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Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form

The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God
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Arjuna said:

As a kindness to me you spoke the Supreme Secret that is known as the Supreme Self. By this my confusion is gone. (11:1)

The origin and dissolution of beings has been heard by me in detail from you, and your eternal greatness. (11:2)

Thus, as you have described yourself, O Supreme Lord, I wish to behold your Ishwara Form, O Purushottama. (11:3)

If you think it is possible for me to see it, O Lord of Yogis, then show to me your eternal Self. (11:4)

The Holy Lord said:

Behold my forms a hundredfold–rather, a thousandfold–various, divine, and of many colors and shapes. (11:5)

Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Ashwins, and the Maruts. Behold many wonders never seen before. (11:6)

See now present here in this my body the whole universe–both the animate and the inanimate–and whatever else you desire to see. (11:7)

But you are not able to see me with your own eyes. I give to you the divine eye: behold my Ishwara Power. (11:8)

Sanjaya said:

Then, having thus spoken, O King, Krishna, the Great Lord of Yoga, showed unto Arjuna his supreme Ishwara Form: (11:9)

With many mouths and eyes, with many wondrous aspects, with many divine ornaments, with many divine weapons upraised, (11:10)

Wearing divine garlands and clothing, with divine perfumes and ointments; embodying all wonders, the Infinite, Omniscient. (11:11)

If a thousand suns should rise together in the sky, such splendor would be like the brilliance of that Great Being. (11:12)

There, together in the body of the God of gods, Arjuna saw the entire universe present, though of many divisions. (11:13)

Then Arjuna, filled with astonishment and with his hair standing on end, bowing his head to the Divine Being, with joined palms said: (11:14)

Arjuna said:

O God, I behold all the gods and all kinds of beings together in your body: Lord Brahma seated upon the lotus, and all the rishis and celestial serpents. (11:15)

I see you in every direction in infinite form, with many arms, stomachs, faces and eyes. Neither end, nor middle, nor beginning of you do I see, O Lord of All, whose form is the universe. (11:16)

I see you crowned, armed with a mace and a discus; a mass of radiance shining everywhere, very hard to look at, all around blazing like burning fire and the sun–beyond measure. (11:17)

You are the Unchanging, the supreme object of knowledge, you are the ultimate resting-place of all. You are the imperishable defender of Eternal Dharma, you are the Primal Purusha, I now realize. (11:18)

You are without beginning, middle or end, of infinite power, with innumerable arms; the sun and moon your eyes; blazing, consuming fire your mouth; consuming the universe with your brilliance. (11:19)

This space between heaven and earth and all the directions are filled by you alone. Seeing this, your marvelous and awesome form, the three worlds are trembling, O Exalted One. (11:20)

There, truly, into you enter the throngs of gods, some of which extol you in fear with joined palms, crying: “Hail!” The assemblages of great Rishis and Siddhas extol you with abundant praises. (11:21)

The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, and Vishwa-Devas, the two Ashwins, Maruts, Ushmapas, throngs of Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, and Siddhas: all behold you, overcome. (11:22)

Having seen your great form with many mouths, eyes, many arms, many thighs and many feet, many stomachs, having many terrible tusks, the worlds are quaking, and so also am I. (11:23)

Truly, having seen you touching the sky, blazing, many-colored, with gaping mouths, with large and fiery eyes: I am trembling in my inmost heart, and find neither courage nor calm. (11:24)

Having seen your dreadful mouths, gaping with tusks, blazing like Pralaya-fires, I have no sense of direction or place of refuge. Have mercy, O Lord of Gods, Abode of the universe. (11:25)

And there all the sons of Dhritarashtra along with the throngs of kings, Bhishma, Drona, and Karna, with our chief warriors, (11:26)

Enter precipitately into your mouths, terrible, gaping with tusks and fearful to behold. Some are found sticking in the gaps between your teeth and some with their heads completely pulverized. (11:27)

As the torrents of many rivers flow towards the ocean, so these heroes of the world of men now enter into your flaming mouths. (11:28)

As moths precipitately rush into a blazing fire to destruction, in like manner so do these worlds also rush into your mouths to their destruction. (11:29)

You lick up and swallow all the worlds on every side with your flaming mouths. Filling the whole world with radiance, your fierce rays are consuming it, O Vishnu. (11:30)

Tell me who you are, you of terrible form. Salutations to you, O Best of Gods, be merciful. I desire to comprehend you, O Primal One. I wish to understand your intent. (11:31)

The Holy Lord said:

I am mighty world-destroying Time, here made manifest to annihilate the worlds. Even without you, none of the warriors here arrayed within the hostile armies shall live. (11:32)

Therefore do you arise and acquire glory. Having conquered the enemies, enjoy thriving domain. These have already been struck down by me. Be merely an instrument. (11:33)

Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna, and other battle heroes, already killed by me, do you kill. Do not hesitate. Fight. You shall conquer the adversaries in battle. (11:34)

Sanjaya said:

Having heard this speech of Krishna, Arjuna with joined palms and trembling, bowing down, addressed Krishna in a faltering voice, overwhelmed with fear. (11:35)

Arjuna said:

Rightly the world is delighted and rejoices in your renown. The demons, terrified, flee in all directions, and the throngs of siddhas bow to you in adoration. (11:36)

And why should they not bow to you, O Great One, Primal Creator greater than Brahma, Infinite Lord of Gods, Abode of the Universe, you the eternal, the truly existing, the non-existent, and That which is beyond both. (11:37)

You are the Primal God, the Ancient Purusha: you the supreme resting-place of all this universe. You are the knower, that which is to be known and the supreme dwelling state of consciousness and being. By you is the whole universe pervaded, O you of infinite forms. (11:38)

You are Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Chandra, Prajapati and the Great-grandfather, Brahma. I bow, yea, I bow to you a thousand times, again and again I bow, I bow to you. (11:39)

Salutation to you before and behind; salutation on every side, O All! You are infinite valor and boundless might. You pervade all–therefore you are All. (11:40)

Whatever I have said impetuously as in ordinary friendship: “O Krishna, O Yadava, O Comrade,” unconscious of your greatness, through ignorance though with affection, (11:41)

And, as if joking, disrespectfully treated you in play, lying down, sitting or while eating, alone or with others, O Imperishable One, for that I ask pardon of you, O Boundless One. (11:42)

You are the Father of the world, of the animate and inanimate, you who are to be revered, you are the worshipful Guru. There is no one your equal in the three worlds. Who can excel you, O you of Incomparable Glory? (11:43)

Therefore, bowing down in prostration, I ask forgiveness of you, O Lord, who are worthy of honor. As a father to a son, a friend to a friend, a dear one to a beloved: O God, be merciful. (11:44)

I am delighted at having seen that which has never before been seen, and yet my mind trembles with fear. Show me in mercy, O Lord, your previous form, O Lord of gods, abode of the universe. (11:45)

I want to see you as before: wearing a crown, armed with a mace, holding a discus. Appear in that four-armed form, O you of a thousand arms, who are embodied in all the forms in the universe. (11:46)

The Holy Lord said:

By my grace toward you this supreme Form has been shown to you by my own power: this form of mine made of radiant splendor, universal, unbounded and primal, which has not been seen before by aught but you. (11:47)

Not by Vedic sacrifice or study, not by gifts, not by rites, nor by severe austerities can I be seen in such a form in the world of men, by any other than you. (11:48)

Be not afraid or bewildered, having seen this awesome form of mine. With your fears dispelled and with your heart gladdened, see once again this former form of mine. (11:49)

Sanjaya said:

Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Krishna showed once again his usual form. Thus the Great-souled One, having resumed his gentle, wondrous form, pacified the frightened one. (11:50)

Arjuna said:

Seeing your gentle human form, now I am composed and my mind is restored to normal. (11:51)

The Holy Lord said:

Difficult to see is this form of mine which you have seen. Even the gods ever long to behold this form. (11:52)

Not by Vedic study, not by tapasya, not by charitable gifts, and not by sacrifice can I be seen as you have seen me. (11:53)

By single-minded devotion alone can I be known and truly seen in this manner and entered into. (11:54)

He who engages in action, holding me as the highest aim, devoted, abandoning attachment, free from enmity to all beings, comes to me. (11:55)

Om Tat Sat

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the eleventh discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form.

Read Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion

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Chapters for The Bhagavad Gita–The Song of God

Introduction: The Bhagavad Gita–The Book of Life

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Also: The Bhagavad Gita Arranged for Singing

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Nirmalananda Giri (Abbot George Burke).

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