Mahabharata Bhishma Parva Chapter 35:2

Mahabharata Bhishma Parva (Bhagavat-Gita Parva) Chapter 35:2
Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI

For the space betwixt heaven and earth is pervaded by Thee alone, as also all the points of the horizon. At sight of this marvellous and fierce form of thine, O Supreme Soul, the triple world trembleth. For these hosts of gods are entering thee. Some, afraid, are praying with joined hands. Saying Hail to Thee—the hosts of great Rishis and Siddhas praise Thee with copious hymns of praise.[1] The Rudras, the Adityas, the Vasus, they that (called) the Siddhas, the Viswas, the Aswins, the Maruts, also the Ushmapas, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas, the Asuras, the hosts of Siddhyas, behold Thee and are all amazed. Beholding Thy mighty form with many mouths and eyes, O mighty-armed one, with innumerable arms, thighs and feet, many stomachs, (and) terrible in consequence of many tusks, all creatures are frightened and I also. Indeed, touching the very skies, of blazing radiance, many-hued, mouth wide-open, with eyes that are blazing and large, beholding thee, O Vishnu, with (my) inner soul trembling (in fright), I can no longer command courage and peace of mind. Beholding thy mouths that are terrible in consequence of (their) tusks, and that are fierce (as the all-destroying fire at the end of the Yuga),

I cannot recognise the points of the horizon nor can I command peace of mind. Be gracious, O God of gods, O thou that art the refuge of the Universe. And all these sons of Dhritarashtra, together with the hosts of kings, and Bhishma, and Drona, and also this Suta's son (Karna), accompanied by even the principal warriors of our side, are quickly entering thy terrible mouths rendered fierce by thy tusks. Some, with their heads crushed, are seen striking at the interstices of (thy) teeth. As many currents of water flowing through different channels roll rapidly towards the ocean, so these heroes of the world of men enter thy mouths that flame all around. As moths with increasing speed rush for (their own) destruction to the blazing fire, so also do (these) people, with unceasing speed, enter thy mouths for (their) destruction. Swallowing all these men from every side, thou lickest them with thy flaming mouths. Filling the whole universe with (thy) energy, thy fierce splendours, O Vishnu, are heating (everything). Tell me who thou art of (such) fierce form. I bow to thee, O chief of the gods, be gracious to me. I desire to know thee that art the Primeval One, I do not understand thy action.[2]

The Holy One said, 'I am Death, the destroyer of the worlds, fully developed. I am now engaged in slaying the race of men. Without thee all these warriors standing in the different divisions shall cease to be.[3] Wherefore, arise, gain glory, (and) vanquishing the foe, enjoy (this) swelling kingdom. By me have all these been already slain. Be only (my) instrument. O thou that can'st draw the bow with (even) the left hand. Drona and Bhishma, and Jayadratha, and Karna, and also other heroic warriors, (already) slain by me, do thou slay. Be not dismayed, fight; thou shalt conquer in battle (thy) foes.



  1. Verse 21 is read differently. For Twam Surasangha, some texts read twa-Asurasanghas. Then again for Stuvanti in the second line some read Vikshate.
  2. Pravritti is explained by both Sankara and Sreedhara as Chesta, i.e., movements or acts. Mr. Davies is, I think, not correct in taking it to mean "evolved or developed form."
  3. Kala here is death. Mr. Davies renders it Time, following some other translators. Pravriddha is not (as Mr. Davies renders it) "old" or "very old," but swelling or fully developed. Then again, Mr. Davies commits a ludicrous blunder in rendering Rite twam as "Except thee." This is one of those idioms at which a foreigner is sure to stumble who has only the lexicons for his guide. What Krishna says is not that all would perish save Arjuna, but that without Arjuna (i.e., even if he did not fight) all would perish.