Chapter 11 of The Bhagavad-Gita Simplified

Who is Loved? Icon

January 31, 2022

Arjuna.

The unfolding of the Mystery Supreme called Adhyatman.

It dispells my darkness is dispelled. Now I know–

whence is the birth of men, And whence their death, and what the majesties Of Thine immortal rule.

Fain would I see, as thou Thyself declar’st it, Sovereign Lord! The likeness of that glory of Thy Form Wholly revealed. O Thou Divinest One! If this can be, if I may bear the sight, Make Thyself visible, Lord of all prayers! Show me Thy very self, the Eternal God!

Krishna.

I manifest for you those hundred thousand thousand shapes that clothe my Mystery.

I show thee all my semblances, infinite, rich, divine, My changeful hues, my countless forms. See! in this face of mine, Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Aswins, and Maruts; see Wonders unnumbered, Indian Prince! revealed to none save thee. Behold! this is the Universe!–Look! what is live and dead I gather all in one–in Me! Gaze, as thy lips have said, On GOD ETERNAL, VERY GOD! See Me! see what thou prayest! Thou canst not!–nor, with human eyes, Arjuna! ever mayest! Therefore I give thee sense divine. Have other eyes, new light! And, look! This is My glory, unveiled to mortal sight!

Sanjaya.

Then, O King! the God, so saying, Stood, to Pritha’s Son displaying All the splendour, wonder, dread Of His vast Almighty-head. Out of countless eyes beholding, Out of countless mouths commanding, Countless mystic forms enfolding In one Form: supremely standing Countless radiant glories wearing, Countless heavenly weapons bearing, Crowned with garlands of star-clusters, Robed in garb of woven lustres, Breathing from His perfect Presence Breaths of every subtle essence Of all heavenly odours; shedding Blinding brilliance; overspreading– Boundless, beautiful–all spaces With His all-regarding faces; So He showed! If there should rise Suddenly within the skies Sunburst of a thousand suns Flooding earth with beams undeemed-of, Then might be that Holy One’s Majesty and radiance dreamed of! So did Pandu’s Son behold All this universe enfold All its huge diversity Into one vast shape, and be Visible, and viewed, and blended In one Body–subtle, splendid, Nameless–th’ All-comprehending God of Gods, the Never-Ending Deity!

But, sore amazed,

Thrilled, o’erfilled, dazzled, and dazed, Arjuna knelt; and bowed his head,

And clasped his palms; and cried, and said:

Arjuna.

I have seen that all is wrapped in You!

The gods are in Thy glorious frame! the creatures of earth, and heaven, and hell In Thy Divine form dwell, And in Thy countenance shine all the features Of Brahma, sitting lone Upon His lotus-throne;

Of saints and sages, and the serpent races Ananta, Vasuki;

I see your thousand thousand arms, and breasts, and faces, And eyes,–on every side Perfect, diversified;

nowhere end of Thee, nowhere beginning, Nowhere a centre! Shifts– Wherever soul’s gaze lifts– Thy central Self, all-wielding, and all-winning! Infinite King! I see The anadem on Thee, The club, the shell, the discus; see Thee burning In beams insufferable, Lighting earth, heaven, and hell With brilliance blazing, glowing, flashing; turning Darkness to dazzling day, Look I whichever way;

I worship Thee, the Undivided, The Uttermost of thought, The Treasure-Palace wrought To hold the wealth of the worlds; the Shield provided To shelter Virtue’s laws; The Fount whence Life’s stream draws All waters of all rivers of all being: The One Unborn, Unending:

Unchanging and Unblending!

With might and majesty, past thought, past seeing! Silver of moon and gold Of sun are glories rolled From Thy great eyes; Thy visage, beaming tender Throughout the stars and skies, Doth to warm life surprise Thy Universe. The worlds are filled with wonder Of Thy perfections! Space Star-sprinkled, and void place From pole to pole of the Blue, from bound to bound, Hath Thee in every spot, Thee, Thee!–Where Thou art not, O Holy, Marvellous Form! is nowhere found! O Mystic, Awful One! At sight of Thee, made known, The Three Worlds quake; the lower gods draw nigh Thee; They fold their palms, and bow Body, and breast, and brow, And, whispering worship, laud and magnify Thee! Rishis and Siddhas cry “Hail! Highest Majesty!” From sage and singer breaks the hymn of glory In dulcet harmony, Sounding the praise of Thee; While countless companies take up the story, Rudras, who ride the storms, Th’ Adityas’ shining forms, Vasus and Sadhyas, Viswas, Ushmapas; Maruts, and those great Twins The heavenly, fair, Aswins, Gandharvas, Rakshasas, Siddhas, and Asuras,[FN#22]– These see Thee, and revere In sudden-stricken fear; Yea! the Worlds,–seeing Thee with form stupendous, With faces manifold, With eyes which all behold, Unnumbered eyes, vast arms, members tremendous, Flanks, lit with sun and star, Feet planted near and far, Tushes of terror, mouths wrathful and tender;– The Three wide Worlds before Thee Adore, as I adore Thee, Quake, as I quake, to witness so much splendour! I mark Thee strike the skies With front, in wondrous wise Huge, rainbow-painted, glittering; and thy mouth Opened, and orbs which see All things, whatever be In all Thy worlds, east, west, and north and south. O Eyes of God! O Head! My strength of soul is fled, Gone is heart’s force, rebuked is mind’s desire! When I behold Thee so, With awful brows a-glow, With burning glance, and lips lighted by fire Fierce as those flames which shall Consume, at close of all, Earth, Heaven! Ah me! I see no Earth and Heaven! Thee, Lord of Lords! I see, Thee only-only Thee! Now let Thy mercy unto me be given, Thou Refuge of the World! Lo! to the cavern hurled Of Thy wide-opened throat, and lips white-tushed, I see our noblest ones, Great Dhritarashtra’s sons, Bhishma, Drona, and Karna, caught and crushed! The Kings and Chiefs drawn in, That gaping gorge within; The best of both these armies torn and riven! Between Thy jaws they lie Mangled full bloodily, Ground into dust and death! Like streams down-driven With helpless haste, which go In headlong furious flow Straight to the gulfing deeps of th’ unfilled ocean, So to that flaming cave Those heroes great and brave Pour, in unending streams, with helpless motion! Like moths which in the night Flutter towards a light, Drawn to their fiery doom, flying and dying, So to their death still throng, Blind, dazzled, borne along Ceaselessly, all those multitudes, wild flying! Thou, that hast fashioned men, Devourest them again, One with another, great and small, alike! The creatures whom Thou mak’st, With flaming jaws Thou tak’st, Lapping them up! Lord God! Thy terrors strike From end to end of earth, Filling life full, from birth To death, with deadly, burning, lurid dread! Ah, Vishnu! make me know Why is Thy visage so? Who art Thou, feasting thus upon Thy dead? Who? awful Deity! I bow myself to Thee, Namostu Te, Devavara! Prasid![FN#23] O Mightiest Lord! rehearse Why hast Thou face so fierce? Whence doth this aspect horrible proceed?

Krishna.

You see Me as Time who kills, Time who brings all to doom, The Slayer Time, Ancient of Days, come hither to consume; Excepting thee, of all these hosts of hostile chiefs arrayed, There stands not one shall leave alive the battlefield! Dismayed No longer be! Arise! obtain renown! destroy thy foes!

Fight for the kingdom waiting thee when thou hast vanquished those. By Me they fall–not thee! the stroke of death is dealt them now, Even as they show thus gallantly; My instrument art thou! Strike, strong-armed Prince, at Drona! at Bhishma strike! deal death On Karna, Jyadratha; stay all their warlike breath!

‘Tis I who bid them perish! Thou wilt but slay the slain; Fight! they must fall, and thou must live, victor upon this plain!

Sanjaya.

Hearing mighty Keshav’s word, Tremblingly that helmed Lord Clasped his lifted palms, and–praying Grace of Krishna–stood there, saying, With bowed brow and accents broken, These words, timorously spoken:

Arjuna.

The whole world hath delight In Thy surpassing power, obeying Thee; The Rakshasas, in dread At sight of Thee, are sped To all four quarters; and the company of Siddhas sound Thy name.

How should they not proclaim Thy Majesties, Divinest, Mightiest? Thou Brahm, than Brahma greater!

Thou Infinite Creator!

Thou God of gods, Life’s Dwelling-place and Rest! Thou, of all souls the Soul! The Comprehending Whole!

Of being formed, and formless being the Framer; O Utmost One! O Lord!

Older than eld, Who stored The worlds with wealth of life! O Treasure-Claimer, Who wottest all, and art Wisdom Thyself! O Part In all, and All; for all from Thee have risen Numberless now I see The aspects are of Thee! Vayu[FN#24] Thou art, and He who keeps the prison Of Narak, Yama dark; And Agni’s shining spark; Varuna’s waves are Thy waves. Moon and starlight are Thine!

Prajapati Art Thou, and ’tis to Thee They knelt in worshipping the old world’s far light, The first of mortal men. Again, Thou God! again a thousand thousand times be magnified! Honour and worship be– Glory and praise,–to Thee Namo, Namaste, cried on every side;

Cried here, above, below, Uttered when Thou dost go, Uttered where Thou dost come! Namo! we call;

if in anger now Thou shouldst remember I did think Thee Friend, Speaking with easy speech, As men use each to each;

Did call Thee “Krishna,” “Prince,” nor comprehend your hidden majesty, The might, the awe of Thee; Did, in my heedlessness, or in my love, On journey, or in jest, Or when we lay at rest, Sitting at council, straying in the grove, Alone, or in the throng, Do Thee, most Holy! wrong, Be Thy grace granted for that witless sin! For Thou art, now I know, Father of all below, Of all above, of all the worlds within Guru of Gurus; more To reverence and adore Than all which is adorable and high! How, in the wide worlds three Should any equal be? Should any other share Thy Majesty? Therefore, with body bent And reverent intent, I praise, and serve, and seek Thee, asking grace. As father to a son, As friend to friend, as one Who loveth to his lover, turn Thy face In gentleness on me! Good is it I did see This unknown marvel of Thy Form! But fear Mingles with joy! Retake, Dear Lord! for pity’s sake Thine earthly shape, which earthly eyes may bear! Be merciful, and show The visage that I know; Let me regard Thee, as of yore, arrayed With disc and forehead-gem, With mace and anadem, Thou that sustainest all things! Undismayed Let me once more behold The form I loved of old, Thou of the thousand arms and countless eyes! This frightened heart is fain To see restored again My Charioteer, in Krishna’s kind disguise.

Krishna.

You have seen because I loved you well. The secret countenance of Me, revealed by mystic spell, Shining, and wonderful, and vast, majestic, manifold, Which none save thou in all the years had favour to behold; For not by Vedas cometh this, nor sacrifice, nor alms, Nor works well-done, nor penance long, nor prayers, nor chaunted psalms, That mortal eyes should bear to view the Immortal Soul unclad, Prince of the Kurus! This was kept for thee alone! Be glad! Let no more trouble shake thy heart, because thine eyes have seen My terror with My glory. As I before have been So will I be again for thee; with lightened heart behold! Once more I am thy Krishna, the form thou knew’st of old!

Sanjaya.

These words to Arjuna spake Vasudev, and straight did take Back again the semblance dear Of the well-loved charioteer; Peace and joy it did restore When the Prince beheld once more Mighty BRAHMA’s form and face Clothed in Krishna’s gentle grace.

Arjuna.

Now that I see come back, Janardana!

This friendly human frame, my mind can think Calm thoughts once more; my heart beats still again!

Krishna.

It was wonderful and terrible to see me as you did. The gods dread and desire continually to view!

Yet not by Vedas, nor from sacrifice, Nor penance, nor gift-giving, nor with prayer Shall any so behold, as thou hast seen!

Only by fullest service, perfect faith, and uttermost surrender am I known And seen, and entered into, Indian Prince!

Who doeth all for Me; who findeth Me In all; adoreth always; loveth all Which I have made, and Me, for Love’s sole end That man, Arjuna! unto Me doth wend.