adhibhootam ksharo bhaavaha purushashchaadhidaivatam |
adhiyagnohamevaatra dehe dehabhritaam vara || 4 ||

“Adhibhootam” is perishable existence. “Adhidaiva” is the person. And, I only am “adhiyagnya” in this body, O eminent among the embodied.
adhibhootam : “adhibhootam”
ksharo : perishable
bhaavaha : existence
purusha : the person
cha : and
adhidaivatam : “adhidaiva”
adhiyagna : “adhiyagna”
aham : I am
eva : only
atra : this
dehe : body
dehabhritaam : among the embodied
vara : eminent
Three out of Arjuna’s seven questions were answered by Shri Krishna in the previous shloka. Here, three more questions are answered : what is adhibhootam, what is adhidaiva and what is adhiyagnya. Again, we shall use the running illustration of the projector and the animated movie to better understand the answers.
Let us start with the definition of adhibhootam, which the shloka terms as perishable existence. It refers to everything in the universe that is visible. With regards to our example, it refers to everything in the movie that is visible except Tom. So, for example, if a scene in the movie comprises Tom sitting in a classroom, then everything in the classroom is adhibhoota: his classmates, his teacher, the benches, the windows, the walls and so on.
The one common quality that they share is that they are perishable, they have a beginning and an end. When the movie starts, we come to know that the classroom exists. When the movie ends, the classroom is no more.
Next, let us look at the definition of adhidaiva. Literally, it is defined as “purusha” or person in the shloka. But what it really means is the creative or intelligent principle that resides within every living and non-living object in universe. It determines the fate of the universe and holds the universe together.
From the perspective of our example, adhidaiva is the movie script. The character Tom may not know why he gets into an accident, or wins an unexpected lottery, but the script knows exactly why it happens, and how it fits into the entire movie. The script determines the fate of the movie. It also ensures that what we see is harmonious and logical, not a random disjointed series of images.
Now, let’s examine what is meant by adhiyagnya. So far we have defined the light that illuminates Tom (adhyaatma), the light that illuminates everything else (adhibhoota), the creative intelligence of the movie (adhidaiva), the mechanism of projection (karma), and the light itself (brahman). But there is one more aspect that is missing in this scheme.
From the minute Tom wakes up in the morning to when he goes to bed at night, he is not idle. He is active in this world. He transacts with his family, his friends, his teachers, even strangers. There is a give-and-take happening throughout the day that compels him to act. Shri Krishna says that this world of activity and relationships is termed as adhiyagnya.
Now we come to the key point. Addressing Arjuna fondly as “eminent among the embodied”, Shri Krishna asserts that adhyaatma, adhidaiva, adhibhoota, karma and adhidaiva are nothing but Ishvara. Ishvara and brahman are the same, it is just that one is with form and one is formless. Similarly, everything that we see on the screen is nothing but a modification of the light of the projector. Whatever Tom does or experiences in the movie is just an illusion. When the film strip stops moving, we see the formless white light on the screen.
Next, Shri Krishna starts answering the seventh question, which makes up the bulk of this chapter.