gatirbhartaa prabhuh saakshi nivaasaha sharanam suhrita |
prabhavah pralayah sthaanam nidhaanam beejamavyayam || 18 ||

 
I am the outcome, nourisher, master, witness, abode, refuge and well-wisher. I am the origin, dissolution, sustenance, repository and the imperishable seed.
 
gatihi : outcome
bhartaa : nourisher
prabhuh : master
saakshi : witness
nivaasaha : abode
sharanam : refuge
suhrita : well-wisher
prabhavah : origin
pralayah : dissolution
sthaanam : sustenance
nidhaanam : repository
beejam : seed
avyayam : imperishable
 
Shri Krishna gives 12 single-word pointers or indicators of Ishvara. These are considered the foundation of many bhakti traditions. A more exhaustive list is provided in the Vishnu Sahasranaama, the thousand names of Ishvara as Lord Vishnu.
 
“Gatihi” means goal, destination or outcome. The karmaphaa, the fruit of our action, leads us to our destination or goal. The actions are the means, and the fruit of the actions is the goal. Shri Krishna says that Ishvara is the highest goal that we can aspire to. “Bhartaa” is the controller and supporter of the entire universe. It literally means someone who provides for his family. Ishvara nourishes and takes care of all beings in this universe, hence he is the provider of the universe. Since he is also the ultimate controller and master, he is known as “Prabhuhu”.
 
When we are kids, we aspire to become like our parents. They provide for us and also control our activities. They are our gatihi, bhartaa and prabhuhu. But if they get too attached to us, they will continue planning our life even when we become adults. That is why Ishvara remains an unattached witness, or “saakshi”.
 
Furthermore, Ishvara is the “nivaasaha” or container of the universe. He is “sharanam”, the ultimate refuge when there is no one else left for us to turn to. He is a well wisher or “suhrita”, someone who does not expect anything in return. Ishvara creates, dissolves and maintains the universe therefore he is “prabhavaha”, “pralaya” and “sthaanam”. He is also “nidhaanam”, the repository where all beings become unmanifest at the end of creation.
 
Finally, Ishvara is the seed that has created the universe. Unlike most seeds that can only generate one plant, Ishvara continues to create the universe infinitely, without modification. Hence he is called the imperishable seed “avyayam beejam”.

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