mahātmānas tu māḿ pārtha
daivīḿ prakṛtim āśritāḥ
jñātvā bhūtādim avyayam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.13
O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In this verse the description of the mahatma is clearly given. The first sign of the mahatma is that he is already situated in the divine nature. He is not under the control of material nature. And how is this effected? That is explained in the Seventh Chapter: one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, at once becomes freed from the control of material nature. That is the qualification. One can become free from the control of material nature as soon as he surrenders his soul to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the preliminary formula. Being marginal potency, as soon as the living entity is freed from the control of material nature, he is put under the guidance of the spiritual nature. The guidance of the spiritual nature is called daivi prakriti, divine nature. So when one is promoted in that way—by surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead—one attains to the stage of great soul, mahatma.
The mahatma does not divert his attention to anything outside Krishna, because he knows perfectly well that Krishna is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahatma, or great soul, develops through association with other mahatmas, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Krishna’s other features, such as the four-armed Maha-Vishnu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Krishna. They are not attracted to other features of Krishna, nor are they concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They meditate only upon Krishna in Krishna consciousness. They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Krishna consciousness.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
But those men who attain greatness by unpredictable mercy of my devotees attain the nature of the devas (daivim prakrtim) (rather than asuras), and worship me in my human-like form. Their minds do not dwell on such things as desires for jnana or karma (ananya manasah). By knowledge of my powers (maya tatam idam sarvam), they know that I am the cause of all the unlimited bodies starting with Brahma (bhutadim). They know that I am indestructible (avayayam), since I have a body of sac cid ananda. For understanding that I am worthy of worship, they should have at least this much knowledge of me. Knowing this (jnatva), they worship me. It should be understood that this bhakti, which is not dependent on jnana and karma which take tvam or the self as God, which is exclusively centered on the Lord, is the best of all, the king of knowledge, the king of secrets.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.13 Those who, through their multitude of good acts, have taken refuge in Me and have been thereby released from the bondage of evil — they understand My divine nature. They are high-souled. Knowing Me to be the immutable source of all beings, namely, as the Lord whose name, acts and nature are beyond thought and speech, and who has descended in a human form out of supreme compassion to rescue the good, — they worship Me with un unswerving mind. As I am extremely dear to them, without worshipping Me they are unable to find support for their mind, self and external organs. Thus they become devoted to Me as their sole object.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The question who is it then that worships Lord Krishna is being answered here. It is the mahatmanas or the great souls who follow the divine nature and are not subdued by lust and desire and therefore their minds are not devoted to anything other than the immutable and eternal Supreme Lord Krishna, understanding that He alone is the cause of all beings and all creation. The qualities of such great souls is given later in chapter 16 verse one.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Who then are those who are blessed and praiseworthy? Lord Krishna declares the mahatmanas or great souls whose hearts are not full of trivial, mundane desires. This is because all their sins have been eradicated by the multitudes of meritorious deeds performed in thousands of previous lifetimes and thus their hearts have been cleansed of all dross and impurities and they possess the divine nature which will be specifically explained later in verse one of chapter 16. These mahatmanas have naturally qualified themselves for contemplation and meditation on the ultimate absolute truth associated with the Supreme Lord. Thus knowing Lord Krishna as the original source of all beings and primal cause of all creation and understanding that He descends and incarnates in His eternal spiritual form to bless, please and protect His devotees; such great beings devoutly worship Him exclusively with heartfelt love in single focused attention.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.13 On the other hand, O son of Prtha, those mahat-manah, noble ones-who are not small-mined, who are imbued with faith, and who have set out on the path of Liberation, which is characerized by devotion to God; being asritah, possessed of; daivim, divine; prakrtim, nature-distinguished by mental and physical control, kindness, faith, etc.; tu, surely; bhajante, adore; mam, Me, God; ananya-manasah, with single-mindedness; jnatva, knowing Me; as the avyayam, immutable; bhutadim, source of all objects, of space etc. (i.e. th five elements) as well as of living beings. How?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.13-15 Mahatmanah etc., upto Visvato-mukham. Divine nature i.e., of goodness. Offering sacrifices : i.e., by means of sacrifices with the external materials. But others worship Me with knowledge-sacrifice only. Hence through knowledge some [worship Me] as One, while others [worship Me] as Many through the action-Yoga. However all conceive Me alone, as their highest goal. But, action certainly abounds in the idea of duality, because it is coextensive with hosts of different causes (karakas). So how can it lead to the Absolute state ? It is answered [as] :
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakrtim asritah
jñatva bhutadim avyayam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mahā-ātmānaḥ — the great souls; tu — but; mām — unto Me; pārtha — O son of Pṛthā; daivīm — divine; prakṛtim — nature; āśritāḥ — having taken shelter of; bhajanti — render service; ananya-manasaḥ — without deviation of the mind; jñātvā — knowing; bhūta — of creation; ādim — the origin; avyayam — inexhaustible.