Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Universal Form of God


(10-11) Arjuna saw the multifarious marvelous Presence of the Deity—infinite in forms, shining in every direction of space, omnipotence all-pervading, adorned with countless celestial robes and garlands and ornaments, upraising heavenly weapons, fragrant with every lovely essence, His mouths and eyes everywhere!

(12) If a thousand suns appeared simultaneously in the sky, their light might dimly resemble the splendor of that Omnific Being!

(13) There, resting within the infinite Form of the God of gods, Arjuna beheld the entire universe with all its diversified manifestations.

(14) Then the Winner of Wealth (Arjuna), wonder-struck, his hair standing on end, his palms together in a prayerful gesture, bowing his head in awe before the Lord, addressed Him:


Arjuna said:

(36) O Hrishikesha (Krishna)! Rightly are the worlds proud and gladdened to exude Thy glory! The demons, terrified, seek safety in distance; while the multitudes of siddhas (perfected beings) bow down to worship Thee.

(37) And why should they not pay Thee homage, O Vast Spirit? For greater art Thou than Brahma the Creator, who issued from Thee. O Infinite One, O God of gods, O Shelter of the Universe, Thou art the Imperishable—the Manifested, the Unmanifested, and That beyond (the Ultimate Mystery).

(38) The Primal God art Thou! the Pristine Spirit, the Final Refuge of the Worlds, the Knower and the Known, the Supreme Fulfillment! Thine Omnipresence shines in the universe, O Thou of Inexhaustible Form!

(39) O Flowing Life of Cosmic Currents (Vayu), O King of Death (Yama), O God of Flames (Agni), O Sovereign of Sea and Sky (Varuna), O Lord of Night (the Moon), O Divine Father of Countless Offspring (Prajapati), O Ancestor of All! To Thee praise, praise without end! To Thee my salutations thousandfold!

(40) O Endless Might, O Invincible Omniscient Omnipresence, O All-in-All! I bow to Thee in front and behind, I bow to Thee on the left and the right, I bow to Thee above and beneath, I bow to Thee enclosing me everywhere!

(41) Unaware of this, Thy Cosmic Glory, and thinking of Thee as a familiar companion, often have I audaciously hailed Thee as “Friend” and “Krishna” and “Yadava. For all such words, whether spoken carelessly or with affection;

(42) And for any irreverence I have displayed toward Thee, O Unshakable Lord! in lighthearted mood at mealtimes or while walking or sitting or resting, alone with Thee or in others’ company—for all such unintentional slights, O Thou Illimitable! I beg forgiveness.


The Blessed Lord said:

(47) I have graciously exercised Mine own Yoga Power to reveal to thee, O Arjuna, and to none other! this Supreme Primeval Form of Mine, the Radiant and Infinite Cosmos!

(48) No mortal man, save only thyself, O Great Hero of the Kurus! is able to look upon My Universal Shape—not by sacrifices or charity or works or rigorous austerity or study of the Vedas is that vision attainable.

(49) Be not affrighted or stupefied at seeing My Terrible Aspect. With dreads removed and heart rejoicing, behold once more My familiar form!

Sanjaya said to King Dhritarashtra:

(50) After speaking thus, Vasudeva, "the Lord of the World," resumed his own shape as Krishna. He, the Great-Souled One, appearing to Arjuna in the form of grace, consoled His fear stricken devotee.

Arjuna said:

(51) O Granter of All Wishes (Krishna) ! As I gaze on Thee again in gentle human shape, my mind is quieted and I feel more like my natural self.

The Blessed Lord said:
(52) Very difficult it is to behold, as thou hast done, the Vision Universal! Even the gods ever yearn to see it.


But it is not unveiled through one's penance or scriptural lore or gift-giving or formal worship. O Scorcher of the Sense-Foes (Arjuna)! only by undivided devotion (commingling by yoga all thoughts in One Divine Perception) may I be seen as thou hast beheld Me in My Cosmic Form and recognized in reality and finally embraced in Oneness!

He who works for Me alone, who makes Me his goal, who lovingly surrenders himself to Me, who is nonattached (to My delusive cosmic-dream worlds), who bears ill will toward none (beholding Me in all)—he enters My being, O Arjuna!

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