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The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form

Arjuna said:
In kindness you spoke unto me
Regarding the Supreme Secret
That is known as the Supreme Self.
By this my delusion is gone. (1)

The origin and dissolving
Of beings has been heard by me
In detail from You, O Krishna,
And Your eternal majesty. (2)

And so it is, O Supreme Lord!
As You have declared of Yourself.
Yet still I desire to behold
Your Ishwara1-Form, O Krishna. (3)

Wherefore, O Lord, if You should think
Me capable of seeing It,
Then do You, O Lord of Yogis,
Show to me Your eternal Self. (4)

The Holy Lord said:
Behold now, O Partha, My forms
A hundred fold–a thousandfold–
Various, divine, and also
Of various colors and shapes. (5)

Behold the Adityas, Vasus,
The Rudras, Ashwins,2 and Maruts;
Behold, O son of Bharata,
Many wonders ne’er seen before. (6)

See now in this My body the
Whole universe centered in one–
Both the moving and unmoving–
And all else you desire to see. (7)

But you are not able to see
Me with your own eyes, Arjuna.
I give to you the divine eye–
Behold My supreme Yoga Pow’r. (8)

Sanjaya said:
Then having thus spoken, O King,
Krishna, the Great Lord of Yoga,
Showed unto the son of Pritha
His own Supreme Ishwara-Form: (9)

With many mouths and many eyes,
And with many wondrous aspects,
With many divine ornaments,
With many divine weapons raised; (10)

Wearing divine garlands and clothes,
With divine perfumes and ointments;
God embodying all wonders,
The Infinite, Omniscient. (11)

If the light of a thousand suns
Arose together in the sky,
Then that would be like the splendor
Of that Resplendent Mighty One. (12)

There in the body of the God
Of gods the son of Pandu saw
The universe resting in One
With its manifold divisions. (13)

Then Arjuna, filled with wonder
And with his hair standing on end,
Bowing down in adoration
Thus spoke with joined palms unto Him. (14)

Arjuna said:
O God, I see all the gods in Your body,
And the hosts of all grades of beings in You;
Brahma, the Lord, seated upon the lotus,
And all the rishis and celestial serpents. (15)

I see You of boundless form on ev’ry side
With Your manifold arms, stomachs, mouths, and eyes;
Neither end, middle, nor beginning of You
Do I see, Lord, of Your Universal Form. (16)

I see You with diadem, club, and discus;
A mass of radiance shining ev’rywhere,
Very hard to look at, all around blazing
Like burning fire and sun, and beyond measure. (17)

You are the Unchanging, the Supreme Being,
You are the ultimate resting-place of all;
You are Guardian of Eternal Dharma,
You are the Primal Purusha, I do ween. (18)

You are without beginning, middle, or end,
Infinite in power, of manifold arms;
The sun and moon Your eyes; burning fire Your mouth;
Heating the universe with Your radiance. (19)

This firmament fixed between heaven and earth,
And all the quarters are filled by You alone;
Seeing this, Your marvellous and awesome form,
The three worlds tremble with fear, O Great-souled One.20)

Truly, into You enter these hosts of gods;
Some of which extol You in fear with joined palms;
“May it be well!” thus saying, the bands of great
Rishis and Siddhas praise You with splendid hymns. (21)

The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas,3 and
Vishwa-Devas, Ashwins, Maruts, Ushmapas,4
Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, and
Siddhas–All these are looking at You, quite astounded. (22)

Having seen this Your immeasurable form–
With very many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, and feet,
Many stomachs, and fearful with many tusks–
All the worlds are terrified, and so am I. (23)

On seeing You touching the sky, and blazing
With many a color, with mouths wide open,
With large and fiery eyes: I am terrified
At heart, and find no courage nor peace, Vishnu. (24)

Having seen Your mouths, fearful with tusks, blazing
Like Pralaya-fires, I know neither the four
Quarters, nor do I find peace; have mercy, then,
O Lord of Gods, Abode of the universe. (25)

And all these sons of evil Dhritarashtra,
With the multitudinous hosts of monarchs,
Among whom are numbered Bishma, Drona, and
Sutaputra, with the warrior chiefs of ours, (26)

Enter precipitately into Your mouth,
Terrible with tusks and fearful to behold.
Some are found sticking in the gaps ’tween Your teeth,
And some with their heads completely pulverized. (27)

Verily, as the many torrents and streams
Of all the rivers flow towards the ocean,
So do all these heroes of the world of men
Now enter into Your fiercely flaming mouths. (28)

Just as moths precipitately rush into
A blazing fire, although only to perish,
In like manner so do these creatures also
Rush into Your mouths though only to perish. (29)

Swallowing all the worlds on every side
With Your flaming mouths, You are licking Your lips.
Your fierce rays, filling the world with radiance,
Are blazing, burning, consuming, O Vishnu! (30)

Tell me who You are–You Who are fierce in form.
Salutations, O Supreme God: have mercy!
I desire to know You, O Primeval One.
I know not indeed Your doings or purpose. (31)

The Holy Lord said:
I am, indeed, mighty world-destroying Time,
Here made manifest for destroying the world.
Even without you, none of the warriors here
Arrayed within the hostile armies shall live. (32)

Therefore do you arise and thus acquire fame.
Conquer, and enjoy unrivalled dominion.
Truly, by Myself are they already slain;
Be merely an apparent cause, Arjuna. (33)

Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna, and
Others already killed by Me, do you kill.
Be not distressed with fear; but fight, and surely
You shall conquer your enemies in battle. (34)

Sanjaya said:
Having heard this speech of Krishna, Arjuna
With joined palms, and trembling, prostrated himself,
And addressed Krishna in a faltering voice,
Bowing down to Him, and overwhelmed with fear. (35)

Arjuna said:
It is fitting, Hrishikesha, that the world
Is delighted and rejoices in Your praise,
That rakshasas fly in fear to all quarters,
And siddhas bow to You in adoration. (36)

Why should they not bow to You, O Great-souled One,
The Great and Primal Cause of even Brahma,
Infinite, Lord of gods, Source of the cosmos?
Unchanging–Being, Non-being, beyond both. (37)

You the Primal God, the Ancient Purusha;
You are Supreme Refuge of this universe,
Knower, the One Thing to be known; Supreme Goal;
By You is the whole universe pervaded. (38)

You are Vayu,5 Yama, Agni,6 Varuna,
Chandra,7 Prajapati, and Great-grandfather.8
I bow, yea, I bow to You a thousand times,
Again and again I bow, I bow to You! (39)

Salutation to You before and behind,
Salutation on every side, O All!
You, infinite in power and in prowess,
Pervadest all these things; wherefore You are All. (40)

Whatever I have presumptuously said
From carelessness or love, addressing You as
“O Krishna, O Yadava, O Friend,” speaking
As a friend, unconscious of this Your greatness– (41)

However I may have been disrespectful
To You in jest, walking, reposing, sitting,
Eating, alone, with others, I implore You,
Immeasurable One, to forgive all this. (42)

The world’s Father–of the moving unmoving–
You are the worshipful Guru of gurus.
There is no one Your equal in the three worlds.
Who can excel You, Mighty beyond compare? (43)

Prostrating in adoration, do I crave
Forgiveness: as a father forgives his son,
A friend his dear friend, and a lover his love–
Thus even so should You forgive Me, O God. (44)

Overjoyed am I, seeing Your form, and yet
My mind is distracted with terror. Show me,
In mercy Lord, only Your previous form–
O Lord of gods, Abode of the universe. (45)

Diademed, bearing the mace and the discus,
I wish to see You as before. Assume then
That same beloved four-armed form of Yours, O
You of thousand arms, of universal form. (46)

The Holy Lord said:
Graciously have I shown to you, Arjuna,
This Form Supreme, by My own Yoga Power–
Form resplendent, infinite, universal,
Which has not been seen before by aught but you. (47)

Not by Vedic study or by sacrifice,
By gifts, rites, or by severe austerities
Am I seen in such Form in the world of men,
By any other than you, O Arjuna. (48)

Be not afraid or bewildered, having seen
This Form of Mine, so awesome, so terrible
With your fears dispelled and with your heart gladdened,
Now see once again this former Form of Mine. (49)

Sanjaya said:
Krishna, having thus spoken to Arjuna,
Showed once again His usual manlike form;
Thus the Great-souled One, assuming His gentle
Four-armed form pacified him, the terrified. (50)

Arjuna said:
Now having seen this, Your gentle
Man-like form, O Janardana,
My thoughts are now composed, and I
Am now restored to my nature. (51)

The Holy Lord said:
Verily, hard indeed it is
To behold this great form of Mine
Which you have seen. Even the gods
Ever long to behold this form. (52)

Not by Vedic study, nor by
Austerity, nor by gifts, nor
By sacrifice can I be seen
As on this day you have seen Me. (53)

By single-minded devotion
I may be known in this true form,
Seen in reality, also
Entered into, Scorcher of Foes. (54)

He who does work for Me alone,
Devoted to Me as his goal,
Freed from desire, without ill will
To any, enters into Me. (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 the next Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: The Yoga of Devotion

1) Ishwara: “God” or “Lord” in the sense of the Supreme Power, Ruler, Master, or Controller of the cosmos. “Ishwara” implies the powers of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. [Go back]

2) Ashwins: Two Vedic deities, celestial horsemen of the sun, always together, who herald the dawn and are skilled in healing. They avert misfortune and sickness and bring treasures. [Go back]

3) Sadhyas: A group of celestial beings with exquisitely refined natures thought to inhabit the ether. [Go back]

4) Ushmapas: A class of ancestors (pitris) which live off subtle emanations or vapors. [Go back]

5) Vayu: The Vedic god of the wind. [Go back]

6) Agni: Vedic god of fire. [Go back]

7) Chandra: Presiding deity of the moon or the astral lunar world (loka). [Go back]

8) Prajapati and Pitamaha (Grandfather, or Great Father) are titles of Brahma, the Creator. [Go back]

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Text of the Bhagavad Gita 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

The Bhagavad Gita—The Song of God A new Translation by Abbot George Burke

  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

Read the Maharshi Gita, an arrangement of verses of the Bhagavad Gita made by Sri Ramana Maharshi that gives an overview of the essential message of the Gita.

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

Visit our e-library page for Free Downloads of this and other ebooks in various formats.

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