su-durdarśam idaḿ rūpaḿ
dṛṣṭavān asi yan mama
devā apy asya rūpasya
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 11.52
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, this form of Mine you are nowseeing is very difficult to behold. Even the demigods are ever seeking the opportunity to see this form, which is so dear.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
In the forty-eighth verse of this chapter Lord Krishna concluded revealing His universal form and informed Arjuna that this form is not possible to be seen by so many pious activities, sacrifices, etc. Now here the word su-durdarsham is used, indicating that Krishna’s two-handed form is still more confidential. One may be able to see the universal form of Krishna by adding a little tinge of devotional service to various activities like penances, Vedic study and philosophical speculation. It may be possible, but without a tinge of bhakti one cannot see; that has already been explained. Still, beyond that universal form, the form of Krishna with two hands is still more difficult to see, even for demigods like Brahma and Lord Shiva. They desire to see Him, and we have evidence in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that when He was supposed to be in the womb of His mother, Devaki, all the demigods from heaven came to see the marvel of Krishna, and they offered nice prayers to the Lord, although He was not at that time visible to them. They waited to see Him. A foolish person may deride Him, thinking Him an ordinary person, and may offer respect not to Him but to the impersonal “something” within Him, but these are all nonsensical postures. Krishna in His two-armed form is actually desired to be seen by demigods like Brahma and Shiva.
In Bhagavad-gita (9.11) it is also confirmed, avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritah: He is not visible to the foolish persons who deride Him. Krishna’s body, as confirmed by Brahma-samhita and confirmed by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad-gita, is completely spiritual and full of bliss and eternality. His body is never like a material body. But for some who make a study of Krishna by reading Bhagavad-gita or similar Vedic scriptures, Krishna is a problem. For one using a material process, Krishna is considered to be a great historical personality and very learned philosopher, but He is an ordinary man, and even though He was so powerful He had to accept a material body. Ultimately they think that the Absolute Truth is impersonal; therefore they think that from His impersonal feature He assumed a personal feature attached to material nature. This is a materialistic calculation of the Supreme Lord. Another calculation is speculative. Those who are in search of knowledge also speculate on Krishna and consider Him to be less important than the universal form of the Supreme. Thus some think that the universal form of Krishna which was manifested to Arjuna is more important than His personal form. According to them, the personal form of the Supreme is something imaginary. They believe that in the ultimate issue, the Absolute Truth is not a person. But the transcendental process is described in Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Four: to hear about Krishna from authorities. That is the actual Vedic process, and those who are actually in the Vedic line hear about Krishna from authority, and by repeated hearing about Him, Krishna becomes dear. As we have several times discussed, Krishna is covered by His yoga-maya potency.
He is not to be seen or revealed to anyone and everyone. Only by one to whom He reveals Himself can He be seen. This is confirmed in Vedic literature; for one who is a surrendered soul, the Absolute Truth can actually be understood. The transcendentalist, by continuous Krishna consciousness and by devotional service to Krishna, can have his spiritual eyes opened and can see Krishna by revelation. Such a revelation is not possible even for the demigods; therefore it is difficult even for the demigods to understand Krishna, and the advanced demigods are always in hope of seeing Krishna in His two-handed form. The conclusion is that although to see the universal form of Krishna is very, very difficult and not possible for anyone and everyone, it is still more difficult to understand His personal form as Shyamasundara.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Here the Lord glorifies in three verses that universal form which he showed. The devatas desire to see that form, but cannot see it. But you do not even desire that form. How can your two eyes, which continually taste the great sweetness of my human form which is the original form, enjoy that universal form? Therefore I gave you divya eyes to see it: divyarh dadami te caksuh. But though I gave divya (heavenly) eyes, I did not give you a divya mind. Thus, by those divya eyes alone you cannot enjoy completely that form, because your mind relishes only the great sweetness of my human form. If I had given you divya mind, then you would have relished that form of the purusa as the universal form just as devatas do.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
11.52 The Lord said — This form of Mine which you have seen, and which has the whole universe under control, which is the foundation of all and which forms the origin of all — this cannot be beheld by any one. Even the gods ever long to see this form; but they have not seen it. Why? Sri Krsna says:
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Revealing the extraordinary grace that He had bestowed on Arjuna, the Supreme Lord Krishna declares that idam-rupam His original two-armed form which is pure spiritual sat-cid-ananda or eternal existence, unlimited cognizance and endless bliss. This form is almost never seen by any of the demigods who always hanker to see it but are unable as it is extremely rare to behold. That Lord Krishna is no longer refering to the visvarupa or divine universal form is evident by the words drstavan asi which mean are presently seeing.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
The original two-armed form of the Supreme Lord Krishna is very rarely seen any where in the material existence and even the demigods are always hankering for a glimpse of it; but despite immense life spans of hundreds of thousands of years they are unable to see it.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna reveals that it is extremely difficult to see His human two- armed form and He emphasises this with the words su-durdarsam which means very rarely seen. The visvarupa or divine universal form is impossible to be seen without His grace, yet His four armed human form is so rare that the demigods are always hankering to see it even for a moment; but now Lord Krishna is revealing that His beautiful two armed human form is the rarest of all and that it is so seldom revealed the demigods never get the chance to see it.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
11.52 Idam, this; rupam, form; mama, of Mine; yat, which; drstavan, asi, you have seen is; sudur-darsam, very difficult to see. Api, even; the devah, gods; are nityam, ever; darsana-kanksinah, desirous of a vision; asya, of this; rupasya, form of Mine. The idea is that though they want to see, they have not seen in the way you have, nor will they see! Why so?
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
11.52 Drstva etc. At the end of the act of withdrawing all, the Brahman assumes the highly tranquil stage of the tattva. Hence at the stage of withdrawl, gentleness is in the Bhagavat.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
su-durdarsam idam rupam
drstavan asi yan mama
deva apy asya rupasya
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; su-durdarśam — very difﬁcult to see; idam — this; rūpam — form; dṛṣṭavān asi — as you have seen; yat — which; mama — of Mine; devāḥ — the demigods; api — also; asya — this; rūpasya — form; nityam — eternally; darśana-kāńkṣiṇaḥ — aspiring to see.