|The Cosmic Form |
1. Thy instructions on the grand Mystery, the highest spiritual Truth, imparted to me out
of Thy abounding grace, have dispelled my delusion.
2. O lotus-eyed One! From Thee I have heard at length about the origin and dissolution of
creatures as also about Thy greatness that knows no decay.
3. Thou art, O Lord Supreme, even as what Thou hast declared Thyself to be. (I understand
and accept it.) Yet I now desire to see that form of Thine as the Lord of all.
4. If, O Lord, Thou thinkest me worthy of experiencing that immutable form of Thine, then
deign to reveal the same to me, O Thou Master of all Yoga!
The Blessed Lord said:
5. Behold, O Partha, My manifold forms in their hundreds and thousands - all divine and all
of varied hues and shapes.
6. Behold the Adityas and the Vasus, the Rudras and the Ashvins, and the Maruts likewise -
behold these marvels unseen by any before, O scion of Bharata's clan!
7. O conqueror of sleep! Behold here and now the whole of this universe of conscious and
unconscious entities as also anything else you desire to experience - all abiding as a unity
in My body.
8. You cannot have an experience of Me merely with your physical eye. I therefore give you
the power of divine vision. Behold with that My power as the Lord of all.
9. So saying, Hari, the Master of all spiritual powers, now revealed to Arjuna His
transcendent form as the Lord of the universe.
10. Having countless faces and eyes; exhibiting countless features; provoking wonder;
bedecked with countless celestial ornaments equipped with countless divine weapons held
11. Wearing heavenly garlands and vestments; anointed with celestial unguents and
perfumes; replete with incredible, marvellous features - a divinity boundless and all-seeing.
12. What brilliance there would have been if a thousand suns were to blaze forth all of a
sudden in the sky - to that was comparable the splendour of that great Being.
13. There in the body of that God of all divinities, the son of Pandu then saw the whole
universe - a multiplicity abiding unified in His being.
14. Thereupon Arjuna, struck with amazement and his hairs standing on end, bowed down
before the Lord and said with hands folded in salutation.
15. In Thy form I see, O Lord, all the Devas and all the varied hosts of other beings - the
divine Rishis, the celestial serpents and likewise Brahma the Lord of creation, seated on his
16. I see Thee in Thy all encompassing form everywhere - with myriad arms, myriad
trunks, myriad mouths, myriad eyes. O Lord of all! O the All-formed! I see not Thy
beginning, Thy middle, or Thy end.
17. I see Thee, boundless Being, diademed and armed with mace and discus, shining
everywhere as a mass of light, and difficult to look at, like the blazing fire or the
18. In my view Thou art the Supreme Imperishable Being to be realised - the world's
ultimate refuge and the guardian of eternal law, most ancient and perennial.
19. I see Thee - beginningless, middleless and endless; infinite in puissance; of boundless
energy active everywhere; having the sun and the moon for eyes; with a face luminous like
a flaming fire; and with spiritual radiance energising everything.
20. O High-souled One! All the three worlds tremble with fear at the sight of this wondrous,
awe-inspiring form of Thine - the one existence that fills all space betwixt heaven and earth
and all the quarters as well.
21. Verily, these bands of Devas enter into Thee, while others, awe-struck, stand with hands
joined in salutation. Hosts of sages and celestial singers cry 'Hail' unto Thee, and extol
Thee with hymns of abounding praise.
22. And the Rudras, Adityas, Vasus and Sadhyas; Vishvas, Ashvins, Maruts and Manes; and
the hosts of Gandharvas, Yaksas, Asuras and Siddhas - all view Thee in utter amazement.
23. At the sight of Thy stupendous form, with faces, eyes, arms, trunks, thighs and legs in
myriads, and Thy numerous fangs of forbidding appearance - the whole world, O mighty
one, is trembling in awe, even as I.
24. When I see Thy form reaching up to the skies and shining in varied hues, when I see
Thy face with mouth wide open and eyes large and glowing bright, I feel shaken to the core
of my being with awe. O All-pervading One! My strength is exhausted and my mind is
25. Even by beholding Thy faces, resembling the fire of cosmic destruction and striking
terror with their fangs, I lose all sense of direction as also my presence of mind. O Thou
the Lord of all and the home of the worlds! Be propitious unto me!
26-27. All these hosts of kings, along with the sons of Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Drona and
yonder Kama, as also the principal warriors on our side - all are rushing headlong into Thy
fearful mouth set with terrible fangs. Some are seen with their heads crushed and caught
in the gaps of Thy teeth.
28. As the swift-flowing waters of numerous rivers rush verily towards the sea, so these
heroes among men are rushing into Thy flaming mouth.
29. As moths swarm swiftly into a flaming fire and perish, so do these men rush headlong
into Thy mouth to meet with sure destruction.
30. Thou lappest up all these worlds around, devouring them with Thy flaming mouth. Thy
lustre, striking awe into the minds of all, fills this entire universe with its radiance and
scorches it, O Vishnu!
31. Deign to tell me who Thou art with this awe-inspiring form. To Thee, O Supreme Lord,
my salutation, and also my prayers for Thy grace. I wish to know more about Thee, the
Primal Being, as also of Thy purpose here, of which I am in ignorance.
The Blessed Lord said:
32. I am the mighty world destroying Time, engaged here in annihilating all beings. Even
without you. not one of all the warriors arrayed in these rival armies shall survive.
33. Therefore arise! Win renown! And destroying your enemies, enjoy the prosperous
kingdom. For, these warriors have already been slain by Me. Be you but an instrument
thereof, O thou master-bowman, Arjuna.
34. Kill Drona and Bhishma, Jayadratha and Karna, as also these other heroic warriors, who
are already doomed by Me. Fight on, and you shall conquer the enemies in battle.
35. Hearing this declaration of Krishna, Arjuna, with his frame trembling, saluted Him
again and again with joined palms. Prostrating himself before Him in utter awe, Arjuna
addressed Him in faltering voice.
36. Rightly do the worlds rejoice and delight in glorifying Thee. In Thy presence the
Rakshasas melt away in fear in all directions, while the hosts of Siddhas bow in adoration.
37. O High-souled one! Why should they not bow down to Thee who art the highest of all
beings and the primal cause of even Brahma the creator! O Infinite One! O Lord of all Gods
and the Abode of all the worlds! Thou art that Imperishable Being who is both existence
(effect condition) and non-existence (causal state) as also that which is beyond them both.
38. Thou art the first of all divinities and the most ancient of all beings. Thou art the
ultimate haven of rest and safety for the worlds. Thou art both the knower and the known
as also the supreme Abode. O Thou of countless forms! By Thee the whole universe is
39. Manifested as Vayu the god of winds, as Yama the god of death, as Varuna the god of
the seas, and as the moon with the hare-mark on the face - Thou art the Progenitor of all
and the source of him as well. Hail, hail unto Thee a thousand times! Hail, and hail again
and yet again.
40. Salutations unto Thee, the All-formed, from before, from behind and from all directions!
Infinite in puissance and limitless in might, Thou pervadest everything and Thou art verily
41-42. O undecaying One! If, without knowing Thy greatness and taking Thee only to be a
friend, I have, out of ignorance or love, alone or even in company, addressed Thee
discourteously in fun, while playing relaxing, sitting or feasting, with words such as, "O
Krishna! O Yadava!" - I beseech Thee, O Boundless One, do pardon me for the same!
43. Thou art the father of the world - of all that is moving and unmoving. Thou art the
object of its worship, the most venerable of its Teachers. In all the worlds there is not
another equal to Thee. much less one greater, O Thou of incomparable puissance!
44. Therefore greeting Thee with my body stretched in prostration, I beseech Thee, O
worshipful Lord, to be gracious unto me. Bear with me as a father with a son, as a friend
with a friend, and as a lover with his beloved.
45. Seeing this form unseen before, I am overjoyed but my mind is also perturbed with
fear. Reveal to me that other familiar form of Thine and be gracious unto me, O Thou God
of all gods, and Indwelling Spirit of the worlds.
46. I desire to see Thee as before crowned with a diadem, and holding a mace and discus in
hand. Deign to assume that four-armed shape, O Thou of a thousand arms and of universal
The Blessed Lord said:
47. Out of My grace, I have, by My divine power, revealed to you this transcendent form of
Mine - infinite, primeval, radiant and all-inclusive. Never has it been seen by any one
before except by you.
48. Except by you (on whom My grace has been bestowed), none in this world of men could
see Me in this Cosmic Form - be it by Vedic study, by sacrifice, by good works, by rituals,
or by severe austerities.
49. Fear not; nor be bewildered at seeing this awe-inspiring form of Mine. With fear
assuaged and a heart full of joy, behold now this. My familiar form, again!
50. Saying thus to Arjuna, Krishna revealed again his own familiar form. Having thus
assumed that gentle form, the Exalted One comforted the awe-struck Arjuna over again.
51. Seeing this gentle human form of Thine, O Janardana, I am now composed and restored
to my natural slate of mind.
The Blessed Lord said:
52. This form of Mine which you have seen is extremely difficult to behold. Even Devas
themselves are ever eager to see it.
53. Neither by Vedic study, nor by austerities, nor by charities, nor by sacrifices could one
behold Me in the way you have done.
54. But, O Arjuna, thou great warrior! Through unswerving devotion this form of Mine
may be known in truth and in reality, may be experienced and entered into.
55. Whoever works for Me, looking upon Me as the goal; whoever is My devotee, free from
attachments and from antagonism to any being - such a man, O son of Pandu, shall enter