Vishwa means Universe. Rupa means form. Darshana is sight. This Yoga is the yoga of seeing God in His Universal form. Krishna had appeared as a man in Dwaparyuga. Some people considered Him as somebody with superhuman powers. Even those who looked upon Him as God did not realise that He pervaded the universe. Arjuna also never thought like that. It was only after Krishna talked to Him in so many details about His unmanifested, beginning less and endless existence, and His various vibhutis, that Arjuna got some insight into God's universality. At this stage, I think, even we are not in a position to fully comprehend by what is meant as Vishwarupa or Universal form.

            All we know by now is that God is energy which can manifest itself into any form and any shape. We also know that the universe, though stands separately from Him, on its own, it is supported by Him. This support is not from outside. It is He who is inside all beings, in part, to give them life force. We have seen further that this entire universe is a manifestation of His negligible percentage of energy. He is unimaginable times bigger. He is beyond the scope of understanding of senses, mind and intellect. Now let us stretch our imagination and think, how he would look if the limitless energy (God) manifested fully, how it would look. If He is death, how He would look in that manifested form. How He would appear as creator (Brahmadev, preserver (Vishnu) and destroyer (Shankara)?

            When Krishna told Arjuna that He has pervaded the Universe by just, say, one fraction of His unmanifested form, Arjuna said, "O Lord, all my delusion is vanished by Your teaching. The most confidential spiritual education You have given is great. You are the cause for birth and death of this Universe. This I have heard from You. I also heard You are Supreme God and have realized Your inexhaustible glory. Now that I see  you in front of me in this manifested human form, I desire to see your Universal form in all its glory. O God, if you think that I can behold that cosmic form of Yours, then kindly show that to me."

            In verses no. 5,6,7, Krishna says, "Arjuna, you can now see my hundreds of thousands of different forms. They are divine and of various colours. See now the different manifestations of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Asvini-Kumars and all other demigods. See now such wonders as you have never seen before. Whatever you wish to see, behold it at one and the same time in my manifested Universal body. You can also see whatever you want to see in future. Moving and non moving, all entities are here. However, you cannot see this form with eyes. Hence, I give you divine sight. Now behold My opulence!

            At this stage, in verses no. 10 to 14, Sanjaya, who was narrating what happened on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, describes briefly this Universal form of God. Sanjay says,

Universal manifestation of God

            Arjuna saw in the Universal form of God, innumerable mouths, eyes and mysterious wonderful visions. The entire body was decorated whit illumined ornaments, had held many divine weapons which were upraised. He wore celestial garlands and garments. His body was smeared with many divine scents. Everything was mystifying, shining, unending and all pervading. If hundreds of thousands of suns were to rise at once in the sky, their combined radiance might resemble the lustre of the great form. At that time Arjuna saw in that Universal body, the entire Universe contained, though divided into many different parts. Arjuna was astonished and bewildered. His hair stood out on his body at the sight of this unbelievable form, and bowing his head, he stood with folded hands to pray the Supreme God. Arjuna said,

            "O God, I see in your body all the demigods. I see hordes of various kinds of animals. I also see Brahmadev sitting on the lotus flower. Then there is the Lord Siva, all the sages and divine serpents as well. You have many many arms, bellies, mouths and eyes spread everywhere. There is no end, no middle and no beginning. You are pervading everywhere. O' God of the Universe, I do see now Your Universal form. You are wearing on all sides crowns on your heads, clubs and maces in your hand along with circular discs (chakras). Your immeasurable radiance, spread everywhere like blazing sun and fire, is blinding me. It is difficult to see You and understand this Your form fully."

            "I think and believe now that You are the Akshara (imperishable) God and the ultimate resting place of the universe. You are ever existing and the oldest. You are the maintainer of eternal religion, the best of men among men. You have no beginning, no middle and end. Your power is inexhaustible, Your arms are unlimited and the sun and moon are Your eyes. I see You whit blazing fire coming out from Your mouth. You are lighting and spreading heat in the entire Universe by Your own radiance. You alone have spread Yourself in all directions, throughout the sky and also in the spaces in between. All the three worlds are perturbed to see this mystifying terrible form of Yours. Hosts of demigods are surrendering to You, entering into You. Some of them are very much scared and are offering prayers with folded hands. Rishis, sages and hosts of "siddhas" (Dnyanis) are crying "Peace, Peace," and are praying You with Vedic hymns. All Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, Visvadevas, Maruts (Vayus), Ashwini Kamars, ancestors, gandharvas, yakshas, Asuras and demigods are beholding You in wonder. All the worlds are perturbed to see Your form with its many faces, eyes, arms, thighs, legs, bellies and Your horrible teeth. As they are disturbed so am I. O' Vishnu, seeing You thus reaching the sky and with innumerable radiant colours, gaping mouths, great glowing eyes, my mind is disturbed by fear. I cannot keep my mind steady and no longer maintain its equilibrium."

Arjuna's fear on seeing the universal form

            O' Great Lord Your blazing deathlike mouths and horrifying teeth make me lose my balance of mind, because of fear. I cannot distinguish between North, South, West, East. I do not have peace. I am bewildered. Please be gracious to me. All these sons of Dhrutarashtra, along with their kings and soldiers, and Bhishma, Drona, Karna, as well as, chief warriors from our army are rushing into Your fearful mouths. Some of them are trapped and their heads get smashed between Your teeth. As the many waves of the rivers flow into an ocean, so are all these great warriors entering your blazing mouths. As moths dash in a blazing fire to get destroyed, so do all these people are rushing at full speed into Your mouths. O' Vishnu, I see You devouring all of them, licking your tongues again and again, into your flaming mouths. You have covered the entire universe with your lustre and You are scorching it. Please tell me, Who are You? O' Great one, I bow to You. Please Grace me. You are the primal Lord. I want to know about You because I do not know what You are up to."

What is a human being in front of God?

            Arjuna was aghast and immensely terrified by seeing the universal form of God. He now trembled with fear. He had asked for it. We see this Universe as a gigantic space with various planets, stars, comets etc. in it. But our world is limited to earth. Our life is confined to our own activities and those of our relations, friends etc. Our knowledge of the world is also limited. When we look up in the sky, all we see is blue empty space, a big void, with sun glowing in some corner. In the night we see same space but instead of the sun there is the moon and stars. We can imagine, from what we have learnt so far, that God, in unmanifested energy form is supporting all these stars, planets including our earth. We know that some of Him came to form, as Universe. We are also manifestations of Him. Now stretch your imagination and picture before your mind His Universal form. Wherever your eyes can see up in space, you see His huge mouths and eyes and ears with tongues protruding out from each mouth. If you take a side glance, all you see is huge bellies and innumerable hands. If you see down on earth, you see many legs. You do not see a billionth of a millimetre space which is not occupied by this form. Then you see everything including your neighbours, people from other cities and countries entering those mouths from all sides. You also see some coming out from some mouths. Where are you, my dear reader? Do you see yourself as any significant person with wealth, power, status fame in this world? Who are you? What is your body? Where is it? It is moving slowly and steadily towards onother e of those thousands mouths, to be crushed between those teeth and burnt into its blazing fire. You will be finished. Yes, you will come out again from some another mouth and start moving towards the one which is devouring other people. You are coming out from God. You are going into Him only to come out again. If you were to see this form of God, you would die untimely death. But God wants you and I and all of us to live happily, cast off the fear of death, and enjoy in true sense. So He remains unmanifested, away from our knowledge yet very close to us. He is fearful yet He says to us, "Do not fear Me, I do not want anything from you. Just think of Me as you go about doing your work and offer me only your love. I will take you to My abode which is something to wonder about."

God as time

            Now let us see how Krishna allayed Arjuna's fears. In verses nos. 32 to 34 He says, "I am Time, the destroyer of Universe. I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of You (Pandavas) all the soldiers on both sides will be killed. Therefore get up, fight and win. Enjoy this flourishing kingdom. They have been already killed by Me before. You just be an instrument of mine. Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and other great warriors have already been killed by Me. Therefore, you now kill them without getting disturbed. Fight and you will conquer your enemies in this war.

            The universal form of God that Arjuna saw, portrayed His existence as Time at that moment. DwaparaYuga was nearing its end. In course of time all people had to die. Majority of the population was going to die in that great war. This was preordained. Hence God showed Arjuna how His form was at that instant. Arjuna was going to be just an instrument. If he were to refuse to fight, all of them would still be killed. Arjuna was given an opportunity to do his Karma and be done with it. It was not right for him to think whether his action was good or bad. He had been drawn into the war, because of some events in the past. Now the time had come to put into action God's wish. It was the right action for Arjuna to take. Krishna told him to rise to the occasion and fight without bothering to think what would happen. If Arjuna performed his duty in a non attached manner, he would not be bound by Karma. But if he thought, he himself was responsible to the killings, this would be an attachment to his Karma and he would be thrown into the cycle of rebirth again.

Importance of time

            We have to learn an important lesson here. Time is God. Time is Death. The physical form is Time's food. All of us are going to die. This life will come to an end sooner or later. Time will eat us up. The body, as you see and care for, will be gone. Yet Karma will remain behind with the astral body of three main constituents - mind, intellect and ego. This will create a bondage to the Atma, who is none other than you yourself. Because of this bondage you will be born again and again, thousands of times  in different forms, to pay for your Karma and to do new Karma in next human life. It is to be noted that the human life is the only life which gives opportunity to come out of the cycle, yet it is also the only life in which Karma is performed.

            Time also controls our life. We must understand its importance. When you procrastinate and keep your work pending, you are losing time. You are running away from God. Your work loses its value and success eludes you. Think it over. How many times have you kept your work pending, just because you were lazy or tempted to please your senses by engaging yourself in some other activity? You may be doing it even today. You have been doing so because you, probably, did not understand real value of time. Now, I assume, you have. So, as of this moment, get up and rise to the occasion.

            If you want to achieve something in life, be it materialistic or spiritual, do not let time give you the slip. You will slip and sleep for a long time. Every second of time is important. Use your intelligence and plan your day's activities, keeping three aims in mind,

(a)    to finish unfinished jobs.

(b)    to undertake new jobs which you desire to do.

(c)    to drop from your mind those desires which are no good and hence get those jobs out from your system.

            Follow the rules of performing Karma and you will have Time with you. He will no longer be a dreadful destroyer. He will be a friendly God to you. Remember, as you are understanding Gita in Kaliyuga, you have Krishna by your side. You are Arjuna, his friend. He has revealed His secret to you and says, "Now get up and do your right Karma. I am with you."

            How many times have you heard remarks like this "O' I should have done this before." "I have no time", "We lost time", etc.? The truth is that people uttering these remarks did not keep pace with time. Ultimately they were the losers. You must have also heard the famous English proverb "Time is Money." It is true. If you know the value of Time and if you keep pace with it, you beat others in the race. Your work gets done. God is pleased with you. You get what you want and what you deserve. So, let us not wait any more time. Whatever happened has happened. Time has swallowed many things. Past is gone, in Time's mouth. It is crushed. It will not come again in same form. Time is all set to eat your future. All you have is your present. You master it and even Death will be your friend. So the message is "ACT NOW"; and perform your actions without attachment yet with enthusiasm and joy.

Effect of the universal form of God on Arjuna

            When Krishna told Arjuna to get ready and fight (do his right Karma), Arjuna bowed. He was scared to see the universal form of God. He bowed again and again and in a faltering voice said that he understood what God had said. He praised God saying, His name is a source of joy to all and every good person is attached to Him. Sages, Yogis and Dnyanis pay Him their respect. Only the demons are scared and they run helter skelter. He further said, "You are greater than Brahmadev, who is responsible for creation of the universe. How is it possible, therefore, that these superior demigods will not pay their homage to You? You are the refuge of the universe. You are manifested, unmanifested and still greater than both these forms, as Akshara, the imperishable."

            Arjuna then went on praising God, in verses nos. 38 to 46, thus. He said, "You are Original, the oldest and the end of this universe. You know everything yet You are unknowable. You are the supreme refuge, creator and prevador of the universe. Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Aapa (water), the moon, the Brahmadev are all Your forms. You are the father and the grandfather. I bow you a thousand times, again and again. You are the Master, all in all, Your power has no limit. You are all pervading. So I offer my salutations to You from front, behind, from all sides."

            "I regarded You as my friend and addressed You as "O Krishna, O Yadava, O my friend etc., not understanding Your glory. Please forgive me for that. I have joked with You many time I have ridiculed You, sat together with You, played with You, sometimes alone and sometimes with other friends. At that time I have spoken harsh words to You. Please forgive me for all those offences. You are the father of everything. You are the chief to be worshipped. None is equal to You. How can anyone be greater than You? You are the supreme God who must be worshipped by one and all. I fall on your feet and beg for mercy. As a father tolerates the son's impudence, or a friend tolerates friend's rebuke, or a wife pardon's husbands irregularities, so may You pardon my wrong actions done to You."

Arjuna's desire to see God in human form again

            "After seeing the Universal form, which I could never see before, I am happy Yet my mind is in a grip of fear. Hence please Grace me, God and reveal again Your form which my eyes are accustomed to see. Yet, I also wish to see Your four-armed form with club, wheel, conch, and lotus flower in Your hands. Yes, I long to see that form of Vishnu."

Change in attitude on understanding universal form

            Arjuna had known Krishna, the God incarnate, as a human being with some extraordinary powers. But as his Knowledge and understanding was limited by senses, and his mind he did not know what God really is. When he saw the universal form of his dear friend, he was much shaken and dismayed. We are not so fortunate as Arjuna to see that form. May be it is better for us not to see it. We might suddenly stop breathing. But we can imagine what God is like and hold Him in respect. Arjuna was transformed in mind. His attitude changed. If you read this chapter again and again and try to understand God in His universal form, perhaps you may also change for the better.

            Krishna was pleased to see this transformation in Arjuna. He said that He showed Arjuna the universal form by His power to manifest. No one before had seen Him in that form with all His glory and effulgence. It is not possible for anybody in this world to see that form of God. Neither by studying and practising Vedic rituals, nor by performing Yagnyas, nor by charity, nor by severe penances, nor by any pious activity can anyone, in this material world, see Him thus. Krishna comforted Arjuna saying not to get scared or confused by seeing that form. He promised to come back to that form which he was accustomed to see.

            Krishna then disappeared from Arjuna's sight in that universal form and appeared before Him as Vishnu with four arms, holding a conch, chakra (wheel), mace and a lotus flower, smiling benevolently at him. Arjuna was still in the grip of fear. So Krishna came back to His materialistic incarnate form as before, holding the reins of chariot horses in His two hands. Arjuna came back to his senses, his mind again back in the present, and his fear disappeared. He said, "O God, seeing now this human form of Yours, I am feeling at ease and am comforted. Now I am myself again."

Universal form not possible to see again

            Krishna then told him that what was shown to Arjuna was something out of reach for anybody else. Even His vibhutis seek for an opportunity to see this form but they can's see it. In this material world one can see Him only in the form in which He incarnated Himself on earth. His other form has to be understood only; and only by undiluted, one pointed loving devotion can one know Him or even see Him and become one with Him.

            We on earth have not seen God in human form. But as He has said, we must carry out our right Karma in the right way. When we are able to perform every Karma in a non-attached way, we will be able to have a steady intellect, which is necessary to understand Him. Then with devotion and love we can go into a mental state where everything is God to us. Then in some life we may reach Him, our father's home.

God's work

            Finally, in the last verse no. 55 of this chapter, He declared. "He who engages in doing My work, remains devoted to Me and whose mind has no other attachment; he who has no enmity with anybody - he certainly comes to Me".

            Sometimes, the words "My work" can be misunderstood. Many people may think that they have to give up their own work and carry on Krishna's work. The question is what could be His work? His Karma is Divine. His work is creation, preservation, destruction of the universe. When He appears as incarnation, His work is to uphold Dharma. How can we do this work?

            We are responsible for the downfall of Dharma. When we follow wrong path, stay away from right Karma, our Dharma starts tumbling. When this happens everywhere and on a large scale, He sends His emissaries as saints to create an atmosphere congenial to carry out His work. If we ourselves stick to our own Dharma and do the right Karma, we will be doing what He wants us to do. His work does not mean only singing His Bhajans, offering sacrifices or worshipping Him; and finding time to do these activities by giving up our responsibilities.

            You are born according to your Prarabdha Karma. You will live till such time that this Karma gets over. In the mean time you will be doing many Karmas. He expects you to carry out your accepted responsibilities and jobs in the right way and to remember Him while doing your jobs. In this way, as you live in this world, you get your share of good and bad days, as everybody else does. Yet you advance in your path to reach Him. Our origin is in Him.  We have to go back to Him. The only way to do that is to remember Him all the time. How can we do that?

How to remember God?

            Start the day by thinking about Him. Before you get out of your bed, remember Him. It may take two minutes of your time to do that. How much easy it is for us to remember an event in the past which has affected us greatly? A friend's abusing remarks, an insult by a colleague, a prize won in a contest, a love letter from fiancee - all these and many such instances come to our mind, time and again, right from the moment we open our eyes in the morning from good sleep. Do we remember Him? Difficult, is it not? Why, because we have many likes and dislikes, inflated ego and a very strong attachment to Karma. Do we like God, do we have even a negligible attachment to Him? If not, how can we do His work?

So train the mind. Pray Him for two minutes, feel happy and joyful, no matter what situation you have to face in the day. Then get yourself into action. Perform all your Karmas which are right at that time. Do not give in to the demands of the mind if they come in the way of your work. Concentrate all your energy on the work in hand and instead of thinking about any other matter, think about God.

Rendering service to others

            Develop good habits which will have something to do with God. This could be meetings of a spiritual group, service to the needy, poor and downtrodden. While you wish to enjoy physical pleasure to please your senses in your leisure time, spare some of that time for such benevolent activities. Devote your time, spend money if you can and if you wish to, on others to fulfil their needs. However, do not do that under compulsion or against your mind. Such work must be done with free will and love. Service to the needy and poor is God's work. This service may not be a big task.

            If you have acquired some skills in any subject, you can teach them free of charge to somebody who could profitably use them, but has no money to pay you. One can find many ways to do God's work if one wants to. But keep in mind that spending your whole day in a God's House, singing, worshipping, does not mean you are doing His work. That is your work. You try to be near Him but He may not come near you; or even when He is so near, you may not see Him or know Him.

            The ultimate Karma is for humanity. This is possible when you develop attachment to Him and begin to realise that He is everybody and everything.


            So let us make a vow that we will perform our accepted responsibilities joyfully even if they are not to our liking. We will do them as God's work and try to be non attached to our Karmas, remember Him and be grateful to Him as much as we can. Also let us try and see what can we do for those people who are badly in need of something which we have but we don't need, and then  see if we can bring ourselves to think of gladly giving it to the needy person. This is God's work.

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