How Do I Devote or ‘See' the Omnipresent Lord? Vishvarupa Darshan (74)


Lesson 74 purpose is to answer “How do I actually devote to omni-present Lord?”. Purpose of devotion is to weaken the grip of samsara. Verse 16-19 lists variously descriptions of Bhagavan for us to contemplate or inquire into. Before one can surrender ahaṅkāra (ego) to the Higher, we first have to know EXACTLY what is it we're surrendering to.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, CH9 – verse 16, 17, 18, 19


  • In V4-10, Krishna revealed Higher nature of Īśvara called parā-prakṛti according to CH7 (satyam, nirguṇa Brahman).
    • Verse 4 defined Higher: avyaktam: Formless-colorless, smell-less, tasteless, touch-less, hear-less, intuited-less.
    • So whenever God is presented as GOAL in life, referring to Higher only. If God used in context of general worship; then referring to Lower. Noteworthy because God is loosely used throughout scriptures.
      • Kena Upaniṣad adds: tadeva Brahma tvaṁ viddhi nedaṁ yadidamupāsate; The worshipped, formed, finite-Īśvara should be used as an intermediary step; the destination Īśvara is invariably the formless one alone.
  • Then in V11, Krishna said, ignorance of formless Īśvara is CAUSE of all human problems.
    • Logic of suffering: When the imperishable is unknown, can only seek Perishable, which means: Diminishing returns. Boredom. Disappointment. Then chase another perishable > more future disappointment.
  • From Verse 12, Krishna categorized all people into 2 types:
    • Type 1: Ignorant of Higher Īśvara. Don’t know that infinite pūrṇatvam/security lies in Higher only.
      • Don’t know what exactly they want. Thus switching one thing to another.
      • Krishna criticized them in V12 (mōghāśā mōghakarmāṇō mōghajñānā vicetasaḥ: (These) indiscriminate ones are full of vain hopes, pursuits and knowledge.
    • Type 2 (Verse 13): Mahātmānaḥ (noble) have worldly pursuits and duties. Know they are secondary goals. And never lose eye on Īśvara; primary goal.
      • They may have children, marriage. But never justify them as primary.
    • They appreciate Īśvara in 3 ways – depending in mind maturity:
      • Stage 1: eka rūpa Īśvaraḥ (Bhakti for mind most gross)
        • Personalized version of God. Iṣṭa devata.
        • God is sitting / located in vaikuṇṭha, svarga, Brahmaloka, kailāsa, goloka vṛndāvana (Kṛṣṇa consciousness people).
        • STATUS: Dvaita Vedanta. Lord and I are different.
        • Also called: manda adhikārī: lowest/dullest grade
      • Stage 2: aneka rūpa Īśvara / viśva rūpa (One cosmic form of Lord, CH11 is climax of viśvarūpa darśanam.
        • By studying scriptures, appreciation of God transforms to include all forms. Lord is not located in one place. Lord is everything.
          • EG: Rudram translation: Lord Śiva is in form of tree, mud, green leaf, dry leaf. Ordinary materials. Everything is Śiva.
        • If melt all forms and have one big clump, get either sphere or ellipse shape.
          • EG 1: Chicken egg is spherical ellipse. Holds life. Why not square?
          • EG 2: Viṣnu bhakta > śālagrāma (fossilized seashell stones). Śiva bhakta > Śiva liṅga.
            • Symbolically their spherical shape indicates all forms are CLUMPED together in one.
        • STATUS: Viśiṣtādvaita Vedānta: I am part of God, but I am not God.
        • Also called: madhyama adhikāraī: in-between.
      • Stage 3: arūpa Īśvara (aham Brahmāsmi: Truth of “I” and TOTAL is not-two.)
        • STATUS: No question of part and whole. All is one indivisible WHOLE. Lord as formless nature is none other than self.
          • No difference between self and God. Advaita Vedānta.
        • Also called: uttama adhikārī. Greatest bhakta.
  • Krishna says, devotee goes through all 3 bhakti stages.
  • V12-19, Krishna speaks of samsāra nivṛtti. Attaining freedom from saṃsāra, through bhakti.
    • Bhakti does NOT refer to any specific sādhana. But range of sādhanās – consisting of 3 levels. (CH12 elaborates in detail). For now, in general…
    • 3 levels of bhakti:
      1. Karma-Yoga: Purify mind through physical activity.
      2. Upāsana: Meditation on saguṇa Īśvara. Integrates 3 personalities. (physical/mental/intellectual)
      3. Jñāna-Yoga: Bhakti in form of śravaṇa, manana, nididhyāsana. Inquiry into nirguṇa Īśvara.
    • In Viveka Chūdāmaṇi, Śankarācārya defines 3rd stage (svasvarūpa anusandānam bhakthirithya abhidhīyate): Third stage bhakti is not pūjā, parāyaṇa (object of attention), nor social service. But enquiry by help of upaniṣadic guidance. IE: Enquiry into higher nature of Īśvara.
    • In other words, if bhakti is divorced from knowledge, it can never lead to liberation. All the upaniṣads are insistent that jñānāt eva kaivalyam (Knowledge alone frees).
      • Gītā backs up (4.33): All rituals (yajñās / pūjās) should culminate into enquiry (vicāraḥ) through systematic study of scriptures.
    • SUMMARY TO MEANS OF LIBERATION: Karma-Yoga > Upāsanam > Jñānam (enquiry).


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 16:

ahaṃ kraturahaṃ yajñaḥ svadhā'hamahamauṣadham |
mantro'hamahameva”jyamahamagnirahaṃ hutam ||

I alone am the ritual prescribed by the sruti, I am the ritual prescribed by the smrti, I am the food offered to the ancestors, I am the food of all living beings, I am the mantra,I am the fire, I am the ghee (oblation), I am the action of offering.


  • Krishna assumes most Gītā students qualify for Stage 2, viśvarūpa īśvara bhakti, elaborated V16-19. How to actually devote to omni-present Lord? Intention is to learn to appreciate Lord in various forms.
  • What is viśvarūpa bhakti? Learning to look everything in creation as manifestation of Īśvara.
    • Initially we start by seeing Īśvara only in beautiful/honorable. Because if see God in a cockroach, will be turned-off.
    • Initially avoid dveṣaḥ (repulsions/dislikes). Only focus on rāgaḥ (attractions/likes).
      • Then gradually select one part of dveṣa object, which you can admire. Eventually include all.
  • aham kratuḥ: I am rituals/prayers prescribed by the śruti/veda (primary/original scriptures).
    • Common view “Bhagavān is worshipped through the ritual”. But Krishna says: The ritual itself is also the Lord.
  • aham yajñāḥ: Yajñāḥ means smṛti (remembered) rituals/prayers prescribed by secondary scriptures, which DRAW from primary vedās.
    • Meaning veda has independent validity. While secondary scriptures have no validity of their own.
      • Secondary texts include: smṛti, itihāsa, pūraṇa. All borrow sanctity from vedās.
        • EG 1: Gītā is smṛti/secondary. Methodology based on vedās.
        • EG 2: Many Indian festivals are based on purāṇic incidents (eg: Deepavali). All are sacred because based on vedās.
      • Thus vedā can be considered “evenly superior to God”. Because we get to know God THROUGH vedās.
  • ahaṃ svadhā: I am the offering given to forefathers/ancestors.
    • When giving offerings to pitṛ (ancestors), we say svadhā (food).
    • When giving offerings to devatās, throwing into fire, we say svāhā (May this blessing rest on __).
  • aham auṣadham (plant product): I am food eaten by human beings.
    • In those days medicines also called auṣadham. How ayur-vedā came > studying/utilizing plants and herbs for treating ailments, healthy life.
    • According to Vedic tradition, correct food/herb combinations can serve as a prevention/cure for diseases.
      • Those days people ate food as medicine. Nowadays people eat medicine as food.
    • Hence don’t mindlessly chew/gulp food because it is Īśvara also. So is digestive fire to break it down.
      • God is in your own stomach helping nourish your body.
  • aham mantraḥ: I am also in the very mantrās you utter in your rituals.
  • aham eva ājyam: I am clarified butter, offered in rituals.
    • In Vedic tradition cow is holy. Because of it’s unyielding intellect (stubbornly persistent), sattvic calmness (unruly emotions; unwilling to submit to distractions), also GENEROUS… giving plenty… taking little.
      • Thus butter is considered sacred offering, because cow itself is holy.
  • aham agniḥ: I am the very fire into which offering is performed.
    • According to Vedās… agniḥ is a devata. Like a messenger or postal-service. (Metaphor: It converts gross offering to subtle form which is closer to devata-form).
      • Meaning whichever devata wish to offer to (sake of gaining benefits), give offering to agniḥ devata.
        • EG: agnaye svāhā; prajāpathaye svāhā, indrāya svāhā; varuna svāhā.
  • aham hutam: I am very action of offering.
  • Essence of V16: I am everything. But can’t say like that, else won’t stick in mind.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 17:

pitā'hamasya jagato mātā dhātā pitāmahaḥ |
vedyaṃ pavitramoṅkāra ṛksāma yajureva ca ||

I am the father, the mother, the grandfather and the dispenser of this Universe. (I am) the one to be known. (I am) the auspicious one. (I am) the word OM, as well as Rigvedā, Samavedā, and Yajurvedā.


  • Continues same topic of viśvarūpa Īśvaraḥ (God is everything).
  • aham asya jagataḥ pitā: I am the father (the parent of this creation). From Me alone, the whole creation originated.
    • Then who is the mother? “I am mātā also”. Two-in-one.
    • I am nimitta kāraṇam (intelligent cause) AND upādāna kāraṇam (material cause).
  • Next question: If Īśvara is father of everyone, who is Īśvara’s father? pitāmahaḥ api ahaṁ eva; I am the grandfather also. Means Īśvara was never born. I am causeless cause of the creation. Nothing caused Me.
  • dhātā: I am the dispenser (distributor) of everything, according to karma-phalam. I determine whatever jīva is to receive.
    • EG: M/F human body, animal-body, healthy, deformed from nuclear leaks, longevity, HOW MUCH you should get in life… all determined by Bhagavān’s laws/orders.
    • Determined HOW? Law of karma. I give to everyone, at right place/time.
    • Hence whatever experiences gotten is EXACTLY what we deserve. And determined by Īśvara who is never unjust.
      • If tempted, “What did I do to suffer?”, don’t remember 5/10/20 years ago, nor lifetimes ago.
    • Meaning all innocent people suffering is according to Law of Karma. Doesn’t mean not to help them.
      • EG: Tsunami / earthquake doesn’t affect all equally in same area. Some forced to let go of possessions, some move to new area with better opportunity.
  • Vedyam: I am ultimate principle to be known, knowing which, your intellectual quest/hunger ends.
    • REF: Vedyam in CH13 is jñeyam. In Māndūkyam, it is vijñeyam.
    • Humans have 3 kinds of hungers:
      1. Physical: Natural & unnatural. EG: Eat to survive VS. food obsession. Pampering body.
      2. Emotional: People should love me! “Do you love me?” He hasn’t said anything in 2 days!
      3. Intellectual: To know. EG: What is creation? Who am I? Does God exist?
        • Only quenched when assimilated vedyam. EG: Through assimilating ornament/gold metaphor. Even my self-inquiry (ornament) is made out of consciousness (Gold).
  • oṅkāraḥ: I (Īśvara) am essence of all 4 vedās. Reason why vedā is also called Brahmā (all-knowing creator of universe).
    • How did Veda (Īśvara) come to be condensed into A-U-M (OM)? How does OM contain entire Veda (all-knowledge)?
      • QUICK ORDER: Veda > Gāyatrī 24-form (condensed) > Gayatri 3 mantrās (condensed) > A-U-M > OM
    • Mentioned in Devī Bhāgavata Purāṇa > From beginingless time > Veda (all knowledge) was FIRST condensed into Gāyatrī form (ancient meter of 24-syllables).
    • Gāyatrī represents TOTAL creation in 24 aspects.
      • EG: Durga (strength against wickedness), Kali (dark side of Durga; mother’s fierce protective energy of her offspring), Lakṣmī (prosperity), Sarasvatī (discriminatory intellect), Brahmā (Manifestor), Viṣṇu (Sustainer), Śiva (Sweeper/changer/destroyer), etc…
    • Each 24 forms represents one syllable of Gāyatrī mantra.
    • Gāyatrī’s 24 forms FURTHER condensed into form of 3 vyāhṛti (utterance/speech) mantrās.
      • Bhūḥ (also seen as: bhūr): Past.
      • Bhuvaḥ: Present.
      • Suvaḥ: Future.
Bhuvaḥ Suvaḥ
Past Present Future
Morning Noon Evening
Tamas Rajas Sattva
Gross Subtle Causal
Body Mind Intellect
Waking Dream Deep Sleep
Creation Sustenance Destruction
    • Brahmacāri is one who leads a life to exclusively study the veda / brahmā.
      • When Brahmacāri is initiated, called brahmōpadeśa (means Gāyatrī upādeśa). Through that, initiated into vedopadeśa (vedic teaching).
    • Condensing further, one letter represents each of 3 mantrās: A-U-M > sandhi applied > OM.
      • Pronunciation should not be AUM, but OM, whether spelt “aum” or “om”.
    • Hence OM is one syllable condensation of the voluminous vedic literature.
    • Summary: Vedās (or OM, in short) represent Īśvara. Reason why we respect vedās.
      • ṛg veda (Rigveda; praise knowledge): poetic compositions. Called: padya rūpam.
      • yajur veda: prose form. Called: gadya rūpam.
      • sāma veda: sāma means music. Mantras are in melodious form.
      • atharva veda: laukika or worldly activities. Not used much ritualistic activities, thus generally not mentioned.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 18:

gatirbhartā prabhuḥ sākṣī nivāsaḥ śaraṇaṃ suhṛt |
prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṃ nidhānaṃ bījamavyayam ||

I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, the well-wisher, the source, the ground of resolution, the Support, the repository (of all), and the inexhaustible seed.

  • Lists glories of Īśvara for our inquiry.
  • gatiḥ: I am the destination/goal which is kept in mind by every person. Which is karma-phalam. Every person does karma for sake of enjoying the fruits (phalam).
    • Success, I am. Failure, I am also. Therefore never reject failure, because it’s rejecting God.
    • Welcome failure, because without it, there’s no reference point of success.
    • Learn to accept both good/bad experiences as Īśvara.
  • bhartāḥ: I am the sustainer (karma-phala-dātā). I give karma-phalam to all beings in the universe.
    • Only possible if giver of karma-phalam is capable of taking into account, everyone’s past/present/future.
      action produces result, depending upon infinite factors.

      • EG: Meteorologists takes into account 100 factors to determine rain. Why fails? Hidden unknown factors.
      • Whereas omniscient Īśvara can perfectly TRACK karma-phalam of whole universe.
    • Thus we can’t reject unpleasant karma-phalam, because it’s God’s alone. Christian language: Thy will be done.
  • prabhuḥ: I am the master, or capable of coordinating karma-phala-dātā for all beings. Implies sarva-jñānam, sarva-śakti.
  • sākṣi: Standpoint of māyā śakti, Īśvara’s laws/orders do everything. Standpoint of Higher (parā-prakṛti), I am mere witness.
  • nivāsaḥ: I am the abode of everything. Whole creation is resting on Me.
  • śaraṇam: I am the shelter/refuge. When jīva no one to turn to for help, Lord becomes the ultimate refuge. As in Arjuna’s case of battleground of life. Or Draupadī disrobing.
    • I am the protector of one who surrenders to Me. Removes fear of death.
    • Lord is ultimate protector from samsara.
  • suhṛt: I am well-wisher of all.
    • suhṛt / mitram subtle difference.
    • Mitram (friend): Only helps the known. Subtle expectations.
    • Suhṛt: Helps the unknown. Not expecting returned favour, nor wants anything back.
  • prabhavaḥ pralayaḥ sthānaṁ:
    • Prabhavaḥ: sṛṣṭi kāraṇam
    • Sthānam: sthiti kāraṇan
    • Pralayaḥ: laya kāraṇam.
  • Nidhānam: I am the storehouse of all unmanifest (in potential). Including sañcita-karma, karma-phalam, saṃskārās.
    • EG: Scientist discovers a new law. Śāstra says that knowledge already existed in Īśvara.
      • Meaning noone produces knowledge, only removes ignorance of WHAT ALREADY WAS. Every knowledge is a discovery which already existed in potential in God’s omniscience.
  • avyayaṁ bījam: I am the inexhaustible seed out of which infinite objects come to manifest.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9 – Verse 19:

tapāmyahamahaṃ varṣaṃ nigṛṇhāmyutsṛjāmi ca |
amṛtaṃ caiva mṛtyuśca sadasaccāhamarjuna ||

I energise (the Universe). I draw and release the rainy waters. I alone am the cause of immortality as well as mortality. I am the manifest as well as the unmanifest, Oh Arjuna!


  • Glories continue…
  • Krishna points out an importance recognized by all people: sūryaḥ.
  • aham tapāmi: In form of sun, I energize all life on earth. Meaning humans survive because of Me (in sun form).
    • It is just right distance. Provides light, heat, seasons, life.
    • Perspective: every age in past, present, future… all human drama only possible because of Sun.
    • Reason why sun is worshipped, because it’s non-intrusive, ever-giving nature represents Īśvaraḥ.
    • Why is sun not respected? Always available. When go to Siberia. Himalayas, respect increases. In same way don’t take time to pursue Īśvara because basic food, air, sun is always available.
  • ahaṁ nigṛhṇāmi: I draw. I heat oceanic waters and evaporate to form clouds.
    • This excludes human’s cause of acid rain. Meaning acid rain, toxic air, draughts is human karma, and not God’s punishment.
  • Then what? utsṛjāmi ca, And I release this water onto land, with help of Wind (vāyuḥ devata).
  • Because of this, amṛtaṃ caiva mṛtyuśca, I am the cause of immortality & mortality.
    • Empirical (vyāvahārika meaning):
      • I am the cause of everyone’s survival. Because through rain, food is produced. Through the food, people gain relative immortality (don’t die from hunger).
      • I am also cause of mortality, by producing drought.
    • Philosophical meaning:
      • I am cause of immortality by giving vijñānam to bhaktās.
      • I am also cause of mortality to those I have not blessed, because they haven’t taken śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsanam seriously.
  • sat asat ahaṁ eva:
    • Sat means manifest/concrete/visible creation. EG: Physical body.
    • Asat means unmanifest, abstract. EG: Karma-phalam / Subtle-Causal Body.
  • NEXT VERSE 20: Krishna talks about 2 types of bhaktās; sakāma/niṣkāma bhakta.


Keywords: agni agnih, aham brahmasmi brahman asmi, arupa, ausadham, aushada, ayurveda, bhagavan, bhaktas, bhuh bhu, bhuvah bhuva, brahma, devatas, dvesa, dvesha, gayatri, goloka vrndavana vrindavana, ishvara, ista ishta devata, isvara, itihasa, jiva, jnana-yoga, kailasa, kali, karma phala data, lakshmi, laksmi, mahatma, mantras, mata, maya sakti shakti, nididhyasana, nirguna, para-prakriti, pitr, prakti, puja, purana, puranic, purnatvam, raga, rupa, sadhana, salagram, samskara, sancita, saraswati sarasvati, sarva jnana shakti sakti, shalagrama, shiva linga, shruti, siva linga, siva shiva, smrti smriti, sravana shravana, sruti, suhrt, suvah suva, svadha, svaha, upanishad, upasana, vaikuntha, vayu vayuh, vicara vichara, vijnana, vishvarupa darshana darsan, Visistadvaita Vishishtadvaita vedanta, visnu vishnu, visvarupa , vyavaharika, yajna


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Chinmaya Int. Foundation & Swami Paramarthananda

Recorded 12 Nov, 2019


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