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CHAPTER 11 - The Universal Form
« on: April 09, 2019, 11:57:58 PM »
Arjuna's prayer for a vision of the Universal Form
The Glories of the Lord have been described. Now, on hearing the Lord's statement that ’I stand supporting the whole world by one part of Myself,’ Arjuna was desirous to see with his own eyes that Primal Form of the Lord which is manifested as the universe, and accordingly said:

Arjuna said:
1. By that speech which has been delivered by Thee for my benefit, that highest secret which is called Adhyatma, this my delusion, is gone.
Adhyatma: that which treats of the distinction between the Self and the non-Self. Delusion: non-discrimination. Moreover,

2. 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.
In detail: not in brevity. Lotus-eyed: having eyes like lotus - leaves.

3. 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.
Form etc. that of Vishnu, as possessed of (infinite) wisdom, sovereignty, strength, power, prowess and splendor.

4. If Thou, O Lord, thinkest it possible for me to see it, do Thou, then, O Lord of Yogis, show me Thy Eternal Self.
Then: because I am very anxious to see.

Arjuna endowed with heavenly sight wherewith to see the Universal Form
Thus implored by Arjuna, the Lord said:

The Blessed Lord said:
5. See, O son of Pritha, My heavenly forms, by hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, and of various colors and shapes.
Heavenly: Supernatural. By hundreds and thousands: innumerable. Colors: such as blue, green and the like. Shapes: arrangements of parts.

6. Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the Asvins, and also the Maruts; behold many marvels never seen before, O Bharata.
Behold the twelve Adityas, the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the two Asvins, the seven heptads of Maruts. Behold also many other marvels never seen before by you or anybody else in this world of man. Not this alone:

7. 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.
Whatever else: Your success or defeat, about which you have entertained a doubt (ii. 6) But,

8. Thou art not indeed able to see Me with this thy eye alone; I give thee a divine eye; Behold My lordly Yoga.
Me: putting on the Universal Form. This: Prakrita, of prakriti, natural, (fleshy, of the earth). I give thee a divine eye, by which you will be able to see Me. By that eye, behold My great miraculous power of Yoga, that which belongs to Me as Isvara.

The Lord's manifestation of the Universal Form

Sanjaya said:
9. Having thus spoken, O King, then, Hari, the great Lord of Yogis, showed to the son of Pritha the Supreme Form as Isvara.
King: Dhritarashtra. Hari: Narayana. Form: the Universal Form.

10. 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.
Moreover,

11. Wearing heavenly garlands and vestures, anointed with heavenly unguents, all-wonderful, resplendent, boundless, with faces on all sides.
With faces on all sides: as He is the Self of all beings. Such a form He showed; or, such a form did Arjuna see. Here follows an illustration, by an example, of the splendor of the Lord's Universal Form:

12. If the splendor of a thousand suns were ever to present itself at once in the sky, that would be like the splendor of that Mighty Being.
In the sky: in antariksha or the middle loka; or in the heavenly region, which forms the third (from here). The Mighty Being: the Universal Form. - If no such thing can ever exist, then the splendor of the Universal Form excels all else. Moreover,

13. 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.
There: in that Form. Many groups: Devas, Pitris, men and other sorts of beings. The son of Pandu: Arjuna. God of Gods: Hari.

14. 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.
Then: having seen Him. The God: putting on the Universal Form. With joined palms: in order to bow down. How? Arjuna declares his own experience, viz., that he sees the Universal Form shown by the Lord:

Arjuna said:
15. 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.
Various classes of beings: both animate and inanimate, and of various forms. Brahma: the Four-faced, the Lord of creatures. He is seated in the center of the Earth - Lotus, on the Meru which forms the cup or seed - vessel as it were of the Earth - Lotus. Rishis: such as Vasishtha. Serpents: such as Vasuki.

16. 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.
Middle: what lies between two extremities. Moreover,

17. I see Thee with diadem, club, and discus; a mass of splendor shining everywhere, very hard to look at, all around blazing like burning fire and sun, and immeasurable.
Immeasurable: whose limits cannot be fixed.

Vishnu is one with the Unconditioned
From this vision of Thy power of Yoga (wonder - working) I infer,

18. 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.
To be known: by seekers of liberation.

The Universal Form (continued)

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

20. This space betwixt heaven and earth and all the quarters are filled by Thee alone. Having seen this. Thy marvelous and awful form, the three worlds are trembling, O High-souled Being.
Thee: in Thy Universal Form. Now, in order to remove the doubt entertained by Arjuna (ii. 6) as to his success, the Lord proceeds to show that victory for Pandavas is certain. Seeing Him, Arjuna goes on:

21. 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.
These hosts of Suras: these warriors now fighting, all of them Devas, - the Vasus and others, - who have incarnated themselves as human beings for lightening the earth's burden. They are seen entering into Thee. Some of them only call out to Thee, unable even to flee. Having discovered portents and other forebodings of evil as the war approached, the great Rishis and Siddhas say 'May it be well for the world!’ and offer their prayers to Thee in full hymns.

The wonderfulness of the Universal Form

22. 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.
Ushmapas: a class of Pitns. Gandharvas: such as Haha and Huhu. Yakshas; such as Kubera. Asuras: such as Virochana. Siddhas: such as Kapila.

The terribleness of the Universal Form

23. 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.
The worlds: all living creatures in the world. Here follows the cause (of my terror):

24. On seeing Thee (Thy Form) touching the sky, blazing in many colors, with mouths wide open, with large fiery eyes, I am terrified at heart and find no courage nor peace, O Vishnu.
Many colors: fearful, putting on different shapes. Wherefore?

25. 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!
Time Fires: the fires which consume the worlds at the time of dissolution (pralaya). I know not the four quarters: I cannot distinguish the East and the West, I cannot discriminate the different quarters.

Arjuna's vision of the defeat of the enemy
My fear, too, of defeat at the hands of others is gone; for,

26 - 27. 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.
Sons: such as Duryodhana. Ours: such as Dhrishtadyumna. Sticking: like a piece of flesh. How do they enter into Thy mouth? Arjuna says:

28. As many torrents of rivers flow direct towards the sea, so do these heroes in the world of men enter Thy flaming mouths.
These: such as Bhishma. Why and how do they enter? Arjuna says:

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

The splendor of the Universal Form

30. 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.
Vishnu: all - pervading. Because Thou art so fierce, wherefore,

31. 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:
32. 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.
Warriors: Bhishma, Drona, Karna and others. Such being the case,

33. 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.
Fame: that Bhishma and other atirathas (great warriors) arrayed in the hostile army, unconquerable even to Devas, have been defeated by Arjuna. Such a fame is the result only of good karma. Enemies: such as Duryodhana. Savyasachin: Arjuna who could shoot arrows even with the left hand.

34. Drona and Bhishma, Jayadratha, Kama and other brave warriors, - these, killed by Me, do thou kill; fear not, fight thou shalt conquer the enemies.
The Lord speaks of these warriors whom Arjuna had any reason to fear as killed by Himself. Now it is evident why there should be any hesitation (on the part of Arjuna) concerning Drona and Bhishma. Drona was his teacher in the science of archery, was possessed of celestial weapons and was especially his (Arjuna's) own dear greatest Guru. Bhishma had his death at his own command and was possessed of celestial weapons. He, once entered into a single combat with Parasu-Rama and was not defeated. As to Jayadratha, his father was engaged in austerity, firmly resolved that "whoever causes my son's head to drop down on earth, his head too shall fall." Karna, too, was furnished with an unerring Sakti (missile) given him by Indra. He was a son of the sun, born of a maiden. Wherefore he is also mentioned by name. Enemies: such as Duryodhana.

Arjuna's adoration of the Universal Form

Sanjaya said:
35. 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.
When a man is overpowered with fear or with love, his eyes become full of tears, owing to the attack of pain or owing to the rise of joy: then his throat is choked up with phlegm, and this again causes indistinctness and dulness in speech. Thus did Arjuna speak in a stammering tone. Sanjaya's speech on this occasion is very significant - How? - Sanjaya hoped that on seeing that his (Dhritarashtra's) son would certainly be killed for want of support if the unconquerable four, including Drona, should be killed Arjuna, Dhritarashtra might despair of success and bring about peace. Thus he hoped there would be happiness to both. Even to this, Dhritarashtra did not listen, owing to mighty Destiny.

Arjuna said:
36. 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.
Praise: description of Thy glory. This verse may be also rendered so as to mean: The Lord is the proper object of delight and love, for the Lord is the Self of all and the Friend of all beings. Siddhas: such as Kapila. It is meet that such should be the case so far as Thou art concerned. For the following reason also the Lord is the object of delight, etc.

37. 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.
Brahma: the Hiranyagarbha. (Because Thou art the Mighty Being), therefore Thou art the proper object of delight and worship. Thou art the Supreme Being, as revealed in the Vedantas (Upanishads): Thou art the Sat and the A-sat. The existent, as well as the nonexistent - i.e., that with reference to which arises our consciousness of Non-existence, - form the upadhis (conditions) of the Akshara, on account of which He is spoken of as the Sat or the A-sat, the existent or the non-existent. In reality, the Imperishable (Akshara) whom the Veda-knowers speak of transcends the Sat and the A-sat, and He is Thyself and none else. He again extols the Lord thus.

38. Thon art the Primal God, the Ancient Purusha; Then 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.
Primal God: because Thou art the creator of the Universe. Purusha: so called because He lies in the body. Abode: that in which the Universe rests during the Great Pralaya and such other periods. Knower: of all the knowable things. Supreme Abode: of Vishnu. Moreover,

39. 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!
Prajapati: such as Kasyapa. Great Grand - Father: the father even of Brahma. Again: This shows Arjuna's dissatisfaction due to his extreme faith and devotion. And,

40. 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.
Before: in the East. On every side: as thou art present in all quarters. A man may be powerful, but he may not dare lo slay the enemies, or he may be slow in daring; but Thou art infinite both in power and in daring. Pervadest: by Thy One Self. All: without Thee nothing exists.

Arjuna's prayer for the Lord's forgiveness
Because I have been a sinner for want of knowledge of Thy greatness, therefore,

41 - 42. 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, Immeasurable, to forgive.
Looking on Thee merely as a friend: owing to misconception. Greatness: The Universal Form as Isvara. Carelessness: the mind being attracted elsewhere. Love: confidence born of affection. That: all those offences. For,

43. 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?
Thy equal exists not: for there cannot be two Isvaras or Lords; if there were more than one Isvara, the world could not get on as it now does. When even Thy equal exists not, how can there exist a being superior to Thee? Because it is so,

44. 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.
As the father, etc.: As a father forgives his son's offences.

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

45. 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.
What was unseen before: the Universal Form never before seen by me or anybody else. Therefore show me only that form (which Thou wearest) as my friend.

46. 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.
Thy former form: as the son of Vasudeva. Thousand-armed: referring to the Universal Form manifested at present. Withdrawing Thy Universal Form, do Thou put on Thy former one.

The Lord resumes His usual form
Seeing Arjuna afraid, the Lord withdrew the Universal Form; and consoling Arjuna with sweet words, He said:

The Blessed Lord said:
47. By Me, gracious to thee, O Arjuna, this Supreme Form has been shown, by my sovereign power full of splendor, the All, the Boundless, the Original Form of Mine, never before seen by any other than thyself.
The Lord praises that Form on the ground that ‘Thou (Arjuna) shouldst be considered to have attained all thy ends by this vision of My Form.’

48. 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.
Though a regular study of the four Vedas includes that of the sacrifices also, the study of the sacrifices is separately mentioned in order to imply that a knowledge of the sacrifices is necessary. Rituals: such as Agnihotra. Austerity: such as Chandrayana.

49. 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.
Former form: which is so dear to you, - four - armed, wearing a conch, a discus and a club.

Sanjaya said:
50. Having: thus spoken to Arjuna, Vasudeva again showed His own form; and the Mighty Being, becoming gentle in form, consoled him who was terrified.
His own: as born in Vasudeva's family.

Arjuna said:
51. 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:
52. Very hard to see is this Form of Mine which thou hast seen; even the Devas ever long to behold this Form.
Long to behold: though they long to see the Form, yet they have not seen It as you have done, nor shall they ever see It. Why?

53. 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:

54. But by undistracted devotion can I, of this Form, be known and seen in reality, and entered into, O harasser of thy foes.
Undistracted devotion (Bhakti): that devotion which never seeks any other object except the Lord, and in virtue of which no object other than Vasudeva is cognized by any of the senses. Of this Form: of the Universal Form. By this sort of devotion, it is possible not only to know Me as declared in the sastras, but also to intuitively realize Me as I am, and to enter into Me, i.e., to obtain liberation.

The essence of the whole teaching of the Gita
Now the essential teaching of the whole Gita-sastra which conduces to Highest Bliss will be summed up here, the teaching being such as every one should follow:

55. 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.
A servant works for his master, but he does not look upon that master as the highest goal for him to reach after death; but My devotee works for Me and also looks on Me as the Supreme Goal; I am his Supreme Goal. He is devoted to me; he serves Me alone in all manner of ways, with his heart and soul. He is not attached to wealth, to progeny, to friends, to wife, to kinsmen, or to pleasures; for them he has no attachment or love. He cherishes no feeling of enmity for any of the creatures, even though these latter may have done great injury to him. Such a man comes to Me. I am his highest Goal, and he seeks nothing else. This is the teaching I have to offer to thee, O Pandava.


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