न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते
नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा |
मसङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा || 3||
तत: पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्यं
यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूय: |
तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये
यत: प्रवृत्ति: प्रसृता पुराणी || 4||
na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate
nānto na chādir na cha sampratiṣhṭhā
aśhvattham enaṁ su-virūḍha-mūlam
asaṅga-śhastreṇa dṛiḍhena chhittvā
tataḥ padaṁ tat parimārgitavyaṁ
yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ
tam eva chādyaṁ puruṣhaṁ prapadye
yataḥ pravṛittiḥ prasṛitā purāṇī
na—not; rūpam—form; asya—of this; iha—in this world; tathā—as such; upalabhyate—is perceived; na—neither; antaḥ—end; na—nor; cha—also; ādiḥ—beginning; na—never; cha—also; sampratiṣhṭhā—the basis; aśhvattham—sacred fig tree; enam—this; su-virūḍha-mūlam—deep-rooted; asaṅga-śhastreṇa—by the axe of detachment; dṛiḍhena—strong; chhittvā—having cut down; tataḥ—then; padam—place; tat—that; parimārgitavyam—one must search out; yasmin—where; gatāḥ—having gone; na—not; nivartanti—return; bhūyaḥ—again; tam—to him; eva—certainly; cha—and; ādyam—original; puruṣham—the Supreme Lord; prapadye—take refuge; yataḥ—whence; pravṛittiḥ—the activity; prasṛitā—streamed forth; purāṇi—very old
Its true form is not comprehended here, nor its end, nor its origin, nor even its existence. Having cut down this firm-rooted Aśvattha with the strong axe of detachment, one should pray, “I take refuge in that Primal Being from whom has streamed forth this eternal activity,” and seek that Goal from which they who have reached it never return.
This tree of Samsara is not seen by man in the form described in the first and second verses. Why? Attached to Samsara, the ignorant do not see it as such. They do not see its beginning or end, or its present state of existence. They have not made any attempt to enquire into its real nature. They are immersed in the flood of Samsara and do not really know what it is, how it has come, and what its nature is etc. In darkness, the real nature of objects cannot be seen. Thus people live in Samsara and die in Samsara without understanding its true nature. This is Maya. Only a few awakened souls try to release themselves from its bondage, and among them only a few are able to cut the bond and attain liberation. The idea is that the darkness of ignorance is such that man is not able to realise the slavery and bondage which Samsara has imposed on him from time immemorial.
This tree of Samsara is described as ‘suvirudhamulam‘ with roots deeply and firmly fixed in the world, and it has spread its branches far and wide, even upto Brahma loka. But its firmness and strength need not frighten us. Provided the weapon is sufficiently sharp and powerful, any tree can be felled to the ground. The Lord shows the weapon with which this tree can be cut. It is ‘asanga sastram’ Non-attachment to world, and its sensual attractions and temptations is the axe which cuts the tree of Samsara. In other words, it is dispassion (vairagya). What a wonderful weapon to smash the tree of samsara! But the axe should be sharp and strong. Lukewarm and fitful vairagya (manda vairagya) is not enough. It should be blazing, burning, all-consuming ‘vairagya’. How else can this mighty tree be cut? That is why the Lord uses the word ‘dridhena’ as attribute to ‘asanga sastra’, This axe of dispassion cuts the very root of the tree and there is no more delusion or bondage. It is like destroying the main wheel of a huge factory-machine. When the main wheel is stopped, all the innumerable smaller wheels stop automatically. We need not stop every small wheel. So also, when the roots of the tree are cut, the branches, the buds and all other things wither away of their own accord. This non-attachment should be both external and internal.
But the aim is yet to be realised. Vairagya eliminates the obstacles on the path of Self realisation. Having given up the ‘drisya‘, the objective world, the next step is to hold fast to the ‘Drik‘ the seer. This is important. It is not enough to clear the debts; one should acquire property, and then only he will be safe. The rejection of the sense-world is like clearing the debts. So along with ‘vairagya’ the seeker should possess jnana, knowledge of Paramatma. He should know that his real nature is Atma. Then his bliss is full and unhindered. That is why the Lord teaches That is then, the Atma is to be searched for (parimargitavyayam).
This is the highest state for a human being, because, having once attained it, man does not return to samsara again (na nivartanti bhuyah). It is the law that man has to return to this world again and again whatever world he goes to by his good work until he realises Paramatma. That wise attain it and are forever at rest.
The path to take for this search for the highest Truth is clearly stated here. The secret is revealed-“tam eva purusham prapadye”-“I take refuge in that Purusha alone.” This is the spirit prompting the aspirant in his search for Paramatma. It is a deeply devotional attitude, a surrender unto the Lord in the search for Atma. To him who has pure devotion, Brahma-jnana is easily attained.
Question: What is the nature of the tree of samsara?
Answer: Its roots are firmly fixed in the world.
Question: How should it be cut?
Answer: It should be cut with strong axe of non-attachment to the objective world.
Question: What should be done after the tree is cut?
Answer: He should search for the state of ‘Paramatma’.
Question: What is the nature of Paramatma?
Answer: Having attained Him, man does not return to this world (unto Samsara). From Him. the universe is projected. He is the primeval God.