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Bhagavad Gītā 15

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Chapter 15



Union by Attaining the puruṣottama


(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)



The Holy One said:

They declare that the aśvattha[-tree] with roots upwards and branches downwards, is undecaying. The chhandas [sacred hymns, verses] are the leaves of it. He who knows that, is a knower of the Vedas. (1)

Upwards and downwards its branches are spread, swelling with the guṇas, its shoots being objects of sense. Downwards, too, the roots diffuse [extend, ramify] themselves, the karmic bonds, in the human world. (2)

Its form is not thus known here, nor [its] end, nor beginning, nor foundation. Having cleft this aśvattha[-tree] so massively rooted, with the mighty weapon of non-attachment, (3)

Then that seat is to be sought, from which they who have gone there return not again, [saying] I betake myself to the very first puruṣa, whence the primeval emanation flowed forth. (4)

They who are without pride and delusion, who have conquered the fault of attachment, who are constant in the adhyātman, who have shaken of desire, who are free from the pairs of opposites called pleasure and sorrow, go unbewildered to that which is supreme, undecaying. (5)

The sun [Sūrya] lighteth that not, nor the moon, nor fire. Where having gone they return not, that is my highest abode. (6)

A primeval portion of me it is, which, a living being [jīvabhūtaḥ] in the world of living beings [jīvaloke], draws [to itself] the [five] senses and the mind [manas] which originate in nature [prakṛtisthāni]. (7)

Whatever body the lord assumes of again abandons, he, taking these [the mind and senses], departs, even as the wind [bears away] the perfumes from their seats. (8)

Governing hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell, and the manas, he uses the objects of sense. (9)

The bewildered [deluded] do not behold him going out [from] or abiding [in the body], using or linked to the guṇas. They see, who have the eye of knowledge. (10)

Yogins, striving, see him, abiding in the self. Yet, although striving, they of informed self, and who are without understanding, see him not. (11)

The splendor [energy] dwelling in the sun [āditya-gataṃ tejo] which illumines all universe, that which is in the moon, that which is in the fire, know that splendor [energy] to be mine. (12)

Entering the earth [gām, literally ‘cow’], I sustain all beings by my strength. In nourish, too, all herbs, becoming the juicy moon. (13)

Becoming vaiśvānara [fire] residing in the body of living thins, uniting with the upward and downward life-breaths, I digest the four kinds of food. (14)

I am also seated in the heart of all. From me [are] memory, knowledge, and the loss [of them: or, perhaps apohanaṁ, may be read as reason]. I am also to be known by all the Vedas. I am the composer of Vedānta, and also the real knower of the Vedas. (15)

Two are these puruṣas in the world: the perishable and the Imperishable. The perishable is all beings. Kuthastha [he who abides at the top] is called the imperishable. (16)

But the highest puruṣa is [still] another, declared [to be] the paramātman [Supreme Self] who, the Undecaying Lord, pervading the three worlds, supports [them]. (17)

Since I transcend the perishable, and also am higher than the imperishable, I am thence in the world and in the Veda celebrated as Puruṣottama [highest puruṣa]. (18)

He who unbewildered thus knows me as puruṣottama, knowing all, he honors me with all [his] being. (19)

Thus this most secret śāstra has been related by me, O sinless one! Knowing this, O son of Bharata, one should become discerning and accomplished. (20)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā: the Fifteenth

chapter, by name —


Union by Attaining the puruṣottama