katham vidyaamaham yogimstvaam sadaa parichintayan |
keshu keshu cha bhaaveshu chintyosi bhagavanmayaa || 17 ||

O Yogin, how shall I know you by remaining constantly engrossed in meditation? And O Lord, by which expressions are you to be meditated upon by me?
katham : how
vidyaam : shall know
aham : I
yogin : O yogin
tvaam : your
sadaa : constantly
parichintayan : engrossed in meditation
keshu : by which
cha : and
bhaaveshu : expressions
chintyaha : meditated upon
asi : can
bhagavan : O lord
mayaa : by me
Arjuna, having heard just a sample of Ishvara’s expressions, was not satisfied with what he had heard. He wanted to know the technique by which he could constantly be reminded of Ishvara, and consequently, remain established in the contemplation of Ishvara. That is why in this shloka, Arjuna asked Shri Krishna to reveal more of his expressions.
When we wake up in the morning, we probably get five to ten minutes, at most, of a calm mind. Then, when our daily routine starts, our mind takes over and we are pulled into a rollercoaster ride of worry and sorrow. In the midst of all this it is difficult to bring in a divine thought for a minute, let alone contemplate on Ishvara constantly. Addressing Shri Krishna as Yogin, one who has the power of sovereignty, Arjuna asked him for a solution to overcome this predicament.
Furthermore, if we were told once that Ishvara is the cause of everything, and we are able to hold on to that fact, we need not have to worry about forgetting Ishvara. But because of our conditioning that has built up over a long period of time, and because of our ego – our sense that “I do everything” – is so strong, we need more support to counter that conditioning. We need a step-by-step approach, a list of Ishvara’s expressions, just like kids have to be told that a TV, a radio, a computer, all operate using electricity.
Now, if such a list of Ishvara’s expressions is needed, it cannot be terse and brief. It needs to be detailed. This is what Arjuna requests in the next shloka.