tapāmy aham ahaḿ varṣaḿ
nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca
amṛtaḿ caiva mṛtyuś ca
sad asac cāham arjuna
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.19
O Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth the rain. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both spirit and matter are in Me.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Krishna, by His different energies, diffuses heat and light through the agency of electricity and the sun. During summer season it is Krishna who checks rain from falling from the sky, and then during the rainy season He gives unceasing torrents of rain. The energy which sustains us by prolonging the duration of our life is Krishna, and Krishna meets us at the end as death. By analyzing all these different energies of Krishna, one can ascertain that for Krishna there is no distinction between matter and spirit, or, in other words, He is both matter and spirit. In the advanced stage of Krishna consciousness, one therefore makes no such distinctions. He sees only Krishna in everything.
Since Krishna is both matter and spirit, the gigantic universal form comprising all material manifestations is also Krishna, and His pastimes in Vrindavana as two-handed Shyamasundara, playing on a flute, are those of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
(combined commentary for verses 16, 17, 18 and 19)
“How one can worship you as visva rupa in many ways (bahudha)?” The Lord speaks four verses in response.
Kratu means sacrifices mentioned in the sruti like the agnistoma. Yajna refers to sacrifices mentioned in the smrtis like vaisvadeva homa. Ausadham refers to food made from herbs.
I am the father (pita) because I produce the individual and total ingredients for all the universes. I am the mother (mata) because I hold within my womb the universe. I am the nourisher (data) of the universe. I am the grandfather, because I produce the creator of the universe, Brahma. I am the object to be known and the object which purifies.
I am the result (gati), the master (bhartr), the controller (prabhu), the seer of all good and bad things (saksi), the abode (nivasah), the deliverer from dangers (saranam), and the motiveless benefactor (suhrt). I am the act of creation, destruction and maintenance (prabhava pralaya sthanam). I am the treasures (nidhanam) such as padma nidhi and sankha nidhi,4 the cause (bijam), and am indestructible (avyayam), unlike rice and other seeds which are temporary.
Being the sun, I cause heat in the summer, and shower rain in the rainy season, and sometimes I also hold back the rain. I am liberation (amrtam), and repeated birth and death in bondage (mrtum). I am the subtle and the gross (sad asad): Thus the Person, thinking that I am all of this, worships me as the form of universe. These verses are connected thus with the last part of verse 15.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.19 I send out ‘heat’ in the form of fire, the sun etc. I ‘hold back’ the rain during summer. Likewise, I pour out the rains during the rainy season. I am ‘immortality as well as death’ — I am both these conditions through which the world lives and dies. Why say more? I am ‘the being and the non-being.’ Being is that which exists in the present time. Non-being is that which existed in the past and that which may exist in the future, but is not experienced now as existing. The meaning is that, I alone am existent, having all the entities for my modes, as all intelligent and inhert beings existing in all states, constitute My body. In this way, they (the wise) worship Me, contemplating, through the realisation of My essential unity, as the entire universe distinguished by names and forms and characterished by varied pluralities constituting My body. I alone exist; all the pluralities are only My modes. Thus, after depiciting the character of the noble-minded, whose enjoyment consists of only the experience of the Lord, and in order to bring into bolder relief their greatness, He describes the behaviour of ignorant men who covet the objects of desire.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna states that existing as the sun He gives heat to the worlds. He withholds and releases rain. He is immortal life and He is inevitable death. He is the manifest temporary, physical creation and at the same time He is the unmanifest eternal, invisible creation. Knowing that all these manifestations are non-different from the Supreme Lord, mahatmas or great and noble souls worship Him in different forms in the appropriate manner. This is a continuation from verse 15 describing different conceptions of the Supreme Lord.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The word sat meaning eternal unmanifest spirit is the action and asat denoting the temporary, physical manifestation is the cause. The sat is not evident in the beginning but because it is evident on manifestation the wise call the action asat being the unmanifested form of the manifested form and the cause. The Mahabharata explains that creation is comprised of sat and asat and both are superior to material manifestations.
Now begins the summation.
Now Madhvacarya clarifies some of the concepts from verses 16, 17 and 18 as well in this summary. Because the Supreme Lord Krishna is always propitiated by all His creation He is Rig. Since all His forms are the same in essence He is Sama and due to the fact that He is the ultimate goal of all offerings from all beings He is Yajus. Being the first and final recipient of all yajna or offerings and worship the Supreme Lord is know as Yagna. As He is the activator of creation He is kratu the rituals. As He is not supported by anything other than Himself, He is svadha offerings to the anscestors. As He is always meditated upon He is mantra the Vedic chants. As He is solace for the afflicted He is saranam or shelter. Since Lord Krishna is superior to Brahma, Siva, the demigods or any other gods, He is ajya the first offering of ghee. As He is the holder of dara the conch shell He is dhata the holder. As He, Himself is the oblations of yagna He is hutam or the offering in the fire. As He is the energiser of the creation which cannot be energised on its own He is agni the fire.
The Supreme Lord being completely independent in Himself solely is different from all the above mentioned things; yet He is inseparable from them all being their essence thus He is known by them. Since He is referred to as OM in Vedic yagnas, the resplendent Supreme Lord has a His own personal tranccendental sound vibration known as OM-kara.
Since He patronises all the Supreme Lord is pitaham the father. Since He comprehends all the needs of everything in creation He is the matah or mother. Since He is superior to even Prajapati who designed and constructed the worlds he is pitamahah the grandsire . Since He is the ultimate abode of all He is sthanam the basis of all. Since He is the protector of all He is suhrt the dear most friend. He is the root cause for the manifestation of existence He is the avyayam bijam the imperishable seed. Since periodically He terminates all life He is pralaya the dissolution concluding the end cycle for all created beings as mrtyuh or inevitable death. He is also certainly amritam or immortal and resides within the body sustaining life and distancing death. The Shabda Nirnaya states that: Since the Supreme Lord Krishna possesses in full all auspicious attributes and qualities, He is sat or the eternal unmanifest spirit sat because there is nothing independent from to Him and He is asat as well because there is independent from Him.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna explains that He radiates heat by the sun which condenses moisture over bodies of water and rises up and forms clouds which He sends forth as rains in abundance in springtime according to the seasons of every location on the Earth. He is amritam or immortality as the life force that appears at the conception of all living beings and which departs at the cessation of all living beings as such He is also myrtuh or death. He is all beings, manifested as matter and unmanifested as spirit. The understanding is that according to their qualifications the mahatmanas or great beings know Lord Krishna as the internal witness of all living entities and worship Him as the one supreme absolute truth or as a specific avatar or incarnation and expansion as revealed in the Vedic scriptures.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.19 O Arjuna, aham, I, in the form of the sun; tapami, give heat through some intense rays. Through some rays utsrjami, I pour down; varsam, rain. Having poured down, again nigrhnami, I withdraw it through some rays-for eight months. Again I pour it down in the rainy season. I am eva ca, verily; the amrtam, nectar of the gods; and mrtyuh, death of the mortals. I Myself am sat, existence-the effect which has come into bneing in relation to its cause; and its opposite, asat, nonexistence. [Nonexistence: the cause which has not become manifest as the effect possessing name and form, It cannot be admitted that the effect has absolute existence, for the Upanisad says, ‘All transformation has speech as it basis, and it is name only’ (Ch.6. 1. 4). Nor can it be said that the cause has absolute non-existence, for there is the text,’…by what logic can the existent come verily out of nonexistence? But surely,…all this was Existence, one without a second’ (op. cit. 6.2.2).] It is not that the Lord is Himself absolutely nonexistence; nor are effect and cause (absolutely) existence and nonexistent (respectively). Those men of Knowledge who meditate of Me while worshpping Me according to the respective forms of sacrifices mentioned above-regardomg Me as one or multifirious, etc.-, they attain Me alone according to their conceptions.
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:
tapamy aham aham varsam
nigrhnamy utsrjami ca
amrtam caiva mrtyus ca
sad asac caham arjuna
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
tapāmi — give heat; aham — I; aham — I; varṣam — rain; nigṛhṇāmi — withhold; utsṛjāmi — send forth; ca — and; amṛtam — immortality; ca — and; eva — certainly; mṛtyuḥ — death; ca — and; sat — spirit; asat — matter; ca — and; aham — I; arjuna — O Arjuna.