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#Gita Chapter 11 (English translation)

November 20, 2017

Acknowledgements, Translation Notes and Vocabulary Notes

Chapter 11





Arjuna speaks:

Your supreme secret words that you blessed me with–dealing with the discrimination between the Self and the non-Self–have dispelled my delusion. II11.1II


I have heard in detail (from You) about the origin and dissolution of all beings and also about Your inexhaustible greatness, Kamalapatraaksha (the lotus-eyed One, Sri Krishna). II11.2II


Since You have described Yourself, it must be so, Parameshvara (the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna). I wish to see Your sovereign form, Purushottamam (the best among men, Sri Krishna). II11.3II


If You think it is possible for me to see, Yogeshvara (the Lord of Yoga, Arjuna), then show me Your Eternal Self. II11.4II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

Partha (Arjuna), behold My forms–hundreds and thousands (countless) of different divine sorts, of various colors and shapes. II11.5II


See the Adityas (offspring of Aditi–the powers of nature), the Vasus (the seasons of the body and the mind), the Rudras (powers of creative destruction), the Ashvins (the forces of vitality and healing), and the Maruts (the roving winds). You see many wonders that have never been revealed to anyone before. II11.6II


See, Gudakesha (Arjuna), the entire universe, the moving and unmoving, centered in My body–and also whatever else you wish to see. II11.7II


You cannot see Me with this eye of yours, so I give you divine sight. Now behold the glory of My divine sovereignty. II11.8II


Sanjaya speaks: (giving commentary of the action on the battlefield to the blind king, Dhritarashtra)

Having said this, Hari (fawn-colored, also lion; Sri Krishna), the mighty Lord of the Yogis, showed Partha (Arjuna) His Supreme Sovereign Form (the Universal Form, Cosmic Self). II11.9II


With many mouths and eyes, with many wondrous sights, with numerous divine ornaments, with multiple divine weapons held ready … II11.10II


… wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with divine sandalwood scents, marvelous and resplendent, with endless faces on all sides. II11.11II


If a thousand suns were to rise together in the sky, it would be like the radiance of the Universal Form (Cosmic Self). II11.12II


At that time, Arjuna saw in that body of the God of gods, the whole universe differentiated into diverse groups, united in the Cosmic Form. II11.13II


Then, filled with wonder, his hairs standing on end, (quite different from the Arjuna in the first chapter–1.29) Dhananjaya (Arjuna) bowed down his head to the Lord and with joined palms, said: II11.14II


(Change in poetic metre)

Arjuna speaks:

In Your body I see the gods and the various classifications of beings, Lord Brahma seated on the lotus, all the heavenly sages, and the celestial serpents. II11.15II


I see manifold arms, stomachs, mouths, and eyes. I see Your boundless form on all sides. Without end and without middle, without an origin – I see Your Cosmic Form, Vishveshvara (Lord of the Universe). II11.16II


I see you with a crown, club, and a discus; radiance everywhere – hard to look at, blazing immeasurably like the fire and the sun. II11.17II


You are the immutable One to be known, the most perfect universal repository. You are changeless and the protector of the Eternal Dharma. I believe You are the everlasting Soul. II11.18II


Without a beginning, a middle, or an end, I see You with infinite powers, with innumerable arms, with the sun and moon for Your eyes, and the blazing fire for Your mouth, scorching this universe with your radiance. II11.19II


Indeed the interspace between heaven and earth and also the directions are pervaded by You alone. The three worlds are trembling having seen Your strange and fearful form. II11.20II


Those very groups of gods are seen entering You. Some among them extol You in fear, with joined palms. Groups of divine sages and perfected beings praise you with elaborate hymns saying, ‘May it be well!’ II11.21II


The Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, and the Sadhyas (a kind of celestial beings), the Visvadevas, the Ashvins, the Maruts, and the Pitris (ancestors), the hosts of Gandharvas, Yaskhas, Rakshashas, and Siddhas–all gaze at You and are awestruck. II11.22II


Mahabaaho (Sri Krishna), having seen Your immeasurable form with many mouths and eyes, thighs and feet, many stomachs, fierce with many tusks, the worlds are terrified, and so am I. II11.23II


Vishnu (the all-pervading One, Sri Krishna), seeing You (in Your Cosmic Form), touching heaven, blazing with many colors, with many frightening forms, mouth wide open, fiery large eyes, I am neither steady nor calm. II11.24II


Having seen Your mouths with fearful teeth blazing like the fires of cosmic dissolution, I lose my sense of direction and do not find comfort. Be gracious, Devesha (Lord of the gods), Jagannivaasa (Abode of the universe). II11.25II


All the sons of Dhritarashtra, the host of kings, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, and the prominent warriors … II11.26II 


… they enter rapidly into Your terrible-toothed mouths. Some are seen sticking in the gaps between the teeth with their heads pulverized. II11.27II

(Arjuna’s vision of the defeat of the enemy)


Just like the many rivers and water currents flow (naturally) towards the ocean, so too these mortal heroes enter Your flaming mouths. II11.28II


Like moths fly hastily to the glowing fire only to be destroyed, in that same way, worldly creatures enter hastily into Your mouths for their own destruction. II11.29II


You lick your lips while devouring all worlds on every side with Your flaming mouths filling the world with heat. Your fierce rays are scorching, Vishnu. II11.30II


Please tell me who You are, in this fierce form? Salutations to You! Be gracious. I wish to know the original Being. I do not understand your actions. II11.31II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

I am the expanded, world-destroying time, now engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without you, none in these hostile, arrayed armies will live. II11.32II


Therefore, rise up and win glory, defeat your enemies and enjoy a prosperous kingdom. I have made them lifeless even earlier. You are merely an instrument, Savyasachin (the ambidextrous one, Arjuna, who was known to shoot arrows with both his hands). II11.33II


Slay Drona, Bheeshma, and Jayadratha, Karna, and other brave warriors who have already been killed by Me. Do not be distressed with fear. Fight and conquer your enemies in battle. II11.34II


Sanjaya speaks: (in the hope that Dhritarashtra will relent even at this point)

Hearing these words of Keshava (Sri Krishna), the Crown Prince Arjuna, overcome with fear, folded his palms, bowed, prostrated, and addressed Krishna with a faltering voice: II11.35II


Arjuna speaks:

It is befitting that the world revels and rejoices when it sings Your praise. Demons scatter in fear and perfected beings offer their salutations. II11.36II


Since you are the Primal Cause of even Brahma, therefore why should they not bow down to You, Exalted One, who is greater (than all)? Infinite One, Supreme God, Abode of the Universe, Indestructible, Transcendental (of which being and non-being are the limited adjuncts)! II11.37II


You are the Primal God, Ancient Being, the Ultimate Resort of this universe, the Knower and the object of all that is to be known, the Supreme Abode, the universe is pervaded by your infinite form. II11.38II


You are the air, death, fire, the god of waters, the moon, the father, and the grandsire. A thousand salutations to You and then salutations again! II11.39II


Salutation to You in the East, and even behind! Salutation on all sides to You who exists everywhere. You of infinite strength and heroism, You pervade everything by Your Self. II11.40II


Not knowing Your greatness, taking You as a friend, presumptuously saying whatever I wanted to, addressing you intimately as ‘Krishna, Yadava, Friend’ ... II11.41II


… for the sake of fun, if I was disrespectful while at play, resting, or eating, alone or in public, I beg your pardon, Immeasurable One. II11.42II


You are the father of all beings, moving and non-moving. You are worthy of worship, Master of Masters. There is none equal to you. How can there be another superior to You in the three worlds? II11.43II


Therefore, having laid my body down in salutation, I seek to propitiate You, the adorable Lord. You (on Your part) should forgive my faults, like a father would a son, a friend would a friend, and a loved one a beloved. II11.44II


I am delighted to have seen something that had not been revealed before, but my mind is distressed with fear. Show my Your godly (usual) form. Be gracious, Lord of the gods and Abode of the Universe. II11.45II


I wish to see You wearing the crown, holding a mace, and discus in Your four-armed form, Thousand-armed One in the Universal Form. II11.46II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

In My grace, Arjuna, I have shown this Supreme Form to you with My own yogic power. Full of splendor, universal, endless, without a beginning–that vision that has never before been seen by anyone other than you. II11.47II


Not by the study of the Vedas, nor by yagna or charity, not by rituals or severe austerities is it possible for other men in this world to see this form, Kurupravira (the most valiant among the Kurus, Arjuna). II11.48II


Have no fear or confusion having seen such a terrifying form. Free from fear and with cheer in your heart, behold again this form of Mine. II11.49II


Sanjaya speaks:

Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Vasudeva (Sri Krishna) showed His gentle form again. The Great Soul (Sri Krishna) consoled Arjuna who was terrified. II11.50II


(Change in poetic metre)

Arjuna speaks:

Having seen this gentle, human form of Yours, Janardana (Sri Krishna), I have regained my composure. II11.51II


Sri Krishna Bhagavan speaks:

It is very hard to see the form of Mine that you have seen. Even the gods have ever longed to see this form. II11.52II


Not by the study of the Vedas, nor by austerity, charity, or even sacrifice is it possible to see Me in this form that you have seen. II11.53II


It is possible through single-minded devotion “to know, to see, and to enter” into Me in this Cosmic Form, Arjuna. II11.54II

(Quotes are from Swami Chinmayananda, The Holy Geeta, indicating the three stages in which realization of truth comes to man.)


He whose actions are dedicated to Me, accepts Me as the Supreme Goal, is devoted to Me, without attachment and free from enmity towards all–he attains Me. II11.55II


Concluding verse:

Om! Such is the Truth in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. This is the knowledge of Supreme Consciousness. It is a scripture of union; a dialogue between Sri Krishna (the teacher) and Arjuna (the student). The eleventh discourse ends, titled “Yoga of the Divine Cosmic Form – Vishvarupa Darshana Yoga”.

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