Ancient India
Human Spirit

Krishna

   They say the inexhaustible Asvattha has its roots above and 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 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.

   The sun does not light it, nor the moon, nor fire. 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.

   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. 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; they see, who have eyes of knowledge.

   Men of discipline making efforts perceive him abiding within their selfs. 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 . Entering the earth, 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.

   And I am placed in the heart of all ; from me come memory, knowledge, and their removal; I alone am to be learned from all the Vedas; I am the author of the Vedantas; and I alone know the Vedas.

   There are these two beings in the world, the destructible and the indestructible. The destructible includes all things. The unconcerned one is what is called the indestructible.

   But the Supreme Being 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, therefore I am celebrated in the world and in the Vedas as the best of beings. He who, undeluded, thus knows me as the best of beings, worships me every way, and can be said to know everything.

   Thus, O sinless one, have I proclaimed this most mysterious science. He who knows this, has done all he needs to do and he becomes possessed of discernment.

Translated by Kashinath Trimbak Telano, 1882
Edited and annotated by Richard Hooker



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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 10-19-97