Truth Amid Chaos – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15

What is the structure of the universe? And how can you use this image to ascend out of the 3D matrix?

The purpose of the Gita is to help us piece together the form of the universe and understand our place in it as a living soul. The tree of life helps us focus our attention. The goal is ascension, freedom from death and rebirth, to permanent union with God. This has nothing to do with religion, only universal laws of nature. It helps us learn to see through the layers of sensory experience in a multi-dimensional physical life. This is critical, because the alternative is to live trapped in a material 3D world, and suffer the same misconception lifetime after lifetime.


The Earth and the Cosmos are subject to the laws of Nature, Science, Universal Power, life, and death, and these laws never change. The Bhagavad Gita is a richly symbolic 5,000 year-old text, written in Sanskrit the sacred language of the Gods. So if we open our eyes and ears, it is totally useful to resolve our current cosmic challenge. It tells us how to be free, how to carry out ascension techniques from thousands of years before Christ, by which we can attain freedom from the suffering and limitations of the material world. With each successive chapter the Gita lessons become clearer and more specific. Just enjoy and listen with an open mind, as you would hear a story.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, Gods ruled the Earth, and all learning took place in the form of stories and sacred verses, that people learned by heart and passed down with each generation. 

The warrior prince Arjuna and his charioteer, the God Krishna, stand on a vast battlefield, between thousands of warriors gathered to fight to the death. Arjuna and his soldiers must conquer his cousins, his teacher, and his childhood friends, all avowed to a a selfish path that stubbornly denies life to his people. Today it is his duty to vanquish them all, but he is horrified and refuses to fight. Krishna, the Blue God tells him the secret path to free his thoughts in clear knowledge of how to be even stronger in battle, bring justice to the world, resolve the family curse, and incur no sin in killing. Arjuna hears the lesson, and ultimately accepts his destiny to fight the war. This is the bloody battle of the ancient Mahabharata epic. He and his brothers vanquish the enemy, and eventually ascend to the heavenly realms.

In this chapter, Krishna, the blue God, explains the structure of the material world as a matrix that entraps humans in 3D, and shows how Arjuna how to see through it. He uses the image of an upside-down sacred tree of life. The mythical aśhwatth tree, also called a Banyan tree, grows very very tall with enormous roots. At the top of this tree is the Supreme God, the Source of all, and its roots stretch infinitely up into the heavenly realms receiving divine nourishment. The branches of this mythical tree extend downward into the material realms, where embodied souls wander up, down, and around, lifetime after lifetime. This universal tree is so huge, no one can imagine its size. However, as people do fruitive actions, it creates results in the form of leaves. This tree is also nourished by three gunas from Chapter 14, Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance so that people experience the senses and their objects grow like leaves and buds on the branches. 

Ignorance of the tree keeps people wandering trapped in the matrix. Krishna says that the solution is to align with God by going UP to the Supreme Source, and to not even worry about the branches. He says we must then cut down this mythical tree with the axe of detachment. When we find the Supreme Source, we surrender our life to that highest in the God Realm and transcend the material world forever.

Krishna says every soul is divine, and every soul is a fragment of the Supreme God. However, physical beings are conditioned by limited physical laws in 3D, and totally distracted by the six senses, which include the mind. People living in a body, ignorant of their divine nature, might see sensory experience as all there is, and believe they actually control the results of actions. When we transcend this limited idea we are no longer trapped by the 3D material world. We are free. At that point the natural movement of the soul on death into a new body doesn’t carry confusion to the next life. So, in summary, Krishna says do not live distracted in the leaves or buds. Go up to the roots. Do not be distracted by sensory experiences, rewards, and the desire for getting ahead through actions in 3D. Look for the energy SOURCE, which is God. Even though God permeates each and every atom of the universe, and is within each of us, our attention is easily fooled. An expanded life is about balancing the 3 laws of physical Nature, being sovereign, rooted and calm enough to see through the sensory distractions with equanimity.

As we listen to the verses of Chapter 15, I invite you to ponder these questions:

  1.  Can you describe the image of the physical world matrix as a tree of life? Explain its shape and characteristics.
  2. Using the image of the tree, why do embodied souls wander it confused?
  3. Why do people give so much credence to sensory experiences, actions, and the fruits of their actions?
  4. What is the secret technique to transcend the matrix of the tree and be free?  
  5. What are your favorite quotes from this chapter to remember for life lessons? 
  6. What parallel events in the modern world illustrate these concepts?

Now let’s listen to the verses of Chapter 15.

Bhagavad Gita 15.1

The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.

Bhagavad Gita 15.2

The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of the senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of human society.

Bhagavad Gita 15.3

The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut down this tree with the weapon of detachment.

Bhagavad Gita 15.4

So doing, one must seek that place from which, having once gone, one never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything has begun and in whom everything is abiding since time immemorial.

Bhagavad Gita 15.5

Those who are free from vanity and delusion, who have overcome the evil of attachment, who dwell constantly in the self and God, who are freed from the desire to enjoy the senses, and are beyond the dualities of pleasure and pain, such liberated personalities attain My eternal Abode.

Bhagavad Gita 15.6

That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.

Bhagavad Gita 15.7

The living entities in this conditioned material world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to physical life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

Bhagavad Gita 15.8

Like the air carries fragrance from place to place, so does the embodied soul carry the mind and senses with it, when it leaves an old body and enters a new one.

Bhagavad Gita 15.9

The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, tongue, and nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus perceives a particular set of sense objects.

Bhagavad Gita 15.10

The ignorant do not perceive the soul as it resides in the body, and as it enjoys sense objects; nor do they perceive it when it departs. But those who possess the eyes of knowledge can see all this.

Bhagavad Gita 15.11

Striving yogis too are able to realize the soul enshrined in the body. However, those whose minds are not purified cannot cognize it, even though they strive to do so.

Bhagavad Gita 15.12

The splendor of the sun, which dissipates the darkness of this whole world, comes from Me. And the splendor of the moon and the splendor of fire are also from Me.

Bhagavad Gita 15.13

I permeate each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all plants on the Earth.

Bhagavad Gita 15.14

It is I who take the form of the fire of digestion in the stomachs of all living beings, and combine with the incoming and outgoing breaths, to digest and assimilate the four kinds of foods.


Bhagavad Gita 15.15

I am seated in the hearts of all living beings, and from Me come memory, knowledge, as well as forgetfulness. I alone am to be known by all the Vedas, am the author of the Vedānt, and the knower of the meaning of the Vedas.

Bhagavad Gita 15.16

There are two kinds of beings in creation, the kṣhar (perishable) and the akṣhar (imperishable). The perishable are all beings in the material realm. The imperishable are the liberated beings.

Bhagavad Gita 15.17

Beyond these, is the Supreme Divine Personality, who is the indestructible Supreme Soul. He enters all three worlds (heaven, earth, and hell) as the unchanging controller and supports all living beings.

Bhagavad Gita 15.18

I am beyond, transcending the perishable world of matter, and even the imperishable soul. Hence, I am celebrated, both in the Vedas and the Smṛitis, as that Supreme Divine Being.

Bhagavad Gita 15.19

Those who know Me without doubt as the Supreme Divine Personality truly have complete knowledge. O Arjun, they worship Me with their whole being.

Bhagavad Gita 15.20

I have shared with you this most confidential and secret principle of the Vedic scriptures, O sinless one.  Whosoever understands this, becomes enlightened, and fulfills all that is to be accomplished in this universe.

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