GOD AS THE JUDGE
sri bhagavan uvaacha
kaalo'smi lokakshayakrit pravriddho
lokaan samaahartumiha pravrittah
ritepi twaam na bhavishyanti sarve
ye'wasthitaah pratyaneekeshu yodhaah // 11.32 //
Sri Bhagavan said
I am the mighty world-destroying Time now engaged in subduing the world. Even without you, none of the warriors arrayed in the opposite armies shall live.
The power that is behind destruction and construction is that which rules over things and governs the lives of beings. Sri Krishna declares that this power is the all destroying ‘Kala’. Kala or Time is the prime mover of the Universe. If God is thought of as time, then He is perpetually creating and destroying. Time is the streaming flux which moves unceasingly. Time absorbs in its womb of oblivion all names and forms.
The Supreme Being takes up the responsibility for both creation and destruction. The doctrine that God is responsible for all that is good and Devil is responsible for all that is evil is a clumsy device. If God is responsible for mortal existence, then He is responsible for all that it includes - life and creation, anguish and death, pain and pleasure and so on. The Gita teaches us to see Reality as a whole. God, the bountiful and prodigal Creator and Preserver is also the God, the Destroyer and Devourer.
God has control over time because He is outside of it. As the force behind this, He sees farther than us, knows how all events are controlled and so tells Arjuna that causes have been at work for years and are moving towards their natural effects which we cannot prevent by anything we know of. The destruction of the enemies is decided irrevocably by acts committed by themselves long ago. There is an impersonal fate, a general cosmic necessity, the will of the Sovereign Personality, which pursues its own unrecognizable agenda. All protestations, abstentions, non-interventions of the individuals against it are of no avail before the divine will. On the contrary such complaints increase confusion.
tasmaat twam uttishtha yasho labhaswa
jitwaa shatroon bhungkshwa raajyam samriddham
mayaivaite nihataah poorvameva
nimittamaatram bhava savyasaachin // 11.33 //
Therefore, stand up and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy an opulent kingdom. Verily, by Me and none other they have been already slain; you be a mere instrument, O Arjuna!
Savyasaachin: Arjuna, the one who could shoot arrows with his left hand as well as his right.
dronam cha bheeshmam cha jayadratham cha
karnam tathaa'nyaanapi yodhaveeraan
mayaa hataamstwam jahi maa vyathishthaa
yudhyaswa jetaasi rane sapatnaan // 11.34 //
Do Slay Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and other great warriors as well who have already been slain by Me ; be not distressed with fear ; fight and you shall conquer your enemies in the battle.
Sri Krishna says whatever be the strength of the negative forces they have already been destroyed by the all powerful `Time' and Arjuna has only to act as an instrument in their ruin and claim victory to himself. In fact during all actions in our lives we are merely the instruments in the hands of The Lord. The concept of self surrender for serving the world in the constant awareness of The Lord is the only way for claiming glory in our lives. The God of destiny decides and ordains all things and Arjuna is to be the instrument, the flute under the fingers of the Omnipotent One who works out the mighty evolution. Arjuna is self-deceived if he believes that he should act according to his own imperfect judgment. No individual soul can encroach on the prerogative of God. In refusing to take up arms, Arjuna is guilty of such mischievous presumption.
The doctrine of Divine Predetermination is upheld here that indicates utter helplessness and insignificance of the individual and the futility of his will and efforts. The decision is made already and Arjuna can do nothing to change it. This however does not mean that the cosmic process is a mere unveiling of a ready made scenario. It only affirms the meaning of eternity in which all moments of the whole of time, past, present and future, are contemporary to the Divine Spirit. Each moment of evolution in time has no novelty in it nor does it project any inconsistency in the Divine Eternity.
The ideas of God are worked out through human instrumentality. Nothing exists save the Lord's will. He alone is the doer and we are only the instruments. Judged from the human standards the consequences of war are abhorrent and hence none should encourage it. But once the purpose of the Almighty behind the war is revealed Arjuna acquiesces in it. What he desires or what he gains do not count any more. Behind this world of space-time, inter-penetrating it, is the creative purpose of God. We must understand that Supreme Design and be content to serve it. The consciousness of the divine agency and its constant application in all works release man from responsibility.
Every act is a symbol of something beyond itself. Sri Krishna specifically mentioned the names of the four great warriors because they were considered invincible and even then they were eliminated by the Principle of Destruction and therefore He advises Arjuna not to be afraid of incurring sin by killing them and others though they are venerable to him.
When Krishna tells Arjuna that he will conquer his enemies in the battle we have to understand it as the divine will and that Arjuna is not permitted to take credit for his victory.
Concepts and Issues
After hearing the secret of divine manifestation and its glory Arjuna says his delusion has gone and expresses his eagerness to see the Lord's Cosmic Form. As the Cosmic Form cannot be seen by the ordinary physical eyes Sri Krishna bestows Arjuna with Divine Vision to enable him to see such form.
Sanjaya who was witnessing everything happening in the battlefield describes to Dhritarashtra the Cosmic Form of the Lord as seen by Arjuna.
It is an extraordinary form with myriads of faces, ornaments and weapons. Decorated with divine garlands and garments, the wondrous cosmic form is more brilliant than a million suns. The whole world of variegated forms constitutes only a small part of his being.
Excited by wonder and joy, Arjuna starts praying to that Divinity. This beautiful hymn of 17 verses gives nice description of the Cosmic Form. All beings- divine, human and subhuman- are being seen in Him. He has several arms, stomachs and faces. He is extraordinarily brilliant. He has pervaded the whole space. All beings like gods and sages, are praising Him with folded hands. The various heroes arrayed on the battlefield are entering into Him and getting destroyed like moths in the fire. Gripped with fear and wonder, Arjuna prays to Him to reveal who He is.
The Lord replies that He is Time, the eternal destroyer. He has come to annihilate the warriors in the enemy armies. Since this task will be achieved by Him even without Arjuna's involvement, the Lord advises Arjuna to fight merely as an instrument and get victory, fame and kingdom.
The underlying concept behind this Chapter is that Brahman is the substratum behind the phenomenal universe and that every thing therein moves according to the Divine Law irrespective of what man thinks or does.
Live as the Gita Teaches You to Live
The advice is surrender to the Allmighty and to do our duty as His chosen instruments without any egoism.
Points to Ponder
1. What is the significance of the Cosmic Form?
2. Elucidate the contrast between this Chapter and the previous one.
3. What is meant by acting as an instrument?
4. What is the requirement for seeing the Cosmic Form?
Next time we will proceed from the Verse 11.35