sarvasya cāhaḿ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaḿ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 15.15
I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Supreme Lord is situated as Paramatma in everyone’s heart, and it is from Him that all activities are initiated. The living entity forgets everything of his past life, but he has to act according to the direction of the Supreme Lord, who is witness to all his work. Therefore he begins his work according to his past deeds. Required knowledge is supplied to him, and remembrance is given to him, and he forgets, also, about his past life. Thus, the Lord is not only all-pervading; He is also localized in every individual heart. He awards the different fruitive results. He is worshipable not only as the impersonal Brahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the localized Paramatma, but as the form of the incarnation of the Vedas as well. The Vedas give the right direction to people so that they can properly mold their lives and come back to Godhead, back to home. The Vedas offer knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and Krishna in His incarnation as Vyasadeva is the compiler of the Vedanta-sutra. The commentation on the Vedanta-sutra by Vyasadeva in the Srimad-Bhagavatam gives the real understanding of Vedanta-sutra. The Supreme Lord is so full that for the deliverance of the conditioned soul He is the supplier and digester of foodstuff, the witness of his activity, and the giver of knowledge in the form of Vedas and as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, the teacher of the Bhagavad-gita. He is worshipable by the conditioned soul. Thus God is all-good; God is all-merciful.
Antah-pravistah sasta jananam. The living entity forgets as soon as he quits his present body, but he begins his work again, initiated by the Supreme Lord. Although he forgets, the Lord gives him the intelligence to renew his work where he ended his last life. So not only does a living entity enjoy or suffer in this world according to the dictation from the Supreme Lord situated locally in the heart, but he receives the opportunity to understand the Vedas from Him. If one is serious about understanding the Vedic knowledge, then Krishna gives the required intelligence. Why does He present the Vedic knowledge for understanding? Because a living entity individually needs to understand Krishna. Vedic literature confirms this: yo ’sau sarvair vedair giyate. In all Vedic literature, beginning from the four Vedas, Vedanta-sutra and the Upanishads and Puranas, the glories of the Supreme Lord are celebrated. By performance of Vedic rituals, discussion of the Vedic philosophy and worship of the Lord in devotional service, He is attained. Therefore the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Krishna. The Vedas give us direction by which to understand Krishna and the process of realizing Him. The ultimate goal is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vedanta-sutra (1.1.4) confirms this in the following words: tat tu samanvayat.
One can attain perfection in three stages. By understanding Vedic literature one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by performing the different processes one can approach Him, and at the end one can attain the supreme goal, who is no other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the purpose of the Vedas, the understanding of the Vedas, and the goal of the Vedas are clearly defined.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Just as I am the fire in the stomach, I am also dwelling in the hearts of all moving and non-moving entities, in the form of the element buddhi, intelligence. From me in the form of intelligence (mattah), there is remembrance of sensations from objects previously perceived. From me there is also knowledge, arising through contact of the senses with the sense objects, and also the removal of both knowledge and memory.
Having told how he helps the jiva in his bound state, the Lord then tells how he assists the jiva to attain liberation. I am known through the Vedas. I alone made Vedanta through Veda Vyasa, because I alone know the Vedas (veda vit): I know the real meaning of the Vedas, and no one except me knows the real meaning.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
15.15 Controlling everything by My will, I exist as ‘the self in their hearts’, namely, in the place from which springs knowledge, the root of activity and inactivity of all beings as also of the Soma and digestive fire. So the Srutis declare in the following texts: ‘Entering within, He is the ruler of all things and the Self of all’ (Tai. A., 3.11), ‘He who, dwelling in the earth … He who, dwelling in the self, is within the self … who controls the earth’ (Br. U. Madh., 3.7. 3. 22); ‘The heart which is comparable to an inverted lotus-bud’ (Ma. Na., 11.7); and ‘Now, here, in the city of brahman, is an abode, a small lotus-flower’ (Cha. U., 8.1.1). The Smrtis also declare thus: ‘Visnu is the ruler of the whole universe, who permeates the universe’ (V. P., 1.17. 20), ‘He is the ruler of all, who is minutely small among those who are minutely small (Manu., 12.122); and ‘He is the controller, the judge, the King, who is seated in your heart’ (Ibid., 8.92). Therefore, the memory of all beings springs from Me alone. ‘Memory’ is knowledge springing from experience and its subtle impressions. They have for their contents past experiences. ‘Knowledge’ is determination of a thing through the senses, inference, the scriptures and intuitive meditation. This is also from Me. So does ‘Apohana’ too. ‘Apohana’ signifies the cessation of knowledge. ‘Apohana’ may also mean ‘Uhana’ (conjectural knowledge). Uhana is ‘Uha’ (conjecture). ‘Uha’ is that knowledge which is accessory to the actual means of knowledge (Pramana). It is done by determining whether that means of knowledge can be operative with reference to the particular subject-matter on hand, through the examination of the instruments of that means of knowledge (Pramana). This ‘Uha’ also comes from Me. Indeed ‘I am to be known from all the Vedas,’ for I am the inner ruler of Agni, Surya, Soma, Vayu, Sun and Indra and other divinities as their self. The Vedas are intent on speaking of them (i.e., the divinities). ‘I am to be known from all the Vedas; for, terms like gods, men etc., signify the individual selves in them. I bring about the fruition of the Veda. ‘Vedanta’, here means the end, namely, the fruition, of Vedic injunctions like ‘Let sacrifice be made to Indra’ and ‘Let sacrifice be made to Varuna.’ For, all Vedas find their consummation in fruition. ‘Antakrt’ means grantor of fruits. The meaning is: ‘I alone am the grantor of the fruition described in the Vedas.’ This has been already declared in the verses beginning from, ‘Whichever devotee seeks to worship with faith whatever form’ and ending with, ‘From that faith he gets the objects of his desire, granted in reality by Me alone’ (7.21 – 22); and also ‘I am the enjoyer and the only Lord of all sacrifices’ (9.24). I am the knower of the Vedas; I know the Veda that speaks about Me. The sense is that he who speaks of the meaning of the Vedas as otherwise than this import, is not the knower of the Vedas. Therefore, listen from Me alone the meaning or the essene of the Vedas.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Continuing further the Supreme Lord Krishna confirms that He is situated simultaniously within the etheric hearts of all jivas or embodied beings as the internal monitor. The Supreme Lord is cognizant of hundreds of millions of lifetimes for every jivas and from Him comes memory concerning things remembered as well as knowledge and the loss of knowledge regarding things experienced by the senses. Some are stored within the collective consciousness and others are accessible directly within the individual consciousness. He is the originator of the Vedas and thus possessing all knowledge He is the promulgator of the Vedas exclusively through His four authorised channels of disciplic succession which lead directly back to Him as revealed in the Vedic scriptures. The Supreme Lord alone is to be known only through the eternal authority of the Vedic scriptures.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Here the words vedais ca sarvam refers to the conclusions of the Vedic scriptures. The words vedanta-krt refers to Lord Krishnas avatar or incarnation of Vedavyasa the author of the Vedas, Puranas and Vedanta Sutras which all elucidate the absolute, ultimate truth.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
The Supreme Lord Krishna affirmed that sun, the moon and fire which accomplish universal well being are His divine vibhutis or opulences . He previously revealed that the entire creation comprised of the sentient and non-sentient are fully dependent upon Him; yet He is completely independent. He inspires cosmic intelligence, He is worth knowing through the Vedas and is the precceptor of all as He is situated equally within the etheric heart of all jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the most evolved sentient being to the least evolved sentient being. He is the witness, the monitor and inner controller of every jiva. Memory of things experienced and true knowledge arising from accurate perception of contact with the senses comes from Him as well as the rationalisation faculty of faulty knowledge and loss of memory and knowledges also flow from Him. The Supreme Lord Krihsna is paramount to all and thus essential to know because everything manifests from Him and because He manifests Himself within all etheric hearts as the immortal part of every jiva. All the 33 million demigods who supervise universal management in trillions of unlimited universes throughout all material creation are expansions of His vibhutis and dependent solely upon Him such as Vayu the wind god, Agni the god of fire, Surya the sun god, etc. The Mahabharata confirms some worship the Supreme Lord as the sun, the moon, the wind, fire, the life breath, the infinite, the absolute. All the luminaries of the worlds, all the sovereigns of creation, the three sacrificial fires, the five daily austerities, all are verily the Supreme Lord Krishna. But this material creation comprises only one fourth or 25 percent of His unlimited potency. The remaining three quarters or 75 percent compries the eternal unlimited spiritual worlds. We offer praises to Him, the eternal repository of all praises. The Vedas glorify Lord Krishna. Propitiations of ghee and grains are offerred by the Vaisnavas and Brahmins to Him sanctifying the sacred fire. Throughout the Vedas, the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; Lord Krishna is glorified in the beginning, the middle and the end. The Katha Upanisad I.II.XV beginning sarve veda yat padamamanvati states: The Supreme Lord is whom all the Vedas declare and for whom all austerities are performed. His personal sound vibration is OM, the all encompassing sound frequency of the Supreme Lord Krishna.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is the absolute authority on the Vedas, the deciding authority on the contrary statements of the Vedas when they appear contradictory to each other due to varying angles of vision while expounding on various, diverse topics. He is the eternal, universal guru and the propounder of the philosophy of the Vedic scriptures. As the originator of the Vedic scriptures He has imbued them with the ultimate import and no one can fathom this and know the meaning of the Vedic scriptures without His grace. One becomes a knower of the Vedic scriptures when through the grace of Lord Krishna one realises the reality that the Vedic scriptures originated from Him to guide and protect those in material creation to return to Him. Those who who are not graced by the Supreme Lord can never fathom and discover the import of the Vedic scriptures even if they are reknowned scholars and erudite professors who give detailed discourses on them. This is because they are not devotees of the Supreme Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is the absolute, original establisher and ultimate authority on the Vedas and there are none qualified to expound upon any aspect of the Vedic scriptures contrary to that which has been directly revealed, declared and instructed by Him, His authorised avataras or incarnations and expansions as confirmed in Vedic scriptures and by His devotees in authorised disciplic succession who have received His grace. An example of this is the devotee Prahlad receiving the grace of Lord Krishna through His avatara known as Narasinghadeva who rescued His devotee from death nine times.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
15.15 And aham, I, as the Self; san-nivistah, am seated; hrdi, in the hearts, in the intellects; sarvasya, of all creatures. Therefore, with regard to all the creatures, mattah, from Me, from the Self; are Smrtih, memory; jnanam, knowledge; and their apohanam, loss. The knowledge and memory of these creatures who perform good deeds come from Me in accordance with the good deeds; similarly, the loss, deterioration, of memory and knowledge of those who perform evil deeds comes from Me in accordance with the evil deeds. Aham eva, I alone, the supreme Self; am the vedyah, object to be known; sarvaih, through all; vedaih, the Vedas. I am also the vedanta-krt, the originator of the Vedanta, i.e., the source of the traditional school of the teachings of Vedanta; and aham eva, I Myself; am the veda-vit, knower of the Vedas, the knower of the teachings of the Vedas. In the verses beginning with, ‘That light in the sun which…’ (12), etc. have been stated briefly the majesty of God, the Lord called Naravana, which arise from special limiting adjuncts. Now then, the succeeding verses are begun with a view to determining the real nature of that very Lord as the Unconditioned and Absolute, by distinguishing Him from the limiting adjuncts, (viz) the mutable and the immutable. In that connection, after dividing into three parts [The two limiting adjuncts-the mutable and the immutable-, and the supreme Self.] all the teachings of the preceding and the immediately succeeding chapters, the Lord says:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
15.15 Sarvasya etc. The heart (core) of all obejcts is the Awareness which has the freedom of drawing in all [beings within itself] In it exists [as identical with it] the I-consciousness. From This are born (1) the faculty knowing, which is illumining anything new – a faculty which is (hence) in the form the mighty creation of the universe; (2) he faculty of differentiating, like fancying ‘This is nothing but a pot’, which fancying is in essence a sort of limiting Its status of being everything; which is suitable for the perceiver, full-of-Illusion in the form of creating a bonded Soul; and (3) also the faculty of remembrance which is the faculty of reilluminating what has been reduced ot mental impression and has been [thus] with-drawn. These [three] are inclusive of all [sorts of] knowledge. Thus [the Lord’s primary] doership, which is nothing but the sovereignty of will and which presupposes His ominscience, has been taught [in this verse here]. By means of all [the Vedas] etc. : Indeed nothing, but the Supreme Lord is to be explained and proved by all the scriptures. [The description of the Lord] as the author of the Vedas and the ends of the Vedas (Upanisads) amounts to say this :- The Bhagavat alone has got the sovereign freedom in creating the entire universe, through the medium for the actions, their results, their [mutual] connections etc., and in re-establishing it on His (or its) own nature after rooting it out. Thus the Lord’s creatorship with regard to the universe is explained. Others say : The word apohanam denotes the faculty of excluding (viz), ‘This results from this non-performance.’ [Again Vedantakrt] means : ‘He effects the final part of the Vedas’ i.e.. by absorbing them into Himself. Similarly [with] ‘the Vedas’ too.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jñanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
sarvasya — of all living beings; ca — and; aham — I; hṛdi — in the heart; sanniviṣṭaḥ — situated; mattaḥ — from Me; smṛtiḥ — remembrance; jñānam — knowledge; apohanam — forgetfulness; ca — and; vedaiḥ — by the Vedas; ca — also; sarvaiḥ — all; aham — I am; eva — certainly; vedyaḥ — knowable; vedānta-kṛt — the compiler of the Vedānta; veda-vit — the knower of the Vedas; eva — certainly; ca — and; aham — I.