Despondency of Arjuna
Karma Yoga -
Path of Action
- Path of Wisdom
Renunciation of Action
Mystery of Mysteries
- The Path of Love
The Lord -
|ELEVEN: THE COSMIC VISION
“Arjuna said: My Lord! Thy words concerning the Supreme Secret of Self,
given for my
blessing, have dispelled the illusions which surrounded me.
O Lord, whose eyes are like the lotus petal! Thou hast described in
detail the origin and
the dissolution of being, and Thine own Eternal Majesty.
I believe all as Thou hast declared it. I long now to have a vision of
thy Divine Form,
O Thou Most High!
If Thou thinkest that it can be made possible for me to see it, show me,
O Lord of Lords,
Thine own Eternal Self.
Lord Shri Krishna replied: Behold, O Arjuna! My celestial forms, by
hundred and thousands,
various in kind, in colour and in shape.
Behold thou the Powers of Nature: fire, earth, wind and sky; the sun,
the heavens, the
moon, the stars; all forces of vitality and of healing; and the roving
winds. See the myriad
wonders revealed to none but thee.
Here in Me living as one, O Arjuna, behold the whole universe, movable
and anything else that thou wouldst see!
Yet since with mortal eyes thou canst not see Me, lo! I give thee the
Divine Sight. See now
the glory of My Sovereignty.”
Sanjaya continued: “Having thus spoken, O King, the Lord Shri Krishna,
the Almighty Prince of
Wisdom, showed to Arjuna the Supreme Form of the Great God.
There were countless eyes and mouths, and mystic forms innumerable, with
shining ornaments and
flaming celestial weapons.
Crowned with heavenly garlands, clothed in shining garments, anointed
with divine unctions, He
showed Himself as the Resplendent One, Marvellous, Boundless,
Could a thousand suns blaze forth together it would be but a faint
reflection of the radiance of the
In that vision Arjuna saw the universe, with its manifold shapes, all
embraced in One, its Supreme
Thereupon Arjuna, dumb with awe, his hair on end, his head bowed, his
hands clasped in
salutation, addressed the Lord thus: Arjuna said: O almighty God! I see in Thee the powers of Nature, the
various creatures of
the world, the Progenitor on his lotus throne, the Sages and the shining
I see Thee, infinite in form, with, as it were, faces, eyes and limbs
beginning, no middle, no end; O Thou Lord of the Universe, Whose Form is
I see thee with the crown, the sceptre and the discus; a blaze of
splendour. Scarce can
I gaze on thee, so radiant thou art, glowing like the blazing fire,
brilliant as the sun,
Imperishable art Thou, the Sole One worthy to be known, the priceless
the universe, the immortal Guardian of the Life Eternal, the Spirit
Without beginning, without middle and without end, infinite in power,
Thine arms allembracing,
the sun and moon Thine eyes, Thy face beaming with the fire of
flooding the whole universe with light.
Alone thou fillest all the quarters of the sky, earth and heaven, and
the regions between.
O Almighty Lord! Seeing Thy marvellous and awe-inspiring Form, the
The troops of celestial beings enter into Thee, some invoking Thee in
fear, with folded
palms; the Great Seers and Adepts sing hymns to Thy Glory, saying `All
The Vital Forces, the Major stars, Fire, Earth, Air, Sky, Sun, Heaven,
Moon and Planets; the
Angels, the Guardians of the Universe, the divine Healers, the Winds,
the Fathers, the
Heavenly Singers; and hosts of Mammon-worshippers, demons as well as
Seeing Thy stupendous Form, O Most Mighty, with its myriad faces, its
and limbs and terrible jaws, I myself and all the worlds are overwhelmed
When I see Thee, touching the Heavens, glowing with colour, with open
mouth and wide
open fiery eyes, I am terrified. O My Lord! My courage and peace of mind
When I see Thy mouths with their fearful jaws like glowing fires at the
creation, I lose all sense of place; I find no rest.
Be merciful, O Lord
in whom this universe
All these sons of Dhritarashtra, with the hosts of princes, Bheeshma,
Drona and Karna, as
well as the other warrior chiefs belonging to our side;
I see them all rushing headlong into Thy mouths, with terrible tusks,
horrible to behold.
Some are mangled between thy jaws, with their heads crushed to atoms.
As rivers in flood surge furiously to the ocean, so these heroes, the
greatest among men,
fling themselves into Thy flaming mouths.
As moths fly impetuously to the flame only to be killed, so these men
rush into Thy
mouths to court their own destruction.
Thou seemest to swallow up the worlds, to lap them in flame. Thy glory
fills the universe.
Thy fierce rays beat down upon it irresistibly.
Tell me then who Thou art, that wearest this dreadful Form? I bow before
Thee, O Mighty
One! Have mercy, I pray, and let me see Thee as Thou wert at first. I do
not know what
Lord Shri Krishna replied: I have shown myself to thee as the
Destroyer who lays waste the
world and whose purpose is destruction. In spite of thy efforts, all
these warriors gathered
for battle shall not escape death.
Then gird up thy loins and conquer. Subdue thy foes and enjoy the
kingdom in prosperity.
I have already doomed them. Be thou my instrument, Arjuna!
Drona and Bheeshma, Jayadratha and Karna, and other brave warriors – I
condemned them all. Destroy them; fight and fear not. Thy foes shall be
Sanjaya continued: “Having heard these words from the Lord Shri Krishna,
the Prince Arjuna,
with folded hands trembling, prostrated himself and with choking voice,
bowing down again and
again, and overwhelmed with awe, once more addressed the Lord.
Arjuna said: My Lord! It is natural that the world revels and rejoices
when it sings the
praises of Thy glory; the demons fly in fear and the saints offer Thee
How should they do otherwise? O Thou Supremest Self, greater than the
creation, the First Cause, Infinite, the Lord of Lords, the Home of the
Imperishable, Being and Not-Being, yet transcending both.
Thou art the Primal God, the Ancient, the Supreme Abode of this
universe, the Knower,
the Knowledge and the Final Home. Thou fillest everything. Thy form is
Thou art the Wind, Thou art Death, Thou art the Fire, the Water, the
Moon, the Father and
the Grandfather. Honour and glory to Thee a thousand and a thousand
times! Again and
again, salutation be to Thee, O my Lord!
Salutations to Thee in front and on every side, Thou who encompasseth me
Thy power is infinite; Thy majesty immeasurable; thou upholdest all
Thyself art All.
Whatever I have said unto Thee in rashness, taking Thee only for a
friend and addressing
Thee as `O Krishna! O Yadava! O Friend!’ in thoughtless familiarity, no
Whatever insult I have offered to Thee in jest, in sport or in repose,
in conversation or at
the banquet, alone or in a multitude, I ask Thy forgiveness for them
all, O Thou Who
art without an equal!
For Thou art the Father of all things movable and immovable, the
Worshipful, the Master
of Masters! In all the worlds there is none equal to Thee, how then
superior, O Thou who
standeth alone, Supreme.
Therefore I prostrate myself before Thee, O Lord! Most Adorable! I
salute Thee, I ask Thy
blessing. Only Thou canst be trusted to bear with me, as father to son,
as friend to friend,
as lover to his beloved.
I rejoice that I have seen what never man saw before; yet, O Lord! I am
fear. Please take again the Form I know. Be merciful, O Lord! thou Who
are the Home of
the whole universe.
I long to see Thee as thou wert before, with the crown, the sceptre
and the discus in Thy
hands; in Thy other Form, with Thy four hands, O Thou Whose arms are
Whose forms are infinite.
Lord Shri Krishna replied: My beloved friend! It is only through My
grace and power that
thou hast been able to see this vision of splendour, the Universal, the
Infinite, the Original.
Never has it been seen by any but thee.
Not by study of the scriptures, not by sacrifice or gift, not by ritual
or rigorous austerity, is
it possible for man on earth to see what thou hast seen, O thou foremost
hero of the Kuruclan!
Be not afraid or bewildered by the terrible vision. Put away thy fear
and, with joyful mind,
see Me once again in My usual Form.”
Sanjaya continued: “Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Lord Shri Krishna
showed Himself again in
His accustomed form; and the Mighty Lord, in gentle tones, softly
consoled him who lately trembled
Arjuna said: Seeing Thee in Thy gentle human form, my Lord, I am myself
Lord Shri Krishna replied: It is hard to see this vision of Me that thou
hast seen. Even the
most powerful have longed for it in vain.
Not by study of the scriptures, or by austerities, not by gifts or
sacrifices, is it possible to
see Me as thou hast done.
Only by tireless devotion can I be seen and known; only thus can a man
become one with
Me, O Arjuna!
He whose every action is done for My sake, to whom I am the final goal,
who loves Me
only and hates no one – O My dearest son, only he can realize Me!”
Thus, in the Holy Book the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Upanishads, in the
Science of the Supreme
Spirit, in the Art of Self-Knowledge, in the colloquy between the Divine
Lord Shri Krishna and the
Prince Arjuna, stands the eleventh chapter, entitled: The Cosmic Vision.