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Vision of the Cosmic Form

Chapter 11

Arjuna said: My illusion is dispelled by the profound words of wisdom You spoke out of compassion for me about the supreme secret of the Self. (11.01)

O Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the origin and disso­lution of beings and Your immutable glory. (11.02)


O Lord, You are as You have said; yet I wish to see Your divine cos­mic form, O Supreme Being. (11.03)
O Lord, if You think it is possible for me to see Your universal form, then, O Lord of the yogis, show me Your transcendental form. (11.04)

There is no way to know God before experiencing Him. Faith in God rests on a shaky ground without a psychic vision of the object of devotion. All our spiritual discipline is aimed at this vision. The vision is essential to overcome the last bit of emotional impurity and any lingering doubt in the mind of the seeker because, to a human mind, seeing is believing. Therefore, Arjuna, like any other devotee, longs to see the transcendental form of the Lord.

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thou­sands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. Behold all the celestial beings and many wonders never seen before. Also behold the entire creation---animate, inanimate, and whatever else you would like to see---all at one place in My body. (11.05-07)

But you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory. (11.08)

No one can see Him with the physical eye. His tran­scendental form is beyond our field of vision. He is revealed through the faculty of intuition of the intellect that, residing within the inner psyche, con­trols the mind. Those who know Him become immortal (KaU 6.09). We, like color blinds, are not able to see the full range of cosmic color and light with human eyes. The divine vision, which is a gift of God, is needed to see the beauty and glory of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Sanjaya said: O King, having said this, Lord Krishna, the great Lord of the mystic power of yoga, revealed His supreme majestic form to Arjuna. (11.09)

Arjuna saw the Universal Form of the Lord with many mouths and eyes, and many marvelous visions with numerous divine ornaments, holding many divine weapons, wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with celestial perfumes and ointments, full of all wonders---the limitless God with faces on all sides. (11.10-11)

If the splendor of thousands of suns were to blaze forth all at once in the sky, even that would not resemble the splendor of that exalted be­ing. (11.12)

O Lord, not even a million suns could match You (RV 8.70.05). Robert Oppenheimer spoke this verse as he witnessed the explosion of the first atom bomb.

Arjuna saw the entire universe, divided in many ways and standing as One in the transcendental body of Krishna, the Lord of celestial rulers. (See also 13.16, and 18.20) (11.13)


Having seen the cosmic form of the Lord, Arjuna was filled with wonder and his hairs standing on end, bowed his head to the Lord and prayed with folded hands. (11.14)

Arjuna said: O Lord, I see in Your body all supernatural controllers, Brahma seated on the lotus and multitudes of beings, sages, and celestials. (11.15)

O Lord of the universe, I see You everywhere with infinite forms, with many arms, stomachs, faces, and eyes. O Universal Form, I see neither your beginning nor the middle nor the end. (11.16)

The Self is omnipresent, all pervading, beginnin­gless and endless.

I see You with Your crown, club, discus, and massive radiance, diffi­cult to behold, shining all around like the immeasurable brilliance and blazing fire of the sun. (11.17)

I believe You are the Supreme Being to be realized. You are the ultimate resort of the universe. You are the Spirit and protector of the eternal order (Dharma). (11.18)

I see You with infinite power, without beginning, middle, or end; with many arms; with the sun and the moon as Your eyes; with Your mouth as a blazing fire, scorching all the universe with Your radiance. (11.19)

O Lord, You pervade the entire space between heaven and earth in all directions. Seeing Your marvelous and terrible form, the three worlds are trembling with fear. (11.20)

Hosts of supernatural rulers enter into You. Some with folded hands sing Your names and glories in fear. A multitude of perfected beings hail and adore You with abundant praises. (11.21)

All the celestial beings gaze at You in amaz­ement. Seeing your infinite form with many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, feet, stomachs, and many fearful tusks, the worlds are trembling with fear, and so do I, O mighty Lord. (11.22-23)


I am frightened and find neither peace nor courage, O Krishna, after seeing Your effulgent and colorful form touching the sky and Your wide open mouth with large shining eyes. (11.24)

I lose my sense of direction and find no comfort after seeing Your mouths with fearful tusks glowing like fires of cosmic dissolution. Have mercy on me, O Lord of celestial rulers, and refuge of the universe! (11.25)

All my cousin brothers, along with the hosts of other kings and warriors of the other side, together with chief warriors on our side, are also quickly en­tering into Your fearful mouths with terrible tusks. Some are seen caught in between the tusks with their heads crushed. (11.26-27)

These warriors of the mortal world are entering Your blazing mouths as many torrents of rivers enter into the ocean. (11.28)

All these people are rapidly rushing into Your mouths for de­struction as moths rush with great speed into the blazing flame for destruction. (11.29)

You are licking up all the worlds with Your flaming mouths, swallow­ing them from all sides. Your powerful radiance is filling the entire universe with effulgence and burning it, O Krishna. (11.30)

Tell me, who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of all celestial rulers. Be merciful! I wish to understand You, O primal Being, because I do not know Your mission. (11.31)

Lord Krishna said: I am death, the mighty destroyer of the world. I have come here to destroy all these people. Even without your participation in the war, all the warriors stand­ing arrayed in the opposing armies shall cease to exist. (11.32)


Therefore, get up and attain glory. Conquer your enemies, and en­joy a prosperous kingdom. I have already destroyed all these warriors. You are a mere instrument, O Arjuna. (11.33)

Do your duty without attachment to results and consider yourself to be a mere instrument of God and not the doer. This is My battle, not yours. I use you, O Arjuna, only as an instrument. I do everything through your body. One must remember at all times that all battles are His, not ours.
We are a mere divine instrument and not the doer, and He is in charge of all things. The will and power of God do everything. No one can do anything without His power and will. It is God only who makes one restless for material life or spiritual life. Those who are not Self-realized mistakenly take their will as God’s will and do wrong things.

Kill all these great warriors, who are already killed by Me. Do not fear. You will certainly conquer the enemies in the battle; therefore, fight! (11.34)


Sanjaya said: Having heard these words of Krishna, the crowned Arjuna, trembling with folded hands, prostrated with fear, spoke to Krishna in a choked voice. (11.35)

Arjuna said: Rightly, O Krishna, the world delights and rejoices in glori­fying You. Terrified demons flee in all directions. The hosts of sages bow to You in adoration. (11.36)

Why should they not, O great soul, bow to You---the original Creator---who is even greater than Brahma, the creator of material worlds? O infinite Lord, O God of all celestial rulers, O abode of the universe, You are both Eternal and Temporal, and the Supreme Being that is beyond Eternal and Temporal. (See also 9.19, and 13.12 for a commentary) (11.37)

You are the primal God, the most ancient Person. You are the ultimate resort of the entire universe. You are the knower, the object of knowledge, and the Supreme Abode. O Lord of the infinite form, You pervade the entire universe. (11.38)

You are the fire, the wind, the water god, the moon god, the Creator (Brahma), as well as the father of the Creator (Brahma), and the controller of death. Salutations to You a thousand times, and again and again salutations to You. (11.39)

My salutations to You from front and from behind. O Lord, my obei­sance to You from all sides. You are infinite valor and boundless might. You pervade everything, and, therefore, You are everywhere and in everything. (11.40)

Considering You merely as a friend and not knowing Your greatness, I have inadvertently addressed You as O Krishna, O Yadava, and O friend merely out of affection or carelessness. (11.41)

In whatever way I may have insulted You in jokes while playing, re­posing in bed, sitting, or at meals; when alone or in front of others, O Krishna, the immeasurable One, I implore You for forgiveness. (11.42)

You are the father of this animate and inanimate world and the great­est guru to be worshipped. No one is even equal to You in the three worlds; how can there be one greater than You, O Being of incomparable glory? (11.43)

Therefore, O adorable Lord, I seek Your mercy by bowing down and prostrating my body before You. Bear with me as a father to his son, as a friend to a friend, and as a husband to his wife, O Lord. (11.44)

Beholding that which has never been seen before delights me, and yet my mind is tormented with fear. Therefore, O God of celestial rulers, the refuge of the universe, have mercy on me and show me your four-armed form. (11.45)


I wish to see You with a crown, holding mace and discus in Your hand. Therefore, O Lord, with thousand arms and universal form, please appear in the four-armed form. (11.46)

Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, being pleased with you I have shown you, through My own yogic powers, My particular supreme, shining, uni­versal, infinite, and primal form that has never been seen be­fore by anyone other than you. (11.47)
S. Radhakrishnan says: “The vision is not the final goal of a seeker; in that case the Gita would have ended here. Even trance or Samadhi is neither the end nor the essential element of spiritual life as some people think.” However, practice of meditation and Japa is recommended as a spiritual practice for the seeker. Samadhi is not the ultimate state of realization. The state of Self-realization or Turiya state is far beyond Samadhi.

O Arjuna, neither by study of the Vedas nor by sacrifice nor by charity nor by rituals nor by severe austerities can I be seen in this cosmic form by any one other than you in this human world. (11.48)


Do not be perturbed and confused by seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this. With fearless and cheerful mind, now behold My four-armed form. (11.49)

Sanjaya said: After speaking like this to Arjuna, Krishna revealed His four-armed form. And then assuming His pleasant human form, Lord Krishna, the Great One, consoled Arjuna, who was terrified. (11.50)

Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing this lovely human form of Yours, I have now become tranquil and normal again. (11.51)


Lord Krishna said: This four-armed form of Mine that you have seen is very difficult, indeed, to see. Even celestial controllers are ever longing to see this form. (11.52)

This four-armed form of Mine that you have just seen cannot be seen even by study of the Vedas or by austerity or by acts of charity or by the performance of rituals. (11.53)

No one attains the almighty Lord by good works alone (RV 8.70.03, AV 20.92.18). The omnipresent form of the Lord cannot be perceived by organs, but by the eyes of intuition and faith. The vi­sion and yogic powers are the special gift and grace of God that may be granted, even without asking, when one is found fit by the Lord to use them in His service. According to Saint Ramdas, all visions of lights and forms have to be transcended before realization of the ultimate Truth. Yogic powers may become a hindrance on the path of spiritual journey.

But by unswerving devotion, I can be seen in this form, can be known in essence, and also can be reached, O Arjuna. (11.54)
One who dedicates all works to Me and to whom I am the supreme goal, who is my devotee, who has no attachment, and who is free from malice toward any creature---reaches Me, O Arjuna. (See also 8.22) (11.55)


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