uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ
yo loka-trayam āviśya
bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 15.17
Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Supreme Soul, the imperishable Lord Himself, who has entered the three worlds and is maintaining them.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The idea of this verse is very nicely expressed in the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13) and Shvetasvatara Upanishad (6.13). It is clearly stated there that above the innumerable living entities, some of whom are conditioned and some of whom are liberated, there is the Supreme Personality, who is Paramatma. The Upanishadic verse runs as follows: nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. The purport is that amongst all the living entities, both conditioned and liberated, there is one supreme living personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who maintains them and gives them all the facility of enjoyment according to different work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated in everyone’s heart as Paramatma. A wise man who can understand Him is eligible to at in perfect peace, not others.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Having just spoken about the impersonal brahman, which the jnanis worship, the Lord now speaks about the paramatma which the yogis worship. The word tu indicates a distinction from what was previously spoken. As the yogi is a different worshipper than the jnani, the object worshipped will also be different.
The Lord shows the nature of paramatma. Paramatma is he who, though having the nature of commanding (isvara) and being unchanging (avyayah), enters into the three worlds completely and supports and protects it (bibharti).
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
15.17 But there is the ‘Supreme Person who is other than the bound and liberated selves’ expressed by the terms, the ‘perishable’ and the ‘imperishable’. He forms a completely different category. All Srutis call Him the Supreme Self. But by that very designation as the Supreme Self, it may be known that the Supreme Person is a category distinct from the bound and the liberated selves. How? ‘Entering the threefold world,’ supports it. ‘Loka’ (world) is that which is perceived. There are three such perceivable worlds, He enters the ‘three worlds’ which can be understood from the authority of the Srutis. These are the world of unconscient matter, the world of conscient selves conjoined with matter, and the world of liberated selves. As understandable from the Srutis, He enters into these three categories as their Atman and supports them. Thus, He is an entity different from the triad which He pervades and maintains. Further He is different, as He is imperishable and as He is the Lord. Being imperishable, He is different from the bound non-conscient matter whose nature is subject to decay. He is different from the bound conscient selves as the latter is subject to Prakrti and follows its laws. He is also distinguished from the liberated selves, because in their previous condition they were connected with matter and mixed with it. Similarly, He is the Lord of these ‘three worlds,’ a category distinct from those which have to be ruled.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Here Lord Krishna shows the reason why the two types of beings persihable and impesihable were described in the previous verse for transcendental to both is the Supreme Lord, Himself. In the Vedic scriptures He is described as Parama the supreme and as Atma the eternal soul. Combined they become Paramatma the Supreme Soul which is different from the temporary impersihable as well as distinct from the immortal individual atma which is infintesimal, eternal consciousness. The Supreme Lord Krishna expands as the three Purusa Avataras of Vishnu who are Karanadaksayi Vishnu laying upon the unlimited causal ocean in yoga nidra or internal meditation, creating trillions upon trillions of universes which emmante unlimitedly from His pores during one exhalation.. They are ruled by His expansion of Garbodayaksayi Vishnu who served by Laksmi-devi, rules each universe and expands as all the avataras or incarnations throughout creation who manifest in various universes according to time, circumstances and schedule. From Garbodayaksayi Vishnu is expanded Ksisrodaksayi Vishnu who enters into the etheric heart of every jiva or embodied being in all of existence as Paramatma; maintaining and sustaining each and every jiva throughout all creation as one undivided reality.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna refers again to the Supreme Lord whom is the ultimate goal to attain and the most worthy and whose divine opulence is expressed as the sun and the moon. He explains that the Supreme Lord is transcendental and different from both ksarah or perishable and aksarah or imperishable. The Supreme Lord is indestructible, eternal and infallible. He is the highest reality, the ultimate controller of prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence as well as the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence. Having integrated Himself as paramatma the Supreme soul within the etheric heart of each and every jiva or embodied being; the Supreme Lord maintains and sustains them along with all of creation.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
15.17 Tu, but; anyah, different, entirely contrary in characteristics from these; is the uttamah, supreme, most excellent; purusah, Person, who is different in characteristics from these-the mutable and the immutable-, untouched by the mutable and the immutable limiting adjuncts, and is by nature eternal, pure, conscious and free; udahrtah, spoken of in the Upanisads; iti, as; the paramatma, supreme Self; He is paramah, supreme, as compared with the selves like body etc. created by ignorance, and is the atma, Self, the inmost Consciousness of all beings. Hence He is the supreme Self. He Himself is being specially described: yah, who, by dint of His own active power inhering in the energy that is Maya; [Caitanya, consciousness, itself is the bala (energy); the sakti (active power) therein is Maya. Through that He upholds.] avisya, permeating; loka-trayam, the three worlds-called Bhuh (Earth), Bhuvah, (Intermediate Space) and Svah (Heaven); bibharti, upholds (them) by merely being present in His own nature. (And He) is the avyayah, imperishable; isvarah, God, the Omniscient One called Narayana, who is the Lord by nature. This name-the supreme Person-of God as described is well known. Showing that the name is apt by virtue of its etymological significance, the Lord reveals Himself saying, ‘I am the unsurpassable God’:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
15.16-18 Dvav imau etc. upto Purusottamah. What has been stated in the passage ‘There are two persons in the world etc.’, is this : The body organism is made of the earth and other elements. In the world every person, unitelligent by nature, takes the body for the Self and [hence] views the Soul to be of perishing nature. Hence, the sense of duality does not come to an end with regard to the worldly persons, because of their delusion. But I am (the I-consciousness is) the One favouring all, and by cutting the daulity-knot I am to be realised as the One pervading all. (I) have transcended the perishing : Since the elements are insentient. (I) have transcended the nonperishing : Since the omnipresence [of the Self] is cut off (not comprehended) when the Self is not properly realised. In the world and in the Veda too I am acclaimed as the Highest of Persons : The Self same Supreme Self, admitting no duality, is described in this manner with the sentences ‘He is he Highest Person’ and the like.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
uttamah purusas tv anyah
yo loka-trayam avisya
bibharty avyaya isvarah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
uttamaḥ — the best; puruṣaḥ — personality; tu — but; anyaḥ — another; parama-ātmā — the Supreme Self; iti — thus; udāhṛtaḥ — is said; yaḥ — who; loka — of the universe; trayam — the three divisions; āviśya — entering; bibharti — is maintaining; avyayaḥ — inexhaustible; īśvaraḥ — the Lord.