Bhagawad Geeta, Class 144: Chapter 11, Verses 13 to 18


Shloka 11. 13:

तत्रैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं प्रविभक्तमनेकधा
अपश्यद्देवदेवस्य शरीरे पाण्डवस्तदा।।11.13।।

At that time, Pandava saw there, in the body of the God of gods, the whole diversely differentiated Universe united in the one (Cosmic form).

Swamiji said Arjuna asked for the Vishwa rupa darshanam and it involved two things. First our normal eyes that see the universe and second a special perspective of mind; to see the world as the manifestation of the Lord. For this we require a special attitude, which is born out of the study of the seventh, and ninth chapters,as well as a prepared mind. And if that proper attitude is not there, I will seethe Vishvam but it will not be seen as the Vishva rupa Ishvara.

Thus Ravana saw Rama but not God; it was the same with Kamsa as well who did not have a prepared mind. For Vishwa rupa Ishwara darshanam I need a prepared mind;a mind with a changed attitude, which is not only appropriate knowledge; it requires the knowledge that Lord alone manifests as the creation, thus, a cognitive factor is involved. And in addition to this cognitive factor, there should also be the purity of mind; a mind free from raga dvesha, a mind free from kama krodha, a mind,which is free from ahamkara and mamakara.

Soone needs a pure mind plus an enlightened intellect. This is Divya Chakshu.Thus Divya chakshu with the mamsa Chakshu gives us Vishwa rupa darshnam. Arjuna lacked this; so Sri Krishna gave him this Divya chakshu and he now gets the vision.

Arjunais dumbfounded by the vision. During this silence when Sri Krishna was blessing Arjuna with Divya chakshu, Sanjaya comes back on stage. Sanjaya has the benefit of  Vishwa rupa darshanam as well. How did Sanjaya get this power? Vyasacharyagave him the power to be able to see everything in the battlefield. Not only that he could also read peoples minds. So, Sanjaya reads Arjuna’s mind. Inshloka # 13, the shariram of god is the akasha. And in the akasha Shariram of the Lord;we saw the whole universe, which has been divided in manifold ways; in the form of galaxies and solar systems and planets and continents and island.

Thus Sanjaya saw Arjuna’s seeing.

Shloka # 14:

ततः विस्मयाविष्टो हृष्टरोमा धनञ्जयः
प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं कृताञ्जलिरभाषत।।11.14।।

Then, filled with wonder, with hairs standing on end, he, Dhananjaya, (Arjuna), bowing down with his head to the Lord, said with folded hands.

Because of change in perspective, Arjuna had a great impact from the vision. Sanjaya describes the emotional impact of the vision on Arjuna. He gives his description in a poetic form. Arjuna was stuck by wonder, because of his new perspective towards an ordinary thing, this world of ours. His wonderment was so deep that it was felt at the physical level. His hairs were standing and he was thrilled, says Sanjaya. He appreciated Lord in the form of the universe. He felt he was a speck of dust in front of the Lord. He performed namaskara by bowing his head down. He could not speak. He collected himself. Then, Arjuna spoke.

Shloka # 15:

अर्जुन उवाच

पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे
सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसङ्घान्
ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ
मृषींश्च सर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान्।।11.15।।

Arjuna said O God, I see in Your body all the gods as also hosts of (various) classes of beings; Brahma the ruler, sitting on a lotus seat, and all the heavenly sages and serpents.

Arjunais describing Vishwa rupa as seen by him. Vyasacharya wants to highlight Vishwarupa. To high light, he changes the meter of the shloka for all of us, the devotees. Arjuna goes through several emotions from this experience. He goes through three stages of experiences.

Fir ststage is Vismaya; the world is an ascharyam when you look at it from your pointof view (personal). This is called jiva drishti and is subjective; this is because of raga dvesha ahamkara, mamamkara. He is no more seeing a Jiva drshti.

Then you may ask: Swamiji; would you say the world is wonderful; even after the terrorist attack; how can you see the world is wonderful? I would say still the world is wonderful; because when you talk about the world; you are looking at the earth; and that too only the land; and there also only the few human beings; and that too those who have got Asuric thinking. If you are going to look at the totality of cosmos; all these devilry are nothing but a mosquito bite only; Even if the entire earth is blown up, it is nothing from the stand pointof total cosmos; a blot appears big if you are taking a square inch but the very same blot is nothing, if you have got a larger vision.

Often other wonderful things are not reported. We don’t have a total picture. In totality even a world war is a small spec.

So, Ishwara srishti is wonderful even with a few negative points. Shlokas # 15 to #22 is a description of Arjuna’s astonishment. From Shloka # 22 onward another emotional change is described.

Anything huge creates wonderment in us. Thus Niagara Falls is astonishing due to its hugeness. So also Vishwa rupa is a wonder.

O lord I am seeing all the gods in Vishwa rupa sharira. I see multitudes of living beings, smallest to highest states of evolution. I also see Brahmaji sitting on a lotus. Here the word Isha is not Shiva but Vishnu. I see allcelestial Rshisi’s. I see divine serpents; I see all 14 Lokas as well.

This leads to a question. Did Arjuna see the physical world or did he see celestial worlds; the shloka says, he saw all worlds. It is more a poetic description of Vishwa rupa and not a literal one. Later, it says Arjuna saw Bhishma, Drona and others entering Lords mouth and getting crushed. Is it literal or poetic? If the description is literal, then where is the reason for Arjuna killing them?  Hence it is poetic. Suppose you say, it is not poetic and that he really did see the higher lokas. Then remember seeing higher lokas is not goal of Vishwarupa darshnam. Seeing higher lokas does not give liberation. What is important is, Vishwa rupa darshanam. This darshanam is seeing the ordinary world as manifestation of Lord. So manner of seeing is more important than the object of seeing. So how you see is more important than what you see.

Shloka # 16:

पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरूपम्
नान्तं मध्यं पुनस्तवादिं
पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूप।।11.16।।

I see You as possessed of numerous arms, bellies, mouths and eyes; as having infinite forms all around. O Lord of the Universe, O Cosmic Person, I see not Your limit nor the middle, nor again the beginning!

Heret hings become clear. Vihsva rupa darshanam is not an extra ordinary vision; but an extra ordinary attitude towards the ordinary things of creation.

I see your Vishwa rupa with many faces or mouths. Swamiji says we should not conceive this comment as a body with many faces rather it all hands, mouths, faces of all people in universe that Arjuna sees.

O lord you have limitless form. Thus, each one of us is unique.

What a wonderful creation they say; one thump impression will not be the same as another; and one denture, teeth alignment will not be the same as another; in forensic department they use this information; and once skull is joined it will not be like another; Even with the population of the world; each one of us is unique; thus each one us is Vishva rupa Ishvara.

I don’t see your middle, beginning and end. Scientists too have not yet found the edge of cosmos. If we don’t see beginning end and how can we see the middle?

O Lord you are the limitless Vishwa Rupa, the one whose body is the world.

Shloka # 17:

किरीटिनं गदिनं चक्रिणं
तेजोराशिं सर्वतोदीप्तिमन्तम्
पश्यामि त्वां दुर्निरीक्ष्यं समन्ता

I see You as wearing a diadem, wielding a mace, and holding a disc; a mass of brilliance glowing all around, difficult to look at from all sides, possessed of the radiance of the blazing fire and sun, and immeasurable.

Arjuna says You have thousands of crowns. It is all the crowns on heads of all kings that are God’s. I see you with thousands of maces and chakras. You are a mass of effulgence shining in all directions. Your effulgence is so glaring that I cant open my eyes fully. All this is Vishwa Rupam.

Swamiji cited a trip he took to Amarnath with many devotees who were all over 60.  Amarnath lingam is of ice and if it melts you can’t get saguna darshanam. Now,what we wanted did not happen. There, we saw the nirguna Brahman darshanam.This route of about 48 Kms is a wonderful sight all around. The people, however, did not see the spiritual aspects, as travel was arduous. These deities are in such remote locations to help us develop Vishwa Rupa darshanam.Towards last kilometer of journey we had to walk over snow and with ther eflection of sun it was a dazzling sunlight. It reminded us of a lord whose effulgence is like a blazing sun. It is an incomparable vision.

Shloka # 18:

त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं
त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम्
त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता
सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे।।11.18।।

You are the Immutable, the supreme One to be known; You are the most perfect repository of this Universe. You are the Imperishable, the Protector of the ever-existing religion; You are the eterna lPerson. This is my belief.

Arjuna’s reverence for Sri Krishna is increasing with his wonderment. You are the imperishable god, both saguna and nirguna. Remember creation is always there in manifest or unmanifest form.

Maya is known as vatapathra; vatapathram means banian tree; symbolic of Maya; In maya, the Lord has withheld the whole creation. Thus the world is eternal; during pralaya it is unmanifest; during srishti, it is manifest; Therefore even the Vishva rupa Ishvara eternally exists in avyaktha or vyaktha rupa and therefore Vishva rupa is eternal and of course nirgunambrahma is also eternal;  You are the highest eternal principle, the nirgunam Brahma that is to be known by all.

You are the ultimate substratum of entire creation; you are sarva adharam. Why ultimate support of everything? One support is relative while another is permanent. A desk supports a book; but desk itself is supported by something else. Ultimate support is one that supports all, but it itself is not supported by anything. Chaitanyam supports even space. Even space has arrival and departure therefore there is locus for space; therefore try to conceive of this; everything has got a locus in space; but space itself has a locus; if you say how to conceive of it;that is called vedanta; conceiving the inconceivable; Therefore chaitanyam is the support of even akasha; paramnidhanam.

Youare in exhaustible and not affected by time. Arjuna is describing nirgunam Brahman. How does he know nirgunam Brahman? He knows of it from description of scriptures and he repeats it.

Take away:

Vishwa Rupa Darshanam: So manner of seeing is more important than the object of seeing. So how you see is more important than what you see. 

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy