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Adhyaya 15 : Purush§ttam Y§ga

  Introduction

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 universe’s 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 tree.

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 flowers.

Staying in the bodies of creatures becoming digesting fire and getting mixed with inhaling and exhaling breaths I digest four kinds of food.

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 Prakriti.

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 the Vedas.

Being free from delusion whoever knows Me as ‘Purushottam’, he knowing everything, worships Me whole heartedly.

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 fulfilled."

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