Bhagavad Gita: 13-18

The depiction of Krishna in this last section of the Gita, indeed in the entire work, is mesmerizing, powerful, beautiful, terrible, dangerous, and compassionate. When Arjuna sees the form of his immortal Self, he cries out: “The multitudes of gods, demigods, and demons are all overwhelmed by the sight of you. O mighty Lord, at the sight of your myriad eyes and mouths, arms and legs, stomachs and fearful teeth, I and the entire universe shake in terror. O Vishnu, I can see your eyes shining, with open mouth, you glitter in an array of colors, and your body touches the sky. I look at you and my heart trembles; I have lost all courage and all peace of mind.” (11:22-24)

Many of these descriptions reminded me of the way that I think of God; the Wise One, the Beautiful One, the Terrible One. Reading Arjuna’s reaction to beholding Vishnu in all of his glory reminds me of the Old Testament stories when man could not look at the full glory of God without perishing. He encompasses all experience, all knowledge, all power, and all love. One aspect of Krishna’s divinity particularly struck a cord with me; and that was his universal connection and embodiment of every living thing. He tells Arjuna: “They alone see truly who see the Lord the same in every creature, who see the deathless in the hearts of all that die. Seeing the same Lord everywhere, they do not harm themselves or others. Thus they attain the supreme goal.” (13: 27-28) On those personality StrengthsFinder surveys we had to take our freshman year, one of my five strengths was Connectedness. What Krishna describes as the spark of his divine Self in every living thing, I have imagined to be similar to the Image of God in Christian theology. As a Christian, I don’t believe that human beings are divine, but I do believe that our souls bear the unmistakable imprint of the Divine Creator. God has marked us as his own, and as the Gita tells us, this common ground of divine creation gives no one the right to denegrate or harm others, but rather calls us to respect and love one another in recognition of divine creaturehood.

 

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