Gita Acharan |English

The Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is called Purushottam Yoga -Yoga of the Supreme Being. Krishna begins the chapter by describing the inverted tree of life and says, "The wise speak of an eternal ๐™–๐™จ๐™๐™ซ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™๐™– (pipal) tree, with roots above, branches below, whose leaves are hymns of Vedas. He who knows this tree gains the wisdom of ๐™‘๐™š๐™™๐™–๐™จ (15.1). Nourished by the three ๐™œ๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™–๐™จ , the branches of the tree extend upward and downward; its buds are the sense objects; the roots hang downwards as actions and bind the humans" (15.2).


Firstly, those who know this tree gain the wisdom of the ๐™‘๐™š๐™™๐™–๐™จ. The literal meaning of ๐™‘๐™š๐™™๐™– is knowledge. One possible interpretation is that one doesn't have to take the pain of reading the ๐™‘๐™š๐™™๐™–๐™จ to attain the wisdom presented by them. Once this tree of life is understood at the existential level, the same wisdom is attained.


Secondly, ๐™–๐™จ๐™๐™ซ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™๐™– means 'that which doesn't remain the same tomorrow'. But the tree is described as eternal. This looks paradoxical like the paradox of light in terms of the wave-particle duality. Essentially, the tree is the combination of eternal as well as change. More clarity will come in the subsequent verses.


Finally, this metaphor will help us change our thinking about the world around us. For us, progress means attaining something higher in terms of power and fame; something more in terms of possessions. We tend to do the same for spiritual progress also. This metaphor indicates that higher spiritual progress means going back to the roots. It is about shedding but not to attain; it's like melting like a salt doll to know the ocean and breaking those neural patterns formed during our lives. Essentially, it is shedding the dust we have gathered over a long time.

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