tvam ādi-devaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇas
tvam asya viśvasya paraḿ nidhānam
vettāsi vedyaḿ ca paraḿ ca dhāma
tvayā tataḿ viśvam ananta-rūpa
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 11.38
You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Everything is resting on the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore He is the ultimate rest. Nidhanam means that everything, even the Brahman effulgence, rests on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. He is the knower of everything that is happening in this world, and if knowledge has any end, He is the end of all knowledge; therefore He is the known and the knowable. He is the object of knowledge because He is all-pervading. Because He is the cause in the spiritual world, He is transcendental. He is also the chief personality in the transcendental world.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Nidhanam means the place of merging at the time of destruction. Param dhama means the transcendental form of the Lord beyond the gunas.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
11.38 You alone are all the knowers and all that must be known. You alone, abiding thus as the Self of all, are the ‘Dhaman’ (abode), namely, the goal to be attained. By You, O infinite of form, is the universe pervaded. By You the universe, composed of conscient beings and non-conscient matter, is ‘Tatam’, pervaded. You are the Primal God, the Ancient Person. You are the supreme resting place of the universe. The meaning is that You are the supreme foundation of the universe which constitutes Your body, as You are its Self. [It is to be noted how Ramanuja derives here the meaning of ‘individual self’ for the word Aksara, which helps him to explain ‘Kutasth’oksara ucchyate’ in 15.16] Arjuna says: ‘Therefore You alone are expressed by the terms Vayu etc.’
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna is without beginning, the complete abode and refuge of everything. The seat of creation and place of dissolution of all creation. The original source of all the demigods and every other kind of god. The knower of everything that is knowable and He comprises everything that is knowable including the highest abode and spiritual realms all pervasive everywhere. Owing to these seven reasons Lord Krishna alone is worthy of homage by all beings.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
The Supreme Lord Krishna is prime cause of all causes. The most ancient of all. The origin of all the demigods and every other kind of god. The ultimate refuge of creation and all universes because He is the visvarupa the divine universal form. He is the knower of everything and the goal of everything knowable. He is the highest abode known as the spiritual realms of Vaikuntha and He is beyond that. The whole manifest and unmanifest creation is pervaded by Him. Because of all these things Lord Krishna deserves glorification and salutations from everyone in all creation.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
11.38 You are the adi-devah, primal Deity, because of being the creator of the Universe; the puranah, ancient, eternal; purusah, Person-(derived) in the sense of ‘staying in the town (pura) that is the body’. You verily are the param, suprem; nidhanam, Resort, in which this entire Universe comes to rest at the time of final dissolution etc. Besides, You are the vetta, knower of all things to be known. You are also the vedyam, object of knowledge-that which is fit to be known; and the param, supreme; dhama, Abode, the supreme State of Visnu. Anantarupa, O You of infinite forms, who have no limit to Your own forms; the entire visvam, Universe; tatam, is pervaded; tvaya, by You. Further,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
11.38 Sri Abhinavagupta did not comment upon this sloka.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
tvam adi-devah purusah puranas
tvam asya visvasya param nidhanam
vettasi vedyam ca param ca dhama
tvaya tatam visvam ananta-rupa
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
tvam — You; ādi-devaḥ — the original Supreme God; puruṣaḥ — personality; purāṇaḥ — old; tvam — You; asya — of this; viśvasya — universe; param — transcendental; nidhānam — refuge; vettā — the knower; asi — You are; vedyam — the knowable; ca — and; param — transcendental; ca — and; dhāma — refuge; tvayā — by You; tatam — pervaded; viśvam — the universe; ananta-rūpa — O unlimited form.