The Universal Form

 - CHAPTER 11 -

The Universal Form


arjuna uväca

mad-anugrahäya paramaà

guhyam adhyätma-saàjïitam

yat tvayoktaà vacas tena

moho ’yaà vigato mama


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; mat-anugrahäya—just to show me favor; paramam—supreme; guhyam—confidential subject; adhyätma—spiritual; saàjïitam—in the matter of; yat—what; tvayä—by You; uktam—said; vacaù—words; tena—by that; mohaù—illusion;ayam—this; vigataù—is removed; mama—my.


Arjuna said: By my hearing the instructions You have kindly given me about these most confidential spiritual subjects, my illusion has now been dispelled.


This chapter reveals Kåñëa as the cause of all causes. He is even the cause of the Mahä-Viñëu, from whom the material universes emanate. Kåñëa is not an incarnation; He is the source of all incarnations. That has been completely explained in the last chapter.

Now, as far as Arjuna is concerned, he says that his illusion is over. This means that Arjuna no longer thinks of Kåñëa as a mere human being, as a friend of his, but as the source of everything. Arjuna is very enlightened and is glad that he has such a great friend as Kåñëa, but now he is thinking that although he may accept Kåñëa as the source of everything, others may not. So in order to establish Kåñëa’s divinity for all, he is requesting Kåñëa in this chapter to show His universal form. Actually when one sees the universal form of Kåñëa one becomes frightened, like Arjuna, but Kåñëa is so kind that after showing it He converts Himself again into His original form. Arjuna agrees to what Kåñëa has several times said: Kåñëa is speaking to him just for his benefit.

So Arjuna acknowledges that all this is happening to him by Kåñëa’s grace. He is now convinced that Kåñëa is the cause of all causes and is present in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul.


bhaväpyayau hi bhütänäà

çrutau vistaraço mayä

tvattaù kamala-paträkña

mähätmyam api cävyayam


bhava—appearance; apyayau—disappearance; hi—certainly; bhütänäm—of all living entities; çrutau—have been heard; vistaraçaù—in detail; mayä—by me; tvattaù—from You; kamala-patra-akña—O lotus-eyed one; mähätmyam—glories; api—also; ca—and; avyayam—inexhaustible.


O lotus-eyed one, I have heard from You in detail about the appearance and disappearance of every living entity and have realized Your inexhaustibleglories.


Arjuna addresses Lord Kåñëa as “lotus-eyed” (Kåñëa’s eyes appear just like the petals of a lotus flower) out of his joy, for Kåñëa has assured him, in the previous chapter, ahaà kåtsnasya jagataù prabhavaù pralayas tathä: “I am the source of the appearance and disappearance of this entire material manifestation.” Arjuna has heard of this from the Lord in detail. Arjuna further knows that in spite of His being the source of all appearances and disappearances, He is aloof from them. As the Lord has said in the Ninth Chapter, He is all-pervading, yet He is not personally present everywhere. That is the inconceivable opulence of Kåñëa which Arjuna admits that he has thoroughly understood.


evam etad yathättha tvam

ätmänaà parameçvara

drañöum icchämi te rüpam

aiçvaraà puruñottama


evam—thus; etat—this; yathä—as it is; ättha—have spoken; tvam—You; ätmänam—Yourself; parama-éçvara—O Supreme Lord; drañöum—to see; icchämi—I wish; te—Your;rüpam—form; aiçvaram—divine; puruña-uttama—O best of personalities.


O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see You here before me in Your actual position, as You have described Yourself, I wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours.


The Lord said that because He entered into the material universe by His personal representation, the cosmic manifestation has been made possible and is going on. Now as far as Arjuna is concerned, he is inspired by the statements of Kåñëa, but in order to convince others in the future who may think that Kåñëa is an ordinary person, Arjuna desires to see Him actually in His universal form, to see how He is acting from within the universe, although He is apart from it. Arjuna’s addressing the Lord as puruñottamais also significant. Since the Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is present within Arjuna himself; therefore He knows the desire of Arjuna, and He can understand that Arjuna has no special desire to see Him in His universal form, for Arjuna is completely satisfied to see Him in His personal form of Kåñëa. But the Lord can understand also that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to convince others. Arjuna did not have any personal desire for confirmation. Kåñëa also understands that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to set a criterion, for in the future there would be so many imposters who would pose themselves as incarnations of God. The people, therefore, should be careful; one who claims to be Kåñëa should be prepared to show his universal form to confirm his claim to the people.


manyase yadi tac chakyaà

mayä drañöum iti prabho

yogeçvara tato me tvaà

darçayätmänam avyayam


manyase—You think; yadi—if; tat—that; çakyam—is able; mayä—by me; drañöum—to be seen; iti—thus;prabho—O Lord; yoga-éçvara—O Lord of all mystic power; tataù—then; me—unto me; tvam—You;darçaya—show; ätmänam—Your Self; avyayam—eternal.


If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that unlimited universal Self.


It is said that one can neither see, hear, understand nor perceive the Supreme Lord, Kåñëa, by the material senses. But if one is engaged in loving transcendental service to the Lord from the beginning, then one can see the Lord by revelation. Every living entity is only a spiritual spark; therefore it is not possible to see or to understand the Supreme Lord. Arjuna, as a devotee, does not depend on his speculative strength; rather, he admits his limitations as a living entity and acknowledges Kåñëa’s inestimable position. Arjuna could understand that for a living entity it is not possible to understand the unlimited infinite. If the infinite reveals Himself, then it is possible to understand the nature of the infinite by the grace of the infinite. The word yogeçvara is also very significant here because the Lord has inconceivable power. If He likes, He can reveal Himself by His grace, although He is unlimited. Therefore Arjuna pleads for the inconceivable grace of Kåñëa. He does not give Kåñëa orders. Kåñëa is not obliged to reveal Himself unless one surrenders fully in Kåñëa consciousness and engages in devotional service. Thus it is not possible for persons who depend on the strength of their mental speculations to see Kåñëa.


çré-bhagavän uväca

paçya me pärtha rüpäëi

çataço ’tha sahasraçaù

nänä-vidhäni divyäni

nänä-varëäkåténi ca


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; paçya—just see; me—My; pärtha—O son of Påthä; rüpäëi—forms; çataçaù—hundreds; atha—also; sahasraçaù—thousands; nänä-vidhäni—variegated; divyäni—divine; nänä—variegated; varëa—colors; äkåténi—forms; ca—also.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O son of Påthä, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms.


Arjuna wanted to see Kåñëa in His universal form, which, although a transcendental form, is just manifested for the cosmic manifestation and is therefore subject to the temporary time of this material nature. As the material nature is manifested and not manifested, similarly this universal form of Kåñëa is manifested and nonmanifested. It is not eternally situated in the spiritual sky like Kåñëa’s other forms. As far as a devotee is concerned, he is not eager to see the universal form, but because Arjuna wanted to see Kåñëa in this way, Kåñëa reveals this form. This universal form is not possible to be seen by any ordinary man. Kåñëa must give one the power to see it.


paçyädityän vasün rudrän

açvinau marutas tathä

bahüny adåñöa-pürväëi

paçyäçcaryäëi bhärata


paçya—see; ädityän—the twelve sons of Aditi; vasün—the eight Vasus; rudrän—the eleven forms of Rudra; açvinau—the two Açvinés; marutaù—the forty-nine Maruts (demigods of the wind); tathä—also; bahüni—many; adåñöa—that you have not seen; pürväëi—before; paçya—see; äçcaryäëi—all the wonders; bhärata—O best of the Bhäratas.


O best of the Bhäratas, see here the different manifestations of Ädityas, Vasus, Rudras, Açviné-kumäras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before.


Even though Arjuna was a personal friend of Kåñëa and the most advanced of learned men, it was still not possible for him to know everything about Kåñëa. Here it is stated that humans have neither heard nor known of all these forms and manifestations. Now Kåñëa reveals these wonderful forms.


ihaika-sthaà jagat kåtsnaà

paçyädya sa-caräcaram

mama dehe guòäkeça

yac cänyad drañöum icchasi


iha—in this; eka-stham—in one place; jagat—the universe; kåtsnam—completely; paçya—see; adya—immediately; sa—with; cara—the moving; acaram—and not moving; mama—My; dehe—in this body; guòäkeça—O Arjuna; yat—that which; ca—also; anyat—other; drañöum—to see; icchasi—you wish.


O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything—moving and nonmoving—is here completely, in one place.


No one can see the entire universe while sitting in one place. Even the most advanced scientist cannot see what is going on in other parts of the universe. But a devotee like Arjuna can see everything that exists in any part of the universe. Kåñëa gives him the power to see anything he wants to see, past, present and future. Thus by the mercy of Kåñëa, Arjuna is able to see everything.


na tu mäà çakyase drañöum

anenaiva sva-cakñuñä

divyaà dadämi te cakñuù

paçya me yogam aiçvaram


na—never; tu—but; mäm—Me; çakyase—are able;drañöum—to see; anena—with these; eva—certainly;sva-cakñuñä—your own eyes; divyam—divine;dadämi—I give; te—to you; cakñuù—eyes; paçya—see; me—My; yogam aiçvaram—inconceivable mystic power.


But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!


A pure devotee does not like to see Kåñëa in any form except His form with two hands; a devotee must see His universal form by His grace, not with the mind but with spiritual eyes. To see the universal form of Kåñëa, Arjuna is told not to change his mind but his vision. The universal form of Kåñëa is not very important; that will be clear in subsequent verses. Yet because Arjuna wanted to see it, the Lord gives him the particular vision required to see that universal form.

Devotees who are correctly situated in a transcendental relationship with Kåñëa are attracted by loving features, not by a godless display of opulences. The playmates of Kåñëa, the friends of Kåñëa and the parents of Kåñëa never want Kåñëa to show His opulences. They are so immersed in pure love that they do not even know that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In their loving exchange they forget that Kåñëa is the Supreme Lord. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is stated that the boys who play with Kåñëa are all highly pious souls and after many, many births they are able to play with Kåñëa. Such boys do not know that Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They take Him as a personal friend. Therefore Çukadeva Gosvämé recites this verse: 

itthaà satäà brahma-sukhänubhütyä

däsyaà gatänäà para-daivatena

mäyäçritänäà nara-därakeëa

säkaà vijahruù kåta-puëya-puïjäù

“Here is the Supreme Person, who is considered the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotees, and a product of material nature by ordinary men. Now these boys, who have performed many, many pious activities in their past lives, are playing with that Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Çrémad-Bhägavatam10.12.11) 

The fact is that the devotee is not concerned with seeing the viçva-rüpa, the universal form, but Arjuna wanted to see it to substantiate Kåñëa’s statements so that in the future people could understand that Kåñëa not only theoretically or philosophically presented Himself as the Supreme but actually presented Himself as such to Arjuna. Arjuna must confirm this because Arjuna is the beginning of the paramparä system. Those who are actually interested in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, and who follow in the footsteps of Arjuna should understand that Kåñëa not only theoretically presented Himself as the Supreme, but actually revealed Himself as the Supreme.

The Lord gave Arjuna the necessary power to see His universal form because He knew that Arjuna did not particularly want to see it, as we have already explained.


saïjaya uväca

evam uktvä tato räjan

mahä-yogeçvaro hariù

darçayäm äsa pärthäya

paramaà rüpam aiçvaram


saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; evam—thus; uktvä—saying; tataù—thereafter; räjan—O King; mahä-yoga-éçvaraù—the most powerful mystic; hariù—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa; darçayäm äsa—showed; pärthäya—unto Arjuna; paramam—the divine; rüpam aiçvaram—universal form.


Saïjaya said: O King, having spoken thus, the Supreme Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna.

TEXTS 10–11







sarväçcarya-mayaà devam

anantaà viçvato-mukham


aneka—various; vaktra—mouths; nayanam—eyes;aneka—various; adbhuta—wonderful; darçanam—sights; aneka—many; divya—divine; äbharaëam—ornaments; divya—divine; aneka—various; udyata—uplifted; äyudham—weapons; divya—divine; mälya—garlands; ambara—dresses; dharam—wearing; divya—divine; gandha—fragrances; anulepanam—smeared with; sarva—all; äçcarya-mayam—wonderful; devam—shining; anantam—unlimited;viçvataù-mukham—all-pervading.


Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths, unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine upraised weapons. He wore celestial garlands and garments, and many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous, brilliant, unlimited, all-expanding.


In these two verses the repeated use of the word many indicates that there was no limit to the number of hands, mouths, legs and other manifestations Arjuna was seeing. These manifestations were distributed throughout the universe, but by the grace of the Lord, Arjuna could see them while sitting in one place. That was due to the inconceivable potency of Kåñëa.


divi sürya-sahasrasya

bhaved yugapad utthitä

yadi bhäù sadåçé sä syäd

bhäsas tasya mahätmanaù


divi—in the sky; sürya—of suns; sahasrasya—of many thousands; bhavet—there were; yugapat—simultaneously; utthitä—present; yadi—if; bhäù—light; sadåçé—like that; —that; syät—might be;bhäsaù—effulgence; tasya—of Him; mahä-ätmanaù—the great Lord.


If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.


What Arjuna saw was indescribable, yet Saïjaya is trying to give a mental picture of that great revelation to Dhåtaräñöra. Neither Saïjaya nor Dhåtaräñöra was present, but Saïjaya, by the grace of Vyäsa, could see whatever happened. Thus he now compares the situation, as far as it can be understood, to an imaginable phenomenon (i.e., thousands of suns).


tatraika-sthaà jagat kåtsnaà

pravibhaktam anekadhä

apaçyad deva-devasya

çarére päëòavas tadä


tatra—there; eka-stham—in one place; jagat—the universe; kåtsnam—complete; pravibhaktam—divided; anekadhä—into many; apaçyat—could see;deva-devasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; çarére—in the universal form; päëòavaù—Arjuna; tadä—at that time.


At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although divided into many, many thousands.


The word tatra (“there”) is very significant. It indicates that both Arjuna and Kåñëa were sitting on the chariot when Arjuna saw the universal form. Others on the battlefield could not see this form, because Kåñëa gave the vision only to Arjuna. Arjuna could see in the body of Kåñëa many thousands of planets. As we learn from Vedic scriptures, there are many universes and many planets. Some of them are made of earth, some are made of gold, some are made of jewels, some are very great, some are not so great, etc. Sitting on his chariot, Arjuna could see all these. But no one could understand what was going on between Arjuna and Kåñëa.


tataù sa vismayäviñöo

håñöa-romä dhanaïjayaù

praëamya çirasä devaà

kåtäïjalir abhäñata


tataù—thereafter; saù—he; vismaya-äviñöaù—being overwhelmed with wonder; håñöa-romä—with his bodily hairs standing on end due to his great ecstasy;dhanaïjayaù—Arjuna; praëamya—offering obeisances; çirasä—with the head; devam—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kåta-aïjaliù—with folded hands; abhäñata—began to speak.


Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna bowed his head to offer obeisances and with folded hands began to pray to the Supreme Lord.


Once the divine vision is revealed, the relationship between Kåñëa and Arjuna changes immediately. Before, Kåñëa and Arjuna had a relationship based on friendship, but here, after the revelation, Arjuna is offering obeisances with great respect, and with folded hands he is praying to Kåñëa. He is praising the universal form. Thus Arjuna’s relationship becomes one of wonder rather than friendship. Great devotees see Kåñëa as the reservoir of all relationships. In the scriptures there are twelve basic kinds of relationships mentioned, and all of them are present in Kåñëa. It is said that He is the ocean of all the relationships exchanged between two living entities, between the gods, or between the Supreme Lord and His devotees.

Here Arjuna was inspired by the relationship of wonder, and in that wonder, although he was by nature very sober, calm and quiet, he became ecstatic, his hair stood up, and he began to offer his obeisances unto the Supreme Lord with folded hands. He was not, of course, afraid. He was affected by the wonders of the Supreme Lord. The immediate context is wonder; his natural loving friendship was overwhelmed by wonder, and thus he reacted in this way.


arjuna uväca

paçyämi deväàs tava deva dehe

sarväàs tathä bhüta-viçeña-saìghän

brahmäëam éçaà kamaläsana-stham

åñéàç ca sarvän uragäàç ca divyän


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; paçyämi—I see; devän—all the demigods; tava—Your; deva—O Lord; dehe—in the body; sarvän—all; tathä—also; bhüta—living entities; viçeña-saìghän—specifically assembled; brahmäëam—Lord Brahmä; éçam—Lord Çiva;kamala-äsana-stham—sitting on the lotus flower;åñén—great sages; ca—also; sarvän—all; uragän—serpents; ca—also; divyän—divine.


Arjuna said: My dear Lord Kåñëa, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahmä sitting on the lotusflower, as well as Lord Çiva and all the sages and divine serpents.


Arjuna sees everything in the universe; therefore he sees Brahmä, who is the first creature in the universe, and the celestial serpent upon which the Garbhodakaçäyé Viñëu lies in the lower regions of the universe. This snake bed is called Väsuki. There are also other snakes known as Väsuki. Arjuna can see from the Garbhodakaçäyé Viñëu up to the topmost part of the universe on the lotus-flower planet where Brahmä, the first creature of the universe, resides. That means that from the beginning to the end, everything could be seen by Arjuna, who was sitting in one place on his chariot. This was possible by the grace of the Supreme Lord, Kåñëa.



paçyämi tväà sarvato ’nanta-rüpam

näntaà na madhyaà na punas tavädià

paçyämi viçveçvara viçva-rüpa


aneka—many; bähu—arms; udara—bellies; vaktra—mouths; netram—eyes; paçyämi—I see; tväm—You; sarvataù—on all sides;ananta-rüpam—unlimited form; na antam—no end;na madhyam—no middle; na punaù—nor again; tava—Your; ädim—beginning; paçyämi—I see; viçva-éçvara—O Lord of the universe; viçva-rüpa—in the form of the universe.


O Lord of the universe, O universal form, I see in Your body many, many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes, expanded everywhere, without limit. I see inYou no end, no middle and no beginning.


Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is unlimited; thus through Him everything could be seen.


kiréöinaà gadinaà cakriëaà ca

tejo-räçià sarvato déptimantam

paçyämi tväà durnirékñyaà samantäd

déptänalärka-dyutim aprameyam


kiréöinam—with helmets; gadinam—with maces;cakriëam—with discs; ca—and; tejaù-räçim—effulgence; sarvataù—on all sides; dépti-mantam—glowing; paçyämi—I see; tväm—You; durnirékñyam—difficult to see; samantät—everywhere; dépta-anala—blazing fire; arka—of the sun; dyutim—the sunshine; aprameyam—immeasurable.


Your form is difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, spreading on all sides, like blazing fire or the immeasurable radiance of the sun. Yet I see this glowing form everywhere, adorned with various crowns, clubs and discs.


tvam akñaraà paramaà veditavyaà

tvam asya viçvasya paraà nidhänam

tvam avyayaù çäçvata-dharma-goptä

sanätanas tvaà puruño mato me


tvam—You; akñaram—the infallible; paramam—supreme; veditavyam—to be understood; tvam—You;asya—of this; viçvasya—universe; param—supreme; nidhänam—basis; tvam—You; avyayaù—inexhaustible; çäçvata-dharma-goptä—maintainer of the eternal religion; sanätanaù—eternal; tvam—You;puruñaù—the Supreme Personality; mataù me—this is my opinion.


You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of all this universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are themaintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion.


anädi-madhyäntam ananta-véryam

ananta-bähuà çaçi-sürya-netram

paçyämi tväà dépta-hutäça-vaktraà

sva-tejasä viçvam idaà tapantam


anädi—without beginning; madhya—middle; antam—or end; ananta—unlimited; véryam—glories;ananta—unlimited; bähum—arms; çaçi—the moon;sürya—and sun; netram—eyes; paçyämi—I see; tväm—You; dépta—blazing; hutäça-vaktram—fire coming out of Your mouth; sva-tejasä—by Your radiance;viçvam—universe; idam—this; tapantam—heating.


You are without origin, middle or end. Your glory is unlimited. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are Your eyes. I see You with blazing fire coming forth from Your mouth, burning this entire universe by Your ownradiance.


There is no limit to the extent of the six opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here and in many other places there is repetition, but according to the scriptures, repetition of the glories of Kåñëa is not a literary weakness. It is said that at a time of bewilderment or wonder or of great ecstasy, statements are repeated over and over. That is not a flaw.


dyäv ä-påthivyor idam antaraà hi

vyäptaà tvayaikena diçaç ca sarväù

dåñövädbhutaà rüpam ugraà tavedaà

loka-trayaà pravyathitaà mahätman


dyau—from outer space; ä-påthivyoù—to the earth;idam—this; antaram—between; hi—certainly;vyäptam—pervaded; tvayä—by You; ekena—alone;diçaù—directions; ca—and; sarväù—all; dåñövä—by seeing; adbhutam—wonderful; rüpam—form; ugram—terrible; tava—Your; idam—this; loka—the planetary systems; trayam—three; pravyathitam—perturbed; mahä-ätman—O great one.


Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed.


Dyäv ä-påthivyoù (“the space between heaven and earth”) and loka-trayam (“the three worlds”) are significant words in this verse because it appears that not only did Arjuna see this universal form of the Lord, but others in other planetary systems saw it also. Arjuna’s seeing of the universal form was not a dream. All whom the Lord endowed with divine vision saw that universal form on the battlefield.


amé hi tväà sura-saìghä viçanti

kecid bhétäù präïjalayo gåëanti

svastéty uktvä maharñi-siddha-saìghäù

stuvanti tväà stutibhiù puñkaläbhiù


amé—all those; hi—certainly; tväm—You; sura-saìghäù—groups of demigods; viçanti—are entering;kecit—some of them; bhétäù—out of fear; präïjalayaù—with folded hands; gåëanti—are offering prayers;svasti—all peace; iti—thus; uktvä—speaking; mahä-åñi—great sages; siddha-saìghäù—perfect beings;stuvanti—are singing hymns; tväm—unto You;stutibhiù—with prayers; puñkaläbhiù—Vedic hymns.


All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected beings, crying “All peace!” are praying to You by singing the Vedic hymns.


The demigods in all the planetary systems feared the terrific manifestation of the universal form and its glaring effulgence and so prayed for protection.


rudrädityä vasavo ye ca sädhyä

viçve ’çvinau marutaç coñmapäç ca


vékñante tväà vismitäç caiva sarve


rudra—manifestations of Lord Çiva; ädityäù—the Ädityas; vasavaù—the Vasus; ye—all those; ca—and;sädhyäù—the Sädhyas; viçve—the Viçvedevas; açvinau—the Açviné-kumäras; marutaù—the Maruts;ca—and; uñma-päù—the forefathers; ca—and;gandharva—of the Gandharvas; yakña—the Yakñas; asura—the demons; siddha—and the perfected demigods; saìghäù—the assemblies; vékñante—are beholding; tväm—You; vismitäù—in wonder; ca—also; eva—certainly; sarve—all.


All the various manifestations of Lord Çiva, the Ädityas, the Vasus, the Sädhyas, the Viçvedevas, the two Açvés, the Maruts, the forefathers, theGandharvas, the Yakñas, the Asuras and the perfected demigods are beholding You in wonder.


rüpaà mahat te bahu-vaktra-netraà

mahä-bäho bahu-bähüru-pädam

bahüdaraà bahu-daàñörä-karälaà

dåñövä lokäù pravyathitäs tathäham


rüpam—the form; mahat—very great; te—of You;bahu—many; vaktra—faces; netram—and eyes;mahä-bäho—O mighty-armed one; bahu—many; bähu—arms; üru—thighs; pädam—and legs; bahu-udaram—many bellies; bahu-daàñörä—many teeth;karälam—horrible; dåñövä—seeing; lokäù—all the planets; pravyathitäù—perturbed; tathä—similarly;aham—I.


O mighty-armed one, all the planets with their demigods are disturbed at seeing Your great form, with its many faces, eyes, arms, thighs, legs, and bellies and Your many terrible teeth; and as they are disturbed, so am I.


nabhaù-spåçaà déptam aneka-varëaà

vyättänanaà dépta-viçäla-netram

dåñövä hi tväà pravyathitäntar-ätmä

dhåtià na vindämi çamaà ca viñëo


nabhaù-spåçam—touching the sky; déptam—glowing; aneka—many; varëam—colors; vyätta—open; änanam—mouths; dépta—glowing; viçäla—very great; netram—eyes; dåñövä—seeing; hi—certainly; tväm—You; pravyathita—perturbed; antaù—within; ätmä—soul; dhåtim—steadiness; na—not;vindämi—I have; çamam—mental tranquillity; ca—also; viñëo—O Lord Viñëu.


O all-pervading Viñëu, seeing You with Your many radiant colors touching the sky, Your gaping mouths, and Your great glowing eyes, my mind isperturbed by fear. I can no longer maintain my steadiness or equilibrium of mind.


daàñörä-karäläni ca te mukhäni

dåñövaiva kälänala-sannibhäni

diço na jäne na labhe ca çarma

praséda deveça jagan-niväsa


daàñörä—teeth; karäläni—terrible; ca—also; te—Your; mukhäni—faces; dåñövä—seeing; eva—thus;käla-anala—the fire of death; sannibhäni—as if; diçaù—the directions; na—not; jäne—I know; na—not;labhe—I obtain; ca—and; çarma—grace; praséda—be pleased; deva-éça—O Lord of all lords; jagat-niväsa—O refuge of the worlds.


O Lord of lords, O refuge of the worlds, please be gracious to me. I cannot keep my balance seeing thus Your blazing deathlike faces and awful teeth. In all directions I am bewildered.

TEXTS 26–27

amé ca tväà dhåtaräñörasya puträù

sarve sahaivävani-päla-saìghaiù

bhéñmo droëaù süta-putras tathäsau

sahäsmadéyair api yodha-mukhyaiù

vakträëi te tvaramäëä viçanti

daàñörä-karäläni bhayänakäni

kecid vilagnä daçanäntareñu

sandåçyante cürëitair uttamäìgaiù


amé—these; ca—also; tväm—You; dhåtaräñörasya—of Dhåtaräñöra; puträù—the sons; sarve—all; saha—with; eva—indeed; avani-päla—of warrior kings;saìghaiù—the groups; bhéñmaù—Bhéñmadeva;droëaù—Droëäcärya; süta-putraù—Karëa; tathä—also; asau—that; saha—with; asmadéyaiù—our; api—also; yodha-mukhyaiù—chiefs among the warriors;vakträëi—mouths; te—Your; tvaramäëäù—rushing;viçanti—are entering; daàñörä—teeth; karäläni—terrible; bhayänakäni—very fearful; kecit—some of them; vilagnäù—becoming attached; daçana-antareñu—between the teeth; sandåçyante—are seen; cürëitaiù—with smashed; uttama-aìgaiù—heads.


All the sons of Dhåtaräñöra, along with their allied kings, and Bhéñma, Droëa, Karëa—and our chief soldiers also—are rushing into Your fearfulmouths. And some I see trapped with heads smashed between Your teeth.


In a previous verse the Lord promised to show Arjuna things he would be very interested in seeing. Now Arjuna sees that the leaders of the opposite party (Bhéñma, Droëa, Karëa and all the sons of Dhåtaräñöra) and their soldiers and Arjuna’s own soldiers are all being annihilated. This is an indication that after the death of nearly all the persons assembled at Kurukñetra, Arjuna will emerge victorious. It is also mentioned here that Bhéñma, who is supposed to be unconquerable, will also be smashed. So also Karëa. Not only will the great warriors of the other party like Bhéñma be smashed, but some of the great warriors of Arjuna’s side also.


yathä nadénäà bahavo ’mbu-vegäù

samudram eväbhimukhä dravanti

tathä tavämé nara-loka-vérä

viçanti vakträëy abhivijvalanti


yathä—as; nadénäm—of the rivers; bahavaù—the many; ambu-vegäù—waves of the waters; samudram—the ocean; eva—certainly; abhimukhäù—towards; dravanti—glide; tathä—similarly; tava—Your; amé—all these; nara-loka-véräù—kings of human society;viçanti—are entering; vakträëi—the mouths;abhivijvalanti—and are blazing.


As the many waves of the rivers flow into the ocean, so do all these great warriors enter blazing into Your mouths.


yathä pradéptaà jvalanaà pataìgä

viçanti näçäya samåddha-vegäù

tathaiva näçäya viçanti lokäs

taväpi vakträëi samåddha-vegäù


yathä—as; pradéptam—blazing; jvalanam—a fire;pataìgäù—moths; viçanti—enter; näçäya—for destruction; samåddha—with full; vegäù—speed; tathä eva—similarly; näçäya—for destruction; viçanti—are entering; lokäù—all people; tava—Your; api—also; vakträëi—mouths; samåddha-vegäù—with full speed.


I see all people rushing full speed into Your mouths, as moths dash to destruction in a blazing fire.


lelihyase grasamänaù samantäl

lokän samagrän vadanair jvaladbhiù

tejobhir äpürya jagat samagraà

bhäsas tavogräù pratapanti viñëo


lelihyase—You are licking; grasamänaù—devouring;samantät—from all directions; lokän—people;samagrän—all; vadanaiù—by the mouths; jvaladbhiù—blazing; tejobhiù—by effulgence; äpürya—covering; jagat—the universe; samagram—all; bhäsaù—rays; tava—Your; ugräù—terrible; pratapanti—are scorching; viñëo—O all-pervading Lord.


O Viñëu, I see You devouring all people from all sides with Your flaming mouths. Covering all the universe with Your effulgence, You are manifest with terrible, scorching rays.


äkhyähi me ko bhavän ugra-rüpo

namo ’stu te deva-vara praséda

vijïätum icchämi bhavantam ädyaà

na hi prajänämi tava pravåttim


äkhyähi—please explain; me—unto me; kaù—who;bhavän—You; ugra-rüpaù—fierce form; namaù astu—obeisances; te—unto You; deva-vara—O great one amongst the demigods; praséda—be gracious; vijïätum—to know; icchämi—I wish; bhavantam—You; ädyam—the original; na—not; hi—certainly;prajänämi—do I know; tava—Your; pravåttim—mission.


O Lord of lords, so fierce of form, please tell me who You are. I offer my obeisances unto You; please be gracious to me. You are the primal Lord. I want to know about You, for I do not know what Your mission is.


çré-bhagavän uväca

kälo ’smi loka-kñaya-kåt pravåddho

lokän samähartum iha pravåttaù

åte ’pi tväà na bhaviñyanti sarve

ye ’vasthitäù pratyanékeñu yodhäù


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Personality of Godhead said; kälaù—time; asmi—I am; loka—of the worlds;kñaya-kåt—the destroyer; pravåddhaù—great; lokän—all people; samähartum—in destroying; iha—in this world; pravåttaù—engaged; åte—without, except for;api—even; tväm—you; na—never; bhaviñyanti—will be; sarve—all; ye—who; avasthitäù—situated; prati-anékeñu—on the opposite sides; yodhäù—the soldiers.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Päëòavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.


Although Arjuna knew that Kåñëa was his friend and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was puzzled by the various forms exhibited by Kåñëa. Therefore he asked further about the actual mission of this devastating force. It is written in the Vedas that the Supreme Truth destroys everything, even thebrähmaëas. As stated in the Kaöha Upaniñad(1.2.25), 

yasya brahma ca kñatraà ca

ubhe bhavata odanaù

måtyur yasyopasecanaà

ka itthä veda yatra saù

Eventually all the brähmaëas, kñatriyas and everyone else are devoured like a meal by the Supreme. This form of the Supreme Lord is the all-devouring giant, and here Kåñëa presents Himself in that form of all-devouring time. Except for a few Päëòavas, everyone who was present on that battlefield would be devoured by Him. Arjuna was not in favor of the fight, and he thought it was better not to fight; then there would be no frustration. In reply, the Lord is saying that even if he did not fight, every one of them would be destroyed, for that was His plan. If Arjuna stopped fighting, they would die in another way. Death could not be checked, even if he did not fight. In fact, they were already dead. Time is destruction, and all manifestations are to be vanquished by the desire of the Supreme Lord. That is the law of nature.


tasmät tvam uttiñöha yaço labhasva

jitvä çatrün bhuìkñva räjyaà samåddham

mayaivaite nihatäù pürvam eva

nimitta-mätraà bhava savya-säcin


tasmät—therefore; tvam—you; uttiñöha—get up;yaçaù—fame; labhasva—gain; jitvä—conquering;çatrün—enemies; bhuìkñva—enjoy; räjyam—kingdom; samåddham—flourishing; mayä—by Me;eva—certainly; ete—all these; nihatäù—killed; pürvam eva—by previous arrangement; nimitta-mätram—just the cause; bhava—become; savya-säcin—O Savyasäcé.


Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasäcé, can be but an instrument in the fight.


Savya-säcin refers to one who can shoot arrows very expertly in the field; thus Arjuna is addressed as an expert warrior capable of delivering arrows to kill his enemies. “Just become an instrument”:nimitta-mätram. This word is also very significant. The whole world is moving according to the plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Foolish persons who do not have sufficient knowledge think that nature is moving without a plan and all manifestations are but accidental formations. There are many so-called scientists who suggest that perhaps it was like this, or maybe like that, but there is no question of “perhaps” and “maybe.” There is a specific plan being carried out in this material world. What is this plan? This cosmic manifestation is a chance for the conditioned souls to go back to Godhead, back to home. As long as they have the domineering mentality which makes them try to lord it over material nature, they are conditioned. But anyone who can understand the plan of the Supreme Lord and cultivate Kåñëa consciousness is most intelligent. The creation and destruction of the cosmic manifestation are under the superior guidance of God. Thus the Battle of Kurukñetra was fought according to the plan of God. Arjuna was refusing to fight, but he was told that he should fight in accordance with the desire of the Supreme Lord. Then he would be happy. If one is in full Kåñëa consciousness and his life is devoted to the Lord’s transcendental service, he is perfect.


droëaà ca bhéñmaà ca jayadrathaà ca

karëaà tathänyän api yodha-vérän

mayä hatäàs tvaà jahi mä vyathiñöhä

yudhyasva jetäsi raëe sapatnän


droëam ca—also Droëa; bhéñmam ca—also Bhéñma;jayadratham ca—also Jayadratha; karëam—Karëa;tathä—also; anyän—others; api—certainly; yodha-vérän—great warriors; mayä—by Me; hatän—already killed; tvam—you; jahi—destroy; —do not;vyathiñöhäù—be disturbed; yudhyasva—just fight; jetä asi—you will conquer; raëe—in the fight;sapatnän—enemies.


Droëa, Bhéñma, Jayadratha, Karëa and the other great warriors have already been destroyed by Me. Therefore, kill them and do not be disturbed. Simply fight, and you will vanquish your enemies in battle.


Every plan is made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He is so kind and merciful to His devotees that He wants to give the credit to His devotees who carry out His plan according to His desire. Life should therefore move in such a way that everyone acts in Kåñëa consciousness and understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the medium of a spiritual master. The plans of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are understood by His mercy, and the plans of the devotees are as good as His plans. One should follow such plans and be victorious in the struggle for existence.


saïjaya uväca

etac chrutvä vacanaà keçavasya

kåtäïjalir vepamänaù kirété

namaskåtvä bhüya eväha kåñëaà

sa-gadgadaà bhéta-bhétaù praëamya


saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; etat—thus; çrutvä—hearing; vacanam—the speech; keçavasya—of Kåñëa;kåta-aïjaliù—with folded hands; vepamänaù—trembling; kirété—Arjuna; namaskåtvä—offering obeisances; bhüyaù—again; eva—also; äha—said;kåñëam—unto Kåñëa; sa-gadgadam—with a faltering voice; bhéta-bhétaù—fearful; praëamya—offering obeisances.


Saïjaya said to Dhåtaräñöra: O King, after hearing these words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the trembling Arjuna offered obeisances with folded hands again and again. He fearfully spoke to Lord Kåñëa in a faltering voice, as follows.


As we have already explained, because of the situation created by the universal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna became bewildered in wonder; thus he began to offer his respectful obeisances to Kåñëa again and again, and with faltering voice he began to pray, not as a friend, but as a devotee in wonder.


arjuna uväca

sthäne håñékeça tava prakértyä

jagat prahåñyaty anurajyate ca

rakñäàsi bhétäni diço dravanti

sarve namasyanti ca siddha-saìghäù


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; sthäne—rightly; håñéka-éça—O master of all senses; tava—Your; prakértyä—by the glories; jagat—the entire world; prahåñyati—is rejoicing; anurajyate—is becoming attached; ca—and; rakñäàsi—the demons; bhétäni—out of fear;diçaù—in all directions; dravanti—are fleeing; sarve—all; namasyanti—are offering respects; ca—also; siddha-saìghäù—the perfect human beings.


Arjuna said: O master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although theperfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.


Arjuna, after hearing from Kåñëa about the outcome of the Battle of Kurukñetra, became enlightened, and as a great devotee and friend of the Supreme Personality of Godhead he said that everything done by Kåñëa is quite fit. Arjuna confirmed that Kåñëa is the maintainer and the object of worship for the devotees and the destroyer of the undesirables. His actions are equally good for all. Arjuna understood herein that when the Battle of Kurukñetra was being concluded, in outer space there were present many demigods, siddhas, and the intelligentsia of the higher planets, and they were observing the fight because Kåñëa was present there. When Arjuna saw the universal form of the Lord, the demigods took pleasure in it, but others, who were demons and atheists, could not stand it when the Lord was praised. Out of their natural fear of the devastating form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they fled. Kåñëa’s treatment of the devotees and the atheists is praised by Arjuna. In all cases a devotee glorifies the Lord because he knows that whatever He does is good for all.


kasmäc ca te na nameran mahätman

garéyase brahmaëo ’py ädi-kartre

ananta deveça jagan-niväsa

tvam akñaraà sad-asat tat paraà yat


kasmät—why; ca—also; te—unto You; na—not;nameran—they should offer proper obeisances;mahä-ätman—O great one; garéyase—who are better; brahmaëaù—than Brahmä; api—although;ädi-kartre—to the supreme creator; ananta—O unlimited; deva-éça—O God of the gods; jagat-niväsa—O refuge of the universe; tvam—You are; akñaram—imperishable; sat-asat—to cause and effect; tat param—transcendental; yat—because.


O great one, greater even than Brahmä, You are the original creator. Why then should they not offer their respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods, refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation.


By this offering of obeisances, Arjuna indicates that Kåñëa is worshipable by everyone. He is all-pervading, and He is the Soul of every soul. Arjuna is addressing Kåñëa as mahätmä, which means that He is most magnanimous and unlimited. Ananta indicates that there is nothing which is not covered by the influence and energy of the Supreme Lord, and deveça means that He is the controller of all demigods and is above them all. He is the shelter of the whole universe. Arjuna also thought that it was fitting that all the perfect living entities and powerful demigods offer their respectful obeisances unto Him, because no one is greater than Him. Arjuna especially mentions that Kåñëa is greater than Brahmä because Brahmä is created by Him. Brahmä is born out of the lotus stem grown from the navel abdomen of Garbhodakaçäyé Viñëu, who is Kåñëa’s plenary expansion; therefore Brahmä and Lord Çiva, who is born of Brahmä, and all other demigods must offer their respectful obeisances. It is stated in Çrémad-Bhägavatam that the Lord is respected by Lord Çiva and Brahmä and similar other demigods. The word akñaram is very significant because this material creation is subject to destruction but the Lord is above this material creation. He is the cause of all causes, and being so, He is superior to all the conditioned souls within this material nature as well as the material cosmic manifestation itself. He is therefore the all-great Supreme.


tvam ädi-devaù puruñaù puräëas

tvam asya viçvasya paraà nidhänam

vettäsi vedyaà ca paraà ca dhäma

tvayä tataà viçvam ananta-rüpa


tvam—You; ädi-devaù—the original Supreme God;puruñaù—personality; puräëaù—old; tvam—You;asya—of this; viçvasya—universe; param—transcendental; nidhänam—refuge; vettä—the knower; asi—You are; vedyam—the knowable; ca—and; param—transcendental; ca—and; dhäma—refuge; tvayä—by You; tatam—pervaded;viçvam—the universe; ananta-rüpa—O unlimited form.


You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything,and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!


Everything is resting on the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore He is the ultimate rest.Nidhänam means that everything, even the Brahman effulgence, rests on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. He is the knower of everything that is happening in this world, and if knowledge has any end, He is the end of all knowledge; therefore He is the known and the knowable. He is the object of knowledge because He is all-pervading. Because He is the cause in the spiritual world, He is transcendental. He is also the chief personality in the transcendental world.


väyur yamo ’gnir varuëaù çaçäìkaù

prajäpatis tvaà prapitämahaç ca

namo namas te ’stu sahasra-kåtvaù

punaç ca bhüyo ’pi namo namas te


väyuù—air; yamaù—the controller; agniù—fire;varuëaù—water; çaça-aìkaù—the moon; prajäpatiù—Brahmä; tvam—You; prapitämahaù—the great-grandfather; ca—also; namaù—my respects; namaù—again my respects; te—unto You; astu—let there be; sahasra-kåtvaù—a thousand times; punaù ca—and again; bhüyaù—again; api—also; namaù—offering my respects; namaù te—offering my respects unto You.


You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahmä, the first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!


The Lord is addressed here as air because the air is the most important representation of all the demigods, being all-pervasive. Arjuna also addresses Kåñëa as the great-grandfather because He is the father of Brahmä, the first living creature in the universe.


namaù purastäd atha påñöhatas te

namo ’stu te sarvata eva sarva

ananta-véryämita-vikramas tvaà

sarvaà samäpnoñi tato ’si sarvaù


namaù—offering obeisances; purastät—from the front; atha—also; påñöhataù—from behind; te—unto You; namaù astu—I offer my respects; te—unto You; sarvataù—from all sides; eva—indeed; sarva—because You are everything; ananta-vérya—unlimited potency; amita-vikramaù—and unlimited force; tvam—You; sarvam—everything; samäpnoñi—You cover; tataù—therefore;asi—You are; sarvaù—everything.


Obeisances to You from the front, from behind and from all sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!


Out of loving ecstasy for Kåñëa, his friend, Arjuna is offering his respects from all sides. He is accepting that He is the master of all potencies and all prowess and far superior to all the great warriors assembled on the battlefield.

It is said in the Viñëu Puräëa (1.9.69):

yo ’yaà tavägato deva

samépaà devatä-gaëaù

sa tvam eva jagat-srañöä

yataù sarva-gato bhavän

“Whoever comes before You, be he a demigod, is created by You, O Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

TEXTS 41–42

sakheti matvä prasabhaà yad uktaà

he kåñëa he yädava he sakheti

ajänatä mahimänaà tavedaà

mayä pramädät praëayena väpi

yac cävahäsärtham asat-kåto ’si


eko ’tha väpy acyuta tat-samakñaà

tat kñämaye tväm aham aprameyam


sakhä—friend; iti—thus; matvä—thinking; prasabham—presumptuously; yat—whatever; uktam—said; he kåñëa—O Kåñëa; he yädava—O Yädava; he sakhe—O my dear friend; iti—thus; ajänatä—without knowing; mahimänam—glories; tava—Your; idam—this; mayä—by me; pramädät—out of foolishness; praëayena—out of love; vä api—either; yat—whatever; ca—also;avahäsa-artham—for joking; asat-kåtaù—dishonored; asi—You have been; vihära—in relaxation; çayyä—in lying down; äsana—in sitting; bhojaneñu—or while eating together; ekaù—alone;atha vä—or; api—also; acyuta—O infallible one; tat-samakñam—among companions; tat—all those; kñämaye—ask forgiveness; tväm—from You; aham—I; aprameyam—immeasurable.


Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You “O Kåñëa,” “O Yädava,” “O my friend,” not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one, please excuse me for all those offenses.


Although Kåñëa is manifested before Arjuna in His universal form, Arjuna remembers his friendly relationship with Kåñëa and is therefore asking pardon and requesting Kåñëa to excuse him for the many informal gestures which arise out of friendship. He is admitting that formerly he did not know that Kåñëa could assume such a universal form, although Kåñëa explained it as his intimate friend. Arjuna did not know how many times he may have dishonored Kåñëa by addressing Him “O my friend,” “O Kåñëa,” “O Yädava,” etc., without acknowledging His opulence. But Kåñëa is so kind and merciful that in spite of such opulence He played with Arjuna as a friend. Such is the transcendental loving reciprocation between the devotee and the Lord. The relationship between the living entity and Kåñëa is fixed eternally; it cannot be forgotten, as we can see from the behavior of Arjuna. Although Arjuna has seen the opulence in the universal form, he cannot forget his friendly relationship with Kåñëa.


pitäsi lokasya caräcarasya

tvam asya püjyaç ca gurur garéyän

na tvat-samo ’sty abhyadhikaù kuto ’nyo

loka-traye ’py apratima-prabhäva


pitä—the father; asi—You are; lokasya—of all the world; cara—moving; acarasya—and nonmoving;tvam—You are; asya—of this; püjyaù—worshipable;ca—also; guruù—master; garéyän—glorious; na—never; tvat-samaù—equal to You; asti—there is;abhyadhikaù—greater; kutaù—how is it possible; anyaù—other; loka-traye—in the three planetary systems; api—also; apratima-prabhäva—O immeasurable power.


You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, of the moving and the nonmoving. You are its worshipable chief, the supreme spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. How then could there beanyone greater than You within the three worlds, O Lord of immeasurable power?


The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, is worshipable as a father is worshipable for his son. He is the spiritual master because He originally gave the Vedic instructions to Brahmä and presently He is also instructing Bhagavad-gétä to Arjuna; therefore He is the original spiritual master, and any bona fide spiritual master at the present moment must be a descendant in the line of disciplic succession stemming from Kåñëa. Without being a representative of Kåñëa, one cannot become a teacher or spiritual master of transcendental subject matter.

The Lord is being paid obeisances in all respects. He is of immeasurable greatness. No one can be greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, because no one is equal to or higher than Kåñëa within any manifestation, spiritual or material. Everyone is below Him. No one can excel Him. This is stated in the Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad (6.8): 

na tasya käryaà karaëaà ca vidyate

na tat-samaç cäbhyadhikaç ca dåçyate

The Supreme Lord, Kåñëa, has senses and a body like the ordinary man, but for Him there is no difference between His senses, His body, His mind and Himself. Foolish persons who do not perfectly know Him say that Kåñëa is different from His soul, mind, heart and everything else. Kåñëa is absolute; therefore His activities and potencies are supreme. It is also stated that although He does not have senses like ours, He can perform all sensory activities; therefore His senses are neither imperfect nor limited. No one can be greater than Him, no one can be equal to Him, and everyone is lower than Him.

The knowledge, strength and activities of the Supreme Personality are all transcendental. As stated in Bhagavad-gétä (4.9): 

janma karma ca me divyam

evaà yo vetti tattvataù

tyaktvä dehaà punar janma

naiti mäm eti so ’rjuna

Whoever knows Kåñëa’s transcendental body, activities and perfection, after quitting his body, returns to Him and doesn’t come back again to this miserable world. Therefore one should know that Kåñëa’s activities are different from others. The best policy is to follow the principles of Kåñëa; that will make one perfect. It is also stated that there is no one who is master of Kåñëa; everyone is His servant. The Caitanya-caritämåta (Ädi 5.142) confirms, ekale éçvara kåñëa, ära saba bhåtya: only Kåñëa is God, and everyone else is His servant. Everyone is complying with His order. There is no one who can deny His order. Everyone is acting according to His direction, being under His superintendence. As stated in the Brahma-saàhitä, He is the cause of all causes.


tasmät praëamya praëidhäya käyaà

prasädaye tväm aham éçam éòyam

piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuù

priyaù priyäyärhasi deva soòhum


tasmät—therefore; praëamya—offering obeisances;praëidhäya—laying down; käyam—the body;prasädaye—to beg mercy; tväm—unto You; aham—I; éçam—unto the Supreme Lord; éòyam—worshipable;pitä iva—like a father; putrasya—with a son; sakhä iva—like a friend; sakhyuù—with a friend; priyaù—a lover; priyäyäù—with the dearmost; arhasi—You should; deva—my Lord; soòhum—tolerate.


You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respectful obeisances and ask Your mercy. As a father tolerates the impudence of his son, or a friend tolerates the impertinence of a friend, or a wife tolerates the familiarity of her partner, please tolerate the wrongs I may have done You.


Kåñëa’s devotees relate to Kåñëa in various relationships; one might treat Kåñëa as a son, or one might treat Kåñëa as a husband, as a friend, or as a master. Kåñëa and Arjuna are related in friendship. As the father tolerates, or the husband or a master tolerates, so Kåñëa tolerates.


adåñöa-pürvaà håñito ’smi dåñövä

bhayena ca pravyathitaà mano me

tad eva me darçaya deva rüpaà

praséda deveça jagan-niväsa


adåñöa-pürvam—never seen before; håñitaù—gladdened; asmi—I am; dåñövä—by seeing; bhayena—out of fear; ca—also; pravyathitam—perturbed; manaù—mind; me—my; tat—that; eva—certainly; me—unto me; darçaya—show; deva—O Lord; rüpam—the form; praséda—just be gracious; deva-éça—O Lord of lords; jagat-niväsa—O refuge of the universe.


After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe.


Arjuna is always in confidence with Kåñëa because he is a very dear friend, and as a dear friend is gladdened by his friend’s opulence, Arjuna is very joyful to see that his friend Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can show such a wonderful universal form. But at the same time, after seeing that universal form, he is afraid that he has committed so many offenses to Kåñëa out of his unalloyed friendship. Thus his mind is disturbed out of fear, although he had no reason to fear. Arjuna therefore is asking Kåñëa to show His Näräyaëa form, because He can assume any form. This universal form is material and temporary, as the material world is temporary. But in the Vaikuëöha planets He has His transcendental form with four hands as Näräyaëa. There are innumerable planets in the spiritual sky, and in each of them Kåñëa is present by His plenary manifestations of different names. Thus Arjuna desired to see one of the forms manifest in the Vaikuëöha planets. Of course in each Vaikuëöha planet the form of Näräyaëa is four-handed, but the four hands hold different arrangements of symbols—the conchshell, mace, lotus and disc. According to the different hands these four things are held in, the Näräyaëas are variously named. All of these forms are one with Kåñëa; therefore Arjuna requests to see His four-handed feature.


kiréöinaà gadinaà cakra-hastam

icchämi tväà drañöum ahaà tathaiva

tenaiva rüpeëa catur-bhujena

sahasra-bäho bhava viçva-mürte


kiréöinam—with helmet; gadinam—with club; cakra-hastam—disc in hand; icchämi—I wish; tväm—You;drañöum—to see; aham—I; tathä eva—in that position; tena eva—in that; rüpeëa—form; catuù-bhujena—four-handed; sahasra-bäho—O thousand-handed one; bhava—just become; viçva-mürte—O universal form.


O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form.


In the Brahma-saàhitä (5.39) it is stated, rämädi-mürtiñu kalä-niyamena tiñöhan: the Lord is eternally situated in hundreds and thousands of forms, and the main forms are those like Räma, Nåsiàha, Näräyaëa, etc. There are innumerable forms. But Arjuna knew that Kåñëa is the original Personality of Godhead assuming His temporary universal form. He is now asking to see the form of Näräyaëa, a spiritual form. This verse establishes without any doubt the statement of theÇrémad-Bhägavatam that Kåñëa is the original Personality of Godhead and all other features originate from Him. He is not different from His plenary expansions, and He is God in any of His innumerable forms. In all of these forms He is fresh like a young man. That is the constant feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who knows Kåñëa becomes free at once from all contamination of the material world.


çré-bhagavän uväca

mayä prasannena tavärjunedaà

rüpaà paraà darçitam ätma-yogät

tejo-mayaà viçvam anantam ädyaà

yan me tvad anyena na dåñöa-pürvam


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; mayä—by Me; prasannena—happily;tava—unto you; arjuna—O Arjuna; idam—this; rüpam—form; param—transcendental; darçitam—shown;ätma-yogät—by My internal potency; tejaù-mayam—full of effulgence; viçvam—the entire universe;anantam—unlimited; ädyam—original; yat—that which; me—My; tvat anyena—besides you; na dåñöa-pürvam—no one has previously seen.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme universal form within the material world. No one before you has ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring effulgence.


Arjuna wanted to see the universal form of the Supreme Lord, so Lord Kåñëa, out of His mercy upon His devotee Arjuna, showed His universal form, full of effulgence and opulence. This form was glaring like the sun, and its many faces were rapidly changing. Kåñëa showed this form just to satisfy the desire of His friend Arjuna. This form was manifested by Kåñëa through His internal potency, which is inconceivable by human speculation. No one had seen this universal form of the Lord before Arjuna, but because the form was shown to Arjuna, other devotees in the heavenly planets and in other planets in outer space could also see it. They had not seen it before, but because of Arjuna they were also able to see it. In other words, all the disciplic devotees of the Lord could see the universal form which was shown to Arjuna by the mercy of Kåñëa. Someone has commented that this form was shown to Duryodhana also when Kåñëa went to Duryodhana to negotiate for peace. Unfortunately, Duryodhana did not accept the peace offer, but at that time Kåñëa manifested some of His universal forms. But those forms are different from this one shown to Arjuna. It is clearly said that no one had ever seen this form before.


na veda-yajïädhyayanair na dänair

na ca kriyäbhir na tapobhir ugraiù

evaà-rüpaù çakya ahaà nå-loke

drañöuà tvad anyena kuru-pravéra


na—never; veda-yajïa—by sacrifice; adhyayanaiù—or Vedic study; na—never; dänaiù—by charity; na—never; ca—also; kriyäbhiù—by pious activities; na—never; tapobhiù—by serious penances; ugraiù—severe; evam-rüpaù—in this form; çakyaù—can;aham—I; nå-loke—in this material world; drañöum—be seen; tvat—than you; anyena—by another; kuru-pravéra—O best among the Kuru warriors.


O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by pious activities, nor by severe penances can I be seen in this form in the material world.


The divine vision in this connection should be clearly understood. Who can have divine vision? Divine means godly. Unless one attains the status of divinity as a demigod, he cannot have divine vision. And what is a demigod? It is stated in the Vedic scriptures that those who are devotees of Lord Viñëu are demigods ( viñëu-bhaktäù småtä deväù). Those who are atheistic, i.e., who do not believe in Viñëu, or who recognize only the impersonal part of Kåñëa as the Supreme, cannot have the divine vision. It is not possible to decry Kåñëa and at the same time have the divine vision. One cannot have the divine vision without becoming divine. In other words, those who have divine vision can also see like Arjuna.

The Bhagavad-gétä gives the description of the universal form. Although this description was unknown to everyone before Arjuna, now one can have some idea of the viçva-rüpa after this incident. Those who are actually divine can see the universal form of the Lord. But one cannot be divine without being a pure devotee of Kåñëa. The devotees, however, who are actually in the divine nature and who have divine vision, are not very much interested in seeing the universal form of the Lord. As described in the previous verse, Arjuna desired to see the four-handed form of Lord Kåñëa as Viñëu, and he was actually afraid of the universal form.

In this verse there are some significant words, just like veda-yajïädhyayanaiù, which refers to studying Vedic literature and the subject matter of sacrificial regulations. Veda refers to all kinds of Vedic literature, such as the four Vedas ( Åg, Yajur, Sämaand Atharva) and the eighteen Puräëas, theUpaniñads and the Vedänta-sütra. One can study these at home or anywhere else. Similarly, there aresütras—Kalpa-sütras and Mémäàsä-sütras—for studying the method of sacrifice. Dänaiù refers to charity which is offered to a suitable party, such as those who are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord—the brähmaëas and the Vaiñëavas. Similarly, “pious activities” refers to theagni-hotra and the prescribed duties of the different castes. And the voluntary acceptance of some bodily pains is called tapasya. So one can perform all these—can accept bodily penances, give charity, study theVedas, etc.—but unless he is a devotee like Arjuna, it is not possible to see that universal form. Those who are impersonalists are also imagining that they are seeing the universal form of the Lord, but fromBhagavad-gétä we understand that the impersonalists are not devotees. Therefore they are unable to see the universal form of the Lord.

There are many persons who create incarnations. They falsely claim an ordinary human to be an incarnation, but this is all foolishness. We should follow the principles of Bhagavad-gétä, otherwise there is no possibility of attaining perfect spiritual knowledge. Although Bhagavad-gétä is considered the preliminary study of the science of God, still it is so perfect that it enables one to distinguish what is what. The followers of a pseudo incarnation may say that they have also seen the transcendental incarnation of God, the universal form, but that is unacceptable because it is clearly stated here that unless one becomes a devotee of Kåñëa one cannot see the universal form of God. So one first of all has to become a pure devotee of Kåñëa; then he can claim that he can show the universal form of what he has seen. A devotee of Kåñëa cannot accept false incarnations or followers of false incarnations.


mä te vyathä mä ca vimüòha-bhävo

dåñövä rüpaà ghoram édåì mamedam

vyapeta-bhéù préta-manäù punas tvaà

tad eva me rüpam idaà prapaçya


—let it not be; te—unto you; vyathä—trouble; —let it not be; ca—also; vimüòha-bhävaù—bewilderment; dåñövä—by seeing; rüpam—form; ghoram—horrible; édåk—as it is; mama—My; idam—this; vyapeta-bhéù—free from all fear; préta-manäù—pleased in mind; punaù—again; tvam—you; tat—that;eva—thus; me—My; rüpam—form; idam—this;prapaçya—just see.


You have been perturbed and bewildered by seeing this horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free again from all disturbances. With a peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.


In the beginning of Bhagavad-gétä Arjuna was worried about killing Bhéñma and Droëa, his worshipful grandfather and master. But Kåñëa said that he need not be afraid of killing his grandfather. When the sons of Dhåtaräñöra tried to disrobe Draupadé in the assembly of the Kurus, Bhéñma and Droëa were silent, and for such negligence of duty they should be killed. Kåñëa showed His universal form to Arjuna just to show him that these people were already killed for their unlawful action. That scene was shown to Arjuna because devotees are always peaceful and they cannot perform such horrible actions. The purpose of the revelation of the universal form was shown; now Arjuna wanted to see the four-armed form, and Kåñëa showed him. A devotee is not much interested in the universal form, for it does not enable one to reciprocate loving feelings. Either a devotee wants to offer his respectful worshipful feelings, or he wants to see the two-handed Kåñëa form so that he can reciprocate in loving service with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


saïjaya uväca

ity arjunaà väsudevas tathoktvä

svakaà rüpaà darçayäm äsa bhüyaù

äçväsayäm äsa ca bhétam enaà

bhütvä punaù saumya-vapur mahätmä


saïjayaù uväca—Saïjaya said; iti—thus; arjunam—unto Arjuna; väsudevaù—Kåñëa; tathä—in that way;uktvä—speaking; svakam—His own; rüpam—form;darçayäm äsa—showed; bhüyaù—again; äçväsayämäsa—encouraged; ca—also; bhétam—fearful; enam—him; bhütvä—becoming; punaù—again; saumya-vapuù—the beautiful form; mahä-ätmä—the great one.


Saïjaya said to Dhåtaräñöra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, having spoken thus to Arjuna, displayed His real four-armed form and at last showed His two-armed form, thus encouraging the fearful Arjuna.


When Kåñëa appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaké, He first of all appeared as four-armed Näräyaëa, but when He was requested by His parents, He transformed Himself into an ordinary child in appearance. Similarly, Kåñëa knew that Arjuna was not interested in seeing a four-handed form, but since Arjuna asked to see this four-handed form, Kåñëa also showed him this form again and then showed Himself in His two-handed form. The word saumya-vapuù is very significant. Saumya-vapuù is a very beautiful form; it is known as the most beautiful form. When He was present, everyone was attracted simply by Kåñëa’s form, and because Kåñëa is the director of the universe, He just banished the fear of Arjuna, His devotee, and showed him again His beautiful form of Kåñëa. In the Brahma-saàhitä (5.38) it is stated, premäïjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: only a person whose eyes are smeared with the ointment of love can see the beautiful form of Çré Kåñëa.


arjuna uväca

dåñövedaà mänuñaà rüpaà

tava saumyaà janärdana

idäném asmi saàvåttaù

sa-cetäù prakåtià gataù


arjunaù uväca—Arjuna said; dåñövä—seeing; idam—this; mänuñam—human; rüpam—form; tava—Your;saumyam—very beautiful; janärdana—O chastiser of the enemies; idäném—now; asmi—I am; saàvåttaù—settled; sa-cetäù—in my consciousness; prakåtim—to my own nature; gataù—returned.


When Arjuna thus saw Kåñëa in His original form, he said: O Janärdana, seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, I am now composed in mind, and I am restored to my original nature.


Here the words mänuñaà rüpam clearly indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be originally two-handed. Those who deride Kåñëa as if He were an ordinary person are shown here to be ignorant of His divine nature. If Kåñëa is like an ordinary human being, then how is it possible for Him to show the universal form and again to show the four-handed Näräyaëa form? So it is very clearly stated inBhagavad-gétä that one who thinks that Kåñëa is an ordinary person and who misguides the reader by claiming that it is the impersonal Brahman within Kåñëa speaking is doing the greatest injustice. Kåñëa has actually shown His universal form and His four-handed Viñëu form. So how can He be an ordinary human being? A pure devotee is not confused by misguiding commentaries on Bhagavad-gétä because he knows what is what. The original verses of Bhagavad-gétä are as clear as the sun; they do not require lamplight from foolish commentators.


çré-bhagavän uväca

su-durdarçam idaà rüpaà

dåñöavän asi yan mama

devä apy asya rüpasya

nityaà darçana-käìkñiëaù


çré-bhagavän uväca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; su-durdarçam—very difficult to see;idam—this; rüpam—form; dåñöavän asi—as you have seen; yat—which; mama—of Mine; deväù—the demigods; api—also; asya—this; rüpasya—form;nityam—eternally; darçana-käìkñiëaù—aspiring to see.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, this form of Mine you are now seeing is very difficult to behold. Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form, which is so dear.


In the forty-eighth verse of this chapter Lord Kåñëa concluded revealing His universal form and informed Arjuna that this form is not possible to be seen by so many pious activities, sacrifices, etc. Now here the word su-durdarçam is used, indicating that Kåñëa’s two-handed form is still more confidential. One may be able to see the universal form of Kåñëa by adding a little tinge of devotional service to various activities like penances, Vedic study and philosophical speculation. It may be possible, but without a tinge ofbhakti one cannot see; that has already been explained. Still, beyond that universal form, the form of Kåñëa with two hands is still more difficult to see, even for demigods like Brahmä and Lord Çiva. They desire to see Him, and we have evidence in theÇrémad-Bhägavatam that when He was supposed to be in the womb of His mother, Devaké, all the demigods from heaven came to see the marvel of Kåñëa, and they offered nice prayers to the Lord, although He was not at that time visible to them. They waited to see Him. A foolish person may deride Him, thinking Him an ordinary person, and may offer respect not to Him but to the impersonal “something” within Him, but these are all nonsensical postures. Kåñëa in His two-armed form is actually desired to be seen by demigods like Brahmä and Çiva.

In Bhagavad-gétä (9.11) it is also confirmed,avajänanti mäà müòhä mänuñéà tanum äçritaù: He is not visible to the foolish persons who deride Him. Kåñëa’s body, as confirmed by Brahma-saàhitä and confirmed by Kåñëa Himself in Bhagavad-gétä, is completely spiritual and full of bliss and eternality. His body is never like a material body. But for some who make a study of Kåñëa by reading Bhagavad-gétä or similar Vedic scriptures, Kåñëa is a problem. For one using a material process, Kåñëa is considered to be a great historical personality and very learned philosopher, but He is an ordinary man, and even though He was so powerful He had to accept a material body. Ultimately they think that the Absolute Truth is impersonal; therefore they think that from His impersonal feature He assumed a personal feature attached to material nature. This is a materialistic calculation of the Supreme Lord. Another calculation is speculative. Those who are in search of knowledge also speculate on Kåñëa and consider Him to be less important than the universal form of the Supreme. Thus some think that the universal form of Kåñëa which was manifested to Arjuna is more important than His personal form. According to them, the personal form of the Supreme is something imaginary. They believe that in the ultimate issue, the Absolute Truth is not a person. But the transcendental process is described in Bhagavad-gétä, Chapter Four: to hear about Kåñëa from authorities. That is the actual Vedic process, and those who are actually in the Vedic line hear about Kåñëa from authority, and by repeated hearing about Him, Kåñëa becomes dear. As we have several times discussed, Kåñëa is covered by His yoga-mäyäpotency. He is not to be seen or revealed to anyone and everyone. Only by one to whom He reveals Himself can He be seen. This is confirmed in Vedic literature; for one who is a surrendered soul, the Absolute Truth can actually be understood. The transcendentalist, by continuous Kåñëa consciousness and by devotional service to Kåñëa, can have his spiritual eyes opened and can see Kåñëa by revelation. Such a revelation is not possible even for the demigods; therefore it is difficult even for the demigods to understand Kåñëa, and the advanced demigods are always in hope of seeing Kåñëa in His two-handed form. The conclusion is that although to see the universal form of Kåñëa is very, very difficult and not possible for anyone and everyone, it is still more difficult to understand His personal form as Çyämasundara.


nähaà vedair na tapasä

na dänena na cejyayä

çakya evaà-vidho drañöuà

dåñöavän asi mäà yathä


na—never; aham—I; vedaiù—by study of the Vedas; na—never; tapasä—by serious penances; na—never;dänena—by charity; na—never; ca—also; ijyayä—by worship; çakyaù—it is possible; evam-vidhaù—like this; drañöum—to see; dåñöavän—seeing; asi—you are; mäm—Me; yathä—as.


The form you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am.


Kåñëa first appeared before His parents Devaké and Vasudeva in a four-handed form, and then He transformed Himself into the two-handed form. This mystery is very difficult to understand for those who are atheists or who are devoid of devotional service. For scholars who have simply studied Vedic literature by way of grammatical knowledge or mere academic qualifications, Kåñëa is not possible to understand. Nor is He to be understood by persons who officially go to the temple to offer worship. They make their visit, but they cannot understand Kåñëa as He is. Kåñëa can be understood only through the path of devotional service, as explained by Kåñëa Himself in the next verse.


bhaktyä tv ananyayä çakya

aham evaà-vidho ’rjuna

jïätuà drañöuà ca tattvena

praveñöuà ca parantapa


bhaktyä—by devotional service; tu—but; ananyayä—without being mixed with fruitive activities or speculative knowledge; çakyaù—possible; aham—I; evam-vidhaù—like this; arjuna—O Arjuna; jïätum—to know; drañöum—to see; ca—and; tattvena—in fact;praveñöum—to enter into; ca—also; parantapa—O mighty-armed one.


My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.


Kåñëa can be understood only by the process of undivided devotional service. He explicitly explains this in this verse so that unauthorized commentators, who try to understand Bhagavad-gétä by the speculative process, will know that they are simply wasting their time. No one can understand Kåñëa or how He came from parents in a four-handed form and at once changed Himself into a two-handed form. These things are very difficult to understand by study of the Vedas or by philosophical speculation. Therefore it is clearly stated here that no one can see Him or enter into understanding of these matters. Those who, however, are very experienced students of Vedic literature can learn about Him from the Vedic literature in so many ways. There are so many rules and regulations, and if one at all wants to understand Kåñëa, he must follow the regulative principles described in the authoritative literature. One can perform penance in accordance with those principles. For example, to undergo serious penances one may observe fasting on Janmäñöamé, the day on which Kåñëa appeared, and on the two days of Ekädaçé (the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon). As far as charity is concerned, it is plain that charity should be given to the devotees of Kåñëa who are engaged in His devotional service to spread the Kåñëa philosophy, or Kåñëa consciousness, throughout the world. Kåñëa consciousness is a benediction to humanity. Lord Caitanya was appreciated by Rüpa Gosvämé as the most munificent man of charity because love of Kåñëa, which is very difficult to achieve, was distributed freely by Him. So if one gives some amount of his money to persons involved in distributing Kåñëa consciousness, that charity, given to spread Kåñëa consciousness, is the greatest charity in the world. And if one worships as prescribed in the temple (in the temples in India there is always some statue, usually of Viñëu or Kåñëa), that is a chance to progress by offering worship and respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the beginners in devotional service to the Lord, temple worship is essential, and this is confirmed in the Vedic literature (Çvetäçvatara Upaniñad 6.23):

yasya deve parä bhaktir

yathä deve tathä gurau

tasyaite kathitä hy arthäù

prakäçante mahätmanaù

[ÇU 6.23(881)]

One who has unflinching devotion for the Supreme Lord and is directed by the spiritual master, in whom he has similar unflinching faith, can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead by revelation. One cannot understand Kåñëa by mental speculation. For one who does not take personal training under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, it is impossible to even begin to understand Kåñëa. The word tu is specifically used here to indicate that no other process can be used, can be recommended, or can be successful in understanding Kåñëa.

The personal forms of Kåñëa, the two-handed form and the four-handed, are completely different from the temporary universal form shown to Arjuna. The four-handed form of Näräyaëa and the two-handed form of Kåñëa are eternal and transcendental, whereas the universal form exhibited to Arjuna is temporary. The very word sudurdarçam,meaning “difficult to see,” suggests that no one had seen that universal form. It also suggests that amongst the devotees there was no necessity of showing it. That form was exhibited by Kåñëa at the request of Arjuna so that in the future, when one represents himself as an incarnation of God, people can ask to see his universal form.

The word na, used repeatedly in the previous verse, indicates that one should not be very much proud of such credentials as an academic education in Vedic literature. One must take to the devotional service of Krsña. Only then can one attempt to write commentaries on Bhagavad-gétä.

Krsña changes from the universal form to the four-handed form of Näräyana and then to His own natural form of two hands. This indicates that the four-handed forms and other forms mentioned in Vedic literature are all emanations of the original two-handed Krsña. He is the origin of all emanations. Krsña is distinct even from these forms, what to speak of the impersonal conception. As far as the four-handed forms of Krsña are concerned, it is stated clearly that even the most identical four-handed form of Kåñëa (which is known as Mahä-Visñu, who is lying on the cosmic ocean and from whose breathing so many innumerable universes are passing out and entering) is also an expansion of the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Brahma-saàhitä(5.48),

yasyaika-niçvasita-kälam athävalambya

jévanti loma-vila-jä jagad-aëòa-näthäù

viñëur mahän sa iha yasya kalä-viçeño 

govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi

“The Mahä-Visñu, into whom all the innumerable universes enter and from whom they come forth again simply by His breathing process, is a plenary expansion of Kåñëa. Therefore I worship Govinda, Krsña, the cause of all causes.” Therefore one should conclusively worship the personal form of Kåñëa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has eternal bliss and knowledge. He is the source of all forms of Viñëu, He is the source of all forms of incarnation, and He is the original Supreme Personality, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gétä.

In the Vedic literature (Gopäla-täpané Upaniñad 1.1) the following statement appears:



namo vedänta-vedyäya

gurave buddhi-säkñiëe

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Kåñëa, who has a transcendental form of bliss, eternity and knowledge. I offer my respect to Him, because understanding Him means understanding the Vedasand He is therefore the supreme spiritual master.” Then it is said, kåñëo vai paramaà daivatam: “Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Gopäla-täpané Upaniñad 1.3) Eko vaçé sarva-gaù kåñëa éòyaù: “That one Kåñëa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is worshipable.” Eko ’pi san bahudhä yo ’vabhäti: “Kåñëa is one, but He is manifested in unlimited forms and expanded incarnations.”

(Gopäla-täpané Upaniñad 1.21)

The Brahma-saàhitä (5.1) says,

éçvaraù paramaù kåñëaù


anädir ädir govindaù


“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kåñëa, who has a body of eternity, knowledge and bliss. He has no beginning, for He is the beginning of everything. He is the cause of all causes.” 

Elsewhere it is said, yaträvatérëaà kåñëäkhyaà paraà brahma naräkåti: “The Supreme Absolute Truth is a person, His name is Kåñëa, and He sometimes descends on this earth.” Similarly, in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam we find a description of all kinds of incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in this list the name of Kåñëa also appears. But then it is said that this Kåñëa is not an incarnation of God but is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself ( ete cäàça-kaläù puàsaù kåñëas tu bhagavän svayam).

Similarly, in Bhagavad-gétä the Lord says, mattaù parataraà nänyat: “There is nothing superior to My form as the Personality of Godhead Kåñëa.” He also says elsewhere in Bhagavad-gétä, aham ädir hi devänäm: “I am the origin of all the demigods.” And after understanding Bhagavad-gétä from Kåñëa, Arjuna also confirms this in the following words:paraà brahma paraà dhäma pavitram-paramaà bhavän, “I now fully understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, and that You are the refuge of everything.” Therefore the universal form which Kåñëa showed to Arjuna is not the original form of God. The original is the Kåñëa form. The universal form, with its thousands and thousands of heads and hands, is manifest just to draw the attention of those who have no love for God. It is not God’s original form.

The universal form is not attractive for pure devotees, who are in love with the Lord in different transcendental relationships. The Supreme Godhead exchanges transcendental love in His original form of Kåñëa. Therefore to Arjuna, who was so intimately related with Kåñëa in friendship, this form of the universal manifestation was not pleasing; rather, it was fearful. Arjuna, who was a constant companion of Kåñëa’s, must have had transcendental eyes; he was not an ordinary man. Therefore he was not captivated by the universal form. This form may seem wonderful to persons who are involved in elevating themselves by fruitive activities, but to persons who are engaged in devotional service the two-handed form of Kåñëa is the most dear.


mat-karma-kån mat-paramo

mad-bhaktaù saìga-varjitaù

nirvairaù sarva-bhüteñu

yaù sa mäm eti päëòava


mat-karma-kåt—engaged in doing My work; mat-paramaù—considering Me the Supreme; mat-bhaktaù—engaged in My devotional service; saìga-varjitaù—freed from the contamination of fruitive activities and mental speculation; nirvairaù—without an enemy; sarva-bhüteñu—among all living entities;yaù—one who; saù—he; mäm—unto Me; eti—comes;päëòava—O son of Päëòu.


My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being—he certainly comes to Me.


Anyone who wants to approach the supreme of all the Personalities of Godhead, on the Kåñëaloka planet in the spiritual sky, and be intimately connected with the Supreme Personality, Kåñëa, must take this formula, as stated by the Supreme Himself. Therefore, this verse is considered to be the essence of Bhagavad-gétä. The Bhagavad-gétä is a book directed to the conditioned souls, who are engaged in the material world with the purpose of lording it over nature and who do not know of the real, spiritual life. The Bhagavad-gétä is meant to show how one can understand his spiritual existence and his eternal relationship with the supreme spiritual personality and to teach one how to go back home, back to Godhead. Now here is the verse which clearly explains the process by which one can attain success in his spiritual activity: devotional service.

As far as work is concerned, one should transfer his energy entirely to Kåñëa conscious activities. As stated in the Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu (2.255), 

anäsaktasya viñayän

yathärham upayuïjataù

nirbandhaù kåñëa-sambandhe

yuktaà vairägyam ucyate

No work should be done by any man except in relationship to Kåñëa. This is called kåñëa-karma.One may be engaged in various activities, but one should not be attached to the result of his work; the result should be done only for Him. For example, one may be engaged in business, but to transform that activity into Kåñëa consciousness, one has to do business for Kåñëa. If Kåñëa is the proprietor of the business, then Kåñëa should enjoy the profit of the business. If a businessman is in possession of thousands and thousands of dollars, and if he has to offer all this to Kåñëa, he can do it. This is work for Kåñëa. Instead of constructing a big building for his sense gratification, he can construct a nice temple for Kåñëa, and he can install the Deity of Kåñëa and arrange for the Deity’s service, as is outlined in the authorized books of devotional service. This is allkåñëa-karma. One should not be attached to the result of his work, but the result should be offered to Kåñëa, and one should accept as prasädam the remnants of offerings to Kåñëa. If one constructs a very big building for Kåñëa and installs the Deity of Kåñëa, one is not prohibited from living there, but it is understood that the proprietor of the building is Kåñëa. That is called Kåñëa consciousness. If, however, one is not able to construct a temple for Kåñëa, one can engage himself in cleansing the temple of Kåñëa; that is also kåñëa-karma. One can cultivate a garden. Anyone who has land—in India, at least, any poor man has a certain amount of land—can utilize that for Kåñëa by growing flowers to offer Him. One can sow tulasé plants, because tulasé leaves are very important and Kåñëa has recommended this in Bhagavad-gétä. Patraà puñpaà phalaà toyam.Kåñëa desires that one offer Him either a leaf, or a flower, or fruit, or a little water—and by such an offering He is satisfied. This leaf especially refers to the tulasé. So one can sow tulasé and pour water on the plant. Thus, even the poorest man can engage in the service of Kåñëa. These are some of the examples of how one can engage in working for Kåñëa.

The word mat-paramaù refers to one who considers the association of Kåñëa in His supreme abode to be the highest perfection of life. Such a person does not wish to be elevated to the higher planets such as the moon or sun or heavenly planets, or even the highest planet of this universe, Brahmaloka. He has no attraction for that. He is only attracted to being transferred to the spiritual sky. And even in the spiritual sky he is not satisfied with merging into the glowing brahmajyoti effulgence, for he wants to enter the highest spiritual planet, namely Kåñëaloka, Goloka Våndävana. He has full knowledge of that planet, and therefore he is not interested in any other. As indicated by the word mad-bhaktaù, he fully engages in devotional service, specifically in the nine processes of devotional engagement: hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering prayers, carrying out the orders of the Lord, making friends with Him, and surrendering everything to Him. One can engage in all nine devotional processes, or eight, or seven, or at least in one, and that will surely make one perfect.

The term saìga-varjitaù is very significant. One should disassociate himself from persons who are against Kåñëa. Not only are the atheistic persons against Kåñëa, but so also are those who are attracted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. Therefore the pure form of devotional service is described in Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu (1.1.11) as follows:



änukülyena kåñëänu-

çélanaà bhaktir uttamä

[Madhya 19.167]

In this verse Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé clearly states that if anyone wants to execute unalloyed devotional service, he must be freed from all kinds of material contamination. He must be freed from the association of persons who are addicted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. When, freed from such unwanted association and from the contamination of material desires, one favorably cultivates knowledge of Kåñëa, that is called pure devotional service. Änukülyasya saìkalpaù prätikülyasya varjanam (Hari-bhakti-viläsa 11.676). One should think of Kåñëa and act for Kåñëa favorably, not unfavorably. Kaàsa was an enemy of Kåñëa’s. From the very beginning of Kåñëa’s birth, Kaàsa planned in so many ways to kill Him, and because he was always unsuccessful, he was always thinking of Kåñëa. Thus while working, while eating and while sleeping, he was always Kåñëa conscious in every respect, but that Kåñëa consciousness was not favorable, and therefore in spite of his always thinking of Kåñëa twenty-four hours a day, he was considered a demon, and Kåñëa at last killed him. Of course anyone who is killed by Kåñëa attains salvation immediately, but that is not the aim of the pure devotee. The pure devotee does not even want salvation. He does not want to be transferred even to the highest planet, Goloka Våndävana. His only objective is to serve Kåñëa wherever he may be.

A devotee of Kåñëa is friendly to everyone. Therefore it is said here that he has no enemy ( nirvairaù). How is this? A devotee situated in Kåñëa consciousness knows that only devotional service to Kåñëa can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this, and therefore he wants to introduce this system, Kåñëa consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord who risked their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. The favorite example is Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the nondevotees, but he sacrificed his life for spreading God consciousness. Of course, it would be superficial to understand that he was killed. Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Öhäkura Haridäsa and Prahläda Mahäräja. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Kåñëa consciousness, and it is difficult. A Kåñëa conscious person knows that if a man is suffering it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Kåñëa. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one’s neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord. Now, we can imagine how merciful Kåñëa is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body.

In summary, the universal form of Kåñëa, which is a temporary manifestation, and the form of time which devours everything, and even the form of Viñëu, four-handed, have all been exhibited by Kåñëa. Thus Kåñëa is the origin of all these manifestations. It is not that Kåñëa is a manifestation of the originalviçva-rüpa, or Viñëu. Kåñëa is the origin of all forms. There are hundreds and thousands of Viñëus, but for a devotee no form of Kåñëa is important but the original form, two-handed Çyämasundara. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is stated that those who are attached to the Çyämasundara form of Kåñëa in love and devotion can see Him always within the heart and cannot see anything else. One should understand, therefore, that the purport of this Eleventh Chapter is that the form of Kåñëa is essential and supreme.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Eleventh Chapter of the Çrémad Bhagavad-gétä in the matter of the Universal Form.





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