chapter xi: the unimaginable image of god in His manifest form

chapter xi: the unimaginable image of god in His manifest form

by June 11, 2012

The first few lines of Chapter 11 in the Bhagavad Gita, imply that God is the literal experience of Yoga, and by practicing one-pointed focus on the Highest One, the surest Yogic practice for achieving heightened consciousness and spiritual liberation, by the means of His Divine Spirit, God makes known His Divinity to the practitioner.

The Unimaginable Image of God in His Manifest Form

In Chapter 11, Krishna reveals to Arjuna not only is He all Nature and everything manifested on Earth, but He is also the Cosmos, and the heavenly and devilish deities, as well.  “Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, the Asvins twain, and the Maruts too …” (11.6.) The Sun, the Moon, the major deities and their attendants, the twin gods of healing, and the wild, boisterous storm gods, Krishna is all of these. Arjuna implores Krishna to reveal Himself in all of these forms. Krishna informs Arjuna, however, “never will you be able to see Me with your [natural] eye. A celestial eye I’ll give you” (11.8).

Nevertheless, although Arjuna’s third eye is open, the warrior is still awe-struck by the immensity and complexity of God’s Totality, and he cries to Krishna, “You touch the sky, your mouths wide open, your eyes distended, blazing: so do I see You and my inmost self is shaken: I cannot bear it, I find no peace, O Vishnu!” (11.24). Arjuna pleads for Krishna to withdraw this terrifying image of His unity. Meanwhile, Sanjaya, the sage whom accompanies the blind king throughout the narrative, describes the divine vision as, “the whole universe in One converged, there in the body of the God of gods, yet divided out in multiplicity” (11.13). All things in One.

However, the most significant aspect of Arjuna’s reaction, is that the warrior addresses Krishna as Vishnu—by so doing, Arjuna finally acknowledges Krishna as the Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer of all worlds and galaxies, and certainly the Most Blessed God and the Highest of the High. Such recognition is the turning point of the story.


At this point in the discussion, however, instead of concentrating on Arjuna’s ultimate experience, I want to make the warrior’s experience personal to each of us, since, subsequently, each of us has this potential for such a vision, it’s merely repressed within.

Our focus begins on the “celestial eye,” which Krishna gifts to Arjuna so the warrior can gain sight of His fully manifested form. This third eye is also termed the ajna chakra. Swami Satyananda Saraswati describes the ajna as “the famous eye of intuition, through which one who is psychically awakened can view all events on both the physical and psychic [spiritual] planes” (44). Because God Manifest contains both planes, by granting the third eye to Arjuna, Krishna enables the warrior to view Him in all of His forms contemporaneously. It is because of Krishna’s teaching about this chakra, the serious meditator should focus all attention on this space between the eyebrows, the location of the “celestial eye.”

However, if one hopes to attain such a perfect goal, persistence,  patience, and a prolonged practice is the essential tool. Arjuna demonstrated his commitment to spiritual practice during his conversations with Krishna, as well as, throughout his entire life leading up to this point, which was spent at Krishna’s side.

Our ensuing discussions surrounding Krishna’s astonishing revelation will underscore the full extent of Arjuna’s reaction, and his consequent response. In the meantime, regardless of which meditation method you practice—other than heart-centered meditation—intensely focus on the ajna chakra, because by doing so, the images of the collective unconscious–those images we try to repress—will  reveal the divine majesty of our Higher Self. Then, please share about your experiences by posting your comments below.


[1] zaehner, r. c., trans the bhagavad gita london: oxford university press, 1973
[2] Saraswati, Swami Satyananda. Meditations from the Tantras. Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust, 2005.
[3] photo credit
copyright © eileen m. sembrot – all rights reserved.