THE UNIVERSAL FORM
Two sentiments have received a prominent place in the eleventh chapter, in which the universal form of god will be revealed to partha. In this chapter the marvellous sentiment has come as a guest in the home of the serene sentiment and other sentiments too will share the honour of being in their company. Is not the wedding festival also an occasion for the guests to show off their fine clothes and ornaments? In the same way, all sentiments are parading in the palanquin of the local language. But amongst them the serene and marvellous sentiments stand out prominently as if for the very eyes to drink in. they give an impression as if lord's Vishnu and lord shankara has come to meet each other. So these two sentiments have come together like the sun and the moon meeting on the new moon day (1-5). Just as the two rivers Gangas and Yamuna have mingled in the confluence at the holy place prayaga, these two sentiments have come together in the eleventh chapter to form another prayaga. Therefore, by hearing this chapter, to form another Prayaga. Therefore, by hearing this chapter, the whole world attains purification. While these two streams in the form of these two sentiments are visible, the third stream Saraswati in the form of the Gita is hidden. O elders know that we have here a confluence of three rivers. My guru Nivrittinatha has made proper arrangement for everyone to enter these holy waters through the door of the organ of hearing. Shri Nivrittinatha. the repository of righteousness, has broken the hard banks of the Sanskrit text and has constructed the easy steps of Marathi language. Now anybody may take a dip in this holy confluence with devotional love, and as one has the vision of Vishnu in the holy Prayaga, he may have a vision of the universal form here and renounce the world (6-10). Here all the sentiments have come to such full expression that they have opened the kingdom of joy to the ears of mankind. Here both the serene and marvallous sentiments are patent, but other sentiments too have been given due scope. Here, even though a little, the door of liberation has been opened.
This eleventh chapter is the resting-place of the Lord. Since Arjuna is a leader among the fortunate persons, he has arrived here. but how can one say that he alone has come here? For as the import of Gita has now been made available in the Marathi language, this bliss has come within the reach of everyone. Therefore, I entreat you to give attention to me (11-15). I know that it is not proper that I should speak before this audience of holy men with such intimacy. But I would request you to treat me as your child. Don't we teach the parrot to speak and nod out heads in approval when it does so? Or does not a mother get her child to do some thing and then admire it when it is done? You yourselves have taught me to speak, and so please hear what you have taught. You have planted this sweet tree in the form of literary work and so it is for you to ensure its growth by sprinkling it with water in the form of attention. Then this tree will bear blossoms of poetic sentiments and yield a rich crop of spiritual meanings and thus because of your religious merit the world will be blessed with abundant happiness. (16-20).
On this the holy men became favorably disposed to Jnanadeva and said, "We are delighted by your talk. Now tell us what Arjuna spoke." Then Jnanadeva, disciple of Nivritti, said, "How can an ordinary mortal like me express the deep meaning of Lord Krishna's conversation with Arjuna? But I will do so, if you give me the power to clothe that meaning with words. Did not Rama take the help of monkeys who lived on forest leaves and kill Ravana, the king of Lanka? And did nor Shri Krishna get the eleven decisions of the Kaurawa army defeated through single-handed Arjuna? Therefore no ordinary man can achieve what a mighty Lord can do. You holy men have the power to achieve it and so make me give utterance to the meaning of the Gita. I shall now tell you the true import of the Gita, which flowed from the mouth of Shri Krishna, the Lord of Vaikuntha. Pray, give me your attention (21-25). Blessed is the Gita, which is spoken by the supreme self, which is the subject of the Vedas. How is it possible to describe the greatness of this Gita, which eludes even the intelligence of Shri Shankara? therefore, it is only proper to prostrate oneself before it with all devotion and love.
Now listen, how Arjuna acquainted Lord Krishna of his ardent desire to see His universal form. When he came to realize that God had assumed the form of the universe, he had an intense longing to have its direct revelation. But he felt somewhat embarrassed to request him to show His universal form which he had so far kept secret (26-30). He thought to himself "How can I press him to show me this universal form all of a sudden, even when none of His favorite devotees had done so? Even though I am intimate with him, am I as close to Him as His mother Yashoda? but she also dared nor ask him this. Even though I have served the Lord as best as I could, could it equal the service, which is rendered to him by Garuda? but he too did nor press the Lord to show him his universal form. Am I as close to him as sages like Sanaka? But even they did nor express to him their intense desire to see this vision. Now has the lord more fondness for me than the cowherds and cowherdesses of Gokul? But he also confounded the people of gokula by feigning to be a child. He suffered birth in the womb on ten occasions for someone (King Ambrisha), but withheld from him his universal form (31-35). How could I then ask him all of a sudden to disclose his great secret? But if I do nor ask him mow; I shall feel nor only ill at ease but shall find it difficult to live. I shall now casually ask him about it, and then act according to his pleasure." Thinking thus, he made bold to ask him NW, but with some trepidation. But he did it so skillfully that the lord, in reply to his one or two questions, disclosed to him his universal form. O sages, the mere sight of the calf makes the cow stand up with a clatter. How will she then withhold her milk when the calf begins to suck it (36-40)? See for yourselves, how can the Lord who rushed to the forest to protect the Pandavas withhold his reply to the question of Arjuna? Lord Krishna is love incarnate, and this love had received the leaven of Arjuna's love. It is, therefore, really surprising that they remained separate even after they were on the point of becoming one. The lord acceded to the request of Arjuna and showed him the universal form. I shall describe this event from the very start, please listen.
Such a devotee performs all his works for me and dedicates them to me. He holds nothing in this world more dear to him than myself and regards me as the goal of his life. He sees me in all beings, forgetful of them- very names, and free from any ill-will towards them, worships me 1n them. When such a devotee departs from his body, he merges into my be1ng and becomes my very Self.
Sanjaya said, "Thus spoke Lord Krishna who has become big-bellied with the incorporation of the world in it. The Lord uttered these words filled with pathos (656-700). Then Arjuna, full of ecstatic joy and skilful in the art of devotion, began to scan both the forms of the Lord. But he preferred h1s human form as more beneficial than the universal form, but the Lord did not attach much importance to this v1ew. He tried to demonstrate with one or two ingenious arguments that his human form, being confined to a body is not truer than his all-pervading form. Then Arjuna said to himself, "I must ask him wh1ch of these two forms is better" (701-705). Reflecting thus, Arjuna will proceed to question the Lord in a befitting manner. Jnandeva says, I shall narrate that tale in simple ovi verses in a pleasing manner; listen carefully and enjoy it. Full of piety and faith I shall fi11 my joined palms with loose flowers in the form of verses and offer them at the feet of the divine form (706-708).