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Bhagavad Gītā 11

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Chapter 11



The Vision of All-Form


(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 you for my benefit, has dissipated my bewilderment. (1)

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

As you have declared the self to be, O supreme lord, so is also this [the world]. [But I desire to see your sovereign form, O best of men. (3)

If you thinkest, O lord, that I am able to see it, then, O lord of yoga, show me your imperishable self. (4)

The Holy One said:

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

Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Aśvins, 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 you desire to see. (7)

But you will not be able to see me by that your own [mortal] eye. I give to you 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 Pṛthā his supreme sovereign form. (9)

With many mouths and eyes, with many wonderful aspects, 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 Pāṇḍu 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 your body, o God! And all the varied hosts of beings; lord Brahmā seated on his lotus-couch, all the ṛṣis, and all the divine serpents [uragānścha]. (15)

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

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

You are the indestructible, the highest to be known, you are the supreme receptacle of this all, you are undecaying, the preserver of the eternal dharma. I conceive you to be the primeval puruṣa [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 you, with mouth of radiant fire, heating this all by your own energy [svatejasā]. (19)

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

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

The Rudras, the Ādityas, you who are the Vasus, the Sādhyas, the Viśvas, the two Aśvins, the Maruts, and the Uṣmapas, the hosts of Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Suras, and Siddhas, behold you, and are all amazed. (22)

Seeing, O you of mighty arms, your 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 you 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 Viṣṇu. (24)

Seeing too your 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 [your former state: prasīda: settle down, became tranquil, clear quiet], O lord of gods, who are the abode of the universe! (25)

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

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

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

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

You lick up from every side all worlds, swallowing them down with your flaming mouths. Filling all the universes with energy, your glare consumes, O Viṣṇu! (30)

Say to me who you are, of terrific form! Reverence to you, O best of gods! Resume [your former state: prasīda. See Sloka 25 supra.]. I desire to know you, 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 you, all the warriors facing each other in the opposing ranks will cease to be. (32)

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

Drona and Bhīṣma and Jayadratha and Karṇa, as well as any other heroic warriors, struck by me, you smite. Be not dismayed. Fight! You shall conquer your foes in battle. (34)

Sañjaya said:

Hearing this discourse of Keśava [Kṛṣṇa], 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 Viṣṇu: (35)

Arjuna said:

It is right, O Hṛṣīkeśa, that the universe is delighted and charmed by your praise. All the rākṣasas flee affrighted in the [different] directions [diśo: points, quarters, of the compass], and the hosts of siddhas pay obeisance. (36)

Wherefore would they not reverence you, O you of great self [mahātman], [who is] superior to brahman and [who is] the Primeval Former? O Endless One! O God of gods! O Abode of the Universe! You are that which is indestructible, which is and is not [being and non-being: sadasat] the highest. (37)

You are the primeval god, the ancient man [puruṣaḥ], you are of all this the highest receptacle. You are the Knower, and that which is to be known, and the highest seat. By you the All is pervaded, O you of limitless form! (38)

Vāyu, Yama, Agni, Varuṇa, the Moon, Prajāpati, are you and the first progenitor [prapitāmahaścha: and first grandsire]. Reverence and reverence be to you a thousand times! And again and again reverence and reverence to you. (39)

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

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

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

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

Therefore, making reverence [to you], bowing down [my] body, I appease you, 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 [hṛṣito], but my mind is agitated with fear. Show me that [other] form, O god! Resume [prasīda: settle down. See śloka 25] Lord God, O you abode of the Universe. (45)

I long to see you 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 you of a thousand arms! O you whose shape is all forms! (46)

The Holy One said:

By me who am pleased with you, O Arjuna, this [my] supreme form has been shown [to you] 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 you (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 you, let there be no bewilderment, seeing thus my form of such awful [appearance]. Free from fear, with joyful mind, look again at 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 [saumyavapuḥ; also ‘pleasing shape’]. (50)

Arjuna said:

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

The Holy One said:

You have 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 you have seen me. (53)

By devotion, without other object, O Arjuna, can I be known, and seen in such form 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 Pāṇḍu, goes to me. (55)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā: Eleventh

chapter, by name —


The Vision of All-Form