I love this passage from the Mahabharata. To me it conveys a notion of God as true omnipotence. God is both within and without time. God is at the beginning and the end of time. Our choices exist. They exist in that they are perceived. That which is fully perceived is real but at the same time is illusion brought on by the senses. The equilibrium lies in the continual knowledge that reality is illusion and illusion is reality. We can cease struggling and act as elements of the divine principal.
(Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI)
"Arjuna said,--'This discourse about the supreme mystery, called Adhyatman, which thou hast uttered for my welfare, hath dispelled my delusion. 2 For I have heard at large from thee of the creation and dissolution of beings, O thou of eyes like lotus petals, and also of thy greatness that knoweth no deterioration. What thou hast said about thyself, O great Lord, is even so. O best of Male Beings, I desire to behold thy sovereign form. If, O Lord, thou thinkest that I am competent to behold that (form), then, O Lord of mystic power, show me thy eternal Self. 3'
"The Holy One said, 'Behold, O son of Pritha, my forms by hundreds and thousands, 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 curly hair, the entire universe of mobiles and immobiles, collected together in this body of mine, whatever else thou mayst wish to see. 4 Thou art, however, not competent to behold me with this eye of thine. I give thee celestial sight. Behold my sovereign mystic nature.'"
Sanjaya continued,--"Having said this, O monarch, Hari, the mighty Lord of mystic power, then revealed to the son of Pritha his Supreme sovereign form, with many mouths and eyes, many wonderous aspects, many celestial ornaments, many celestial weapons uplifted, wearing celestial garlands and robes, (and) with unguents of celestial fragrance, full of every wonder, resplendent, infinite, with faces turned on all sides. 5 If the splendour of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky,
[paragraph continues] (then) that would be like the splendour of that Mighty One. The son of Pandu then beheld there in the body of that God of gods the entire universe divided and sub-divided into many parts, all collected together. 1 Then Dhananjaya, filled with amazement, (and) with hair standing on end, bowing with (his) head, with joined hands addressed the God.
"Arjuna said, 'I behold all the gods, O God, as also all the varied hosts of creatures, (and) Brahman seated on (his) lotus seat, and all the Rishis 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 Lord of 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 that art hard to look at, endued on all sides with the effulgence of the blazing fire or the Sun, (and) immeasurable. Thou art indestructible, (and) the Supreme object of this universe. Thou art without decay, the guardian of eternal virtue. I regard thee to be the eternal (male) Being. I behold thee to be without beginning, mean, end, to be of infinite prowess, of innumerable arms, having the Sun and the Moon for thy eyes, the blazing fire for thy mouth, and heating this universe with energy of thy own. For the space betwixt heaven and earth is pervaded by Thee alone, as also all the points of the horizon. At sight of this marvellous and fierce form of thine, O Supreme Soul, the triple world trembleth. For these hosts of gods are entering thee. Some, afraid, are praying with joined hands. Saying Hail to Thee--the hosts of great Rishis and Siddhas praise Thee with copious hymns of praise. 2 The Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, they that (called) the Siddhas, the Viswas, the Aswins, the Maruts, also the Ushmapas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, the hosts of Siddhyas, behold Thee and are all amazed. Beholding Thy mighty form with many mouths and eyes, O mighty-armed one, with innumerable arms, thighs and feet, many stomachs, (and) terrible in consequence of many tusks, all creatures are frightened and I also. Indeed, touching the very skies, of blazing radiance, many-hued, mouth wide-open, with eyes that are blazing and large, beholding thee, O Vishnu, with (my) inner soul trembling (in fright), I can no longer command courage and peace of mind. Beholding thy mouths that are terrible in consequence of (their) tusks, and that are fierce (as the all-destroying fire at the end of the Yuga), I cannot recognise the points of the horizon nor can I command peace of mind. Be gracious, O God of gods, O thou that art the refuge of the Universe. And all these sons of Dhritarashtra, together with the hosts of kings, and Bhishma, and Drona, and also this Suta's son (Karna), accompanied by even the principal warriors of our
side, are quickly entering thy terrible mouths rendered fierce by thy tusks. Some, with their heads crushed, are seen striking at the interstices of (thy) teeth. As many currents of water flowing through different channels roll rapidly towards the ocean, so these heroes of the world of men enter thy mouths that flame all around. As moths with increasing speed rush for (their own) destruction to the blazing fire, so also do (these) people, with unceasing speed, enter thy mouths for (their) destruction. Swallowing all these men from every side, thou lickest them with thy flaming mouths. Filling the whole universe with (thy) energy, thy fierce splendours, O Vishnu, are heating (everything). Tell me who thou art of (such) fierce form. I bow to thee, O chief of the gods, be gracious to me. I desire to know thee that art the Primeval One, I do not understand thy action.' 1
The Holy One said, "I am Death, the destroyer of the worlds, fully developed. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. Without thee all these warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease to be. 2 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 left hand. Drona and Bhishma, and Jayadratha, and Karna, and also other heroic warriors, (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 once more 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 and charmed in uttering thy praise, and the Rakshasas flee in fear in all directions, and the hosts of the Siddhas bow down (to thee). And why should they not bow down to thee, O Supreme Soul, that are greater than even Brahman (himself), and the primal cause? O thou that art Infinite. O God of the gods, O thou that art the refuge of the universe, thou art indestructible, thou art that which is, and that which is not and that which is beyond (both). Thou art the First God, the ancient (male) Being, thou art the Supreme refuge of this universe. Thou art the Knower, thou art the Object to be known, thou art the highest abode.
[paragraph continues] By thee is pervaded this universe, O thou of infinite form. 1 Thou art Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, Moon, Prajapati, and Grandsire. Obeisance be to thee a thousand times, and again and yet again obeisance to thee. Obeisance to thee in front, and also from behind. Let obeisance be to thee from every side, O thou that art all. Thou art all, of energy that is infinite, and prowess that is immeasurable. Thou embracest the All. Regarding (thee) a friend whatever hath been said by me carelessly, such as--O Krishna, O Yadava, O friend,--not knowing this thy greatness from want of judgement or from love either, whatever disrespect hath been shown thee for purpose of mirth, on occasions of play, lying, sitting, (or) at meals, while alone or in the presence of others, O undeteriorating one, I beg thy pardon for it, that art immeasurable. Thou art the father of this universe of mobiles and immobiles. Thou art the great master deserving of worship. There is none equal to thee, how can there be one greater? O thou whose power is unparalleled in even three worlds? 2 Therefore bowing (to thee) prostrating (my) body, I ask thy grace, O Lord, O adorable 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 mind hath 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 the universe. (Decked) in diadem, and (armed) with mace, discus in hand, as before, I desire to behold thee. Be of that same four-armed form, O thou of 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. Except by thee alone, hero of Kuru's race, I cannot be seen in this form in the world of men by any one else, (aided) even by the study of the Vedas and of sacrifices, by gifts, by actions, (or) by the severest austerities. 3 Let no fear be thine, nor perplexity of mind at seeing this awful form of mine. Freed from fear with a joyful heart, thou again see Me assuming that other form.'"
Sanjaya continued,--"Vasudeva, having said all this to Arjuna, once more showed (him) his own (ordinary) form, and that High-Souled one, assuming once more (his) gentle form, comforted him who had been afflicted."
"Arjuna said, 'Beholding this gentle human form of thine, O Janardana, I have 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 difficult
of being seen. Even the gods are always desirous of becoming spectators of 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 hast seen. By reverence, however, that is exclusive (in its objects), O Arjuna, I can in this form be known, seen truly, and attained to, O chastiser of foes. He who doth everything for me, who hath me for his supreme object, who is freed from attachment, who is without enmity towards all beings, even he, O Arjuna, cometh to me.'
79:2 Adhyatman, i.e., the relation between the Supreme and the individual soul. This my delusion, i.e., about my being the slayer.
79:3 Avyayam is that which has no decay. Ordinarily, it may be rendered "eternal." Telang renders it "inexhaustible". Elsewhere I have rendered it as "understanding."
79:4 Ekastham, lit. "all in one". i.e., collected together.
79:5 Devam is explained by Sreedhara as Dyotanatmakam i.e., endued with splendour. Mr. Davies renders it resplendent; but Telang renders it "deity."
80:1 Pra-vibhaktam-anekadha (divided diversely) is an adjective of Jagat. See Sreedhara. Both Mr. Davies and Telang seem to take it as a predicate in contra-distinction to Ekastham. This is scarcely correct.
80:2 Verse 21 is read differently. For Twam Surasangha, some texts read twa-Asurasanghas. Then again for Stuvanti in the second line some read Vikshate.
81:1 Pravritti is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as Chesta, i.e., movements or acts. Mr. Davies is, I think, not correct in taking it to mean "evolved or developed form."
81:2 Kala here is death. Mr. Davies renders it Time, following some other translators. Pravriddha is not (as Mr. Davies renders it) "old" or "very old," but swelling or fully developed. Then again, Mr. Davies commits a ludicrous blunder in rendering Rite twam as "Except thee." This is one of those idioms at which a foreigner is sure to stumble who has only the lexicons for his guide. What Krishna says is not that all would perish save Arjuna, but that without Arjuna (i.e., even if he did not fight) all would perish.
82:1 Nidhanam is either refuge or support or abode or receptacle. Mr. Davies incorrectly renders it "treasure-house."
82:2 Sankara accepts the reading Gururgariyan, Sreedhara takes it as Gururgariyan. In either case the difference in meaning is not material.
82:3 Sankara connects Adhyayana with Veda and Yajna. This seems to be right explanation.
Next: Section XXXVI (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XII)