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In the last chapter Krishn gave only a brief account of his outstanding glories, but Arjun thought complacently that he had known enough. He, therefore, averred that after listening to Krishn’s words he was rid of all his delusions. At the same time, however, as he admits in the present chapter, he is curious to know what Krishn has told him before in a more tangible form. Hearing is as different from seeing as the east is from the west. When a seeker endeavours towards his destination to see it with his own eyes, what he knows then may be quite different from that which he had visualized. So when Arjun has a direct vision of God, he begins to tremble with fear and beg for mercy. Does an enlightened man know fear? Is he left with any further curiosity? The fact of the matter is that what is known at just the intellectual level is at best vague and undefined. At the same time, however, it definitely prompts to a desire for true knowledge. So Arjun entreats Krishn.

1. "Arjun said, ‘The compassionate words with which you have instructed me in the secret and most exalted knowledge have dispelled my ignorance."’

What Krishn has told him of the relation between the Supreme Spirit and the individual Soul has allayed his delusions and filled him with the light of knowledge.

2. ‘‘For I have learnt from you, O the lotus-eyed, not only a detailed account of the origin and dissolution of beings, but also of your imperishable glory.’’

He fully believes the truth of what Krishn has told him, and yet-

3. "You are, O Lord, what you have told me, but I wish, O Supreme Being, to have a direct vision of your form in all its divine magnificence."

Not satisfied with what he has learnt only by hearing, he wishes to see it in a palpable form.

4."Show me, O Lord, your eternal form if you consider,O Yogeshwar, that it is possible to see it.’’

Krishn does not object to this request because Arjun is his devoted pupil and beloved friend. So he readily grants his prayer and reveals his cosmic form.

5. "The Lord said, ‘Behold, O Parth, my hundreds and thousands of various celestial manifestations of different hues and forms."’

6. "See in me, O Bharat, the sons of Aditi, the Rudr, the Vasu, the Ashwin brothers, and the Marut, as well as numerous other marvellous forms that have not been seen before."

7. ‘Now, O Gudakesh, see in my body at this one place the whole animate and inanimate world, and whatever else you desire to know."

Thus the Lord continues to manifest his form through three consecutive verses, but the poor Arjun cannot see anything. He can only rub his eyes in bewilderment. Krishn notices Arjun’s predicament, stops abruptly, and says:

8. "But since you cannot see me with your physical eyes, I grant you divine vision with which you may behold my magnificence and the might of my yog.’’

Arjun is blessed with spiritual vision by Krishn’s grace. And, in an exactly similar fashion, Sanjay, the charioteer of Dhritrashtr, is also blessed with divine sight by Yogeshwar Vyas’ compassion. Therefore, what is visible to Arjun is also seen in precisely the same form by Sanjay, and by virtue of sharing the vision he also shares the good that accrues from it.

9. "Sanjay said (to Dhritrashtr), ‘After speaking thus, O King, the Lord-the great master of yog-revealed his supreme, omnipresent form to Arjun."

The master of yog, a yogi himself and capable of bestowing yog upon others, is named Yogeshwar. He is, similarly, God (Hari) who seizes and carries away everything. If he only does away with grief and spares joy, grief will make a comeback. So "Hari" is one who destroys sins and has the power of conferring his own form on others. So he, who has been all the time before Arjun, now reveals his all-pervading, radiant being.

10-11. "And (Arjun beheld before himself) the infinite, all-pervading God with numerous mouths and eyes, many wondrous manifestations, decked with various ornaments, carrying many weapons in his hands, wearing celestial garlands and apparel, anointed with heavenly perfumes, and endowed with all kinds of wonder.’’

The marvellous sight is also rendered perceptible to Dhritrashtr, the blind king, the very image of ignorance, by Sanjay-the embodiment of restraint.

12. "Even the light of a thousand suns in the sky could hardly match the radiance of the omnipresent God."

13. "Pandu’s son (Arjun) then saw in the body of Krishn, the God of gods, the many separate worlds together.

Arjun’s vision of all the worlds within Krishn is a sign of his affectionate devotion which arises from virtue.

14. ‘‘Then overwhelmed by awe and with his hair standing on end, Arjun paid obeisance to the great God and spoke thus with folded hands.’’

Arjun had also paid homage to Krishn earlier, but now after having seen his divine majesty he bows deeper. The reverence he now feels for Krishn is a much profounder feeling than what he had experienced before.

15. "Arjun said, ‘I see in you, O Lord, all the gods, hosts of beings. Brahma on his lotus-seat, Mahadev, all the great sages, and miraculous serpents.’’’

This is direct perception rather than a flight of fancy, and such a clear vision is possible only when a Yogeshwar grants eyes that can see it. A concrete apprehension of reality such as this is accessible only with the proper means.

16. "O Lord of all the worlds, I behold your many stomachs, mouths, and eyes as well as your infinite forms of all kinds, but, O the Omnipresent, I can see neither your end, your middle, nor your beginning.’’

17. "I see you crowned and armed with a mace and a chakr, luminous all over, like blazing fire and the sun, dazzling, and immeasurable.

We have here an all-embracing enumeration of the glories of Krishn. Such is his celestial brightness that eyes are blinded if they try to see him. He is beyond comprehension by the mind. However, Arjun can perceive him because he has completely surrendered all his senses to him. And he is so awed by what he sees that he resorts to flattering panegyrics, by praising some of Krishn’s many qualities.

18. ‘‘I believe that you are Akshar, the imperishable God who is worthy of being known, the supreme goal of the Self, the great haven of the world, keeper of eternal Dharm, and the universal Supreme Spirit.’’

These are also the qualities of the Self. He too, is universal, eternal, unmanifest and imperishable. The sage attains to the same state after his worship is brought to successful completion. That is why the individual Soul and the Supreme Spirit are said to be identical.

19. "I see you without beginning, end or middle, possessed of boundless might, innumerable hands, eyes like the sun and the moon, and a face as bright as fire, lighting up the world with your radiance.’’

At first Krishn reveals his numerous forms, but now he appears as one and infinite. However, what are we to make of Arjun’s statement that while one eye of God is like the sun, the other is like the moon? What is required is that these words should not be taken literally. It is not that one eye of God is bright like the sun while the other is dim like the moon. The meaning of the statement is rather that both brightness such as that of the sun and serenity such as that of the moon emanate from him: both the radiance of knowledge and the calm of tranquillity. The sun and the moon are symbols here. God shines upon the world like both the sun and the moon, and he is now seen by Arjun as infusing the entire world with his dazzling radiance. 

20. "And, O Supreme Being, the whole space between heaven and earth is filled up by you and the three worlds are trembling with fear at the sight of your divine but terrible form."

21. "Multitudes of gods are dissolving in you while a host of them are fearfully extolling your name and glories with folded hands, and, repeatedly pronouncing benediction, hosts of great sages and men of attainment are singing sublime hymns in your praise.’’

22. "The Rudr, sons of Aditi, Vasu, Sadhya, sons of vishwa, the Ashwin, Marut, Agni and hordes of gandharv, yaksh, demons and men of achievement, are all looking up at you with marvel."

Gods, Agni and multitudes of gandharv, yaksh and demons are looking with wonder at the omnipresent form of Krishn. They are amazed because they are unable to comprehend him. They do not in fact have the vision with which they can view his essence. Krishn has said earlier that men with demoniacal nature and the vulgar regard and address him as a petty mortal, whereas, although possessed of a human body, he really dwells in the supreme God. That is why gods, Agni and hosts of gandharv, yaksh and demons are all looking up at him with amazement. They are unable to see and grasp the reality.

23. "Looking at your colossus form with its many mouths and eyes, hands, thighs and feet, stomachs and dreadful tusks, O the mighty-armed, all beings are struck with terror and so am I."

Both Krishn and Arjun are possessed of mighty arms. The one whose sphere of action extends beyond nature is "mighty-armed." Whereas Krishn has achieved perfection in the field and arrived at its furthest extent, Arjun has been just initiated and is yet on his way. His destination is yet far away. Now when he looks at the universal form of Krishn, like others he is also awed by the incomprehensible greatness of God.

24. "When I look at your enormous, dazzling form that reaches right up to the sky, with its numerous manifestations, wide open mouth, and huge glowing eyes, O Vishnu, my inmost soul trembles in fear, I am bereft of courage and peace of mind.’’

25. "Since I have lost my sense of direction and joy by beholding you faces with their frightening tusks and flaming like the great conflagration that is believed to consume the world in the event of doom, I entreat you, O God of gods, to be merciful and pacified."

26. "And I see Dhritrashtr’s sons along with many other kings, Bheeshm, Dronacharya, Karn, even the commanders of our side and all..."

27. "Beings rushing wildly into your dreadful mouth with its terrible tusks, and some of them lying between your teeth with crushed heads.’’

28. "Warriors of the human world are flinging themselves into your flaming mouths just as numerous rivers plunge into the ocean."

Currents of rivers are furious themselves and yet they rush into the ocean. Even so multitudes of warriors are rushing into the fiery mouths of God. They are men of courage and valour, but God is like the ocean. Human strength is nothing against his might. The following verse illustrates why and how they hurl themselves into him.

29. "They cast themselves into your mouths for their destruction just as flying insects fling themselves into the flame."

30. "Devouring all the worlds with your flaming mouths and licking your lips, your intense lustre is consuming the whole world by filling it with its radiance."

This is clearly a portrayal of the dissolution of unrighteous properties in God after which even the utility of the treasure of divinity is dispensed with. Righteous properties, too, then merge into the same Self. Arjun sees the Kaurav warriors and then the warriors of his own army vanishing into Krishn’s mouth. So he pleads with him.

31. "Since I am ignorant of your nature, O Primal Being, and wish to know its reality, I pay my humble obeisance and pray you, O supreme God, to tell me who you are in this terrible form.’’

Arjun wishes to know who Krishn is in his immense form and what he intends to do. He does not yet fully understand the ways in which God fulfils himself. Thereupon Krishn speaks to him.

32. "The Lord said, ‘l am the almighty time (kal), now inclined to and engaged in the destruction of worlds, and warriors of the opposing armies are going to die even without your killing them.’ "

He further adds:

33. "So you should get up and earn renown and enjoy a thriving and affluent kingdom by vanquishing your enemies, because these warriors have already been killed by me and you, O Savyasachin (Arjun), have to be just the nominal agent of their destruction."

Krishn has said repeatedly that God neither acts himself nor causes others to act, and does not even devise coincidences. It is only because of their deluded minds that people believe that every action is effected by God. But here we have Krishn himself getting up and saying that he has already annihilated his foes. Arjun has to do nothing more save merely taking the credit for this by making just a gesture of killing them. This again takes us back to his essential nature. He is the image of affectionate devotion, and God is ever inclined to help and support such loving worshippers. He is a doer for them-their charioteer.

This is the third occasion when the idea of "kingdom" occurs in the Geeta. Initially Arjun did not want to fight and he told Krishn that he could not see how his becoming an uncontested ruler of a thriving and wealthy kingdom on the earth or even an Indr-like lord of Gods could wipe out the grief that was wearing out his senses. He did not want either of these if his grief was to persist even after his achievement of these rewards. Yogeshwar Krishn then told him that in case of defeat in the war he would be rewarded with heavenly existence and, in case of victory, with attainment of the Supreme Spirit. And now he says that the enemies have already been slain by him and that Arjun has to act just as a proxy to win both renown and rulership of a thriving realm. Does Krishn mean by this that he is going to bestow upon Arjun the very worldly rewards with which he is so evidently disillusioned-the rewards in which he cannot see the end of his misery? Such, however, is not the case. The promised reward is the ultimate union with God that results from a destruction of all contradictions of the material world. This is the only permanent attainment, which is never destroyed and which is an outcome of raj-yog, the highest form of all yog. So Krishn once more exhorts Arjun to-

34. "Destroy, without any fear, Dronacharya, Bheeshm, Jayadrath, Karn, and the many other warriors who have already been killed by me, and fight because you will doubtlessly vanquish your foes.’’

Here, again, Krishn exhorts Arjun to kill the enemies who have already been destroyed by him. Doesn’t this suggest that he is the doer, whereas he had said explicitly in verses 13-15 of Chapter 5 that God is a non-doer? Apart from this he will later assert that there are only five means by which both good and evil actions are executed: basis (the governing power under the auspices of which something is done), the agent (mind), the instruments or means (senses as well as disposition), efforts or exertions (desires), and providence (which is determined by actions in previous existence). They who say that God is the sole doer are ignorant and deceived. What, then, is the explanation for this contradiction?The truth is that there is a dividing line between nature and the Supreme Spirit. So long as the influence of the objects of nature is dominant, universal ignorance (maya) is the motivating force. But, after a worshipper has transcended nature, he succeeds in gaining admission to the sphere of action of the adored God or, in other words, of the enlightened Guru. Let us not forget that in the sense of "motivator," an accomplished teacher. Let us not forget that in the sense of ‘‘motivator,’’ an accomplished teacher the individual Soul, the Supreme Soul, the object of worship, and God are all synonymous. The directions received by the worshipper all come from God. After this stage, God or the accomplished Guru -arising from the Soul of the worshipper himself-is present in his heart like a charioteer who guides him on the right path.The revered Maharaj Ji used to say, "Mark that the act of worship has not commenced adequately until the worshipper is aware of his Self and God has come down to his level. Henceforth, whatever he does is a gift from God. The worshipper then goes along the way only according to God’s signals and directions. The worshipper’s success is a grace of God. It is God who sees through the eyes of the worshipper, shows him the path, and so enables him at last to become one with himself." This is what Krishn means when he tells Arjun to kill his enemies. Arjun will surely win, for God himself is standing by him.

35. "Sanjay (further) said (to Dhritrashtr),’ Trembling with fear at hearing these words of Keshav and overwhelmed by feeling, Arjun thus spoke to Krishn with folded hands and reverent humbleness.’ "

Sanjay has seen exactly what Arjun has seen. Dhritrashtr is blind, but even he can see, hear, and understand clearly through restraint.

36. "Arjun said, ‘It is but right, O Hrishikesh, that men rejoice in singing praises of your name and glory, demons flee helter-skelter out of fear of your glory, and accomplished sages bow to you in reverence.’ "

37. "What else can they do, O Great Soul, besides paying homage to you when you are, O God of gods and primal energy of the universe, the imperishable Supreme Spirit who is beyond all being and the non-being ?"

Arjun can speak so because he has had a direct vision of the imperishable God. Just a view or assumption at the intellectual level cannot lead one to realization of the indestructible Supreme Spirit. Arjun’s vision of God is an inner, perception.

38. "You, O infinite, are the primal God, eternal Spirit, the ultimate heaven of the world, seer, worthy of realization, the supreme goal, and the all-pervading."

39. "As you are the wind, the god of death (Yamraj), fire, the rain-god (Varun), the moon, the Lord of all creation, and even the primal root of Brahma, I bow before you a thousand times and even more.’’

So overwhelmed is Arjun by his faith and dedication that even after paying obeisance again and again he is not contented. So he continues with his tributes:

40. "Since you possess, O the imperishable and almighty, infinite prowess and are the God who is omnipresent, you are honoured everywhere (by all).’’

Thus bowing repeatedly in obeisance, Arjun begs for forgiveness for his errors:

41-42. "I seek your forgiveness, O the infinite, for all the indiscreet words I might have spoken to you, for taking the undue liberty of addressing you as ‘Krishn’ and ‘Yadav’, for any disrespect I might have inadvertently shown you in the course of frivolous dalliance or repose or while eating meals, O Achyut (infallible), or while we were together alone or with others, out of my feeling that you are my intimate friend and because of carelessness arising from my ignorance of your true magnificence.’’

Arjun has the courage to beg for Krishn’s forgiveness for his mistakes because of his conviction that he is indifferent to all of them: that he will forgive him because he is father of mankind, the noblest of teachers, and truly worthy of reverent worship.

43. "Since no one in the three worlds can even equal you, who are father of the animate and inanimate worlds, the greatest of all teachers, most venerable, and of immense magnificence, how can anyone else be superior to you?"

44. "So throwing myself at your feet and bowing to you in the humblest homage, I beseech you, O the most adorable God, to forgive my errors as a father forgives his son, a friend his friend and a loving husband his beloved wife."

Arjun is convinced that Krishn alone is large-hearted enough to be indulgent to his faults. But what after all is his error? By what other name than "Krishn" could he address his dark-skinned friend? Should we call a black man white? Is it sin to call a spade a spade? Calling Krishn a "Yadav," too, could not be wrong, because Krishn had a Yadav family ancestry. Neither was it an offence to call him a "friend," because Krishn also regards Arjun as an intimate friend. Obviously, however, Arjun is abjectly apologetic because he believes that his addressing Krishn as "Krishn" is an offence.The way of meditation is essentially the one that Krishn has laid down. He counselled Arjun, in the thirteenth verse of Chapter 8, to recite OM and contemplate him. OM, we remember, is a symbol of the imperishable God. Arjun was told to recite the sacred syllable and visualize Krishn’s image, for OM which stands for the unmanifest Supreme Being is also a symbol of the sage after he has attained to the supreme goal of God-realization. When Arjun has a clear vision of Krishn’s true magnificence, it strikes him that he is neither white nor black, and not even a friend or a Yadav ; he is but a great Soul that has become one and identical with the imperishable Supreme Spirit.In the whole of the Geeta Krishn has, on five different occasions, stressed the importance of reciting OM. If we have to pray, let us recite OM rather than the name of Krishn. Sentimental worshippers usually manage to invent some way or the other. While one of them is dismayed by controversy over the propriety or otherwise of reciting OM, another one appeals to sages, and yet another who is eager to quickly ingratiate himself with Krishn also appends Radha to his name. True that they do all this out of devotion, but their prayers are marked by excessive sentiment. If we have a real feeling for Krishn, we must obey his instruction. Although abiding in the unmanifest, he is always present before us even if we are unable to see him because of inadequate vision. His voice is with us, but we cannot hear it. There will be little profit in our study of the Geeta if we do not obey him, although one advantage of such a study is always there. The man who listens to and learns the Geeta gains an awareness of knowledge and yagya, and so attains to more exalted bodies. So study is imperative.

An uninterrupted sequence of the name "Krishn" fails to materialize while we are meditating in a state of breath-control. Out of sheer emotion some men recite just the name of Radha. Isn’t it a common practice to flatter the wives of unapproachable functionaries? It is hardly surprising then that many of us believe that we can please God in the same way. So we even stop uttering "Krishn" and begin to recite just "Radha," hoping that she will facilitate admittance to him. But how can the poor Radha do this when she herself could not be united with Krishn? So, instead of paying any heed to what others have to say, let us recite only OM. At the same time it must be admitted that Radha should be our ideal; we have to dedicate ourselves to God with the intensity of her devotion to her loved one. It is essential that we be like her, pining away in separation from Krishn.

Arjun addressed his friend as "Krishn" because that was his actual name. Similarly quite a number of worshippers recite the name of their teacher-preceptor out of sentiment. But as it has already been shown, after realization a sage becomes one with the unmanifest God in whom he abides. So many disciples ask, "When we contemplate you why should we not, O teacher, recite your name or that of Krishn instead of the traditional OM?" But Yogeshwar Krishn has made it quite explicit here that after attainment a sage is possessed of the same name as that of the Supreme Spirit in whom he has merged. "Krishn" is an appellation rather than a name for recital in yagya.

When Arjun begs for indulgence for his offences and pleads with him to revert to his usual benign form, Krishn both forgives him and accedes to his request. Arjun’s plea for mercy is made in the following verse:

45. "Be appeased, O the infinite and God of gods, and show me your merciful form, because although I rejoice at beholding your wondrous (all-pervading) form which I had not viewed before, my mind is also afflicted with terror.’’

Till now Yogeshwar Krishn has appeared before Arjun in his omnipresent form. Since Arjun has not seen it ever before, it is quite natural that he is filled at once with joy and dread. His mind is deeply agitated. Earlier, perhaps, Arjun had prided himself on the excellence of his skill of archery and even thought himself superior to Krishn in that respect. But a sight of the Lord’s all-pervasive immensity fills him with awe. After hearing in the last chapter of Krishn’s glories, he had evidently begun to take himself as a man of knowledge and wisdom. But one who is endowed with knowledge and wisdom in the true sense is beyond any fear. The experience of a direct perception of God has in fact a unique effect. Even after a worshipper has heard and learnt everything in theory, it remains for him to gain an awareness of the reality by practice and personal experience. When Arjun has such a vision, he is overwhelmed at once by joy and dread, and his mind is shaken. So he entreats Krishn to resume his placid, compassionate form.

46. "Since I long to see you, O the thousand-armed omnipresent God, as I beheld you earlier, wearing a crown and armed with a mace and your chakr, I pray you to resume your four-armed shape."

Let us see what this four-armed form of Krishn is.

47. "The Lord said, ‘I have compassionately revealed to you, O Arjun, by an exercise of my power of yog, my resplendent, primeval, infinite, omnipresent form which no one else has beheld before.’ "

48. "O the most distinguished of Kuru, no one else besides you in this mortal world is capable of seeing my infinite, universal form, which can be known neither by study of the Ved nor by performance of yagya, nor even by charity or virtuous deeds, or rigorous spiritual austerities."

If the assertions made by Krishn in the verse above as well as his assurance to Arjun that no one except him is able to see his immense, all pervading form are true, the Geeta has hardly any use for us. In that case, then, the ability to perceive God belongs to Arjun alone. On the other hand, however, Krishn also pointed out to him before that many sages in earlier times, who concentrated on him with a mind that was free from passion, fear, and wrath and who purified themselves by the penance of knowledge, had succeeded in attaining to his form. But now he surprisingly affirms that neither has anyone known his cosmic manifestation in the past nor will anyone know it in the future. Who after all is this Arjun? Is he not a corporal frame like all of us? As represented in the Geeta, he is an embodiment of tender affection. No man devoid of this feeling could see in the past and no man devoid of this feeling can see in the future. This quality of love requires a worshipper to draw his mind from all externals and devote it to the desired God alone. Only by the ordained way can one who approaches God with love realize him. Acceding to Arjun’s entreaties, Krishn now appears in his four-armed form.

49. "Behold again my four-armed form (bearing a lotus, a conch, a mace, and my chakr), so that you are freed from the confusions and fears inspired by my terrible manifestation and think of me with (nothing but) affection."

50. "Sanjay further said (to Dhritrashtr), ‘After thus speaking to Arjun, Lord Vasudev again revealed his earlier form and the sage-like Krishn thus comforted the frightened Arjun by manifesting to him his placid form.’ "

51. "(Thereafter) Arjun said, ‘O Janardan, I have regained my composure and tranquillity (of mind) by seeing this your most benevolent human form.’ "

Arjun had pleaded with the Lord to appear in his four-armed shape. But what does he see when Krishn accedes to his request and appears in the desired form? What else but the human form? In truth, the terms "four-armed" and "many-armed" are used for sages after they have achieved the supreme goal. The two-armed sage-teacher is very much with his loving pupil, but someone from elsewhere remembers, too, and the same sage then, awakened by the Spirit of that power, is transformed into the charioteer who guides the seeker on to the right path. "Arm" is a symbol of action. So our arms function not only externally but also internally. This is the four-armed form. The "conch," "chakr," "mace," and "lotus" borne by Krishn’s four arms are all symbolic, standing respectively for an affirmation of the true goal (conch), commencement of the cycle of attainment (chakr), subduing of the sense (mace), and competence in action that is unblemished and pure (lotus). That is why Arjun views the four-armed Krishn as a human. Rather than meaning that there was some four-armed Krishn, the expression "fourarmed" is but a metaphor for the special mode of action that sages accomplish with their body as well as Soul.

52. "The Lord said, ‘This form of mine which you have seen is the most rare, because even gods ever pine for a view of it.’ "

This placid, benevolent manifestation of Krishn is the most uncommon and even gods yearn to see it. That is to say that it is not possible for all to recognize a sage for what he is. The most revered satsangi Maharajji, the accomplished teacher of my revered teacher Maharajji was one such saint with a truly awakened Soul, hut most of the people regarded him as a mad man. Only a very few virtuous men learnt from heavenly signs that he was a sage of noble accomplishment. And only these men then grasped him with all their heart, attained to his metaphysical form, and reached the desired goal. This is what Krishn suggests when he tells Arjun that gods, who have consciously stored their hearts with the treasure of divinity, hanker after a view of his "four-armed" form. As to whether he can be known by yagya, charity or study of the Ved, Krishn states :

53. "My four-armed form which you have seen is beyond knowing by either study of the Ved or by penance or by charity, and not even by munificence or performance of yagya."

The one way by which he may be perceived is disclosed in the following verse:

54. "O Arjun, a man of great penance, a worshipper can know this form of mine directly, acquire its essence, and even become one with it by a total and unswerving dedication."

The one way to attain to Supreme Spirit is perfect intentness, the state in which a worshipper remembers nothing besides the adored goal. As we have seen in Chapter 7, even knowledge is finally transformed into total devotion. Krishn said a little while earlier that no one besides Arjun had seen him before and no one would ever see him in the future. But he now reveals that by such single minded devotion worshippers can not only see him, but also realize him directly and become one with him. So Arjun is the name of such a wholly dedicated worshipper: the name of a state of mind and heart rather than of a person. All-absorbing love itself is Arjun. So Yogeshwar Krishn says at last:

55. "This man, O Arjun, who acts only for my sake (matkarmah), rests on and is dedicated to me alone (matparmah), in complete detachment (sangvarjitah) and freedom from malice towards all beings (nirvairah sarvbhooteshu), knows and attains to me.’’

The four essential requirements of the evolutionary discipline by which a man can achieve spiritual perfection or transcendence (of which human life is the means) are indicated by the terms: "matkarmah," "matparmah," "sangvarjitah," and "nirvairah sarvbhooteshu." "Matkarmah" means performance of the ordained act-the act of yagya. "Marparmah" is the necessity of the worshipper’s taking refuge in Krishn and of complete devotion to him. The required action is impossible to accomplish without total disinterestedness in worldly objects and the fruits of action (sangvarjitah). The last but not the least requirement is "nirvrairah sarvbhooteshu": absence of malice or ill-will towards all beings. Only a worshipper fulfilling these four conditions can attain to Krishn. It hardly needs saying that if the four ways urged by the last verse of the chapter are observed, the resulting state is one in which external war and physical bloodshed are simply out of the question. That is one more instance that the Geeta is not about external fighting. There is not one verse in the poem that supports the idea of physical violence or killing. When we have sacrificed ourselves through yagya, remember only God and no one else, are completely detached from both nature and the rewards of our action, and when there is no malignity in us towards any being, with whom and for what shall we fight? The four observances lead a worshipper to the stage at which he stands entirely alone. If there is no one with him, who shall he fight? According to Krishn, Arjun has known him. This would not be possible if there were even the slightest touch of malice about him. So it is evident that the war waged by Arjun in the Geeta is against fearful enemies such as attachment and repulsion, infatuation and malice, and desire and anger, that rise up in the way of the worshipper when he engages in the task of single-minded contemplation after having achieved an attitude of detachment to worldly objects as well as rewards.


At the beginning of the chapter Arjun admitted to Krishn that his delusions were wiped out by the kind words with which he had revealed his manifold glories to him. Yet, since Krishn had said earlier that he was all-pervading, Arjun also wished to have a direct vision of his magnificence. He requested the Yogeshwar to show him his universal, imperishable form if it was within the power of his mortal eyes to behold such a manifestation. As Arjun is his beloved friend and a most faithful devotee, Krishn gladly acceded to his request.

After having assumed his universal form, Krishn told Arjun to behold in him celestial beings like the seven immortal sages and sages who had been in yet earlier times, and Brahma and Vishnu. Arjun’s notice was thus further drawn to the all-pervading majesty of God. Summing up his exhortations, Krishn told Arjun how at one moment and at one place he could behold in him the whole animate as well as inanimate world, and also whatever else he was curious to know.

This enumeration by Krishn went on through three verses, from 5 to 7. But Arjun’s physical eyes could see none of the glories enumerated by the Lord. All the celestial majesty of God was before his eyes, but they could only see Krishn as a common mortal. Realizing this difficulty of Arjun, Krishn paused and blessed him with the divine vision with which he could behold his true greatness. And then Arjun saw God himself before him. He had thus a direct and real perception of God. Overwhelmed by terror at what he saw, he began to entreat Krishn most humbly to forgive his wrongs which are not truly wrongs. He thought he had offended him by addressing him as "Krishn," "Yadav," and "friend." As these were no wrongs, Krishn readily showed his mercy and resumed his pleasing and benevolent form in deference to Arjun’s request. He also spoke words of comfort and encouragement to him.

Arjun’s calling his friend by the name of "Krishn" was no offence; Krishn had a dark complexion. Neither was addressing him as "Yadav" an indiscretion, because he did belong to the line of Yaduvanshis. If Arjun called Krishn a "friend," that too was not wrong, for even Krishn regards him as an intimate friend. These are all, in fact, instances of the initial attitude of seekers towards great souls for whom the term "sage" has been used in the rendering. Some of them address these sages according to their appearance

and shape. Some of them name them by their distinguishing attribute, while yet some others consider them equals. They fail to comprehend the essence of sages. But when Arjun at last knows the true form of Krishn, he realizes that he is neither black nor white, nor does he belong to any family or is anyone’s friend. When there is no one like Krishn, how can anyone be his friend? Or his peer? He is beyond rational comprehension. A man can know Krishn only if the Yogeshwar chooses to reveal himself to him. That is the reason behind Arjun’s apologies.

The problem raised in the chapter is, as we have seen, how we should recite his name if speaking "Krishn" is an offence. The problem was resolved as far back as Chapter 8 in which Krishn laid down the canon that worshippers should recite OM, the primal word or sound that represents the all-pervading, pre-eminent, changeless God. OM is the essence that prevails through the whole universe and which is hidden within Krishn. Worshippers were counselled to recite this sacred syllable and concentrate on the form of Krishn. Krishn’s image and OM are the keys to the success of a worshipper’s prayer and meditation.

Arjun then pleaded with Krishn to show him his four-armed form and Krishn did appear in his gentle, merciful form. He had wanted to see the four-armed form, but what Krishn reveals to him is the human form. In truth, the yogi who has attained to the omnipotent, eternal God lives in his body in this world and acts outwardly with his two hands. But he is awake in his Soul and he also wakes up simultaneously in the Soul of devotees who remember him from anywhere to act as their guide-charioteer. Arms are a symbol of action and this is the significance of the four-armed form.

Krishn has told Arjun that no one besides him had seen this form of his before and no one would be able to see it in the future. If we were to take this literally, the Geeta would appear futile. But Krishn has resolved the problem by telling Arjun that it is easy for the worshipper, who is devoted to him with single-minded faith and who remembers no one else except him, to know him and his essence by direct perception and to become one with him. If Arjun knows Krishn, it means that he is such a devotee. Affection for the worshipped God is the distilled form of devotion. As Goswami Tulsidas has said, one cannot have God without love. God has never been realized and can never be realized by a worshipper who is lacking in this feeling. In the absence of love, no amount of yog or prayer or charity or penance can enable a man to attain to God. So the sentiment of love is indispensable for final attainment on the path of spiritual evolution.

In the last verse of the chapter Krishn has pointed out the fourfold way, comprising observance of yagya-the ordained action, total dependence upon and devotion to him, detachment form worldly objects and rewards, and, lastly, absence of malevolence towards all. So it is obvious that there can be no physical war or bloodshed in the state of mind arrived at by following this fourfold way. When a worshipper has dedicated all he has to God, remembers only him and no one else, is so firmly in control of his mind and senses that nature and its objects cease to exist for him, and when he is freed from all malignant feelings, the idea of his fighting an external war is simply impossible. To achieve the supreme goal by cutting down the dreadful enemy that the world is with the sword of perfect renunciation is the only true victory after which there is no prospect of any defeat.

Thus concludes the Eleventh Chapter, in the Upanishad of the Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta, on the Knowledge of the Supreme Spirit, the Discipline of Yog, and the Dialogue between Krishn and Arjun, entitled.

"Vishwroop Darshan Yog,’’ or ‘‘Revelation of the Omnipresent’’

Thus concludes Swami Adgadanand’s exposition of the Eleventh Chapter of the Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta in

‘Yathartha Geeta’’


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