Gita Series – 121: Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI. Verse 14 – 31:

Arjuna is completely wonder struck and with goose bump all over his body, bowed to the Lord with great reverence and with folded hands said to the Lord:

I see in Your body, all gods and multifarious beings, Brahmā (who is in charge of creation) seated on His lotus seat, all saints, sages and celestial serpents. You are endowed with countless arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes with forms extended on all directions. I see no beginning, no middle and no end to this form of yours. I see You with crown, club and chakra (cakra), in a mass of effulgence of blazing fire and sun that glows all round, which is difficult to look at. You are the endless Supreme, worthy of knowing, the ultimate abode of all, and the protector of dharma. I see you without a beginning, middle and end with unlimited power and endowed with countless arms, having sun and moon as Your eyes, the blazing fire as Your mouth and burning the universe with Your effulgence. You pervade the entire space between heaven and earth in all directions. The three worlds (heaven, earth and the space in between) tremble with fear on seeing this awesome form of Yours.

I saw many gods entering You, some with folded hands and other reciting Your various names and glories. Many mahariṣi-s (great sages) and Siddha-s are praising You through hymns and praying for peace. The eleven Rudra-s, twelve Āditya-s, eight Vasu-s, the Sādhya-s 1, forty nine Marut-s, Viśvedeva-s2, two Aśvinīkumāra-s, ancestors (pitṛ-s), gandharva-s, yakṣa-s, demons and Siddha-s look upon you with bewilderment. The whole world trembles on seeing this form of Yours with many mouths, eyes, arms, thighs, feet, abdomens and Your terrible teeth; so do I. O, Viṣṇu, upon seeing Your blazing form reaching the heavens, multicoloured, having your mouth wide open, the fearful eyes, I am frightened, lost my self-control and find neither peace nor courage. Your faces are frightening because of the teeth that flare like fire at the time of annihilation of the universe. I am totally confused and find no solace. Please be kind to me, O, Lord of gods.

All those sons of Dhrtarāṣṭra3 along with some other kings are entering You. Bhīṣma, Droṇa and Karṇa4 with many other warriors on our side also rushing headlong into Your dreadful mouth. Some got struck between the gaps of Your teeth and were crushed. Like rivers entering sea, these warriors enter your flaming mouth. Like moths rushing towards flame and get themselves burnt to death, these people enter your mouth and get destroyed. You consume all beings with Your fierce mouths, encasing the entire universe within your splendid effulgence.

Lord, tell me who You are with such a terrible form? I offer my obeisance to you; be kind to me. I am eager to know You, but, I am unable to comprehend Your actions.”

The whole narration of Arjuna is self explanatory.

1. Sādhya-s:

They were twelve in number and were born to Dakṣa’s daughter Sādhya, the consort of Dharma. The names of Sādhya-s differ between purāṇa-s. Commonly known names are Manas, Anumantā, Prāṇa, Nara, Apāna, Bhakti, Bhaya, Anagha, Haṁsa, Nārāyaṇa, Vibhu and Prabhu.

2. Viśvedeva-s:

They were ten in number and were born to Dakṣa’s daughter Viśva, wife of Dharma. Their names differ according to Manvantra-s. Sometimes Viśvedeva-s is used to mean all the gods. According to Manu, offerings should be made to them daily - these privileges having been bestowed on them by Brahmā and the Pitṛi-s, as a reward for severe austerities they had performed on the Himālaya.

3. Dhrtarāṣṭra:

The blind king of Hastinapura and their hundred sons are known as Kuru-s, against whom, the battle is waged by Arjuna. Please refer chapter I for more details.

4. Bhīṣma, Droṇa and Karṇa:

The patriarch Bhīṣma and the master Droṇa are the common preceptors of both Pāṇḍava-s and Kaurava-s. These two were the greatest warriors on Kaurava’s side. Karṇa is the elder brother of Pāṇḍu princes (Arjuna and his brothers), being the son of the god Sūrya by Pṛithā or Kuntī, before her marriage with Pāṇḍu. Afraid of the censure of her relatives, Kuntī deserted the child and put it in the river, where it was found by a charioteer named Adhiratha and nurtured by his wife Rādha. Hence Karṇa is sometimes called Sūtaputra or Sūtaja, sometimes Rādheya, though named by his foster parents Vasuṣeṇa.

When Arjuna sees in the cosmic form of the Lord, the entry of these men headlong, it is meant to mean the entry of their dead bodies into the Lord. This also means that what is to happen in future is already stored within the Lord. When Arjuan says that he has seen ancestors within the Lord, it means that the past is also within the Lord. It is also important to note that everything happens within the cosmic form of the Lord and no action takes place and nothing exists outside His cosmic form. The whole of creation, sustenance and dissolution and the three factors of time, past, present and future also happen within His cosmic form. The Brahman or the Lord encompasses the entire universe.

Further Readings:

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI. 10 - 13

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI. 32 - 34

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI. 35 - 46