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BG Chap 10 - The qualities of Kṛṣṇa praised by Arjuna

• Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Brahman, which is described in Taittirīya Upaniṣad as eternity, knowledge and bliss. (paraṁ brahma)
• He is the ultimate shelter described in Kaṭha Upaniṣad as the one in whom all things take shelter and that nothing can surpass Him. (paraṁ dhāma)
• Kṛṣṇa is the supreme body (dhāma also means body, thus param dhāma means supreme body). There is no difference between Him and His body.
• Kṛṣṇa is supremely purifying (pavitraṁ), who destroy all sins of one who remembers Him, and who takes away the contamination of ignorance of everyone who sees His form. Thus all ṛṣis like Nārada, Asita, Devala and Vyāsa speak of the eternality of Kṛṣṇa in the human form.
• He is beyond the modes, the source of all devas, unborn and most powerful. The Gopāla Tāpanī says that Kṛṣṇa is beyond the material modes, and that one should meditate upon Him, relish Him, serve Him and worship Him. Thus Arjuna’s acceptance of Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Truth is in accordance with the Vedas and confirmed by the sages. Arjuna accepts as truth all that Kṛṣṇa revealed about Him. (sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye)

BG Chap 10 - Kṛṣṇa alone knows Himself

Kṛṣṇa is addressed as Keśava, which means He binds up even Brahmā and Śiva by hiding the knowledge of His true self. Ka means Brahmā, and īśa means Śiva. Va stands for vayase, which means to bind, from the root ve. If even Brahmā and Śiva cannot know Kṛṣṇa’s true nature, the other devas and the demons certainly cannot know it. The sages think that Kṛṣṇa is without birth. They do not know about His birth, not understanding how His svarūpa of para brahma could be both unborn and born. The devas and dānavas disregard and insult Him by thinking that He is like others.

Kṛṣṇa alone knows Himself by His internal potency. Those who are devotees among the devas and dānavas substantially know His form as described but do not know that form as it really is. Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of all men (puruṣottama) because He is the source of all living beings (bhūta-bhāvana). Though he is the source of all beings, He may not be respected. Thus Arjuna addresses Him as the controller of all beings (bhūteśa). Although He is the controller, he may not be worthy of worship. Therefore Arjuna says Kṛṣṇa is worshipped by those who are worthy of worship (deva-deva). Though a person is worthy of worship, he may not protect others, just like the devas who sometimes do not give protection. Thus Arjuna says that Kṛṣṇa is the protector of the universe (jagat-pate), by giving means of livelihood and teachings to both the good and evil people.

The devotee knows that Kṛṣṇa has birth and also birthless, but does not know by which method it can happen. Only Kṛṣṇa knows Himself thru Himself and not thru any other means. Thus among all puruṣa-avatāras, who create the mahat-tattva and other elements, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme (puruṣottama). Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of all lords up to Brahmā, who are creators of all material bodies (bhūta bhāvana bhūta īśa). He is also the performer of pastimes (deva, which comes from the root div meaning one who plays), taking the devas as instruments in His pastimes (deva-deva). Kṛṣṇa, out of His infinite mercy, is also the master of all people living within the universe (jagat-pate)

BG Chap 10 - Reasons why Arjuna ask Kṛṣṇa to reveal His opulences

(a) To keep thinking of Kṛṣṇa to gain unflinching bhakti.

Although Kṛṣṇa had explained that He is everything (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ), Arjuna requests Kṛṣṇa to speak about His divine opulences (vibhūtis) by which He pervades this universe, so that Arjuna could keep thinking of Kṛṣṇa. At the end of chapter six, Kṛṣṇa had asked Arjuna to always abide in Him (mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā), and at the end of chapter nine, He had asked Arjuna to always think of Him (man-manā). And earlier in this chapter Kṛṣṇa said that by knowing His vibhūtis, one can become fixed in unflinching bhakti. Arjuna asks Kṛṣṇa by what method he could know the Lord constantly, and in which objects should he think of the Lord while meditating.

(b) To benefit the common man.

Arjuna is asking these so that the common man can understand the all-pervading nature of the Lord, and also because the common man finds it easier to concentrate the mind on physical representations. He addresses Kṛṣṇa specifically as yogin because Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the master of the yoga-māyā energy, by which He is covered and uncovered to the common man. The common man who has no love for Kṛṣṇa cannot always think of Kṛṣṇa; therefore he has to think materially.

(c) No satiation hearing Kṛṣṇa’s glories.

Kṛṣṇa had already stated that He is the source of everything and that everything that exists is His vibhūti, and knowing this one worships Him in bhakti yoga. But Arjuna says that Janārdana, by the sweetness of His instructions, creates longing in people like him (jana) and agitates (ardana) them. Arjuna’s ears are acquiring the ability to taste, as if they were tongues, and makes him beg for more as he finds no satiation. One can never be satiated even though one continuously hears the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, who is glorified by excellent prayers. Those who have entered into a transcendental relationship with Kṛṣṇa relish at every step the descriptions of the pastimes of the Lord. (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.19)

BG Chap 10 - Kṛṣṇa's response to reveal His opulences

Kṛṣṇa responds saying that He would speak about the chief of His excellent vibhūtis, for there is no end to His manifestations. The word vibhūti includes both material and spiritual manifestations of power of the Lord. They should all be considered as worthy of meditation because they all arise from the energy of the Lord, though some are preferable to others. All vibhūtis should be known as the Lord’s self to some degree, in that they suggest the powers of the Lord of all things. What will be described here are only limited representations of the Lord, and not the direct forms of the Lord described previously. And Kṛṣṇa will describe this to Arjuna, who had conquered ignorance (Guḍākeśa).

BG Chap 10 - Kṛṣṇa is everything, but not everything is God

In the next section of the tenth chapter, Kṛṣṇa claims to be the superlative exemplar in more than 70 categories. There are many who read monism into these texts. But we should understand that prior to this Kṛṣṇa has just strongly and repeatedly declared that He is the source of all that be. It follows that God is not only distinct from His creative energies but is also one with them, since they are eternally resting on Him.

In 10.2, He said He is the source of the devas and the sages. In 10.4-5 He said He is the source of all the qualities of the living beings. In 10.6 He said He is the origin of the Manus. In 10.8 He said He is the source of everything. Kṛṣṇa precedes, then, His identification of Himself with the greatest items of this world by emphasizing that He is the source of all these things. In the seventh chapter, Kṛṣṇa stated that all the things of this world are His energy and that He is therefore the source of all that be.

Kṛṣṇa uses the term vibhūti repeatedly which indicates the following: glory, expansion, great power, manifestation of might and so on. By using the word vibhūti no less than six times, Kṛṣṇa makes it clear that He is talking about His powers, His properties, His opulences and so on. In the seventh chapter, there are three ‘identification verses’ (7.9-11) which exactly resemble in meter, language and content the ‘identification verses’ of the tenth chapter (10.20-38). These 3 verse, as in the 10th chapter, are preceded by an elaborate analysis of how Lord Kṛṣṇa is the source of all. At the conclusion of 7.9-11, Kṛṣṇa declares that all these opulences with which He identified Himself come from Him, and are resting in Him, but He is not in them (7.12). So one who rightly understands the sense in which Kṛṣṇa is the source of everything does not then consider all beings to be God, but rather worships the real God with wholehearted devotion (10.8).

The above is adapted from HH Hrdayananda Gosvami's paper 'Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā: A Beginning Ontology from the Gaudiya Perspective' which can be found here:

BG Chap 10 - The vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa

(1): Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all vibhūtis in the form of His three Viṣṇu expansions for creation, maintenance and destruction of the mahat-tattva and other elements. The Viṣṇu forms are full of vibhūtis, knowledge and bliss, and are situated within the abode consisting of all elements. Kṛṣṇa is situated within the abode of prakṛti in the form of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is the antaryāmī within this prakṛti. He is also situated as the antaryāmī of the virāṭ, the aggregate of all beings in the form of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. He is also situated as the antaryāmī of the individuals, dwelling within their hearts in the form of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. These three forms should be meditated upon understanding they are the vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa. The first is the creator of the mahat-tattva, the second is situated in the universe and the third is situated in all jīvas.

A literal translation of this verse 10.20 would be that the Lord is the Self abiding in the hearts of all beings. Some say that this indicates the jivas are also Paramatma. But as explained before Kṛṣṇa is explaining His vibhūtis - His glories, His power - in this world and has already mentioned that He is the source of everything including the jivas, who are His para-prakrti. Even if we accept this verse indicates the non difference of the Paramatma and the jivatma, there are other verses that clearly indicate difference. Accepting both, instead of conveniently relegating the "difference verses" to the mundane realm, the philosophy of Lord Caitanya explains the acintya-bheda-abheda relationship of the Lord with the individual jivas.

BG Chap 10 - The vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa - 2 thru 10

(2): Kṛṣṇa is the cause of the creation, continuation and destruction of the bodies of all living entities or the beginning, middle and end of all living beings.
(3): Among the twelve Ādityas, Kṛṣṇa is Viṣṇu. The sun is given twelve names according to its position in the 12 zodiac signs throughout the year: Dhātṛ, Aryaman, Mitra, Varuṇa, Indra, Vivasvat, Pūṣan, Parjanya, Aṁśa, Bhaga, Tvaṣṭṛ and Viṣṇu. Among these, Kṛṣṇa is Viṣṇu.
(4): Among lights, He is the many-rayed sun.
(5): Among the winds, He is Marīci. Indra entered Diti’s womb and cut the embryo into 49 parts. In this way, the forty-nine kinds of air known as the Maruts appeared, and among them Kṛṣṇa represents Marīci.
(6): Kṛṣṇa is also the moon among stars. The moon is the lord of the constellations and thus here a relationship is indicated.
(7): Among the Vedas Kṛṣṇa is the Sāma Veda, because it is outstanding for its sweet songs.
(8): Among the devas, He is their king, Indra.
(9): Among the senses, He is the mind, which is difficult to conquer and which inspires the other senses to act.
(10): He is the jñāna-śakti, or power of consciousness in all living beings.

BG Chap 10 - The vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa - 11 thru 20

(11): Among the eleven Rudras (Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahān, Śiva, Ṛtadhvaja, Ugraretā, Bhava, Kāla, Vāmadeva and Dhṛtavrata), Kṛṣṇa is Śaṅkara (Śiva).
(12): Among the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas, He is Kuvera, who is a Yakṣa.
(13): Among the eight Vasus (Āpa, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anila, Pāvaka, Pratyuṣa and Prabhāsa), He is Agni (Pāvaka).
(14): Among high peaks, He is the golden mountain called Meru.
(15): Among priests, He is Bṛhaspati. As Indra is the chief among all kings, so his head priest, Bṛhaspati, is the chief among all head priests of kings.
(16): Among leaders of armies, Kṛṣṇa is Kārtikeya.
(17): Among all bodies of water, He is the ocean.
(18): Among the great sages, the sons of Brahmā, He is Bhṛgu.
(19): Among words, He is the single syllable oṁ.
(20): Among sacrifices, He is the japa sacrifice, outstanding because it does not involve killing animals. The chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare is the purest form representation of Kṛṣṇa.

BG Chap 10 - The vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa - 21 thru 30

(21): Among immovable objects Kṛṣṇa is the Himālayas. Meru is outstanding because of height, and Himālayas is outstanding because of immovability.
(22): Among the trees, Kṛṣṇa is the pippala or banyan tree.
(23): Among divine sages, He is Nārada, outstanding because of his outstanding level of bhakti.
(24): Among Gandharvas, He is Citraratha, who is an excellent singer.
(25): Among the perfected beings, who have natural mystic powers like becoming small, He is Kapila.
(26): Of horses, He is Uccaiḥśrava, and
(27): among elephants, He is Airāvata. Both of these arose from the churning of the milk ocean by the devas and the demons for gaining nectar. Both became the property of Indra.
(28): Among men, Kṛṣṇa is the king, who is fixed in dharma and has unbearable strength. Amongst the human beings, the king is the representative of Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the maintainer of the universe, and the kings, who are appointed on account of their godly qualifications, are maintainers of their kingdoms. Kings like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Mahārāja Parīkṣit and Lord Rāma were all highly righteous kings who always thought of the citizens' welfare.
(29): Among weapons, Kṛṣṇa is the thunderbolt.
(30): Among cows, He is the surabhi cow or the Kāmadhenu, which was also born from the churning of the milk ocean, and who fulfills whatever one desires.

BG Chap 10 - The vibhūtis of Kṛṣṇa - 31 thru 40

(31): Among lust, He is lust for producing offspring, and not the lust whose only purpose is pleasure of the sex act.
(32): Among snakes with one head, He is Vāsuki.
(33): Among the many hooded Nāgas, He is Ananta.
(34): Among aquatic inhabitants, He is Varuṇa, their leader.
(35): Among the Pitṛs, He is the Lord of the Pitṛs called Aryamā.
(36): Among dispensers of law, He is Yama.
(37): Among the Daityas, He is Prahlāda, the best because of his intense faith in the Lord. Although Prahlāda was born in the family of the Daityas, he was a great devotee from his childhood. Because of his devotional service and godly nature, he is considered to be a representative of Kṛṣṇa.
(38): There are many subduing principles, but time wears down all things in the material universe and so represents Kṛṣṇa.
(39): Among animals, He is the courageous lion
(40): Among birds He is Garuḍa, the carrier of Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu granted the requests of Garuḍa, who wanted to be His carrier, and who wanted to be immortal without drinking nectar.