(1882 - 1946)

• Chapter Eleven •

“The Cosmic Vision”


1.  “Arjuna said:  My Lord! Thy words concerning the Supreme Secret of Self, given for my blessing, have dispelled the illusions which surrounded me.

2.  O Lord, whose eyes are like the lotus petal!  Thou hast described in detail the origin and the dissolution of being, and Thine own Eternal Majesty.

3.  I believe all as Thou hast declared it.   I long now to have a vision of Thy Divine Form, O Thou Most High!

4.  If Thou thinkest that it can be made possible for me to see it, show me, O Lord of Lords, Thine own Eternal Self!

5.  Lord Shri Krishna replied:  Behold, O Arjuna! My celestial forms, by hundreds and thousands, various in kind, in colour and in shape.

6.  Behold the Powers of Nature: fire, earth, wind and sky; the sun, the heavens, the moon, the stars; all the forces of vitality and of healing; and the roving winds.  See the myriad wonders revealed to none but thee.

7.  Here, in Me living as one, O Arjuna, behold the universe, movable and immovable, and anything else that thou wouldst see!

8.  Yet since with mortal eyes thou canst not see Me, lo! I give thee the Divine Sight.  See now the glory of My Sovereignty."

9.  Sanjaya continued:  "Having thus spoken, O King, the Lord Shri Krishna, the Almighty Prince of Wisdom, showed to Arjuna the Supreme Form of the Great God.

10.  There were countless eyes and mouths, and mystic forms innumerable, with shining ornaments and flaming celestial weapons.

11.  Crowned with heavenly garlands, clothed in shining garments, anointed with divine unctions, He showed Himself as the Resplendent One, Marvellous, Boundless, Omnipresent.

12.  Could a thousand suns blaze forth together it would be but a faint reflection of the radiance of the Lord-God.

13.  In that vision Arjuna saw the universe, with its manifold shapes, all embraced in One, its Supreme Lord.

14.  Thereupon Arjuna, dumb with awe, his hair on end, his head bowed, his hands clasped in salutation, addressed the Lord thus:

15.  Arjuna Said:  O Almighty God! I see in Thee the powers of Nature, the various creatures of the world, the Progenitor on His lotus throne, the Sages and the shining angels.

16.  I see Thee, infinite in form, with, as it were, faces, eyes and limbs everywhere; no beginning, no middle, no end; O Thou Lord of the Universe, Whose Form is universal!

17.  I see Thee with the crown, the sceptre and the discus; a blaze of splendor.  Scarce can I gaze on Thee, so radiant Thou art, glowing like the blazing fire, brilliant as the sun, immeasurable.

18.  Imperishable art Thou, the Sole One worthy to be known, the priceless Treasure-house of the universe, the immortal Guardian of the Life Eternal, the Spirit Everlasting.

19.  Without beginning, without middle and without end, infinite in power, Thine arms all-embracing, the sun and the moon Thine eyes, Thy face beaming with the fire of sacrifice, flooding the whole universe with light.

20.  Alone Thou fillest all the quarters of the sky, earth and heaven, and the regions between.  O Almighty Lord! Seeing Thy marvellous and awe-inspiring Form, the spheres tremble with fear.

21.  The troops of celestial Beings enter into Thee, some invoking Thee in fear, with folded palms; the Great Seers and Adepts sing hymns to Thy Glory, saying 'All Hail'.

22.  The Vital Forces, the Major stars, Fire, Earth, Air, Sky, Sun, Heaven, Moon and Planets; the Angels, the Guardians of the Universe, the divine Healers, the Winds, the Fathers, the Heavenly Singers; and hosts of Mammon-worshippers, demons as well as saints, are amazed.

23.  Seeing Thy stupendous Form, O Most Mighty, with its myriad faces, its innumerable eyes and limbs and terrible jaws, I myself and all the worlds are overwhelmed with awe.

24.  When I see Thee, touching the Heavens, glowing with colour, with open mouth and wide open fiery eyes, I am terrified.  O My Lord! My courage and my peace of mind desert me.

25.  When I see Thy mouths with their fearful jaws like glowing fires at the dissolution of creation, I lose all sense of place; I find no rest.  Be merciful, O Lord in Whom this universe abides!

26.  All these sons of Dhritarashtra, with the hosts of princes, Bheeshma, Drona and Karna, as well as the other warrior chiefs belonging to our side;

27.  I see them all rushing headlong into Thy mouths, with terrible tusks, horrible to behold.  Some are mangled between Thy jaws, with their heads crushed to atoms.

28.  As rivers in flood surge furiously to the ocean, so these heroes, the greatest among men, fling themselves into Thy flaming mouths.

29.  As moths fly impetuously to the flame only to be killed, so these men rush into Thy mouths to court their own destruction.

30.  Thou seemest to swallow up the worlds, to lap them in flame.  Thy glory fills the universe.  Thy fierce rays beat down upon it irresistibly.

31.  Tell me then who Thou art, that wearest this dreadful form?  I bow before Thee, O Mighty One!  Have mercy, I pray, and let me see Thee as Thou wert at first.  I do not know what Thou intendest.

32.  Lord Shri Krishna replied:  I have shown Myself to thee as the Destroyer who lays waste the world and whose purpose now is destruction.  In spite of thy efforts, all these warriors gathered for battle shall not escape death.

33.  Then gird up thy loins and conquer,  Subdue thy foes and enjoy the kingdom in prosperity.  I have already doomed them.  Be thou my instrument, Arjuna!

34.  Drona and Bheeshma, Jayadratha and Karna, and other brave warriors - I have condemned them all.  Destroy them; fight and fear not.  Thy foes shall be crushed."

35.  Sanjaya continued:  "Having heard these words from the Lord Shri Krishna, the Prince Arjuna, with folded hands trembling, prostrated himself and with choking voice, bowing down again and again, and overwhelmed with awe, once more addressed the Lord.

36.  Arjuna said:  My Lord! It is natural that the world revels and rejoices when it sings the praises of Thy glory; the demons fly in fear and the saints offer Thee their salutations.

37.  How should they do otherwise? O Thou Supremest Self, greater than the Powers of creation, the First cause, Infinite, the Lord of Lords, the Home of the universe, Imperishable, Being and Not-Being, yet transcending both.

38.  Thou are the Primal God, the Ancient, the Supreme Abode of this universe, the Knower, the Knowledge and the Final Home.  Thou fillest everything.  Thy form is infinite.

39.  Thou art the Wind, Thou art Death, thou art the Fire, the Water, the Moon, the Father and the Grandfather.  Honour and glory to Thee a thousand and a thousand times!  Again and again, salutation be to Thee, O my Lord!

40.  Salutations to Thee in front and on every side, Thou who encompasseth me round about.  Thy power is infinite; Thy majesty immeasurable; Thou upholdest all things; yea, Thou Thyself art All.

41.  Whatever I have said unto Thee in rashness, taking Thee only for a friend and addressing Thee as 'O Krishna! O Yadava! O Friend!' in thoughtless familiarity, not understanding Thy greatness;

42.  Whatever insult I have offered to Thee in jest, in sport or in repose, in conversation or at the banquet, alone or in a multitude, I ask Thy forgiveness for them all, O Thou Who art without an equal!

43.  For Thou art the Father of all things movable and immovable, the Worshipful, the Master of Masters!  In all the worlds there is none equal to Thee, how then superior, O Thou who standeth alone, Supreme.

44.  Therefore I prostrate myself before Thee, O Lord!  Most Adorable! I salute Thee, I ask Thy blessing.  Only Thou canst be trusted to bear with me, as father to son, as friend to friend, as lover to his beloved.

45.  I rejoice that I have seen what never man saw before; yet, O Lord! I am overwhelmed with fear.  Please take again the Form I know.  Be merciful, O Lord! Who art the Home of the whole universe.

46.  I long to see Thee as Thou wert before, with the crown, the sceptre and the discus in Thy hands; in Thy other Form, with Thy four hands, O Thou Whose arms are countless and Whose forms are infinite.

47.  Lord Shri Krishna replied:  My Beloved friend! It is only through My grace and power that thou has been able to see this vision of splendour, the Universal, the Infinite, the Original.  Never has it been seen by any but thee.

48.  Not by the study of the scriptures, not by sacrifice or gift, not by ritual or rigorous austerity, is it possible for man on earth to see what thou hast seen, O thou foremost hero of the Kuru-clan!

49.  Be not afraid or bewildered by the terrible vision.  Put away thy fear and, with joyful mind, see Me once again in My usual Form."

50.  Sanjaya continued:  "Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Lord Shri Krishna showed Himself again in His accustomed form; and the Mighty Lord, in gentle tones, softly consoled him who lately trembled with fear.

51.  Arjuna said:  Seeing Thee in Thy gentle human form, my Lord, I am myself again, calm once more.

52.  Lord Shri Krishna replied:  It is hard to see this vision of Me that thou hast seen.  Even the most powerful have longed for it in vain.

53.  Not by study of the scriptures, or by austerities, not by gifts or sacrifices, is it possible to see Me as thou hast done.

54.  Only by tireless devotion can I be seen and known; only thus can a man become one with Me, O Arjuna!

55.  He whose every action is done for My sake, to whom I am the final goal, who loves Me only and hates no one - O My dearest Son, only he can realise Me!"


Thus, in the Holy Book the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Upanishads, in the Science of the Supreme Spirit, in the Art of Self-Knowledge, in the colloquy between the Divine Lord Shri Krishna and the Prince Arjuna, stands the eleventh chapter, entitled:

"The Cosmic Vision"


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