gatir bhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī
nivāsaḥ śaraṇaḿ suhṛt
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaḿ
nidhānaḿ bījam avyayam

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.18

I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Gati means the destination where we want to go. But the ultimate goal is Krishna, although people do not know it. One who does not know Krishna is misled, and his so-called progressive march is either partial or hallucinatory. There are many who make as their destination different demigods, and by rigid performance of the strict respective methods they reach different planets known as Candraloka, Suryaloka, Indraloka, Maharloka, etc. But all such lokas, or planets, being creations of Krishna, are simultaneously Krishna and not Krishna. Such planets, being manifestations of Krishna’s energy, are also Krishna, but actually they serve only as a step forward for realization of Krishna. To approach the different energies of Krishna is to approach Krishna indirectly. One should directly approach Krishna, for that will save time and energy. For example, if there is a possibility of going to the top of a building by the help of an elevator, why should one go by the staircase, step by step? Everything is resting on Krishna’s energy; therefore without Krishna’s shelter nothing can exist. Krishna is the supreme ruler because everything belongs to Him and everything exists on His energy. Krishna, being situated in everyone’s heart, is the supreme witness. The residences, countries or planets on which we live are also Krishna. Krishna is the ultimate goal of shelter, and therefore one should take shelter of Krishna either for protection or for annihilation of his distress. And whenever we have to take protection, we should know that our protection must be a living force. Krishna is the supreme living entity. And since Krishna is the source of our generation, or the supreme father, no one can be a better friend than Krishna, nor can anyone be a better well-wisher. Krishna is the original source of creation and the ultimate rest after annihilation. Krishna is therefore the eternal cause of all causes.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Please see text 19 for Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’s combined commentary to texts 18 and 19.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

9.18 ‘Gaith’ means that which is reached. The meaning is that it is the place to be reached from everywhere. The ‘supporter’ is one who props. The ‘ruler’ is one who rules. The ‘witness’ is one who sees directly. The ‘abode’ is that where one dwells in as in a house etc. The ‘refuge’ is the intelligent being wh has to be sought, as he leads one to the attainment of desirable things and avoidance of evils. A ‘friend’ is one who wishes well. The ‘base’ is that place in which origin and dissolution takes place. I alone am that ‘Nidhana’, that which is preserved. What comes into being and is dissolved is Myself. The imperishable seed is that exhaustless cause everywhere. I alone am that.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

Explaining further Lord Krishna reveals that He is that which is attained as the ultimate goal of all existence. He is the sustainer, the nourisher, the maintainer and the controller. As paramatma the Supreme Soul within all living entities He is the witness and observer of all actions good and evil. He is the abode and resting place as He encompasses everything, everywhere. He is the refuge, the protector. He is the dear friend who always does what is beneficial. Lord Krishna is the basis and source of that which pre-eminently comes into existence known as all creation and He is also basis and destination of that which inevitably meets it end known as dissolution. He is the support of all by which they are able to exist. He is the repository by which they may remain latent and He is root seed in all things by which they are eternal for His spiritual seedis not destructible like seeds of rice and grains.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Since Lord Krishna is the ultimate of all He is vedyam the goal to know and attained. This is also confirmed in the Vasistha section of the Sama Veda. Asked why is Lord Krishna declared to be the ultimate. It is because the light emanating from His transcendental body is the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence and knowledge of the brahman is the goal. This is realised by those who have neutralised their karma freeing themselves from reactions to previous actions and who have achieved moksa or liberation from material existence. The Supreme Lord is the only refuge for those who have achieved moksa and for those still helplessly caught in samsara or the endless cycle of birth and death. At the time of universal dissolution the entire creation becomes dissolved within Him, therefore He is the resting place. The Rig Veda states: Having pure vision the entire creation can be seen being manifested within the Supreme Lord by His external sakti known as Maya the deluding feminine energy.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

The Supreme Lord is the witness of all actions good and evil performed by beings. He is the refuge, the shelter offering protection and neutralising all evil influences. He is the imperishable root seed of all, the eternal well wisher the origin and source of all creation as well as the terminator of creation along with being the depository and resting place of all creation.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

9.18 (I am) the gatih, fruit of actions; the bharta, nourisher; [The giver of the fruits of actions.] the prabhuh, Lord; the saksi, witness of all tha is done or not done by creatures; the nivasah, abode, where creatures live; the saranam, refuge, remover of sufferings of the afflicted who take shelter; the suhrt, friend, one who does a good turn without thought of reward; the prabhavah, origin of the world; the pralayah, end, the place into which the world merges. So also, (I am) the sthanam, foundation on which the world rests; the nidhanam, store, which is for future enjoyment of creatures; and the avyayam, imperishable; bijam, seed, the cause of growth of all things which germinate. The seed is imperishable because it continues so long as the world lasts. Indeed, nothing springs up without a seed. And since creation is noticed to be continuous, it is understood that the continuity of the seed never ends. Further,

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:

gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

gatiḥ — goal; bhartā — sustainer; prabhuḥ — Lord; sākṣī — witness; nivāsaḥ — abode; śaraṇam — refuge; su-hṛt — most intimate friend; prabhavaḥ — creation; pralayaḥ — dissolution; sthānam — ground; nidhānam — resting place; bījam — seed; avyayam — imperishable.