Chapter XXIV - 139 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Readers! As the rivers have the sea as their goal, Jivas have Brahmam as their goal. Permanent joy can never be received by the "conscious" Jiva from "material" objects. Moksha is the acquisition of permanent joy; it is also called the attainment of Brahmam. Fixed exclusive devotion to Godhead can come to those who have no attachment to the wild phantasmagoria of name and form, which is called the "world". That alone can win Atma-jnana. The world is the instrument for the attainment of renunciation; that is the reason why it is so tempting and so treacherous. He is the real Vedanthin who sees the world as an instrument, for escape from its coils.

Usually, the word "Oordhwa" is taken to mean "above" "high", etc. But if you consider the world to be a tree, then it has its roots in Brahmam; that is, the roots are above and the branches are below! This was taught to Arjuna by Krishna thus: "The tree of Samsara or life is a very peculiar one. It is quite distinct from the trees of the world. The trees that you see in the world have their branches above and roots below. The Asvattha tree of Samsara, however, has roots above and branches below. It is a topsy-turvy tree."

Arjuna intercepted with a question. "How did it get the name, Aswattha? It means a banyan tree, is it not? Why was the tree of life called so? Why was it not called by some other name?" A strange name for a strange tree! "Listen. Aswattha means Anithya, impermanent, transient; it also means the 'banyan tree'. Its flowers and fruits are neither good for smelling nor for eating. However, its leaves will be ceaselessly quivering in the wind. So it is also called Chaladala, meaning 'quivering leaves.' Worldly objects too are ever wavering, unsteady, ever changing positions. In order to make people understand this truth and strive to overcome it, it is called Aswattha."

"This disquisition is to make men develop the higher vision and yearn for steady faith in Brahmam. The objective world can be truly understood only by two types of examination: the outer and the inner. There is a reasoning that binds and a reasoning that liberates. He who sees the world as world sees wrong; he who sees it as Paramatma sees right. The world is the effect; it has a cause; it cannot be different from the cause. It is just a mutation of Brahmam, which constitutes it. The millions of beings are the branches, twigs and leaves; the seed is Brahmam, in which all the tree is subsumed and summarised. He who knows this, knows the Vedas."