Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 11, Verse 41-42

सखेति मत्वा प्रसभं यदुक्तं
हे कृष्ण हे यादव हे सखेति |
अजानता महिमानं तवेदं
मया प्रमादात्प्रणयेन वापि || 41||
यच्चावहासार्थमसत्कृतोऽसि
विहारशय्यासनभोजनेषु |
एकोऽथवाप्यच्युत तत्समक्षं
तत्क्षामये त्वामहमप्रमेयम् || 42||

sakheti matvā prasabhaṁ yad uktaṁ
he kṛiṣhṇa he yādava he sakheti
ajānatā mahimānaṁ tavedaṁ
mayā pramādāt praṇayena vāpi
yach chāvahāsārtham asat-kṛito ’si
vihāra-śhayyāsana-bhojaneṣhu
eko ’tha vāpy achyuta tat-samakṣhaṁ
tat kṣhāmaye tvām aham aprameyam

sakhāfriend; itias; matvāthinking; prasabhampresumptuously; yatwhatever; uktamaddressed; he kṛiṣhṇaO Shree Krishna; he yādavaO Shree Krishna, who was born in the Yadu clan; he sakheO my dear mate; itithus; ajānatāin ignorance; mahimānammajesty; tavayour; idamthis; mayāby me; pramādātout of negligence; praṇayenaout of affection; vā apior else; yatwhatever; chaalso; avahāsa-arthamhumorously; asat-kṛitaḥdisrespectfully; asiyou were; vihārawhile at play; śhayyāwhile resting; āsanawhile sitting; bhojaneṣhuwhile eating; ekaḥ(when) alone; athavāor; apieven; achyutaKrishna, the infallible one; tat-samakṣhambefore others; tatall that; kṣhāmayebeg for forgiveness; tvāmfrom you; ahamI; aprameyamimmeasurable

Translation

BG 11.41–11.42: Thinking of you as my friend, I presumptuously addressed you as, “O Krishna,” “O Yadav,” “O my dear mate.” I was ignorant of your majesty, showing negligence and undue affection. And if, jestfully, I treated you with disrespect, while playing, resting, sitting, eating, when alone, or before others—for all that I crave forgiveness.

Commentary

Declaring the unparalleled supremacy of God, all the scriptures state:

aham evāsam evāgre nānyat kiñchāntaraṁ bahiḥ (Bhāgavatam 6.4.47)[v15]

“I, the Supreme Lord, am everything that exists. There is nothing beyond me and nothing higher than me.”

tvamomkāraḥ parātparaḥ (Vālmīki Ramayan)[v16]

“The primordial sound “Om” is your manifestation. You are greater than the greatest.”

vāsudevaḥ praḥ prabhuḥ (Nārad Pañcharātra)[v17]

“Shree Krishna is the ultimate Supreme Lord.”

na devaḥ keśhavāt paraḥ (Nārad Purāṇ)[v18]

“There is no god higher than Lord Krishna.”

vidyāt taṁ puruṣhaṁ param (Manu Smṛiti 12.122)[v19]

“God is the highest and ultimate personality that exists.” However, as was explained previously (commentary of verse 11.24), when love swells immensely it makes the lover forget the formal position of the beloved. Thus, in his extreme love for Shree Krishna, Arjun had shared many intimate memorable moments with him, blissfully oblivious of his supreme position.

Having seen the universal form of God, Arjun is now painfully aware that Shree Krishna is not merely his friend and comrade-in-arms, but is also the Supreme Divine Personality, whom even the devatās, gandharvas, siddhas, etc. venerate. Thus, he feels regret for the disrespect he thinks he may have shown toward Shree Krishna by audaciously looking upon him as a mere friend. Those who are venerated are not called even by their first names, as a mark of respect toward them. He is worried that due to excessive familiarity, he had put himself on equal status with God and had presumptuously addressed him with affectionate vocatives, such as “My friend,” “My dear buddy,” and “O Krishna.” So he implores forgiveness for whatever he may have done in forgetfulness of the divinity of Shree Krishna’s personality.