I relished reading the latest volume of the Back to Godhead Magazine and an article by Satyaraja, aka, Steven Rosen about the Universal Form, “The Universal Form – Revelations and Implications”. The article gives an account of the all expansive, awe inspiring multifaceted imagery of all you could dream of. It is delineated upon in chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita as a manifestation of Krishna’s cosmic potencies. The form which is fathomless puts the observer, Arjuna, in awe; first the reaction of reverence and secondly a response of utter fear.
For those who grew up under some influence of the 60’s counter culture, you may recall Jimmy Hendrix’s album cover, Axis is Bold, where his face is featured in place of Vishnu. Those who tripped on acid (not me, true confession), may relate the multifarious images with origins from India. It was the kind of image you could find in a hookah pipe shop where you could pick up strawberry incense, patchouli oils, hippy sandals, or maybe an elaborately carved wooden round table with 3 legs. You still can find a shop such as this like the one I passed by on Bloor Street on a walk today. At best it would draw nostalgic sentiment. In any event, Jimmy’s superimposed visage stood central.
The idea of an infinity of faces is explained by Satyaraja as having manifest in the sky according to Vedic documentation on five different occasions. Each occasion reveals some unique angle, a “momentary eyesight… to see the unseeable”,something cosmic or out of this world.
I, personally, could imagine such imagery of a universal scale being thrown up onto an open prairie sky backdrop. That I could envision when walking through that area. One Hindu Punjabi man I met said, “When I first moved to Saskatchewan, this is the virat rupa,” implying the infinite nature of the universal form. Whether you fantasize this image or are fortunate enough to have His dharshan(viewing), it is meant to invoke a sense of meekness, humility, for the recipient. It makes our so called substantial world seem so puny and insignificant.
The Universal Form. It’s Wild! Outrageous! Wonderful! Wow!