Arjuna: I see all the gods in your divine body – the masters: Śiva and Brahmā upon his lotus-seat, and all the sages and supernatural serpents. I see everything there, in all detail and specifics.
I see countless arms, bellies, mouths, and eyes. I see your limitless form everywhere. I see no end, no middle, and no beginning in you – the master of everything, and the form of everything.
Everywhere I see crowns, maces and discs brilliant with powerful splendor. It is difficult to look upon this radiance, brighter than the blazing fire of the sun.
You are the paramount, imperishable goal of philosophy. You are the ultimate root of the entire universe. You are the untiring sustainer of all its eternal laws and principles. You are the ever-enduring Person. That is what I conclude.
Your limitless power is without beginning, middle, or end. Your arms are endless. The moon and sun are your eyes. I see brilliant fire, ignited by your own potency, radiating from your mouth and becoming the sun.
Krishna [as Viṣṇu]: Now behold another, more savage feature of this form…
Arjuna: From outer space down to the earth, and in all directions in between, I see only you. O great soul, the bewildering sight of you in this primal and savage form disturbs gods, humans, and demons.
Krishna [as Viṣṇu]: The gods?
Arjuna: Hosts of gods enter into you, some of them fearfully putting their palms together and petitioning you. Hosts of the greatest sages and mystics declare, “Let there be well-being,” as they recite to you the hymns and prayers of the Vedas.
The destroying Rudras, the maintaining Ādityas, the fundamental Vasus, the perfected Sādhyās, the universal Viśvas, the two beautiful Aśvini, the stormy Maruts; even the ancestral Pitṛ, and the best among the angelic Gandharva, the wealthy Yakṣa, and the dangerous Asura; certainly everyone beholds you in awe.
Krishna [as Viṣṇu]: And you?
Arjuna: Like everyone else, I am also disturbed by seeing you in this huge form, with so many mouths, eyes, powerful arms, thighs, feet, stomachs, and frightening teeth.
Touching the sky, radiating countless colors, with gaping mouths and wide, glaring eyes… seeing you like this perturbs me to the core of my being. O Viṣṇu, I have lost my composure and balance.
Your frightening teeth and faces seem just like the fires of doom. I can discover no peace or prosperity in any direction. O master of gods, oh refuge of the world, be kind to me!
Krishna [as Viṣṇu]: What is the doom of this war?
Arjuna: Everyone in the opposing army, its leader, its most heroic champions, and all of our foremost warriors too, all are rushing in to be crushed by the terribly frightening teeth of your mouths. I see some of them stuck with heads smashed between those teeth.
Like multitudes of rivers rushing to be consumed by the waves of the ocean, all heroes of mankind rush into your blazing mouths. Like moths rushing full-speed into the brilliance of a flame, everyone rushes full-speed to their destruction in your mouths.
O Viṣṇu, the blazing tongues of your mouths seize and devour everyone, from all directions. Your power reaches beyond the world, which is scorched by its terrible rays.
Who are you? Please explain thus horrible form. Be merciful to me, o greatest god, as I offer respect unto you. I want to understand your motive, for I cannot comprehend your objective.
Krishna [as Viṣṇu]: I am time, the greatest destroyer of everything. My objective is the destruction of this entire world. I will destroy the warriors on both sides of the battle, except for you.
Therefore, arise! Conquer your enemies and gain your famous and fortunate kingdom. Because of their past deeds, it is I who have truly destroyed all of them – just become instrumental in this, O great archer.
All the heroic warriors – your guru Droṇa, your grandfather Bhīṣma, your wife’s kidnapper Jayadratha, your mortal enemy Karṇa, and everyone else – I have destroyed them. So defeat them without worry. Merely fight, and your enemies will fall.