Majority of the people misunderstood the Vishwarupa Darshanam, as narrated in Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

When Arjuna asked Sri Krishna to show his Divine form (द्रष्टुमिच्छामि ते रूपमैश्वरं पुरुषोत्तम), Sri Krishna says as follows:

पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रशः।

नानाविधानि दिव्यानि नानावर्णाकृतीनि च।।11.5।।

O Arjuna, forms of Mine, by the hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, divine, and of various colours and shapes.

इहैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं पश्याद्य सचराचरम्।

मम देहे गुडाकेश यच्चान्यद्द्रष्टुमिच्छसि।।11.7।।

Now behold, O Arjuna, in this, My body, the whole universe centred in one including the moving and the unmoving and whatever else thou desirest to see.

The secret of the Vishwarupa lies in the above Sloka, wherein Sri Krishna said:

द्रष्टुमिच्छसि - whatever thou desirest to see.

Sri Krishna never said that I am showing the Vishwarupa to you and that these all comprise my Vishwarupa.

He simply said that "See whatever you want to see - द्रष्टुमिच्छसि".

So whatever Arjuna saw during Viswarupa Sandarsana, it was his own mind's projections and imaginations.

Sri Krishna did not show anything to Arjuna.

Coming to Sanjaya, he was just narrating the dialogues that took place between Sri Krishna and Arjuna. So Sanjaya just heard what Arjuna said but not what he saw.

The vision of GOD, is like projections on a WHITE screen. It will show whatever is projected on it.

GOD will show to the seekers of GOD, according to their maturity of mind and hence their own mind's projections.

To the Gnani, who lost all desires, only ETERNAL HAPPINESS remains, because that is his projection.

It is very subtle and beyond the imagination of the common man.

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    @srimannarayankv See this answer
    – Aby
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 16:59
  • @Aby: I think you missed my point. I am not quoting what Purushasuukta was telling. I am asking what Arjuna actually saw. It was the report of Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra. Sri Krishna never said that is my UNIVERSAL FORM. He only said "see whatever you want to see - द्रष्टुमिच्छसि" . Whatever Arjuna saw was whatever he had wished for, but not what the realty is. The Realty will be according to One's elevated level of perception. For the one who conquered his desires, it will be the ETERNAL HAPPINESS, which is beyond comprehension, that can only be experienced. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 0:54
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    Good question. @Aby even I too feel that, Arjuna saw according to his then knowledge and surrounding. In today's time such seeker would have seen a different version. In nutshell, it's a gateway to all relevant events of past, present, future. I also agree that, this doesn't negate the possibility of not showing the universal form. For that very purpose Arjuna(& even Sanjaya) was given divine vision. Sanjaya might have chosen to describe Arjuna's version for the sake of Dhritarashtra's interest. The term "Vishwaroopam" is most fitted for this, though not explicitly described by Krishna.
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 1:31
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    @Keshav and Srimannarayankv, I just gave the reference of the other answer so that other people know that Vishwaroopa is not a myth (which people can misunderstood with this question). If there are multiple instances then people can compare and think in more detailed manner. Btw, I think if Arjun was given Divine eyesight, it should be for some purpose or Divyadrishti is a metaphor for divine understanding. Also, 'see whatever you want to see' can also mean 'see whatever you want to see, everything is related to me'
    – Aby
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 8:41
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    "See whatever you want to see - द्रष्टुमिच्छसि" Here Krishna is saying see whatever is present in my universal form(manifested creation). Example - If Krishna shows me Garbhodaka ocean and Ksheersagar so by द्रष्टुमिच्छसि he meant that see whatever you want to see among what I showed you and not something that is in your mind.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:37

4 Answers 4


It has nothing to do with imagination. We have to examine that quote in context:

Arjuna said: ... "O greatest of all personalities, O supreme form, though I see You here before me in Your actual position, as You have described Yourself, I wish to see how You have entered into this cosmic manifestation. I want to see that form of Yours. If You think that I am able to behold Your cosmic form, O my Lord, O master of all mystic power, then kindly show me that unlimited universal Self."

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: "My dear Arjuna, O son of Pṛthā, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms. O best of the Bhāratas, see here the different manifestations of Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, Aśvinī-kumāras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before. O Arjuna, whatever you wish to see, behold at once in this body of Mine! This universal form can show you whatever you now desire to see and whatever you may want to see in the future. Everything – moving and nonmoving – is here completely, in one place."

So the form that Krishna shows Arjuna is the specific form that Arjuna wished to see, i.e. the Sahasrashirsha Purusha form that Vishnu took when he entered the Universe. It is described the same way it is described in other scriptures, like the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda as I discuss in my answer here.

So that's what "whatever you wished to see" means here - whatever form you just asked to see. And he also says "whatever you may wish to see in future", i.e. the outcome of the war. Here is Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on the verse:

Pasya, see; adya, now; O Gudakesa, the krtsnam, entire; jagat, Universe; sa-cara-acaram, existing together with the moving and the non-moving; ekastham, concentrated at the same place; iha, here; mama dehe, in My body; ca, as also; yat anyat, whatever else-even those victory, defeat, etc. with regard to which you expressed doubt in, ‘whether we shall win, or whether they shall conquer us’ (2.6); if icchasi, you would like; drastum, to see them.

And here's Ramanujacharya's commentary:

‘Here’, in this one body of Mine, and even there, gathered together in a single spot, behold the universe with all mobile and immobile entities. Whatever else you desire to see (i.e., Arjuna’s chances of victory), behold that also in one part of this single body.

So it is not the form that is dependent on Arjuna's desires, it is just the vision of Pandavas' victory that Krishna shows in response to Arjuna's desire to know the outcome of the battle.

So Arjuna really did see Vishnu's Vishwarupa.

  • It depends on how you see it. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:02
  • @srimannarayanakv Well, you're an Advaitin, right? Adi Shankaracharya is very clear in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:10
  • you have just quoted the meaning of the sloka as given by Sri Sankaraacharya, but not the commentary of it. Yes, I prefer Advaita to some other school. Even Sri Ramana Maharshi was an Advaitin. You can go through his teachings - Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. I learnt many of my views that I hold now from those teachings only. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:16
  • @srimannarayanakv I did quote the commentary. That is just how Adi Shankaracharya's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita is structured - it's interspersed with the words of the verse. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:17
  • From the link you have provided in your answer, I could see only the word by word meaning only. Commentary means it should discuss at length, the purpose/meaning of/the context in which each word was used. That is not forthcoming in the link Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 16:22

It is definitely not Imagination. Krishna is clearly speaking here about His universal form as quoted in above answer by Keshav.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, O son of Pṛthā, see now My opulences, hundreds of thousands of varied divine and multicolored forms. O best of the Bhāratas, see here the different manifestations of Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, Aśvinī-kumāras and all the other demigods. Behold the many wonderful things which no one has ever seen or heard of before.

More over later Sanjaya is admitting that he is also seeing the same thing(BG 11.9). So here Sanjaya uses the word ' darśayām āsa' which means 'Showed'.

Sanjaya doesnt say that 'Arjuna saw the universal form'. Sanjaya is admitting that even he saw the Lord menifesting His universal form.

Sañjaya said: O King, having spoken thus, the Supreme Lord of all mystic power, the Personality of Godhead, displayed His universal form to Arjuna. Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths, unlimited eyes, unlimited wonderful visions. The form was decorated with many celestial ornaments and bore many divine upraised weapons. He wore celestial garlands and garments, and many divine scents were smeared over His body. All was wondrous, brilliant, unlimited, all-expanding.

And Sanjaya goes on for quite some time in acknowledging same things which Arjuna confirms that he is seeing in universal form. Of course Lord Krishna and Arjuna are higher authorities than Sanjaya. But than Sanjaya is also seeing the same thing.

How could two different people imagine the same thing at same time?

Not only Sanjaya but in the end Barbarik; a rakshasa also acknowledges the mystic opulence of Lord as exhibited by Krishna in Kurukshetra battlefield.


If it is just a mere projection of Arjuna's mind, in what way it is different from everybody's mind. Then what is the need for Arjuna's imagination to be recorded in such valuable scripture like Bhagavad Gita.

Scripture contains only truth (facts)...not fantasies.

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    – Aby
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 7:35

It's a request before giving your baseless explainations kindly go through the other shloks in ch 11 you will get the answer whether Krishna really showed Arjuna his vishwarup. He was not a normal human who would bluff without base to manipulate his powers for show off. He did show. And that's the reason he specified not all can see this form and to Arjuna he gave specific visioning ability to see Krishna in his vishwarup form. That is the reason you will never be able to even feel Krishna's essence coz you are a doubtful creature yourself and dared to change the meaning till a limited Shlok of a scripture like Bhagwad Gita. Pls go to books of inner improvement and trust you will understand better at least my words. Krishna's is impossible for you to understand.

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    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 16:55
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    I feel the answer is a comment. Instead of quoting just shloka 11.5 and 11.6, the following shlokas will reveal the actuality. So Rakhi Dutta's message is correct - but yes Pandya's advice is absolutely just. Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 2:26

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