21st Century Bhagavad Gita

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Category: Prakriti Creation

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.

Prakriti/Nature

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Cosmic Nature; in general, the intelligent, creative vibratory power projected out of Spirit that both objectifies and becomes the triune manifestation (causal, astral, and physical) of the universe and the microcosm of man.Specifically designated: Maha-Prakriti is the primal Undifferentiated Creative Intelligence of God, Creative Mother Nature or Holy Ghost, that through Cosmic Vibration of Its own Self brings into manifestation all creation. Para-Prakriti (Pure Nature) and Apara-Prakriti (Impure Nature) correlate with the Christian terminologies of Holy Ghost and Satan—respectively, the creative power that expresses the immanence of God’s vibratory Presence in creation, and the dark power of cosmic delusion that obscures the Divine Omnipresence. Read the rest of this entry »

The 3 intrinsic qualities of Nature: Gunas

Ahamkara (ego) is the self-arrogating principle that performs the function of abhimana or egoism. It creates mine-ness and  is therefore  the root cause of   all human  suffering.

Mind is under the constant  sway  of  the three gunas or qualities of Prakriti, namely, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.  Sattva  represents  purity or light; Rajas is passion or activity and is born of intense desire; whileTamas is inertia or darkness and represents crudeness. It is born of ignorance, the cause of delusion.

Each  of  these  three  gunas  is represented by a color.

Sattva is associated with white, the colour of purity. It is that aspect of  the Divine that is  invoked  as Goddess Saraswati, goddess of learning & knowledge. According to the Gita, Sattva binds us by attachment to happiness and knowledge; it  is luminous and healthy.

Rajas is associated with  the color red and is  that aspect of  the Divine invoked  as Goddess Lakshmi. The very nature of  Rajas is activity, passion and ambition.  The Rajasik person  hankers  after power, position, name, fame and comforts, and  is a hardcore materialist.

Tamas is  associated with the color black represented by that aspect of  the Divine Mother who is  invoked  as Goddess Kali. Tamas, according to the Gita,  is born of ignorance and  binds fast in heedlessness, sleep, indolence, and laziness. The Tamsik person is basically lethargic  and lacks the power of discrimination.

Preponderance of  rajas  results in  constant  wandering of the mind that becomes slave to various sensual objects. When the mind is filled with tamas,  it  becomes forgetful and deep sleep supervenes. If Sattva  dominates   the  mind, thoughts of God, brahmn-vichara, enquiry into truth, will manifest. The mind  becomes  one-pointed and the  seeker enters into a meditative mood  spontaneously.

Significantly, Sattva is always mixed with rajas and tamas; it does not exist in isolation. Hence it is important for the seeker to increase the Satvik  modifications like forgiveness, love, mercy, magnanimity, generosity, and truthfulness, in relation to the other two gunas in order to experience joy, purity, peace and, ultimately, spiritual enlightenment.

Sankhya Philosophy

The world comprises two principles, life and matter. Purusha, represents life and prakriti or nature represents matter.  “Life is a movement of the eternal in time”. Purusha is the seer and Prakriti, is the object of sight.

Sankhya Philosophy is best described as a form of substance dualism. This form of substance dualism has a division between consciousness and matter, which is seen as independent from one another and relying on one another at the same time. This division is described in several ways, such as: thoughts and feelings vs intellect, nature vs soul, non-­‐eternal vs eternal, non-­‐spiritual vs spiritual, and impure vs pure to name a few. The most significant division related to Sankhya Philosophy is between the entity Purush and the entity Prakriti. Purusha is the soul, the Self, pure consciousness, and the only source of consciousness. The word literally means “man.” Prakriti is that which is created. It is “nature” in all her aspects. Prakriti literally means “creatrix,” the female creative energy. Unlike in the Western religions, purusha did not create prakriti; in fact,  purusha is responsible for prakriti becoming animated, alive. Purusha is pure consciousness, Prakriti is everything that is changing. Prakriti is not just the physical aspects of the universe that we can sense; it is our very senses themselves – our thoughts, memories, desires, and even our intelligence. Prakriti is everything that is that isn’t conscious. Consciousness resides only in purusha, or more properly, as purusha. Prakriti, material nature, is actually threefold. (Satvic, Rajasic & Tamsic) Nature consists of a superior energy [para] & an inferior energy [apara].  The superior energy manifests the spiritual realm. The inferior energy [known as “nature” by scientists] manifests this material world.

The Principles Of Creation

Ahankar / The “I Am” Factor or Aham which gives you Existence (Ego) 

Chitta “Intuition” Feeling, Consciousness

Budhhi /Intellect, Gyan, Wisdom, Discriminative Powers or Intelligence

Manas, The sensory Mind, controlled by the 10 senses. 

Mahatatva / Maha Bhut (5) Ether (space ), Air, Fire, Water, Earth

GyanIndriyas (5) The  5 Knowledge Senses; Ears-Sound, Eyes-Sight, Skin -Touch, Tongue -Taste, Nose-Smell

KaramIndriyas (5) 5 Action Senses; Mouth Speech, Hands Grasping, Feet Locomotion, Genitals Procreation, Anus Elimination.

Tan Matras Processes (5): The Subtle Processes which are activated by Pranic Energy  Circulation, Crystallization, Assimilation, Metabolism & Elimination.

What is Pranic Energy? Vital Airs namely Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana and Apana.

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