On the 13th day of the Mahabharata, Duryodhana realized one thing very well that there was no way they could win the war if it went on like that. He thought in his mind that they would have to take some different approach. Now the power house of the Pandavas was actually Arjuna. And Duryodhana realized that there was no way through sheer military brute force they were going to win over and vanquish Arjuna. Arjuna was too strong of a skillful archer and a warrior. And so Duryodhana thought what really was the weak spot that Arjuna had? He realized that it was actually his son – Abhimanyu.
If we could some how get to Abhimanyu and kill him off, so that will severely impede Arjuna’s ability to fight.
And so Duryodhana and his fellow warriors they concocted a plan to vanquish Abhimanyu. Now Abhimanyu was also the nephew to Krishna as Arjuna was married to Krishna’s sister Subhadra. So they knew that by killing Abhimanyu they were going to hurt Arjuna as well as Krishna. The Kauravas knew that through the various formations of warriors and there was this specific formation called Chakravyuha – the disc shaped formation which Abhimanyu could enter through his previous knowledge but couldn’t exit alone. And so they hatched this plan in a way and specially Jaydratha, he was the king of Sindh – he was the brother-in-law of Duryodhana. The Kauravas had one sister named Dushala and she was married to Jaydratha. So his job was to hold Pandavas and specially Arjuna, and when Duryodhana lured Abhimanyu into this formation, he fought valiantly. But he was alone. And as he entered deeper and deeper and deeper into this maize, he was encircled by all the Kauravas. And eventually as hard as he fought, the Kauravas they combated together to kill off Abhimanyu. It was quite unfair, quite contrary to the rules of war. But Abhimanyu was killed and the news reached Arjuna. As you can imagine Arjuna was absolutely destroyed, heartbroken, grief-stricken and his son Abhimanyu had been killed unfairly. And so as rage erupted in his heart, he took a pledge. He pledged that, ‘Tomorrow on the fourteenth day of battle I pledge that by the sunset I will kill Jaydratha.’ Because he was responsible primarily for the death of his son. ‘And if I don’t kill Jaydratha, I will self-immolate. I will walk into a pyre of fire.’ Now this was a hefty pledge. When this news reached to Kauravas they were too shuddered that what was going to ensue the next day? It was either going to be Jaydratha or Arjuna. Now as these thoughts entered into everyone’s mind, Duryodhana picked up Jaydratha at night and went to their guru Dronacharya. They both went there and Duryodhana asked a question to Dronacharya to which Dronacharya said, that, ‘Your question is very appropriate but it’s too late.’ Dronacharya said that, ‘You should have asked this question before the battle began.’
Duryodhana’s question was, ‘What is the difference between Arjuna and me?’
Duryodhana asked this wallowing in his self-pity. Dronacharya said, ‘Look you should have asked this question before the battle began because for them the victory had always been certain because of the two things.’
And the first reason he gave. He said, that, ‘Pandavas know hardship. They were born in a forest. In the jungle. They went to endure great challenges throughout their life whereas you, you were born in the lap of luxury. You were born with a diamond-crusted golden spoon in your mouth. You don’t know what hardship is? You don’t know what it means to endure? To tolerate. Because the Pandavas know hardship, they are strong minded and that’s why they are resilient through out this battle. It’s resilience in the most testing-ful moments which allows us to rise to a higher level. Resilience is the capacity to recover, to bounce back from the setbacks and face hardship with a smile. Pandavas are resilient and so they are much strong in comparison to you.’
But where was this resilience rooted, where it stemmed from and that’s why he gave the second reason.
The second reason Dronacharya said that the Pandavas and Arjuna will always win is because they have what he called, Yoga. Now there is broader meaning to the word yoga here. If you are following all the sessions till now you may get it here. When Dronacharya said Arjuna had yoga, he meant that, Arjuna had union, he was connected with God. He had Krishna on his side. The Pandavas had absolute faith in God.
And so their victory was already defined.
The Universal Form
When Arjuna asked Lord Krishna to show him His cosmic form that we read in the last session. He says:
मन्यसे यदि तच्छक्यं मया द्रष्टुमिति प्रभो।
योगेश्वर ततो मे त्वं दर्शयाऽत्मानमव्ययम्।।11.4।।
Meaning: 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 universal self.
To which Lord Krishna replied,
पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रशः।
नानाविधानि दिव्यानि नानावर्णाकृतीनि च।।11.5।।
Meaning: My dear Arjuna, behold now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine forms, multicolored like sea.
He said, ‘You cannot see Me with your normal eyes and senses. So, I am giving you these divine senses by which you can behold My mystic opulence.’ And Lord Krishna appeared in His Virat-form.
Arjuna saw the Divine Virat-form of Lord Krishna. He sees:
A form with unlimited eyes, unlimited mouths, decorated with dazzling ornaments, divine light, arrayed in different garbs, all magnificent and opulent. It felt like if hundreds of thousands of sun rose up at once into the sky, such was the divine aura around that universal form of Lord. There was Brahma, as well as Lord Shiva, and other manifestations appearing all at once together with many bellies, mouths, eyes – expanded without limit spreading upto sky and in all corners.
At once Arjuna becomes fearful, bewildered and astonished upon seeing the universal form of God. He folds both of his hands and prays, ‘My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled together in Your body all the demigods and various living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower and Lord Shiva and many sages and divine serpents. Your form, adorned with various crowns, clubs, and discs is very difficult to see because of its glaring effulgence, which is fiery and immeasurable like the sun.’
It is indeed not very easy to see the divine form of God because of our imperfect material senses. Our capabilities are limited, our vision and senses are limited, so we can’t see and perceive everything through them. Even if we talk about science then there are different wavelengths of radiation and light which are beyond our perception and senses. Here Lord Krishna so gives Arjuna His divine vision so that to behold the cosmic form of Lord. But even with the divine vision Arjuna upon seeing the cosmic form of Lord becomes bewildered. His mind goes like blast-off. Because it’s not an ordinary thing. The divine opulences of God is unlimited, infinite, our eyes can’t reach there as farther it goes.
And so Arjuna prays unto the divine feet of Lord Krishna that, ‘O Lord! I have now seen your glory that you were explaining to me up-till now. I am seeing it with my own eyes. You as the origin of everything and Your form without beginning, middle or end. You have numberless arms, and the sun and moon are among Your great unlimited eyes. By Your own radiance you are luminating this entire universe. All the demigods are surrendering at Your feet and entering You. Singing the Vedic hymns in Your glory. All the planets with their demigods are disturbed at seeing Your many faces, eyes, arms, bellies and legs. All the sons of Dhritrashtra along with their allied kings, and Bhishma, Drona, Karna are rushing into your mouths with their heads being smashed under Your teeth. As the rivers flow into the sea, so all these great warriors are entering Your blazing mouth and perishing. I see You devouring all these people in Your flaming mouths and covering the universe with Your immeasurable rays. O all-pervading Vishnu, I can no longer maintain my equilibrium, I am afraid. Please be gracious to me and tell me who You are. I do not know what Your mission is, and I desire to hear it.’
Just before the beginning of this prayers, Arjuna said that I accept Your form and You as the eternal God. And he says,
त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं
त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम्।
सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे।।11.18।।
Meaning: You are beyond the Akshar (inexhaustible Brahman), You are the best in all the universes, You are the oldest and You are the maintainer of religion.
And as he ends with his prayers, he beseeches, that, ‘Tell me who You are, what is Your mission?
It is important to note that Arjuna is still watching the divine cosmic manifestation of Lord Krishna and as it goes on he mentions what he sees, it means that the cosmic manifestation of Lord is ever expansive, it’s not like some particular shape with some dimensions, we read, it’s infinite and it’s continuous and ever-expansive. So every time Arjuna sees something different and new emerging from that form. And when he sees his cousins, Kauravas and the kings, his relatives all rushing into His mouth, he gets confused. And definitely there is some greater purpose in all this, he thinks such in his mind and so he asks Lord Krishna, that what is Your purpose. Tell me.
ऋतेऽपि त्वां न भविष्यन्ति सर्वे
येऽवस्थिताः प्रत्यनीकेषु योधाः।।11.32।।
Meaning: I am time. I am destroyer of the worlds and I have come to engage all the people. With the exception of you (the Pandavas), all the soldiers on the both sides here will be slain.
तस्मात्त्वमुत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व
जित्वा शत्रून् भुङ्क्ष्व राज्यं समृद्धम्।
मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वमेव
निमित्तमात्रं भव सव्यसाचिन्।।11.33।।
Meaning: Therefore get up and prepare to fight. After conquering your enemies you will enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasachin, can be but an instrument in this fight.
Savyasachin refers to the one who is very expert in shooting arrows and Arjuna here has been addressed as the Savyasachin, the expert bowmen, archer, and further, Lord Krishna says that, you are just nimitta-matram. You are but an instrument in this whole arrangement.
Often when we achieve something significant in this material world suddenly we get puffed up and feel like there is nothing ahead now, no one above us, or no body could excel me in this field. But we forget that we are just instruments in the hands of God. As a puppeteer, makes show of puppets on his fingers same we are under the wishes of that Divine God. He controls everything.
द्रोणं च भीष्मं च जयद्रथं च
कर्णं तथाऽन्यानपि योधवीरान्।
मया हतांस्त्वं जहि मा व्यथिष्ठा
युध्यस्व जेतासि रणे सपत्नान्।।11.34।।
Meaning: All the great warriors, Drona, Bhishma, Jaydratha, Karna are already destroyed. Simply fight and you will vanquish your enemies.
The biggest dilemma of Arjuna before the battle began was this, that, why should I fight against my own-kinsmen just for the sake of one kingdom? Why all this blood? And the greatest solution to his problem was given by Lord Krishna here in the 11th chapter when He says, that, it’s all has been fixed. All those whom you are worrying for to kill in this battle are already been killed. You just have to act with your bow and arrows rest is on Me. This whole thing is going on under My plans.
And this was the reason of Mahabharata because there were so many kings in the Dwaparyuga who were ruling tyrannically and mercilessly upon their lands causing distress to every one spreading ills that it was necessary to put a stop to all this. And the purpose was achieved by the battle where all the kings assembled and are finally killed. This was also an example for others that righteousness always wins.
When Arjuna finds this mission he becomes overjoyed and he starts singing glory of Lord Krishna. He says, You are all powerful, supreme and this. But suddenly Arjuna realizes that as a friend he often called Him with different names and he often felt angry upon Him and did so many what? He gets embarrassed slightly that the one whom I had been thinking as my friend and well-wisher is actually the creator of this whole universe and he asks for His forgiveness. And he says, ‘You are the Supreme Lord to be worshiped by every one. Thus I fall down to offer You my respects and ask Your mercy. Please tolerate the wrongs I may have done to You and bear with me as a father with son, or a friend with his friend or a lover with his beloved.’
Now this is beautiful. Our relationship with the Supreme God is so sublime that He sometimes becomes our father, sometimes the mother, even friend and sometimes the lover. As we hold Him in our heart, He assumes that form for us and accepts that love. Arjuna then asks Lord Krishna to return back in His four arms form with conch and lotus flower in hands.
मया प्रसन्नेन तवार्जुनेदं
रूपं परं दर्शितमात्मयोगात्।
यन्मे त्वदन्येन न दृष्टपूर्वम्।।11.47।।
Meaning: The Blessed Lord said – My dear Arjuna, happily do I show you this universal form within this material world by My internal potency. No one before you has ever seen this unlimited and glaringly effulgent form.
न वेदयज्ञाध्ययनैर्न दानै
र्न च क्रियाभिर्न तपोभिरुग्रैः।
एवंरूपः शक्य अहं नृलोके
द्रष्टुं त्वदन्येन कुरुप्रवीर।।11.48।।
Meaning: O best of the Kuru warriors, no one before you has seen this universal form of mine, for neither by studying the Vedas, nor by performing sacrifices, nor by charities or similar activities can this form be seen. Only you have seen this.
And so Lord Krishna displays His four-armed form and at last He shows him His two-armed form and Arjuna becomes happy. He says, my mind is now pacified and I am restored to my original nature. And Lord says:
सुदुर्दर्शमिदं रूपं दृष्टवानसि यन्मम।
देवा अप्यस्य रूपस्य नित्यं दर्शनकाङ्क्षिणः।।11.52।।
Meaning: My dear Arjuna the form which 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.
In the 48th verse above, Lord Krishna concluded that this universal form of Him is not possible to be seen by so many activities, sacrifices, etc. Now here the word sudurdarsham is used, that means Krishna’s two-handed form is still more confidential.
भक्त्या त्वनन्यया शक्यमहमेवंविधोऽर्जुन।
ज्ञातुं दृष्टुं च तत्त्वेन प्रवेष्टुं च परंतप।।11.54।।
Meaning: 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.
मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः।
निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः स मामेति पाण्डव।।11.55।।
Meaning: My dear Arjuna, one who is engaged in My pure devotional service, free from the contamination of previous activities and from mental speculation, who is friendly to every living entity, certainly comes to Me.
And so in the beginning of this chapter we read about two qualities that Arjuna had which made him different from Duryodhana, they were: Resilience and Faith in God.
Sometimes we do not understand the value of something until it’s gone from our hands. And same is with our life, we constantly waste it on superfluous things and activities while ignoring the main thing that is, the devotion to God. And then one day, the bell rings and everything stops, we die, and in those last moment, we still do not remember God. We remember all our friends, relatives, the property which we leave behind. Lord Krishna here in the Bhagavad Gita says, that, if you remember Me even in your last moments, I am still yours to be there. But. It doesn’t happen that way so. Because devotion to God and absolute faith in God is something which needs to be cultivated very deeply from the beginning very carefully from the attacks of material desires and contamination. In the first chapter first session of the Vachnamrut, Bhagwan Swaminarayan was asked, that, which is the most difficult endeavor in this world. And he replied that, to continuously engaging one’s mind in God is the most difficult endeavor and we must endeavor for it because if you drop a small portion of water at a place everyday so nothing would happen, but if you continuously flow a trickle of water there then very soon it would develop into a small pool and so in the devotion we must engage continuously all the time, that, is the secret for constantly engaging one’s mind in God and attaining His grace.
On this beautiful day of Baisakh Shukla Saptami, let us pray that may Supreme Divine Lord empowers us and give us strength to behold His form in our mind and heart continuously forever.
30 April 2020
Gaurav S Kaintura
Note: If you find any error or have any doubts then please notify in the comments, you can also raise your questions. This is something sublime and beyond the comprehension of an average human mind, for any mistake on my part, I ask forgiveness in advance. For there could be any flaws in the expression or iteration but here I try to present best of what I understand and know with best of my intentions.
- Bhagvada Gita: as it is https://asitis.com/
- Story of Mahabharata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWQU2CHRxwY&t=897s