THE BHAGAVAD GITA: Chapter 15

Reference: Course on The Bhagavad Gita

English Translation By Swami Purohit Swami

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Chapter 15

श्रीभगवानुवाच
ऊर्ध्वमूलमधःशाखमश्वत्थंप्राहुरव्ययम्।
छन्दांसियस्यपर्णानियस्तंवेदसवेदवित्।।15.1।।

15.1 Lord Shri Krishna continued: This phenomenal creation, which is both ephemeral and eternal, is like a tree, but having its seed above in the Highest and its ramifications on this earth below. The scriptures are its leaves, and he who understands this, knows.

This verse reminds me of this universe starting from the lightest and flimsiest of radiation and gradually condensing into the universe of stars, suns and planets. The “seed” is something completely imperceptible from which has precipitated such an enormous universe. The scriptures (and now science) describe it to us, so we may understand it.

It is not just the energy that has condensed in infinitely different perceptible forms; it is the underlying simple impulse of that energy also that has condensed into infinitely complex animation and thought. The essence underlying this evolution of energy and its impulse is worth knowing.

अधश्चोर्ध्वंप्रसृतास्तस्यशाखागुणप्रवृद्धाविषयप्रवालाः।
अधश्चमूलान्यनुसन्ततानिकर्मानुबन्धीनिमनुष्यलोके।।15.2।।

15.2 Its branches shoot upwards and downwards, deriving their nourishment from the Qualities; its buds are the objects of sense; and its roots, which follow the Law causing man’s regeneration and degeneration, pierce downwards into the soil.

The universe surrounds us. It is rooted in the actions of man that bind him through the objects that he senses, motivated by the Qualities of purity, passion and ignorance.

Man is a complex energy form motivated by complex impulses woven in that form. It is a complete system in itself. This verse is looking at the man’s universe.

नरूपमस्येहतथोपलभ्यतेनान्तोनचादिर्नचसंप्रतिष्ठा।
अश्वत्थमेनंसुविरूढमूलमसङ्गशस्त्रेणदृढेनछित्त्वा।।15.3।।

15.3 In this world its true form is not known, neither its origin nor its end, and its strength is not understood, until the tree with its roots striking deep into the earth is hewn down by the sharp axe of non-attachment.

ततःपदंतत्परिमार्गितव्ययस्मिन्गताननिवर्तन्तिभूयः।
तमेवचाद्यंपुरुषंप्रपद्येयतःप्रवृत्तिःप्रसृतापुराणी।।15.4।।

15.4 Beyond lies the Path, from which, when found, there is no return. This is the Primal God from whence this ancient creation has sprung.

Without the Static viewpoint this world cannot be viewed for what it truly is. One needs to be free of all attachment to view the true form of this world, its origin and its end. Attachment is there because of ignorance. Beyond this ignorance and attachment lies the view and awareness, which when attained cannot be reversed.

निर्मानमोहाजितसङ्गदोषाअध्यात्मनित्याविनिवृत्तकामाः।
द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ताःसुखदुःखसंज्ञैर्गच्छन्त्यमूढाःपदमव्ययंतत्।।15.5।।

15.5 The wise attain Eternity when, freed from pride and delusion, they have conquered their love for the things of sense; when, renouncing desire and fixing their gaze on the Self, they have ceased to be tossed to and fro by the opposing sensations, like pleasure and pain.

नतद्भासयतेसूर्योनशशाङ्कोनपावकः।
यद्गत्वाननिवर्तन्तेतद्धामपरमंमम।।15.6।।

15.6 Neither sun, moon, nor fire shines there. Those who go thither never come back. For, O Arjuna, that is my Celestial Home!

How does one free oneself from ignorance and attachment, from pride and delusion? How does one conquer one’s love of the things of sense? How does one renounce desire without suppressing it? It all happens automatically when the static viewpoint is attained.

The focus should be on attaining the static viewpoint. Yoga helps. Subject clearing helps. Both are very basic and natural activities.

ममैवांशोजीवलोकेजीवभूतःसनातनः।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणिप्रकृतिस्थानिकर्षति।।15.7।।

15.7 It is only a very small part of My Eternal Self, which is the life of the universe, drawing round itself the six senses, the mind the last, which have their source in Nature.

शरीरंयदवाप्नोतियच्चाप्युत्क्रामतीश्वरः।
गृहीत्वैतानिसंयातिवायुर्गन्धानिवाशयात्।।15.8।।

15.8 When the Supreme Lord enters a body or leaves it, He gathers these senses together and travels on with them, as the wind gathers perfume while passing through the flowers.

श्रोत्रंचक्षुःस्पर्शनंचरसनंघ्राणमेवच।
अधिष्ठायमनश्चायंविषयानुपसेवते।।15.9।।

15.9 He is the perception of the ear, the eye, the touch, the taste and the smell, yea and of the mind also; and the enjoyment the things which they perceive is also His.

There is a lot more to Nature than just the life of the universe. The life is limited to the six senses. There are the five physical senses, and the sixth sense is the mind. These six senses enter the body upon birth and leave the body upon death. These senses continue to exist between lives. This all can be observed from the Static viewpoint.

Today, we know through science that the body, upon death, disintegrates into atoms, molecules, and congregation of molecules that carry bits and pieces of programming captured from the senses. These elements come together into a new configuration of a body-mind system upon the birth of a new body.

उत्क्रामन्तंस्थितंवापिभुञ्जानंवागुणान्वितम्।
विमूढानानुपश्यन्तिपश्यन्तिज्ञानचक्षुषः।।15.10।।

15.10 The ignorant do not see that it is He Who is present in life and Who departs at death or even that it is He Who enjoys pleasure through the Qualities. Only the eye of wisdom sees.

यतन्तोयोगिनश्चैनंपश्यन्त्यात्मन्यवस्थितम्।
यतन्तोऽप्यकृतात्मानोनैनंपश्यन्त्यचेतसः।।15.11।।

15.11 The saints with great effort find Him within themselves; but not the unintelligent, who in spite of every effort cannot control their minds.

यदादित्यगतंतेजोजगद्भासयतेऽखिलम्।
यच्चन्द्रमसियच्चाग्नौतत्तेजोविद्धिमामकम्।।15.12।।

15.12 Remember that the Light which, proceeding from the sun, illumines the whole world, and the Light which is in the moon, and That which is in the fire also, all are born of Me.

It is the “Viewpoint” that is present in life and which departs at death. This “Viewpoint”, when attached to the world, is the effect of the three Qualities. But, when it is detached, it becomes static. All wisdom comes from this Viewpoint.

गामाविश्यचभूतानिधारयाम्यहमोजसा।
पुष्णामिचौषधीःसर्वाःसोमोभूत्वारसात्मकः।।15.13।।

15.13 I enter this world and animate all My creatures with My vitality; and by My cool moonbeams I nourish the plants.

अहंवैश्वानरोभूत्वाप्राणिनांदेहमाश्रितः।
प्राणापानसमायुक्तःपचाम्यन्नंचतुर्विधम्।।15.14।।

15.14 Becoming the fire of life, I pass into their bodies and, uniting with the vital streams of Prana and Apana, I digest the various kinds of food.

सर्वस्यचाहंहृदिसन्निविष्टोमत्तःस्मृतिर्ज्ञानमपोहनंच।
वेदैश्चसर्वैरहमेववेद्योवेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेवचाहम्।।15.15।।

15.15 I am enthroned in the hearts of all; memory, wisdom and discrimination owe their origins to Me. I am He Who is to be realised in the scriptures; I inspire their wisdom and I know their truth.

All animation of energy forms comes from the inherent impulse of energy. There is exchange of energy among various energy forms. This impulse travels through the energy forms, unites with other impulses, and there come about types of impulses. These impulses take the form of memory and wisdom. They are the very basis of discrimination.

So, a unique energy form shall have a unique system of impulses. The two will go hand in hand. As the energy form changes so would its system of impulse would change, and vice versa. A structure of energy forms (and their impulses) may exist from basic to increasingly elaborate.

द्वाविमौपुरुषौलोकेक्षरश्चाक्षरएवच।
क्षरःसर्वाणिभूतानिकूटस्थोऽक्षरउच्यते।।15.16।।

15.16 There are two aspects in Nature: the perishable and the imperishable. All life in this world belongs to the former, the unchanging element belongs to the latter.

उत्तमःपुरुषस्त्वन्यःपरमात्मेत्युदाहृतः।
योलोकत्रयमाविश्यबिभर्त्यव्ययईश्वरः।।15.17।।

15.17 But higher than all am I, the Supreme God, the Absolute Self, the Eternal Lord, Who pervades the worlds and upholds them all.

यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपिचोत्तमः।
अतोऽस्मिलोकेवेदेचप्रथितःपुरुषोत्तमः।।15.18।।

15.18 Beyond comparison of the Eternal with the non-eternal am I, Who am called by scriptures and sages the Supreme Personality, the Highest God.

Perishable means that the energy form rearranges itself. It doesn’t stay the same. All life in this world is like that. The unchanging element is the underlying energy that is rearranging itself. Beyond the energy forms and the energy is the Static viewpoint that pervades the world and upholds everything. This Static viewpoint is beyond the comparison of the eternal with non-eternal.

योमामेवमसम्मूढोजानातिपुरुषोत्तमम्।
ससर्वविद्भजतिमांसर्वभावेनभारत।।15.19।।

15.19 He who with unclouded vision sees Me as the Lord-God, knows all there is to be known, and always shall worship Me with his whole heart.

इतिगुह्यतमंशास्त्रमिदमुक्तंमयाऽनघ।
एतद्बुद्ध्वाबुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्चभारत।।15.20।।

15.20 Thus, O Sinless One, I have revealed to thee this most mystic knowledge. He who understands gains wisdom and attains the consummation of life.

The problem is to attain that unclouded vision. Hopefully, Subject Clearing may help one reach it.

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Final Comment

This universe starts from the lightest and flimsiest of radiation and gradually condenses into galaxies, stars, suns and planets. The “seed” is something completely imperceptible. The essence underlying this evolution of energy and its impulse is worth knowing.

A person’s world is rooted in his actions that bind him through the objects that he senses, motivated by the Qualities of purity, passion and ignorance. He is a complex energy form motivated by complex impulses woven in that form. One needs to be free of all attachment to view the true form of this world, its origin and its end. Attachment is there because of ignorance. How does one free oneself from ignorance and attachment? How does one renounce desire without suppressing it? Yoga helps. Subject clearing helps. Both are very basic and natural activities.

A person’s world is limited to the six senses—the five physical senses and the mental sense. These six senses enter the body upon birth and leave  upon death. They continue through the body-mind systems that are born again and again. Underlying these senses is the viewpoint, which, when attached to the world, is the effect of the three Qualities; but, when detached, becomes static. All wisdom comes from this viewpoint.

Every person has a viewpoint, an energy form, and inherent impulses. There is exchange of energy and impulses among viewpoints. Thus come about memory, wisdom and discrimination. All viewpoints evolve toward the Static viewpoint. The Static viewpoint pervades the world and upholds everything. It is beyond eternal and non-eternal.

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