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