ahaḿ kratur ahaḿ yajñaḥ
svadhāham aham auṣadham
mantro ’ham aham evājyam
aham agnir ahaḿ hutam
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.16
But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Vedic sacrifice known as jyotistoma is also Krishna, and He is also the maha-yajna mentioned in the smriti. The oblations offered to the Pitrloka or the sacrifice performed to please the Pitrloka, considered as a kind of drug in the form of clarified butter, is also Krishna. The mantras chanted in this connection are also Krishna. And many other commodities made with milk products for offering in the sacrifices are also Krishna. The fire is also Krishna because fire is one of the five material elements and is therefore claimed as the separated energy of Krishna. In other words, the Vedic sacrifices recommended in the karma-kanda division of the Vedas are in total also Krishna. Or, in other words, those who are engaged in rendering devotional service unto Krishna are to be understood to have performed all the sacrifices recommended in the Vedas.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Please see text 19 for Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’s combined commentary to texts 16, 17, 18 and 19.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.16 I am the Kratu, namely, I am Jyotistoma and other Vedic sacrifices. I alone am the Great Sacrifice (the fivefold sacrifices). I am the Svadha, the libation offered to nourish the hosts of manes. I am the herb, namely, oblation. I am the Mantra. I alone am the clarified butter. This implies other illustrations also. I alone am the oblation of Soma etc. Such is the meaning. I am the fire such as Ahavaniya etc. I am the act of offering into fire.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna being the universal self is being declared in this verse and the next three. He states He is Kratu or Vedic rituals such as agnistoma or fire offerings. He is also Yagna or offerings of propitiation prescribed in the Vedic scriptures known as Smritis or those books of Vedic injunctions and knowledge which has been remembered and recorded throughout history. He is sraddha or the oblations to the departed ancestors. He is the healing potency within medicinal herbs in the forests. He is the mantra or sacred Vedic invocations recited in exact meter of great potency uttered at the commencement of any Vedic ritual and during its performance. He is also the ghee or clarified butter extracted exclusively from the milk of cow which being offered into the fire validates the right and gives the means for a yagna to be performed. So He is verily the fire, the offering put into the fire and the yagna as well.
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 elaborates on the many aspects of His diversity in this verse and the next three. He states that He is Kratu or Vedic rituals, Yagna or Vedic offerings, Sraddha or Vedic oblations to the departed ancestors, asudham or the potency of the medicinal healing herb, the mantra or the sacred Sanskrit chant of invocation recited by duly bonafide Brahmins from one of the four authorised sampradayas or lines of disciplic succession. He is also aijam or ghee which is clarified butter exclusively from the cow which without no Vedic yagna can be authentically performed. He is the Ahavaniya fire which is ignited from the consecrated fire and He is the act of offering the oblations into the fire and the ritual itself.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.16 Aham, I; am the kratuh, a kind of Vedic sacrifice; I Myself am the yajnah, sacrifice as prescribed by the Smrtis; further, I am svadha, the food that is offered to the manes; I am ausadham-by which word is meant the food that is eaten by all creatures. Or, svadha means food in general of all creatures, and ausadha means medicine for curing diseases. I am the mantra with which offering is made to manes and gods. I Myself am the ajyam, oblations; and I am agnih, the fire-I Myself am the fire into which the oblation is poured. And I am the hutam, act of offering. Besides,
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.16-19 Ahim kratuh etc. upto Arjuna. The Brahman-being is of course only one and admits of no parts. The action also depends only on the assumed [or not real] causes. Hence, it accomplishes the aloneness (or oneness) of the Brahman. For, if it is performed with the realisation that all the different causes are nothing but the Self, then the action is not far away from reaching the Bhagavat. That has also been stated – ‘This self same action-power of Siva, if it exists in the ignorant, binds [him]; the same power, when it is realised that it is a path to his own Self [Siva], then it leads to the goal (the Lord).’ (SpK, III, 16). I have myself (Ag.) stated elsewhere as : The intellect that confirms, in the beginning, to [the duality of] the beings and the non-beings; the same intellect does not conform, at the time of withdrawl, to [the duality of] the beings and the non-beings. This subject has been discussed in detail in different places. Hence let us stop [the present discussion] here. I give heat etc. This is said in the context of discussing the One that admits no duality. But if the Brahman can be attained by means of external sacrifices also, then, is a different god (different from Vasudeva) worshipped in the sacrifices like the Agnistoma ? If it is admitted, then it would lead to the doctrine of duality. If [on the other hand] it is Vasudeva Himself, the how is it that emancipation is not attained by the performence [of these sacrifices] ? Therefore it is stated –
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
aham kratur aham yajñah
svadhaham aham ausadham
mantro ’ham aham evajyam
aham agnir aham hutam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
aham — I; kratuḥ — Vedic ritual; aham — I; yajñaḥ — smṛti sacriﬁce; svadhā — oblation; aham — I; aham — I; auṣadham — healing herb; mantraḥ — transcendental chant; aham — I; aham — I; eva — certainly; ājyam — melted butter; aham — I; agniḥ — ﬁre; aham — I; hutam — offering.