We all know that the Banyan tree is the largest tree and has its root in the deeper side of the land. While I started studying the fifteenth chapter of Bhagwad Geeta, I was a bit confused and amused both at the same time. Krishna started saying that the banyan tree has roots upwards and branches downwards towards the land. How is that possible?
He further explains that the root of this world is Brahma Loka which is there up in the universe somewhere. The creation of this world is done by Brahma himself. Hence the roots are in the air or up in the sky. The world grew further due to the desire of humankind in all directions. The way our desire is endless with roots all around us, the root of the creation is also not visible. The way the banyan tree grows in all directions, our desire grows in all directions.
He also has described this world as the reflection of the original world. When a tree is situated by the banks of the river, we see the branches in the water downside and the roots on the top, similarly the material world is the reflection of the spiritual world. The way the tree and branches are nourished with the help of various things like sunlight, water, and manure, the tree of our desire is nourished with all three modes of nature. Satvik, rajasic and tamasic. These triguna play an important role as I had explained earlier in the series. In the tree of the universe, the lower section of the tree are animals, humans, and other species. Whereas the higher part is full of devata, Gandharva, apsara, etc.
The third shloka of the fifteenth chapter further explains that when we look at the banyan tree, we can never find the root of the same. We only see very big branches moving in the air all around the tree. Similar to it, the root of our desire is never understood by us or we can’t see it or feel it with our senses. A similar thing was explained by Buddha too where he says that desire is the root cause of all suffering. This leads to an argument, so we should desire and how much. Krishna says that if at all you want to desire something, just desire for the place from where you don’t have to come back. Indirectly, he is talking about moksha or nirvana wherein one gets free from the cycle of birth and death. This shloka also proves that there is a mention of Moksha in Bhagwad Geeta. Many new scholars have argued that Bhagwad Geeta only teaches the lessons of life, but it is proved wrong here. So please remember that whenever you desire anything in your heart, think of the place where your atma rests forever and you again don’t engage in this material world.
Further, he shows the path of moksha or nirvana in the next shloka. Here he has used a word called detachment. Most people misunderstand the word detachment. It is not some trademark of any sadhu or sanyasi who has renounced this world. Detachment is possible for grihastha also. I understand that it is very easy to say and difficult to practice. But Bhagwad Geeta shows us the path and helps us to practice that detachment living in this material world, in spite of being married with kids and family, in spite of being working full time, performing all our prescribed duty with utmost clarity. This is probably the best thing I learned in Geeta because I always thought our scriptures are meant only for those who have decided to give up materialistic life.
Today when I study and read our scriptures, I have realized that they are the manuals of humankind on how to lead a very meaningful, fruitful, content, and successful life. One can have the desire to have kids, a spouse, success, or wealth, all these can be achieved through Vedas and their various rituals prescribed there.