Arjuna expresses his desire to see the Divine Cosmic Form. Krishna agrees to grant the request of His loving and faithful devotee.
Arjuna sees the whole universe within the Supreme Form: faces everywhere, with thousands of limbs and stomachs, with numerous mouths, wearing garlands, ornaments, holding uplifted weapons, etc. The sun and moon form its principle eyes. It shines as if there were thousands of suns in the sky. On seeing the Divine Form, Arjuna worships it reverentially.
He also sees the fearful nature of this form; the Kauravas and all assembled there, including Bhishma, Drona and Kama, enter into His flaming mouths like rivers flowing into the ocean. Some stick between His teeth, and are crushed to powder. As moths rush into a blazing fire for their destruction, these warriors rush into His fiery mouths, to perish there. Arjuna, trembling, bows to Krishna with joined palms and addresses Him in a choking voice, "Your devotees are rejoicing in the world by chanting Your names, attributes and glory, whereas the evil-minded are fleeing in all directions with fear".
Arjuna realizes that what he has seen has never been seen before; although rejoicing, he is also afraid. He requests to see Krishna once again in his ordinary form, saying "I have no strength and courage to behold the Visvarupa (Cosmic Form) of Thine".
Chapter 11 describes Arjuna's vision of the cosmic form of God, which is not perceivable by the physical eyes. If one perceives the Cosmic Form before the mind is completely purified then one will get a tremendous shock. It is not possible to perceive Him merely by the study of scriptures, austerity, gifts, or sacrifices. He can be known only through single-minded devotion. Here again the Lord emphasizes that the practice of meditation, with faith and devotion is the only means to attain God-consciousness and to put an end to ignorance. That is why sages say that God-realization is the simplest and the easiest thing in the world, which can be attained by everybody in any stage of life.
IMPORTANT VERSES OF CHAPTER 11
16. I see Thee of boundless form on every side, with many arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes; neither the end nor the middle nor also the beginning do I see, O Lord of the universe, 0 Cosmic Form.
32. I am the mighty world-destroying Time, now engaged in winding up the worlds. Even without thee, none of the warriors arrayed in the hostile armies shall live.
33. Therefore, stand up and obtain fame. Conquer the enemies and enjoy the unrivalled kingdom. Verily have they been already slain by me; be thou a mere instrument, O Arjuna.
53. Neither by study of Vedas, nor by austerity, nor by gift, nor by sacrifice, can I be seen in this form as thou hast seen Me (so easily).
54. But by single-minded devotion can I, of this form, be known and seen in reality and also entered into, O Arjuna.
55. He who does all actions for Me, who looks upon Me as the Supreme, who is devoted to Me, who is free from attachment, who bears enmity towards no creature, he comes to Me, O Arjuna.
Q1. What does Krishna mean by 'divine eye’(verse 8)?
Q2. Describe the Cosmic Form that Krishna shows to Arjuna.
3. Why does Arjuna ask Krishna to assume his usual form after having seen the Cosmic Form?