In consequence of the excellent and mysterious words concerning the relation of the supreme and individual soul,, which you have spoken for my welfare, this delusion of mine is gone away. O you whose eyes are like lotus leaves! I have heard from you at large about the production and dissolution of things, and also about your inexhaustible greatness. O highest lord! what you have said about yourself is so. I wish, O best of beings! to see your divine form. If, O lord! you think that it is possible for me to look upon it, then, O lord of the possessors of mystic power! show your inexhaustible form to me.
The Deity said:
In hundreds and in thousands see my forms, O son of Pṛthā! various, divine, and of various colours and shapes. See the Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, the two Aśvins, and Maruts likewise. And O descendant of Bharata! see wonders, in numbers, unseen before. Within my body, O Guḍākesa! see to-day the whole universe, including (everything) movable and immovable, (all) in one, and whatever else you wish to see. But you will not be able to see me with merely, this eye of yours. I give you an eye divine. (Now) see my divine power.
Having spoken thus, O king! Hari, the great lord of the possessors of mystic power, then showed to the son of Pṛthā. his supreme divine form, having many mouths and eyes, having (within it) many wonderful sights, having many celestial ornaments, having many celestial weapons held erect, wearing celestial flowers and vestments, having an anointment of celestial perfumes, full of every wonder, the infinite deity with faces in all directions. If in the heavens, the lustre of a thousand suns burst forth all at once, that would be like the lustre of that mighty one. There the son of Pāṇḍu then observed in the body of the god of gods the whole universe (all) in one, and divided into numerous (divisions). Then Dhanañjaya filled with amazement, and with hair standing on end, bowed his head before the god, and spoke with joined hands.
O god! I see within your body the gods, as also all the groups of various beings; and the lord Brahman seated on (his) lotus seat, and all the sages and celestial snakes. I see you, who are of countless forms, possessed of many arms, stomachs, mouths, and eyes on all sides. And, O lord of the universe! O you of all forms! I do not see your end or middle or beginning. I see you bearing a coronet and a mace and a discus--a mass of glory, brilliant on all sides, difficult to look at, having on all sides the effulgence of a blazing fire or sun, and indefinable. You are indestructible, the supreme one to be known. You are the highest support of this universe. You are the inexhaustible protector of everlasting piety. I believe you to be the eternal being. I see you void of beginning, middle, end--of infinite power, of unnumbered arms, having the sun and moon for eyes, having a mouth like a blazing fire, and heating the universe with your radiance. For this space between heaven and earth and all the quarters are pervaded by you alone. Looking at this wonderful and terrible form of yours, O high-souled one! the three worlds are affrighted. For here these groups of gods are entering into you. Some being afraid are praying with joined hands, and the groups of great sages and Siddhas are saying 'Welfare!' and praising you with abundant (hymns) of praise. The Rudras, and Ādityas, the Vasus, the Sādhyas, the Viśvas, the two Aśvins, the Maruts, and the Ushmapas, and the groups of Gandharvas, Yakṣas, demons, and Siddhas are all looking at you amazed. Seeing your mighty form, with many mouths and eyes, with many arms, thighs, and feet, with many stomachs, and fearful with many jaws, all people, and I likewise, are much alarmed, O you of mighty arms! Seeing you, O Viṣṇu! touching the skies, radiant, possessed of many hues, with a gaping mouth, and with large blazing eyes, I am much alarmed in my inmost self, and feel no courage, no tranquillity. And seeing your mouths terrible by the jaws, and resembling the fire of destruction, I cannot recognise the (various) directions, I feel no comfort. Be gracious, O lord of gods! who pervadest the universe. And all these sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, together with all the bands of kings, and Bhīṣma and Droṇa, and this charioteer's son likewise, together with our principal warriors also, are rapidly entering your mouths, fearful and horrific by (reason of your) jaws. And some with their heads smashed are seen (to be) stuck in the spaces between the teeth. As the many rapid currents of a river's waters run towards the sea alone, so do these heroes of the human world enter your mouths blazing all round. As butterflies, with increased velocity, enter a blazing fire to their destruction, so too do these people enter your mouths with increased velocity (only) to their destruction. Swallowing all these people, you are licking them over and over again from all sides, with your blazing mouths. Your fierce splendours, O Viṣṇu! filling the whole universe with (their) effulgence, are heating it. Tell me who you are in this fierce form. Salutations be to thee, O chief of the gods! Be gracious. I wish to know you, the primeval, one, for I do not understand your actions.
The Deity said:
I am death, the destroyer of the worlds, fully developed, and I am now active about the overthrow of the worlds. Even without you, the warriors standing in the adverse hosts, shall all cease to be. Therefore, be up, obtain glory, and vanquishing (your) foes, enjoy a prosperous kingdom. All these have been already killed by me. Be only the instrument, O Savyasācin! Droṇa, and Bhīṣma, and Jayadratha, and Karṇa, and likewise other valiant warriors also, whom I have killed, do you kill. Be not alarmed. Do fight. And in the battle you will conquer your foes.
It is quite proper, O Hṛṣīkeśa! that the universe is delighted and charmed by your renown, that the demons run away affrighted in all directions, and that all the assemblages of Siddhas bow down,(to you). And why, O high-souled one! should they not bow down to you (who are) greater than Brahman, and first cause? O infinite lord of gods! O you pervading the universe! you are the indestructible, that which is, that which is not, and what is beyond them. You are the primal god, the ancient being, you are the highest support of this universe. You are that which has knowledge, that which is the object of knowledge, you are the highest goal. By you is this universe pervaded., O you of infinite forms! You are the wind, Yama, fire, Varuṇa, the moon, you Prajāpati, and the great grandsire. Obeisance be to thee a thousand times, and again and again obeisance to thee! In front and from behind obeisance to thee! Obeisance be to thee from all sides, O you who are all! You are of infinite power, of unmeasured glory; you pervade all, and therefore you are all! Whatever I have said contemptuously,--for instance, 'O Kṛṣṇa!' 'O Yādava!' 'O friend!'--thinking you to be (my) friend, and not knowing your greatness (as shown in) this (universal form), or through friendliness, or incautiously; and whatever disrespect I have shown you for purposes of merriment, on (occasions of) play, sleep, dinner, or sitting (together), whether alone or in the presence (of friends),--for all that, O undegraded one! I ask pardon of you who are indefinable. You are the father of the world-movable and immovable,--you its great and venerable master; there is none equal to you, whence can there be one greater, O you whose power is unparalleled in all the three worlds? Therefore I bow and prostrate myself, and would propitiate you, the praiseworthy lord. Be pleased, O god! to pardon (my guilt) as a father (that of his) son, a friend (that of his) friend, or a husband (that of his) beloved. I am delighted at seeing what I had never seen before, and my heart is also alarmed by fear. Show me that same form, O god! Be gracious, O lord of gods! O you pervading the universe! I wish to see you bearing the coronet and the mace, with the discus in hand, just the same (as before). O you of thousand arms! O you of all forms! assume that same four-handed form.
The Deity said:
O Arjuna! being pleased (with you), I have by my own mystic power shown you this supreme form, full of glory, universal, infinite, primeval, and which has not been seen before by any one else but you, O you hero among the Kauravas! I cannot be seen in this form by any one but you, (even) by (the help of) the study of the Vedas, or of sacrifices, nor by gifts, nor by actions, nor by fierce penances. Be not alarmed, be not perplexed, at seeing this form of mine, fearful like this. Free from fear and with delighted heart, see now again that same form of mine.
Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Vāsudeva again showed his own form, and the high-souled one becoming again of a mild form, comforted him who had been affrighted.
O Janardana! seeing this mild, human form of yours, I am new in my right mind, and have come to my normal state.
The Deity said:
Even the gods are always desiring to see this form of mine, which it is difficult to get a sight of, and which you have seen. I cannot be seen, as you have seen me, by (means of) the Vedas, not by penance, not by gift, nor yet by sacrifice. But, O Arjuna! by devotion to me exclusively, I can in this form be truly known, seen, and assimilated with, O terror of your foes! He who performs acts for (propitiating) me, to whom I am the highest (object), who is my devotee, who is free from attachment, and who has no enmity towards any being, he, O son of Pāṇḍu! comes to me.
Footnotes and references:
Madhusūdana takes power to mean capacity of becoming small or great, of obtaining what is wanted, &c.; the so-called eight Bhūtis.
Cf. p. 90 supra. Śaṅkara explains it as meaning 'pervading everything.' The expression occurs in the Nṛsimha-tāpinī-upaniṣad, p. 50, where it is said, 'as, without organs, it sees, hears, goes, takes from all sides and pervades everything, therefore it has faces on all sides.'
Gods, manes, men, and so forth.
The words are the same as at p. 97 infra, where see the note.
Seeing signs of some great cataclysm, they say, 'May it be well with the universe,' and then proceed to pray to you.
I. e. Karṇa, who was really the eldest brother of the Pāṇḍavas, but having been immediately on birth abandoned by Kuntī, was brought up by a charioteer. Karṇa was told of his, true origin by Bhīṣma on his deathbed, and advised to join the Pāṇḍavas, but he declined.
By reason of the ruggedness and distortion of face.
Arjuna, as he could shoot with his left hand as well as the right.--Śrīdhara.
Arjuna, who had this coronet given him by Indra.--Madhusūdana.
The commentators interpret this to mean the perceptible, the unperceived, and the higher principle. Cf. p. 84 supra, and also pp. 103, 113 infra and notes there.
See p. 94 supra. Here the commentators say the words mean 'that in which the universe is placed at deluge-time.'
Professor Tiele mentions great-grandfather as a name for the Creator among Kaffirs (History of Religion, p. 18). Cf. p. 83 supra.
I. e. of whom it is impossible to ascertain whether he is such or such. Cf. p. 94 supra.
This is the ordinary form of Kṛṣṇa.
This is the original construction. One suspects that sacrifices and study of the Vedas are meant. Cf. the speech of Kṛṣṇa on the next page.
Literally, 'entered into;' it means final emancipation. See p. 128.