puruṣaḥ sa paraḥ pārtha
bhaktyā labhyas tv ananyayā
yena sarvam idaḿ tatam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 8.22
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than all, is attainable by unalloyed devotion. Although He is present in His abode, He is all-pervading, and everything is situated within Him.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
It is here clearly stated that the supreme destination, from which there is no return, is the abode of Krishna, the Supreme Person. The Brahma-samhita describes this supreme abode as ananda-cinmaya-rasa, a place where everything is full of spiritual bliss. All the variegatedness manifest there is of the quality of spiritual bliss—nothing there is material. That variegatedness is expanded as the spiritual expansion of the Supreme Godhead Himself, for the manifestation there is totally of the spiritual energy, as explained in Chapter Seven. As far as this material world is concerned, although the Lord is always in His supreme abode, He is nonetheless all-pervading by His material energy. So by His spiritual and material energies He is present everywhere—both in the material and in the spiritual universes. Yasyantah-sthani means that everything is sustained within Him, within either His spiritual or material energy. The Lord is all-pervading by these two energies.
To enter Krishna’s supreme abode or the innumerable Vaikuntha planets is possible only by bhakti, devotional service, as clearly indicated here by the word bhaktya. No other process can help one attain that supreme abode. The Vedas (Gopala-tapani Upanishad 3.2) also describe the supreme abode and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Eko vasi sarva-gah krishnah. In that abode there is only one Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose name is Krishna. He is the supreme merciful Deity, and although situated there as one He has expanded Himself into millions and millions of plenary expansions. The Vedas compare the Lord to a tree standing still yet bearing many varieties of fruits, flowers and changing leaves. The plenary expansions of the Lord who preside over the Vaikuntha planets are four-armed, and they are known by a variety of names—Purushottama, Trivikrama, Keshava, Madhava, Aniruddha, Hrishikesha, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Sridhara, Vasudeva, Damodara, Janardana, Narayana, Vamana, Padmanabha, etc.
The Brahma-samhita (5.37) also confirms that although the Lord is always in the supreme abode, Goloka Vrindavana, He is all-pervading, so that everything is going on nicely (goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah). As stated in the Vedas (Shvetasvatara Upanishad 6.8), parasya shaktir vividhaiva sruyate/ svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca: His energies are so expansive that they systematically conduct everything in the cosmic manifestation without a flaw, although the Supreme Lord is far, far away.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
That Supreme Person, who is just my amsa, cannot be known by other means, which have in them desires for karma or jnana yoga. As I previously said, ananya cetah satatam.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
8.22 That Supreme Person has been declared in such texts as ‘There is nothing higher than Myself, O Arjuna. All this is strung on Me, as rows of gems are on a thread’ (7.7), and ‘Who am beyond them and immutable’ (7.13) — He is the Supreme Person in whom all beings abide and by whom all this is pervaded. He is to be attained by undivided devotion as described in ‘Whose mind is not in anything else’ (8.14). Now, Sri Krsna teaches the ‘path of light,’ described in the Srutis which is common to the knowers of the true nature of the self and to the persons who are devoted to the Supreme Person. The nature of this path is qualified as one of ‘non-return to Samsara.’ In the case of a person journeying through the ‘path of light,’ as described in the text of the worship of Five Fires is as follows: ‘So those who know It (i.e., the eternal nature of the individual self) thus, as taught in the Vidya of the Five Fires, and those too who worhip in the forest with faith and Tapas go to the deity ruling over the rays of light, and from there to the deity of the day’ (Cha. U., 5.10.1). The attainment of the Supreme Brahman and the non-return to birth are declared with reference to those who go by the path of light, etc., by the teaching that ‘He the Supreme Being leads them to Brahman … Those who reach by this path do not return to the (wordly) life of man’ (Cha. U., 4.15.5). This declaration of the goal in the text, ‘Those who know it thus etc.,’ is not with reference to the attainment of the Atman which constitutes ony the limb of the science of Brahman as taught in the beginning of Prajapati’s teaching. For there will then arise purposelessness for the separate teaching of the same in regard to the principal science of the Supreme in the text. ‘Those who are in the forest worship by means of faith and austerity etc.,’ (Cha. U., 5.10.1). It is taught in the Vidya (meditation) of Five Fires: ‘Thus, indeed, in the fifth oblation the waters become Purusa’ (Cha. U., 5.9.1) and ‘Those with a balance of good Karmas … and those with a balance of bad Karmas’ (Ibid., 5.10.7). What is to be understood here is that the state of existence as men and other beings, which has its origin in good and evil Karmas, refer to the ‘waters’ which alone are mixed with other elements (i.e., to the body-mind); as for the self, there is only contact with them and not identification. Thus, is declared the difference between intelligent self and inanimate matter. Then, by the texts, ‘Those who know this’ (Ibid., 5.10.1), ‘Those who go to the rays of light’ (Ibid.), and ‘They who proceed by it return not to the human condition here,’ it is instructed that those who know this concerning the sentient and inanimate entities — the one to be attained and the other to be rejected —-, they jourey along the path described by the terms ‘beginning with light and do not return to Samsara’. On account of the passage, ‘He leads them to the Brahman’ (Ibid., 4.15.5), which holds that the Brahman is attained by both the knower of real nature of the self and the devotees of the Supreme Person and also because of the axiom of ‘results according to efforts’ (Tat-kratu-nyaya), the entity self, separated from the inanimate matter, should be constantly meditated upon as having its sole joy in absolute subservience to the Supreme Brahman who is Its self. The self’s nature of finding only joy consists in absolute subservience to the Surpeme Person. This is proved from the Srutis like ‘He who dwells within the self … whose body is the self’ (Sa. Bra., 184.108.40.206.30).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
It has already been declared that the most direct and best possible means to attain the Supreme Lord is verily by bhakti or loving devotion and this point is again being reiterated by Lord Krishna. He is only attained by exclusive bhaktya labhyas tu ananyaya or unalloyed loving devotion from which is exclusively offered to Him free from any self motivated interests. This is the only way He is attainable and by no other means is attainment of the Supreme Lord possible. His paramount supremacy is being revealed by His being the cause of all beings in whom He is all pervasive and who are contained within Him.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna speaks of the Supreme Being as Purusa confirming form and personality.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
In this way what was designated as aksara or indestructible is the supreme goal of the jiva or embodied soul as spoken previously; but to avoid the identity of it as being the Supreme Being, Lord Krishna clarifies that the Supreme Lord is Purusa with form and personality and in reality distinct from the jiva although He resides within each and every one. This distinctness is already adequately established in the Brahma Sutras I.I.XXI which states: On account of a distinction being made the Supreme Lord is different from the individual atma or soul. The Svetasvatara Upanisad VI.IX states: He is higher than the highest and imperishable. To Him alone is rulership of the rulers and the God of all gods. There is nothing superior to or equal to Him. The Katha Upanisad II.II.XIII states: He is eternal among eternals and supra-conscious among the conscious. The Katha Upanisad I.II.XXIII states: He is only attainable to one whom He, Himself selects. . Th Puranas state: He is the Lord of prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and all embodied souls. He is the controlles of the three gunas of goodness, passion and ignorance. He is the highest of the highest and imperishable. In Brahma Sutras II.I.XXII it states: But on account of such distinction the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence is something more than the atma; but the Supreme Lord is beyond even the brahman. He is the ultimate reality and His form of sat-cid- ananda or knowledge, eternity and bliss is the form of the ultimate goal of all existence. This verse reiterated again what was emphasised in verse 15 of this chapter for the benefit of all embodied souls.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
8.22 O son of Prtha, sah, that; parah purusah, supreme, unsurpassable Person-(the word purusa) derived in the sense of ‘residing in the heart’ or ‘all-pervasiveness’; that Person, compared to whom there is nothing superior-; yasya, in whom, in which Person; antahsthani, are included; bhutani, (all) the beings which are Its products-for a product remains inherent in its cause; and yena, by whom, by which Person; tatam, is pervaded; sarvam, all; idam, this, the Universe, as pot etc. are by space; is tu, indeed; labhyah, reached; through ananyaya, one-pointed; bhaktya, through devotion, characterized as Knowledge; ananyaya, which is one pointed, which relates to the Self. The Northern Path meant for the attainment of Braman by the yogis under discussion, who have superimposed the idea of Brahman on the syllable Om and who are destined to get Liberation in due course, has to be stated. Hence, in order to present the intended idea the verse, ‘(O best of the Bharata dynasty) of that time…at which,’ etc. is being recited. The description of the Path of Return (in verse 25) is by way of praising the other Path (of Departure, in verse 24):
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
8.22 Parah etc. upto pratisthitam. The Absolute (Vasudevatattva) of the above description is beyond the concept of Time Manifest : [because] It is immanent in all beings. In spite of being so, It is Unmanifest : because It is difficult to attain. That It is, however, attainable by means of devotion has also been made clear already. In This exists this universe which is [Its] perennial nature that remains always the same. Now, what is the meaning of the word, punah ‘again’ and of the word avrtti ‘returning’ ? This meaning certainly presupposes a conditon of disruption of one’s own nature for sometime in the intervening period. The auspicious Supreme Lord’s real nature is His Absolute Freedom viz., the Supreme Consciousness that transcends the universe, yet remains identical with the universe, and serves as the basis of the universe; and It is perennial. Hence, it cannot be assumed that there was some disruption at any time for this real nature and that the Supreme Lord regained that nature. Hence it is rightly said ‘Having attained Me’ etc. So far the behaviour of those persons who attain the Bhagavat by constant practice without much labour has been described. Now a difference that lies between those who, by departing, will (or attain) emancipation and those who will enjoyment [of mundane life], is described :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
purusah sa parah partha
bhaktya labhyas tv ananyaya
yena sarvam idam tatam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
puruṣaḥ — the Supreme Personality; saḥ — He; paraḥ — the Supreme, than whom no one is greater; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; bhaktyā — by devotional service; labhyaḥ — can be achieved; tu — but; ananyayā — unalloyed, undeviating; yasya — whom; antaḥ-sthāni — within; bhūtāni — all of this material manifestation; yena — by whom; sarvam — all; idam — whatever we can see; tatam — is pervaded.