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March 28, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 11


Arjuna's request and Krsna's description of His universal form (11. 1-9)
Lord Krsna ended the previous chapter by describing how, as the Supersoul, He creates, maintains and destroys the cosmic manifestation. He concluded by saying, "what need is there for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe."

In the Eleventh Chapter, Arjuna asks to see how that fragment pervades the universe.

Main theme:
One can understand the nature of the Lord's form through the Lord's mercy.

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Sub Points:
A. Arjuna does not ask to see the Universal Form for himself, but for others; to establish
unequivocally the reality of Krsna's divinity.
B. Although Arjuna has a strong desire to see the Lord, he cannot do so without the Lord
enabling him. The Lord therefore bestows divine eyes (divya-caksusa) upon Arjuna to see
the Universal Form.
C. Krsna sets a criterion for being God. Those who claim themselves God must substantiate
that claim by also showing the Universal Form (11.3).
D. A pure devotee situated in a transcendental loving relationship with Krsna is not attracted
to the Universal Form. Rather, he is attracted to the Lord's loving features (11.8).

Sanjaya's description of the Universal Form (11.9-31)

Main Theme:
The vision of the Universal Form

Sub Points:
A. During the revelation of the Universal Form, Arjuna's intimate relationship of friendship
with Krsna is overshadowed by one of wonder (11.14).
B. An important division takes place between verse 19 and 20.
1. In verses 10-19, Arjuna witnesses Krsna's universal form of opulence. This form is
a vision of what was described in Chapter 10: how Krsna pervades the entire material manifestation.
2. Starting with text 20, Arjuna describes his vision of the Lord's kala-rupa form of
time. A vision of how the Lord, as time, pushes all material entities toward destruction.

"Nimitta-matram" - Become my instrument (11.32-34)

Main Theme:
As the Supersoul, Lord Krsna controls of all cosmic events according to His will. As Time, He is pushing all things towards destruction.

Sub Points:
A. The time factor is the force that Paramatma uses to run the material world. It transforms
matter according to His cosmic plan.
B. Through the time factor Krsna has already arranged the death of all the Kurus. Arjuna
need not worry about choosing to kill them or not to kill them. They will be killed by the
Lord's plan regardless. Arjuna should become the instrument to execute the Lord's plan (11.32).
C. The devotee willfully chooses to be controlled by Krsna; he becomes Krsna's direct
instrument. The non-devotee desires independence from God, and is indirectly controlled
by Krsna through His material energy.
D. The ultimate plan of the Lord is to purify the consciousness of the conditioned souls within
the world (11.33).
E. Krsna is merciful to the devotees who carry out His will in the world. He gives them the
credit, although He is the actual doer of the action (11.34).

Arjuna's prayers (11.35-46)
Arjuna has just witnessed the Lord in His powerful and opulent visva-rupa. In awe, he offers prayers in glorification. He appreciates how the Lord is above all other beings and is the refuge of the world. After this, Arjuna, still awestruck, remembers his previous relationship of friendship with Krsna, and begs forgiveness for his familiarity in those dealings.

Main Theme:
Lord Krsna is the Supreme Lord of all; He is simultaneously involved in an intimate relationship of
love with His pure devotees.

Sub Points:
A. The relationship between the Lord and the devotee is eternal; it cannot be forgotten (11.41-42).
1. Although experiencing the wondrous, powerful Universal Form, Arjuna
remembers his friendly relationship with Krsna.
B. Although the Lord has a body and senses, His are not like those of an ordinary man. His
body, mind, senses, and soul are one. They are non-different from His self (11.43).
C. Although there are innumerable forms of the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna is the
Original (11.45-46).
1. Lord Krsna can withdraw the universal form, and manifest His four-armed feature
as Narayana because He is the source of both the Universal Form and Narayana.

Only pure devotees can see Krsna's two-armed supreme form (11.47-55)
After witnessing the Universal Form, Arjuna asks Krsna to return to His original, confidential form.

Main theme:
The most intimate feature of the absolute truth is the two-armed form of Sri Krsna. This form is only known through devotional service.

Sub Points:
A. Only devotees of the Lord can obtain vision of the Universal Form (11.47-48).
B. One must have demigod vision (divya-caksusa) to see the Universal Form, but even the
demigods ever seek an opportunity to see His two-armed form (11.52).
C. The Lord's intimate feature is extremely rare (su-durdarsam) because He can only be seen
when He reveals Himself. Material qualifications are not useful. Therefore bhakti-yoga is
the only means to understand Krsna, because it attracts His mercy.
D. Because of this, even the most learned philosophers cannot know Krsna if they are devoid
of bhakti. Lord Krsna emphasizes the point by stating that He cannot be seen by penance,
charity, Vedic study, or worship alone (11.53).

March 08, 2007

Bhagavad-gita Chapter 10


Krsna's position as the origin of everything (10.1-7)
Lord Krsna ends the Ninth Chapter with an imperative to fix the mind on Him (man-mana bhava mad- bhakto). The Tenth Chapter describes the Lord's opulence, upon which the devotee can fix his mind. The conclusion of the Ninth Chapter is that one should become a pure devotee of the Lord. The Tenth Chapter will increase our devotion by elaborating about Krsna's opulence.

Main theme:
Knowledge of Krsna's supreme position is an inspiration for one to take to the process of devotional service.

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Sub Points:
A. Discussions about the Lord only take place in the association of serious devotees (10.1).
B. One can understand Krsna by His mercy, not by material qualifications (10.2-3).
C. Fully understanding Krsna frees one from all sins (10.3).
D. Appreciating Krsna's position naturally leads one to surrender (10.4-7).
1. Here, Lord Krsna shows Himself to be the original cause of the various qualities of
human beings as well as the genealogical origin of mankind. Appreciating this, one will take shelter of Him, the cause of all causes.

The catuh-sloki (10.8-11)
In the previous section, the Lord explained that one who is convinced of the His position will engage in unalloyed devotional service. In this section, the Lord describes the nature of the pure devotees. He also explains His intimate relationship with them, where He gives them the proper understanding to attain Him.

This section is the catch-sloki-bhagavad-gita - the "Bhagavad-gita in four verses."

Main theme:
Lord Krsna is the source of everything. Those who understand this become His devotees and enjoy fixing their minds and hearts in Him. The Lord gives them the knowledge to come to Him.

Sub Points:
A. Lord Sri Krsna is the original source of everything. He personally created all worlds. All
persons come from Him (10.8).
1. One can understand this truth about Krsna by hearing the sastra through bona fide
2. Understanding this truth leads one to surrender to Krsna in determination.
C. The Lord describes the behavior of such devotees and the very nature of bhakti (10.9).
1. Krsna's pure devotee's relish topics of Him amongst themselves.
2. The process of hearing and chanting acts for one's devotional life just like the
process of watering acts for a seed. Hearing and chanting let the inherent love of
God in one's heart sprout and grow until it reaches Lord Krsna's lotus feet in the
spiritual world.
D. Krsna specially reciprocates with these devotees (10.10-11).
1. Krsna gives them the guidance by which they can return to Him.
2. He personally dispels any ignorance that may remain in their hearts

Arjuna's acceptance and his request (10.12-18)
After hearing the catuh-sloki of Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna accepts Lord Krsna in full faith. He then recites prayers that glorify the Lord and requests Krsna to describe how He can be appreciated in His all-pervasive aspect.

Main Theme:
Lord Sri Krsna is confirmed to be Supreme.

Sub Points:
A. Lord Krsna can be understood to be Supreme by one who follows the spiritual authorities
and who cultivates devotion (10.13-15).
B. In declaring his realization of Krsna's true nature, Arjuna names highly respected
Vedic sages who share the same realization. He does this to prove that his own
realizations of Krsna's position are not mere sentiments.

Krsna's opulence (10.19-42)
Arjuna asked to hear of the divine opulence by which Krsna pervades the worlds, knowing which, one can always remember Krsna in the world.

Main Point:
Lord Krsna's opulence is visible through the manifestations of His energies in the world.

Sub Points:
A. It is interesting to see how Krsna presents His glories. In general, he presents a
group within the world, and then shows how He is the prominent aspect.
B. Arjuna does not need to hear how Krsna pervades the material world; he is already
meditating on Krsna's transcendental form. He asks for the sake of the common man,
who can only appreciate things in reference to material nature.
C. Devotees do not hear narratives of the Lord's opulence in an attempt to know Krsna fully.
That is impossible, as Krsna is unlimited in all respects. The devotees discuss the Lord's
opulence because topics of Krsna are like nectar, and the devotees take great pleasure in
hearing them (19).
D. Krsna's expansion, the Supersoul, is pervading the material (10.20, 41-42).
E. This is an important consideration while meditating on the Lord's vibhuti (opulence). The
Lord can be appreciated in great material phenomena because as the Supersoul, He is
pervading these things.
1. It is the Supersoul who gives great men their strength. It is the Supersoul who
arranges for spectacular natural wonders to occur through the material energy.
2. For this reason Srila Prabhupada explains that, "there is no point in understanding
how things exist in their separate opulence and grandeur. [One] should know that all
things are existing due to Krsna's entering into them as the Supersoul"
Understanding the presence of the Supersoul, one can appreciate Lord Krsna by
meditating on His creation.