Preamble

In  the previous Chapter the Lord explained His presence in all things and beings  in His different manifestations indicating that the Self is the substratum for  the world of multiplicities. In this Chapter He provides Arjuna with a  practical demonstration to show that everything exists in the Self. It is  easier to see the Self in finite objects than to cognize the entire Universe in  one Reality, the Self.

The  concept of space divides the individual objects from one another. If there is  no space in between them all objects will come together so closely that they  become one single entity. In this mass of things there will certainly be  different shapes and forms of all things at one and the same place and time.  This is the picture of the Universal or Cosmic Man, the vision of the world  viewed from a mind wherein there is no concept of time and space.

Sri  Krishna removes the concept of space from Arjuna's mind and assumes Himself the  form of one universal structure to demonstrate that everything in the Universe  is in Him. Having seen this form of The Lord, Arjuna re-visits his faith and  understanding. In this Chapter we see Arjuna full of emotions of wonder, amazement,  fear, reverence, devotion etc. In its concept and description, this  Chapter is considered as one of the highest philosophical poems in all the  sacred books of the world.

A  major part of this Chapter is soleley devoted to a description of the Cosmic  Body and praises offered by Arjuna to the Lord manifested in that form; hence  it has been given the title Vishwaroopa Darshana Yogah: Yoga of the Vision of  the Universal Form.

The Text

On  hearing the Lord declaring that the entire universe is held in a mere fraction  of His being, Arjuna is desirous of seeing with his own eyes the form of the  Lord that so sustains the world system. Therefore, extolling the Lord and His  teachings, Arjuna requests Him to grant him a direct vision of His Cosmic Body.

arjuna uvaacha
    madanugrahaaya paramam  guhyamadhyaatmasamjnitam
    yattwayoktam vachastena  moho'yam vigato mama // 11.1 //

Arjuna  said
    Out  of compassion towards me, You have spoken words of ultimate profundity concerning  the Self and they have dispelled my delusion.

Removal  of delusion or misunderstanding is not equivalent to acquiring knowledge of the  Real. The illusion that things of the world exist in themselves and maintain  themselves, that they live and move apart from God and hence he is responsible  for his relatives being killed and that he would be committing sin etc., have  disappeared from Arjuna but he has not yet experienced the Unity in diversity.

bhavaapyayau hi bhootaanaam shrutau  vistarasho mayaa
    twattah kamalapatraaksha maahaatmyamapi  chaa'vyayam // 11.2 //

I  have learnt from You at length, O Lotus-eyed Lord, of the origin and dissolution  of beings, and also Your inexhaustible greatness.

Although  Arjuna says that he has understood that The Lord is immanent in all names and  forms still some doubts linger in his mind which could be removed only through  practical demonstration. This verse is preparing him to demand such a proof. In  this Chapter the Lord out of His sheer kindness shows His Cosmic form to Arjuna  just because he asked for it.

Kamalapatraksha:  Lotus-eyed, having eyes like lotus leaves. It also means knowledge of the Self.  He who can be obtained by the knowledge of the Self is Kamalapatraksha.

evametadyathaattha twamaatmaanam  parameshwara
    drahstumicchaami te roopamaishwaram  purushottama // 11.3 //

(Now)  O Supreme Lord, as You have thus described Yourself, in that way, O Supreme  Purusha, I wish to see actually Your Ishwara Form.

Ishwara  Form: As possessed of omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, infinite strength,  infinite virtue and infinite splendor. These are the six qualities which characterize  the God - Principle. Arjuna tells the Lord that he desires to see that Ishwara  or Divine or Cosmic Form of His.

manyase yadi tacchakyam mayaa drashtumiti  prabho
    yogeshwara tato me twam  darshayaa'tmaanamavyayam // 11.4 //

O  Lord, if you think it possible for me to see it, then You please, O Lord of  Yogis, reveal to me your form of Imperishable Self.

It  is one thing to know that the Eternal Spirit dwells in all things and another  to have the vision of it. Arjuna now wishes to see the Cosmic Form of The Lord,  the visible embodiment of the Unseen Divine, how He is the `birth and passing  away of all beings'. The idea is that the abstract metaphysical truth should be  given a visible reality.
   
  Yogeshwara:  Lord of Yogis - A yogi is one who is endowed with the eight psychic powers. A  Yogeshwara is the Lord of such Yogis. Yoga is the identification of the  individual soul with the Self. He who bestows this realization of identity on  the deserving spiritual aspirant is a Yogeswara.