International Forum for NeoVedantins

Gita for the Beginners: Part 16
Chapter XV

Chapter XV contains only twenty verses, but is considered as one of the most instructive chapters of the Gita. Here the Lord further clarifies his true nature, and tells us why He is called Supreme Person -Purushottama. The creation is compared with a huge Ashwattha Tree without beginning and end. Its roots are upwards in the primal Being; its stem is the creator God, and its leaves the Vedas. The branches of this tree represent the different creatures nourished by the three gunas (sattva, rajas, and tamas) and having sense-enjoyments as their tender leaves. The ego and latent desires that bind the soul also spread in all regions, higher as well as lower.

Thus, this huge tree, which overpowers and binds every soul, must be confronted by every sadhaka to seek liberation. How? By cutting it down by the formidable weapon of dispassion. "Those non-deluded ones, who are free from pride and infatuation, who have conquered the vice of attachment and who dwell constantly in God, whose desires have completely disappeared (freed from all pairs of opposites) such then attain that imperishable supreme state." What is that place? Where is it? "Having reached which, men do not return that is the supreme state; neither the sun, nor moon, nor fire can illumine it." 15/6

Then the Lord repeats the necessity of constant absorption in His thought, contemplation, and meditation, and a beautiful statement is now made: "It is I who am installed in hearts of all. Memory, wisdom, and ratiocinative faculty also emanate from Me. it is I whom the four Vedas seek to know; nay, it is I who am the author of the Vedas as well as the knower of the Vedas." 15/15

Sri Krishna talks of two kinds of entities, one perishable and the other imperishable; the bodies of all beings are perishable, while the Jeevatman or soul within is said to be imperishable. Further, the Lord distinguishes between two imperishable, individual soul (Still within the spell of Maya) and Paramatman (Ultimate Self) whom Sri Krishna represents. The Universal Soul or Imperishable Lord or Perfect Person interpenetrates the three worlds and beyond, sustains them all, but remains untainted by anything therein.

(Such difference between Jeevatman and Paramatman points to qualified monism philosophy. But no one but can speak or write other than this philosophy, for this is the highest expressible thought possible. Even Advaita Vedanta or Pure Monism has to expound its precepts in the similar language. Therefore, while Shankara extracted pure Advaita meaning from the Gita, others were happy to declare dualistic trends in it.)
End of chapter XV
Continued Next Part 17 ...

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