Vibhuti Yoga

|| भगवद्गीतासारः ||

(M. R. Dwarakanath)


Introduction: Vibhuti means glory or a special power. This chapter deals with divine majesty of the Lord. However the Lord has already given a preview of his glories in Jnana-Vijnana Yoga verses 7-12. Verse 7-7:

मत्तः परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ति धनञ्जय ।

मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सूत्रे मणिगणा इव ॥

Krishna says there exists nothing greater than or apart from me. Everything that is, exists like gem beads woven on me – forming the thread.

Verse 9-4 acts as a counterpoint to 7-7.

मया ततमिदं सर्वं जगदव्यक्तमूर्तिना ।

मत्स्थानि सर्वभूतानि न चाहं तेष्ववस्थितः ॥

Krishna again says: the entire universe is pervaded by me in undifferentiated form, all beings rest in my place, and I am not present in them.

These two verses appear contradictory on the topic of the Lord’s immanence! Does the Lord dwell in everything or does he not? However, they make a profound statement about both the Lord’s immanence in everything as well as his transcendence by being apart from everything. He has no physical link.

One way to interpret these verses is to say that there is nothing other than god who pervades the entire universe in undifferentiated form and the world of names and forms is projected on the Lord and they appear as shining beads. The Lord forms the substratum or support for the Universe. It is the essence of Vedanta.

An alternate interpretation is to say Krishna is the highest (personal god) with no one greater around. He indwells all creation, as support, like the thread in a beaded necklace. The Lord thus unseen pervades the entire universe providing succor to all beings while needing none for himself from them. This would be the theistic view.

In chapter 7, 8-12, Krishna says: He is the taste in water, the effulgence in the sun and the moon, the syllable OM in the Vedas, the element of sound in space, virility in men, the element of fragrance in earth, the heat and light in fire, the elán vital in life, etc. He is the Tanmatras in the Pancabhutas. Krishna concludes by saying whatever is born of the three GunasSattva, Rajas and Tamas are also his evolutes. The Vibhuti Yoga continues this thread of identifying the jewel among a class of existents as being the Lord. जातौ जातौ यदुत्कृष्टं तद्रत्नमभिदीयते । defines a jewel as that which is the most excellent in its family or class.

Vibhuti Yoga: Krishna after having imparted the idea and importance of devotion, wishes to cement Arjuna’s faith further by narrating even more glories that even the great luminaries of the world are unaware. He promises his supreme word out of compassion to a grateful supplicant. Arjuna is to receive such knowledge that even the pantheon of gods or the sages know neither the secret of Krishna’s origin nor his role as the progenitors of gods and sages. Being free from delusion, knowing Krishna as unborn, beginningless and as the sovereign of the universe is the path to salvation. Krishna continues – such traits as intellect, knowledge, freedom from confusion, forbearance, truth, self control, peace, happiness, sorrow, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equipoise, contentment, austerity, charity, fame, infamy, all have their origin in him. Even the seven great sages, the four mind-born sons of Brahma, the fourteen Manus, who are the progenitors of all creatures, are themselves born of him.

Liberating Knowledge: Those with proper understanding of his glories will doubtless attain the goal of steadfast meditation. The seers worship him knowing that he is the source of all creation and every action is caused by him. Having focused their mind on him and devoting their lives to him, they delight and derive satisfaction in narrating the Lord’s greatness. On such constantly dedicated, loving devotees, Krishna confers wisdom which allows them to reach him. He lights the lamp of knowledge in them out of compassion by destroying ignorance. Thus knowledge is the means to Moksha.

Arjuna’s awakening: Arjuna addressed Krishna as Purushottama for the first time in chapter 8, now he breaks out into a full throated praise of Krishna as “the highest Brahman, the highest abode, the most pure, the eternal being, divine, the progenitor, unborn and Lord! All the sages address you thus – the great Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa have indicated to me as such. What you tell me is so true of which neither the gods nor the demons know. You alone know yourself as The Atman or Brahman, oh the best of humans, god of gods, the Lord of the universe, the creator. You alone are in a position to describe your glories and by which glories you stay pervaded in the world. O Lord of Yoga, how should I meditate on you constantly – on what forms? Please tell me in detail your glories.” This passage reveals the complete transformation of Arjuna from the cocky warrior to the humble supplicant who is ready to receive the transcendental knowledge.

Lord’s Vibhutis: Krishna takes examples from all of creation to draw attention to the transcendental nature of Brahman. Instead of going over each of these aspects separately, a collective view, presented in a tabular form, may be helpful in understanding the diversity in creation.


Broad Category


Best in class
Abstraction Sentience, Jyoti, Beings, Self, Record keepers, Purifiers, Creation etc., Knowledge, Disputations, Eternal time, Ultimate destroyers, Futuristics, Effulgents, Substantives, Secrets, Wise, Life, Atma, Ravi, Cetas, Born of Amrta, Time, Pavana, Krishna, Self knowledge, Logical argument, Krishna, Death, Beginning, Effulgence, Goodness, Reticence, Wisdom, Seed,
Astronomical Stars, Indriyas, Months, Seasons, Moon, Mind, Margashirsha. Spring,
Text Grammatical Vedas, Syllables, Alphabets, Compounds, Sama chants, Meters, Samaveda, OM, A, Dvandva, Brhatsama, Gayatri,
Actions Yajnas, Procreation, Deceit, Competition, Actions, Subjugations, Tapas, Kandarpa, Gambling, Victory, Effort, Punishment,
Inanimate Mountains, Lakes, Immovables, Weapons, Rivers, Meru, Ocean, Himalayas, Thunderbolt, Ganges,
Plants Trees, Ashwattha,
Lower animals Snakes, Hooded snakes, Aquatic fauna, Birds, Fishes, Vasuki, Ananta, Varuna, Vainateya, Crocodile,
Quadrupeds Horses, Elephants, Cows, Quadrupeds, Uccaishravas, Airavata, Kamadhenu, Lion,
Humans Commanders, People, Weapon wielders, Vrsnis, Pandavas, Sages, Poets, Rivals, Skanda, King, Rama, Vasudeva, Arjuna, Vyasa, Shukra, Ethics,
Non-human / Supra- humans Yaksharakshas, Priests, Maharshis, Devarshis, Gandharvas, Siddhas, Ancestors, Controllers, Demons, Multifaceted beings, Vittesha, Bruhaspati, Bhrigu, Narada, Citraratha, Kapila, Aryama, Yama, Prahlada, Krishna,
Deities Adityas, Maruts, Devas, Rudras, Vasus, Vishnu, Marici, Vasus, Shankara, Pavaka,

The glories of the Lord are endless as nothing can exist without the Lord. Everything that exists in creation and its raison d’etre is the Lord. His manifestation is just a fraction of his potential!

Summary: Vibhuti Yoga appears as a long list of divine excellence that is present in every aspect of creation. This is unity in diversity! All of creation may be viewed as divine manifestation or as the sustaining principle behind it. Right knowledge is the key to liberation.



Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation (SVBF) is established as an international extension of the ancient Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri, Karnataka State, India. It is incorporated as a non-profit religious and charitable organization in the USA. The Foundation functions under the direct guidance of the Jagadguru Shankaracharya, His Holiness Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham.

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