mayā tatam idaḿ sarvaḿ
na cāhaḿ teṣv avasthitaḥ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.4
By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not perceivable through the gross material senses. It is said,
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
Lord Sri Krishna’s name, fame, pastimes, etc., cannot be understood by material senses. Only to one who is engaged in pure devotional service under proper guidance is He revealed. In the Brahma-samhita (5.38) it is stated, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hridayesu vilokayanti: one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, always within himself and outside himself if one has developed the transcendental loving attitude towards Him. Thus for people in general He is not visible.
Here it is said that although He is all-pervading, everywhere present, He is not conceivable by the material senses. This is indicated here by the word avyakta-murtina. But actually, although we cannot see Him, everything is resting in Him. As we have discussed in the Seventh Chapter, the entire material cosmic manifestation is only a combination of His two different energies—the superior, spiritual energy and the inferior, material energy. Just as the sunshine is spread all over the universe, the energy of the Lord is spread all over the creation, and everything is resting in that energy.
Yet one should not conclude that because He is spread all over He has lost His personal existence. To refute such an argument the Lord says, “I am everywhere, and everything is in Me, but still I am aloof.” For example, a king heads a government which is but the manifestation of the king’s energy; the different governmental departments are nothing but the energies of the king, and each department is resting on the king’s power. But still one cannot expect the king to be present in every department personally. That is a crude example. Similarly, all the manifestations that we see and everything that exists, both in this material world and in the spiritual world, are resting on the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The creation takes place by the diffusion of His different energies, and, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, vistabhyaham idam krtsnam: He is everywhere present by His personal representation, the diffusion of His different energies.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In seven verses, the Lord speaks of whatever knowledge of the powers of God is required by devotees who are in dasya bhakti.
I pervade this whole universe with my form, since I am its cause, but am invisible to the senses (avyakta). Thus all the living entities moving and non-moving are situated in me (mat sthani), a form of pure consciousness, as I am their cause. But I am not situated in all these entities, as clay is present in its product, such as pots, because I am completely disinterested.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.4 This ‘entire universe,’ composed to sentient and non-sentient beings, is pervaded by Me, the inner controller, whose ‘form is not manifest,’ namely, whose essential nature is unmanifest. The meaning is that all this is pervaded by Me, the Principal (Sesi), so that I may sustain and rule this universe. This, the pervasion of all by the inner controller, who is invisible to the entire group of sentient and non-sentient beings, is taught in the following passage of the Antaryami-brahmana: ‘He who dwells in the earth … whom the earth ‘does not know’ (Br. U., 3.7.3) and ‘He who dwells in the self … whom the self does not know etc.,’ (Br. U. Madh., 3.7.22). Therefore ‘all beings abide in Me’; all beings rest in Me who am their inner controller. In the same Brahmana it is taught that their existence and control are dependent on Him, as they are subject to His control and as they constitute His body: ‘He whose body is the earth … who controls the earth from within’ (Br. U., 3.7.3) and ‘He whose body is the self … He who controls the self from within’ (Br. U. Madh., 3.7.22). So also His primacy over everything is taught. ‘I am not in them,’ namely, I do not ‘depend’ on them for My existence. There is no help derived from them for My existence.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Thus after causing one to become inquisitive by so praising this supreme and confidential wisdom, Lord Krishna expounds upon it in this verse and the next. The words sarvam jagat mean the whole cosmic material manifestation. This He has revealed is permeated by Him in the unmanifest form of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is beyond the ability of the senses to perceive. The Taittriya Upanisad II.VI states: That the Supreme Lord as the substratum of everything projects it into everything created. Therefore all beings moving or stationary abide within the Supreme Lord who embodies the cause of all beings. Although this is a reality still He is not part of any their effects unlike clay which effects can be seen as an ingredient in plates and pots. The Supreme Lord is unattached and unaffected like space containing unlimited variegated forms but is not affected by or attached to any of them.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Again in this verse Lord Krishna discourses on the unmanifest state of the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna has discussed this sacred spiritual knowledge which leads to Him by praising the merits of following it and stating the consequences incurred by not following it. Now He calls the attention of the listener by revealing that He pervades the sarvam jagad or complete material cosmic manifestation. How does He accomplish this? By dint of His unmanifest potency in the form of the brahman the spiritual substratum pervading all existence which is beyond the perception of the five senses. All beings movable and immovable reside within Lord Krishna who is the source of all creation. The Vedic scriptures declare that He is the atma or soul within which permeates all sentient beings and impels them to perform actions. Also Sahadeva’s statement in the Sabhaparva of the Mahabharata that the mind, intellect, cosmic intelligence, wind, fire, water, earth, ether and the four fold beings reside within the Supreme Lord Krishna. But where does He reside? He reveals that He is in each and very living entity as paramatma the supersoul and that He is the substratum of all beings; but none are His substratum for He is His own substratum and does not depend upon anything for residing and functioning. This is also confirmed in the Bhuma Vidya section of the Chandogya Upanisad VII.XXIV.I where it states that: On Earth people call the possession of cows, horses, elephants, gold, property, palaces etc. as greatness but the Supreme Lord does not think thus because clearly each thing is established upon another. In VII.XXV.I of the Chandogya Upanisad it states:That omnipresence is above and below and to the east and the west and the north and the south. Indeed it is the total material creation.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.4 Idam, this; sarvam, whole; jagat, world; is tatam, pervaded; maya, by Me; through the supreme nature, that I have, avyakta-murtina, in My unmanifest form, in that form in which My nature is not manifest, i.e. in My form which is beyond the range of the organs. Sarva-bhutani, all beings, from Brahma to a clump of grass; matsthani, exist in Me, are established in Me in that unmanifest form. For, no created thing that is bereft of the Self (i.e. of Reality) can be conceived of as an object of practical use. Therefore, being possessed of their reality through Me who am their Self, they exist in Me. Hence they are said to be established in Me. I Myself am the Self of those created things. Consequently, it appears to people of little understanding that I dwell in them. Hence I say: Na ca aham, but I am not; avasthitah, contained; tesu, in them, in the created things. Since unlike gross objects I am not in contact with anything, therefore I am certainly the inmost core even of space. For, a thing that has no contact with anything cannot exist like something contained in a receptacle. For this very reason that I am not in contact with anyting-
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.4 Maya etc. All beings exist in Me : Because no other abode of rest is available, even if one wanders [in search of it] for long. The beings (or elements) that form the objects of knowledge possess their well-known nature of insentiency. When these beings manifest with this nature foremost, their other innate nature viz., sentiency, that is opposed to this [former nature], remain hidden. This is what He says by I do not exist in them.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
maya tatam idam sarvam
na caham tesv avasthitah
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
mayā — by Me; tatam — pervaded; idam — this; sarvam — all; jagat — cosmic manifestation; avyakta-mūrtinā — by the unmanifested form; mat-sthāni — in Me; sarva-bhūtāni — all living entities; na — not; ca — also; aham — I; teṣu — in them; avasthitaḥ — situated.