Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries of Ramanuja | Discourse 11 verse 21-37

amīhi tvāṃsurasaṅghāviśanti kecid bhītāḥprāñjalayo gṛṇanti |
svastītyuktvāmaharṣi siddha-saṅghāḥstuvanti tvāṃstutibhiḥpuṣkalābhiḥ|| 21 ||

21. Verily into You the hosts of Devas enter. Some fearfully extol You with palms joined. The hosts of great sages and Siddhas praise You with perfect eulogies saying “Hail to You.”

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The devas being exclusively from sattva-guṇa or the nature of goodness rejoice upon seeing Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form and are awe inspired and enraptured.

Some among them were frightened by the Viśvarūpa terrifying aspect which was also wonderful and bowed down to it with folded hands offering eulogies of praise and prayers of supplication each according to their perceptions.

Other great souls such as the Siddhas or perfected beings who have realised the higher and lower truths utter the benediction svastity meaning may there be all auspiciousness.

The maharishis or liberated sages upon beholding the Viśvarūpa loudly resound the words Jaya Jaya meaning all glory, all glory and spontaneously compose wonderful Sanskrit hymns in glorification of it

while performing sankirtan or congregational singing of the Supreme Lords Krishna's Viśvarūpa along with His transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes.

rudrādityāvasavo ye ca sādhyāviśve’śvinau marutaścoṣmapāśca |
gandharva yakṣāsura siddha-saṅghāvīkṣante tvāṃvismitāścaiva sarve || 22 ||

22. The Rudras, the Ādityas, the Vāsus, the Sādhyas, the Viśvedevas, the Aśvīns, the Maruts and the Manes, and the hosts of Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Asuras, and Siddhas —all gaze upon You in amazement.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The coṣmapāś ca and usmapah meaning the forefathers which belong to group of beings known as the Pitris or the deified ancestors.

The Taittirīya Upaniṣad I.X beginning usma-bhagahi pitarah meaning “the forefathers belong to the deified ancestors” confirms this.

Manu Saṁhitā CCLXXXIV states that the deceased fathers are called Vāsus, the deceased grandfathers are called Rudras and the deceased great-grandfathers are called Ādityas.

rūpaṃmahatte bahu vaktra netraṃmahābāho bahu-bāhūru-pādam |
bahūdaraṃbahu daṃṣṭrā-karālaṃdṛṣṭvālokāḥpravyathitās tathāham || 23 ||

23. Beholding Your almighty manifestation with many faces and eyes with many arms, thighs, and feet, with many torsos and dreadful with many fangs, all beings including myself are terrified, O Mighty-Armed.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The words bahu daṃṣṭrā-karālaṃ mean innumerable terrible teeth which was terrifying in appearance.

The word lokāḥ or worlds refers to the three types of beings inhabiting these worlds. Those who are benevolent, those who are inimical and those who are neutral. Almost all of them just like Arjuna were trembling in fright at the ferocity of Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form.

nabhaḥ-spṛśaṃdīptam aneka varṇaṃ vyāttānanaṃdīpta viśāla-netram |
dṛṣṭvāhi tvāṃpravyathitāntarātmā dhṛtiṃna vindāmi śamaṃca viṣṇo || 24 ||

24. On seeing You, O Vishnu, touching the highest Heaven, refulgent, multi-coloured with gaping mouths and huge glaring eyes, I am extremely agitated to my inmost being, I have lost all composure and peace.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is addressed as Vishnu or He which is all pervading.

The words nabhaḥ means the firmament above and is in reference to the parama-vyoma which is the supreme region

beyond even the heavenly planets and celestial spheres which are still subject to prakṛti or the material substratum pervading physical existence consisting of the three guṇas or modes of material nature being passion, goodness and ignorance.

Several examples are given in the Vedic scriptures such as:

‘That is in the Imperishable Supreme Heaven’ (Ma. Na. Up.1;2)

‘He, refulgent as the Sun and beyond darkness’ (Sve. Up. 3.8, Taitt. Aran. 3:12:9)

The dweller beyond the Rajas’ (Rg Sam,, Taitt. Sam 2:12:5) and

‘He who is the president in the Highest Heaven’ (Rg Sam. 10:129:7).

To use the two words nabhaḥ-spṛśaṃ means pervading the firmament and denotes that Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form is infinite and the shelter of all the modifications found in prakṛti or the material substratum pervading all physical existence.

The words pravyathitāntarātmā means extremely agitated mind and substantiates why Arjuna is unable to be dhritim composed and feel saman or peaceful.

This was due to witnessing the terrifying awful apparition aspect of the Viśvarūpa which made his mind recoil, his limbs quiver uncontrolled and all his senses aghast.

daṃṣṭrā-karālāni ca te mukhāni dṛṣṭvaiva kālānala sannibhāni |
diśo na jāne na labheca śarma prasīda deveśa jagannivāsa || 25 ||

25. Seeing Your mouths with awesome fangs and appearing like the fire of Cosmic Annihilation, I am completely disorientated and confused. Have mercy on me, O Lord of the Devas! O Abode of the universe!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Viewing the phenomenal panorama of forms and terrifying visages in active mode of Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form which was blazing flames in all directions was terrible and horrifying like the fires of annihilation during the cataclysm at the time of universal destruction.

Arjuna being extremely afflicted beseeched Lord Krishna with the word deveśa denoting “O' Lord of Brahma and Śiva” and the words jagannivāsa “O' refuge of the universe”

and then supplicated Lord Krishna with the word prasīda or be merciful and return his normal human vision so that he would be able to regain his equilibrium and composure again.

So the Supreme Lord Krishna exhibiting His Viśvarūpa demonstrated how it manifested from Him, functioned through Him and existed within Him.

He will now show to Arjuna how by His indomitable will He will bring about the destruction of Duryodhana and all the Kaurāvas along with all the demons in the guise of kings fighting with them.

Also He will also show the destruction of all those possessed of āsuric or demoniac nature that may be fighting for kings in the army of the Pāṇḍavas, so that Bhumi-devi or Mother Earth will be rid of such a burden.

At this time Arjuna began to see with the divine vision bequeathed by Lord Krishna how all the hosts of the Kaurāva army met with their destruction and by who although the actual event had not yet transpired.

Arjuna continues:—

amīca tvaṃdhṛtarāṣṭrasya putrāḥsarve sahaivāvanipāla saṅghaiḥ|
bhīṣmo droṇaḥsūta-putras tathāsau sahāsmadīyairapi yodha-mukhyaiḥ|| 26 ||

26. All these sons of Dhṛitarāṣṭra together with the hordes of Kings, Bhīshma, Droṇa and Karṇa along with the leading warriors of our side,

vaktrāṇi te tvaramāṇāviśanti daṃṣṭrā-karālāni bhayānakāni |
kecid vilagnādaśanāntareṣu saṅdṛśyante cūrṇitair-uttamāṅgaiḥ|| 27 ||

27. hasten to enter into Your fearful mouths with terrible fangs, some caught between the teeth, are seen with their heads crushed to powder

yathānadīnāṃbahavo’mbuvegāḥsamudram evābhimukhādravanti |
tathātavāmīnaraloka vīrāviśanti vaktrāṇyabhito jvalanti || 28 ||

28. As the many rivers in torrents flow towards the ocean, so do these heroes of the world of men enter Your blazing mouths.

yathāpradīptaṃjvalanaṃpataṅgāviśanti nāśāya samṛddha-vegāḥ|
tathaiva nāśāya viśanti lokās tavāpi vaktrāṇi samṛddha-vegāḥ|| 29 ||

29. As moths rush irresistibly into a blazing fire to their destruction, so do these men madly rush into Your mouths to meet their destruction.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

As inanimate currents of rapid rivers are helplessly propelled into the ocean as given in the previous verse and like animate moths speedily flit into a blazing fire and are destroyed.

The mighty warriors of the Kaurāva and Pāṇḍava armies are propelled helplessly as they speedily rush to their deaths on the battlefield and into the fiery mouths of Lord Krishna's Viśvarūpa or divine universal form.

lelihyase grasamānaḥsamantāllokān samagrān vadanair jvaladbhiḥ|
tejobhir āpūrya jagat samagraṃbhāsas tavogrāḥpratapanti viṣṇoḥ|| 30 ||

30. O Vishnu! Devouring all the worlds on every side with your flaming mouths, You lick them up. Your brilliant rays scorch the whole universe, filling it with their radiance.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is addressed as Vishnu or He who pervades the entire creation.

The mighty warriors who will fight in the battle are already captured in the Viśvarupa’s innumerable flaming mouths voraciously devouring them.

All are seared and scathed by the heat of its blazing effulgence encompassing all the worlds.

ākhyāhi me ko bhavān-ugra-rūpo namo’stu te deva-vara prasīda |
vijñātum icchāmi bhavantam-ādyaṃ na hi prajānāmi tava pravṛttim || 31 ||

31. O Fearsome One! Tell me who You are! Salutations to You, O Supreme God! Be gracious, I desire to know You, the Original One. I do not comprehend Your activity.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The Supreme Lord Krishna manifested His Viśvarūpa or divine universal form of wonderful and terrible visage to exhibit His unlimited and absolute sovereign power.

Now that Arjuna's request of seeing the Viśvarūpa has been granted he beseeches further to know Lord Krishna's intention and purpose for exhibiting it and he desires to know who Lord Krishna truly is apart from the Viśvarūpa.

He addresses Lord Krishna as deva-vara meaning Lord of all lords and is curious as to the reason why He exhibited to His surrendered bhakta or devotee the terrible visages with many mouths and teeth along with His wonderful form of cosmic glory.

Arjuna now desires to see Lord Krishna's pleasing and charming, sublime humanlike form.

Lord Krishna exhibited His all-powerful Viśvarūpa to show Arjuna in no uncertain terms that without any effort He will destroy all the kings and warriors that are arrayed in the Kaurāva army and this does not depend at all upon Arjuna and the Pāṇḍava army.

Lord Krishna is prepared to annihilate the complete Kaurāva army if need be and to assert this conviction He exhibited the terrible visages of the Viśvarūpa is to remind Arjuna of this.

śrībhagavān uvāca
kālo’smi loka-kṣaya-kṛt pravṛddho lokān samāhartum iha pravṛttaḥ|
ṛte’pi tvāṃna bhaviṣyanti sarve ye’vasthitāḥpratyanīkeṣu yodhāḥ|| 32 ||

The Blessed Lord said:

32. I am Time, the mighty force which destroys everything, fully Manifesting Myself, I am here engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without you, none of the warriors arrayed in the enemy ranks shall survive.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word kāla or time is derived from kālayati which is synonymous with gaṇayati which is to calculate or count.

Lord Krishna declares He is time which controls the life span of all living entities and will determine when Duryodhana, Bhīshma, Droṇa and other royal dignitaries along with all the warriors will expire.

Lord Krishna presently exhibited the terrible aspect of the Viśvarūpa or divine universal form in order to show He was directly pravṛttaḥ engaged to complete the activity of their destruction.

By a mere miniscule fiat of His will, Lord Krishna can accomplish this action without the assistance of anything or anyone else and all the warriors of both armies. Kaurāva and Pāṇḍava will soon meet with their destruction except Arjuna and his four brothers.

tasmāt tvam uttiṣṭha yaśo labhasva jitvā śatrūn bhuṅkṣva rājyaṃsamṛddham |
mayaivaite nihatāḥpūrvam eva nimitta-pātraṃbhava savyasācin || 33 ||

33. Therefore arise, win glory! Conquering your foes, enjoy a prosperous kingdom. They have verily already been slain by Me; act merely as an instrument, O Arjuna, you great Archer (savyasācin)!

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna is instructing Arjuna to arise from his lethargy of mind and fight for righteousness.

By vanquishing the Kaurāvas he will acquire lasting glory and enjoy the prospering kingdom of Earth which will be rightfully administered and protected by the Pāṇḍavas.

Lord Krishna alone by Himself has already determined the course of the battle and the destruction of all the unrighteous. In this work Arjuna is merely an instrument and must only accept the role of conqueror as an implement of war.

Arjuna is addressed as savya-sacin or expert archer from the root shach meaning equal. This was because he was ambidextrous and could fix an arrow to a bow shooting it equally with left or right hand.

droṇaṃca bhīṣmaṃca jayadrathaṃca karṇaṃtathā’nyānapi yodhavīrān |
mayāhatāṃs-tvaṃjahi māvyathiṣṭhāyudhyasva jetāsi raṇe sapatnān || 34 ||

34. Slay Droṇa, Bhīṣma, Jayadratha, Karṇa as well as other mighty warriors, who have been destroyed by Me. Do not vacillate, fight! You shall surely conquer your opponents in the battle.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Lord Krishna confirms that Droṇa, Bhīshma, Karṇa along with innumerable warriors have already been slain by Him so Arjuna should not hesitate or feel remorse for slaying his enemies be they superiors, preceptors, relatives or friends in battle for they fighting for the unrighteous Duryodhana have already been marked for destruction by Lord Krishna.

In this verse Arjuna is assured of victory over his enemies on the battlefield and he should not feel even the slightest doubt about this or think he is performing sins by slaying his enemies.

sañjaya uvāca
etacchrutvāvacanaṃkeśavasya kṛtāñjalir vepamānaḥkirīṭī|
namaskṛtvābhūya evāha kṛṣṇaṃsagadgadaṃbhītabhītaḥpraṇamya || 35 ||

Sanjaya said:

35. Having heard this speech of Sri Krishna, Arjuna [the crowned one] prostrated himself and trembling with awe, he bowed down again, and with cupped-palms, and trembling, he spoke to Krishna in a choked voice.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

Having heard the direct orders given by Lord Krishna who is addressed as Keshava the controller of Brahma and Shiva and an ocean of love for His devotees;

Arjuna trembling in divine fear, with head bowed and palms joined, prostrated Himself before the Supreme Lord and with faltering voice choked up by emotion spoke the following verse.

arjuna uvāca
sthāne hṛṣīkeśa tava prakīrtyājagat prahṛṣyaty-anurajyate ca |
rakṣāṃsi bhītāni diśo dravanti sarve namasyanti ca siddha-saṅghāḥ|| 36||

Arjuna said:

36. Rightly it is, O Krishna, that the world is delighted and rejoices in singing Your praise. The terrified demons (Rākṣasas) flee in all directions, and all the hosts of the perfected ones (Siddhas) bow down to You.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word sthāne means appropriate or most worthy.

Who is most worthy? The Lord Krishna is the most worthy.

What is appropriate? It is appropriate that all the hosts of heavenly beings including the Devas or demigods, the Gandharvas, Siddhas, Yakṣas, Vidyādharas, Kinnaras, Kimpuruṣas should have come to witness the astounding spectacle

of Lord Krishna the Supreme Lord of all displaying Himself by the request of His devotee as charioteer in the battle of Kurukṣettra and to appropriately admire His greatness and praise His unmatched compassion to manifest Himself for them to see by His grace and to subsequently rejoice and revel at the phenomenal glory of it all.

How could they not anurajyate or feel devotion this way about the Supreme Lord who is their originator and omit to give Him who is worthy of every adulation, full glorification.

To the contrary it is also appropriate that the unrighteous Rākṣasas or demons should be dejected, disheartened and fearful, fleeing in all directions.

Arjuna further proceeds to explain how all this is right: —

kasmācca te na nameran mahātman garīyase brahmaṇo’pyādikartre |
ananta deveśa jagan-nivāsa tvam akṣaraṃsadasat tatparaṃyat || 37 ||

37. And why should they not, O Mahātman, bow down to You who are Great One, being the first Creator, even of Brahma? O Infinite One, Lord of gods, O You who have the universe for Your abode! You are the imperishable individual Self, the existent and the non-existent, and that which is beyond both.

Rāmānuja’s Commentary

The word ananta means infinite and the word nivasa means foundation.

The word akṣaram means imperishable and refers to Lord Krishna's vibhūti or divine transcendental opulence known as Brāhman or the spiritual substratum pervading all existence.

It also denoted the category of jivātmās or individual souls as embodied beings which are imperishable as well and confirmed in the Katha Upaniṣad I.II.XVIII beginning najayate mriyateva vipaschit meaning: The soul is eternal and is neither born nor dies.

Referring to prakṛti or the material substratum pervading physical existence Lord Krishna is sat the effect and asat or the cause.

Sat is in reference to physical existence in its manifested, variegated state which is the effect. Asat is in reference to the latent non-variegated state which is indiscernible and is the cause.

The effect manifests as names, forms, attributes and qualities being distinguishable. The cause is when all the manes, forms, attributes and qualities are imperceptible.

What is beyond that is tat param or superior and refers to the multi-ātmas who are beyond the categories of jivātmā or bound souls and prakṛti or dull matter.

Arjuna is beyond these two categories as well being a surrendered devotee of Lord Krishna, As the ātma or eternal soul is the conscious life force of the physical body; the Supreme Lord Krishna is the conscious life force of all creation.