Arjuna, who was anxious to see Lord Krishna’s ‘visvaroopa’, requested the Lord to show him His huge form.
The Lord complied with his request, and Arjuna was full of admiration for the resplendent form. But soon the Lord began to show the more terrible aspects of the form. He showed that He not only saved but also destroyed.
Unable to bear the sight of Krishna as destroyer, Arjuna requested Krishna to resume His benign form. But the Lord had a purpose in showing Arjuna that He not only created but also destroyed, said Rukmini Ramamurthy, in a discourse.
It was to show Arjuna that he was not the one in charge of anything. Everything that took place was the result of the wheel of karma. People, whose karma determined that they face a certain ordeal in life, were destined to do so.
Arjuna’s was a mere facilitating role in making sure that the end of his opponents occurred. He was not the author of anybody’s fate.
The Lord had to show Arjuna that his role was a limited one for he had reason to fear four of his enemies. Drona was his guru. Bhishma was such a great warrior that even Parasurama could not defeat him, and they had to call a truce. Jayadratha had a boon that made it difficult to kill him. Karna was Arjuna’s equal in archery.
Krishna made Arjuna understand that he was going to defeat these four men. But the Lord showed Arjuna that He was the slayer of these men for God is in charge of the wheel of karma. So Arjuna was just going to shoot the arrows. The death of all the people who were going to be struck by his arrows had already been determined by the Lord.
Our ends are predetermined on the basis of our karma. There is a huge bundle of karma that we have accumulated over many births, and this is called Sanchita Karma.
Of this, the portion that is responsible for our present birth, and all that we face in it, is called Prarabdha Karma. A human being in this birth could have been any other creature in his previous birth.
Our cycle of births and deaths continues because of our karma, until we become God realised and are freed from this cycle.