Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lecture (Chapter) 11: Display of the Divine Nature in the Form of the Universe.

(Numbers in parentheses refer to the numbered notes below them, also enclosed in parentheses.)


This supreme mystery, distinguished by the name of the Adhĕĕ-ātmă or ruling spirit, which, out of loving-kindness, thou hast made known unto me, hath dissipated my ignorance and perplexity. I have heard from thee a full account of the creation and destruction of all things, and also of the mightiness of thy inexhaustible spirit. It is even as thou hast described thyself, O mighty Lord! I am now, O most elevated of men, anxious to behold thy divine countenance; wherefore, if thou thinkest it may be beheld by me, shew me thy never-failing spirit.


Behold, O Ărjŏŏn, my million forms divine, of various species, and diverse shapes and colours. Behold the Adĕĕtyăs, and the Văsŏŏs, and the Rŏŏdrăs, and the Mărŏŏts, and the twins Ăswĕĕn and Kŏŏmār (94).

(94 Ăswĕĕn and Koomār.—Reputed the twin offsprings of the Sun, and physicians of the Gods.)

Behold things wonderful, never seen before. Behold, in this my body, the whole world animate and inanimate, and all things else thou hast a mind to see. But as thou art unable to see with these thy natural eyes, I will give thee a heavenly eye, with which behold my divine connection.


The mighty compound and divine being Hărĕĕ, having, O Rājā, thus spoken, made evident unto Ărjŏŏn his supreme and heavenly form; of many a mouth and eye; many a wondrous sight; many a heavenly ornament; many an up-raised weapon; adorned with celestial robes and chaplets; anointed with heavenly essence; covered with every marvellous thing; the eternal God, whose countenance is turned on every side! The glory and amazing splendour of this mighty being may be likened to the sun rising at once into the heavens, with a thousand times more than usual brightness. The son of Pāndŏŏ then beheld within the body of the God of Gods, standing together, the whole universe divided forth into its vast variety. He was overwhelmed with wonder, and every hair was raised an end. He bowed down his head before the God, and thus addressed him with joined hands.


I behold, O God! within thy breast, the Dēws assembled, and every specific tribe of beings. I see Brăhmā, that Deity sitting on his lotus-throne; all the Rĕĕshĕĕs and heavenly Ŏŏrăgăs (95).

(95 Ŏŏrăgăs.—Who crawl upon their breasts:—serpents.)

I see thyself, on all sides, of infinite shape, formed with abundant arms, and bellies, and mouths, and eyes; but I can neither discover thy beginning, thy middle, nor again thy end, O universal Lord, form of the universe! I see thee with a crown, and armed with club and Chăkră (96), a mass of glory, darting refulgent beams around.

(96 Chăkră.—A kind of discus with a sharp edge, hurled in battle from the point of the fore-finger, for which there is a hole in the centre.—See the story of the churning of the ocean. [appended—gdw])

I see thee, difficult to be seen, shining on all sides with light immeasurable, like the ardent fire or glorious sun. Thou art the Supreme Being, incorruptible, worthy to be known! Thou art prime supporter of the universal orb! Thou art the never-failing and eternal guardian of religion! Thou art from all beginning, and I esteem thee Pŏŏrŏŏsh (97).

(97 Pŏŏrŏŏsh.—Already explained.)

I see thee without beginning, without middle, and without end; of valour infinite; of arms innumerable; the sun and moon thy eyes; thy mouth a flaming fire, and the whole world shining with thy reflected glory! The space between the heavens and the earth is possessed by thee alone, and every point around: the three regions of the universe, O mighty spirit! behold the wonders of thy awful countenance with troubled minds. Of the celestial bands, some I see fly to thee for refuge; whilst some, afraid, with joined hands sing forth thy praise. The Măhărshĕĕs, holy bands, hail thee, and glorify thy name with adorating praises. The Rŏŏdrăs, the Adĕĕtyăs, the Văsŏŏs, and all those beings the world esteemeth good; Ăswĕĕn and Kŏŏmār, the Mărŏŏts and the Ooshmăpās; the Găndhărvs and the Yăkshăs , with the holy tribes of Soors, all stand gazing on thee, and all alike amazed! The worlds, alike with me, are terrified to behold thy wondrous form gigantic; with many mouths and eyes; with many arms, and legs, and breasts; with many bellies, and with rows of dreadful teeth! Thus as I see thee, touching the heavens, and shining with such glory; of such various hues, with widely-opened mouths, and bright expanded eyes, I am disturbed within me; my resolution faileth me, O Vĕĕshnŏŏ! and I find no rest! Having beholden thy dreadful teeth, and gazed on thy countenance, emblem of Time’s last fire, I know not which way I turn! I find no peace! Have mercy then, O God of Gods! thou mansion of the universe! The sons of Dhrĕĕtărāshtră, now, with all those rulers of the land, Bhēēshmă, Drōn, the son of Sōōt, and even the fronts of our army, seem to be precipitating themselves hastily into thy mouths, discovering such frightful rows of teeth! whilst some appear to stick between thy teeth with their bodies sorely mangled. As the rapid streams of full-flowing rivers roll on to meet the ocean’s bed; even so these heroes of the human race rush on towards thy flaming mouths. As troops of insects, with increasing speed, seek their own destruction in the flaming fire; even so these people, with swelling fury, seek their own destruction. Thou involvest and swallowest them altogether, even unto the last, with thy flaming mouths; whilst the whole world is filled with thy glory, as thy awful beams, O Vĕĕshnŏŏ, shine forth on all sides! Reverence be unto thee, thou most exalted! Deign to make known unto me who is this God of awful figure! I am anxious to learn thy source, and ignorant of what thy presence here portendeth.


I am Time, the destroyer of mankind, matured, come hither to seize at once all these who stand before us. Except thyself (98) not one of all these warriors, destined against us in these numerous ranks, shall live.

(98 Except thyself.—Thyself should include his brothers, who were also saved.)

Wherefore, arise! seek honor and renown! defeat the foe, and enjoy the full-grown kingdom! They are already, as it were, destroyed by me. Be thou alone the immediate agent (99).

(99 The immediate agent.—The instrument to execute the decree of Fate.)

Be not disturbed! Kill Drōn, and Bhēēshmă, and Jăyădrăth, and Kărnă, and all the other heroes of the war already killed by me. Fight! and thou shalt defeat thy rivals in the field.


When the trembling Ărjŏŏn heard these words from the mouth of Krĕĕshnă, he saluted him with joined hands, and addressed him in broken accents, and bowed down terrified before him.


Ottrĕĕshēēkēs! the universe rejoiceth because of thy renown, and is filled with zeal for thy service. The evil spirits are terrified and flee on all sides; whilst the holy tribes bow down in adoration before thee. And wherefore should they not, O mighty Being! bow down before thee, who, greater than Brăhmā, art the prime Creator! eternal God of Gods! the world’s mansion! Thou art the incorruptible Being, distinct from all things transient! Thou art before all Gods, the ancient Pŏŏrŏŏsh, and the supreme supporter of the universe! Thou knowest all things, and art worthy to be known; thou art the supreme mansion, and by thee, O infinite form! the universe was spread abroad. Thou art Vāyŏŏ the God of wind, Ăgnĕĕ the God of fire, Vărŏŏn the God of oceans, Săsānkă the moon, Prăjāpătĕĕ the God of nations, and Prăpĕĕtāmăhă the mighty ancestor. Reverence! Reverence be unto thee a thousand times repeated! Again and again Reverence! Reverence be unto thee! Reverence be unto thee before and behind! Reverence be unto thee on all sides, O thou who art all in all! Infinite is thy power and thy glory! Thou includest all things, wherefore thou art all things! Having regarded thee as my friend, I forcibly called thee Krĕĕshnă, Yādăvă, Friend! but, alas! I was ignorant of this thy greatness, because I was blinded by my affection and presumption. Thou hast, at times, also in sport been treated ill by me; in thy recreations, in thy bed, on thy chair, and at thy meals; in private and in public; for which, O Being inconceivable! I humbly crave thy forgiveness.

Thou art the father of all things animate and inanimate; thou art the sage instructor of the whole, worthy to be adored! There is none like unto thee; where then, in the three worlds, is there one above thee? Wherefore I bow down; and, with my body prostrate upon the ground, crave thy mercy, Lord! worthy to be adored; for thou shouldst bear with me, even as a father with his son, a friend with his friend, a lover with his beloved. I am well pleased with having beheld things before never seen; yet my mind is overwhelmed with awful fear. Have mercy, then, O heavenly Lord! O mansion of the universe! And shew me thy celestial form. I wish to behold thee with the diadem on thy head, and thy hands armed with club and Chăkră; assume then, O God of a thousand arms, image of the universe! thy four-armed form (100).

(100 Thy four-armed form.—In which the Deity is usually represented in his incarnations, the images of which Ărjŏŏn had been accustomed to behold without emotion.)


Well pleased O Ărjŏŏn, I have shewn thee, by my divine power, this my supreme form the universe in all its glory, infinite and eternal, which was never seen by any one except thyself; for no one, O valiant Kŏŏrŏŏ ! in the three worlds, except thyself, can such a sight of me obtain; nor by the Vēds, nor sacrifices, nor profound study; nor by charitable gifts, nor by deeds, nor by the most severe mortifications of the flesh. Having beholden my form, thus awful, be not disturbed, nor let thy faculties be confounded. When thou art relieved from thy fears, and thy mind is restored to peace, then behold this my wondrous form again.


The son of Văsŏŏdēv having thus spoken unto Ărjŏŏn, shewed him again his natural form; and having re-assumed his milder shape, he presently asswaged the fears of the affrighted Ărjŏŏn.


Having beheld thy placid human shape, I am again collected; my mind is no more disturbed, and I am once more returned to my natural state.


Thou hast beholden this my marvellous shape, so very difficult to be seen, which even the Dēws are constantly anxious to behold. But I am not to be seen, as thou hast seen me, even by the assistance of the Vēds, by mortifications, by sacrifices, by charitable gifts; but I am to be seen, to be known in truth, and to be obtained by means of that worship which is offered up to me alone; and he goeth unto me whose works are done for me; who esteemeth me supreme; who is my servant only; who hath abandoned all consequences, and who liveth amongst all men without hatred.

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