Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

Question: In the “Universal form” chapter of the “Gita”, in the last verses, it is mentioned that, after revealing different, different forms,Krishna reveals His original form. How to understand this original form?

Tirtha Maharaj: „Sanjaya said to Dhritarashtra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, having spoken thus to Arjuna, displayed His real four-armed form and at last showed His two-armed form, thus encouraging the fearful Arjuna.”[1] 

I think it is obvious; here in the verse, in the original text it is said that the two-armed form is the private form, His own form – in that sense original. The other different aspects are also there. It is also said that He created man according to His image. Just imagine Indulekha Devi dasi with four hands! That would be frightening! Some genetic disorder! Or just imagine another person living in the ashram, having a universal form! That would be a little difficult to accommodate. Therefore it is good that humans are according to this two-armed form of Krishna. This nara form, humanlike form of God, corresponds with feelings of humans. Science has the opinion that human imagination has created a humanlike God. This is called the anthropomorphic God. But according to all the different revelations it is said that humans are created in the image of God, so we can say that humans are deomorphic creatures.

And what was the problem of Arjuna with the other forms – that they were frightening; the cosmic form was too much, the four-armed form was little more acceptable, but still not very common. In Indian iconography they show, they describe the omnipotence by giving many arms to the different images of God. And Arjuna was not a worshiper of God, he was a friend ofKrishna; although here, in this chapter, he says: “Ah, I forgot! I thought that we were simply friends and I was calling You very simply; now I understand Your Greatness!” still he is not forgetting the friendship so easy.

To enter an intimate connection with someone it is very good if we are on the same platform. For example in Vrindavana the gopalas are very much ready to wrestle with Krishna, with the two-armedKrishna. But if they have to wrestle with the four-armedKrishna, they have no chance! AndKrishna’s two-armed form is also miraculous enough! He does not have to show any further arms in order to prove Himself.

From this we should understand that even in seemingly very simple situations we should be able to recognize divinity. Therefore it is said: “Whoever considers the deity a piece of stone; whoever considers the guru a simple mortal; or the water of theGangesto be simple water – he is a fool number one.” Because then we do not recognize the divinity; we see only some average form, like two arms. Maybe He is not God, He has only two arms! If we are searching in infinite God for human connections and aspects, then we should make the picture whole, complete: we should search for divinity in humans. The divine spark.

Abhay Charan: Some opinions say that first He showed the universal form, then the four-armed form, then He showed the two-handed flute form – the form bent in three places – and then he came back to the charioteer form. Other opinions say that He did not manifest the charming flute-holder form.

Tirtha Maharaj: The opinions of the acharyas differ on this question. Some say that the “Gita” was told by Shyamasundara or Nandanandana Krishna – the Vrindavan Krishna. Others say that it was told by Dwarakesh Krishna, in His majestic aspect. And if we analyze the situation, they are just before a war. Few minutes before a war, you do not play your flute. So here Krishna comes as an instructor, as a guide, as a teacher, as a Lord; not like a lover. Although He is very loving to Arjuna and instructing him very mildly, very nicely, very politely, still He is rather instructing than loving. Yet sometimes He cannot hide Himself; even few verses later He says: “You can approach Me only through bhakti.” So sometimes the flute is just revealed from under the dhoti ofKrishna.


[1] „Bhagavad-gita”11.50

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