21st Century Bhagavad Gita

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Category: Belief, Faith, Devotion: Bhakti

The Ashvattha Tree Chapter 15

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The branches of this ancient tree.

Are the perishable jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the secondary creator who lives for trillions of years down to humans who may live for a hundred years down to an insect that may live only for some hours. All regardless of their span of life have their limiting adjuncts and restricted effects and represent the branches of this tree. Of those jivas who have the inclination for evil and demoniac activities their births will be in the reptile and insect species. Those jivas who are oblivious to their divine nature and act like beasts will correspondingly take birth in the animal kingdom and those jivas of virtuous and pious nature nature will take birth among the Brahmins, Vaisnavas and demigods. All jivas constitute the unlimited branches of this ancient banyan tree represented in the mundane material existence. Furthermore it should be understood that they are nutured by the three gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience according to their qualifications and propensities. The tips of the branches are the senses and the innumerable sprouts and shoots are the sense objects. The roots are spread out above and below with the central primary tap root representing the Supreme Lord alone with the roots below representing desires for enjoyment and the roots above representing subtle impressions of past enjoyments. The effects of such are specifird by the words karma anubandhani which refers to actions according to the proclivity to perform righteous or unrighteous activities which results in corresponding reactions some positive, some benign and some negative. When past reactions eventually have been finally exhausted the jiva once more takes birth in the world of humans directly related to the influence of the subtle impressions accumalated from enjoyments experienced in the previous lives and worlds which are the subtle motivating impetus for the inclinations and propensity to experience these activities again. The ability to experience these actions is limited to the worlds of humans alone and so Lord Krishna states manusya-loke meaning the world of men.

Describing the roots and branches of the asvattha or banyan tree allegorically to symbolise material existence. Lord Krishna further explains that the branches that rise upwards symbolise the higher level jivas or embodied beings such as the demigods and humans. The branches that turn downwards are lower level jivas such as animals, birds, fish and plants. The roots extend upwards to Satya loka the highest material planet of Brahma and extends downwards also into the worlds of humans where innumerable new sub-roots manifest which are the karma or reactions to actions performed by every human. The twigs are impressions from past desires and the sprouts are the desired sense objects. All parts of this tree are within prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and are nourished by the three gunas or modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or nescience. Those lower level jivas who have degenerated into various forms of demoniac entities due to performing evil activities to others as well as degraded activities unto themselves inevitably sink into the fiery hellish worlds for aeons and aeons of atonement. Contrarily the higher level jivas who adhered to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Veidc scriptures receive meritorious births in the heavenly worlds of the demigods. Possessing the nature of good or evil each jivas karma binds them in samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death and is manifested in manusya the worlds of humans.

The purport is that after exhaustion of all karma and its residue of the jiva enjoying ecstatically in the heavenly worlds or suffering in misery in the hellish worlds due to either following or ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures. One is rewarded after death by performing meritorious deeds or punished by performing degraded deeds during each human lifetime in pursuit of pleasure and sense gratification. After hundreds of thousands of such lifetimes these desires for pleasure become deep rooted tendencies that causes subtle impressions to be imprinted upon the subtle body of the jiva who takes birth in the worlds of humans. These impressions are so resolute that subconsciously the jiva craves and seeks the same pleasures enjoyed in the previous life and performs the same and similar activities in which they had achieved fulfillment before.

The reality of this asvattha or ancient banyan tree having its roots above and branches below is not perceivable by jivas or embodied beings habitating material existence in samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death for 43,200,000 lifetimes that transpire for a human in one day of Brahma. Neither can its end be discerned or its beginning determined. It is unlimited and its continuity and how it exists is unknown. Since this tree is extremely difficult to uproot and surmount and is also the actual cause of all suffering, a spiritually knowledegable living entity should sever all ties from this tree by the weapons of nonattachment and dispassion and strive for attaining atma tattva or realisation of their immortal soul. Enunciated clearly having severed all ties to this deep rooted and all encompassing tree with the powerful discriminative weapon of renunciation which consists of relinquishing all concepts of ego such as I and mine and instead see oneself as belonging fully to the Supreme Lord Krishna in complete communion with Him, who is the ultimate source from where this tree has arisen. Upon realising the Supreme Lord one achieves moksa or liberation from material existence and is no longer subject to samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death. In conclusion one must wholeheartedly seek communion with the Supreme Lord and take full shelter of Him by bhakti or exclusive loving devotion.

This asvattha tree with roots above and branches below that keeps the jiva enslaved in samsara can only be destroyed by the sword of non-attachment to objects of the senses. This renunciation arises from bhakti or exclusive loving devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna which is the highest good and apex of all to be attained by every jivas and paramount to every other conceivable activity in existence throughout all of creation. Demolishing this strong and durable asvattha tree by the sharp weapon of detachment from sense objects produces disike and disdain for sense gratification which creates a desire for pure, sublime spiritual experiences which when one attains can no longer be subjected to the influence of the three gunas or modes of material nature. How can such a state of consciousness manifest and detachment from the gunas which causes delusion be guaranteed?

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The senses & the outer universe

We can only perceive the outer world through the 5 senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. There is a sixth most important sense of feelings, the heart principle or Chitta intuition.

Meditation gets us in touch with the sixth more powerful sense which comes from the larger universe and has no connection with the 5 material senses. It is this sixth sense that is the key to the inner universe, the Atman, the Soul. It connects us with the spirit of existence.

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Names

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Terms

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Meaning

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Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya Vashishtha

Great Rishis (7)
Maha Rishis, or Deva Rishis

The principlal powers of consciousness & life from the creative cosmic energy (Aum) & of the spiritual eye in man. (Light)

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Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasa, Brigu,

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Great Sages or Divine seers

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Preceptor of the Astral Gods, liberated in spirit.

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Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, Sanat Kumara

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Primeval Four (4) Ushanas

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Ancient, Joyful, Everlasting, youthful

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Svayambhuva, Svarochisha, Auttami, Tamasa, Raivata, Chakshusha, Vaivasvata*, Savarni, Daksha, Brahma, Dharma, Rudra, Rauchya & Indra Savarni

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Manu’s (14)

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Creative manifestation & dissolution. Vivasvat* (7th) is the progenitor of the present race, Only 4 could create men.

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Aryama, Dhata, Mitra, Rudra, Varuna, Surya, Bhaga, Vivaswan, Pusa, Savita, Tvasta & Vishnu

Adityas (12) according to linga Puranas

Bright and pure as streams of water, free from all guile and falsehood, blameless, perfect, upholding Dharma. Protectors of all beings, who guard the world of spirits and protect the world.

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Ishwar, Hiranyagarbha, Virat, Pragya, Taijas, Vishwa

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Angels (6)

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Creative Intelligence / Forces Deities

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Pavaka (agni)

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Vasus (8)

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Vitalizing & Intelligent Gods

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Shankara, Kapali, Pingala, Bhima, Virupaksa, Vilohita Ajesha, Shasana, Shastu, Chandu, Dhruva

Rudras
(11 radiant beings)

Shiva & the 10 Pranas (vital Airs)

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Mooladhar, swadhisththan, manipura, anahat, vishuddha, agya, sahasrara

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Chakras (7)

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Sahadeva, nakul, Arjun, Bhim & Yudhishthir, 3rd eye / bindu, and the top of the cerebrum.

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They are twins with head of a horse but the rest of the body of human beings;

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Twin Ashvins (2)

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Vedic gods symbolizing the shining of sunrise and sunset.

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Marichi, Hanuman

Maruts (49 wind Gods)

They are described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.

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Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva

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Vedas (4)

Vedas means knowledge. They are a large body of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism

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Chitra ratha

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Demi gods Gandharvas

Concentrated on the Maya or finite perception of the divine eye

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Desire; The God of Love,

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Kamadeva

The first Awakening of Desire

Personified Creative Consciousness.

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Kandarpa

God of love, sex desire for creation.

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Kubera

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Yakshas, Rakshasas

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Dishonest, traitorous, greedy, selfish & possessive.

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Vasuki

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Kundalini

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The coiled sleeping Serpent

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Ananta, Shesha Nag

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Naga serpents

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Eternal, that which remains suspended betwixt creation cycles

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Brihaspati

Chief amongst Priests

Lord of evolution or expansion of creation through power of cosmic delusion

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Skanda, Kartikeyan, son of Shiva

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Among Generals

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God of war represents self control that drives away the ego & senses

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Om or Aum

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Words

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The primordial vibration of Brahman

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Silent Superconscious Chanting

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Yajnas

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Oblation, Praise, offerings accompanied by chanting of Vedic

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Kapila

Siddhas

Founder of the Sankhya school of Philosophy. Incarnation of Vishnu, an avatar come to earth to restore the spiritual balance through his teachings.

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Ashvattha Fig / Pipal Tree/ Bodhi

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Trees

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Has its roots in heavens, and it is a tree of eternal life.

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Meru

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Mountain peaks

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Top of the cerebrum, Sahasrara Chakra

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Aryama

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Pitris

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Ancestors

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Gayatri

Mantras

The essence of the entire vedas in one Mantra

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Vasudeva Krishna

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Vrishnis

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Yadavs

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Indra

Gods

Chief of Astral Gods, conqueror of the senses. Wisdom is his vehicle.

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Vedas.wikidot.com/108upanishads

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Upanishads (108)

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Scriptures

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Preceptor
A preceptor is a teacher responsible to uphold a certain law or tradition, a precept.

Gyan or Knowledge

Qualities of a Gyani, Wise Person, Knowledgeable Person

  1. Free from Hatred, he is naturally accommodative, friendly.
  2. He has compassion, and makes all beings feel secure in his company. Same towards friends or enemies.
  3. He is free from Raaga Dvesha which are Likes & Dislikes, the pairs of opposite forces.
  4. He is happy in all situations, Contented, Sat Chit Ananda. He does not grieve as he does not desire.
  5. He has No Ego, nor egotistical attributes. (I ness) Given up doership.
  6. He has no ownership of anything as everything belongs to the Universe. (My ness, This belongs to Me) Free from attachment.
  7. Equanimous in Sukh and Dukh, Joy and Sorrow. Not swayed by the pair of opposites.
  8. He has Kshama, forbearance & forgiveness. He does not internalize any anger or discomfort. Is peaceful and calm. Insulated. Same in censure or praise.
  9. His Knowledge is Well Determined. He knows that Atman is Brahman.

10. He is not after Artha or Kama as Moksha is his goal.

11. He works only on the principles of Dharma & Adharam.

12. A Gyani does not disturb people nor does he get disturbed by them.

13. He is free from elation or exultation, hostility & intolerance, fear and pain.

14. He is not dependent on anything. He does not depend on his physical body, sense organs or sense object for his sense of well-being.

15. He is Clean both from outside and inside.

16. He understands situations quickly & objectively and knows what action has to be taken.

17. He is fair, does not take sides, impartial.

18. He has no afflictions, illnesses, sufferings or fears.

19. He never has to start anything as he is always in the midst of it.

20. Does not chatter incessantly. Comfortable in silence.

Knowledge of the senses is inferior to the knowledge of the intellect. But knowledge of something beyond the intellect; intuitive knowledge, knowledge from the pure consciousness is even superior to intellectual knowledge. Intellectual knowledge can be proved and disproved, but a discovery which is beyond the intellectual calculation is something very different.

4 Types of Beings

There are four categories of  qualified beings according to the difference in their virtue.

Those who performed virtuous deeds in previous lives fall into four categories:

1) Artto are those distressed such as persecuted by disease and poverty. If they performed virtuous activities in past lives then they will have the opportunity to become better.  Artto are those impoverished and distressed after losing all wealth and power and desires have the strength to recover it  and re-instate it. Artto are those afflicted by problems such as disease or enemies. If one has enough accumulated merit then they will have the opportunity  to alleviate their distress.

2) Atharthi are the seekers of wealth who desire to have full facility for enjoyment in this life and their next. If they performed virtuous deeds in their past lives then they too will have the opportunity to gain prosperity. Atharthi are those who having never enjoyed power and fortune desire  the ability to acquire them. The seekers of wealth who desire to regain the ruler ship, position of power and enjoyments  which they had before and have now became deprived of.

3) Jigyasu or Mumukshus are those who desire self-realization to end the cycle of birth and death. If they performed virtuous actions in their past lives they will also have the opportunity to do so.  Jigyasus are the seekers of self-realization who are anxious to know the atman or soul in its state separate from matter for the benefit of escaping transmigration the cycle of birth and death and pray to the Self for the benediction to discover this. Liberation seekers who also had enough acquired merit from previous lives to qualify for worship of the Supreme Self.

The worship of these above three is tinged with selfish motivations but as soon as their wishes are fulfilled they achieve moksha or liberation from material existence and overcome the cycle of birth and death.

4) Jnani’s are those who have achieved atman tattva or realization of the soul and know the Self. If they have performed virtuous activities in their past lives then they will have the opportunity of advancing further. Jnani’s are the seekers of knowledge concerning the Self who realize that the Atman is essentially characterized by its being an eternal ingredient of the Supreme Spirit residing within all embodied beings. Such a one considers the Supreme Spirit as their goal of life and attainment of Him the fulfillment of all ambitions. Jnani’s or those of spiritual wisdom who have no selfish motives are endowed with discriminative intelligence from ascertaining the reality of the atman or soul and its relationship as an eternal portion of the Supreme Spirit . They also achieve moksha but they continue on to worship the Supreme Spirit joining Him in His eternal pastimes.

Rebirth & Moksha

The Bhagavad Gita states that the cycle of life is continuous, Physical Death is Astral Birth and Astral death is Birth on the earth. Where the soul is embodied. In the astral world we exist but without the body. The cycle of Life is eternal and man takes more than 8.4 million births. Moksha is to be released from the physical Rebirth cycle.