Chapter 11 - Vishwaroopa-Darshana Yoga
Chapter 11, Verse 1
In this Shloka Arjuna replies to Lord Krishna that because of so many examples given and the knowledge imparted to him, his illusion has been dispelled. We should all remember that Arjuna’s illusion is the main factor that caused him not to fight the battle and Arjuna’s upset mood. We can also see that only knowledge has the power to dispel ignorance.
Chapter 11, Verse 2
Arjuna continues saying that he has heard and imbibed how all living beings come into existence and dissolve. They come into existence from the universe and then they dissolve into the universe. The universe itself is created by God. Arjuna also says that he has heard the special qualities of God, through which he can feel God.
Chapter 11, Verse 3
In this shloka, Arjuna is requesting to see the physical manifestation of God as to how God looks like. He has heard the glories and is now curious to know what exactly God looks like and he is asking him to show the qualities of God in physical form.
Chapter 11, Verse 4
Arjuna calls Lord Krishna as Yoga Ishwara. The master of all people who has perfected the yoga, the union of individual consciousness with ultimate consciousness. Arjuna is requesting Sri Krishna to show the form of God. We can see the curiosity of Arjuna to see God as to how God looks like, as for how the master of Universe looks like.
Chapter 11, Verse 5
Lord Krishna gives an introduction about how the universal power is going to look like. Lord Krishna says the God is going to be many colored and has many manifestations and forms. And Arjuna should hold himself to see all these forms as Arjuna might not have seen all these forms and colors ever in life.
Chapter 11, Verse 6
Lord Krishna has given the special qualities of God. He said that God is the special of special people. He is the best rudra among all rudras, he is the best Ashwin among Ashwin’s, and the best son of Aditi. all these special qualities he mentioned in the chapter 10. in this shloka Lord Krishna says that he is not only the best, but he contains everything. he contains all the 11 Rudra’s (different forms of Shiva), he contains all Ashwin’s, he contains all the sons on Aditi. In fact he contains each and everything in the universe. Everything is born out of him, and everything Goes back to him.
Chapter 11, Verse 7
In this Shloka Arjuna is addressed as Gudakesha, the conqueror of sleep. one who is awake can see the reality. In the same way Lord Krishna is saying that Arjuna should be attentive as he will be showing the entire living and non-living beings of the universe in a very tiny fraction of Body. Since God contains all the universe in all the parts of the body.
Chapter 11, Verse 8
Lord Krishna acceding to the request of Arjuna says he will show the divine form of God. the real form of God. he says that to see the real form of God the present eyes of Arjuna re not sufficient. we all know from physics that eyes can only see things which are in the visual range of electromagnetic spectrum. beyond the visual range on either side (infrared, gamma ray, x ray) we cannot see. the electromagnetic spectrum of light is quite wide.
Lord Krishna says he will grant divine sight to Arjuna so that he will be in a power to see the God’s divine form.
Chapter 11, Verse 9
Now Sanjaya, the narrator of the Bhagwat Geetha to Dhritrashtra speaks. He says that Lord Krishna who is the king among all yogi’s, has revealed his great nature/real nature of riches to Arjuna. we have to see that the sight of Krishna is equated with richness. if we can get the sight of Lord we do not need any riches when compared to the real sight of Krishna. Also, Krishna is equated as the king among all yogi’s.
Chapter 11, Verse 10 & 11
Lord Krishna reveals the real nature of God as
- Having many mouths and eyes.
- Having many dazzling ornaments.
- Having different types of gleaming weapons.
- As a dazzle of light.
- Emitting great fragrances.
- Dressed immaculately and garlanded appropriately.
- Completely phenomenal and amazing.
- All pervading, the entire universe.
Here an attempt is being made to show both God having features of a human being and also God as a universal person who permeates everywhere. I think the reason is if God is not described in forms which are easy to understand for a human being like Arjuna, Dhritarashtra and Sanjaya they cannot understand or describe how God looks. Hence an attempt is being made to show God as both human being and yet without the limitations of what human being has.
Also, effort has been made to show that human beings aspire for riches to have good ornaments, garlands, fragrances, rich life style. if we can have God, we have all of them with us.
Chapter 11, Verse 12
If thousand Sun’s would blaze at the same time in the universe, the amount of brightness would be enormous. In this shloka God is referred to as Maha Atmanah, the supreme soul. The brightness of supreme soul is compared as equal to thousand Suns. All the stars are in the universe scattered by millions of miles apart. If they come together that would emit so much light it would be difficult to see. Even God has the same amount of brightness.
Chapter 11, Verse 13
Arjuna could see the entire universe as a snapshot then there itself in one human being. When we look up in the sky, we can look only one percent of the universe. Whereas Arjuna got the opportunity to see the entire universe in a snapshot. This is possible because the universe is formed by God. I feel before big bang it was God which existed and from him, all the universe emanated.
Chapter 11, Verse 14
In this shloka, it is explained that Arjuna is filled with ecstasy on seeing the form of God. Indeed, it is an ecstatic moment to see the shape and form of God. The ecstasy a person will feel seeing the form of God is unmatched in experience with whatever a person is seeing now in the material world. it is described that Arjuna had goose bumps on his body while seeing and also all his hairs stood. this happens in extreme ecstatic moments for a person.
Chapter 11, Verse 15
Arjuna could see all the living entities in one place. all the material and non-material things in one place are found in Sri Krishna. Looking at all this with a feeling of awe and reverence Arjuna began to speak. Arjuna says that he could see Brahma, he could see Vishnu and all other Gods in Sri Krishna. Also, he could see the great Rishis and serpents and all the diverse species of living entities.
Chapter 11, Verse 18
Arjuna says to Lord Krishna that what he has seen just now is the supreme truth which can be known by the scriptures. God is the only support of this universe. God is imperishable and is the preserver of Dharma. God is the everlasting supreme soul. The word purusa is used here for God. Samkhya yoga distinguishes Purusa and Prakriti the spiritual and material nature.
Chapter 11, Verse 19
Arjuna says that God gives heat (energy) to the entire universe to sustain it. we can all see that the life on earth is sustained by Sun’s energy and how important is energy from Sun for all of us. in the same way God’s energy sustains the entire universe. it is the energy that keeps the Galaxies, stars, planets rotate in fixed orbits.
Arjuna also says that God is without beginning, middle or end. He has eyes like moon and Sun and the energy of fire coming out of his mouth like a blazing Sun.
Chapter 11, Verse 20
Arjuna again says that that whole space in the universe is occupied by God. Modern physics says that dark matter/energy/gravitation is the one that is present everywhere in the universe. As in the previous shloka, Arjuna mentions that God is the one which energises the entire universe. Thus, we can say that God is a form of all-pervading energy in the universe which is present everywhere. By looking at this form of God which is full of energy the three worlds Tremble. The three worlds are earth, heaven and the one below the earth.
Chapter 11, Verse 21
All the demigods are entering into the God with tremble looking at his vishwaroopam. All the great sages are singing hymns to the God. This shows that all realized beings ultimately offer prayers to the God as they have realized what the truth is with respect to existence.
Chapter 11, Verse 22
Sri Krishna in the earlier chapter has talked about God being the best of Rudras, Aditayas , Maruts etc. in this shloka Arjuna says that he could see all the Rudra’s ( manifestation of Shiva), all the adityas, Ashwin’s, maruts, gandharvas, yaksha’s, Asura’s all bowing to the God. we must see that Arjuna could see all of them at one point in time, means all these great personalities though separated by time and space could be seen together in Sri Krishna. which means that they are from God and part of God. It’s only that because of the concept of time of human beings we see all the different avatars as coming one after another during different periods of time. Otherwise, all the part of the supreme God.
Chapter 11, Verse 23
The ecstatic feeling of Arjuna is being changed to the feeling of fear. it is because of the mental state of Arjuna and not because God looks fearful. we are observing God from the description of Arjuna. Seeing the manifestation of God the different eyes, mouth, arms, feet etc of the God Arjuna feels fear. A human avatar of God, Krishna is showing the form of God. so naturally the shape of God is described as having a human form. Otherwise, I feel God doesn’t have a form as he is the form of energy. and when energy takes the form of a human being it is bound to cause fear as Krishna tries to show the entire universe in one human form to Arjuna.
Chapter 11, Verse 24
In this shloka, God is addressed as Vishnu, which means all pervading. Arjuna could see that God is all pervading and is spread across the universe. Arjuna could also see that God exists beyond the boundaries of Universe, beyond the boundaries too. Stephen Hawking has postulated that there exist things beyond our universe. Also, it is described that Arjuna could see the existence of God in different colors. All colors exist in God and emanate from God.
Chapter 11, Verse 25
Arjuna pleads for mercy from the God. Now after witnessing the real nature of God Arjuna trembles with fear. When all the energy of the universe is shown at a small place it will be absolutely terrifying to see the energy. it will be fire and sounds and any person will tremble. if we tremble at the sound of a thunder and lightning, imagine a thousand claps of thunder together and the lightning happening at the same time. it is quite difficult to remain stable at such a sight. Even Arjuna is trembling with fear looking the energy form of God.
Chapter 11, Verse 26 & 27
As God has shown the past present and future to Arjuna, Arjuna could see the fate of the war. He could see what is happening to everyone in the war. Arjuna could clearly see the fate of Drona, Bhishma, karna and warriors from both the sides. They are all entering into the fire of God. we should understand the fact that this whole Bhagwat Geetha has started with the lamentation of Arjuna as how he can kill his relatives and teachers. how can he fight with them? Now we can see that Krishna has shown Arjuna what is the ultimate fate of all people on the earth. They all have to enter the abode of God.
Chapter 11, Verse 28
The metaphor of rivers merging into oceans is given here. All rivers start independently at different places just like human beings. They travel fastly with full energy like children and youth. Then at maturity, they calm down flow slowly and then at the end rivers merge into oceans. In the same way, human beings start uniquely, live their lives and in the end, they all merge into the mighty ocean called God. Arjuna could see all of this before his eyes as Krishna showed to him all fate of all the kings who are standing before him. All the kings might be having an independent existence as of now but in the war, the fate of all of them is merging into God.
Chapter 11, Verse 29
The metaphor of fireflies entering into the fire is given here. They are attracted to the fire and enter into it rapidly. In the same way, Arjuna could see all the king’s entering into the fire energy of God.
Chapter 11, Verse 30
In this shloka, Sri Krishna is addressed as Vishnu, the pervader of the universe. Vishnu is present everywhere in the universe. Arjuna could see the rays of Vishnu everywhere in the universe. All-pervading and all-encompassing. Vishnu is also the source of energy that is driving the universe from the beginning to its boundary. Arjuna could see that all the souls of his relatives entering the source of energy.
Chapter 11, Verse 31
Arjuna pleads before Krishna to reveal God’s real form. He says he is unable to see the fierce form of the lord and unable to understand the energy form of the God.
Chapter 11, Verse 32
Sri Krishna speaks that he is Kala, the decider of time and fate of the people. Time is the one which destroys people in the end. It starts people and when the time comes it destroys them. Krishna says that he will be destroying all the soldiers in the war of both the sides except the Pandavas. Already he has shown to Arjuna all the great leaders like Duryodhana, Karna, Dronacharya and Bhisma all being engulfed in the Lord. Sir Krishna says ultimately, he decides the fate of the people.
Chapter 11, Verse 33
Here in this Shloka Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to come into action. Sri Krishna is answering the despair of Arjuna at the start of the battle. Arjuna has laid down his bow and arrows saying that he cannot kill his relatives in the war and what will he be getting by killing them. Lord Krishna is saying that the fate of enemies has already been decided by the God and Arjuna is just an instrument. Hence, Arjuna should come into action immediately.
Chapter 11, Verse 34
Sri Krishna reiterates again in this shloka that all the great warriors Dronacharya, Karna, Bhima, jayadratha and others are already slain by him. He has shown to Arjuna how they entered his body. Krishna is exhorting Arjuna not to feel any remorse about killing relatives and teachers and should proceed to the war and fight the war, the duty that is endowed to Arjuna.
Chapter 11, Verse 35
Hearing the clear instruction from Sri Krishna, Arjuna with trembling hands stood up and offered obeisance to Lord Krishna and started speaking thus.
Chapter 11, Verse 36
Arjuna starts speaking saying that understanding the glories of the God, the virtuous people are singing praises of the God. The demons or the people who cannot see the virtuous or the real face of the God are fleeing from him in all directions and into the fire.
Chapter 11, Verse 37
Now Arjuna is asking why the demons or people who do not understand the God do not worship the God? what might be the reason that they do not worship the indestructible force of the universe?
Chapter 11, Verse 38
Arjuna could know and now agree to the qualities if God that God is the supreme entity of the universe. God caused the universe and he is the ultimate refuge of all people where people go to ultimately after their life.
Chapter 11, Verse 39
Arjuna praises Lord Krishna in the following ways. he says Krishna is the wind, the earth, the fire, the water, space and the air. He says basically God is the five elements. Now Arjuna is saying he is offering obeisance to the God thousand and thousands of times.
Chapter 11, Verse 40
Arjuna is offering obeisance to Lord Krishna by saying that he is offering prayers both in the front and back and in all directions. The word direction is used to emphasize the point that God is everywhere in all directions and God is omnipresent.
Chapter 11, Verse 41
Arjuna is feeling repentance that without knowing the form of God if he has said anything wrong to the God. Lord Krishna has assumed human form on this earth. Now Arjuna has realized the divine form of Krishna and he is repenting whether he has done and said any bad word to Shri Krishna.
Chapter 11, Verse 43
Arjuna continues the prayer to the God. He says that Lord Krishna is the unparalleled one, without any parallels in the universe with whom he can be compared. God is compared to the father, the venerable one and the one without any equal. In the three planetary hierarchies that are present, there is nothing equal to the God.
Chapter 11, Verse 44
Since there is no one equal to God in the universe, Arjuna sincerely offers prayers to the God. Arjuna is identifying himself as a father with a son, as a lover of the beloved and as a friend has a friend. We can see that Arjuna is identifying himself as a mortal human being having all the relations and he is offering prayers to the God.
Chapter 11, Verse 45
Having seen the vishwaroopam, the real form of God, Arjuna’s curiosity got satisfied. His mind now is trembling with fear to see the real form. we can imagine what will happen to ordinary mortals like us when we see God. A great man like Arjuna is trembling with fear. Now Arjuna is requesting God to return to his human form.
Chapter 11, Verse 46
Arjuna is repeatedly asking Krishna to assume the four-armed form. in the vishwaroopam he is able to see thousands of arms, the arms of fire. now he is requesting his former form with chakra and shank and mace weapons. In the vishwaroopam it’s all fire and fire energy.
Chapter 11, Verse 47
Shri Krishna in response to the prayers of Arjuna, starts speaking from this shloka. every word of this shloka is important to describe God. He says he is pleased with Arjuna, that means God should be pleased with the devotee.Atma yogam, means with the will of God he can unite the individual consciousness of the devotee with the supreme consciousness of God. Also the form of God is adyam, that means it is the starting point of universe or the world from which everything else came. The form of God is param means universal above everything else. God is also anantam means without any beginning, middle or the end. Which means God is formless. Tejo mayam, means full of radiant energy. God in fact is energy as discussed in the earlier chapters.
Sri Krishna says since he is pleased with Arjuna his form was shown which no human being could see till now.
Chapter 11, Verse 48
Lord Krishna says that neither by study of Vedic scriptures, nor by doing lot of yagnas (spiritual practices), nor by doing severe penance can people see God. To see God, we need to do something else which is mentioned in the shloka. mere reading of scriptures does not work.
Chapter 11, Verse 49
Lord Krishna says that Arjun should leave his fear and anxiety of his real form. He says once Arjun loses his fear then he can find his normal shape again. Here the onus is left on Arjuna to see the normal form of Krishna. It’s not that God is going to change but unless devotee changes himself he cannot see the normal form. We are used to God changing for ourselves but we are not used much to trying to change ourselves for God.
Chapter 11, Verse 50
As Arjuna got his fears pacified, Lord Krishna revealed his normal form.
Chapter 11, Verse 51
Arjuna, looking at the two-armed human form of Krishna gets pacified. he speaks to Sri Krishna that now he doesn’t have anxiety anymore and he is feeling happy to look at God. the fear which he has earlier gone away.
Chapter 11, Verse 52
Lord Krishna says that the form of two armed one is very rarely seen by anyone. Even the demigods do not have any knowledge of this form. Arjuna is lucky indeed to see both the vishwaroopam and the two-armed roopa of Lord Krishna.
Chapter 11, Verse 53 & 54
Lord Krishna says that it is not possible to see his grand form by studying Vedas, or performing grand rituals. This is one of the main Upanisadic teachings that reading scriptures alone will not make anyone reach god or making rituals or by performing the severe penances and austerities. Here a distinction has to be made between theoretical knowledge, practical effort and the willingness by the mind.
For example, we may want to pass the exam. it does not happen only by just by reading books about studying (theory), or studying without sleeping (severe practices), it happens only when there is the real attachment to studying from the deepest corners of heart and when it is practiced.
Lord Krishna says that there should be devotion to what we do and what we want to achieve. Devotion unmixed with fruitive desires and speculative knowledge ( devotion without desires and the right knowledge) will help us in achieving the goal or knowing the God.