Adhyaya 15 : Purush§ttam Y§ga
In order to gain the unitive knowledge
of Bhraman by direct transcendental experience one has to destroy first the
obstacle of his ignorance about the true nature of the surrounding world. The impression
that this world is real, the only existence without anything beyond, creates major
impediment to self realisation. Therefore it was essential to show the temporary nature of
the universe. The transitory nature of the world is depicted through the metaphor of a big
banyan tree in 15th AdhyŃya. This Adhyaya also deals with the highest form of the
Supreme Person refereed to as Purush which is beyond this perishable
universes imperishable source called Prakriti.
The Lord continues explaining DnyanviDnyan
and uses the metaphor of a banyan tree so popularly used in Vedic literature. From
the smallest of the seed a huge sky-high tree is grown likewise from the subtlest of the
Absolute Brahmasn the tree of this manifested universe is sprouted and grown to
Height. The Lord describes:
The Ashwattha, the big banyan tree it is
said, is eternal with its roots above and branches downward. Its leaves are the hymns of
the vedas. He who knows it is the knower of the Vedas.
The universal cycle is maintained through Vedic
rituals of the sacrifices hence they are compared to leaves that nourish and protect the
Its branches have spread downward and
upward getting nourishment from the Gunas. Sense - objects are its twigs and
it roots bound by actions are extended downward in the world of mortals. In this world it
is not seen in this form. Also is not seen its end nor the beginning nor its foundation.
Cutting this firmly rooted Ashwatta with
the strong axe of non - attachment he should search for that state from where having
reached, one never returns. He should do this search saying, " I surrender to that
Primal Lord from whom this ancient stream of activity has flown."
The Lord now describes the attitude and
efforts required to attain that state. Those who are free from pride and illusion, who
have conquered the evils of attachment, whose all desires are vanished, who are in
constant devotion of the ├tman, who have escaped from
the dualities known as happiness and sorrow and who are free from confusion, attain to
that changeless state.
The Lord declares : " from where
having reached they never return that is my supreme abode. Neither Sun nor the Moon nor
the fire illumines it."
Obviously Sun, Moon and Fire being the
objects of the worldly nature are unable to illumine the Absolute. It alone is the source
of their lights.
The Lord now turns to another important
topic of the individual soul called Jiva. What is its nature? How does it
evolve? The Lord answers:
Verses to 7 to 14
"My eternal fragment becomes the
individual soul in this world of mortals and then draws five senses and mind which are
made of Prakriti.
When the Lord puts on a gross body and when
he leaves it he carries them (mind and senses in subtle form) along with him like the wind
picking up perfume from a flower.
He presiding over ears, eyes, organs of
touch taste and smell and the mind enjoys the sense - objects.
The fools do not see Him when He leaves the
body or stays in it or enjoys coming in contact with Gunas but those who
have eyes of knowledge can see Him.
The y§gis striving in
spiritual discipline see him situated in the self but those who have not realised the self
and whose minds are not developed, howsoever they may try, can not see Him.
The Lord insists on the eye of knowledge
or the detached action because they help the soul for its evolution. The Lord is present
in the body, so also He is present in everything. The lord enumerates:
"The light of the Sun that illumines
the whole world, the light of the Moon and that of the Fire know that as Mine.
Entering the Earth I sustain the creatures
through my energy and becoming the Moon full of juice I nourish the medicinal herbs and
Staying in the bodies of creatures becoming
digesting fire and getting mixed with inhaling and exhaling breaths I digest four kinds of
I am seated in the hearts of all. From me
only memory and knowledge are born and because of me only both are destroyed. I am alone
the object of Vedas, I am alone their author of Vedanta and I
am alone the knower of Vedas.
After describing all-pervading nature of
Atman the Lord discusses the nature of the Supreme Lord called Purushottam.
The distinction made here is philosophically very subtle and hence important one.
Verses 15 to 20
In this world two kinds of purushas
exist; perishable and imperishable. All living nonliving entities are perishables and the
changeless (kutastha -) Prakriti is imperishable. Here the Kutastha
purusha is referred to meaning thereby the imperishable unmanifest principle called Mul
The subtle primal energy in formless nature
this mula-Prakriti that too is called akshar. The Lord
introduces the third Purush. He says: besides these two Purushas
there is another supreme Purusha called Paramatma, who by
becoming lshwar enters into these three worlds and maintains them.
"Since I am beyond the perishable and
higher than the imperishable I am known as Purushottam in this world and in
Being free from delusion whoever knows Me
as Purushottam, he knowing everything, worships Me whole
This is the most secret knowledge I have imparted to you,
oh Arjuna, knowing this the man becomes wise and the purpose of his life is