In chapter eleven of the Bhagwat Gita, Lord Krishna reveals his ‘Universe form’. There are some thought provoking ideas hidden behind this event. At the start of this chapter Arjuna says that he understands all that Lord Krishna had revealed, and indeed he does not doubt the words of Lord spoken till that point in the Gita. Then what could be the reason behind this event?
The revelation of the ‘Universe form’ is significant. It signifies that the Universe is God, and God is Universe – interchangeable entities. One and the same thing. It gives consciousness to what we normally understand to be an inanimate thing.
What this signifies is that the duality between man and God, and material and spiritual world are all illusions created by our limited perception. It is a reiteration of philosophy of non-duality or Advaita.
The implication for man is that as a part of a common entity, all of us are bound by the goals and activities of the ‘whole’. A part should not, indeed cannot, function totally independently. This is not to say that independence of action is not available to man. It only means that not understanding the ‘will’ or the ‘spirit’ of the Universe will keep us making the wrong choices.
I felt that Gita is not saying that everything happens by the will of God. Gita says that whatever is happening is done by individuals who are a part of the Universe, or God. Therefore it does not absolve us of the responsibilities of taking the right decisions. In fact all that is happening in the world is not necessarily right.
The only protection that Gita offers us is Hope. Since we are the part of God, nothing bad can happen to us in the long run. But by understanding our place and role, we can be in harmony with the Universe, and we can tap the full potential of our own selves – that is, of the Universe.
The humanist lesson of the chapter is that since all of us are a part of the same ‘whole’, divisions between individuals are artificial. Understanding this will produce a natural empathy, or love, towards all. A person who understands reality, the enlightened one, can feel empathy towards all creatures and materials in the world. This does not mean that we need to change our behavior pattern as individuals. The understanding will lead to a greater peace within us when we deal with the world that we feel is hostile or antagonistic towards us.