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Chapter 35

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

“Arjuna said,–‘This discourse about the supreme mystery, calledAdhyatman, which thou hast uttered for my welfare, hath dispelled mydelusion.[247] For I have heard at large from thee of the creation anddissolution of beings, O thou of eyes like lotus petals, and also of thygreatness that knoweth no deterioration. What thou hast said aboutthyself, O great Lord, is even so. O best of Male Beings, I desire tobehold thy sovereign form. If, O Lord, thou thinkest that I am competentto behold that (form), then, O Lord of mystic power, show me thy eternalSelf.[248]’

“The Holy One said, ‘Behold, O son of Pritha, my forms by hundreds andthousands, various, divine, diverse in hue and shape. Behold the Adityas,the Vasus, the Rudras, the Aswins, and the Maruts. Behold, O Bharata,innumerable marvels unseen before (by thee). Behold, O thou of curlyhair, the entire universe of mobiles and immobiles, collected together inthis body of mine, whatever else thou mayst wish to see.[249] Thou art,however, not competent to behold me with this eye of thine. I give theecelestial sight. Behold my sovereign mystic nature.'”

Sanjaya continued,–“Having said this, O monarch, Hari, the mighty Lordof mystic power, then revealed to the son of Pritha his Supreme sovereignform, with many mouths and eyes, many wonderous aspects, many celestialornaments, many celestial weapons uplifted, wearing celestial garlandsand robes, (and) with unguents of celestial fragrance, full of everywonder, resplendent, infinite, with faces turned on all sides.[250] Ifthe splendour of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky,(then) that would be like the splendour of that Mighty One. The son ofPandu then beheld there in the body of that God of gods the entireuniverse divided and sub-divided into many parts, all collectedtogether.[251] Then Dhananjaya, filled with amazement, (and) with hairstanding on end, bowing with (his) head, with joined hands addressed theGod.

“Arjuna said, ‘I behold all the gods, O God, as also all the varied hostsof creatures, (and) Brahman seated on (his) lotus seat, and all theRishis and the celestial snakes. I behold Thee with innumerable arms,stomachs, mouths, (and) eyes, on every side, O thou of infinite forms.Neither end nor middle, nor also beginning of thine do I behold, O Lordof the universe, O thou of universal form. Bearing (thy) diadem, mace,and discus, a mass of energy, glowing on all sides, do I behold thee thatart hard to look at, endued on all sides with the effulgence of theblazing fire or the Sun, (and) immeasurable. Thou art indestructible,(and) the Supreme object of this universe. Thou art without decay, theguardian of eternal virtue. I regard thee to be the eternal (male) Being.I behold thee to be without beginning, mean, end, to be of infiniteprowess, of innumerable arms, having the Sun and the Moon for thy eyes,the blazing fire for thy mouth, and heating this universe with energy ofthy own. For the space betwixt heaven and earth is pervaded by Theealone, as also all the points of the horizon. At sight of this marvellousand fierce form of thine, O Supreme Soul, the triple world trembleth. Forthese hosts of gods are entering thee. Some, afraid, are praying withjoined hands. Saying Hail to Thee–the hosts of great Rishis and Siddhaspraise Thee with copious hymns of praise.[252] The Rudras, the Adityas,the Vasus, they that (called) the Siddhas, the Viswas, the Aswins, theMaruts, also the Ushmapas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, thehosts of Siddhyas, behold Thee and are all amazed. Beholding Thy mightyform with many mouths and eyes, O mighty-armed one, with innumerablearms, thighs and feet, many stomachs, (and) terrible in consequence ofmany tusks, all creatures are frightened and I also. Indeed, touching thevery skies, of blazing radiance, many-hued, mouth wide-open, with eyesthat are blazing and large, beholding thee, O Vishnu, with (my) innersoul trembling (in fright), I can no longer command courage and peace ofmind. Beholding thy mouths that are terrible in consequence of (their)tusks, and that are fierce (as the all-destroying fire at the end of theYuga), I cannot recognise the points of the horizon nor can I commandpeace of mind. Be gracious, O God of gods, O thou that art the refuge ofthe Universe. And all these sons of Dhritarashtra, together with thehosts of kings, and Bhishma, and Drona, and also this Suta’s son (Karna),accompanied by even the principal warriors of our side, are quicklyentering thy terrible mouths rendered fierce by thy tusks. Some, withtheir heads crushed, are seen striking at the interstices of (thy) teeth.As many currents of water flowing through different channels roll rapidlytowards the ocean, so these heroes of the world of men enter thy mouthsthat flame all around. As moths with increasing speed rush for (theirown) destruction to the blazing fire, so also do (these) people, withunceasing speed, enter thy mouths for (their) destruction. Swallowing allthese men from every side, thou lickest them with thy flaming mouths.Filling the whole universe with (thy) energy, thy fierce splendours, OVishnu, are heating (everything). Tell me who thou art of (such) fierceform. I bow to thee, O chief of the gods, be gracious to me. I desire toknow thee that art the Primeval One, I do not understand thy action.'[253]

The Holy One said, “I am Death, the destroyer of the worlds, fullydeveloped. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. Without thee allthese warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease tobe.[254] Wherefore, arise, gain glory, (and) vanquishing the foe, enjoy(this) swelling kingdom. By me have all these been already slain. Be only(my) instrument. O thou that can’st draw the bow with (even) the lefthand. Drona and Bhishma, and Jayadratha, and Karna, and also other heroicwarriors, (already) slain by me, do thou slay. Be not dismayed, fight;thou shalt conquer in battle (thy) foes.”

Sanjaya continued,–“Hearing these words of Kesava, the diadem-decked(Arjuna), trembling, (and) with joined-hands, bowed (unto him); and oncemore said unto Krishna, with voice choked up and overwhelmed with fear,and making his salutations (to him).–

Arjuna said, “It is meet, Hrishikesa, that the universe is delighted andcharmed in uttering thy praise, and the Rakshasas flee in fear in alldirections, and the hosts of the Siddhas bow down (to thee). And whyshould they not bow down to thee, O Supreme Soul, that are greater thaneven Brahman (himself), and the primal cause? O thou that art Infinite. OGod of the gods, O thou that art the refuge of the universe, thou artindestructible, thou art that which is, and that which is not and thatwhich is beyond (both). Thou art the First God, the ancient (male) Being,thou art the Supreme refuge of this universe. Thou art the Knower, thouart the Object to be known, thou art the highest abode. By thee ispervaded this universe, O thou of infinite form.[255] Thou art Vayu,Yama, Agni, Varuna, Moon, Prajapati, and Grandsire. Obeisance be to theea thousand times, and again and yet again obeisance to thee. Obeisance tothee in front, and also from behind. Let obeisance be to thee from everyside, O thou that art all. Thou art all, of energy that is infinite, andprowess that is immeasurable. Thou embracest the All. Regarding (thee) afriend whatever hath been said by me carelessly, such as–O Krishna, OYadava, O friend,–not knowing this thy greatness from want of judgementor from love either, whatever disrespect hath been shown thee for purposeof mirth, on occasions of play, lying, sitting, (or) at meals, whilealone or in the presence of others, O undeteriorating one, I beg thypardon for it, that art immeasurable. Thou art the father of thisuniverse of mobiles and immobiles. Thou art the great master deserving ofworship. There is none equal to thee, how can there be one greater? Othou whose power is unparalleled in even three worlds?[256] Thereforebowing (to thee) prostrating (my) body, I ask thy grace, O Lord, Oadorable one. It behoveth thee. O God, to bear (my faults) as a father(his) son’s, a friend (his) friend’s, a lover (his) loved one’s.Beholding (thy) form (unseen) before, I have been joyful, (yet) my mindhath been troubled, with fear. Show me that (other ordinary) form, O God.Be gracious, O Lord of the gods, O thou that art the refuge of theuniverse. (Decked) in diadem, and (armed) with mace, discus in hand, asbefore, I desire to behold thee. Be of that same four-armed form, O thouof a thousand arms, thou of universal form.”

“The Holy One said, ‘Pleased with thee, O Arjuna, I have, by my (own)mystic power, shown thee this supreme form, full of glory, Universal,Infinite, Primeval, which hath been seen before by none save thee. Exceptby thee alone, hero of Kuru’s race, I cannot be seen in this form in theworld of men by any one else, (aided) even by the study of the Vedas andof sacrifices, by gifts, by actions, (or) by the severestausterities.[257] Let no fear be thine, nor perplexity of mind at seeingthis awful form of mine. Freed from fear with a joyful heart, thou againsee Me assuming that other form.'”

Sanjaya continued,–“Vasudeva, having said all this to Arjuna, once moreshowed (him) his own (ordinary) form, and that High-Souled one, assumingonce more (his) gentle form, comforted him who had been afflicted.”

“Arjuna said, ‘Beholding this gentle human form of thine, O Janardana, Ihave now become of right mind and have come to my normal state.’

“The Holy One said, ‘This form of mine which thou hast seen is difficultof being seen. Even the gods are always desirous of becoming spectatorsof this (my) form. Not by the Vedas, nor by austerities, nor by gifts,nor by sacrifices, can I be seen in this form of mine which thou hastseen. By reverence, however, that is exclusive (in its objects), OArjuna, I can in this form be known, seen truly, and attained to, Ochastiser of foes. He who doth everything for me, who hath me for hissupreme object, who is freed from attachment, who is without enmitytowards all beings, even he, O Arjuna, cometh to me.’

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