Krishna: Arjuna, you are so dear to me, and I only desire your well-being. So, I will again explain my supreme secrets.
Arjuna: I am sorry to make you repeat yourself.
Krishna [shaking his head while smiling kindly]: No, no. Everyone has a hard time comprehending what I am trying to explain. Even the gods and the greatest sages don’t understand my origin. After all, I am the origin of them.
Arjuna: You are the origin of everything, but what is your origin?
Krishna [putting his hand on his chest]: I am original, without any other origin. Thus I am the supreme master of everything. Anyone who can understand this, even if he or she is an ordinary mortal, is liberated from all confusions and misfortune.
Arjuna: It is very difficult for an emanation to comprehend its own origin, and even more difficult to comprehend the ultimate, self-originating origin.
Krishna: Yes. The origin is beyond the limits of its emanations. I am above and beyond every facility you might use to comprehend me.
Arjuna: What about the higher tools of knowledge and science?
Krishna: Intelligence, knowledge, certainty, forbearance, realism, restraint, equipoise… Existence and non-existence and their associated fear and fearlessness… I am above and beyond all these.
Arjuna: What about mystic and religious methods of understanding?
Krishna: Non-violence, non-discrimination, desirelessness, austerity, charity, fame or infamy… I am above and beyond all these as well. Every aspect of existence comes from me.
Arjuna: You say all the sages and gods come from you, but I have heard that they come from Brahmā, or Aditi.
Krishna: Aditi comes from Dakṣa, who comes from Brahmā. Where does Brahmā come from?
Arjuna: I know, but I would like to hear you say it.
Krishna: Brahmā is born from my thoughts. Then, from his thoughts come four, and then seven great sages, and then the forefathers, from whom everyone else in the world is eventually born.
Arjuna: If you are above and beyond any tool of comprehension, how can anyone ever comprehend you?
Krishna: Through devotion.
Arjuna: The other methods are useless?
Krishna: No. They are useful because they lead to devotion. When you finally start to comprehend my mystical nature, you will develop a devotional feeling of wanting to come closer and unite yourself to me. That is sure and certain.
“He is the cause of all causes. Everything comes from him.” If you understand this intelligently, you will start to feel very deep devotion towards me.
Arjuna: Then what?
Krishna: You will seek out those whose thoughts are enrapt in me, whose very hearts beat for me. Finding them, you will further enlighten one another by always discussing me with great satisfaction and pleasure!
Arjuna: And then?
Krishna: To those who are always on that loving path of adoration, I grant mystical intellect, capable of comprehending me.
Arjuna: Must they not also separately endeavor to overcome their ignorance?
Krishna: No. I personally care for them, ensuring that the dark shadows of ignorance are dispelled by the brilliant light of knowledge.
Arjuna [standing up out of enthusiasm]: “The supreme spirit, the supreme being, the supreme pure, the eternal divine person, the original divinity, unborn, and exceptional.” All the sages like divine Nārada, Asita, Devala, and Vyāsa describe you thus; and now you yourself have explained it to me.
Krishna: So, do you believe it?
Arjuna: Yes. I know that everything you say to me, my friend, is the truth.
Krishna: Are you not disturbed by others who hold a different opinion of me?
Arjuna: Certainly not! No one amongst the godly or ungodly can comprehend how you manifest all-attractive personality. Certainly only you are capable of understanding your own self – the Ultimate Person, the origin of everything, master of everything, divinity of divinity, and husband of the universe.
Krishna [impressed, smiles with gratitude].
Arjuna: Doubtlessly, no one but you are qualified to describe your infinite divine qualities. So please describe them now!
Krishna: If my qualities are infinite, how can I?
Arjuna: At least you can describe those that are relevant and easily comprehensible, the qualities by which you pervade everything that we experience.
Krishna: Why should I talk more about myself?
Arjuna: I need to know these things so I can always be enrapt in thoughts of you! You must explain, so that each and every thing I see will remind me of the All-Attractive.
Krishna: But I have already said too much about myself!
Arjuna: I want to know in more detail about your mystical power and opulence. You can speak again and again about these things, but I will never feel that I have tasted enough of that nectar!
Krishna [with deep affection]: Yes, my dear. I will certainly tell you about my divine opulences, but since they expand beyond limit I will only speak of those that very relevant.
Arjuna [sits down with wide, attentive eyes]
I am the soul within everyone’s heart.
I am the beginning, middle, and end of everything.
Among Aditi’s divine children, I am Viṣṇu.
Among lights, I am the radiant sun.
Among storms, I am the fiercest wind.
Among stars, I am the Moon.
Among Vedas [books], I am Sāma Veda [songs].
Among gods, I am Indra.
Among the senses, I am the mind.
Among living beings, I am the life-force.
Among Rudras, I am Śiva.
Among Yakṣas and Rākṣasas [powers of enjoyment], I am Kuvera [the treasurer].
Among Vasus [primordial elements], I am fire.
Among mountains, I am Meru.
Among the best priests, I am the god’s priest [Bṛhaspati].
Among generals, I am the god of war [Skanda].
Among pools, I am the ocean.
Among great sages, I am Bhṛgu.
Among sounds, I am the single syllable [“oṁ”].
Among sacrifices, I am the effort to chant mantras.
Among immovable things, I am the Himalayas.
Among trees, I am the banyan.
Among heavenly sages, I am Nārada.
Among celestial musicians, I am Citraratha.
Among the perfected, I am the scholar Kapila.
Among horses, I am Uccaiḥśravā [the divine horse], born from nectar.
Among the best of elephants, I am Airāvata [Indra’s elephant].
Among humans, I am the king.
Among weapons, I am lightning.
Among cows, I am the wish-fulfilling cow.
Among reasons to procreate, I am Cupid.
Among serpents, I am Vāsuki [king of dragons].
Among dragons, I am Ananta [Viṣṇu’s dragon].
Among aquatic beings, I am Varuṇa [god of the celestial ocean].
Among the spirits who assist the departed, I am the friendly Aryamā.
Among those who enforce punishment, I am the god of death [Yama].
Among demons, I am Prahlād.
Among restrictions, I am time.
Among animals, I am the lion.
Among birds, I am Garuḍa [the divine eagle].
Among purifiers, I am the wind.
Among warriors, I am Paraśurāma.
Among fish, I am the Capricorn.
Among rivers, I am the Ganges.
I am the beginning, the completion, and the process.
Among sciences, I am self-knowledge.
Among arguments, I am the conclusion.
Among letters, I am “A”.
Among compound words, I am the dual-compound.
Among things that last, I am persistence.
Among creators, I am the many-headed [Brahmā].
Among robbers, I am death.
Among changes, I am birth.
Among women, I am the goddesses of fame, beauty, speech, memory, intelligence, dedication, and forebearance.
Among the hymns of Sāma Veda, I am the Bṛhat-sāma.
Among poetic meters, I am gāyatrī.
Among months, I am the month of harvest [November].
Among seasons, I am the season of flowers [Spring].
Among cheaters, I am the gamble.
Among the winners, I am the power.
Among the efforts, I am the victory.
Among the strong, I am the strength.
Among the Vṛṣṇi dynasty, I am myself, Krishna.
Among the Pāṇḍavas, I am you, Arjuna.
Among scholars, I am Vyāsa.
Among poets, I am Venus.
Among deterrents, I am punishment.
Among ambitions, I am morality.
Among secrets, I am silence.
Among the knowledgeable, I am knowledge.
Krishna: Whatever else there might be, I am the very essence of it. There is nothing, living or non-living, that can exist independently of me.
Arjuna: Go on!
Krishna: I must stop here, otherwise there is no limit to these divine opulences. All these examples I gave are merely metaphors pointing you towards my expansive opulence.
Whatever you encounter that is sublime, beautiful, and powerful, you must understand that it is just a product of a fragment of my splendor. So what is the point of making this list longer and longer? Simply understand that I pervade everything in the entire universe with just a single fragment of myself.