15ChapterBG

Numbered Text with Commentary in yellow cells by Dr. Radhakrishnan

Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and word meaning by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Chapter XV Bhagavadgītā

The tree of Life

 

The Cosmic tree

 

श्रीभगवानुवाच

ऊर्ध्वमूलमधःशाखमश्वत्थं प्राहुरव्ययम् ।

छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित् ॥१५- १॥

śrībhagavān uvāca
ūrdhvamūlam adhaḥśākham aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam
chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yas taṁ veda sa vedavit 15.1
śrībhagavān uvāca
ūrdhva-mūlam1 adhaḥ-śākham2 aśvattham3 prāhuḥ4 avyayam5
chandāṁsi6 yasya7 parṇāni8 yaḥ9 tam10 veda11 saḥ12 vedavit13 15.1

 

śrībhagavān uvāca = Sri Bhagavan said: prāhuḥ4 = they say; avyayam5 = the imperishable; aśvattham3 = the Asvattham tree/Banyan tree;  ūrdhva-mūlam1 = with roots above; [and] adhaḥ-śākham2  = branches below; yasya7 = of which/that; parṇāni8 = the leaves; [are] chandāṁsi6 = Vedic hymns; yaḥ9 saḥ12= he who; veda11 = knows; tam10 = that; [is]  vedavit13 = the knower of Vedas.15.1  chandāṁsi = Vedic hymns.  'Chandas/chad' means 'to spread as a cover or canopy.'  That which covers is a protector. That which protects is Veda. Thus Chandas refers to the Vedas.

 

The Blessed Lord said:

(15.1) They speak of the imperishable aśvattham (peepal tree) as having its root above and branches below. Its leaves are the Vedas and he who knows this is the knower of the Vedas.

Cp. Kaṭka Up, "With root above and branches below, this world tree is eternal."1 It is saṁsāravṛkṣa, the cosmic tree. M.B. compares the cosmic process to a tree which can be cut off by the mighty sword of knowledge,

jānena paramāsinā.2 As the tree originates in God, it is said to have its roots "above"; as it

extends into the world, its branches are said to go "downwards." The world is a living organism united with the Supreme.

According to ancient belief, the Vedic sacrificial cult is said to sustain the world and so the hymns are said to be the leaves which keep the tree with its trunk and branches alive.

I V, I. See also Ṛg. Veda, I, 24, 7.

I am the originator of the world tree. Taittirīya Up., I, 10.

The Petelia Orphic tablet suggests that our body comes from the earth and our soul from heaven. "I am a child of Earth and of Starry Heaven; but my race is of Heaven alone." Cp. Plato: "As regards the most lordly part of our soul, we must conceive of it in this wise; we declare that God has given to each of us, as his demon, that kind of soul which is housed in the top of our body and which raises usseeing that we are not an earthly but a heavenly plantup from earth towards our kindred in heaven." Timaeus, 90-A.

2Aśvamedhaparva 47, 12-1:5

 

अधश्चोर्ध्वं प्रसृतास्तस्य शाखा गुणप्रवृद्धा विषयप्रवालाः ।

अधश्च मूलान्यनुसंततानि कर्मानुबन्धीनि मनुष्यलोके ॥१५- २॥

adhaś cordhvaṁ prasṛtāstasya śākhā guṇapravṛddhā viṣayapravālāḥ
adhaś ca mūlāny anusaṁtatāni karmānubandhīni manuṣyaloke 15.2
adhaḥ1 ca2 urdhvam3 prasṛtāḥ4 guṇa pravṛddhā5 viṣaya pravālāḥ6
adhaḥ7 ca8 mūlāni9 anusantatāni10 karma-anubandhīni11 manuṣya-loke12 15.2

 

tasya5 śākhāḥ6 = Its branches; prasṛtāḥ4 = extend; adhaḥ1 ca2 urdhvam3  = below and above; guṇa pravṛddhā5 = nourished by Gunas; [with] viṣaya pravālāḥ6 = sense objects as shoots;  ca8 = and;  mūlāni9 = [its] roots; anusantatāni10 = extend; adhaḥ7 = downwards; manuṣya-loke12 = to the world of men; karma-anubandhīni11 = bound to karma.15.2

(15.2) Its branches extend below and above, nourished by the modes, with sense objects for its twigs and below, in the world of men stretch forth the roots resulting in actions.

Śaṁkara (S) makes out that the downward spreading roots are the secondary ones, vāsanas, which the souls carry as results of past deeds.

 

न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते नान्तो न चादिर्न च संप्रतिष्ठा ।

अश्वत्थमेनं सुविरूढमूल-मसङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा ॥१५- ३॥

na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate nānto na cādir na ca saṁpratiṣṭhā
aśvattham enaṁ suvirūḍhamūlaṁ asaṅgaśastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā 15.3
na rūpam1 asya2 iha3 tatha4 upalabhyate5 na6 anta7 na8 ca9 ādi10 na11 ca12 saṁpratiṣṭhā13
aśvattham14 enam15 suvirūḍha-mūlam16 asaṅga-śastreṇa17 dṛḍhena18 chittvā19 15.3

 

iha3 = In this [world]; na1A asya2 rūpam1B = neither1A its2 form1B; tatha4 = also; na6 anta7 = nor the end; na8 ādi10 = nor the beginning; ca9 = and; na11 saṁpratiṣṭhā13 = nor the continuance; upalabhyate5 = is seen; ca12 = and; chittvā19 = having cut; enam15 = this; suvirūḍha-mūlam16  = firmly rooted;  aśvattham14 = Asvattam tree; dṛḍhena18 = with strong; asaṅga-śastreṇa17 = weapon of detachment. 15.3       
(15.3) Its real form is not thus perceived here, nor its end nor beginning nor its foundation.
Having cut off this firm-rooted Aśvattham (peepal tree) with the strong sword of nonattachment.

 

ततः पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्यं यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूयः ।

तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये यतः प्रवृत्तिः प्रसृता पुराणी ॥१५- ४॥

tataḥ padaṁ tatparimārgitavyaṁ yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ
tameva cādyaṁ puruṣaṁ prapadye yataḥ pravṛttiḥ prasṛtā purāṇī 15.4
tataḥ1 padam2 tat3 parimārgitavyam4 yasmin5 gatā6 na nivartanti7 bhūyaḥ8
tam9 eva10 ca11 ādyam12 puruṣam13 prapadye14 yataḥ15 pravṛttiḥ16 prasṛtā17 purāṇī18 15.4

tataḥ1 = Thereafter; parimārgitavyam4 = seek; tat3 = that; padam2 = goal [Vishnu as the goal]; gatā6 = going; yasmin5 = where; [one] na nivartanti7 = does not return; bhūyaḥ8 = again; [back into a world of misery]; ca11 = and; prapadye14 = surrender [take refuge]; tam9 = in That; ādyam12 = primal; puruṣam13 = Person; yataḥ15 = from whom; eva10 = indeed; prasṛtā17 = come forth; purāṇī18 = eternal; pravṛttiḥ16 = Manifestation. 15.4 

(15.4) Then, that path must be sought from which those who have reached it never return, saying ''l seek refuge only in that Primal Person from whom has come forth this ancient current of the world" (this cosmic process).

The disciple, detaching himself from the objective, takes refuge in the primal consciousness from which cosmic energies issue.

 

निर्मानमोहा जितसङ्गदोषा अध्यात्मनित्या विनिवृत्तकामाः ।

द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ताः सुखदुःखसंज्ञै- र्गच्छन्त्यमूढाः पदमव्ययं तत् ॥१५- ५॥

nirmānamohā jitasaṅgadoṣā adhyātmanityā vinivṛttakāmāḥ
dvandvair vimuktāḥ sukhaduḥkhasaṁjaiḥ gacchhanty amūḍhāḥ padam avyayaṁ tat 15.5
nirmāna-mohā1 jita-saṅga-doṣā2 adhyātma-nityā3 vinivṛtta-kāmāḥ4
dvandvai5 vimuktāḥ6 sukha-duḥkha-sajaiḥ7 gacchhanti8 amūḍhāḥ9 padam10 avyayam11 tat12 15.5

 

amūḍhāḥ9 = The wise ones; nirmāna-mohā1 = without false pride and delusion; jita-saṅga-doṣā2 = having vanquished the evil of attachment [conquered-attachment-evil]; adhyātma-nityā3  = (who are) eternally devoted to the Self [Self-eternal]; vinivṛtta-kāmāḥ4 =  divorced from passion [free from-desires];vimuktāḥ6 = free from; dvandvai5 = dualities; sukha-duḥkha-sajaiḥ7 = called happiness and sorrow [happiness-sorrow-called]; gacchhanti8 = reach;  tat12 = that; avyayam11 = eternal; padam10 = state. 15.5

(15.5) Those, who are freed from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who, all desires stilled, are ever devoted to the Supreme Spirit, who are liberated from the dualities known as pleasure and pain and are undeluded, go to that eternal state.

 

न तद्भासयते सूर्यो न शशाङ्को न पावकः ।

यद्गत्वा न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम ॥१५- ६॥

na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama 15.6
na1 tat2 bhāsayate3 sūrya4 na śaśāṅka5 na pāvakaḥ6
yat7 gatvā8 na nivartante9 tat10 dhāma11 paramam12 mama13 15.6

 

na1 sūrya4 = Neither sun; na śaśāṅka5  = nor moon; na pāvakaḥ6  = nor fire; bhāsayate3 = illuminates; tat2 = That.  tat10 = That; [is] mama13 = My; paramam12 = Supreme; dhāma11 = abode; gatvā8 = reaching; yat7 = which; [they] na nivartante9  = do not come back. 15.6

(15.6) The sun does not illumine that, nor the moon nor the fire. That is My supreme abode from which those who reach it never return.

Cp. Kaṭha Up., V, I5; Muṇḍaka Up, II, 2-IO.

This verse refers to the Immutable Brahman which can be reached by ascetic practices.

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः ।

मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥१५- ७॥

mamaivāṁśo jīvaloke jīvabhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛtisthāni karṣati 15.7
mama1 eva2 aṁśa3 jīva-loke4 jīva-bhūtaḥ5 sanātanaḥ6
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhāni7 indriyāṇi8 prakṛti-sthāni9 karṣati10 15.7

 

aṁśa3 = A fragment of; mama1 = My own Self; eva2 = indeed; [becomes] sanātanaḥ6 = the eternal; jīva-bhūtaḥ5  = Jivatmas [embodied souls]; jīva-loke4  = in the world of Jivas; karṣati10 = drawing;  indriyāṇi8 = the sense organs; [with] manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhāni7 = the mind as the sixth sense; [and] prakṛti-sthāni9 = abiding in Nature. 15.7

(15.7) A fragment (or fraction) of My own self, having become a living soul, eternal, in the world of life, draws to itself the senses of which the mind is the sixth, that rest in nature.

mamaivāṁśa,: a fragment (or fraction) of myself. This does not mean that the Supreme is capable of division or partition into fragments. The individual is a movement of the Supreme: a focus of the one great Life. The self is the nucleus which can enlarge itself and embrace the whole world, with heart and mind, in an intimate communion. The actual manifestations may be partial but the reality of the individual soul is the Divine which the human manifestation does not fully bring out. God's image in man is the bridge between heaven and earth. Each individual has eternal significance in the cosmos. When he rises above his limitations, he is not dissolved in the Superpersonal Absolute but lives in the Supreme1 and enters into a co-partnership with God in the cosmic activity.

S. makes out that the self is a part of the Supreme in the same way as the space in an earthen jar or a house is a part of the universal space. For R., the soul is an actual fragment (aṁśa) of God. It becomes a substantial individual soul in the world and suffers bondage by entering the service of the sense objects.

jīvabhūtaḥ: having become a living soul. Sarṁkarānanda says, "The eternal portion, having assumed the condition of the knower of the field, for the purpose of manifesting name and form, becomes the cognizer."2 The Supreme becomes the Jīva in some mode (prakārāntareṇa). It is not in essence the Jīva but assumes that form. It is jīvabhūta and not jīvātmika.

The Jīvātman is one center of the multiple Divine and expresses one aspect of the Divine consciousness. The Jīva belongs to the world of manifestation and is dependent on the One; the Atman is the one supporting the manifestation. The jīva's fulfilment consists in the expression of his characteristic nature. If he adopts the right attitude to the Divine, his nature becomes purified of the influences which diminish and distort it and the truth of his personality comes out with distinctiveness. While the individuals are in essence one with the Divine, in the world of manifestation, each is a partial manifestation of the Divine. Each of us is a ray of the Divine consciousness into which our being, if we will only allow it, can be transfigured.

Prakṛtiṣthāni: in their natural places. S. Abiding in bodies made of prakṛti, R.

1 nivasiṣyasi mayyeva, XII, 8.

2 namarūpavyākaraṇāya kṣetrajatāṁ gataḥ, pramātā bhūtvā tiṣṭhati.

 

शरीरं यदवाप्नोति यच्चाप्युत्क्रामतीश्वरः ।

गृहित्वैतानि संयाति वायुर्गन्धानिवाशयात् ॥१५- ८॥

śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ
gṛhitvaitāni saṁyāti vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt 15.8
śarīram1 yat2 avāpnoti3 yat4 ca5 api6 utkrāmati7 īśvaraḥ8
gṛhitva9 etāni10 saṁyāti11 vāyu12 gandhān13 iva14 āśayāt15 15.8

 

yat4 = When; īśvaraḥ8 = Isvarah; avāpnoti3 = enters [obtains]; ca5 = and; api6 = also; yat2 = when; [He] utkrāmati7 = leaves; śarīram1 = the body; [He] gṛhitva9 = takes; etāni10 = these [sense organs and the mind]; [and] saṁyāti11 = leaves; iva14 = as; vāyu12 = the wind; [carries] gandhān13 = the fragrance;  āśayāt15 = from their origin [flowers].15.8

(15.8) When the lord takes up a body and when he leaves it, he takes these (the senses and mind) and goes even as the wind carries perfumes from their places.

The subtle body accompanies the soul in its wanderings through cosmic existence.

श्रोत्रं चक्षुः स्पर्शनं च रसनं घ्राणमेव च ।

अधिष्ठाय मनश्चायं विषयानुपसेवते ॥१५- ९॥

śrotraṁ cakṣuḥ sparśanaṁ ca rasanaṁ ghrāṇam eva ca
adhiṣṭhāya manaś cāyaṁ viṣayān upasevate 15.9
śrotram1 cakṣuḥ2 sparśanam3 ca4 rasanam5 ghrāṇam6 eva7 ca8
adhiṣṭhāya9 mana10 ca11 ayam12 viṣayān13 upasevate14 15.9

 

ayam12 = He; upasevate14 = experiences; viṣayān13 = sense objects; adhiṣṭhāya9 = by overseeing; śrotram1 = the ears; cakṣuḥ2 = the eyes; ca4 = and; sparśanam3 = the skin; eva7 = also; rasanam5 = the tongue; ca8 = and;  ghrāṇam6 = the nose; ca11 = and;  mana10 = the mind.  15.9

(15.9) He enjoys the objects of the senses, using the ear, the eye, the touch sense, the taste sense and the nose as also the mind.

 

उत्क्रामन्तं स्थितं वापि भुञ्जानं वा गुणान्वितम् ।

विमूढा नानुपश्यन्ति पश्यन्ति ज्ञानचक्षुषः ॥१५- १०॥

utkrāmantaṁ sthitaṁ vāpi bhujānaṁ guṇānvitam
vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti paśyanti jānacakṣuṣaḥ 15.10
utkrāmantam1 sthitam23 api4 bhujānam56 guṇa-anvitam7
vimūḍhā8 na9 anupaśyanti10 paśyanti11 jāna-cakṣuṣaḥ12 15.10

 

vimūḍhā8 = The deluded person; na9 = does not;  anupaśyanti10 = see; [the self or the soul] 3 = either; utkrāmantam1 = leaving the body; 6 = or; sthitam2 = remaining in the body;  api4 = although; bhujānam5 = experiencing; [the sense objects] guṇa-anvitam= in association with Guna; [only] jāna-cakṣuṣaḥ12 = the ones with the eye of wisdom; paśyanti11 = do see. 15.10

(15.10) When He departs or stays or experiences, in contact with the modes, the deluded do not see (the indwelling soul) but they who have the eye of wisdom (or whose eye is wisdom) see.

 

यतन्तो योगिनश्चैनं पश्यन्त्यात्मन्यवस्थितम् ।

यतन्तोऽप्यकृतात्मानो नैनं पश्यन्त्यचेतसः ॥१५- ११॥

yatanto yoginaś cainaṁ paśyanty ātmany avasthitam
yatantopy akṛtātmāno nainaṁ paśyanty acetasaḥ 15.11
yatanta1 yogina2 ca3 enam4 paśyanti5 ātmani6 avasthitam7
yatanta8 api9 akṛta-ātmāna10 na11 enam12 paśyanti13 acetasaḥ14 15.11

 

yatanta1 = The striving; yogina2 = Yogis; paśyanti5 = can see; enam4 = this [the Self]; avasthitam7 =  established; ātmani6 = in themselves; ca3 = and; acetasaḥ14 = the imprudent; akṛta-ātmāna10  = not established in the self; api9 = though; yatanta8 = striving;  na11 = do not;  paśyanti13 = see; enam12 = this. 15.11

(15.11) The sages also striving perceive Him as established in the self, but the unintelligent, whose souls are undisciplined, though striving, do not find Him.

 

यदादित्यगतं तेजो जगद्भासयतेऽखिलम् ।

यच्चन्द्रमसि यच्चाग्नौ तत्तेजो विद्धि मामकम् ॥१५- १२॥

yad ādityagataṁ tejo jagad bhāsayatekhilam
yac candramasi yac cāgnau tat tejo viddhi māmakam 15.12
yat1 āditya-gatam2 teja3 jagat4 bhāsayate5 akhilam6
yat7 candramasi8 yat9 ca10 agnau11 tat12 teja13 viddhi14 māmakam15 15.12

 

teja3 = The splendor; yat1 = which is; āditya-gatam2  = in the sun;  bhāsayate5 = illumines; akhilam6 = the whole; jagat4 = world;  yat7 = that which is; candramasi8 = in the moon; ca10 = and; yat9 = that which is; agnau11 = in the fire; viddhi14 = know; tat12 = that; teja13 = light; [is] māmakam15 = Mine. 15.12

(15.I2) That splendor of the sun that illumines this whole world, that which is in the moon, that which is in the fire, that splendor, know as Mine.

 

गामाविश्य च भूतानि धारयाम्यहमोजसा ।

पुष्णामि चौषधीः सर्वाः सोमो भूत्वा रसात्मकः ॥१५- १३॥

gām āviśya ca bhūtāni dhārayāmy aham ojasā
puṣṇāmi cauṣadhīḥ sarvāḥ somo bhūtvā rasātmakaḥ 15.13
gām1 āviśya2 ca3 bhūtāni4 dhārayāmi5 aham6 ojasā7
puṣṇāmi8 ca9 auṣadhīḥ10 sarvāḥ11 soma12 bhūtvā13 rasātmakaḥ14 15.13

 

ca3 = Moreover; aham6 = I; dhārayāmi5 = sustain; bhūtāni4 = all beings; ojasā7 = with My power; āviśya2 = by entering; gām1 = earth;  ca9 = and; puṣṇāmi8 = I nourish; sarvāḥ11 = all; auṣadhīḥ10 = flora [herbs]; bhūtvā13 = by becoming;  rasātmakaḥ14 = juice or sap-giving; soma12 = moon. 15.13 

(15.13) And entering the earth, I support all beings by My vital energy; and becoming the sapful soma (moon), I nourish all herbs (or plants).

 

अहं वैश्वानरो भूत्वा प्राणिनां देहमाश्रितः ।

प्राणापानसमायुक्तः पचाम्यन्नं चतुर्विधम् ॥१५- १४॥

ahaṁ vaiśvānaro bhūtvā prāṇināṁ deham āśritaḥ
prāṇāpānasamāyuktaḥ pacāmy annaṁ caturvidham 15.14
aham1 vaiśvānara2 bhūtvā3 prāṇinām4 deham5 āśritaḥ6
prāṇa-apāna-samāyuktaḥ7 pacāmi8 annam9 caturvidham10 15.14

 

bhūtvā3 = Becoming; vaiśvānara2 = digestive fire; deham5 = in the bodies; [and] āśritaḥ6 = abiding; prāṇinām4 = in all living beings; aham1 = I; prāṇa-apāna-samāyuktaḥ7  = in connection with Prana (Up) and Apana (down) breaths;  pacāmi8 = digest; caturvidham10 = four kinds; annam9 = of foods. 15.14 

(15.14) Becoming the fire of life in the bodies of living creatures and mingling with the upward and downward breaths, I digest the four kinds of food.

pacāmy: literally cook.

 

सर्वस्य चाहं हृदि संनिविष्टो मत्तः स्मृतिर्ज्ञानमपोहनं च ।

वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो वेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेव चाहम् ॥१५- १५॥

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi saṁniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedāntakṛd vedavid eva cāham 15.15
sarvasya1 ca2 aham3 hṛdi4 san-niviṣṭa5 mattaḥ6 smṛti7 jānam8 apohanam9 ca10
vedai11 ca12 sarvai13 aham14 eva15 vedya16 vedānta-kṛt17 veda-vit18 eva19 ca20 aham21 15.15

 

aham3 = I; san-niviṣṭa5  = am sitting/am seated [as Antaryami--Inner Abider]; hṛdi4 = in the heart; sarvasya1 = of all living beings; ca2 = and; mattaḥ6 = from Me; [come] smṛti7 = memory; jānam8 = knowledge; ca10= and; apohanam9 = loss [forgetfulness]; ca12 = and; aham14 = I;  vedya16 = am knowable; sarvai13 vedai11 = by all Vedas; aham21 = I; [am]  eva15 = indeed; vedānta-kṛt17 = the author of Vedas;  ca20 = and; eva19 = indeed; veda-vit18  = the Knower of Vedas. 15.15

(15.I5) And I am lodged in the hearts of all; from Me are memory and knowledge as well as their loss. I am indeed He who is to be known by all the Vedas. I indeed (am) the author of the Vedanta and I too the knower of the Vedas.1

apohanaṁ: loss, destruction, rejection.

I Cp, Bhīṣma, who in the M.B. says of Kṛṣṇa, vedavedāṅgaviānaṁ balaṁ cāpy adkikaṁ tathā.

 

द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च ।

क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते ॥१५- १६॥

dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭasthokṣara ucyate 15.16
dvāu1 imau2 puruṣau3 loke4 kṣara ca akṣara5 eva6 ca8
kṣaraḥ9 sarvāṇi bhūtāni10 kūṭastha11 akṣara12 ucyate13 15.16

 

imau2 = These; dvāu1 = two; puruṣau3 = Purushas [entities]; loke4 = in this world; [are] kṣara ca akṣara5 = the perishable and the imperishable; ca8 = and; eva6 = indeed;  kṣaraḥ9 = the perishable; [is] sarvāṇi bhūtāni10  = all living beings--their bodies; [and] akṣara12 = the imperishable; ucyate13 = is called; kūṭastha11 = the Immutable--Self . 15.16

(15.16) There are two persons in this world, the perishable and the imperishable, the perishable is all these existences and the unchanging is the imperishable.

 

उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः ।

यो लोकत्रयमाविश्य बिभर्त्यव्यय ईश्वरः ॥१५- १७॥

uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ
yo lokatrayam āviśya bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ 15.17
uttamaḥ1 puruṣa2 tu3 anyaḥ4 parama5 ātmā6 eti7 udāhṛtaḥ8
ya9 loka-trayam10 āviśya11 bibharti12 avyaya13  īśvaraḥ14 15.17

 

tu3 = But; uttamaḥ1 puruṣa2  = the Highest Person; [is] anyaḥ4 = different; ya9 =  who; udāhṛtaḥ8 = is described; [as] parama5 ātmā6 =  the Supreme Self; eti7 = thus; āviśya11 = entering inside [pervading];  loka-trayam10  = the three worlds;  bibharti12 = maintains and preserves; [and is] avyaya13  = the imperishable; īśvaraḥ14 = Supreme Controller--God.  15.17

(15.I7) But other than these, the Highest Spirit called the Supreme Self who, as the Undying Lord, enters the three worlds and sustains them.

The soul in the ever changing cosmos is kṣara; akṣara is the eternal spirit, unchanged and immobile, the immutable in the mutable. When the soul turns to this immutable, the cosmic movement falls away from it and it reaches its unchanging eternal existence. These two are not irreconcilable opposites, for Brahman is both one and many, the eternal unborn as also the cosmic streaming forth.

For the Gītā, this moving world is a creation of the Lord. The Divine accepts the world and acts in it; varta eva ca karmaṇi. From the cosmic end, the Supreme is Īśvara, the Highest Person, Puruṣottama, the Lord of the universe who dwells in the heart of every creature."

paramātmā6: the Supreme Self. God in the soul. Gītā refers here, not to the unknown abyss of the Godhead but to the Spirit, indwelling and moving creation.

The Gita exalts the conception of the Personal God who combines in Himself the timeless existence (akṣara) and the temporal beginning (kṣara),

S. interprets the mutable as the changing universe, the immutable as the Māyāsakti or the power of the Lord and the Supreme is said to be eternal, pure and intelligent and free from the limitations of the mutable and the immutable.

R. takes akṣara to be the emancipated soul. The universe consists of two essences distinguished as the self and the inanimate (jaḍa), the immutable and the mutable. Above them is the Supreme transcending the universe and yet at the same time permeating it. The two puruṣas may be interpreted as referring to the two natures, the one higher, His own essential nature, adhyātma, and the other lower, prakṛti, Cp, Śvetāśvatara Up.,1,10.

 

यस्मात्क्षरमतीतोऽहमक्षरादपि चोत्तमः ।

अतोऽस्मि लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः ॥१५- १८॥

yasmāt kṣaram atītoham akṣarād api cottamaḥ
atosmi loke vede ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ 15.18

yasmāt1 kṣaram2 atīta3  aham4 akṣarāt5 api6 ca7 uttamaḥ8
ata9 asmi10 loke11 vede12 ca13 prathitaḥ14 puruṣottamaḥ15 15.18

 

yasmāt1 = Since; aham4 = I; atīta3  = transcend or go beyond; kṣaram2 = the perishable; ca7 = and; api6 = also;  uttamaḥ8 = higher than; akṣarāt5 = the imperishable; ata9 = therefore; asmi10 = I am; prathitaḥ14 = celebrated; loke11 = in the world; ca13 = and; vede12 = in the Vedas; [as] puruṣottamaḥ15 = Purushotama--the Highest Person/the Supreme Person. 15.18

(15.18) As I surpass the perishable and am higher even than the imperishable, I am celebrated as the Supreme Person in the world and in the Veda.

Cp. Muṇḍaka Up., II, I, I-2. akṣarāt parataḥ,paraḥ puruṣaḥ).

 

यो मामेवमसंमूढो जानाति पुरुषोत्तमम् ।

स सर्वविद्भजति मां सर्वभावेन भारत ॥१५- १९॥

yo mām evam asaṁmūḍho jānāti puruṣottamam
sa sarvavid bhajati māṁ sarvabhāvena bhārata 15.19
ya1 mām2 evam3 asammūḍha4 jānāti5 puruṣottamam6
sa7 sarva-vit8 bhajati9 mām10 sarva-bhāvena11 bhārata12 15.19

 

ya1 = He who; [is] evam3 = thus; asammūḍha4 = without delusion; jānāti5 = knows; mām2 = Me; [as]  puruṣottamam6 = the Supreme Person. sa7 = He; [is] sarva-vit8  = the knower of all; [and] bhajati9 = worships; mām10 = Me; sarva-bhāvena11 = with all his being; bhārata12 = O Scion of Bharata clan. 15.19

(15.19) He who, undeluded, thus knows Me, the Highest Person, is the knower of all and worships Me with all his being (with his whole spirit), O Bhārata (Arjuna).

Knowledge leads to devotion.

 

इति गुह्यतमं शास्त्रमिदमुक्तं मयानघ ।

एतद्‌बुद्ध्वा बुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्च भारत ॥१५- २०॥

iti guhyatamaṁ śāstram idam uktaṁ mayānagha
etat buddhvā buddhimān syāt kṛtakṛtyaś ca bhārata 15.20

iti1 guhyatamam2 śāstram3 idam4 uktam5 mayā6 anagha7
etat8 buddhvā9 buddhimān10 syāt11 kṛtakṛtya12 ca13 bhārata14 15.20

 

anagha7 = O sinless one; iti1 = thus; idam4 = this; guhyatamam2 = the most secret; śāstram3 = doctrine;  uktam5 = was declared; mayā6 = by Me. buddhvā9 = Knowing; etat8 = this; syāt11 = one becomes; buddhimān10 = enlightened;  ca13 = and; kṛtakṛtya12 = accomplished in his duties;  bhārata14 = O Scion of Bharata dynasty.15.20

(15.20) Thus has this most secret doctrine been taught by Me, O blameless one. By knowing this, a man will become wise and will have fulfilled all his duties, O Bhārata (Arjuna).

iti puruṣottamayogo nāma pacadaśo ' dhyāyaḥ,

This is the fifteenth chapter entitled The Yoga of the Supreme Person.