Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 11.8, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse Verse 11.8 from the chapter 11 called “Vishvarupa-darshana-yoga (beholding the Lord’s Universal Form)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 11.8:

न तु मां शक्यसे द्रष्टुम् अनेनैव स्व-चक्षुषा ।
दिव्यं ददामि ते चक्षुः पश्य मे योगम् ऐश्वरम् ॥ ८ ॥

na tu māṃ śakyase draṣṭum anenaiva sva-cakṣuṣā |
divyaṃ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ paśya me yogam aiśvaram
|| 8 ||

na–not; tu–but; mām–Me; śakyase–are able; draṣṭum–to see; anena–with these; eva–certainly; sva-cakṣuṣā–by these material eyes of yours; divyam–divine; dadāmi–I am giving; te–to you; cakṣuḥ–eyes; paśya–now see; me–My; yogam–mystic power; aiśvaram–opulence.

However, you are certainly unable to see Me with the material eyes you have now. Therefore, I confer upon you divine eyes to behold My mystic opulence.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Śrī Bhagavān is saying, “Arjuna, do not consider this form to be illusory, or composed of matter (māyā); rather, know it to be sac-cid-ānanda, composed of eternality, knowledge and bliss. My svarūpa, in which the whole universe exists, is beyond the perception of the material senses.” To give Arjuna this faith, Śrī Bhagavān is speaking this verse beginning with na tu. Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “You will not be able to see Me, the embodiment of concentrated spirit (cit), with your material eyes. Therefore, I am granting you spiritual eyes by which you will see Me.”

The above statement is spoken just to astonish Arjuna–who identifies himself as being an ordinary, mortal human being–because Arjuna is a prominent, eternal associate of Śrī Bhagavān and has descended to this material world as a human being. His eyes are not actually material like those of an ordinary person. Moreover, Arjuna, who directly experiences Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness, or mādhurya, will not be able to see His portion (aṃśa), the universal form, with those same eyes. For this reason he has to accept divine eyes.

What kind of logic is this? Some say that the supremely fortunate eyes of an ananya-bhakta see the great sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s human-like pastimes and do not see the opulence of His Godly pastimes. This is compared to a tongue that is used to tasting rock-sugar and does not appreciate the taste of simple unprocessed sugar. Therefore, on the request of Arjuna, and to give him the especially wondrous vision of His divine majestic feature, Śrī Bhagavān gives him supra-human eyes, appropriate for savouring this particular loving exchange. Another purpose for giving him supra-mundane vision will become clear at the end of this chapter.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

Arjuna is an eternally perfect associate of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. With eyes full of prema, he always sees and relishes the ever-sweet form of Kṛṣṇa. However, because he has a desire to see the universal form, Bhagavān’s giving him divine eyes is discussed herein. Transcendental eyes are superior to ordinary, gross material eyes, yet these divine eyes are quite insignificant and inferior to the eyes of Arjuna that are full of unalloyed love for Kṛṣṇa. The universal form of Śrī Bhagavān cannot be seen with gross material eyes; it is only visible by divine vision attained by His mercy. Still, the sweetness, or mādhurya, of Śrī Bhagavān cannot be seen with ordinary eyes or even with divine eyes.

Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa further clarifies this point in his commentary on this verse. “Śrī Kṛṣṇa gave Arjuna divine eyes, which were needed to witness His divine universal form, but He did not give him a corresponding divine mind. If He had given him a divine mind, Arjuna would have developed interest in actually relishing the universal form, but upon seeing it, he became disinterested. This is evident by Arjuna’s words in his state of astonishment upon seeing the universal form. He prayed that Śrī Kṛṣṇa only show him His natural, sac-cid-ānanda, two-armed form.”

This sentiment is also found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.7.34–37):

ekadārbhakam ādāya svāṅkam āropya bhāminī
prasnutaṃ pāyayām āsa stanaṃ sneha-pariplutā
pīta-prāyasya jananī sutasya rucira-smitam
mukhaṃ lālayatī rājan jṛmbhato dadṛśe idam
khaṃ rodasī jyotir-anīkam āśāḥ sūryendu-vahni-śvasanāmbudhīṃś ca
dvīpān nagāṃs tad-duhitṝr vanāni bhūtāni yāni sthira-jaṅgamāni
sā vīkṣya viśvaṃ sahasā rājan sañjāta-vepathuḥ
sammīlya mṛgaśāvākṣī netre āsīt suvismitā

One day, baby Kṛṣṇa was on Mother Yaśodā’s lap. She was breast-feeding Him and kissing His captivating cheeks, which were enhanced by His mild smile. The child then yawned and showed her His universal form, within His mouth. The sudden sight of this form in the mouth of her baby greatly astonished her. Her body started to tremble and she closed her eyes. “Alas!” she thought, “what is this I have seen?” Fearful that somebody may have cast an evil-eye, or spell, on Kṛṣṇa, she called the family priest and had him chant mantras for Kṛṣṇa’s protection. She felt relief only after she had given Kṛṣṇa a purifying bath.

In his commentary on this verse, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī explains a deep secret. “How is it that Mother Yaśodā was able to see the universal form of Kṛṣṇa if she did not have divine vision? For the nourishment of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, the maidservant of Lakṣmī-devī (the pleasure potency) is making Yaśodā’s love ever-new and ever-fresh by allowing her to taste vismaya-rasa (the nectar of astonishment) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s aiśvarya-śakti.”

The hidden meaning of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s commentary on this section of the story from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is as follows: “This aiśvarya-śakti could not slacken Mother Yaśodā’s parental affection. This śakti of Śrī Hari appeared in order to test Prema-devī, the goddess of love, but upon seeing Prema-devī’s immeasurable power, she accepted the position as her servant. Here Mother Yaśodā’s vātsalya-prema is Prema-devī.”

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.32–39) describes the following pastime:

Another day, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was playing at Brahmāṇḍa-ghaṭa with Śrīdāma, Subala, Balarāma and some other cowherd boys. Child Kṛṣṇa secretly ate some mud, but somehow the cowherd boys saw Him doing this and complained to Mother Yaśodā. Yaśodā came running and, catching hold of Kṛṣṇa’s hand, she began to chastise Him. Trembling with fear, Kṛṣṇa said, “Mother, I have not eaten any mud. All these boys are telling lies. If you do not believe Me, then you can look in My mouth and see for yourself.” Saying this, Kṛṣṇa opened His mouth and showed her the whole universe, containing all moving and non-moving entities, the sky, etc., as well as His own abode (dhāma).

Although the aiśvarya feature is not acknowledged in mādhurya-līlā, it manifests itself at appropriate times. That is, although Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s aiśvarya (majesty) remains unmanifest in His mādhurya-līlā, it is still fully present. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of all aiśvarya and mādhurya. In some specific pastimes, when both majesty and sweetness are needed, the majesty manifests itself. Being inspired by the potency called satya-saṅkalpa (in which one’s words manifest as truth), the aiśvarya-śakti manifested and drowned Mother Yaśodā in astonishment (vismaya-rasa) by showing her Kṛṣṇa’s universal form. This made her forget her anger towards Him. In this way, the aiśvarya-śakti rendered service to Prema-devī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is sporting as a human boy, and therefore, to nourish His pastimes and to increase the prema of His bhaktas, He sometimes manifests His opulence.

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta describes how Advaita Ācārya asked Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to show Him that universal form that is described in Bhagavad-gītā. On His request, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu showed Him all the incidents that took place in the battle of Mahābhārata, along with His universal form. Upon seeing the universal form, Advaita Ācārya closed His eyes. Then Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, making that form unmanifest, again showed His natural form, thereby restoring Advaita Ācārya to His normal state.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “You are My devotee. With the eyes of unalloyed prema, you can see My form as Kṛṣṇa. My form that is composed of mystic opulence (yogaiśvarya) is related to the phenomenal material world, so it is not necessary for those with eyes of unalloyed prema to see it, nor is it even visible to them. Gross material eyes also cannot behold My form of majesty. But those eyes that are not filled with pure love, due to having some relationship with this world, yet at the same time are not material, are called supra-mundane. I am bestowing upon you this transcendental vision by which you will be able to see My form of opulence. Those who are endowed with divine eyes and also with the ability to reason, naturally become attached to this form rather than to My transcendental form as Kṛṣṇa. This is because their eyes of unalloyed prema remain closed.”

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