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Bhagavad Gītā Lesson 11

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Lesson XI

(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)


Arjuna said:

“This discourse about the supreme mystery known as the Adhyātman [Primal Self] which has been uttered by thee for my benefit, has dissipated this my bewilderment. (1)

“For I have heard from thee in detail both the production and the decline of beings, as well as the imperishable greatness of self, O thou lotus-eyed one ! (2)

“As thou hast declared the Self to be, O supreme lord, even so is this [the world]. [But I desire to see thy sovereign form, O best of men. (3)

“If thou thinkest, O lord, that I am able to see it, then, O lord of yoga, show me thy imperishable Self.” (4)

The Holy One said:

“Behold thou, O son of Prithā, my forms, in hundreds and in thousand, multiform, divine, of manifold colors and shapes. (5)

“Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Aświns, and the Maruts. Behold, O son of Bharata, many wonders unseen before. (6)

“The entire universe, both movable and unmoved, behold then today, O Gudākeśa, standing as one in my body, and whatever else thou desirest to see. (7)

“But thou wilt not be able to see me by that thy own [mortal] eye. I give to thee a divine eye. Behold my sovereign yoga !” (8)

Sañjaya said:

Having spoken thus, O king, Hari the lord of yoga then showed the son of Prithā his supreme sovereign form. (9)

With many mouths and eyes, with many wonderful aspect, with many divine ornaments, with many divine weapons uplifted; (10)

Bearing divine garlands and robes, with unguents of divine fragrance, consisting of every marvel flaming*, limitless, with faces everywhere. (11)

If the splendor of a thousand suns were to burst forth all at once in the sky, it would be like the splendor of that one great self. (12)

Then the son of Pāndu beheld there in the body of the God of gods the entire universe divided and subdivided [pravibhaktamanekadhā], collected into one. (13)

Then Dhanañjaya, filled with awe, with hair standing on end, bowed his head before the god, and with joined hands, addressed him: (14)

Arjuna said:

“I see the gods in thy body, o God ! And all the varied hosts of beings; lord Brahmā seated on his lotus-couch, all the rishis, and all the divine serpents [uragānścha]. (15)

“I see thee with innumerable arms, stomachs, mouths, eyes, on every side, of limitless form. No end, no middle, nor again a beginning, of thee do I see, O lord of all, [but I see thee in] all forms. (16)

“With diadem, club, and discus, a mass of energy, everywhere radiant. I see thee, difficult to be seen, everywhere flashing like the radiant flame of the sun, immeasurable. (17)

“Thou art the indestructible, the highest to be known, thou art the supreme receptacle of this all, thou art undecaying, the preserver of the eternal dharma. I conceive thee to be the primeval Purusha [Man]. (18)

“Without beginning, middle, or end, of limitless power, of limitless power, of limitless arms, with the moon and the sun for eyes, I see thee, with mouth of radiant fire, heating this all by thy own energy [svatejasā]. (19)

“For both the outer worlds [idam: this] and the inner [antaram] of heaven and space are pervaded by thee only; also all the quarters. Seeing this thy marvelous and terrible form, the three regions are affrighted, O thou of great self [mahātman] ! (20)

“For those hosts of the suras enter thee, and some, struck with awe, invoke [thee] with joined hands. Saying ‘Svasti !’ [Welfare !] the hosts of maharshis and siddhas praise thee with resounding hymns. (21)

“The Rudras, the Ādityas, thou who art the Vasus, the Sādhyas, the Viśvas, the two Aświns, the Maruts, and the Ushmapas, the hosts of Gandharvas, Yakshas, Suras, and Siddhas, behold thee, and are all amazed. (22)

“Seeing, O thou of mighty arms, thy great form, with many mouths and eyes, many arms, thighs and feet, many stomachs, many projecting fangs, the worlds, and I too, tremble ! (23)

“For seeing thee touching the skies, radiant, many-hued, with wide-spreading mouth, with great radiant eyes, I tremble in my inmost self; nor do I find fortitude and courage, O Vishnu. (24)

“Seeing too thy mouths with gaping fangs, like the fire of death, I do not know the [different] quarters [of space], nor do I gain a refuge. Resume [thy former state: prasīda: settle down, became tranquil, clear quiet], O lord of gods, who art the abode of the universe ! (25)

“All these sons of Dhritarāshtra together with all the hosts of the guardians of earth [kings], Bhīshma, Drona, and that charioteer’s son [Karna] together with our chief warriors, (26)

“hastening to thee, are entering thy mouths, terrific with gasping fangs ! Some, with crushed heads, appear clinging to the spaces between thy teeth ! (27)

“As innumerable currents of water in rivers hasten on towards the sea alone, thus these heroes of the human world enter thy mouths flaming before [them]. (28)

“As flying things enter into a flaming fire, with growing speed, to [their] destruction, just so to their destruction these beings [or worlds] enter with growing speed into thy mouths. (29)

“Thou lickest up from every side all worlds, swallowing them down with thy flaming mouths. Filling all the universes with energy, thy glare consumes, O Vishnu ! (30)

“Say to me who thou art, of terrific form ! Reverence be unto thee, O best of gods ! Resume [thy former state: prasīda. See Sloka 25 supra.]. I desire to know thee, the Primeval, for I am ignorant of they courses. (31)

The Holy One said:

“I am Time [or Death] full grown, the destroyer of worlds engaged here in the withdrawing [from outward life] of worlds. Even without thee, all the warriors facing each other in the opposing ranks shall cease to be. (32)

“therefore stand thou up: seize glory ! having conquered [thy] foes, enjoy increased empire. Verily, these have been overthrown by me already. Become thou the [mere] instrument, O Savyasāchin ! (33)

Drona and Bhīshma and Jayadratha and Karna, as well as any other heroic warriors, struck by me, do thou smite. Be not dismayed. Fight! Thou shalt conquer thy foes in battle.” (34)

Sañjaya said:

Hearing this discourse of Keśava [Krishna], Kirītin [a name of Arjuna] trembling with joined palms, having made reverence again, with faltering voice and stricken with awe, and having bowed down, thus addressed Vishnu: (35)

Arjuna said:

“It is right, O Hrishīkeśa, that the universe be delighted and charmed by praise of thee. All the rākshasas flee affrighted in the [different] directions [diśo: points, quarters, of the compass], and the hosts of Siddhas pay obeisance. (36)

“Wherefore should not they reverence thee, O thou of great self [mahātman], [who art] superior to Brahman and [who art] the Former Primeval ? O Endless One ! O God of gods ! O Abode of the Universe ! Thou art that which is indestructible, which is and is not [being and non-being: sadasat] the highest. (37)

“Thou art the primeval god, the ancient Man [purushah], thou art of all This the highest receptacle. Thou art the Knower, and that which is to be known, and the highest seat. By thee the All is pervaded, O thou of limitless form ! (38)

“Vāyu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the Moon, Prajāpati, art thou, and the first progenitor [prapitāmahaścha: and first grandsire]. Reverence and reverence be to thee a thousand times ! And again and again reverence and reverence to thee. (39)

“Reverence to thee first and last ! Reverence be to thee on every side also, O thou All ! O thou of endless power ! Thou art the activity [progress, movement of the universe: vikramas: stepping forth, moving on]. Thou accomplished all, therefore thou art all. (40)

“Thinking of thee as a companion, whatever has been said cavalierly [such as] ‘Ho, Krishna ! Ho Yādava ! Ho Friend ! [was said] by me ignorant of this thy grandeur, from carelessness or indeed from affection, (41)

“And whatever in mirth has been disrespectful to thee, at play, sleep, in thy chair and at meals, alone, O Unfallen One ! or indeed in public, that I pray thee to forgive, O Unfathomable One ! (42)

“Thou art the father of the world both moving and immovable. Thou art in it more venerable than the venerable, and art worthy of worship ! There is none equal to thee, O Excellent One ! Whence then another [greater than thee] in the three worlds, O thou of incomparable majesty ? (43)

“Therefore, making reverence [to thee], bowing down [my] body, I propitiate thee, O lord worthy of praise. As a father his son, as a friend his friend, as a lover his beloved, be pleased, O god, to pardon ! (44)

“Seeing what was unseen before, I am filled with joyful awe [hrishito], but my mind is agitated with fear. Show me that [other] form, O god ! Resume [prasīda: settle down. See śloka 25] Lord God, O thou abode of the Universe. (45)

“I long to see thee indeed thus [i.e. as before]: with diadem, mace, with discus [chakra] in hand. Appear [bhava: i.e. become] with that four-armed form, O thou of a thousand arms ! O thou whose shape is all forms !” (46)

The Holy One said:

“By me who am pleased with thee, O Arjuna, this [my] supreme form has been shown [to thee] by the yoga of self [or: by my own yoga-power]: full of energy, universal, limitless, primeval, which has never before seen by another than thyself (47)

“Not by study of the Vedas or of sacrifices, not by gifts nor again by works or frightful austerities, can I be seen in the world of man in such form by another than thou, O heroic Prince of the Kurus ! (48)

“Let there be no agitation in thee, let there be no bewilderment, seeing thus my form of such awful [appearance]. Free from fear, with joyful mind, look thou again at that my [other] form.” (49)

Sañjaya said:

Having thus addressed Arjuna, Vasudeva there showed him again his own form, and calmed him who had been affrighted, the Great Self [mahātma] again becoming his lunar person [saumyavapur; also ‘pleasing shape’]. (50)

Arjuna said:

“Seeing this thy human lunar form [mānushyam rupam tava saumyam] O Janārdana, I am now collected, conscious, returned to my normal state.” (51)

The Holy One said:

“Thou hast beheld that form of me which is most difficult to behold. Even the gods long constantly to see that form. (52)

“Not by the Veda, nor by austerity, nor by gift giving, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in such form as thou hast seen me. (53)

“By devotion, without other object, O Arjuna, can I be in such form known, seen, and actually entered into, O harasser of Foes ! (54)

“He who does all for me, who makes me his highest, who is devoted to me, who is free from attachments, who lives in peace with all beings, he O son of Pāndu, goes to me.” (55)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā: Eleventh

Address, by name —

Viśvarūpadarśanam (The Vision of All-Form).