Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) — Chapter XI: 9-11

August 6, 2023

śaṁjaya uvāca
™evam uktvā tato rājan mahāyogeśvaro hariḥ
darśayām āsa pārthāya paramaṁ rūpam aiśvaraṁ (XI-9)
™anekavaktranayanam anekādbhutadarśanaṁ
anekadivyābharaṇaṁ divyānekodyatāyudhaṁ (XI-10)
™divyamālyāṁbaradharaṁ divyagandhānulepanaṁ
sarvāścaryamayaṁ devam anantaṁ viśatomukha (XI-11)

XI/9. Sanjaya said: Having said thus, Oh king, the great lord of yoga, Hari, showed to Arjuna his supreme form as the Lord.

XI/10. With numerous mouths and eyes, with numerous wonderful sights, with numerous divine ornaments, with numerous divine weapons uplifted,

XI/11. Wearing divine garlands and apparel, anointed with divine unguents, the all-wonderful, resplendent, infinite, with faces on all sides.

Swamiji's Commentary

     The anthropomorphic tinge often deters the Indian himself! He closes The Bhagavad Gita as a book with which he would not like to associate himself. That is the best climate for antagonistic winds to blow. Proselytization thus gets its best handle. When you yourself admit that there is something wrong with your religion, it is unnecessary for the opponent to convince you of it; he only sees his victim in you.

     If you carefully look into any scripture in the world, you will find such anthropomorphic presentation of spiritual truths - the only one that can be easily grasped by the human mind. Poets have described the sky as the diamond studded crown of the earth; scientists have given names to cyclones; and writers often describe the fate of a ship ("she") in a cyclone in almost human terms! Life Magazine published a series of articles on the human body, literally painting landscapes and factories into it!

    All the mouths and all the eyes of all beings are God's. The wonderful sights in the world that meet the eye are his. The divine weapons may be thunder, lightning, earthquakes and volcanoes. When the whole world is God's body, are not the countless gardens of the world garlands on his body? The infinite has, obviously, "faces on all sides" - every vibrant electron is its "magic eye."

   I shall explain later why even this "explanation" of the anthropomorphic presentation is unnecessary.

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