THE YOGA OF THE SUPREME PERSON
15.1: THE SUPREME LORD SAID: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down; and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.
AFTER DISCUSSING THE importance of Bhaktiyoga, there may be some question: What about the Vedas? It will be explained in this chapter that the purpose of the Vedic study is to understand Krishna. Therefore, one who is in Krishna consciousness, engaged in devotional service, is already in knowledge of the Vedas. The entanglement of this material world is compared here to a banyan tree. For one who is engaged in fruitive activities, there is no end to the banyan tree. He wanders from one branch to another, to another, to another, to another: The tree of this material world has no end; and one who is attached to this tree has no possibility of liberation. The Vedic hymns, meant for elevating oneself, are called the leaves of this tree. This tree being root-upward means that it begins from where Brahma is located, which is the topmost planet of this universe. One should understand this indestructible tree of illusion, and then one can break away from it. This should be understood. In the previous chapters it has been explained that there are many processes to get out of the material entanglement. And, up to the Thirteenth Chapter, we have seen that devotional service to the Supreme Lord is the best way. Now the basic principle of devotional service is detachment from the material activities and attachment to the transcendental service of the Lord. The root of this material existence is upward. This means that it begins from the total material substance, from the topmost planet of the universe. From there the whole universe is expanded, with so many branches, the various planetary systems. The fruits are the results of the living entities' activities. They include religiousness, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. One should have a thorough understanding of this imperishable tree.
Now, we have no ready experience in this world of a tree situated with its branches down and its roots upward; but there is such a thing. That tree can be found when we go to a reservoir of water. We can see that the trees on the bank are reflected upon the water-branches down, roots up. In other words, the tree of this material world is only a reflection of the real tree. The real tree is the spiritual world. This reflection of the real tree is situated on desire, as the tree's reflection is situated on water. One who wants to get out of this material existence must know thoroughly, through analytical study, this tree. Then he can cut off the relationship with this material world.