Eleventh discourse





*Arjuna's prayer for a vision of the Universal Form


Arjuna said:


By that speech which has been delivered by Thee for my benefit,—that highest secret which is called Adhyatma,—this, my delusion, is gone.




The origin and the dissolution of beings, verily, have been heard by me in detail from Thee, O Lotus-eyed, as also Thy inexhaustible greatness.



So it is, as Thou, O Supreme Lord, hast declared Thyself to be. (Still) I desire to see Thy form as Isvara, O Purusha Supreme.



If Thou, O Lord, thinkest it possible for me to see it, do Thou, then, O Lord of Yogins, show me Thy Eternal Self.


* Arjuna endowed with heavenly sight where-with to see the Universal Form


Thus implored by Arjuna, the Lord said:

The Blessed Lord said:



See, O son of Pritha, My heavenly forms, by hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, and of various colours and shapes.



Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Asvins, and also the Maruts; behold many marvels never seen before, O Bharata.



Now behold here in My body, O Gudakesa, the whole world established in one,—including the moving and the unmoving—and whatever else thou desirest to see.




Thou art not indeed able to see Me with this thy eye alone; I give thee a divine eye; behold My lordly Yoga.


* The Lord's manifestation of tlie Universal Form


Sanjaya said:


Having thus spoken, O King-(Dhritarashtra), then, Hari-(Narayana), the great Lord of Yogins, showed to the son of Pritha the Supreme Form as Isvara.



Containing many mouths and eyes, possessed of many wondrous sights, of many heavenly ornaments, of many heavenly weapons held up; Such a form He showed.




Wearing heavenly garlands and vestures, anointed with heavenly unguents, all-wonderful, resplendent, boundless, with faces on all sides.



If the splendour of a thousand suns were ever to present itself at once in the sky, that would be like the splendour of that Mighty Being.




There, in the body of the God of Gods, the son of Pandu then beheld the whole world established in one, and separated into many groups.



Then he, Dhananjaya, filled with amazement, with his hair standing on end, bowed down with his head, and, with joined palms, thus addressed the God.


Arjuna said:


I see all the Gods, O God, in Thy body, as also hosts of various classes of beings: Brahma, the Lord, seated on the lotus-seat, and all Rishis and heavenly serpents.



I see Thee of boundless form on every side with multitudinous arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes; neither Thy end nor the middle nor the beginning do I see, O Lord of the Universe, O Universal Form.




I see Thee with diadem, club, and discus; a mass of splendour shining everywhere, very hard to look at, all around blazing like burning fire and sun, and immeasurable.


* Vishnu is one with the Unconditioned


From this vision of Thy power of Yoga ( wonder-working) I infer,



Thou art the Imperishable, the Supreme Being worthy to be known. Thou art the great Abode of this Universe; Thou art the undying Guardian of the Eternal Dharma, Thou art the ancient Purusha, I deem.


*The Universal Form (continued)




I see Thee without beginninj, middle or end, infinite in power, of manifold arms; the sunand the moon being Thy eyes, the burning fire Thy face; heating the whole Universe with Thy radiance.



This space betwixt heaven and earth and all the quarters are filled by Thee alone. Having seen this, Thy marvellous and awful form, the three worlds are trembling, O High-souled Being.



Into Thee, indeed, enter these hosts of Suras; some extol Thee in fear with joined palms; " May it be well! " thus saying, bands of great Rishis and Siddhas praise Thee with hymns complete.



The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, and Sadhyas, Visvas and Asvins, Maruts and Ushmapas, hosts of Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, and Siddhas,—they are all looking at Thee, all quite astonished.


* The terribleness of the Universal Form




Having seen Thy immeasurable Form, possessed, O Mighty-armed, of many mouths and eyes, of many arms and thighs and feet, and of many stomachs, and fearful with many tusks, the worlds are terrified, and I also.


Here follows the cause (of my terror):


On seeing Thee (Thy Form) touching the sky, blazing in many colours, with mouths wide open, with large fiery eyes, I am terrified at heart and find no courage nor peace, O Vishnu.




Having seen Thy mouths which are fearful with tusks and resemble Time's Fires, I know not the four quarters, nor do I find peace; be Thou gracious, O Lord of Gods and Abode of the Universe!


* Arjuna's vision of the defeat of the enemy


My fear, too, of defeat at the hands of others is gone; for,


And all these sons of Dhritarashtra, with hosts of princes, Bhishma, Drona and that son (Karna) of a charioteer, with the warrior chiefs of ours, enter hurrying into Thy mouth, terrible with tusks and fearful to behold. Some are found sticking in the gaps betwixt the teeth with their heads crushed to powder.



As many torrents of rivers flow direct towards the sea, so do these heroes in the world of men enter Thy flaming mouths.



As moths hurriedly rush into a blazing fire for destruction, just so do these creatures also hurriedly rush into Thy mouths for destruction.


* The splendour of the Universal Form




Thou lickest up devouring all worlds on every side with Thy flaming mouths, filling the whole world with flames. Thy fierce rays are blazing forth, O Vishnu.


Because Thou art so fierce, wherefore,


Tell me who thou art, so fierce in form. I bow to Thee, O God Supreme; have mercy. I desire to know Thee, the Original Being. I know not indeed Thy doing.


* The Lord's advent for destruction of worlds


The Blessed Lord said:


I am the mighty world-destroying Time, now engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without thee, none of the warriors arrayed in hostile armies shall live.



Therefore do thou arise and obtain fame. Conquer the enemies and enjoy the unrivalled dominion. By Myself have they been already slain; be thou a mere instrument, O Savyasachin-( Arjuna who could shoot arrows even with the left hand).



Drona and Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and other brave warriors, —these, killed by Me, do thou kill; fear not, fight, thou shalt conquer the enemies.


* Arjuna's adoration of the Universal Form


Sanjaya said:


Having heard that speech of Kesava, the crowned one (Arjuna), with joined palms, trembling, prostrating himself, again addressed Krishna, stammering, bowing down, overwhelmed with fear.


Arjuna said:


It is meet, O Hrishikesa, that the world is delighted and rejoices by Thy praise ; Rakshasas fly in fear to all quarters, and all hosts of Siddhas bow to Thee.



And how should they not, O Mighty Being, bow to Thee, Greater (than all else), the Primal Cause even of Brahma, O Infinite Being, O Lord of Gods, O Abode of the Universe ; Thou art the Imperishable, the Being and the non-Being, That which is the Supreme.


He again extols the Lord thus


Thon art the Primal God, the Ancient Purusha; Thou art the Supreme Abode of all this. Thou art the Knower and the Knowable and the Supreme Abode. By Thee is all pervaded, O Being of infinite forms.




Thou art Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the Moon, Prajapati, and the Great Grand-Father. Hail! Hail to Thee! a thousand times, and again and again hail! hail to Thee!




Hail to Thee before and behind! Hail to Thee on every side! O All! Thou, infinite in power and infinite in daring, pervadest all; wherefore Thou art All.


* Arjuna's prayer for the Lord's forgiveness


Because I have been a sinner for want of knowledge of

Thy greatness, therefore,


Whatever was rashly said by me from carelessness or love, addressing Thee as " O Krishna, O Yadava, O friend," looking on Thee merely as a friend, ignorant of this Thy greatness,—in whatever way I may have insulted Thee for fun while at play, on bed, in an assembly, or at meals, when alone, O Achyuta, or in company—that I implore Thee, Immeasureable, to forgive.




Thou art the Father of this world, moving and unmoving. Thou art to be adored by this (world). Thou the Greatest Guru; (for) Thy equal exists not; whence another, superior to Thee, in the three worlds, O Being of unequalled greatness ?



Therefore, bowing down, prostrating my body, I implore Thee, adorable Lord, to forgive. It is meet Thou shouldst bear with me as the father with the son, as friend with friend, as the lover with the beloved.


* Arjuna's prayer for the Lord's resumption of His usual form



I am delighted, having seen what was unseen before; and (yet) my mind is confounded with fear. Show me that form only, O God; have mercy, O God of Gods, O Abode of the Universe.



I wish to see Thee as before, crowned, possessed of the club, with the discus in the hand, in Thy former form only, having four arms, O Thousand-armed, O Universal Form.


* The Lord resumes His usual form


The Blessed Lord said:


By Me, gracious to thee, O Arjuna, this Supreme Form has been shown,—by my sovereign power—full of splendour, the All, the Boundless, the Original Form of Mine, never before seen by any other than thyself.



Not by study of the Vedas and of the sacrifices, nor by gifts, nor by rituals, nor by severe austerities, can I be seen in this Form in the world of man by any other than thyself, O hero of the Kurus.



Be not afraid nor bewildered on seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this; free from fear and cheerful at heart, do thou again see this My former form.


Sanjaya said:


Having: thus spoken to Arjuna, Vasudeva again showed His own form; and the Mighty Being, becoming gentle in form, consoled him who was terrified.


Arjuna said:


Having seen this Thy gentle human form, O Janardana, now I have grown serene, and returned to my nature.


* Devotion as the sole means to the realization of the Universal form


The Blessed Lord said:


Very hard to see is this Form of Mine which thou hast seen; even the Devas ever long to behold this form.




Not by Vedas, nor by austerity, nor by gifts, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in this Form as thou hast seen Me.


How canst Thou be seen?-Listen:


But by undistracted devotion can I, of this Form, be known and seen in reality, and entered into, O harasser of thy foes.


* The essence of the whole teaching of the Qita



He who does works for Me, who looks on Me as the Supreme, who is devoted to Me, who is free from attachment, who is without hatred for any being, he comes to Me, O Pandava.




Index    Top of page