The Cosmic Vision (Arjuna looks upon his God.)

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    Arjuna Said:

    Graciously, Lord, you have spoken about the ultimate secret revealed when one knows the Self, and your words have cleared up my confusion.

    You have told in detail the orgin and dissolution of all things, and have described your own vast, imperishable Being.

    I do not doubt that you are what you say you are, Lord. And yet I want to see for myself the splendor of your ultimate form.

    If you think I am strong enought, worthy enought, to endure it, grant me now, Lord, a vision of your vast, imperishable Self.

    The Blessed Lord Said:

    Look, Arjuna: thousands, millions of my divine forms, beings of all kinds and sizes, of every color and shape.

    Look: the sun gods, the gods of fire, dawn, shy, wind, storm, wonders that no mortal has ever beheld. Look! Look, Arjuna!

    The whole universe, all things amimate or inamimate, are gathered here–look!–enfolded inside my infinite body.

    But since you are not able to see me with mortal eyes, I will grant you divine sight. Look! Look! The depths of my power!

    After he had spoken these words, Krishna, the great Lord o fYoga, revealed to Arjuna his majestic, transcendent, limitess form.

    With innumerabel mouth and eyes, faces too marvelous to stare at, dazzeling ornaments, innumerable weapons uplifted, flaming– crowned with fire, wrapped in pure ligh, with celestial fragrance, he stood forth as the infinite God, composed of all wonders.

    If a thousand suns were to rise and stand in the noon sky, blazing, such brilliance would be like the fierce brilliance of that mighty Self.

    Arjuna saw he whole universe enfolded, with its countless billions of life-forms, gathered together in the body of the God of gods.

    Trembling with awe, his blood chilled, the hair standing up on his flesh. he bowed and, joing his palms, spoke these words to the Lord.

    Arjuna Said:

    I see all gods in your body and multiudes of beings, Lord, and Brahma on his lotus throne, and the seers, and the shining angles.

    I see you everwhere, with billions of arms, eyes, bellies, faces, without end, middle, or beginning, you body the whole universe, Lord.

    Crowned, bearing mace and discus, you dazzel my vison, blazing in the measureless, massive, sun-flame splendor of your radiant form.

    You are the deathless, the utmost goal of all knowledge, the world’s base. the guardian of the eternal law, the pirmordial Person.

    I see you beginningless, endlesss, infinite in power, with a billion arms, the sun and moon your eyeballs, the flames of your mouth lighting the whole universe with splendor. You alone fill all space, and the three worlds shudder when they see your astounding, terrifying form.

    Multiudes of gods approach you, palms joined in dread and wonder, multiudes of sages chant to you hymns of deep adoration.

    The storm gods, the gods of light, of sky, dawn, and wind, the angles, the daints, the demigods and demons, all gaze at you in amazement.

    Your stupendous form, your billions of eyes, limbs, bellies, mouths, dreadful fangs: seeing them the worlds tremble, and so do I.

    As you touch the sky, many -hued, gape-mouthed, your huge eyes blazing. my innards tremble, my breath stops, my bones turn to jelly.

    Seeing your billion-fanged mouths blazed like fires of doomsday. I faint, I stagger, I dispare. Have mercy on me, Lord vishnu!

    All Dhritarashtra’s men and all thse mustitudes of kings–Bishma, Dorna, Karna, with all our warriors behind them are rushing headlong into your hideous, gaping, knife-fanged jaws; I see them with skull crushed, their raw flesh stuck to your teeth.

    As the rivers in many torrants rush towards the ocean, all these warriors are pouring down into your blazing mouths.

    As moths rush into a flame and are burned in an instant, all beings plunge down your gullet and instantly are consumed.

    You glup dow all worlds, everywhere swallowing them in your flames, and you rays, Lord vishnu, fill all the universe with dreadful brilliance.

    Who are you in this terrifying form? Have mercy, Lord: grant me even a glimmer of understnading to prop up my staggering mind.

    The Blesse Lord Said:

    I am death, shatterer of worlds, annihailating all things. With or without you, these warriors in their facing armise will die.

    Therefore stand up; win glory; conquer the enemy; rule. Already I have stuck them down; you are just my instrument, Arjuna.

    Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karma, and the others great heroes have already been killed by me. Fight; without hesitation kill them.

    Having heard Krishna’s speech, Arjuna, his palms joined, shivering with terror, bowed to the Lord deeply, and stammered these words.

    Arjuna Said:

    Now I know whey the universe delights and rejoices in you; terrified, the demons scatter before you, and the sages bow.

    Why should they not bow, eternal Creator, infinite Lord? You are both being nonbeing, and what is beyond them both, the primal God, the primordial Person, the ultimate place of the universe, the knower and the known, the presence that fills all things.

    You are wind, death, fire, the moon, the Lord of life, the great ancestor of all things. A thousand times I bow in front of you, Lord.

    Again and again I bow to you, form all sides, in every direction. Majesty infinite in power, you pervade–no, you are–all things.

    If, thinking you a human, Iever touched you or patted you back or called you “dear fellow” or “friend” through negligence or affection, or greeted you with disrespect, thoughtlessly, when we were playing or resting, alone in public, I beg you to forgive me, immeasurable God, great father o fthe world, teaher, sustainer, goal of all reverence, unique and peerless Lord of unthinkable splendor.

    Therefore, most sincerely, I beg your pardon. As a father forgives his son, a friend his dear friend, a lover his beloved: forgive me.

    Having seem what no mortal has seen, I am joyful, yet I quiver with dread. Show me your other form-please–the one that I know; have mercy; let me see you as you were before, crowned, bearing mace and discus, with only four arms, O billion-armed Lord of infinite forms.

    The Blessed Lord Said:

    Graciously for yor sake, Arjuna, I showed you my highest form–dazzeling, infinite, primal–which no one has seen but you.

    Not by worship or study or alms or ascetic practice can I be seen in this form by anyone but you Arjuna.

    Do not be frightened or confused at seeing my horrific form. free of fear, lighthearted, see me as I was before.

    Having spoken thus to Arjuna, the lord stood before him again in the mild and pleasant form of Krishna, the kind, the beautiful.

    Arjuna Said:

    Seeing your human form, Krishna, I feel at ease; once more I am myself, and my mind has regained its composure.

    The Blessed Lord Said:

    The vision that you have been granted is difficult to attain; even the gods are always longing to behold me like this.

    Not by study or rites or alms or ascetic practice can I bee seen in this cosmic form, as you have just seen me.

    Only by single-minded devotion can I be known as I truly am, Arjuna–can I be seen and entered.

    He who acts for my sake, loving me, free of attachment, with benevolence towards all beings, will come to me in the end.

    Bhagavad Gita 11.1-55

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