your mission is.

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

No commentary by Srila Prabhupada.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

No commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

11.31 Who are You of this terrible form, what do You intend to do? I wish to know. For I do not know Your intended actions. Tell me this. Salutations to You, O Supreme God! Salutations to You, Lord of everything! Say with what object and for what purpose You have assumed this form of the destroyer. Assume a pleasing form. The Lord, the charioteer of Arjuna, being questioned, ‘What is Your intention in assuming a terrible form when revealing Your cosmic sovereignty out of overflowing love for Your proteges?’ — He spoke to the following effect: The manifestation of a terrible form by Me is to point out that I Myself am operative for the annihilation of the entire world of kings headed by the sons of Dhrtarastra, without any effort on your (Arjuna’s) part. Reminding Arjuna of this, is to goad him to fight:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

At this time a curious puzzlement overcame Arjuna and He humbly became very respectful and supplicating himself before the Supreme Lord Krishna confessed that he could not comprehend the inclination of the Supreme Lords actions and requests Him to reveal His intentions regarding His visvarupa because it was impossible to fathom.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Now there is greater curiosity. An enquiry for more details is beseeched to understand further who Lord Krishna actually is. In normal existence one knows another by their attributes and how one represents themselves but one does not know them by their actual inherent nature as it is not disclosed. It is not that Arjuna did not know otherwise he would have not addressed Lord Krishna in this verse as Vishnu meaning He who is all pervasive and in previous verses as Acutya meaning He who is infallible, Keshava meaning He who controls Brahma and Shiva, Vasudeva meaning He from whom everything emanates, etc. The purpose of the query is know the special attributes inherent within the Supreme Lord Krishna’s divine transcendental nature and their qualities and activities.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Arjuna had previously requested Lord Krishna to see His visvarupa or divine universal form. When Lord Krishna exhibited the terrifying aspect of the visvarupa Arjuna became unbalanced and agitated and becoming bewildered stated namo’stu te deva-vara meaning I offer obeisance to you, and asked the question to Lord Krishna: Who are you of such terrible form? Arjuna saw the terrible external form of the visvarupa but could not know Lord Krishna’s intention for exhibiting it. Now he wishes to know who and what Lord Krishna is beyond the external manifestation of the visvarupa.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

11.31 Akhyahi etc. I do not clearly comprehend Your behaviour : I.e. with what intention this terrific nature of this sort [has been assumed by You].

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

11.31 Akhyahi etc. I do not clearly comprehend Your behaviour : I.e. with what intention this terrific nature of this sort [has been assumed by You].

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

akhyahi me ko bhavan ugra-rupo
namo ’stu te deva-vara prasida
vijñatum icchami bhavantam adyam
na hi prajanami tava pravrttim

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

ākhyāhi — please explain; me — unto me; kaḥ — who; bhavān — You; ugra-rūpaḥ — fierce form; namaḥ astu — obeisances; te — unto You; deva-vara — O great one amongst the demigods; prasīda — be gracious; vijñātum — to know; icchāmi — I wish; bhavantam — You; ādyam — the original; na — not; hi — certainly; prajānāmi — do I know; tava — Your; pravṛttim — mission.