Total Cosmic Form (Vishvarupa Darshana of Jagat/Virat) (102)


Lesson 102 includes: Two qualities of excellent student, Symbolism of 4 arms, Effulgence of God is like 1000 suns, Divinity is about having a right attitude about an ordinary world, Logic for how consciousness (sat) & limitlessness (ananda) are not-two.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11: Verse 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18


  • In CH10, Krishna showed sample of his divine glories throughout cosmos, in a sequential order.
  • In CH11, Arjuna calls Krishna, kalamapatrākṣa, whose eyes are like petal of lotus (clear & soft), one who saves from saṃsāra. Then Arjuna requests to witness entire Cosmic Form (jagat/virat/visvarupa), all at Once.
  • Arjuna shows mark of an excellent student in two ways:
    • Way 1:
      • CH 10: Arjuna realizes, before I can grasp the whole, first need to understand individual parts of the whole. Hence: vibhūtis (individual glories).
      • CH 11: After hearing about individual parts, Arjuna requests to hear how all parts (including time-space) make up the whole, simultaneously, in synergy.
    • Way 2:
      • In CH 11.2, Arjuna explicitly recaps what he learned in CH7:
        • bhava apyayau hi bhūtānām śrutau vistarśaḥ mayā:
          • bhava apyayaḥ: Creation and dissolution.
          • bhūtānām: of things/beings [made of pañca-bhūtas (5 elements)].
        • In CH8: Process of death, after death.
      • In 11.3, Arjuna makes request to see entire universe, beings, events… happening at once, in ONE place.
      • In 11.8, Arjuna was given divya cakṣuḥ (divine vision) by Lord Krishna.
        • For context, what is divine vision like?
          • Given a microscope.
          • Given special glasses for 2D movie > 3D movie.
          • Shown a movie on mobile vs. IMAX.
        • Before Arjuna speaks further, let’s first see what Sañyaja (confidant) says to King Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Verse 9-13)…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 9

sañjaya uvāca
evam uktvā tataḥ rājan mahā-yoga-īśvaraḥ hariḥ
darśayāmāsa pārthāya paramam rūpam aiśvaram

Sañjaya Said — having spoken thus, Krishna, the great Lord of all powers, thereafter revealed the supreme divine form to Arjuna. Oh king !

  • Sañjaya names Krishna, yogi of all yogis. So whatever powers yogis have, nothing excels the One from whom all individual powers come.
  • Hariḥ evam uktvā:
    • Hariḥ indicates that Lord Krishna is Lord Viṣṇu, the viśva-rūpa of Īśvara.
    • Hariḥ also means one who absorbs/withdraws impurities or pāpam. Which prevents bhakta’s mind from recognizing divinity in all forms.
  • What type of Lord is He? Mahāyogeśvaraḥ, who has powers of purification which would otherwise takes years through karma-yoga, upāsanam.
    • Through those powers, He can temporarily purify the antaḥkaraṇa, to show the value of purification to the bhakta.
  • Paramam rūpam aiśvaram: Īśvara’s viśva-rūpa is paramam and aiśvaram (greatest, all-pervading).
    • Meaning all other rūpa is finite. EG: Rama, Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, Jesus rūpa. EG:
      • Rāma rūpa displaces Krishna rūpa. When I think of X rūpa, Y rūpa leaves temporarily.
      • Thus both X/Y are subject to arrival-departure.
    • Whereas, paramam is never not present, whether I think it or not.
      • This is why namaskāram is done in all 8 directions (Lord is everywhere). Trains young children indirectly.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 10-11

aneka-vaktra-nayanam aneka-adbhuta-darśanam
aneka-divya-ābharaṇam divya-aneka-udyata-āyudham

divya-mālya-ambara-dharam divya-gandha-anulepanam
sarva-āścaryamayam devam anantam viśvatomukham

10 & 11. ( Krishna revealed) the brilliant limitless (Cosmic form) with faces in all directions, with many mouths, and eyes, with many wonderful sights, with many divine ornaments, wielding many weapons, wearing divine garlands and garments, anointed with divine perfumes, and full of wonders.

  • Verse shows Sañjaya is also getting the same viśva-rūpa darśanam through his descriptions, such as…
  • Viśvatomukham aneka-vaktra-nayanam: Lord faces in all directions, with many mouths and eyes.
    • Meaning mouths/eyes of all jīvas are Bhagavān’s.
  • aneka-divya-ābharaṇam: Paremeśvaraḥ is one with many ornaments.
    • Meaning all ornaments we enjoy and wish to keep, are His.
    • Thus remind yourself, I am only borrowing this ornament temporarily, and will return it. I do not own anything here. (Because I don’t even own this body).
  • Divya aneka udyata āyudham: He wields countless divine weapons.
    • Don’t imagine Lord with 1000 hands, in each holding a weapon.
    • Why countless weapons? Event is taking place on battlefield. Each soldier’s weapon belongs to viśva-rūpa Īśvara.
    • How are soldiers weapons divine? Two reasons:
      • Reason 1:
        • If weapon is person’s, it’s not divine.
        • If weapon is understood to be property of God, it’s divine. (upādāna-karaṇam)
        • Thus difference between not-divine/divine is association to Īśvara.
          • EG: Apple in shop = apple. In temple = prasāda.
        • Therefore, if recognize everything resolving into the One Cause, nothing is secular, but sacred.
      • Reason 2: When weapon is associated to protecting dharma, it’s associated to Lord, thus it’s divine.
  • Clearing confusion about viśva-rūpa-darśanam:
    • Verses are saying “Krishna showed viśva-rūpa to Arjuna”. This implies viśva-rūpa isn’t true NOW, and only after divya cakṣuḥ, it becomes true.
    • Viśva-rūpa means: By aligning myself with universal orders, Lord’s grace removes mind’s obstacles preventing appreciation of divinity.
      • Before removal, world = secular.
      • After removal, world = sacred.
      • Therefore viśvarupa is not a physical event taking place somewhere. It’s may be taken as metaphor for attitudinal/perspective change.
  • Anantam: Viśvarūpa has no end. The entire material universe is an insignificant spec in Bhagavan's virat (body).
  • Therefore, sarva āścaryam ayam: Viśva rūpa Īśvara is a wonder.
    • Sañjaya says to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the One reality consists of endless forms of wonder, like splendid ornaments, unimaginable by human mind.
    • Including intelligent laws-orders in form of weapons for appropriate causes, like: Forces of nature (tsunami, asteroids), Lord of Death, Digestion (break-down food), Pāpa-karma.
    • Lord is the One Form adorned with majestic flowers of beauty beyond imagination, anointed with fragrant sandal paste. He is truly an endless wonder.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 12

divi sūrya-sahasrasya bhavet yugapat utthitā
yadi bhāḥ sadṛśī sā syāt bhāsaḥ tasya mahātmanaḥ

If the brilliance of a thousand suns were to rise up simultaneously in the sky, that will be comparable to the brilliance of the great Lord.

  • Sunlight takes 8 min to reach earth. And our sun is not the largest. Even this much human can’t withstand looking directly.
  • Now imagine the brilliance of all suns in the universe, looking at them all directly without distance.
    • Just as atomic bomb ex-serviceman describe the light given was unfathomable. Every bone could be seen in others, even with goggles.
  • This is comparison for viśva-rūpa Īśvara.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 13

tatra ekastham jagat kṛtsnam pravibhaktam anekadhā
apaśyat deva-devasya śarīre pāṇḍavaḥ tadā

There, in the body of the Lord of Lords, Arjuna saw, at that time, the entire Universe with its manifold divisions placed together.

  • When we say total body of Īśvara (virāt, viśva-rūpa, jagat)… for sake of grasping… it can be taken as the infinite space, in whom all objects exist. Therefore…
  • Kṛtsnam jagat ekastham apaśyat: Arjuna sees 14 lokās (universe) exiting in Īśvara’s total body.
  • And this universe is, anekadhā pravibhaktam, divided into infinite forms, each resolving into the next.
    • EG: House resolves into suburb > city > province > country > earth > solar system > galaxy
    • All forms are of the one body of Īśvara, called virāt. While each form retains it’s unique personality. EG:
      • Index finger has different personality from thumb, from toe. Yet none are away from the total body.
      • Therefore all beings in the universe (rākṣasas, manuṣyas, devas) comprise Īśvara’s viśva-rūpa.
  • Tatra devadevasya śarīre pāṇḍavaḥ apaśyāt: There in the body of the Lord, Arjuna saw…
    • Divinity is always true. What denies me from knowing it is impure antaḥkaraṇa (colors over perception). Thus life is generally heavy, burdensome.
    • Divya cakṣuḥ is also referring to nididhyāsanam. Even after gaining jñānam, one continues deeply reflecting, reorienting and working on one’s relative self.

Verse 14-29: Arjuna describes his vision of the comic form…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 14

tataḥ saḥ vismaya-āviṣṭaḥ hṛṣṭa-romā dhanañjayaḥ
praṇamya śirasā devam kṛta-añjaliḥ abhāṣata

Then that Arjuna, who was wonderstruck and thrilled, saluted the Lord with his head bent low and spoke with folded palms.

  • Vismayāviṣṭaḥ: Arjuna struck by wonder, not because seeing new worlds… but has clear perspective towards ordinary things. Mind filters are no longer reducing objects to opinions.
    • Extraordinary attitude about ordinary world.
    • And because impact was so enormous, Arjuna started to express emotion on physical level, because of mind-body connection.
      • Arjuna experienced nava-rasās (9 moods) instantaneously: Anger, horror, humour, peace, revulsion, romance, sorrow, valour, wonder.
      • So we can relate what it was like for Arjuna:
        • One person dies, unworthy news. Millions die at ONCE, Headlines.
        • One person dips in Ganga Kumbha-melā (divine sight).
        • Ants have 2D vision. Imagine their wonderment of human’s 3D.
        • Similarly, Arjuna saw dimensions within dimensions, like watching 100 channels all at once.
  • How do we express feeling of gratitude? Praṇamya devam śirasā: He saluted Lord with his head bent low. Realizing we are speck of dust, nothing. Thus all we can do is namaskāra.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 15

arjuna uvāca
paśyāmi devān tava deva dehe
sarvān tathā bhūta-viśeṣa-saṅghān
brahmāṇam īśam kamala-āsanasthaṃ
ṛṣīn ca sarvān uragān ca divyān
In your body, O Lord! I see all the celestials as well as hosts of different types of beings, the Lord Brahmā (residing in brahmā-loka), seated on the lotus, and all the ṛṣis and celestial snakes.

  • Arjuna begins narrating wonderment of his vishva-rupa experience…
    • Why hasn’t he recognized before? Subjective coloured vision, expressed as rāga/dveṣa.
      • When Krishna temporarily suspended Arjuna’s ahaṃkāra, he can see what-is.
  • How is world a wonderful wonder with current affairs?
    • World not a wonder if only see it from standpoint of earth.
    • But from standpoint of eternal cosmos, Earth/humans are insignificant.
    • Thus if see from standpoint of jīva, it’s unpleasant. From standpoint of Īśvara, there’s only wonderment.
  • Reason for meter change: In olden days, no highlighter/paper. All written on palm leaves. Method for highlight was to change meter, to wake person up.
  • Aham dehe aham devan paśyāmi: In your body, I see multitudes of living beings.
  • Brahmāṇam īśam: I also see Brahmā in brahma-loka (Īśvara’s from standpoint of intelligent creator).
    • Symbolism:
      • Brahmā seated on lotus, born out of Viṣṇu’s
      • Viṣṇu = macrocosmic causal body (samaṣṭi kāraṇa śarīra). Place all resolve during deep sleep. Ānandamaya koṣa.
      • Lotus (which Brahmā sitting on) = macrocosmic subtle body (samaṣṭi sūkṣma śarīra). Total knowledge of everything (sattva guṇa).
      • Brahmā = macrocosmic subtle body reflected consciousness (samaṣṭi sūkṣma śarīra pratibimba caitanya).
        • Brahman identified with total knowledge = Brahmā.
        • Brahman identified with individual knowledge = jīva.
  • Sarvān ṛṣīn: I see all the sages, most anonymous.
  • Uragān: serpents like…
    • Vāsuki:
      • Snake around Śiva’s neck
      • Used during Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean milk). L85.
    • Ananta śeṣa: which Viṣṇu is resting on.
  • It seems like Arjuna is seeing 14 lokās by describing brahmā (highset loka). Can be interpreted in two ways:
    • Way 1:
      • Descriptions are poetical in nature only.
        • EG: Arjuna in 11.26 says “Bhīṣma/Droṇā/Karṇa are entering mouth of Lord and being crushed”. But in actuality, Arjuna killed them all.
    • Way 2:
      • If you take Arjuna’s seeing higher lokās, it’s irrelevant to our inquiry. As seeing higher worlds doesn’t guarantee mokṣa.
        • EG: Indra is ruler of svarga (heaven), yet he is only an intelligent saṃsāri.
    • What is important:
      • Viśva rūpa darśanam is not about seeing extraordinary things. But seeing ordinary world as viśva-rūpa of God.
      • What Arjuna sees is irrelevant in our daily lives. But how you/I see the world is what matters.
      • Therefore attitude towards world is highlighted… not the objects of sight (objects are only good as my memory of them).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 16

paśyāmi tvām sarvataḥ ananta-rūpam
na antam na madhyam na punaḥ tava ādim
paśyāmi viśveśvara viśvarūpa

I see you everywhere with countless forms, with many arms, abdomens, mouths, and eyes. I see neither your beginning nor the middle, nor the end, oh ! Lord of the Universe ! Oh Lord with Universal form !

  • This verse brings viśva-rūpa darśanam down to earth, relatable…
    • It’s not an superior vision. But a superior attitude towards ordinary daily experiences. Pointed out…
  • aneka-bāhu-udara-vaktra-netram paśyāmi: I see viśva-rūpa of Lord which has countless arms, hands, stomachs, faces, eyes.
    • Obviously can’t be One Lord with eyes, stomachs all over Him.
    • Meaning all organs of each individual are viśva-rūpa. EG: No two thumbprints, eyes are exactly same.
  • na antam na madhyam na punaḥ tava ādim: I do not see beginning, middle nor end of jagat.
    • EG: Even scientists cannot pinpoint beginning nor end of universe. Thus how can middle be known.
  • SUMMARY: What Arjuna heard in purāṇās (celestials, devas, ṛṣis), he now sees, because none are away from Bhagavān.
  • QUIZ: Can Arjuna sees things which are yet to manifest in the future, like: computer, mobile, airplane, submarine, astronaut suit?

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 17

kirīṭinam gadinam cakriṇam ca
tejo-rāśim sarvataḥ dīptimantam
paśyāmi tvām durnirīkṣyam samantāt
dīpta-anala-arka-dyutim aprameyam

I see you as a mass of effulgence shining everywhere with crown, mace, and disc, (I see You) all around, radiant like the blazing fire and sun, blinding (and) immeasurable.

  • kirīṭinam gadinam cakriṇam ca paśyāmi: I see you in traditionally depicted form of you which we worship, with 4 arms (like Gaṇeśa, Viṣṇu).
    • In Krishna’s case…
      • 2 arms with weapons (destroying any harm that comes to you) if live in harmony with universal orders.
        • Arm 1: Wielding a mace. Immediate cause.
        • Arm 2: Holding a cakra. Unseen cause (travels far).
      • 2 arms for protection:
        • Arm 1: Offering refuge.
        • Arm 2: Pointing downwards, symbolically saying “Recognize and surrender to the One Cause of the universe, and I’ll take care of you”.
  • durnirīkṣyaṃ: Your effulgence is blinding everywhere I look. Like going to peak of mountain covered with snow and sun shining.
    • Another reason why Indian 5 element temples are spread throughout India. God’s effulgence is in all directions.
  • Aprameyam: one who is limitless, and thus can’t be objectified by the limited antaḥkaraṇa.
    • For example, rose is objectified as rose-knowledge in the mind.
      • In that moment, rose “takes over” the mind. Mind becomes the rose-thought, at exclusion of non-rose-thoughts.
        • EG: If thinking of red rose, mind is excluding blue rose.
    • Therefore aprameyam can’t be objectified by the mind, because it has no beginning and end to it’s boundaries.
      • Meaning aprameyam (limitless) is indirectly referring to Consciousness. How do we know?
        • What is the only principle which can’t be objectified?
          • Consciousness can’t be objectified.
          • Limitlessness can’t be objectified.
          • Therefore Consciousness and limitlessness are not-two. (sat-cit-ānanda)
  • Based on what Arjuna has seen so far, he makes inference…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 18

tvam akṣaram paramam veditavyam
tvam asya viśvasya param nidhānam
tvam avyayaḥ śāśvata-dharma-goptā
sanātanaḥ tvam puruṣaḥ mataḥ me

You are the supreme imperishable one to be known. You are the ultimate support of this universe. You are the eternal protector of the eternal dharma, I read You as the eternal Purusha.

  • tvam akṣaram paramam veditavyam: You are the eternal Lord from standpoint of saguṇa and niṛguna.
    • Saguṇa: Creation always exists either in manifest or unmanifest.
      • Hence purāṇās says: During pralayam, Krishna is floating on a leaf.
        • Symbolically means, in māyā, creation is withheld. Called yoga-nidrā of Īśvara.
      • Nirguṇa: Final reality which was never born, thus has no end. And because it wasn’t born, it doesn’t have attributes. Because to be born is to come with time-space bound attributes.
  • Arjuna says, it’s clear to me that Īśvara is the jagat-kāraṇam (cause of the universe). And for that reason, Lord alone is to be properly known by every human being. All other knowledge is incidental.
    • In other words, knowledge of satyam alone is worthy of living for. Because all mithyā objects are changing and resolve into the One Permanent Cause (Īśvara), which is both nimitta & upādāna-karaṇam.
      • EG: Ornaments (as attractive as they are), all resolve into Gold.
  • Śāśvata-dharma-goptā: You uphold the eternal universal ethical values, called dharma.
  • Puruśaḥ: One being in whom everything exists. Intelligent/Material cause.
  • Arjuna is saying:
    • Knowing your vastness through first-hand experience, now the śāstra makes more sense then ever. You indeed are ultimate bases of everything I enjoy, hope for, and aspire to.
      • My entire relative life is centered on You, because everything resolves into You.
    • However this is indirect knowledge for Arjuna. We know because soon he’ll get frightened by what he sees. Meaning Arjuna forgot to include himself in this vision.
      • Saw himself as a separate witness to the whole.
    • If Arjuna had direct knowledge, he would’ve said “The reality of Me and Īśvara are not-two. Everything is Me”.


Keywords: aishvara, aisvaram, ananda, anandamaya, antahkarana, antakarana, bhagavan, bhishma, bhisma, brahma, brahmaji, cakshu, caksu, dhritarashtra, dhrtarastra, divya, dron,a karna, dvesa, dvesha, ganesa, guna, hari, harih, ishvara, jiva, jnanam, kalamapatraksa, kalamapatraksha, karana, karanam, kosa, kosha, kumbha-mela, lokas, manushya, manusya, moksa, moksha, namaskara, nava-rasas, nididhyasana, nirguna, panca-bhutas, papam, prasada, puranas, purusa, purusha, raga, raksasas, rakshasas, rama, rishis, rsis, saguna, samashti, samasti, samsari, sanjaya, sarira, sesa, sharira, shesha, shiva, siva, upadana, uragan, vasuki, vibhutis, virat, vishnu, vishvarupa, vishwaroopa, visnu, visvarupa, yoga-nidra


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 18 Nov, 2020


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