The previous chapter revealed the science of bhakti or loving devotion of God. In this chapter, Shree Krishna desires to increase Arjun’s bhakti by describing His infinite glories and opulence. The verses are not only pleasing to read, but also enchanting to hear. He helps Arjun to meditate on God by reflecting upon His magnificence.
He reveals that He is the source of all that exists. From His mind, the seven great sages, the four great saints, and the fourteen Manus were born. All the people of this world then descended from them. The various exceptional qualities in humans also arise from Him. Those devotees who know this engage in His devotion with great faith. They derive immense satisfaction by conversing about His glories and also help enlightening others about them. God dwells in the hearts of such devotees whose mind is always united in Him. He then bestows upon them His divine knowledge, through which they can attain God-realization.
Arjun is now fully convinced that Shree Krishna is the Supreme Divine Personality and requests Him to describe further His divine glories, which are like divine nectar. Then Lord Shree Krishna reveals that everything that exists is a manifestation of His energies. He is the beginning, middle, and end of all; the infinite reservoir of knowledge, power, beauty, and glory. All beings and things get their splendor from Him; He is the powerhouse of magnificence. Whatever catches our imagination and infuses us with bliss is nothing but a tiny spark of His opulence.
The rest of the chapter describes the personalities, objects, and activities that best display His magnificence. Shree Krishna finally says that the magnitude of His glory cannot be described in words, as within a fraction of His being, He upholds infinite universes. Since God is the source of all the splendor and glory, we must make Him the object of our devotion.
The Blessed Lord said: Listen again to my divine teachings, O mighty armed one. Desiring your welfare because you are my beloved friend, I shall reveal them to you.
Neither celestial gods nor the great sages know my origin. I am the source from which the gods and great seers come.
Those who know me as unborn and beginningless, and as the Supreme Lord of the universe, they among mortals are free from illusion and released from all evils.
From me alone arise the varieties in the qualities amongst humans, such as intellect, knowledge, clarity of thought, forgiveness, truthfulness, control over the senses and mind, joy and sorrow, birth and death, fear and courage, non-violence, equanimity, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, and infamy.
The seven great Sages, the four great Saints before them, and the fourteen Manus, are all born from my mind. From them, all the people in the world have descended.
Those who know in truth my glories and divine powers become united with me through unwavering bhakti yog. Of this there is no doubt.
I am the origin of all creation. Everything proceeds from me. The wise who know this perfectly worship me with great faith and devotion.
With their minds fixed on me and their lives surrendered to me, my devotees remain ever contented in me. They derive great satisfaction and bliss in enlightening one another about me, and conversing about my glories.
To those whose minds are always united with me in loving devotion, I give the divine knowledge by which they can attain me.
Out of compassion for them, I, who dwell within their hearts, destroy the darkness born of ignorance, with the luminous lamp of knowledge.
Arjun said: You are the Supreme Divine Personality, the Supreme Abode, the Supreme Purifier, the Eternal God, the Primal Being, the Unborn, and the Greatest. The great sages, like Narad, Asit, Deval, and Vyas, proclaimed this, and now you are declaring it to me yourself.
O Krishna, I totally accept everything you have told me as the truth. O Lord, neither gods nor the demons can understand your true personality.
Indeed, you alone know yourself by your inconceivable energy, O Supreme Personality, the Creator and Lord of all beings, the God of gods, and the Lord of the universe!
Please describe to me your divine opulences, by which you pervade all the worlds and reside in them. O Supreme Master of Yog, how may I know you and think of you. And while meditating, in what forms can I think of you, O Supreme Divine Personality?
Tell me again in detail your divine glories and manifestations, O Janardan. I can never tire of hearing your nectar.
The Blessed Lord spoke: I shall now briefly describe my divine glories to you, O best of the Kurus, for there is no end to their detail.
O Arjun, I am seated in the heart of all living entities. I am the beginning, middle, and end of all beings.
Amongst the twelve sons of Aditi I am Vishnu; amongst luminous objects I am the sun. Know me to be Marichi amongst the Maruts, and the moon amongst the stars in the night sky.
I am the Sāma Veda amongst the Vedas, and Indra amongst the celestial gods. Amongst the senses I am the mind; amongst the living beings I am consciousness.
Amongst the Rudras know me to be Shankar; amongst the demons I am Kuber. I am Agni amongst the Vasus and Meru amongst the mountains.
O Arjun, amongst priests I am Brihaspati; amongst warrior chiefs I am Kartikeya; and amongst reservoirs of water know me to be the ocean.
I am Bhrigu amongst the great seers and the transcendental Om amongst sounds. Amongst chants know me to be the repetition of the Holy Name; amongst immovable things I am the Himalayas.
Amongst trees I am the peepul tree (sacred fig tree); of the celestial sages I am Narad. Amongst the Gandharvas I am Chitrath, and amongst the siddhas I am the sage Kapil.
Amongst horses know me to be Ucchaihshrava, begotten from the churning of the ocean of nectar. I am Airavata amongst all lordly elephants, and the king amongst humans.
I am the Vajra (thunderbolt) amongst weapons and Kamadhenu amongst the cows. I am Kaamdev, the god of love, amongst all causes for procreation; amongst serpents I am Vasuki.
Amongst the snakes I am Anant; amongst aquatics I am Varun. Amongst the departed ancestors I am Aryama; amongst dispensers of law I am Yamraj, the lord of death.
I am Prahlad amongst the demons; amongst all that controls I am time. Know me to be the lion amongst animals, and Garud amongst the birds.
Amongst purifiers I am the wind, and amongst wielders of weapons I am Lord Ram. Of water creatures I am the crocodile, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
O Arjun, know me to be the beginning, middle, and end of all creation. Amongst sciences I am the science of spirituality, and in debates I am the logical conclusion.
I am the beginning “A” amongst all letters; I am the dual word in grammatical compounds. I am the endless Time, and amongst creators I am Brahma.
I am the all-devouring Death, and I am the origin of those things that are yet to be. Amongst feminine qualities I am fame, prosperity, fine speech, memory, intelligence, courage, and forgiveness.
Amongst the hymns in the Sāma Veda know me to be the Brihatsama; amongst poetic meters I am the Gayatri. Of the twelve months of the Hindu calendar I am Margsheersh, and of seasons I am spring, which brings forth flowers.
I am the gambling of the cheats and the splendor of the splendid. I am the victory of the victorious, the resolve of the resolute, and the virtue of the virtuous.
Amongst the descendants of Vrishni, I am Krishna, and amongst the Pandavas I am Arjun. Know me to be Ved Vyas amongst the sages, and Shukracharya amongst the great thinkers.
I am just punishment amongst means of preventing lawlessness, and proper conduct amongst those who seek victory. Amongst secrets I am silence, and in the wise I am their wisdom.
I am the generating seed of all living beings, O Arjun. No creature moving or non-moving can exist without me.
There is no end to my divine manifestations, O conqueror of enemies. What I have declared to you is a mere sample of my infinite glories.
Whatever you see as beautiful, glorious, or powerful, know it to spring from but a spark of my splendor.
What need is there for all this detailed knowledge, O Arjun? Simply know that by one fraction of my being, I pervade and support this entire creation.