Chapter XV: The Supreme PurushaChapter XIII has taught us the truth that there is a Field and there is a Knower of that Field. Chapter XIV has thrown abundant light on the Field, the cosmic play of Prakriti. In this particular chapter we shall learn about the Knower, the Self Individual, the Self Universal and the Self Supreme.
This chapter begins with a Tree. This Tree is called the World-Tree. Unlike earthly or botanical trees, this Tree has its root above in the Supreme. The Supreme is its only Source. Downward are its branches spread. The Vedas are its leaves. He who has fathomed the depths of the ever-changing and ever-evolving world has all the Vedic Knowledge at his disposal.
Here on earth this Tree is not free. It is caught by its own action and reaction here in this world of ours. It is fondly nourished by the three qualities of Prakriti. If one wants to discover the beginning, the end and the very existence of this Tree, then one has to free himself totally from this Temptation-Tree.
Tree signifies aspiration. This aspiration ultimately rises up to the Highest. Countless are the Indian sadhus (monks) who sit under the trees and enter into the world of deeper meditation. The aspiration of the tree inspires them and arouses their dormant aspiration. Lord Buddha had his Enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi-Tree. The world knows it.
The Gita is an ocean of spirituality. Spirituality’s most affectionate daughter is poetry. The subtle breath of poetry is always fondled by the life-energising spirituality. Let us identify our consciousness with the consciousness of a poet when he speaks of a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
— Joyce Kilmer
Since poetry is my forte, I gladly take the liberty of seeing eye to eye with the blessed poet.
To come back to our philosophical Tree. The wise cut down its root with the axe of detachment. This is the way to liberation. This is the way to the supreme good.
A wise man lives in perfect self-control. He is devoted to the Truth unreservedly and unconditionally. He wants God and God alone, Who is the Fount of the world within and the world without, and also of the world beyond. The happenings, encouraging or discouraging, pleasant or unpleasant, divine or undivine do not stir his mind, not to speak of his inner existence. He swims in the sea of fruitful Silence and Equanimity. Being the master of the senses, he lords it over them. He comes to Krishna, his only Haven. No sun, no moon, no fire in His Abode. Not necessary. This Abode is the Source of the entire universe. It is All Illumination. From His eternal Abode there is no return.
It is not for the deluded but for the seers who are endowed with the divine vision to recognise or understand Him, the Lord Supreme, who enters into the body, resides in the body and experiences the qualities of Nature and leaves the body at His chosen hour.
To be sure, all serious efforts of a man will be of no avail until he has achieved steadiness in his mind, until his outer nature is at his command, until his heart overflows with love and devotion to his spiritual Teacher (Guru), until he serves the living Breath of the Lord in humanity.
There are two aspects of creation: the perishable and the imperishable. Beyond these two is the Impersonal Supreme. This Impersonal Supreme is at once all-pervading and all-sustaining.
The Lord says: “I, the Purushottama, the Supreme Being, transcend both the perishable and the imperishable.”
There are four Vedas. Strangely enough, all four Vedas significantly speak of this Supreme Being.
The Being Supreme, thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed;
He pervades the length and breadth of the earth.
He is beyond all ten corners.
Here “thousand” undoubtedly means infinite. Infinity is manifesting itself through the finite in the field of manifestation.
Purushottama is beyond formless and form, beyond impersonality and personality. In Him the mightiest dynamic urge and the profoundest Silence stay together. To Him, they are one. To Him are one, heavenly freedom and earthly necessity, the ever-changing form of the earth and the changeless Reality infinite.