ahaḿ hi sarva-yajñānāḿ
bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti
tattvenātaś cyavanti te

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.24

I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.

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

Here it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajna performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajna means Vishnu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that one should only work for satisfying Yajna, or Vishnu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varnashrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Vishnu. Therefore, Krishna says in this verse, “I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices because I am the supreme master.” Less intelligent persons, however, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary benefit. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulfilled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

This verse expands on the phrase avidhi purvakam. I am the only enjoyer of fruits, being another form of the devatas, and I am the only master (prabhu), the giver of fruits. But they do not know this about me factually. For instance, such persons think, “I am a worshipper of the sun. May the sun be pleased with me and give me my desired results. The sun is the Supreme Lord, not Narayana. He gives me faith in him, and gives the results of my worship.” Thus lacking true knowledge about me, they return to this world.

But those who worship me as the form of the universe, understanding that they are worshipping Narayana, the Supreme Lord through the form of the sun, attain liberation. It is thus indicated here that one must worship the Lord’s vibhutis such as the sun while understanding that they are vibhutis of the Lord.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

9.24 I am ‘the only Lord’ — the meaning is that I alone am the bestower of rewards everywhere. How wonderful is this, that though devoting themselves to the same kind of action, on account of the difference in intention some partake of a very small reward with the likelihood of fall, while some others partake of a reward in the form of attainment of the Supreme Person which is unalloyed, limitless, and incomparable! Sri Krsna explains this:

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

As all the demigods verily comprise the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord Krishna then it is natural that He is the enjoyer of everything offered to them being the sole lord of all worship and propitiation and the ultimate bestower of all rewards. The worshippers of the demigods are ignorant of these facts and hence they are na tu mam abhijanam meaning unable to know Him the Supreme Lord thus they fall back into mortal existence and are subject to birth, old age, disease and death. But those who recognise the Supreme Lord as the inner ruler within all the demigods and worship Him do not return to mortal existence.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Although the Supreme Lord Krishna is the object of all propitiation and worship there is no relation or reciprocation by Him if it is not within the parampara or authorised disciplic succession performed according to the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Although the Supreme Lord Krishna is the object of all propitiation and worship there is no relation or reciprocation by Him if it is not within the parampara or authorised disciplic succession performed according to the prescribed injunctions of the Vedic scriptures.

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

9.24 As the Self of the deities (of the sacrifices), aham, I; hi, indeed; am the bhokta, enjoyer; ca eva, as also; the prabhuh, Lord; [The Lord: ‘I being the indwelling Ruler of all.’] sarva-yajnanam, of all sacrifices enjoined by the Vedas and the Smrtis. A sacrifice is verily presided over by Me, for it has been said earlier, ‘I Myself am the entity (called Visnu) that exists in the sacrifice in this body’ (8.4). Tu, but; na abhi-jananti, they do not know; mam, Me as such; tattvena, in reality. And atah, therefore, by worshipping ignorantly; te, they; cyavanti, fall from the result of the sacrifice. [‘Although they perform sacrifices with great diligence, still just because they do not know Me real nature and do not offer the fruits of their sacrifices to Me, they proceed to the worlds of the respective deities through the Southern Path (beginning with smoke; see 8.25). Then, after the exhaustion of the results of those sacrifices and the falling of the respective bodies (assumed in those worlds) they return to the human world for rembodiment.’-M.S. (See also 9.20-1.)] The result of a sacrifice is inevitable even for those who worship ignorantly out of their devotion to other deities. How?

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

9.23-26 Ye’ pi etc. upto prayatatmanah. Even those who worship [gods] with other names, they too [in fact] worship Me alone, becaue there is nothing (no god) to be worshipped apart from the Brahman. But the difference is that [they do so] by non-injunction. Non-injunction : different injunctions. [This amounts to saying that] having the innate nature of the Absolute Brahman-Existence, I am indeed worshipped by manifold injunctions (i.e., sacrifices enjoined by injunctions). But non-injunction should not be explained as ‘by defective injunction’ as it has been done by others (other commentators), who acquire dirts of great sins by insulting other systems of philosophy. If their view is correct then the declarations that are actually found viz., ‘They offer sacrifice to Me alone’, and ‘I am alone the enjoyer of all sacrifices’ – all would be inconsistent. Enough of talk with the sinful ones. Our preceptors, however, explain [ye’pyanya-etc.] as follows : Those who, following the principle of the doctrine of duality consider certain deity as different from their own Self and as devoid of the innate nature of the Brahman, and offer sacrifice to that deity only-but it is only to Me, their own Self that even those men offer their sacrifices, however by non-injunction i.e. by faulty injunction of the nature of duality-view. That is why [the Lord] says (in verse 25) ‘They do not recognise Me, their own Self, correctly as that deity itself, i.e., as the enjoyer [of the oblation of the sacrifice]. Hence they move away from My nature . Why ? By being votaries of gods, they attain the gods etc. (verse 26). It amounts to say that this [fact of attaining these gods] is itself nothing but moving away [from Me, the Self]. On the other hand, those who realise My nature (i.e. Me) as being not different [from their Self], they offer sacrifices to Me alone, even though those sacrifices etc. are for the gods, goblins and manes.’ [The Lord] is going to conclude [the present topic] as : ‘(Thus) offering sacrifice to Me they attain Me alone.’ (IX-29,35). But that alone is called a deity which is aimed at [according to injunction], for offering things (i.e. oblation). Hence, how can a sacrifice be offered to one’s own Self, a category that cannot be aimed at ? For example, there is the injunction: ‘The oblation [of rice] of the rite prayana, crooked in the milk, is intended for the deity Aditi’; and hence this Aditi becomes the object intended [in the sacrifice], because that particular deity is an adjunct of an injunction, and because it is included in the injunction as one to be aimed at. But [in the present case], there is no injunction that concerns the Self. Having [these objections] in mind [the Lord] says : [They offer sacrifice] to Me following non-injunction. The idea is this : An injunction is required only in the case of a deity that is different from one’s own Self. For, the injunction is one of the nature of imparting the knowledge only of that particular thing which is not known [otherwise]. But, one’s own Self, the Absolute Lord, is known, not following any injunction. For, the knowledge of the Self is not brought by injunction. Certainly no action is undertaken not aiming the Self. Therefore in all cases [of offerings], intended for the deities like Indra etc., this Self of one’s own is certainly intended , as the Self is, by nature, the illuminator of the entire Universe; as It is like a thread in a garland; and as It is illumining [on Its own accord], asserting Its superiority [over all others] and only serving as a background (bhittih, ‘a screen’, or ‘a wall’) of the manifestations of the deity so intended by him [in the sacrifice]. Thus it is established by logic that even the votaries of gods offer sacrifices to Me (the Absolute) alone, becuase ‘I’ depends on no injunction. As far as these sacrificers are concerned, the principal effect of the sacrifice viz., attaining ‘Me’, is not intended by them as their own. On the other hand, they are very much satisfied with attaining the status of Indra etc., just as a priest is satisfied with limited fees. To indicate this, the parasmaipada form (yajanti) [is used]. For, it has been stated by myself (Ag.) [else-where] as : ‘One, who knows the Vedas and does not know [to intend for] the status of (or the word) Sambhu (the Absolute), would feel afflicted in despair. [For], aspiring for the heaven, and [hence] rejecting the status of [the actual] performer of of sacrifice (yajamana), [but at the same time] performing sacrifice for others (yajan), he has become a [mere] priest in the sacrifice. Indeed, the divergently flowing floods of taste for action, without exception, – even though they flow from the Absolute consciousness – do not bestow [on the performer] the mighty ocean of Bliss of one’s own Self if they do not gain a complete stability’ Thus whosoever realises in the said manner, his sacrifice, though aimed at the deities like Indra, is in fact a sacrifice offered to the Absolute Lord. Whatever may be the other actions of his, they too become acts of worshipping his own Self, the Absolute Lord, as It alone is intended in all his action. This [the Lord] says :

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

aham hi sarva-yajñanam
bhokta ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mam abhijananti
tattvenatas cyavanti te

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

aham — I; hi — surely; sarva — of all; yajñānām — sacrifices; bhoktā — the enjoyer; ca — and; prabhuḥ — the Lord; eva — also; ca — and; na — not; tu — but; mām — Me; abhijānanti — they know; tattvena — in reality; ataḥ — therefore; cyavanti — fall down; te — they.