The Lord said, 'This world is like an ashvattha (sacred fig) tree with roots above and branches below and with the Vedic hymns as its leaves. And he who knows it knows the Vedas. The branches of this cosmic tree nourished by the qualities 'shoot to heaven and sink to earth' (Sir Edwin Arnold). Sense objects are its sprouts. It is these things of the senses which bind the soul with the bonds of karma in the world of men.
'The real nature of this tree cannot be known here, nor its beginning, nor end, nor foundation.
'This strongly rooted cosmic tree should be cut down with the weapon of
non-co-operation, so that the soul may rise to a higher world from which there
is no return to the world of mortals. With this end in view a man should engage
himself in the constant worship of the Ancient of Days, from whom all this
activity (the cosmic process) seems to flow. The wise man who is free from pride
and delusion, victorious over the vice of attachment and devoted to the Supreme
Soul, who is free from cravings and to whom pleasure and pain are alike,—that
wise man reaches the state which is beyond all change, and which does not need
to be illumined by the sun, the moon or fire. That is My supreme abode.
'An eternal part of Myself transformed into the individual soul in this world draws
to itself the senses including the mind which reside in matter. When the soul
enters the body or leaves it, it takes these senses with it even as the wind
carries fragrance from its places. It enjoys sense objects with the help of the
ear, the eye, the senses of touch and taste, the nose and the mind. The ignorant
cannot recognize it as it goes or stays or enjoys itself under the influence of
the qualities, but the sages see it with the eye of wisdom. Striving- yogis see
it living in their own bodies, but those who have not achieved evenness of
temper cannot see it even if they try.
'The light of the sun that illumines all the world, that which is in the moon and in
fire,—know that all that light is Mine. Permeating the soil I sustain all living
beings. I become the sap-producing moon and feed the plants. Becoming the fire
of life in the bodies of all living creatures and being united with the life
breaths, I digest the four kinds of food. I abide in all hearts. From Me are
memory and wisdom as well as their absence. I am that which is to be known by
all the Vedas. So also I am the author of Vedanta and the knower of the Vedas.
'There may be said to be two kinds of personalities in this world, namely kshara
(the perishable) and a- kshara (the imperishable). The perishable is all
beings; and the imperishable is I who inspire them, and am the same forever. But
beyond either is the highest spirit who is called the Supreme Soul, and who,
pervading all, sustains the three worlds. This too is I. I therefore transcend
the perishable and even the imperishable, and am known in the world as well as
in the Vedas as the supreme reality. The wise man who recognises Me as such
knows all that need be known, and serves Me with his whole being.
'O sinless Arjuna, I have told you this most secret teaching. By knowing this a man
becomes truly wise and reaches the shores of salvation.'