mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāḿ brahma mahad yonir
ahaḿ bīja-pradaḥ pitā
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 14.4
It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In this verse it is clearly explained that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the original father of all living entities. The living entities are combinations of the material nature and the spiritual nature. Such living entities are seen not only on this planet but on every planet, even on the highest, where Brahma is situated. Everywhere there are living entities; within the earth there are living entities, even within water and within fire. All these appearances are due to the mother, material nature, and Krishna’s seed-giving process. The purport is that the material world is impregnated with living entities, who come out in various forms at the time of creation according to their past deeds.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Not only at the time of creation is prakrti the mother and I the father, but always.
Prakrti, mahad brahma, is the place of birth (yonih), the mother, of all those forms of moving and non-moving creatures which appear in all wombs from devas to grass, and I am the giver of the seed. I am the father, the giver of the seed, the giver of the jivas.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
14.4 In all wombs such as those of gods, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas, men, animals, beasts, birds, serpents etc., whatever forms are generated, the brahman (Prakrti) is the ‘great womb’ or cause. Beginning from Mahat and ending with the five elements, Prakrti, with the mass of conscient selves imbedded by Me in it, is the cause. I am the sowing father. The meaning is that I am the imbedder of the multiplex of conscient selves according to each one’s Karma. Now, He teaches the cause of continuing births as divinities etc., of those born in this manner at the beginning of a cycle of creation. It is due to the conjunction of these beings with Prakrti, in keeping with their old Karmas:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
It is not only at the conception of creation that all beings manifested from prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence and purusa or the Supreme Being as eternal consciousness are generated by the Supreme Lord Krishna; but in every aspect of existence and in all situations they all are totally presided over by Him. The words sarva yonisu means within all species of life. Whatever forms are in existence, whether inanimate or animate, that are born in variegated wombs demigod, human, animal etc. The great refuge of all is the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence within which resides prakriti as the womb into which is manifested all the atmas or immortal souls in existence generated exclusively by Lord Krishna as the father of all.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
It is not that the origins of all jivas or embodied beings manifest only after the cyclic dissolution of creation; but also all subsequent creations they are all completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord Krishna for their existence. This is what is denoted by the words sarva yonisu meaning all species of life that jivas inhabit be they demigods, human, animals, demons, birds, fish, ghosts, spirits, etc. The original conceiving mother is prakriti or the material substratum pervading physical existence in combination with the Supreme Lord Krishna as the atma or immortal soul generating father which is like unto a seed in every respect. The purport is that insentient prakriti can never act independently but only subordinate and in conjunction with the Supreme Lord and the jivas are then manifested according to their karma or reactions to past actions.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
14.4 O son of Kunti, yah, whatever; murtayah, forms-that have their parts and limbs integrated, which is characteristic of the formation of bodies; sambhavanti, are born; sarva-yonisu, from all wombs-from the wombs of gods, manes, humans, cattle, beasts, etc.; tasam, of them, of those forms; mahat brahma, the great-sustainer, which exists as all the (various) forms; is the yonih, womb, source. Aham, I, God; am the pita, father; bija-pradah, who desposits the seed, the agent of impregnation. (Now) is being stated which are the qualities and how they bind:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
14.4 Sarvayonisu etc. In all the wombs (whatever gives birth to anything), the expansive Energy of the Bhagavat exists as the prime cause; and hence It is the Mother having the innate nature of giving birth to the entire world process. But I am the Father, the Energetic, the Inexplicable.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
sarva-yoniṣu — in all species of life; kaunteya — O son of Kuntī; mūrtayaḥ — forms; sambhavanti — they appear; yāḥ — which; tāsām — of all of them; brahma — the supreme; mahat yoniḥ — source of birth in the material substance; aham — I; bīja-pradaḥ — the seed-giving; pitā — father.