puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāḿ ca
tejaś cāsmi vibhāvasau
tapaś cāsmi tapasviṣu
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 7.9
I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Punya means that which is not decomposed; punya is original. Everything in the material world has a certain flavor or fragrance, as the flavor and fragrance in a flower, or in the earth, in water, in fire, in air, etc. The uncontaminated flavor, the original flavor, which permeates everything, is Krishna. Similarly, everything has a particular original taste, and this taste can be changed by the mixture of chemicals. So everything original has some smell, some fragrance, and some taste. Vibhavasu means fire. Without fire we cannot run factories, we cannot cook, etc., and that fire is Krishna. The heat in the fire is Krishna. According to Vedic medicine, indigestion is due to a low temperature in the belly. So even for digestion fire is needed. In Krishna consciousness we become aware that earth, water, fire, air and every active principle, all chemicals and all material elements are due to Krishna. The duration of man’s life is also due to Krishna. Therefore by the grace of Krishna, man can prolong his life or diminish it. So Krishna consciousness is active in every sphere.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Punya means “pleasing” or “natural” according to Amara Kosa. I am the natural fragrance of earth element. Ca indicates that this statement applies to all the elements. Thus I am the pleasing taste of water, the pleasing form of fire. I am the power of fire, the essence—that which can burn, illuminate, and relieve cold in all things. I am the life span of all entities—their essence. I am the toleration of suffering, the essence of those performing austerities.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
7.8 – 7.11 All these entities with their peculiar characteristic are born from Me alone. They depend on Me; inasmuch as they constitute My body, they exist in Me alone. Thus I alone exist while all of them are only My modes.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Continuing further Lord Krishna describes how He is the essence of smell as the pure unadulterated odour which exists as the substratum of the Earth. It can also be interpreted that since the manifestations of the Supreme Lord as the substratum of everything has been confirmed and as only the sweet pure odour of the Earth in all its excellence can only emanate from Him it is being inculcated in these texts. Lord Krishna is the bright natural glow found in fire. He is the vital force of vitality which sustains and all life and animates all beings and He is tapas or austerities found in the yogis or one perfecting the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the ultimate consciouness, the ascetics, the hermits and the celibate monks; by which they have the capacity to withstand dualities such as heat and cold or pleasure and pain.
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 is stating that He is the subtle principle of fragrance innate within the Earth. The particle ca meaning and includes after smell the other four subtle principles such as taste, touch, sight and sound. He is the pure brilliance in fire. He is the vital life force in all sentient beings and He is the potency of austerities in the ascetics and forest dwellers giving them the power to endure in their penance to overcome the dualities such as cold and heat.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
7.9 I am also the punyah, sweet; gandhah, fragrance; prthivyam, in the earth. The earth is dependent on Me who am its fragrance. The natural sweetness of smell in the earth is cited by way of suggesting sweetness of taste of water etc. as well. But foulness of smell etc. is due to contact with particular things, resulting from nescience, unholiness, etc. of worldly people. Ca, and ; asmi, I am; the tejah, brilliance; vibhavasau, in fire; so also (I am) the jivanam, life-that by which all creatures live; sarva-bhutesu, in all beings. And I am the tapah, austerity; tapasvisu, of ascetics. Ascetics are established in Me who am that austerity.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
7.9 Punyah etc. By its own nature pure is that smell which exists in the earth as its exclusive property. The foulness, the excessiveness [of th smell] are due to contamination of other elements. That has been stated [elsewhere] as : ‘[A particular thing] becomes hard because of the excess of the properties of the earth; foul-smelling on account of the rise of the fire-properties; and stiff due to liberality (excess) of the properties of water’ and so on.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
punyo gandhah prthivyam ca
tejas casmi vibhavasau
tapas casmi tapasvisu
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
puṇyaḥ — original; gandhaḥ — fragrance; pṛthivyām — in the earth; ca — also; tejaḥ — heat; ca — also; asmi — I am; vibhāvasau — in the ﬁre; jīvanam — life; sarva — in all; bhūteṣu — living entities; tapaḥ — penance; ca — also; asmi — I am; tapasviṣu — in those who practice penance.