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The Universal Form


VERSE 1 

Arjuna said: By my hearing the instructions You have kindly given me about these most confidential spiritual subjects, my illusion has now been dispelled.

PURPORT

This chapter reveals Krsna as the cause of all causes. He is even the cause of the Maha-Visnu, from whom the material universes emanate. Krsna is not an incarnation; He is the source of all incarnations. That has been completely explained in the last chapter.

Now, as far as Arjuna is concerned, he says that his illusion is over. This means that Arjuna no longer thinks of Krsna as a mere human being, as a friend of his, but as the source of everything. Arjuna is very enlightened and is glad that he has such a great friend as Krsna, but now he is thinking that although he may accept Krsna as the source of everything, others may not. So in order to establish Krsna’s divinity for all, he is requesting Krsna in this chapter to show His universal form. Actually when one sees the universal form of Krsna one becomes frightened, like Arjuna, but Krsna is so kind that after showing it He converts Himself again into His original form. Arjuna agrees to what Krsna has several times said: Krsna is speaking to him just for his benefit. So Arjuna acknowledges that all this is happening to him by Krsna’s grace. He is now convinced that Krsna is the cause of all causes and is present in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul.

 

VERSE 2 

O lotus-eyed one, I have heard from You in detail about the appearance and disappearance of every living entity and have realized Your inexhaustible glories.

PURPORT

Arjuna addresses Lord Krsna as "lotus-eyed" (Krsna’s eyes appear just like the petals of a lotus flower) out of his joy, for Krsna has assured him, in the previous chapter, aham krtsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayas tatha: "I am the source of the appearance and disappearance of this entire material manifestation." Arjuna has heard of this from the Lord in detail. Arjuna further knows that in spite of His being the source of all appearances and disappearances, He is aloof from them. As the Lord has said in the Ninth Chapter, He is all-pervading, yet He is not personally present everywhere. That is the inconceivable opulence of Krsna which Arjuna admits that he has thoroughly understood.

 

VERSE 3 

O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see You here before me in Your actual position, as You have described Yourself, I wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours.

PURPORT

The Lord said that because He entered into the material universe by His personal representation, the cosmic manifestation has been made possible and is going on. Now as far as Arjuna is concerned, he is inspired by the statements of Krsna, but in order to convince others in the future who may think that Krsna is an ordinary person, Arjuna desires to see Him actually in His universal form, to see how He is acting from within the universe, although He is apart from it. Arjuna’s addressing the Lord as purusottama is also significant. Since the Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is present within Arjuna himself; therefore He knows the desire of Arjuna, and He can understand that Arjuna has no special desire to see Him in His universal form, for Arjuna is completely satisfied to see Him in His personal form of Krsna. But the Lord can understand also that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to convince others. Arjuna did not have any personal desire for confirmation. Krsna also understands that Arjuna wants to see the universal form to set a criterion, for in the future there would be so many imposters who would pose themselves as incarnations of God. The people, therefore, should be careful; one who claims to be Krsna should be prepared to show his universal form to confirm his claim to the people.

 

VERSE 4 

If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that unlimited universal Self.

PURPORT

It is said that one can neither see, hear, understand nor perceive the Supreme Lord, Krsna, by the material senses. But if one is engaged in loving transcendental service to the Lord from the beginning, then one can see the Lord by revelation. Every living entity is only a spiritual spark; therefore it is not possible to see or to understand the Supreme Lord. Arjuna, as a devotee, does not depend on his speculative strength; rather, he admits his limitations as a living entity and acknowledges Krsna’s inestimable position. Arjuna could understand that for a living entity it is not possible to understand the unlimited infinite. If the infinite reveals Himself, then it is possible to understand the nature of the infinite by the grace of the infinite. The word yogesvara is also very significant here because the Lord has inconceivable power. If He likes, He can reveal Himself by His grace, although He is unlimited. Therefore Arjuna pleads for the inconceivable grace of Krsna. He does not give Krsna orders. Krsna is not obliged to reveal Himself unless one surrenders fully in Krsna consciousness and engages in devotional service. Thus it is not possible for persons who depend on the strength of their mental speculations to see Krsna.

 

VERSE 5 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O son of Prtha, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms.

PURPORT

Arjuna wanted to see Krsna in His universal form, which, although a transcendental form, is just manifested for the cosmic manifestation and is therefore subject to the temporary time of this material nature. As the material nature is manifested and not manifested, similarly this universal form of Krsna is manifested and nonmanifested. It is not eternally situated in the spiritual sky like Krsna’s other forms. As far as a devotee is concerned, he is not eager to see the universal form, but because Arjuna wanted to see Krsna in this way, Krsna reveals this form. This universal form is not possible to be seen by any ordinary man. Krsna must give one the power to see it.

 

VERSE 6 

O best of the Bharatas, see here the different manifestations of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Asvini-kumaras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before.

PURPORT

Even though Arjuna was a personal friend of Krsna and the most advanced of learned men, it was still not possible for him to know everything about Krsna. Here it is stated that humans have neither heard nor known of all these forms and manifestations. Now Krsna reveals these wonderful forms.

 

VERSE 7 

O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything—moving and nonmoving—is here completely, in one place.

PURPORT

No one can see the entire universe while sitting in one place. Even the most advanced scientist cannot see what is going on in other parts of the universe. But a devotee like Arjuna can see everything that exists in any part of the universe. Krsna gives him the power to see anything he wants to see, past, present and future. Thus by the mercy of Krsna, Arjuna is able to see everything.

 

VERSE 8 

But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!

PURPORT

A pure devotee does not like to see Krsna in any form except His form with two hands; a devotee must see His universal form by His grace, not with the mind but with spiritual eyes. To see the universal form of Krsna, Arjuna is told not to change his mind but his vision. The universal form of Krsna is not very important; that will be clear in subsequent verses. Yet because Arjuna wanted to see it, the Lord gives him the particular vision required to see that universal form.

Devotees who are correctly situated in a transcendental relationship with Krsna are attracted by loving features, not by a godless display of opulences. The playmates of Krsna, the friends of Krsna and the parents of Krsna never want Krsna to show His opulences. They are so immersed in pure love that they do not even know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In their loving exchange they forget that Krsna is the Supreme Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that the boys who play with Krsna are all highly pious souls and after many, many births they are able to play with Krsna. Such boys do not know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They take Him as a personal friend. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami recites this verse:

ittham satam brahma-sukhanubhutya
dasyam gatanam para-daivatena
mayasritanam nara-darakena
sakam vijahruh krta-punya-punjah

"Here is the Supreme Person, who is considered the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotees, and a product of material nature by ordinary men. Now these boys, who have performed many, many pious activities in their past lives, are playing with that Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.12.11)

The fact is that the devotee is not concerned with seeing the visva-rupa, the universal form, but Arjuna wanted to see it to substantiate Krsna’s statements so that in the future people could understand that Krsna not only theoretically or philosophically presented Himself as the Supreme but actually presented Himself as such to Arjuna. Arjuna must confirm this because Arjuna is the beginning of the parampara system. Those who are actually interested in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and who follow in the footsteps of Arjuna should understand that Krsna not only theoretically presented Himself as the Supreme, but actually revealed Himself as the Supreme.

The Lord gave Arjuna the necessary power to see His universal form because He knew that Arjuna did not particularly want to see it, as we have already explained.

 

VERSE 10-11 

Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths, unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine upraised weapons. He wore celestial garlands and garments, and many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous, brilliant, unlimited, all-expanding.

PURPORT

In these two verses the repeated use of the word many indicates that there was no limit to the number of hands, mouths, legs and other manifestations Arjuna was seeing. These manifestations were distributed throughout the universe, but by the grace of the Lord, Arjuna could see them while sitting in one place. That was due to the inconceivable potency of Krsna.

 

VERSE 12 

If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once into the sky, their radiance might resemble the effulgence of the Supreme Person in that universal form.

PURPORT

What Arjuna saw was indescribable, yet Sanjaya is trying to give a mental picture of that great revelation to Dhrtarastra. Neither Sanjaya nor Dhrtarastra was present, but Sanjaya, by the grace of Vyasa, could see whatever happened. Thus he now compares the situation, as far as it can be understood, to an imaginable phenomenon (i.e., thousands of suns).

 

VERSE 13 

At that time Arjuna could see in the universal form of the Lord the unlimited expansions of the universe situated in one place although divided into many, many thousands.

PURPORT

The word tatra ("there") is very significant. It indicates that both Arjuna and Krsna were sitting on the chariot when Arjuna saw the universal form. Others on the battlefield could not see this form, because Krsna gave the vision only to Arjuna. Arjuna could see in the body of Krsna many thousands of planets. As we learn from Vedic scriptures, there are many universes and many planets. Some of them are made of earth, some are made of gold, some are made of jewels, some are very great, some are not so great, etc. Sitting on his chariot, Arjuna could see all these. But no one could understand what was going on between Arjuna and Krsna.

 

VERSE 14 

Then, bewildered and astonished, his hair standing on end, Arjuna bowed his head to offer obeisances and with folded hands began to pray to the Supreme Lord.

PURPORT

Once the divine vision is revealed, the relationship between Krsna and Arjuna changes immediately. Before, Krsna and Arjuna had a relationship based on friendship, but here, after the revelation, Arjuna is offering obeisances with great respect, and with folded hands he is praying to Krsna. He is praising the universal form. Thus Arjuna’s relationship becomes one of wonder rather than friendship. Great devotees see Krsna as the reservoir of all relationships. In the scriptures there are twelve basic kinds of relationships mentioned, and all of them are present in Krsna. It is said that He is the ocean of all the relationships exchanged between two living entities, between the gods, or between the Supreme Lord and His devotees.

Here Arjuna was inspired by the relationship of wonder, and in that wonder, although he was by nature very sober, calm and quiet, he became ecstatic, his hair stood up, and he began to offer his obeisances unto the Supreme Lord with folded hands. He was not, of course, afraid. He was affected by the wonders of the Supreme Lord. The immediate context is wonder; his natural loving friendship was overwhelmed by wonder, and thus he reacted in this way.

 

VERSE 15 

Arjuna said: My dear Lord Krsna, I see assembled in Your body all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Siva and all the sages and divine serpents.

PURPORT

Arjuna sees everything in the universe; therefore he sees Brahma, who is the first creature in the universe, and the celestial serpent upon which the Garbhodakasayi Visnu lies in the lower regions of the universe. This snake bed is called Vasuki. There are also other snakes known as Vasuki. Arjuna can see from the Garbhodakasayi Visnu up to the topmost part of the universe on the lotus-flower planet where Brahma, the first creature of the universe, resides. That means that from the beginning to the end, everything could be seen by Arjuna, who was sitting in one place on his chariot. This was possible by the grace of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

 

VERSE 16 

O Lord of the universe, O universal form, I see in Your body many, many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes, expanded everywhere, without limit. I see in You no end, no middle and no beginning.

PURPORT

Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is unlimited; thus through Him everything could be seen.

 

VERSE 19 

You are without origin, middle or end. Your glory is unlimited. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are Your eyes. I see You with blazing fire coming forth from Your mouth, burning this entire universe by Your own radiance.

PURPORT

There is no limit to the extent of the six opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here and in many other places there is repetition, but according to the scriptures, repetition of the glories of Krsna is not a literary weakness. It is said that at a time of bewilderment or wonder or of great ecstasy, statements are repeated over and over. That is not a flaw.

 

VERSE 20 

Although You are one, You spread throughout the sky and the planets and all space between. O great one, seeing this wondrous and terrible form, all the planetary systems are perturbed.

PURPORT

Dyav a-prthivyoh ("the space between heaven and earth") and loka-trayam ("the three worlds") are significant words in this verse because it appears that not only did Arjuna see this universal form of the Lord, but others in other planetary systems saw it also. Arjuna’s seeing of the universal form was not a dream. All whom the Lord endowed with divine vision saw that universal form on the battlefield.

 

VERSE 21 

All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected beings, crying "All peace!" are praying to You by singing the Vedic hymns.

PURPORT

The demigods in all the planetary systems feared the terrific manifestation of the universal form and its glaring effulgence and so prayed for protection.

 

VERSE 26-27 

All the sons of Dhrtarastra, along with their allied kings, and Bhisma, Drona, Karna—and our chief soldiers also—are rushing into Your fearful mouths. And some I see trapped with heads smashed between Your teeth.

PURPORT

In a previous verse the Lord promised to show Arjuna things he would be very interested in seeing. Now Arjuna sees that the leaders of the opposite party (Bhisma, Drona, Karna and all the sons of Dhrtarastra) and their soldiers and Arjuna’s own soldiers are all being annihilated. This is an indication that after the death of nearly all the persons assembled at Kuruksetra, Arjuna will emerge victorious. It is also mentioned here that Bhisma, who is supposed to be unconquerable, will also be smashed. So also Karna. Not only will the great warriors of the other party like Bhisma be smashed, but some of the great warriors of Arjuna’s side also.

 

VERSE 32 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.

PURPORT

Although Arjuna knew that Krsna was his friend and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was puzzled by the various forms exhibited by Krsna. Therefore he asked further about the actual mission of this devastating force. It is written in the Vedas that the Supreme Truth destroys everything, even the brahmanas. As stated in the Katha Upanisad (1.2.25),

yasya brahma ca ksatram ca
ubhe bhavata odanah
mrtyur yasyopasecanam
ka ittha veda yatra sah

Eventually all the brahmanas, ksatriyas and everyone else are devoured like a meal by the Supreme. This form of the Supreme Lord is the all-devouring giant, and here Krsna presents Himself in that form of all-devouring time. Except for a few Pandavas, everyone who was present on that battlefield would be devoured by Him. Arjuna was not in favor of the fight, and he thought it was better not to fight; then there would be no frustration. In reply, the Lord is saying that even if he did not fight, every one of them would be destroyed, for that was His plan. If Arjuna stopped fighting, they would die in another way. Death could not be checked, even if he did not fight. In fact, they were already dead. Time is destruction, and all manifestations are to be vanquished by the desire of the Supreme Lord. That is the law of nature.

 

VERSE 33 

Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasaci, can be but an instrument in the fight.

PURPORT

Savya-sacin refers to one who can shoot arrows very expertly in the field; thus Arjuna is addressed as an expert warrior capable of delivering arrows to kill his enemies. "Just become an instrument": nimitta-matram. This word is also very significant. The whole world is moving according to the plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Foolish persons who do not have sufficient knowledge think that nature is moving without a plan and all manifestations are but accidental formations. There are many so-called scientists who suggest that perhaps it was like this, or maybe like that, but there is no question of "perhaps" and "maybe." There is a specific plan being carried out in this material world. What is this plan? This cosmic manifestation is a chance for the conditioned souls to go back to Godhead, back to home. As long as they have the domineering mentality which makes them try to lord it over material nature, they are conditioned. But anyone who can understand the plan of the Supreme Lord and cultivate Krsna consciousness is most intelligent. The creation and destruction of the cosmic manifestation are under the superior guidance of God. Thus the Battle of Kuruksetra was fought according to the plan of God. Arjuna was refusing to fight, but he was told that he should fight in accordance with the desire of the Supreme Lord. Then he would be happy. If one is in full Krsna consciousness and his life is devoted to the Lord’s transcendental service, he is perfect.

 

VERSE 34 

Drona, Bhisma, Jayadratha, Karna and the other great warriors have already been destroyed by Me. Therefore, kill them and do not be disturbed. Simply fight, and you will vanquish your enemies in battle.

PURPORT

Every plan is made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He is so kind and merciful to His devotees that He wants to give the credit to His devotees who carry out His plan according to His desire. Life should therefore move in such a way that everyone acts in Krsna consciousness and understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the medium of a spiritual master. The plans of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are understood by His mercy, and the plans of the devotees are as good as His plans. One should follow such plans and be victorious in the struggle for existence.

 

VERSE 35 

Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: O King, after hearing these words from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the trembling Arjuna offered obeisances with folded hands again and again. He fearfully spoke to Lord Krsna in a faltering voice, as follows.

PURPORT

As we have already explained, because of the situation created by the universal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna became bewildered in wonder; thus he began to offer his respectful obeisances to Krsna again and again, and with faltering voice he began to pray, not as a friend, but as a devotee in wonder.

 

VERSE 36 

Arjuna said: O master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.

PURPORT

Arjuna, after hearing from Krsna about the outcome of the Battle of Kuruksetra, became enlightened, and as a great devotee and friend of the Supreme Personality of Godhead he said that everything done by Krsna is quite fit. Arjuna confirmed that Krsna is the maintainer and the object of worship for the devotees and the destroyer of the undesirables. His actions are equally good for all. Arjuna understood herein that when the Battle of Kuruksetra was being concluded, in outer space there were present many demigods, siddhas, and the intelligentsia of the higher planets, and they were observing the fight because Krsna was present there. When Arjuna saw the universal form of the Lord, the demigods took pleasure in it, but others, who were demons and atheists, could not stand it when the Lord was praised. Out of their natural fear of the devastating form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they fled. Krsna’s treatment of the devotees and the atheists is praised by Arjuna. In all cases a devotee glorifies the Lord because he knows that whatever He does is good for all.

 

VERSE 37 

O great one, greater even than Brahma, You are the original creator. Why then should they not offer their respectful obeisances unto You? O limitless one, God of gods, refuge of the universe! You are the invincible source, the cause of all causes, transcendental to this material manifestation.

PURPORT

By this offering of obeisances, Arjuna indicates that Krsna is worshipable by everyone. He is all-pervading, and He is the Soul of every soul. Arjuna is addressing Krsna as mahatma, which means that He is most magnanimous and unlimited. Ananta indicates that there is nothing which is not covered by the influence and energy of the Supreme Lord, and devesa means that He is the controller of all demigods and is above them all. He is the shelter of the whole universe. Arjuna also thought that it was fitting that all the perfect living entities and powerful demigods offer their respectful obeisances unto Him, because no one is greater than Him. Arjuna especially mentions that Krsna is greater than Brahma because Brahma is created by Him. Brahma is born out of the lotus stem grown from the navel abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who is Krsna’s plenary expansion; therefore Brahma and Lord Siva, who is born of Brahma, and all other demigods must offer their respectful obeisances. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam that the Lord is respected by Lord Siva and Brahma and similar other demigods. The word aksaram is very significant because this material creation is subject to destruction but the Lord is above this material creation. He is the cause of all causes, and being so, He is superior to all the conditioned souls within this material nature as well as the material cosmic manifestation itself. He is therefore the all-great Supreme.

 

VERSE 38 

You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!

PURPORT

Everything is resting on the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore He is the ultimate rest. Nidhanam means that everything, even the Brahman effulgence, rests on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. He is the knower of everything that is happening in this world, and if knowledge has any end, He is the end of all knowledge; therefore He is the known and the knowable. He is the object of knowledge because He is all-pervading. Because He is the cause in the spiritual world, He is transcendental. He is also the chief personality in the transcendental world.

 

VERSE 39 

You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahma, the first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!

PURPORT

The Lord is addressed here as air because the air is the most important representation of all the demigods, being all-pervasive. Arjuna also addresses Krsna as the great-grandfather because He is the father of Brahma, the first living creature in the universe.

 

VERSE 40 

Obeisances to You from the front, from behind and from all sides! O unbounded power, You are the master of limitless might! You are all-pervading, and thus You are everything!

PURPORT

Out of loving ecstasy for Krsna, his friend, Arjuna is offering his respects from all sides. He is accepting that He is the master of all potencies and all prowess and far superior to all the great warriors assembled on the battlefield. It is said in the Visnu Purana (1.9.69):

yo ’yam tavagato deva
samipam devata-ganah
sa tvam eva jagat-srasta
yatah sarva-gato bhavan

"Whoever comes before You, be he a demigod, is created by You, O Supreme Personality of Godhead."

 

VERSE 41-42 

Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You "O Krsna," "O Yadava," "O my friend," not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one, please excuse me for all those offenses.

PURPORT

Although Krsna is manifested before Arjuna in His universal form, Arjuna remembers his friendly relationship with Krsna and is therefore asking pardon and requesting Krsna to excuse him for the many informal gestures which arise out of friendship. He is admitting that formerly he did not know that Krsna could assume such a universal form, although Krsna explained it as his intimate friend. Arjuna did not know how many times he may have dishonored Krsna by addressing Him "O my friend," "O Krsna," "O Yadava," etc., without acknowledging His opulence. But Krsna is so kind and merciful that in spite of such opulence He played with Arjuna as a friend. Such is the transcendental loving reciprocation between the devotee and the Lord. The relationship between the living entity and Krsna is fixed eternally; it cannot be forgotten, as we can see from the behavior of Arjuna. Although Arjuna has seen the opulence in the universal form, he cannot forget his friendly relationship with Krsna.

 

VERSE 43 

You are the father of this complete cosmic manifestation, of the moving and the nonmoving. You are its worshipable chief, the supreme spiritual master. No one is equal to You, nor can anyone be one with You. How then could there be anyone greater than You within the three worlds, O Lord of immeasurable power?

PURPORT

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is worshipable as a father is worshipable for his son. He is the spiritual master because He originally gave the Vedic instructions to Brahma and presently He is also instructing Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna; therefore He is the original spiritual master, and any bona fide spiritual master at the present moment must be a descendant in the line of disciplic succession stemming from Krsna. Without being a representative of Krsna, one cannot become a teacher or spiritual master of transcendental subject matter.

The Lord is being paid obeisances in all respects. He is of immeasurable greatness. No one can be greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, because no one is equal to or higher than Krsna within any manifestation, spiritual or material. Everyone is below Him. No one can excel Him. This is stated in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8):

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate

The Supreme Lord, Krsna, has senses and a body like the ordinary man, but for Him there is no difference between His senses, His body, His mind and Himself. Foolish persons who do not perfectly know Him say that Krsna is different from His soul, mind, heart and everything else. Krsna is absolute; therefore His activities and potencies are supreme. It is also stated that although He does not have senses like ours, He can perform all sensory activities; therefore His senses are neither imperfect nor limited. No one can be greater than Him, no one can be equal to Him, and everyone is lower than Him.

The knowledge, strength and activities of the Supreme Personality are all transcendental. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.9):

janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so ’rjuna

Whoever knows Krsna’s transcendental body, activities and perfection, after quitting his body, returns to Him and doesn’t come back again to this miserable world. Therefore one should know that Krsna’s activities are different from others. The best policy is to follow the principles of Krsna; that will make one perfect. It is also stated that there is no one who is master of Krsna; everyone is His servant. The Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 5.142) confirms, ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya: only Krsna is God, and everyone else is His servant. Everyone is complying with His order. There is no one who can deny His order. Everyone is acting according to His direction, being under His superintendence. As stated in the Brahma-samhita, He is the cause of all causes.

 

VERSE 44 

You are the Supreme Lord, to be worshiped by every living being. Thus I fall down to offer You my respectful obeisances and ask Your mercy. As a father tolerates the impudence of his son, or a friend tolerates the impertinence of a friend, or a wife tolerates the familiarity of her partner, please tolerate the wrongs I may have done You.

PURPORT

Krsna’s devotees relate to Krsna in various relationships; one might treat Krsna as a son, or one might treat Krsna as a husband, as a friend, or as a master. Krsna and Arjuna are related in friendship. As the father tolerates, or the husband or a master tolerates, so Krsna tolerates.

 

VERSE 45 

After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe.

PURPORT

Arjuna is always in confidence with Krsna because he is a very dear friend, and as a dear friend is gladdened by his friend’s opulence, Arjuna is very joyful to see that his friend Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can show such a wonderful universal form. But at the same time, after seeing that universal form, he is afraid that he has committed so many offenses to Krsna out of his unalloyed friendship. Thus his mind is disturbed out of fear, although he had no reason to fear. Arjuna therefore is asking Krsna to show His Narayana form, because He can assume any form. This universal form is material and temporary, as the material world is temporary. But in the Vaikuntha planets He has His transcendental form with four hands as Narayana. There are innumerable planets in the spiritual sky, and in each of them Krsna is present by His plenary manifestations of different names. Thus Arjuna desired to see one of the forms manifest in the Vaikuntha planets. Of course in each Vaikuntha planet the form of Narayana is four-handed, but the four hands hold different arrangements of symbols—the conchshell, mace, lotus and disc. According to the different hands these four things are held in, the Narayanas are variously named. All of these forms are one with Krsna; therefore Arjuna requests to see His four-handed feature.

 

VERSE 46 

O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form.

PURPORT

In the Brahma-samhita (5.39) it is stated, ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan: the Lord is eternally situated in hundreds and thousands of forms, and the main forms are those like Rama, Nrsimha, Narayana, etc. There are innumerable forms. But Arjuna knew that Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead assuming His temporary universal form. He is now asking to see the form of Narayana, a spiritual form. This verse establishes without any doubt the statement of the Srimad-Bhagavatam that Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead and all other features originate from Him. He is not different from His plenary expansions, and He is God in any of His innumerable forms. In all of these forms He is fresh like a young man. That is the constant feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who knows Krsna becomes free at once from all contamination of the material world.

 

VERSE 47 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme universal form within the material world. No one before you has ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring effulgence.

PURPORT

Arjuna wanted to see the universal form of the Supreme Lord, so Lord Krsna, out of His mercy upon His devotee Arjuna, showed His universal form, full of effulgence and opulence. This form was glaring like the sun, and its many faces were rapidly changing. Krsna showed this form just to satisfy the desire of His friend Arjuna. This form was manifested by Krsna through His internal potency, which is inconceivable by human speculation. No one had seen this universal form of the Lord before Arjuna, but because the form was shown to Arjuna, other devotees in the heavenly planets and in other planets in outer space could also see it. They had not seen it before, but because of Arjuna they were also able to see it. In other words, all the disciplic devotees of the Lord could see the universal form which was shown to Arjuna by the mercy of Krsna. Someone has commented that this form was shown to Duryodhana also when Krsna went to Duryodhana to negotiate for peace. Unfortunately, Duryodhana did not accept the peace offer, but at that time Krsna manifested some of His universal forms. But those forms are different from this one shown to Arjuna. It is clearly said that no one had ever seen this form before.

 

VERSE 48 

O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has ever seen this universal form of Mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charity, nor by pious activities, nor by severe penances can I be seen in this form in the material world.

PURPORT

The divine vision in this connection should be clearly understood. Who can have divine vision? Divine means godly. Unless one attains the status of divinity as a demigod, he cannot have divine vision. And what is a demigod? It is stated in the Vedic scriptures that those who are devotees of Lord Visnu are demigods (visnu-bhaktah smrta devah). Those who are atheistic, i.e., who do not believe in Visnu, or who recognize only the impersonal part of Krsna as the Supreme, cannot have the divine vision. It is not possible to decry Krsna and at the same time have the divine vision. One cannot have the divine vision without becoming divine. In other words, those who have divine vision can also see like Arjuna.

The Bhagavad-gita gives the description of the universal form. Although this description was unknown to everyone before Arjuna, now one can have some idea of the visva-rupa after this incident. Those who are actually divine can see the universal form of the Lord. But one cannot be divine without being a pure devotee of Krsna. The devotees, however, who are actually in the divine nature and who have divine vision, are not very much interested in seeing the universal form of the Lord. As described in the previous verse, Arjuna desired to see the four-handed form of Lord Krsna as Visnu, and he was actually afraid of the universal form.

In this verse there are some significant words, just like veda-yajnadhyayanaih, which refers to studying Vedic literature and the subject matter of sacrificial regulations. Veda refers to all kinds of Vedic literature, such as the four Vedas (Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) and the eighteen Puranas, the Upanisads and the Vedanta-sutra. One can study these at home or anywhere else. Similarly, there are sutras—Kalpa-sutras and Mimamsa-sutras—for studying the method of sacrifice. Danaih refers to charity which is offered to a suitable party, such as those who are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord—the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas. Similarly, "pious activities" refers to the agni-hotra and the prescribed duties of the different castes. And the voluntary acceptance of some bodily pains is called tapasya. So one can perform all these—can accept bodily penances, give charity, study the Vedas, etc.—but unless he is a devotee like Arjuna, it is not possible to see that universal form. Those who are impersonalists are also imagining that they are seeing the universal form of the Lord, but from Bhagavad-gita we understand that the impersonalists are not devotees. Therefore they are unable to see the universal form of the Lord.

There are many persons who create incarnations. They falsely claim an ordinary human to be an incarnation, but this is all foolishness. We should follow the principles of Bhagavad-gita, otherwise there is no possibility of attaining perfect spiritual knowledge. Although Bhagavad-gita is considered the preliminary study of the science of God, still it is so perfect that it enables one to distinguish what is what. The followers of a pseudo incarnation may say that they have also seen the transcendental incarnation of God, the universal form, but that is unacceptable because it is clearly stated here that unless one becomes a devotee of Krsna one cannot see the universal form of God. So one first of all has to become a pure devotee of Krsna; then he can claim that he can show the universal form of what he has seen. A devotee of Krsna cannot accept false incarnations or followers of false incarnations.

 

VERSE 49 

You have been perturbed and bewildered by seeing this horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free again from all disturbances. With a peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.

PURPORT

In the beginning of Bhagavad-gita Arjuna was worried about killing Bhisma and Drona, his worshipful grandfather and master. But Krsna said that he need not be afraid of killing his grandfather. When the sons of Dhrtarastra tried to disrobe Draupadi in the assembly of the Kurus, Bhisma and Drona were silent, and for such negligence of duty they should be killed. Krsna showed His universal form to Arjuna just to show him that these people were already killed for their unlawful action. That scene was shown to Arjuna because devotees are always peaceful and they cannot perform such horrible actions. The purpose of the revelation of the universal form was shown; now Arjuna wanted to see the four-armed form, and Krsna showed him. A devotee is not much interested in the universal form, for it does not enable one to reciprocate loving feelings. Either a devotee wants to offer his respectful worshipful feelings, or he wants to see the two-handed Krsna form so that he can reciprocate in loving service with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 

VERSE 50 

Sanjaya said to Dhrtarastra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, having spoken thus to Arjuna, displayed His real four-armed form and at last showed His two-armed form, thus encouraging the fearful Arjuna.

PURPORT

When Krsna appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, He first of all appeared as four-armed Narayana, but when He was requested by His parents, He transformed Himself into an ordinary child in appearance. Similarly, Krsna knew that Arjuna was not interested in seeing a four-handed form, but since Arjuna asked to see this four-handed form, Krsna also showed him this form again and then showed Himself in His two-handed form. The word saumya-vapuh is very significant. Saumya-vapuh is a very beautiful form; it is known as the most beautiful form. When He was present, everyone was attracted simply by Krsna’s form, and because Krsna is the director of the universe, He just banished the fear of Arjuna, His devotee, and showed him again His beautiful form of Krsna. In the Brahma-samhita (5.38) it is stated, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: only a person whose eyes are smeared with the ointment of love can see the beautiful form of Sri Krsna.

 

VERSE 51 

When Arjuna thus saw Krsna in His original form, he said: O Janardana, seeing this humanlike form, so very beautiful, I am now composed in mind, and I am restored to my original nature.

PURPORT

Here the words manusam rupam clearly indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be originally two-handed. Those who deride Krsna as if He were an ordinary person are shown here to be ignorant of His divine nature. If Krsna is like an ordinary human being, then how is it possible for Him to show the universal form and again to show the four-handed Narayana form? So it is very clearly stated in Bhagavad-gita that one who thinks that Krsna is an ordinary person and who misguides the reader by claiming that it is the impersonal Brahman within Krsna speaking is doing the greatest injustice. Krsna has actually shown His universal form and His four-handed Visnu form. So how can He be an ordinary human being? A pure devotee is not confused by misguiding commentaries on Bhagavad-gita because he knows what is what. The original verses of Bhagavad-gita are as clear as the sun; they do not require lamplight from foolish commentators.

 

VERSE 52 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, this form of Mine you are now seeing is very difficult to behold. Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form, which is so dear.

PURPORT

In the forty-eighth verse of this chapter Lord Krsna concluded revealing His universal form and informed Arjuna that this form is not possible to be seen by so many pious activities, sacrifices, etc. Now here the word su-durdarsam is used, indicating that Krsna’s two-handed form is still more confidential. One may be able to see the universal form of Krsna by adding a little tinge of devotional service to various activities like penances, Vedic study and philosophical speculation. It may be possible, but without a tinge of bhakti one cannot see; that has already been explained. Still, beyond that universal form, the form of Krsna with two hands is still more difficult to see, even for demigods like Brahma and Lord Siva. They desire to see Him, and we have evidence in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that when He was supposed to be in the womb of His mother, Devaki, all the demigods from heaven came to see the marvel of Krsna, and they offered nice prayers to the Lord, although He was not at that time visible to them. They waited to see Him. A foolish person may deride Him, thinking Him an ordinary person, and may offer respect not to Him but to the impersonal "something" within Him, but these are all nonsensical postures. Krsna in His two-armed form is actually desired to be seen by demigods like Brahma and Siva.

In Bhagavad-gita (9.11) it is also confirmed, avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritah: He is not visible to the foolish persons who deride Him. Krsna’s body, as confirmed by Brahma-samhita and confirmed by Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita, is completely spiritual and full of bliss and eternality. His body is never like a material body. But for some who make a study of Krsna by reading Bhagavad-gita or similar Vedic scriptures, Krsna is a problem. For one using a material process, Krsna is considered to be a great historical personality and very learned philosopher, but He is an ordinary man, and even though He was so powerful He had to accept a material body. Ultimately they think that the Absolute Truth is impersonal; therefore they think that from His impersonal feature He assumed a personal feature attached to material nature. This is a materialistic calculation of the Supreme Lord. Another calculation is speculative. Those who are in search of knowledge also speculate on Krsna and consider Him to be less important than the universal form of the Supreme. Thus some think that the universal form of Krsna which was manifested to Arjuna is more important than His personal form. According to them, the personal form of the Supreme is something imaginary. They believe that in the ultimate issue, the Absolute Truth is not a person. But the transcendental process is described in Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Four: to hear about Krsna from authorities. That is the actual Vedic process, and those who are actually in the Vedic line hear about Krsna from authority, and by repeated hearing about Him, Krsna becomes dear. As we have several times discussed, Krsna is covered by His yoga-maya potency. He is not to be seen or revealed to anyone and everyone. Only by one to whom He reveals Himself can He be seen. This is confirmed in Vedic literature; for one who is a surrendered soul, the Absolute Truth can actually be understood. The transcendentalist, by continuous Krsna consciousness and by devotional service to Krsna, can have his spiritual eyes opened and can see Krsna by revelation. Such a revelation is not possible even for the demigods; therefore it is difficult even for the demigods to understand Krsna, and the advanced demigods are always in hope of seeing Krsna in His two-handed form. The conclusion is that although to see the universal form of Krsna is very, very difficult and not possible for anyone and everyone, it is still more difficult to understand His personal form as Syamasundara.

 

VERSE 53 

The form you are seeing with your transcendental eyes cannot be understood simply by studying the Vedas, nor by undergoing serious penances, nor by charity, nor by worship. It is not by these means that one can see Me as I am.

PURPORT

Krsna first appeared before His parents Devaki and Vasudeva in a four-handed form, and then He transformed Himself into the two-handed form. This mystery is very difficult to understand for those who are atheists or who are devoid of devotional service. For scholars who have simply studied Vedic literature by way of grammatical knowledge or mere academic qualifications, Krsna is not possible to understand. Nor is He to be understood by persons who officially go to the temple to offer worship. They make their visit, but they cannot understand Krsna as He is. Krsna can be understood only through the path of devotional service, as explained by Krsna Himself in the next verse.

 

VERSE 54 

My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am, standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding.

PURPORT

Krsna can be understood only by the process of undivided devotional service. He explicitly explains this in this verse so that unauthorized commentators, who try to understand Bhagavad-gita by the speculative process, will know that they are simply wasting their time. No one can understand Krsna or how He came from parents in a four-handed form and at once changed Himself into a two-handed form. These things are very difficult to understand by study of the Vedas or by philosophical speculation. Therefore it is clearly stated here that no one can see Him or enter into understanding of these matters. Those who, however, are very experienced students of Vedic literature can learn about Him from the Vedic literature in so many ways. There are so many rules and regulations, and if one at all wants to understand Krsna, he must follow the regulative principles described in the authoritative literature. One can perform penance in accordance with those principles. For example, to undergo serious penances one may observe fasting on Janmastami, the day on which Krsna appeared, and on the two days of Ekadasi (the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon). As far as charity is concerned, it is plain that charity should be given to the devotees of Krsna who are engaged in His devotional service to spread the Krsna philosophy, or Krsna consciousness, throughout the world. Krsna consciousness is a benediction to humanity. Lord Caitanya was appreciated by Rupa Gosvami as the most munificent man of charity because love of Krsna, which is very difficult to achieve, was distributed freely by Him. So if one gives some amount of his money to persons involved in distributing Krsna consciousness, that charity, given to spread Krsna consciousness, is the greatest charity in the world. And if one worships as prescribed in the temple (in the temples in India there is always some statue, usually of Visnu or Krsna), that is a chance to progress by offering worship and respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the beginners in devotional service to the Lord, temple worship is essential, and this is confirmed in the Vedic literature (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23):

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

One who has unflinching devotion for the Supreme Lord and is directed by the spiritual master, in whom he has similar unflinching faith, can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead by revelation. One cannot understand Krsna by mental speculation. For one who does not take personal training under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, it is impossible to even begin to understand Krsna. The word tu is specifically used here to indicate that no other process can be used, can be recommended, or can be successful in understanding Krsna.

The personal forms of Krsna, the two-handed form and the four-handed, are completely different from the temporary universal form shown to Arjuna. The four-handed form of Narayana and the two-handed form of Krsna are eternal and transcendental, whereas the universal form exhibited to Arjuna is temporary. The very word sudurdarsam, meaning "difficult to see," suggests that no one had seen that universal form. It also suggests that amongst the devotees there was no necessity of showing it. That form was exhibited by Krsna at the request of Arjuna so that in the future, when one represents himself as an incarnation of God, people can ask to see his universal form.

The word na, used repeatedly in the previous verse, indicates that one should not be very much proud of such credentials as an academic education in Vedic literature. One must take to the devotional service of Krsna. Only then can one attempt to write commentaries on Bhagavad-gita.

Krsna changes from the universal form to the four-handed form of Narayana and then to His own natural form of two hands. This indicates that the four-handed forms and other forms mentioned in Vedic literature are all emanations of the original two-handed Krsna. He is the origin of all emanations. Krsna is distinct even from these forms, what to speak of the impersonal conception. As far as the four-handed forms of Krsna are concerned, it is stated clearly that even the most identical four-handed form of Krsna (which is known as Maha-Visnu, who is lying on the cosmic ocean and from whose breathing so many innumerable universes are passing out and entering) is also an expansion of the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.48),

yasyaika-nisvasita-kalam athavalambya
jivanti loma-vila-ja jagad-anda-nathah
visnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-viseso
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

"The Maha-Visnu, into whom all the innumerable universes enter and from whom they come forth again simply by His breathing process, is a plenary expansion of Krsna. Therefore I worship Govinda, Krsna, the cause of all causes." Therefore one should conclusively worship the personal form of Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has eternal bliss and knowledge. He is the source of all forms of Visnu, He is the source of all forms of incarnation, and He is the original Supreme Personality, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita.

In the Vedic literature (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.1) the following statement appears:

sac-cid-ananda-rupaya
krsnayaklista-karine
namo vedanta-vedyaya
gurave buddhi-saksine

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Krsna, who has a transcendental form of bliss, eternity and knowledge. I offer my respect to Him, because understanding Him means understanding the Vedas and He is therefore the supreme spiritual master." Then it is said, krsno vai paramam daivatam: "Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.3) Eko vasi sarva-gah krsna idyah: "That one Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is worshipable." Eko ’pi san bahudha yo ’vabhati: "Krsna is one, but He is manifested in unlimited forms and expanded incarnations." (Gopala-tapani Upanisad 1.21)

The Brahma-samhita (5.1) says,

isvarah paramah krsnah
sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krsna, who has a body of eternity, knowledge and bliss. He has no beginning, for He is the beginning of everything. He is the cause of all causes."

Elsewhere it is said, yatravatirnam krsnakhyam param brahma narakrti: "The Supreme Absolute Truth is a person, His name is Krsna, and He sometimes descends on this earth." Similarly, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam we find a description of all kinds of incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in this list the name of Krsna also appears. But then it is said that this Krsna is not an incarnation of God but is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself (ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam).

Similarly, in Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, mattah parataram nanyat: "There is nothing superior to My form as the Personality of Godhead Krsna." He also says elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita, aham adir hi devanam: "I am the origin of all the demigods." And after understanding Bhagavad-gita from Krsna, Arjuna also confirms this in the following words: param brahma param dhama pavitram-paramam bhavan, "I now fully understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, and that You are the refuge of everything." Therefore the universal form which Krsna showed to Arjuna is not the original form of God. The original is the Krsna form. The universal form, with its thousands and thousands of heads and hands, is manifest just to draw the attention of those who have no love for God. It is not God’s original form.

The universal form is not attractive for pure devotees, who are in love with the Lord in different transcendental relationships. The Supreme Godhead exchanges transcendental love in His original form of Krsna. Therefore to Arjuna, who was so intimately related with Krsna in friendship, this form of the universal manifestation was not pleasing; rather, it was fearful. Arjuna, who was a constant companion of Krsna’s, must have had transcendental eyes; he was not an ordinary man. Therefore he was not captivated by the universal form. This form may seem wonderful to persons who are involved in elevating themselves by fruitive activities, but to persons who are engaged in devotional service the two-handed form of Krsna is the most dear.

 

VERSE 55 

My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being—he certainly comes to Me.

PURPORT

Anyone who wants to approach the supreme of all the Personalities of Godhead, on the Krsnaloka planet in the spiritual sky, and be intimately connected with the Supreme Personality, Krsna, must take this formula, as stated by the Supreme Himself. Therefore, this verse is considered to be the essence of Bhagavad-gita. The Bhagavad-gita is a book directed to the conditioned souls, who are engaged in the material world with the purpose of lording it over nature and who do not know of the real, spiritual life. The Bhagavad-gita is meant to show how one can understand his spiritual existence and his eternal relationship with the supreme spiritual personality and to teach one how to go back home, back to Godhead. Now here is the verse which clearly explains the process by which one can attain success in his spiritual activity: devotional service.

As far as work is concerned, one should transfer his energy entirely to Krsna conscious activities. As stated in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (2.255),

anasaktasya visayan
yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe
yuktam vairagyam ucyate

No work should be done by any man except in relationship to Krsna. This is called krsna-karma. One may be engaged in various activities, but one should not be attached to the result of his work; the result should be done only for Him. For example, one may be engaged in business, but to transform that activity into Krsna consciousness, one has to do business for Krsna. If Krsna is the proprietor of the business, then Krsna should enjoy the profit of the business. If a businessman is in possession of thousands and thousands of dollars, and if he has to offer all this to Krsna, he can do it. This is work for Krsna. Instead of constructing a big building for his sense gratification, he can construct a nice temple for Krsna, and he can install the Deity of Krsna and arrange for the Deity’s service, as is outlined in the authorized books of devotional service. This is all krsna-karma. One should not be attached to the result of his work, but the result should be offered to Krsna, and one should accept as prasadam the remnants of offerings to Krsna. If one constructs a very big building for Krsna and installs the Deity of Krsna, one is not prohibited from living there, but it is understood that the proprietor of the building is Krsna. That is called Krsna consciousness. If, however, one is not able to construct a temple for Krsna, one can engage himself in cleansing the temple of Krsna; that is also krsna-karma. One can cultivate a garden. Anyone who has land—in India, at least, any poor man has a certain amount of land—can utilize that for Krsna by growing flowers to offer Him. One can sow tulasi plants, because tulasi leaves are very important and Krsna has recommended this in Bhagavad-gita. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Krsna desires that one offer Him either a leaf, or a flower, or fruit, or a little water—and by such an offering He is satisfied. This leaf especially refers to the tulasi. So one can sow tulasi and pour water on the plant. Thus, even the poorest man can engage in the service of Krsna. These are some of the examples of how one can engage in working for Krsna.

The word mat-paramah refers to one who considers the association of Krsna in His supreme abode to be the highest perfection of life. Such a person does not wish to be elevated to the higher planets such as the moon or sun or heavenly planets, or even the highest planet of this universe, Brahmaloka. He has no attraction for that. He is only attracted to being transferred to the spiritual sky. And even in the spiritual sky he is not satisfied with merging into the glowing brahmajyoti effulgence, for he wants to enter the highest spiritual planet, namely Krsnaloka, Goloka Vrndavana. He has full knowledge of that planet, and therefore he is not interested in any other. As indicated by the word mad-bhaktah, he fully engages in devotional service, specifically in the nine processes of devotional engagement: hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering prayers, carrying out the orders of the Lord, making friends with Him, and surrendering everything to Him. One can engage in all nine devotional processes, or eight, or seven, or at least in one, and that will surely make one perfect.

The term sanga-varjitah is very significant. One should disassociate himself from persons who are against Krsna. Not only are the atheistic persons against Krsna, but so also are those who are attracted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. Therefore the pure form of devotional service is described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11) as follows:

anyabhilasita-sunyam
jnana-karmady-anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanu-
silanam bhaktir uttama

In this verse Srila Rupa Gosvami clearly states that if anyone wants to execute unalloyed devotional service, he must be freed from all kinds of material contamination. He must be freed from the association of persons who are addicted to fruitive activities and mental speculation. When, freed from such unwanted association and from the contamination of material desires, one favorably cultivates knowledge of Krsna, that is called pure devotional service. Anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.676). One should think of Krsna and act for Krsna favorably, not unfavorably. Kamsa was an enemy of Krsna’s. From the very beginning of Krsna’s birth, Kamsa planned in so many ways to kill Him, and because he was always unsuccessful, he was always thinking of Krsna. Thus while working, while eating and while sleeping, he was always Krsna conscious in every respect, but that Krsna consciousness was not favorable, and therefore in spite of his always thinking of Krsna twenty-four hours a day, he was considered a demon, and Krsna at last killed him. Of course anyone who is killed by Krsna attains salvation immediately, but that is not the aim of the pure devotee. The pure devotee does not even want salvation. He does not want to be transferred even to the highest planet, Goloka Vrndavana. His only objective is to serve Krsna wherever he may be.

A devotee of Krsna is friendly to everyone. Therefore it is said here that he has no enemy (nirvairah). How is this? A devotee situated in Krsna consciousness knows that only devotional service to Krsna can relieve a person from all the problems of life. He has personal experience of this, and therefore he wants to introduce this system, Krsna consciousness, into human society. There are many examples in history of devotees of the Lord who risked their lives for the spreading of God consciousness. The favorite example is Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the nondevotees, but he sacrificed his life for spreading God consciousness. Of course, it would be superficial to understand that he was killed. Similarly, in India also there are many examples, such as Thakura Haridasa and Prahlada Maharaja. Why such risk? Because they wanted to spread Krsna consciousness, and it is difficult. A Krsna conscious person knows that if a man is suffering it is due to his forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with Krsna. Therefore, the highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one’s neighbor from all material problems. In such a way, a pure devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord. Now, we can imagine how merciful Krsna is to those engaged in His service, risking everything for Him. Therefore it is certain that such persons must reach the supreme planet after leaving the body.

In summary, the universal form of Krsna, which is a temporary manifestation, and the form of time which devours everything, and even the form of Visnu, four-handed, have all been exhibited by Krsna. Thus Krsna is the origin of all these manifestations. It is not that Krsna is a manifestation of the original visva-rupa, or Visnu. Krsna is the origin of all forms. There are hundreds and thousands of Visnus, but for a devotee no form of Krsna is important but the original form, two-handed Syamasundara. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that those who are attached to the Syamasundara form of Krsna in love and devotion can see Him always within the heart and cannot see anything else. One should understand, therefore, that the purport of this Eleventh Chapter is that the form of Krsna is essential and supreme.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Eleventh Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita in the matter of the Universal Form.

 


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