--> Skip to main content

Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 30

O Vishnu! With blazing mouths You are licking and swallowing all the worlds on every side. Filling the whole universe with radiance Your fierce rays are burning it up. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 30)

What an extraordinary vision! God the Destroyer, who swallows up the universe; the Divine Mother of the universe dancing Her dance of destruction; Time, devouring all; Death, slaying and executing His power. All the days of our lives we have had it chanted into our ears that God is good and God is love and God is beauty! But how about this vision? What is there good or lovable or beautiful in this carnage? Wars or floods or famines or epidemics are with us always; if not where we live, in some other part of the globe. Dare we still go on chanting God is good and all is good? No, that would be insincerity. The terrible side in nature is as real as the lovely side, death is as real as life, and sorrow is as real as joy. And if we accept (and we cannot very well do otherwise) that there is but one God, the source of all that is, we must conclude that good and evil both proceed from Him.

Arjuna has told Sri Krishna all that he had seen and experienced. It was a wonderful revelation, a vision grand and sublime, but also terrifying. And what is its meaning? How to interpret it? Who is that Being, terrible to behold, yet worthy of all praise? It must be the Highest of beings, for everything entered into it. It is the source of all. But what is its purpose? These questions arise in Arjuna’s mind.

In Arjuna we always find the true disciple. Whenever he experiences something he comes to Sri Krishna and relates to Him with gratitude and humility all that he has seen. This is pleasing to the Master. He sees the effect of His teaching and instructions and it gives Him a clue on how to proceed. This confidence draws the Master and the disciple closer, and both react upon each other. It draws the Master out, bringing out the best in Him. Yes, Arjuna is the skilful disciple who knows how to please the teacher, not by flattery, but by showing Him the result of his efforts. He knows how to spur Him on to further revelations of Truth. And he also knows how to question intelligently. ‘The true preacher of religion has to be of wonderful capabilities,’ says the Upanishad, ‘and clever shall his hearer be.’