bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaḿ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ’vaśaḥ pārtha
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 8.19
Again and again, when Brahma’s day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma’s night they are helplessly annihilated.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The less intelligent, who try to remain within this material world, may be elevated to higher planets and then again must come down to this planet earth. During the daytime of Brahma they can exhibit their activities on higher and lower planets within this material world, but at the coming of Brahma’s night they are all annihilated. In the day they receive various bodies for material activities, and at night they no longer have bodies but remain compact in the body of Vishnu. Then again they are manifest at the arrival of Brahma’s day. Bhutva bhutva praliyate: during the day they become manifest, and at night they are annihilated again. Ultimately, when Brahma’s life is finished, they are all annihilated and remain unmanifest for millions and millions of years. And when Brahma is born again in another millennium they are again manifest. In this way they are captivated by the spell of the material world. But those intelligent persons who take to Krishna consciousness use the human life fully in the devotional service of the Lord, chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Thus they transfer themselves, even in this life, to the spiritual planet of Krishna and become eternally blissful there, not being subject to such rebirths.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Thus, all the moving and non-moving living entities (bhuta gramah), after appearing, repeated disappear.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
8.19 The same multitude of beings, controlled by Karma, evolves again and again, undergoing dissolution at the coming of night. Again at the coming of the day it comes forth. Similarly, at the end of the life span of Brahma which consists of a hundred years of three hundred and sixty days each, each Brahma-day being a thousand Caturyugas, all the worlds including that of Brahma and Brahma himself dissolve into Me in accordance with the order thus described in the Srutis: ‘The earth is dissolved into the waters, the waters are dissolved into light’ etc., (Su. U., 2). The process of involution ends, after passing through all the other stages of dissolution, with the Avyakta, Akasa and Tamas. Therefore, for every other entity except Myself, origination and annihilation are unavoidable. So for those who seek Aisvarya (prosperity and power) birth and dissolution according to the above mentioned time arrangement are unavoidable. But in the case of those who attain to Me, there is no return again to Samsara. [The immense duration of time, according to ancient thinkers, is as follows: Catur-yuga, or a unit of the four yugas of Krta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali, has a cumulative duration of 4,320,000 human years. A thousand such periods constitute a day time of Brahma and a similar period his night. Periodic creation and dissolution of the universe take place in these two periods respectively. One year of Brahma consists of 360 such diurnal period. A Brahma has a life-span of 100 such years — i.e., 311, 040, 000,000,000 human years. At the end of it, there is a Mahapralaya, and a new Brahma comes into being. Time thus goes on endlessly]. Now Sri Krsna teaches that there is no return to Samsara even for those who have attained Kaivalya (isolation of the self).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Here Lord Krishna refutes any conjecture that there is permanent destruction of the living beings at any time or that as such they may not receive the exact measure of merits and demerits from their karma or reactions to past actions. This He is revealing by showing that there is an unbroken cycle of creation and dissolution manifesting each day of the 36,000 days of Brahma’s 100 year life. This is being shown to infuse a spirit of dispassion for any individuals singular life span. So Lord Krishna explains that all those myriad of unlimited hosts of created beings from all species of life, moving and stationary, walking, crawling, flying, swimming which existed as life forms before dissolution; each and every one of them fully accounted for are created again at Brahma’s awakening and only those are manifested and pick up the existence that they were destined to accept from the previous existence according to the stringent laws of karma. So every 8 billion 640 years for each of Brahma’s 36,000 days creation and dissolution is perpetually enacted. It is not possible for any manifestation unaccounted for to appear in this matrix as all the hosts of variegated jivas or living entities are all controlled, regulated and processed by the precise maxim of time and individual karma previous existences.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
A doubt may arise that any action performed by those absorbed may be destroyed and later when they reappear they may have to perform entirely new actions. Lord Krishna refutes this doubt and evokes dispassion by inferring enough pondering over the 36,000 cycles of dissolution and creation which transpire during Brahma’s lifetime and in which contains 43 million 200 thousand births and deaths for a human being based on a 100 year life span. Lord Krishna specifically clarifies that all movable and immovable living entities that existed on the previous day of Brahma are all manifested again and again as variegated and diverse species such as demigod, human, animal, bird, fish etc., all in precise accordance with the inviolable laws of karma or the subsequent reactions to previous actions. Then again at the beginning of the night of Brahma all are dissolved again under the compulsion of his nature and are absorbed back into the unmanifest which is Brahma’s subtle body. The Vedic scriptures proclaim: The creation of the sun, the moon, the Earth, the sky are all exactly as they were before. Then after 36,000 times of creation and dissolution Brahma’s life span is ended. At this time all beings movable and immovable all planetary systems and universes, even Brahma and his planet of Maharloka are all dissolved into the ultimate unmanifest starting from the Earth each of the worlds dissolve and are absorbed into the Supreme Being. The Subala Upanisad states: Earth devolves into water, water devolves into fire, fire devolves into air, air devolves into ether and so forth up to the cosmos which devolves into the avyakta or unmanifest, the avyakta into the akshara or the indestructible, the akshara into tamas or darkness and the tamas into the Supreme Lord Krishna, within everything merges. Thus it is confirmed that except for the eternal spiritual worlds of the Supreme Lord Krishna, all beings and the entire material creation consisting of trillions of universes are subject to incessant creation and dissolution periodically.
Although this process irrevocably applies to all beings indiscriminately there is one exception. In the case of Lord Krishna’s initiated devotees in authorised parampara or disciplic succession from any one of the four bonafide sampradaya’s as confirmed in Vedic scriptures being Brahma Sampradaya, Sri Sampradaya, Rudra Sampradaya and Kumara Sampradaya; they alone are exempt from rebirth again for once attaining Lord Krishna there is no question of any one of them ever having to take birth in the material worlds again for they are automatically promoted to the eternal spiritual worlds to associate with Him.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
8.19 O son of Prtha, bhutva, after being born again and again at the approach of day; sah eva, that very-not any other; bhutagramah, multitude of beings, consisting of the moving and the non-moving objects that existed in the earlier cycle of creation; praliyate, disappears repeatedly; avasah, in spinte of itself, [For they are impelled by their own defects] without any independence whatever; ratri-agame, at the approach of night, at the close of the day. Prabhavati, it comes to life, verily in spite of itself; ahar-agame, at the approach of day. The means for the attainment of that Immutable which was introduced has been pointed out in, ‘He who departs by leaving the body while uttering the single syllable, viz Om, which is Brahman, ‘ etc. (13). Now, with a vies to indicating the real nature of that very Immutable, this is being said-that It is to be reached through this path of yoga:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
8.17-19 Sahasra-etc., upto aharagama. Those who could see afar (great seers), see [actually] the night and day even in the case of Brahma as being marked [respectively] by the destruction and creation [of the world]. Accordingly, having risen from sleep, the same [Selves] continue their own respective activities every day; they theyselves, putting an end to their activities every night, remain exclusively in the form of Energy [of the Absolute]. In this manner they come to be again and again at the time of creation and of dissolution. No new, but only the self-same personal Souls are let loose. Their mutual difference in the form of the idea of the long and short lives is based only on the concept of time. This delimitation is unavoidable even in the case of the Prajapatis. Hence it is established that they too are cetainly of the nature of having evolution and dissolution. [The Lord] clarifies His [own] statement : ‘People do return from each and every world; but having attained Me, the Supreme Lord, they do not do so.’
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
bhuta-gramah sa evayam
bhutva bhutva praliyate
ratry-agame ’vasah partha
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
bhūta-grāmaḥ — the aggregate of all living entities; saḥ — these; eva — certainly; ayam — this; bhūtvā bhūtvā — repeatedly taking birth; pralīyate — is annihilated; rātri — of night; āgame — on the arrival; avaśaḥ — automatically; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; prabhavati — is manifest; ahaḥ — of daytime; āgame — on the arrival.