Bhagavadgita: 15. The Yoga of the Supreme Person

Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita

Translated by Jayaram V

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Summary: The chapter describes the role of Supreme Brahman as the nourisher and supporter of all creation. He is compared to the tree of life, with its branches below and roots in heaven. Only those who purify themselves and overcome their delusion can ascend to the highest heaven. In the world he becomes the imperishable embodied Self within the perishable bodies.


Purushottama Yoga

1. Said Lord Supreme,  With roots above and branches below, the Asvaththa tree is said to be unending. The Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows it is the knower of the Vedas.

2. Down ward and upward extend its branches, nourished by the gunas. The sense objects are its buds. And downward are extended its roots into the world of men binding them with action.

3. The shape of the tree cannot be found in this world, nor its beginning, nor its end, nor from where its roots come. The strong roots of this Asvaththa tree can be cut asunder only with the weapon of detachment.

4. Thereafter, one has to search for the place by going where one never comes back by surrendering oneself to the First Being from whom has spread this ancient Asvaththa tree.

5. Without pride and illusion, free from the impurities of attachment, always turned inwardly, freed from lust, and the sense of duality like happiness or sorrow, the undeluded attain the inexhaustible eternal position.

6. There shines neither the sun, nor the moon nor the fire, by going where men do not come back. That is My Supreme Abode.

7. The eternal living element (soul) in the mortal world is but an aspect of Me only. With all the senses including the mind established in Prakriti, it struggles hard.

8. When the soul enters the body and then when it leaves , the Iswara takes away all these (six senses) as the perfume is carried away by the wind from its source.

9. Established in the ears, eyes, touch, taste, smell and also in the mind the soul enjoys the sense objects.

10. The deluded cannot see the soul either when departing the body or when established in the body, enjoying (the sense objects) under the influence of the gunas. Only those with the eyes of wisdom can see.

11.  By effort, the Yogis perceive the indwelling Self. But the ignorant, with impure minds, cannot perceive so even with effort.

12. That brilliance coming from the sun illuminating the whole world and that which is also in the moon and in the fire, know that brilliance comes from Me.

13. Entering the earth I sustain all beings by My energy. I am also nourishing all the plants by becoming the juicy Soma.

14. In the beings I become Vaishwanara (fire) and stay in the body. United with prana and apana I digest the four kinds of food.

15. I am situated in the heart of all. From Me come memory, knowledge and also wrong understanding. I am all that is to be known from the Vedas. I am the author of the Vedas and scholar of the Vedas as well.

16. Two types of Purusha are there in this world, the perishable and the imperishable. All the living beings are perishable, but the innermost Soul is said to be imperishable.

17. Another Supreme Self besides (these two) said to enter the three worlds and rule them. He is the inexhaustible Iswara.

18. Because I am beyond degradation and also Supreme among the degradable, I am renowned in the world and in the Vedas as the Highest Being.

19. He who knows Me thus without delusion as the Supreme Purusha, he, the all knowing, worships Me in all respects O Bharata.

20. Thus I have spoken the most secret science, O Sinless One, by knowing which, O Bharata, one succeeds in becoming wise and intelligent.

Thus ends the fifteenth chapter named the Yoga of the Supreme Being in the Upanishad of the divine Bhagavad-Gita , the knowledge of the Absolute, the yogic scripture, and the debate between Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

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