The Gita complements verbal exposition with visual demonstration

The Bhagavad-gita expounds on the inconceivable relationship of God, Krishna, with this world through two paradoxical verses (09.04-05). These verses state that all of existence is sustained by Krishna (09.04) yet is not sustained by him (09.05). And this seeming self-contradiction is made with a celebratory mood – Krishna says, “Just see my mystic opulence.” Here, see refers not to vision, but to comprehension as when someone says, “I see your point.”

The underlying theme of this verbal exposition is that God is not burdened by existence – he remains immanent and yet remains transcendent.

What the Gita expounds in its ninth chapter – the extraordinary relationship of Krishna with this world – it demonstrates in the eleventh chapter through the mind-boggling revelation of the Universal Form. Therein, it is depicted that even when Krishna remains within the universe, the universe remains within him – he is not restricted by the universe even when he enters into it and seems to occupy one particular puny place within it – just the charioteer’s position on one chariot in one field in one city in one country on one planet within the universe. And this astounding revelation is prefaced with the declaration (11.08): “Behold the majestic opulence of my form.” These two verses (09.05 and 11.08) have nearly the same last lines except that the word yoga (09.05) is replaced with rupa (11.08). The opulence that was see intellectually earlier is now seen visually.

The Gita’s progression of thought reflects our progressive spiritual journey. Initially, we can’t see Krishna in his personal form – we need to see, that is, comprehend his glory by studying the message of the Gita. With this appreciation, we can practice bhakti consistently, become purified and eventually see Krishna’s personal form.

Thus, our journey follows the Gita’s trajectory – we get the exposition first, then the demonstration.

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3 Comments

  1. GITA is the source of our life

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  2. This is a beautiful explanation underlining the importance of hearing / reading about the opulence of the lord so that we can appreciate his form when we see it.

    Your articles are very helpful. Thank you

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