na tu māḿ śakyase draṣṭum
divyaḿ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ
paśya me yogam aiśvaram
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 11.8
But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
A pure devotee does not like to see Krishna in any form except His form with two hands; a devotee must see His universal form by His grace, not with the mind but with spiritual eyes. To see the universal form of Krishna, Arjuna is told not to change his mind but his vision. The universal form of Krishna is not very important; that will be clear in subsequent verses. Yet because Arjuna wanted to see it, the Lord gives him the particular vision required to see that universal form.
Devotees who are correctly situated in a transcendental relationship with Krishna are attracted by loving features, not by a godless display of opulences. The playmates of Krishna, the friends of Krishna and the parents of Krishna never want Krishna to show His opulences. They are so immersed in pure love that they do not even know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In their loving exchange they forget that Krishna is the Supreme Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that the boys who play with Krishna are all highly pious souls and after many, many births they are able to play with Krishna. Such boys do not know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They take Him as a personal friend.
Therefore Shukadeva Gosvami recites this verse:
ittham satam brahma-sukhanubhutya
dasyam gatanam para-daivatena
sakam vijahruh krita-punya-punjah
“Here is the Supreme Person, who is considered the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotees, and a product of material nature by ordinary men. Now these boys, who have performed many, many pious activities in their past lives, are playing with that Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.12.11)
The fact is that the devotee is not concerned with seeing the vishva-rupa, the universal form, but Arjuna wanted to see it to substantiate Krishna’s statements so that in the future people could understand that Krishna not only theoretically or philosophically presented Himself as the Supreme but actually presented Himself as such to Arjuna. Arjuna must confirm this because Arjuna is the beginning of the parampara system. Those who are actually interested in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and who follow in the footsteps of Arjuna should understand that Krishna not only theoretically presented Himself as the Supreme, but actually revealed Himself as the Supreme.
The Lord gave Arjuna the necessary power to see His universal form because He knew that Arjuna did not particularly want to see it, as we have already explained.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Arujna should not think that this is some form caused by magical trick or material illusion. For the purpose of giving him faith that the form which contains this whole universe is sac cid ananda, he speaks this verse.
By your material eyes (anena) you cannot see me, my purely spiritual form. Saknose stands for saknosi. Therefore, I give you divine (divyam) eyes. See with those divine eyes. By letting him see with those eyes, the Lord’s intention was to give a little astonishment to Arjuna, who was thinking of himself as a material person.
Actually, because he is a principal associate of the Lord, and therefore previously had appeared as Nara along with the Narayana avatara, Arjuna does not have material eyes like ordinary material persons. What is the logic in giving spiritual eyes to Arjuna because he cannot see a mere fragment of the Lord, when that same Arjuna with his very eyes directly realizes the sweetness of his Lord?
But on the other hand it can be said that the superior eye which sees only the great sweetness of Krishna’s human pastimes, like the ananya bhakta, does not at all accept the glories of the Lord’s pastimes in relation to the devatas (deva lila). One who has tasted the juice of the white lotus cannot relish sugar candy with his tongue. Thus the Lord, wanting to show the majesty of his pastimes with the devatas (deva lila) in order to cause astonishment in Arjuna who had requested just that, gave to Arjuna non- human eyes suitable for seeing deva lila (divyam). The intention of giving such eyes will be explained at the end of the chapter.
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
11.8 I shall reveal to you the whole universe in one part of my body. But, with your physical eye, which can see only limited and conditioned things, you cannot behold Me, such as I am, different in kind from everything else and illimitable. So I bestow on you, a divine, namely, supernatural, eye by which you may perceive Me. Behold My Lordly Yoga’ (sovereign endowment)! Behold My unique Yoga (special power)! The meaning is, ‘Behold My Yoga such as infinite knowledge and such other attributes and endless manifestations of lordly power!’
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The previous entreating from Arjuna regarding his worthiness to view the universal form is being answered here. Lord Krishna confirms that His visvarupa or divine universal form is not material but is purely spiritual so He will have to give Arjuna divine sight, the celestial vision to behold the phenomenal wonder of His transcendental universal form which will manifest unlimited marvellous things that have never manifested before and unlimited wonderful things that are yet to manifest in the future.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Concerning the assurance of whether or not he is capable of beholding the visvarupa or divine universal form, Lord Krishna informs Arjuna that he is not able to see His almighty visvarupa with his present eyes which are only habituated to seeing material objects within limited dimensions. So the Supreme Lord by His power of unparalleled transcendence bestows upon him celestial vision to see the divine universal form. This power is completely able to make the impossible fully possible.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
11.8 Tu, but; na sakyase, you are not able; drastum, to see; mam, Me, who have assumed the Cosmic form; eva, merely; anena, with this natural; sva-caksusa, eye of yours. However, dadami, I grant; te, you; the divyam, supernatural; caksuh, eye, by which supernatural eye you shall be able to see Pasya, behold with that; me, My, God’s aisvaram, divine; yogam, Yoga, i.e. the superabundance of the power of Yoga [The power of accomplishing the impossible.-M.S.].
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
11.8 Sri Abhinavagupta did not comment upon this sloka.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na tu mam sakyase drastum
divyam dadami te caksuh
pasya me yogam aisvaram
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — never; tu — but; mām — Me; śakyase — are able; draṣṭum — to see; anena — with these; eva — certainly; sva-cakṣuṣā — your own eyes; divyam — divine; dadāmi — I give; te — to you; cakṣuḥ — eyes; paśya — see; me — My; yogam aiśvaram — inconceivable mystic power.