Chapter 11The Vision of the Universal FormVerse 20


Sanskrit Vocal





Commentaries of the Four Authorized Vaisnava Sampradayas

as confirmed in the Garga Samhita Canto 10, Chapter 61, Verses 23, 24, 25, 26
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Sridhara Swami's Commentary

The space between heaven and Earth, the complete sky is filled and pervaded by Lord Krishna's visvarupa or divine universal form in all directions. The visvarupa never seen before was astonishingly wonderful and terribly frightening at the same time. All the worlds are extremely afflicted and aggrieved by its fierceness. This verse is a continution from the previous verse.

Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Madhvacarya's Commentary

The Varuna Purana states: Between the Earth which is equated to mother and the heavens which is equated to the father the Supreme Lord Krishna's visvarupa or divine universal form encompassed all. The mother never encourages one to perform unrighteous deeds and the Earth never encourages such actions either. The father is always benefiting the children and the family and likewise let the heavens be propitious to us. With thoughts of this nature in the mind the various avataras or incarnations and expansions of Lord Krishna are not normally perceived as frightening. For Brahma, Narada, Vyasa and others even this visvarupa is not in the least frightening but for others the resplendent Supreme Lord is perceived in a terrible, fear inspiring way. The Varuna Purana states: While some find fulfilment in seeing His visvarupa others become frightened yet still if they are able to see it at all they all will achieve fulfilment in the end. All are not competent to see the visvarupa of Lord Krishna directly while others who see it during their meditation are frightened. In the Gautama texts is stated: That some seeing the visvarupa are very pleased, while some others are frightened and still other aspirants who while not seeing the visvarupa directly still meditate on Him within their minds by what they have heard and read from others and perceive Him in that way. The exalted devotees abounding in the three worlds according to their capacity perceived the visvarupa Lord Krishna exhibited to Arjuna before the battle at Kuruksetra. At first these exalted devotees also felt apprehension and fear like Arjuna and the demigods but in the course of continual perception of the visvarupa a feeling of exuberance and bliss bubbled up within them and all apprehensions evaporated.

Because the purpose of the Battle of Kuruksetra was Lord Krishna's intention to alleviate the burden of the demoniac influences upon the Earth the visvarupa was perceived in an exceptionally frightening manner and thus fearfulness ensued. But in other situations and other times the various forms of Lord Krishna do not cause any anxiety or fear among the Vaisnavas and Brahmins being His devotees. For those who are superior to Arjuna such as Balarama, Brahma and Shiva as well as Draupadi, Yudisthira and Bhima no fear arose at all within them. This has been described in the Agni Purana to explain the frightening aspect of the visvarupa in the correct context.

Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Ramanuja's Commentary

The words dyae aprthivyor meaning heaven and Earth denotes all the upper and lower planetary systems throughout material existence and the word antaram is all space between them all. So in all spaces wherein universes revolve and in all spaces and every direction the visvarupa or divine universal form of Lord Krishna could be seen pervading indefinitely. The phenomenal pervasion of the visvarupa of infinite nature made it irresistibly awe-inspiring and its omnipotence was terrible to behold. All the three planetary systems such as those inhabited by Brahma, by the Devas or demigods, by the Siddhas or perfected beings, by the Pitri's or ancestors, by the Gandharvas or celestial singers, by the Raksasas or demons, etc. all were assembled in the air above Kuruksetra to witness the impending battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The words maha- atman meaning great soul denotes the Supreme Lord being the greatest soul comprised of all souls. The three planetary systems are distinguished as being inhabited by compassionate beings like Brahma and the demigods, inimical beings like the demons, and neutral beings like the ancestors. The word pravyathitam means greatly fearful and panic struck.

The same divine vision that Arjuna was given was also bequeathed at that time in general to all beings and those who were evolved and competent were also able to directly perceive Lord Krishna's visvarupa in all its magnificent and terrible splendor. If one were to perhaps wonder why would this possibly be so, the answer is that it confirms the reality of the visvarupa from a variety of sources and it irrevocably proves the indomitable power of Lord Krishna's transcendental potency which applies to all living entities.

Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:


Kesava Kasmiri's Commentary

Lord Krishna's visvarupa or divine universal form was exceedingly difficult to look at due to its blazing effulgence. This is also being stated by the word antaram which is specifying that the visvarupa was manifest in heaven and earth and all the space in between meaning between the celestial spheres and all the universal planetary systems. This verse affirms the fearful omnipotent splendour that was also exhibited by the visvarupa and Lord Krishna's compassionate nature is supplicated upon to withdraw His frightful visvarupa because although it is phenomenally wonderful and awe- inspiring, it is also terrifying and all the worlds are greatly alarmed and panic stricken upon witnessing it.

Thus ends commentaries of chapter 11, verse 20 of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

Verse 20

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