Gita Series – 118: Chapter - XI. Verse 1 – 4

Chapter XI of Bhagavad Gita is known as “Revelation of His Cosmic Form” or “viśvarūpa darśana yoga.” This chapter has 55 verses. In this chapter Kṛṣṇa reveals His cosmic body to Arjuna.

Arjuna said, “You have spoken about spiritual wisdom out of your kindness for me causing the disappearance of my illusion. I have heard from You, creation and dissolution of all beings and Your infinite glory. I have seen Your form that has been declared so far. But, I long to see Your cosmic form. Lord, If You feel that I can see It, then please reveal It to me.”

Arjuna underlines the need of a spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa had imparted the highest level of spiritual knowledge to Arjuna, after having decided that he is fit enough to receive it. Though Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna were close associates for a long time, Kṛṣṇa had chosen the battle field to impart the Supreme knowledge which goes to prove that a perfected student can listen to his spiritual guru irrespective of the situation he is in. When Arjuna says that his illusion has gone completely after Kṛṣṇa’s holy sermons, it shows the importance of capacities and capabilities of a spiritual master. Unless a person is a Self realised person, He cannot impart knowledge to others. Spiritual knowledge can be imparted only through personal experience and not through the study of scriptures alone. Arjuna was fortunate to have the Lord Himself as his spiritual guru.

Kṛṣṇa had dealt at length, His primary acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution. The Lord had also told Arjuna, how the universe originates from Him, how He sustains and dissolves the universe. Kṛṣṇa had also told Arjuna that all that exist in this universe are nothing but His representations. Being a devout student of the Lord, Arjuna submits an appeal to Him to show His cosmic form, provided Kṛṣṇa feels that Arjuna is fit enough to see His real glorious form. Divine visions are hard to see, as the Brahman is the embodiment of bright light, which alone sustains the universe. When the brightness of the sun cannot be seen directly, how that Light from whom the sun draws his light can be seen? It is said that if Brahman appears before someone in His original form, he would be burnt to ashes. There are Vedic verses to substantiate this statement. Since Arjuna was a scholar himself, Arjuna approaches the Lord with extreme caution. Arjuna first wants to know whether he is fit enough to have the true vision of Kṛṣṇa.

It should be remembered that Arjuna submits his request to Kṛṣṇa after ensuring that He has totally understood what Kṛṣṇa had taught him through the previous chapters. Arjuna makes this submission to his spiritual master to unravel the true form of the Brahman.