Bhagavad Gita- Chap 11 (Part-1) Vishwaroopa Darshana Yogah- Yoga of the Vision of the Universal Form

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roopam mahat te bahuvaktranetram
    mahaabaaho bahubaahoorupaadam
    bahoodaram bahudamshtraakaraalam
    drishtwa lokaah pravyathitaastathaa'ham  // 11.23//

Having  seen Your immeasurable form with many mouths and eyes, O Mighty-armed, with many  arms, thighs and feet, with many stomachs and fearful with many tusks, the  worlds are frightened and so am I.

These terms of poetic description bring about the  universality and omnipresence of the Supreme. The Universal form of the Lord  reveals to Arjuna the malevolent and benevolent aspects of the creation both of  which are necessary to complete the picture and understand the whole containing  the pairs of opposites.

nabhahsprisham deeptamanekavarnam
    vyaattaananam deeptavishaalanetram
    drishtwaa hi twaam  pravyathitaantaraaatmaa
    dhritim na vindaami shamam cha vishno //  11.24 //

On  seeing You (Your Form) touching the sky, shining in many colors, with mouths  wide open, with large fiery eyes, I am terrified at heart and find neither  courage nor peace, O Vishnu !

The  vision experienced by Arjuna here is not actually a physical appearance but a  wide, all pervading manifestation of the Lord signifying the omnipotence of the  Supreme. Arjuna feels that His Universal Form has a definite shape and color  which is so uncommon and terrifying that he has no courage to face it.

damshtraakaraalaani cha te mukhaani
    drishtwaiva kaalaanalasannibhaani
    disho na jaane na labhe cha sharma
    praseeda devesha jagannivaasa // 11.25  //

When  I behold your mouths striking terror with their tusks, like Time’s  all-consuming fire, I am disoriented and find no peace; be gracious, O Lord of  the Devas, O Abode of the Universe.

Pralaya  Fires: The fires which consume the worlds during the final dissolution of the  universe. Time (Kala) is the consumer of all that is manifested. The tremendous  experience has in it elements of astonishment, terror and rapture. In this  condition of extreme wonder an individual loses his vanity and stands before  the Cosmic Power with utter humility and self-surrender.

amee cha twaam dhritaraashtrasya putraah
    sarve sahaivaavanipaalasanghaih
    bheeshmo dronah sootaputraastathaa'sau
    sahaasmadeeyairapi yodhamukhyaih // 11.26  //

vaktraani te twaramaanaa vishanti
    damshtraakaraalaani bhayaanakaani
    kechidwilagnaa dashanaanthareshu
    sandhrishyante choornitairuttamaangaih  // 11.27 //

All  the sons of Dhritarashtra with hosts of kings of the earth, Bhishma, Drona and  Karna,  along with the chief warriors on  our side too - enter, hurriedly, your mouths with terrible teeth and fearful to  behold. Some are found sticking in the gaps between the teeth with their heads  crushed to powder.

These  strange descriptions of The Lord or the Cosmic Form are to reassure Arjuna as  to how the forces are entering into the inescapable mouth of time `kala' and disappear.  Destruction always precedes construction. Here the power of destruction of the  Supreme as well as His ugly and bitter forms is given.

The  Multiplicity that has risen from the Totality, after its play upon the surface  of Truth, must necessarily rush back in all hurry into the very whole from  which it had risen up. Arjuna thus observes Bhishma, Karna etc entering into  the mouth of the principle of destruction as represented by the Cosmic Form.  This sight not only frightens Arjuna but generates in him self-confidence to  face the events of future.

In  the Universal Form of The Lord wherein He expresses Himself as the entire world  of phenomena indicating the principle of oneness, the concepts of space and  time disappear. Therefore, when the whole Universe is brought together at the  same time and place Arjuna could see the past, present and the future.

yathaa nadeenaam bahavo'mbuvegaah
    samudramevaabhimukhaah dravanti
    tathaa tawaamee naraloka veeraa
    vishanti vaktraanyabhivijwalanti // 11.28  //

Verily,  as many torrents of rivers flow towards the ocean, so these heroes in the world  of men enter your fiercely flaming mouths.

yathaa pradeeptam jwalanam patangaa
    vishanti naashaaya samriddhavegaah
    tathai va naashaaya vishanti lokaas
    tavaapi vaktraani samriddhavegaah // 11.29  //

As  moths hurriedly rush into a blazing fire for their own destruction, so also  these creatures hurriedly rush into your mouths for destruction.

The  essential oneness between the manifest (river) that has come out of the  unmanifest (ocean) and the very unmanifest which is the source of all  manifestation has been illustrated in this verse. It is also to be noted that  the manifest looses its name and form and becomes one with the unmanifest at  the end of its journey. The projection of unmanifest to the manifest-condition  is the process of creation and that the manifest merging back to its own  sanctuary of the unmanifest is destruction or death.

These  two verses vividly illustrate how the assembled warriors rush to destruction,  out of their own uncontrollable nature, with or without discrimination.

As  the rivers flow towards the ocean, as the moths fly into the fire, so too all  names and forms must, that too willingly, rush towards the unmanifest. If  anyone realizes this, he can live without fear of death with the full  understanding that life is nothing but a process of continuous change.

“These  beings blinded by their own ignorance are rushing to their destruction and the  Divine Controller permits it, as they are carrying out the effects of their own  deeds. When we will a deed, we will its consequences also. The free activities  subject us to their results. As the law of cause and consequence is an  expression of the Divine mind, the Divine may be said to execute the law. While  we think consecutively, Divine mind knows all as one. There is no past or  future to It”. Dr.S.Radhakrishnan.

lelihyase grasamaanah samantaal
    lokaan samagraan vadanair jwaladbhih
    tejobhiraapoorya jagatsamagram
    bhaasastavograah pratapanti vishno // 11.30  //

Swallowing  all the worlds on every side with Your flaming mouths, You are licking (in  enjoyment) Your lips. Your fierce rays, filling the whole world with radiance,  are burning, O Vishnu!

The  principle of destruction is never ending. Hence Arjuna exclaims `You are  swallowing the entire world and licking Your lips in enjoyment'. This verse  gives us an idea about the Trinity viz. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. Death,  birth, sustenance and again death is the continuous process of existence which  is revealed in the Cosmic Form. Arjuna thus notices Its resplendency and  wonders about the fiery radiance of the fierce rays of The Lord.

aakhyaahi  me ko bhavaanugraroopo
    namo'stu te  devavara praseeda
    vijnaatumicchaami  bhavantamaadyam
    na hi  prajaanaami tava pravrittim // 11.31 //

Tell  me who You are so fierce in form. Salutations to You, O God Supreme, have  mercy. I desire to know You, the Primeval One. I know not indeed Your purpose.

The  disciple seeks for deeper knowledge. Arjuna, realizing the sanctity and divinity  of The Lord's power, bows down and humbly requests Him to tell him who He is.  He refers to The Lord as Primeval One (Original Being).He asks Him His purpose  or His mission in taking such a terrible form and presenting Himself before him  exhibiting how the Kaurava forces are going in all hurry towards their  destruction.

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