The Deity said:
They say the inexhaustible Asvattha 1 has (its) roots above, (its) branches below; the Khandas are its leaves. He who knows it knows the Vedas. Upwards and downwards extend its branches, which are enlarged by the qualities, and the sprouts of which are sensuous objects. And downwards to this human world are continued its roots which lead on to action. Its form is not thus known here, nor (its) end, nor beginning, nor support. But having with the firm weapon of unconcern, cut this Asvattha, whose roots are firmly fixed, then should one seek for that seat from which those that go there never return, (thinking) that one rests on that same primal being from whom the ancient course (of worldly life) emanated. Those who are free from pride and delusion, who have overcome the evils of attachment, who are constant in (contemplating) the relation of the supreme and individual self, from whom desire has departed, who are free from the pairs (of opposites) called pleasure and pain, go undeluded to that imperishable seat 2. The
sun does not light it, nor the moon, nor fire 1. That is my highest abode, going to which none returns. An eternal portion of me it is, which, becoming an individual soul in the mortal world, draws (to itself) the senses with the mind as the sixth 2. Whenever the ruler (of the bodily frame) obtains or quits a body, he goes taking these (with him) as the wind (takes) perfumes from (their) seats 3. And presiding over the senses of hearing and seeing, and touch, and taste, and smell, and the mind, he enjoys sensuous objects. Those who are deluded do not see (him) remaining in or quitting (a body), enjoying or joined to the qualities 4; they see, who have eyes of knowledge. Devotees making efforts perceive him abiding within their selfs 5. But those whose selfs have not been refined, and who have no discernment, do not perceive him even (after) making efforts. Know that glory (to be) mine which, dwelling in the sun, lights up the whole world, or in the moon or fire 6.
[paragraph continues] Entering the earth 1, I by my power support all things; and becoming the juicy moon, I nourish all herbs. I becoming the fire, and dwelling in the bodies of (all) creatures, and united with the upward and downward life-breaths, cause digestion of the fourfold food 2. And I am placed in the heart of all 3; from me (come) memory, knowledge, and their removal; I alone am to be learnt from all the Vedas; I am the author of the Vedântas 4; and I alone know the Vedas. There are these two beings in the world, the destructible and the indestructible 5. The destructible (includes) all things. The unconcerned one is (what is) called the indestructible. But the being supreme is yet another, called the highest self, who as the inexhaustible lord, pervading the three worlds, supports (them). And since I transcend the destructible, and since I am higher also than the indestructible 6, therefore
am I celebrated in the world and in the Vedas as the best of beings. He who, undeluded, thus knows me the best of beings, worships me every way 1, O descendant of Bharata! knowing everything. Thus, O sinless one! have I proclaimed this most mysterious science. He who knows this, has done all he need do, and he becomes possessed of discernment.
111:1 Cf. Kathopanishad, p. 70, and Sutta Nipâta, p. 76.
111:2 Asvattha stands here for the course of worldly life. Its roots are above, viz. the supreme being; its boughs are Hiranyagarbha and others of the higher beings. The Vedas are its leaves, preserving it as leaves preserve trees (another interpretation is that they are the causes of the fruit which the tree bears, i. e. salvation, &c.) Upwards and downwards, from the highest to the lowest of created things. Enlarged = the qualities manifesting themselves, as body, senses, &c.; objects of sense are sprouts as they are attached to the senses, which are the tips of the branches above stated. The roots which extend downwards are the desires for various p. 112 enjoyments. Its form not thus known here, i.e. to those who live and move in this world, thus viz. as above described. The man who knows the tree thus is said to know the Vedas, because knowledge of it is knowledge of the substance of the Vedas, which is, that the course of worldly life springs from the supreme, is kept up by Vedic rites, and destroyed by knowledge of the supreme. As to freedom from pride, cf. Sutta Nipâta, p. 4.
112:1 Cf. Kathopanishad, p. 142; Mundaka, p. 304; Nrisimhatâpinî, p. 106; Svetâsvatara, p. 110.
112:2 Five senses and the mind issue from nature, in which they are absorbed during sleep or at a dissolution of the world. Cf. Sutta Nipâta, p. 44.
112:3 Cf. Kaushîtaki-upanishad, pp. 86, 87.
112:4 Perceiving objects of sense, or feeling pleasure, pain, &c.
112:5 'Selfs' = bodies, Râmânuga and Srîdhara; 'understandings,' Sankara. In the next sentence 'self' means mind.
112:6 Cf. Maitrî-upanishad, p. 142. This sentence continues what has been stated at the top of the page. The intervening p. 113 portion explains how souls do come back in some cases. As a general rule, 'all going ends in returning.' But the soul is an exception in some cases, as the 'going' to the Brahman is going to the fountain-head. Then the question arises, How does the severance come off at all? And that is what the lines up to this explain.
113:1 'Entering in the form of the goddess earth,' say Ânandagiri and Madhusûdana. Support, i. e. by keeping the earth from falling or crumbling away. The moon is said to nourish herbs by communicating to them some of her 'juice.' The moon, it may be noted, is called 'watery star' by Shakespeare. As to her relation to the vegetable kingdom, see Matsya-purâna XXIII, stanza 10 seq.
113:2 I. e. what is drunk, what is licked, what is powdered with the teeth, and what is eaten without such powdering.
113:3 Cf. p. 104 supra.
113:4 See Introduction, p. 17.
113:5 Cf. Svetâsvatara, p. 294.
113:6 The two are the whole collection of things as they appear and their material cause. The supreme being is a third principle.