Saturday, 18 November 2017

Viswarupam(2) – Lord’s consolation

Gita essays 19 

Seeing various warriors rushing into the blazing mouth of the Cosmic form to be bitten, chewed and swallowed, with the Cosmic form seemingly enjoying the act, Arjuna is gripped with fear and pleads with the Cosmic form, to have mercy and disclose its true identity and function.   Then Lord reveals to Arjuna that what he is witnessing, is the Lord’s manifestation of the laya aspect of His role as Kala thathvam, time principle.  In this role He will be annihilating the warriors in both the the armies.  This will happen with or without Arjuna’s participation. Arjuna is acting only as an instrument of the Lord in this game of destruction and so he need not feel sorry that he is responsible for all their deaths.  Therefore Lord advises Arjuna to get up and fight and get the name and fame for victory and assures the kingdom will be theirs for Pandavas to rule and enjoy.  After talking in generalities, Lord now talks in specifics in verse 34.
Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and other brave warriors have already been slain by Me (as their time in earth is coming to an end).  Do not be upset with concern (for them); fight and you shall conquer enemies (eventually) in the battle (11-34)

Even after hearing Lord’s reassuring words Arjuna was not out of fear witnessing the annihilating aspect of kala thathvam.  Arjuna still has not got the mental equanimity to look at pralaya as the other side of creation.  So Arjuna saluting the Lord and bowing before the Lord prays to Him tremblingly in a choking voice with an overwhelming feeling of surrender unto the Lord.  He says that he is seeing the people on the right side of Dharma bowing to Him in prayer and people on the wrong side of Dharma trying to avoid Him in fear.  He finds the world rejoicing in His praise with delight and properly so, for He is the Imperishable Brahman; He is the greatest of the greatest being the progenitor of Brahmaji himself; and, He is the Sat and the Asat and the one beyond Sat and Asat.  Then Arjuna breaks into a praise of the Lord addressing the Lord severally as Primal God; the Ancient Purusha;, the Knower and  the Knowable; and the Supreme goal, who pervades the universe with His boundless infinite forms.  He offers thousands of salutations again and again;  in the front , in the back and on all sides, worshipping the Lord as Vayu, Yama, Agni, the Moon, Varuna, the great-grandfather of all and also as the All-in-one, pervading all with infinite power and prowess.

After prayer and praise, Arjuna changes track to contrition seeking forgiveness for having treated Him lightly earlier during the intimate moments of friendship and camaraderie.  Then he has even called Him by His caste name as ‘Hey, Yadhava’.  A sample of Arjuna’s earlier intimacy with Lord Krishna is given in an incident that happened before Lord Krishna went as Pandava’s ambassador to Duryodhana’s court.  King Dhritharashtra sent Sanjaya to Pandava’s camp to get a report on the conditions there.  When Sanjaya visited the camp he was surprised to see Arjuna talking to Lord Krishna lying down with his legs lazily placed in Lord’s lap. When Sanjaya returned, he reported to king Dhritharashtra that Arjuna being so intimate with the all-powerful Lord, kauravas have no chance of winning the war.  After recounting how he had behaved with the Lord disrespectfully while at play or at rest or at meals or while chatting, treating Him as a friend, Arjuna seeks Lord’s forgiveness with these words in verse 43 & 44. 
You are the father of this world, moving and unmoving. You are the adorable one and the greatest guru. How can there be another superior to you when there is no one even equal to you in the three worlds, Oh Lord of unequalled power? (11-43) 
Therefore, bowing down and prostrating my body, I propitiate you, the adorable Lord.  Oh Lord! You should forgive my offences just as a father forgives those of the son, just as a friend forgives those of his (dear) friend, and just as a lover forgives those of his beloved. (11-44)

After praising the Lord and pleading for forgiveness, Arjuna tells the Lord that though he is overjoyed at seeing the Viswarupam of the Lord, he cannot get rid of the feeling of fear in Its presence.  So he prays to Lord to revert to the old form so that he can talk to the Lord without the feeling of fear, regaining his peace of mind.  Lord then informs that this Cosmic form he witnessed is being shown to Arjuna as a special case for no one without His Grace can have the vision of this form just by the study of the Vedas or performance of sacrifices or by observance of severe austerities or by engaging in other rituals or charities. Now that Arjuna does not feel comfortable in Its presence, It will be withdrawn and he can witness the previous form without fear and with a peaceful mind.  So saying Lord takes away the Divine eye, that He had given, from Arjuna.  Arjuna not seeing the Cosmic form and seeing only the old familiar form, feels greatly relieved and thanks the Lord, in a transport of joy, with these words. 
Now seeing this Thy gentle human form, O Krishna, I am composed and restored to my own nature! (11-51)

Apparently Arjuna is more at home with Eka rupa bhakthi  and is not comfortable with Viswarupa bhakthi.  Sensing this Lord again reminds him of the glory of Viswarupa Bhakthi.  He tells Arjuna that the Cosmic form he had seen now, is not within easy reach of even Devas and Gods and they are always longing to have a vision of the Cosmic form.  So what to say about human efforts?   Not all the scholarship in Vedas, or the rigorous penances or the sacrificial rites or charitable gifts by themselves or in combination will enable humans to see Him as Arjuna had seen.  It is possible only through Ananya bhakthi to gain this vision.  Lord also gives the recipe for Ananya bhakthi for his benefit, and through him for our benefit, in the concluding verse of this chapter, verse 55, which Swami Sivananda calls as the one  containing “the essence of the whole teaching of the Gita” ; 
He who does all actions for Me, who looks upon Me as the Supreme goal, who is devoted to Me, who is free from attachment and who bears no enmity towards any creature, he attains Me, O Arjuna! (11-55)

Swami Paramarthananda calls this “a seed verse” as this contains the seed for the teaching in the next chapter. Here the Lord prescribes the following four criterions for a devotee to qualify as an Ananya bhaktha and become eligible for the vision of the Cosmic form and to attain Him; 
1)      his work is all for the Lord (in any form)
2)      Lord is the Supreme goal for him
3)      he is free from all worldly associations  &
4)      he has no sense of enmity towards any living being. 
With the vision of the Divine Cosmic form, egoism and the notion of duality will be erased from the mind of ananya bhaktha totally and the devotee comes to understand without any trace of doubt, the basic identity of the universe including his own self with supreme Brahman, which is termed as attaining the Lord.  Through Cosmic form Lord has demonstrated to Arjuna that He is none other than the Supreme Brahman, the substratum sustaining the universe and all movements therein are according to His Divine Law only. 


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