Purushottama Yoga

discourse xv

This discourse deals with the supreme form of the Lord, transcending kshara(perisha¬ble) and akshara(imperishable).

The Lord Said:
1. With the roots above and branches below, the ashvatthatree (banyan), they say, is impossible; it has Vedic hymns for its leaves; he who knows it knows the vedas.

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
ऊर्ध्वमूलमध:शाखमश्वत्थंप्राहुरव्ययम् |
छन्दांसियस्यपर्णानियस्तंवेद स वेदवित् || 1||

Shvahmeans tomorrow, and ashvattha (nashvopisthata) means that which will not last even until tomorrow, i.e. the world of sense which is every moment in a state of flux. But even though it is perpetually changing, as its root is Brahman or the Supreme, it is imperishable. It has for its protection and support, the leaves of the Vedic hymns, i.e. dharma. He who knows the world of sense as such and who knows dharma is the real jnani, that man has really known the vedas.


2. Above all and below, its branches spread, blossoming because of the gunas, having for their shoots the sense-objects. Deep down in the world of men are ramified its roots, in the shape of the consequences of action.

अधश्चोर्ध्वंप्रसृतास्तस्यशाखा
गुणप्रवृद्धाविषयप्रवाला: |
अधश्चमूलान्यनुसन्ततानि
कर्मानुबन्धीनिमनुष्यलोके || 2||

This is the description of the tree of the world of sense as the unenlightened see it. They fail to discover its Root above in Brah­man and so they are always attached to the objects of sense. They water the tree with the three gunasand remain bound to karma in the world of men.


4. Let him pray to win to that haven from which there is no return and seek to find refuge in the primal Being from whom has emanated this ancient world of action.

न रूपमस्येहतथोपलभ्यते
नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा |
अश्वत्थमेनंसुविरूढमूल
मसङ्गशस्त्रेणदृढेनछित्वा || 3||

‘Detachment in shl. 3 here means dispassion, aversion to the objects of the senses. Unless man is determined to cut himself off from the temptations of the world of sense he will go deeper into the mire every day. These verses show that one dare not play with the objects of the senses with impunity.

5. To that imperishable haven those enlightened souls go – who are without pride and delusion, who have triumphed over the taints of attach­ment, who are ever in tune with the Supreme, whose passions have died, who are exempt from the pairs of opposites, such as pleasure and pain.

निर्मानमोहाजितसङ्गदोषा
अध्यात्मनित्याविनिवृत्तकामा: |
द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ता: सुखदु:खसंज्ञै
र्गच्छन्त्यमूढा: पदमव्ययंतत् || 5||


6. Neither the sun, nor the moon, nor fire illu­mine it; men who arrive there return not - that is My supreme abode.

न तद्भासयतेसूर्यो न शशाङ्को न पावक: |
यद्गत्वा न निवर्तन्तेतद्धामपरमंमम || 6||


9. Having settled himself in the senses-ear, eye, touch, taste, and smell — as well as the mind, through them he frequents their objects.

श्रोत्रंचक्षु: स्पर्शनं च रसनंघ्राणमेव च |
अधिष्ठायमनश्चायंविषयानुपसेवते || 9||

These objects are the natural objects of the senses. The frequenting or enjoyment of these would be tainted if there were the sense of ‘I’ about it; otherwise it is pure, even as a child’s enjoyment of these objects is innocent.

10. The deluded perceive Him not as He leaves or settles in (a body) or enjoys (sense objects) in association with the gunas; it is those endowed with the eye of knowledge who alone see Him.

उत्क्रामन्तंस्थितंवापिभुञ्जानंवागुणान्वितम् |
विमूढानानुपश्यन्तिपश्यन्तिज्ञानचक्षुष: || 10||


11. Yogis who strive see Him seated in them­selves; the witless ones who have not cleansed themselves to see Him not, even though they strive.

यतन्तोयोगिनश्चैनंपश्यन्त्यात्मन्यवस्थितम् |
यतन्तोऽप्यकृतात्मानोनैनंपश्यन्त्यचेतस: || 11||

This does not conflict with the covenant that God has made even with the sinner in Dis­course 9 verse 30. Akritatman(who has not cleansed himself) means one who has no devotion in him, who has not made up his mind to purify himself. The most confirmed sinner, if he has humility enough to seek ref­uge in surrender to God, purifies himself and succeeds in finding Him. Those who do not care to observe the cardinal and the casual vows and expect to find God through bare intellectual exercise are witless, Godless; they will not find Him.


19. He who, undeluded, knows Me as Purushot­tama, knows all, he worships Me with all his heart, O Bharata.

योमामेवमसम्मूढोजानातिपुरुषोत्तमम् |
स सर्वविद्भजतिमांसर्वभावेनभारत || 19||


20. Thus I have revealed to thee, sinless one, this most mysterious SHASTRA; he who understands this, O Bharata, is a man of understanding, he has fulfilled his life’s mission.

इतिगुह्यतमंशास्त्रमिदमुक्तंमयानघ |
एतद्बुद्ध्वाबुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्चभारत || 20||

Thus ends the fifteenth discourse, entitled ‘Purushottama Yoga’ in the converse of Lord Krishna and Arjuna, on the science of Yoga, as part of the knowledge of Brahman in the Upanishad called the Bhagavad Gita.