Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help
Author: BS Murthy

Chapter 12
Nature of Omnipresence Chapter 11

This fascinating chapter of 55 slokas, known as visvaroopa sandarsana yoga,Espial of the Universal Form, is about the character of the Supreme Spirit. Lord Krishna enables Arjuna to espy the All-encompassing Universal Form of the Supreme Spirit by granting him the required ESP. The descriptive nature of the State Supreme falls in the realms of Universal Vision.

Owing to the improbability of their being, s9-s14, make an amusing reading. S3 states that Krishna grants Arjuna the divine sight required to espy His Universal Form. Of course, the ESP that Vyasa granted Sanjaya (s75 ch.18) might have enabled him to monitor the goings on at Kurukshetra in order to appraise the blind king Dhrutarashtra about the same. Thus, only from Arjuna’s averments Sanjaya could have gathered that he was divining the Universal Form, which obviously was beyond his own comprehension.  But s10 - s14 have him describe the Universal Form as though he himself was witness to the same, even before Arjuna utters a word about it. At the same time, the Lord made it clear in s52,

‘Ever craved gods ’n angels too 
Just to behold what thee beheld’.

Thus, the Universal Form that was seen by Arjuna surely was beyond the scope of Sanjaya's ESP. Hence, s9-s14 that picture beforehand what Arjuna would witness later on are clear interpolations. Contrast this with the parallel situation in s50-s51, when the Lord reassumes His human form, but handled differently by Sanjaya.

The s29 which seeks to emphasize what was already pictured in s28, albeit with not so appropriate a simile, could be but an interpolation.

1  
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Thy words compelling, Spirit about indwelling  
Uttered in compassion, dispelled my delusion.

2  
Besides I've heard, about Thy glories 
Origins of beings, and how it all ends.  

3    
Thou art verily, what Thee aver 
Wish I espied, form Thy Divine.

4  
If Thou so feel, I’m worthy
Let me espy, Thy True Self.

5  
Thus spoke the Lord:
Divine I let thee, divinity Mine      
Of hues varied colours ’n kinds.

6  
Find Adityas, twelve therein 
Vasus eight, and Aswin twins 
Rudras eleven ’n Maruts four-nine
Wonders umpteen none else seen.

7  
May thou discern in My frame  
Much more than thy thought would take.


Bestow thee that ESP 
Helps which espy form Supreme 
Beyond the pale of god’s own sight.

15  
Thus spoke Arjuna:
In Thou find I 
Brahma on lotus, 
Gods and sages   
Beings ’n serpents!

16  
With no beginning
End none sighted,
Boundless find I
In Thee universe!

17 
Find I blinding
Light that blazing 
From Thy diadem  
Club and discus!

18  
Thou art Supreme 
Indweller Ancient, 
Eternal Refuge 
Dharma’s Guardian.

19  
Eyes sun like 
And oven for mouth, 
How Thou radiate
In arms thy manifold!

20  
Fills Thy Frame
The space entire, 
Makes Thy sight  
The worlds tremble.

21  
See in Thee the angelic world
Find them all Thou pray in awe 
Spot I sages in their scores
Hear them extol, Thee in hymns.

22  
Demigods all ’n celestial folk
Stand they stunned ’n look at Thee.

23  
Makes it awful sight Thine terrible 
Bear as Thou those weird organs.

24  
Perplexed am I by Thy sight  
Seems I’ve lost my sense of self.

25 
Discern I nadir in Thy face 
Pray assume now Form Normal.

26  
See I Bhishma, Dron ’n Karn 
Kauravs, ours, making way to mouth Thy wide.

27  
Nauseates sight of teeth Thine terrible 
Gnashing heads of theirs in smithereens.

28  
Rivers as run, towards the seas 
So these armies, towards Thy mouths.

30  
Consume worlds as mouths Thy blazing     
Find I blinding rays those scorching.

31  
Who art Thou, this Terrible Thing! 
For what avail, mission this Thine!! 
Gripped now am with urge to know.

32  
Thus spoke the Lord:
I’m the time that infolds all 
It’s all over for most here
Doomed are they, never mind war.

33 
Since I’ve handed them sentence 
Thou art no more than hangman, 
Finish them all ’n flourish in turn  
Brings as reign thee power ’n pelf.

34  
Take up arms ’n lap up crown 
For Drona, Bhishma and Karna,
As well Jayadrath with the rest
Truly are they doomed by Me.

35  
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Stunned as he by what transpired  
Beseeched Paartha, Lord Krishna.

36  
Thus spoke Arjuna:
Sing Thy praises the rejoiced world 
Hither ’n thither run wicked in awe
Bow to Thee those self-realized.   

37  
Can one fail to worship Thee
Creator’s Creator, ’n Universal!

38  
Thee the Primal, All-Dweller 
Thou All-Knower, One to know.

39  
God of gods, O, our Father
Thee I salute on and on.

40  
One and All, who pervades all
Thou All-Powerful, praise be Thee.

41  
Ignorant being of Thy Great Being 
Owing to contempt familiarity bred
Sadly I have been badly behaving.

42         
As I took Thee for granted
Kindly forgive, O, Great Soul.

43  
Thou art Greater than greatest 
None Thee in three worlds equal. 

44  
Treat me kindly ’n forgive 
All I crave for, is Thy grace.

45  
Form Thy Current holds dreadful  
Pray show Divine Grace of Thine.

46  
With mace, discus ’n diadem
Pray assume Thy Form four-armed. 

47 
Thus spoke the Lord:  
As thou please Me, so I’ve shown
Form My Endless, none else seen.

48 
Take to penance
Or pore over four Vedas  
None that helps to see this Form.

49  
Having beheld My bewildering Form
Now ease with My Form Normal. 

50  
Thus spoke Sanjaya:
Having said thus Lord assumed 
His form normal that calmed Arjun.

51  
Thus spoke Arjuna:
O, Lord now I feel normal 
With Thy gentle form human.

52  
Thus spoke the Lord:
Ever crave gods ’n angels too 
Just to behold that thee beheld.

53 
Austerities well Vedic grasp
Charity, as well ritual regimen  
Get none to what thou had seen.

54  
Yet in devotion, divines man
Attains besides, Form this Mine.

55  
He that takes Me for Supreme
And treats his work as Mine own one, 
Gets who rid of his restraints
And keeps his faith in Me always, 
He who bears no ill-feeling
Ever on move, he comes to Me.

Ends thus: 
Nature of Omnipresence,
The Eleventh Chapter  
Of Bhagavad-Gita,
Treatise of self-help.

 

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