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Gita Lesson - 1615: Request for Universal Form

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 16
Lesson - 1615: Request for Universal Form
By Raja Subramaniyan

Arjuna after listening to the teaching of Lord Krishna and clarifying his doubts, thus far, summarizes, his understanding. In the first six chapters, Lord Krishna taught the following:

1. My physical body is not me, but it is my vehicle to transact with the world.

2. My essential nature is eternal.

3. In order to convert this information into knowledge, I need to do Karma Yoga
a. Understand the difference between action and inaction
b. Gained clarity in the process of refining the mind through meditation

4. Once I gained self-knowledge, I can live joyfully.

By understanding these teachings, Arjuna says that his delusion is removed. He is no longer confused about waging a war against his opponents. The misunderstanding is removed. He has understood that he is neither the doer nor the enjoyer. Therefore, he is willing to do his duty of fighting for Dharma. However, he is not yet gained the complete clarity. He does not feel that he can live joyfully by knowing that he is different from the physical body.

From the seventh chapter until the tenth chapters, Lord Krishna has explained the role of God with respect to manifestation, sustenance and resolution of the creation that includes all the living beings. The true nature of God and His greatness is also explained in detail.

By repeating the teaching, Arjuna wants to convey to Lord Krishna that he has understood the teaching. In addition, he declares that he has complete faith in the words of Lord Krishna. This is an essential condition for seeking further help from the teacher. Arjuna was asking various questions to Lord Krishna to clarify his doubts during the teaching. Now he has understood fully and there are no more questions. Without having complete faith in the words of the teacher, if one seeks further help, it will not be useful.

Example: After a medical representative explains the potential of a new medicine, if the doctor does not have faith in the new medicine, the sample will not be used. To conclude the meeting the doctor might ask for sample medicine but he may never use it.

Therefore, prior to asking for further help from Lord Krishna, Arjuna expresses his complete faith in the teaching given by Lord Krishna on:
1. True nature of living beings
2. True nature of God
3. God being the material cause of the universe

Lord Krishna is the Descending Avatar of God. Therefore, at this stage of learning, Arjuna requests for a practical demonstration of the powers of God.

Example: The chemistry teacher explains that if phosphorous is exposed to the dry air, it will burn instantly. The students may ask for the practical demonstration to reinforce the learning.

Similarly, Arjuna wants a practical demonstration. A demonstration may be granted if student is serious and the teacher feels it will help further learning.

Example: If the students are not serious about learning and they are asking for practical demonstration for taking a break from the boring lecture, the teacher may not accede to the request. The teacher will arrange for a practical demonstration only if he feels that the students are serious about learning.

Similarly, if Arjuna does not have faith in Lord Krishna's words and ask for a practical demonstration, his request may not be obliged. Secondly, Lord Krishna has to feel that Arjuna is a sincere student and he will be benefited by the practical demonstration.

Example: A diamond merchant claims that he has a valuable diamond in his possession. If a customer asks him, 'Let me see it', the diamond will be shown to him only if the merchant feels that the customer has the capacity to buy it.

Arjuna requests for a practical demonstration of the powers of God, if Lord Krishna thinks that, he is qualified to see it. He says that he wants to see Lord Krishna in his real form of God so that he can experience the vision conceived in his mind based on the teaching so far.

Chapter 11: The Universal form of God [Verses: 01 - 04]

11.1 Arjuna said: I have heard Your instruction on the supreme secret which You have so kindly delivered unto me, and my delusion is now dispelled.

11.2 Oh Krishna, I have heard from You in detail about the appearance and disappearance of every living entity, as realized through Your inexhaustible glories.

11.3 Oh Krishna, it is just so as You describe Yourself. Oh Lord, I desire to see Your divine form.

11.4 If You consider that it can be seen by me, then. You show me Your universal form, Oh Lord!

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