prakṛtiḿ svām avaṣṭabhya
visṛjāmi punaḥ punaḥ
bhūta-grāmam imaḿ kṛtsnam
avaśaḿ prakṛter vaśāt
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.8
The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under My will it is automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is annihilated at the end.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
This material world is the manifestation of the inferior energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This has already been explained several times. At the creation, the material energy is let loose as the mahat-tattva, into which the Lord as His first Purusha incarnation, Maha-Vishnu, enters. He lies within the Causal Ocean and breathes out innumerable universes, and into each universe the Lord again enters as Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. Each universe is in that way created. He still further manifests Himself as Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, and that Vishnu enters into everything—even into the minute atom. This fact is explained here. He enters into everything.
Now, as far as the living entities are concerned, they are impregnated into this material nature, and as a result of their past deeds they take different positions. Thus the activities of this material world begin. The activities of the different species of living beings are begun from the very moment of the creation. It is not that all is evolved. The different species of life are created immediately along with the universe. Men, animals, beasts, birds—everything is simultaneously created, because whatever desires the living entities had at the last annihilation are again manifested. It is clearly indicated here by the word avasam that the living entities have nothing to do with this process. The state of being in their past life in the past creation is simply manifested again, and all this is done simply by His will. This is the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of God. And after creating different species of life, He has no connection with them. The creation takes place to accommodate the inclinations of the various living entities, and so the Lord does not become involved with it.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
“But how can you create if you are detached and are unchangeable by nature?” This verse answers.
Situated in my own (svam) energy, I again create all entities who are dependent on action and other factors (avasam), under control of their own natures which are caused by actions of Previous lives.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
9.8 Operating My Prakrti, with its wonderfully variegated potency, I develop it eightfold and send forth this fourfold aggregate of beings, gods, animals, men and inanimate things, time after time. All these entities are helpless, being under the sway of My Prakrti comprising the three Gunas which can cause delusion. If this is so, it may be urged, inequalities of creation can be said to affect the Lord with cruelty, partiality etc. To this, the Lord answers:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The question may be raised how is it possible that the Supreme Lord who is unattached to creation and not modifiable in any way actually manifest creation. This is being answered by Lord Krishna with the words prakritim svam avastabhya meaning by the medium of His material substratum which pervades all physical and subtle existence the Supreme Lord repeatedly creates again and again in a regulated manner the total aggregate of diverse created beings who all had been absorbed within Him due to dissolution at the end of the previous universal devastation. They not having achieved moksa or liberation are in a helpless condition dominated and controlled by the reactions to their past life activities. It may be further asked how is it and by what method are all living entities propelled into material existence? Lord Krishna speaks the words avasam prakriter vasat which means in accordance to the implications of their nature which is a direct resultant of past actions.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Even as one capable of walking may still take assistance of a stick, in the same way although the Supreme Lord Krishna is fully capable of creating all the universes on His own, He directs prakriti or the material substratum to fulfill this task. The Moksa Dharma states: One should not consider the Supreme Lord, who is the repository of all attributes, to be dependent upon others like normal living entities. Comprehending the Supreme Lord through seven subtle forms and five subsidiary forms those who are situated in equanimity achieves Parabrahman or the personality who manifests the spiritual substratum pervading all existence. In the Rig Veda is stated: The immeasurable power of the Supreme Lord does not get diminished or exhausted in any manner although He engages His external energy prakriti in creation, dissolution etc. In the Bhagavat Purana is stated: Each of the Supreme Lord’s attributes have their own innumerable attributes and innumerable forms. Why is the Supreme Lord referred to as Parabrahman or brahman? In the Atharva Veda it states: It is because He being the Supreme absolute truth, makes others realise the Supreme absolute truth. His power is paramount and multifaceted. Who else can compare or compete with His innumerable divine pastimes all eternally existing simultaneously. Even the four-faced Brahma who is capable of counting all the grains of sand in the world is unable to even speak of all the Supreme Lord’s lilas let alone perform any of them. O Supreme Lord no one is capable of describing all Your infinite attributes neither in ancient times or the present times. Prakriti is completely dependent upon the Supreme Lord who is verily the maintainer, the sustainer and the energiser of all actions. Dependent upon nothing but Himself the Supreme Lord by His own power and will directs prakriti to perform actions by which all the worlds in the all the planetary systems are created maintained and dissolved.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna clarifies his position with the words prakritim svam avastabhya or reflecting upon His external energy the material substratum pervading all existence constituted of the three gunas being goodness, passion and ignorance. Although insentient, prakriti is fully competent to transform all the diverse and variegated beings as a total aggregate into their respective forms as designated by their karma or reactions to past life activities. The eight-fold principle transformations of conception, birth up to old age and death etc. are directed by the Supreme Lord and is manifested again and again after every dissolution of creation inclusive of all sentient beings being demigods, humans, animals and plants. None from the highest demigod to the lowest blade of grass are independent. They are all compelled to accept the form conscripted upon them due to their individual natures in accordance with the respective reactions derived from their previous activities.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
9.8 Thus avastabhya, keeping under control; svam, My own; prakrtim, Prakrti, which is charcterized as nescience; visrjami, I project forth; punah, punah, again and again; the krtsnam, whole of; imam, this; existing bhuta-gramam, multitude of beings which are born of Prakrti; which, being under another’s sub-jugation due to such defects [See under 8.19, introductory Commentary.-Tr.] as ignorance etc., are avasam, powerless, not independent; prakrteh vasat, under the influence of their own nature. ‘In that case, You, who are the supreme God and who ordain this multitude of beings unequally, will become associated with virtue and vice as a result of that act?’ In aswer the Lord says this”
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
9.8 Prakrtim etc. Taking hold of My own nature : By this much [of statement] it is explained that this host of Beings, though itself insentient, attains luminosity as it is linked to the Absolute nature of [Consciousness]
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
prakrtim svam avastabhya
visrjami punah punah
bhuta-gramam imam krtsnam
avasam prakrter vasat
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
prakṛtim — the material nature; svām — of My personal Self; avaṣṭabhya — entering into; visṛjāmi — I create; punaḥ punaḥ — again and again; bhūta-grāmam — all the cosmic manifestations; imam — these; kṛtsnam — in total; avaśam — automatically; prakṛteḥ — of the force of nature; vaśāt — under obligation.