tvam aadidevaha purushaha puraanastvamasya vishvasya param nidhaanam |
vettaasi vedyam cha param cha dhaama tvayaa tatam vishvamanantaroopam || 38 ||

 
You are the primal lord, the ancient person. This universe is your supreme abode. You are the knower, the knowable and the supreme abode. By you is this universe pervaded, O one with infinite forms.
 
tvam : you
aadidevaha : primal lord
purushaha : person
puraanaaha : ancient
tvam : you
asya : this
vishvasya : universe
param : supreme
nidhaanam : abode
vettaa : knower
asi : are
vedyam : knowable
cha : and
param : supreme
cha : and
dhaama : abode
tvayaa : by you
tatam : pervaded
vishvam : universe
anantaroopam : having infinite forms
 
Arjuna’s understanding of Ishvara becomes clearer and clearer as this chapter unfolds. He acknowledges Ishvara’s creative power by addressing him as “aadideva”, the primal or first lord, the one who created Brahmaa, the creator. He also acknowledges that Ishvara has the power to create “anantaroopam”, an infinite number of forms, which is what we experience as “vishwam”, this magnificent universe. The first name of Ishvara in the Vishnu Sahasranaama, the thousand names of Vishnu, is vishwam.
 
Ishvara has not created the universe and stepped aside from it. He dwells in it as the ancient “purusha” or person, just like we dwell as the person in our body, the “city of nine gates” from the fifth chapter. Also, Ishvara is not located in just one specific area or corner of this universe. He is present everywhere. He is the “tatam” in the phrase “yenam sarvam idam tatam” from the second chapter. He pervades this entire creation, just like water pervades all ocean waves.
 
We know that even an inert object like a TV screen can conjure up an infinite number of names and forms. But Ishvara is far from inert. He is of the nature of awareness, of knowledge. He is the knower of everything that is to be known, all the forms that he has created. And when all these forms are dissolved, they end up in him, the final resting place, the “parama dhaama” or supreme abode.

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