--> Skip to main content

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 22 – 23 – 24 – 25

The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, the Vishvas, the Ashvins, the Maruts, the Ushmapas, the host of the Gandharvas, Yakshas, Asuras, Siddhas. They are all looking at You wonder struck. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 22)

These different classes of celestial beings, looking on from their different spheres, are filled with wonder.

O Mighty-armed, seeing Your immeasurable form, with many mouths and eyes, with many arms, thighs, feet and stomachs, and fearful with many tusks, the worlds are agitated with terror and so am I. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 23)

As it translates itself to Arjuna’s mind, the great vision takes different aspects. First came wonder. He saw Bhagavan, mighty and glorious, in His friendly aspect, the Abode, the Refuge of all. Now comes the terrible side, the Destroyer, who swallows up the whole universe, who, with a turn of His wrist, annihilates worlds. It is not strange that Arjuna is frightened. It was an unheard-of vision. The saints sometimes be hold fearful sights in their meditation. There is a sect of tantrics in India who court these terrible visions in order to conquer fear, because fear is a great obstacle to realization. We are always surrounded by fear in a thou sand different forms. If we can conquer fear, samadhi comes at once. With the body-idea comes fear; with the Spirit-idea comes fearlessness. The easiest, the safest, the most natural way to conquer fear is through bhakti, because the bhakta throws his burden upon Bhagavan and puts himself under His protection. Arjuna continues:

O Vishnu, be holding You touching the heavens, shining in many colours, with mouths wide open and with large blazing eyes, my heart is terrified and I find neither peace nor courage. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 24)

O Lord of gods! Seeing Your mouths, terrible with long teeth, blazing like the fire of pralaya (destruction), I know not the four quarters, nor do I find peace. Have mercy, O Abode of the Universe! (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 25)

Arjuna is a warrior in his body, mind and soul, so his fear shapes itself in the form of a gigantic, immeasurable opponent, terrible to behold; whose eyes flash fire, whose many mouths are wide open, ready to devour whomsoever he may get in his clutches. Even Arjuna quakes before this vision and becomes confused. There is no way of escape. Wherever he turns, the Terrible One faces him. He pleads for mercy, that peace may return to his agitated mind.