Thursday, August 7, 2014

GEETAA UNMISTAKABLY BEARS THE INFLUENCE OF UPANISHADS, ESPECIALLY KATHA

  Geetaa unmistakably bears  the influence of  Upanishads, especially Katha

(Compilation for a discourse at Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville, TN, USA, August 2014)

Hindu scriptures hail Bhagavadgeetaa thus: “All Upanishads are (like) cows. Gopalanandana (Shrikrishna) is their cowherd. Intelligent Partha (Arjun) is the calf who enjoys the milk and splendid nectarine Geetaa is the milk of these   Upanishadic cows. (Geeta is the precise summary of all Upanishads):
 Sarvopanishado gaavah dogdhaa  Gopaalanandanah |
Paartho vatsah sudheeh bhoktaa dugdham geetaamritam mahat ||
Hindu Religious enthusiasts resort to Geetaa chanting (Paarayana) and consider it as Veda-adhyayana (study of Vedas) after Upaakarma and prior to Krishna Janmaashthami, ending    along with Vishnusahasranaama Homa on Krishna Jayanti Day motivated by Ramayana Paraayana recommended by Valmiki   for salvation.  
Geeta, incorporated into the great epic Mahabharata, claims to be the quintessence of the Upanishads' teachings. It is more often than not described as an updated Upanishad. It is also written in the style of the Upanishads as a dialogue between the guru and the disciple, Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Geeta mainly contains the Upanishad's tradition but assimilates the Sankhya, Yoga and Buddhist teachings which in their turn are indebted to the Upanishads. It is a curious but effective link between the Vedic traditionalism and the later thought systems. Based on the Tantric foundation, Saankhya emerged as strong protagonist of the materialistic, naturalistic and pluralistic view-points, not excessively preoccupied with religious practices. Both Sankhya and Yoga had atheistic leniency to start with but both got accepted and sanctified by the Vedic tradition, because of their invaluable contributions to early Vedic thoughts on life. It is this synthetic character of the Geeta that has made it the most popular text and scriptural authority for Hindus. What makes it more appealing to the masses is its title, cleverly coined by its editor, (may be its author) Vedavyasa, as "The Song of the Celestial" or "The Song of the Lord" (Bhagavad Geeta), supposed to have been delivered by Lord Krishna (eighth incarnation of Vishnu) to Arjuna, his ardent disciple at the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Bhagavadgeeta is found in Mahabharata in Bhishmaparva chapters 22 to 40.  It is believed to have been originally composed by Vedavyaasa who is also credited with having authored the Mahabharata around the fourth or fifth century B.C.E. We do not know the authors of many of the Upanishads who out of modesty have kept their names anonymous; so also Vedavyaasa muni. “Within the context of the Mahabharata, and especially the battle of Kurukshetra, the emergence of the Bhagavade Geetaa calls for a willing suspension of disbelief.  There is no other way one can accept the fact that the two sides waited to begin the war while its eighteen chapters were recited and discussed”, say the authors Vrinda Nabar and Shanta Tumkur of the Bhagavadgeetaa. No doubt Geetaa although ancient contains profound truths of great relevance to contemporary society both in India and the West which makes it most popular among Hindu scriptures.   Though Bhagavadgeeta is a Hindu Scripture, it shares its basic concerns with other religious and cultural traditions, which makes it popular with humanity in general in all parts of the world.
Dr. R. D. Ranade  of Nagpur University in his book Bhagavdgeetaa as a Philosophy of God–realization, 1959 writes: “The doctrine of activism and non-attachment which we find in the Geetaa is borrowed from  Isaavasya Upanishad, the Asvattha simile from Kathopanishad, the idea of Viswaroopa (cosmic form) as well as antinomy between   ritualism and non-ritualism from Mundakopanishad,  the concept of five virtues in the sixteenth chapter from Chandodgya Upanishad and the Yogic teachings from Svetasvataara Upanishad”. The Geetaa unmistakably bears the influence of Upanishads, especially from Kathaa Upanishad detailed below and  also Svetaasvataara Upanishad. There is even a suggestion that the song of the celestial was originally a Yoga Upanishad which was later Vaishnavized and titled as Bhagavadgeetaa.
There is a reference in Chandogya Upanishad to Krishna, Devakiputra, who was the disciple of the sage Ghora Angeeras. Lord Krishna had not yet descended then as an avatar. The Jain Harivamsa mentions Krishna as the cousin and contemporary of the celebrated ford-maker Neminaatha who is also described as an incarnation of Vishnu in Bhagavata. The Bhagavadgeetaa is doubtless a text, perhaps the earliest, belonging to the devotional school of Hindu Religion, the Bhaagavata. This monotheistic school was founded by Krishna Vaasudeva, belonging to the Saatvata sect of the Yadu class and he was reverently   referred to as Bhagawan. The Bhagavadgeeta embodies   the Deism also present in the Vedas and the Upanishads. Yet in context, the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna, personalizes the presence of the Supreme while in no way minimizing the Vedic dictum (law) “Vedokhilam dharma moolam” (Vedas are the ultimate authority for everything), that is at the  heart of all His actions.
Kathopanishad which has lent maximum support to Geetaa is one Upanishad that can be called favorite of all in all ages.  Though its theme is the same as all major Upanishads its rendering makes it unique. Who am I?  What dies? What is left? Are we here merely to be dragged away from everyone and every one from us? What if anything, we can do about death—now, while we are still alive?—these questions interest any religion and any culture at any time. These subject matters of this Upanishad dealt in a dramatic way makes it most interesting.

Thanks to Swami Vivekananda the following Mantra from Kathopanishad is familiar with all spiritual seekers of the world and more so with Hindus:
Uttishthata Jagrata, praapya varaan nibodhata, kshurasya dhaaraa nisitaa duratyayaa durgam pathastat  kavayo vadanti (Ka Up 3-14)
Arise, awake; having reached the great teachers, learn to realize the Aaatman. Like the sharp edge of a razor is that path difficult to cross and hard to tread—thus say the wise in ancient days.
This Mantra is inscribed in the main stage of the auditorium of Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Kolkota, a branch of Ramakrishna Mission.  Narendra Modi while he was chief minister of Gujarat wrote a blog spot commemorating Swami Vivekananda: “Arise, awake, stop not till the goal is reached”.  Dr. Sanjeev Kumar wrote a book named “Stop not Till the Goal is Reached”. Sarojini Naidu wrote a poem by that name. This inspirational mantra from Kathopanishad was Swami Vivekananda’s message to the Hindus to awaken their sleeping soul. Jesus Christ also expressed almost a similar idea when he said: ”Strive to enter in at the straight gate, for narrow is the gate and straight is the way that leads to life, and few be they who find it’
No wonder Bhagavadgeetaa unmistakably bears the influence of this Upanishad  maximum as detailed in this discourse. The philosophical and the practical modes of saadhana described in Kathopanishad are echoed in the equally or more popular Bhagavadgeetaa. “Every Hindu knows the great Kurukshetra Scene, which forms the prologue of the Bhagavadgeetaa—the warrior, stricken by remorse and doubt, throwing himself at the mercy of his divine charioteer for guidance.  Katha Upanishad has an equally sublime introductory scene, forming a noble background for the great teaching imparted in the Upanishad itself” says C. Rajagopalachari, the wise and elderly Statesman of India. It may not be too wrong if I conclude the battle scene in Bhagavadgeetaa was motivated and dramatized by the background scene of Katha Upanishad.
A spiritual seeker has the following questions to pose to his Guru as evinced by every Upanishad:
1.    What is the highest object of man?
2.    What is the last cause of the world?
3.    In what connection is this cause with the world?
4.    How do we know of it?
“The standing point of Kathopanishad is on the whole that of the Vedanta. It is the Absolute Spirit which is the foundation of the world and it is this Absolute Spirit which is the object of true science to know it as the same with all creatures, especially with one’s own soul, which by the knowledge attains its final aim –absorption into Brahman” says P. Krishnamoorty in his book Upanishad Vaallari.

What Krishna answered Arjuna is not different from what The King of Cosmic laws  (Dharmaraja) told Nachiketas. Here are certain philosophic thoughts of Geethha inspired by the  mantras of Katha Upanishad.

 1) Asochyaan anyasochastvam prajnaavaadaamscha bhashase
     Gataasoonagatasoomscha naanusochanti panditaah || G 2-11 ||

You grieve for those who are not to be grieved, and yet talk words of wisdom. The wise folk who know the true nature of soul do not grieve for those who are dead or for those who are living.

Asareeram sareereshu anavastheshv-avasthitam |
Mahaantam vibhumaatmaanam matvaa dheero na sochati ||Ka.U 2-22) ||

The wise knows that body is mortal and the Aaatmaa or Spirit is immortal possessing great powers. Knowing this wise man does not grieve. (The spirit is not bound by Karma while the humans with body are.)

2) Ya  enam vetti hantaaram yaschainam manyate hatam |
    Ubhau tau na vijaaneetoe naayam hanti na hanyate || G 2-19||

The one who thinks that the Aaatmaa is a killer and the one who thinks Aatmaa is killed, both are ignorant. Because Aaatmaa is neither kills nor killed. [If the killer thinks he is killing and if the killed thinks he is being killed, both of them do not know the essential nature of the soul. [The essential nature of the Aatman cannot be killed.]

Hantaa chen-manyate hantum hatas-chen-manyate hatam |
Ubhau tau  na vijaaneetoe naayam hanti na hanyate || (ka.u—2-18)

If the slayer thinks he is slaying and if the slain thinks he is slain then both of these do not know what they are saying. The intelligent Aaatman is not born, nor does it die; it did not hail from anywhere, nor did it become anything. Unborn constant, eternal, everlasting and ancient, it is not slain although the physical body is slain. {Geeta has just quoted the second line of this mantra in G-2-19


3) Aascharyaan pasyati kaschid enam Aascharyavad vadati tathaiva chaanyah |
    Aascharyavac-chainam anyah srinoti srutvaapy-enam veda na chaiva kaschit || G 2-29 ||

Some look upon this Aatman   as a wonder, yet another describes it as wonderful and others hear of it as wonder. Even after hearing about it people who know it are few and far between. 

Sravanaayaapi bahubhiryo-na labhyah srinvantopi bahavoe yam na vidyuh |
aascharyo vaktaa kusalo-asya  labdhaa aascharyo jnaataa  kusalaanu sishtah || Ka.u-2-7 

The soul which is not obtainable by many even for hearing   and although they hear of it, many do not comprehend.   Wonderful is the one, who speaks of it, wonderful is the one who comprehends the Aatman when instructed by an able Guru.   All those who hear of the Supreme Being cannot gain the knowledge without the help of a clever exponent and adept attained of him whom is rare to find.


4) Kaamaatmaanah svargaparaa janmakarmaphalpradaam |
    Kriyaaviseshabahulaam bhogaisvaryagatim prati || G 2-43||

The misguided ones who delight in the melodious chanting of Vedas are dominated by material desires, consider attainment of Svarga (Heaven). They engage in specific rituals seeking prosperity and enjoyment in life. Rebirth is the highest goal in life.      

Avidyaayaamantare vartamaanaah svayam dheerah panditam manyamaanaah |
Dandramyamaanaah pariyanti moodhaa andhenaiva neeyamaanaa yathaandhaah ||ka.u. 2-5 ||

Those who live in the midst of ignorance, but fancy themselves as wise and learned go round and round staggering to and fro like one blind leading the other. Fools wander suffering pain caused by old age, disease etc.


5) Indriyaani paraanyaahur indryebhyah param manah |
    Manasas tu paraa buddhir yo buddheh paratas tu sah || (G 3-42)

The senses are said to be superior to the body. The mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to mind (manas) and the Aatman is superior to the intellect. [Mahabharata also says in 12.204.10; “The mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, Jnaana or Self-knowledge is superior to the intellect and the Aatman or Spirit is superior to Jnaana.]

Indriyebhyah paraa hyarthaa arthebhyascha param manah|
Manasastu paraa buddhir budhyer aatma mahaanparah || (ka.u. 3.10)

Higher indeed than the senses are their objects;   higher is the mind than their objects; higher is the intellect than the mind; and Higher than the intellect is the great Aatman. [When the five senses, mind and intellect are progressively stilled, that leads to highest state of Self-realization say the wise.]

6) Tasmaat tvam indriyaanyaadau niyamya bharatarshabha |
    Paapmaanam prajahi hyenam jnaanavijnaana nasanam || G 3-41 ||

Therefore, Arjuna! By controlling   the senses first, kill this evil of material desire that destroys   Self-knowledge and Self-realization. [The moral is that mortal freed from the captivity of desires, becomes immortal and attains liberation even in this very life].

Yada sarve pramuchyante kaamaa ye-asya  hridi sritaah |
Atha martyo amrito bhavatyatra brahma samasnute || Ka.u. 6-14 ||

When all the desires, which were cherished in a mortal’s heart are destroyed then that mortal becomes immortal and then he attains realization of Brahman while being still in this world here.                                                                                                                           
7) Sarvakarmaani manasaa sannyaasyaaste sukhaam vasee |
    Navadwaare pure dehee naiva kurvan  na kaarayan ||  G 5-13 ||

A person, who has completely the fruits of all works, dwells happily in the City of Nine Gates neither acting nor causing others to act. [The nine gates of the body are: the two eyes; two nostrils; two ears; the mouth; and the two excretory organs. This reference to human body of nine openings is made by many Upanishads. The Jeevanmukta or self-realized man who remains settled in the perennial presence of the master of the body (Brahman) becomes detached and enjoys perfect peace under all circumstances].

Puram ekaadasadwaaram ajasyaavakrachetasah |
Anushthaaya na sochati vimuktascha vimuchyate etad vai tat ||Ka.u. 5.1 ||

The city of the unborn Brahman of eternal existent knowledge has eleven gates.  Having meditated upon him, the seeker does not grieve and is liberated from all the bonds of ignorance and liberated. This is verily that.  The city of 11 gates here means the physical body with eleven opening gates.    [We have altogether seven openings in the neck portion (two eyes + two nostrils + two ears + 1mouth), three openings in the trunk (the navel and the two excretory openings) and the eleventh one is the subtle aperture called Brahma-randra at the crown of the head, celebrated in yoga-saastra.] A true seeker meditating on the Supreme Self goes beyond sorrow and is liberated from the cycle of repeated births and deaths.

8) Uddhared aatmanaatmaanam  naatmaanam avasaadayet |
    Aatmaiva hyaat-manobandhur aatmaiva ripur aatmanah || G-6-5 ||
    Bandhur aatmaat-manas tasya yenaatmaivaatmanaa jitah |
    Anaatmanas tu satrutve vartetaatmaiva satruvat || G-6-6 ||

Let one lift himself up and not degrade oneself. The mind alone is one’s friend as well one’s enemy too. The mind is a friend of those who have control over it. The mind acts like an enemy for those who do not have control over it. Bringing scattered passions and desires   under control and lifting oneself to Supreme the individual lifts himself to the glorious status of Self-realization and eternal Bliss. This calls for firm control of mind.

Yadaa pancha-avatishthante jnaanaani manasaa saha |
Buddhischa na nicheshteta  taamaahuh paramaam gatim ||(Ka.u—6—10)
Taam yogamiti manyante sthiraamindriya dhaaranaam |
Apramattastadaa bhavati yogo hi prabhavaapyayau ||(Ka.u—6--11)

When the five sources of knowledge standstill together with the mind and the intellect does not work, that state is called the highest. This, the firm control of senses, is called Yoga. Then one becomes undistracted; for otherwise, Yoga is acquired and lost as well (if one is not attentive and careful). To a Spiritual seeker the extreme development of his powers of concentration through a successful achievement in the control of sense-organs is the greatest penance. Success can be achieved in self-control only when our minds are taken away from sense objects and then fixed firmly in steady concentration and meditation upon the Aatman. It is the negative approach as well as positive.


9) Sukham aatyantikam yat tad buddhigraahyam ateendriyam |
     Vetti yatra na chaivaayam sthitas-chalati tattvatah || G-6-21 ||
One feels infinite bliss that is perceivable only through the subtle intellect which is beyond the grasp of the senses. After realizing the Brahman and established in that state one is never separated from Absolute Reality.
Esha sarvesshu bhooteshu goodho-aatmaa na prakaasate |
Drisyate tvagryayaa buddhyaa sookshmayaa sooksha darsibhih || (Ka.u. 3—12 ||
The Aatman, concealed in all beings in the cavity of the heart, does not shine forth and reveal to all.  But it is believed it is beheld only by the sharp intellect of seers of subtle  intellect.                                                                                                                                                                  

10) Sarvabhootastham aatmmaanam sarvabhootaani chaatmani |
      Eekshate  yogayuktaatmaa sarvatra samdarsanah ||(G 6-29)
A Yogi sees every being with an equal eye because of perceiving Eternal Being (Brahman) abiding in all beings and all beings abiding in the Eternal Being.

Nityo nityaanaam chetanaschetanaanaam eko bahoonaam yo vidadhaati kaamaan
Tamaatmastham ye anupasyanti dheeraah teshaam saantih saasvatee netareshaam  ||Ka.u—5-13 ||
Eternal peace is for those intelligent beings and to others, who see Paramaatman, the one eternal sentient principle that accomplishes the desires of eternal sentient in Jeevaatman that dwells in the inner cavity of the heart everyone. [Eternal peace belongs to those who perceive God existing within everybody as Aatman.]


11) Kavim puranam anusaasitaaram  anor aneeyaamsam anusmared yah  |
      Sarvasya dhaataaram achintyaroopam aadityavarnam  tamasah parastat  || ….
      Sa tam  param purusham upaiti divyam ||G-8--9 &10 ||
He who meditates on the Omniscient, the Primordial, the Ruler, subtler than an atom, the sustainer of all, the inconceivable effulgent like the Sun and beyond darkness, will surely reach the resplendent Saguna Brahman (Purusha).

Anoraneeyaan mahato maheeyaan  aatmasya jantornihito guhaayaam | Tamakratuh pasyati veetasoko dhaatuh prasaadaat mahimaaanam-aatmanah  || Ka.u-2-20 ||
The Self subtler than the subtlest atom and greater than the greatest is residing in the cavity of the heart of every individual. Those who extinguish their selfish desires and behold the glory of the Self go beyond all sorrow through the grace of the Paraamaatman, the Lord of Love.
[This Mantra also appears in Sveteswatara and Mahanarayana Upanishads.]

12) Agnir jyotir ahah suklah shanmaasa uttaraayanam |
      Tatra prayaataa gachchanti   brahma brahmavido janaah || G 8-24 ||

Fire, light, daytime,  the bright lunar fort night and the six months of the  northern solstice of the Sun—departing by these Devas, celestial controllers,  one who has known  the Supreme Principle (Brahman)  by mastering  Yoga  attains Brahman.

 Dhoomo ratristathaa krishnah shanmaasaa dakshinaayanam
Tattra  chaandramasam jyotiryogeepraapya nivartate  || G 8-25  ||

Smoke, the night, the dark half of the month, and the six months of the sun’s southern passage—departing by this path Yogi attains the lunar sphere and returns (thence).

Yajante saattvikaa devaan-yaksharaksaamsi raajasaah |
Pretaan-bhootaan-ganaamscha-anye yajante taamasaa janaah || 17-4 ||

People endowed with Sattvaguna   worship gods,   those with Rajas worship Yakshas and  demons while those with Tamoguna worship spirits and goblins.


 Yaanti devavrataa devaan pitrun yaanti pitruvrataah |
Bhootaani yaanti bhootejyaa yaanti madyaajino api maam || G 9-25 ||

The worshipers of the gods go to the gods, the worshipers of the manes go to the manes, the worshipers of the spirits go to the spirits, and my worshipers (those who meditate on Brahman)   come to me.

 Yonimanye prapadyante sareeratvaaya dehinah |
sthaanumanye anusamyanti yathaakarma yathasrutam || Ka.up. 5-7 ||
Uktvaa srutvaa cha medhaavee brahmaloke maheeyate  ||Ka. up. 3-16 ||

Some souls enter wombs for getting bodies; and others take up the form of immovable in accordance with Karma and in conformity with their knowledge. The intelligent one (those who acquire the knowledge of Brahman) is glorified in the world of Brahman.

Verses in Bhagavadgeetaa above elaborate the idea contained in Kathopanishad which focuses thought on Vedanta approach for liberation.

The path of light and fire (the path treaded by men of   knowledge) is called Aarchiraa maarga or Aarchira path passing through which Yogis and Jeevanmuktas attain salvation. Others return back to this world. Out of the hundred and one arteries of the heart, there is one which goes to the crown of the head. This special spot is spiritually called Brahmarandra.  The life force going upwards through this soft spot in the center of the skull goes to Brahman. A Yogi knows how to withdraw the senses from the sense object into the mind, and how to fuse the mind into the breath and breath into the light, and the light into the Sun and to the Absolute. This is called the Path of Light or Aarchira Maarga. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also said spiritual consciousness is not possible without the awakening of the Kundalini.  When the mind rises upward by the power of Kundalini and reaches the Seventh Chakra (Brahmarandra) it merges with the Eternal Being in the eighth plane.  As long as the Kundalini power remains dormant in the lower center, one cannot get salvation through, Japa, meditation and worship says Chandogya Upanishad and protagonists of Kriya Yoga.

 Satam chaikaa cha hridayasya naadyah taasaam moordhnaabhinihsritai kaa |
Tay-ordhvamaayann-amritatvameti  vishvang-ganyaa utkramane bhavanti ||
(Ka.u-6.16)
There are a hundred and one of the nerves of the heart. Of them, one Sushumna proceeds to the head. One who goes up through it attains immortality. But other nerves at the time of death, lead him to diverse ways of material world or Samsaara. [One of the hundred one nerves is the “Brahmanadi” known as Sushumna and it goes through the cerebral region. Going to the world of Brahman through that nerve one attains liberation or merges with Brahman. Only a yogi can achieve that task of going through the cerebral region]

13) Na tu maam sakyate drashtum anenaiva svachakshushaa |
      Divyam dadaami te chakshuh pasya may yogam aisvaryam  || G 11.8 ||

But you are not able to see me with your physical eyes; therefore I give you the divine eyes to see my majestic power and glory.  [Brahman’s transcendental form is beyond the range of vision]

 Na sandrise tishthati roopamasya na chakshushaa pasyati kaschanainam |
Hridaa maneeshaa manasaa-abhiklipto ya etadvidu r-amritaaste bhavanti ||ka.u. 6.9 ||

His form is not within the fold of vision. No one sees him with the physical eye. He is revealed by controlling the mind and by constant meditation. Those who know this approach become immortal. [Hridaa maneeshaa means steadfast devotion. The idea of the second half of this Mantra is also repeated in Mahabharata--Bhaktyaa cha dhrityaa cha samaahitaatmaa jnaanasvaroopam paripasyateeha]

14) Naaham vedair na tapasa na daanena na cha ijyayaa |
 sakya evam vidho drashtum  drishtavaanasi maam yathaa || G 11. 53 ||

This form of Mine that you have just seen cannot be seen even by the study of Vedas, or by austerity, or by acts of charity or by the performance of rituals.

Naayamaatmaa pravchanena labhyo na medhayaa bahunaa srutena |
Yamevaisha vrinute tena labhyah  tasyaishaa vivrinute tanoom  svaam || ka.u.-2.23 ||

This Supreme Principle is not attainable either through thinking (study of Vedas) or by meditation or hearing to discourse of scriptures. But it can be obtained only by him, whom He (Supreme Principle) chooses. To him who is most dear to Him the Supreme Lord reveals his form.


15) Oordhwamoolamaddhah saakham-aswattham praahur-avyaayam  |
      Cchandaamsi yasya parnaani yastam veda sa vedavit || G 15-1 ||

This imperishable and sacred fig-tree has its roots above and branches below; and the sacred chants of the Vedas (Vedic meters or Chandas) are its leaves, so they say. And who understand this tree like that, understands the Vedas.  

This imagery of the sacred tree Aswathha, tree of Banyan family is to be found in Rigveda(1.24.7), Katha Upanishad and Aaranyaka (1.11.5). The word Aswattha means transient. Bhagavad also says in 10-16 Asvatthah sarvavrikshaanaam” I  (Bhagawaan) am the  Peepal (Aswattha) among all the trees.
[The Asvatha (peepal tree) is also known as the Brahmavriksha, the Samsaaravriksha, Brahmavana and Brahmaaranya—terms which link it to the Brahman and to the material world. The idea is to illustrate that just as the sky-reaching tree springs from a small seed, so has the colossal, visible universe sprung from the imperishable Paramaataman. (anoraneeyaan mahato maheeyaan).    The tree of samsara is deeply rooted in the Supreme Consciousness. So its roots point upwards.  It is also deeply rooted in the soil.  It is having its branches below is on account of the fact that it ends with all human beings, cattle, beasts, worms etc.  At the time when the child is conceived, it is in the Brahmarandra, where the consciousness gets seated.

Oordhwamoolo-avaak  saakha esho-asvatthah sanaatanaah  | tadeva sukram  tad brahma tadevaamrutamuchyate || Tasmin lokaah   sritaah sarve tadu naatyeti kaschana  etad vai tat || Ka 6-1 ||
This is Asvattha (peepal) the Tree of eternity whose roots are above and branches spread below. That is verily the Pure, that is Brahman and that is also hailed as immortal.  In that rest all the worlds and none can transcend It.  For this Self is Paramaatman. 


16) Na tad bhaasayate sooryo na sasaanko na paavakah |
      Yad gatvaa na nivartante tad dhaama paramam mama || G15.6 ||

Neither the Sun nor the moon, nor the fire Illuminate the Supreme abode of the Lord. Having reached there people do not come back to the temporal world. The Supreme Being is self-luminous.  [The Supreme Being existed before the Sun, the Moon and the Fire that came into existence during creation and it will exist even after everything gets dissolved t  Un-manifest Nature (Aadi Prakriti) during the great cataclysm or Pralayaa].    
Na tatra sooryo bhaati  na  chyandra-taarakam |
nemaa vidyuto bhaanti kutoayamagnih ||
tameva bhaantamanubhaati sarvam |
tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam vibhaati || Ka.up. 5-15 ||

The Sun does not shine there, nor does the Moon and the star, nor flash of lightning shine and much less this fire on earth. When He shines, everything shines after Him.   [This light of Supreme Being eclipses all other lights. It is the cause for all lights.  His light helps all others to shine. Effulgence of the Sun that is seen is not natural to it but it is the light that is given to it by Parmaatman and belongs to Parmaatman alone.] {This famous mantra appears also in Sveteswatara and Mundaka Upanishads.}

17) Yayaa tu dharmakaamaarthaan dhrityaa dhaarayate-arjuna  |
       Prasangena phalaakaankshee dhritih saa paartha raajasee || G18.34 ||

Oh Arjuna! The resolve by which a person clings to Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth) and Kaama (pleasure) craving for the fruits of work, with great attachment, that resolve is the result of Rajoguna (mode of passion).  Dharma here means the faithful performance of obligatory duties,   artha is the accumulation of wealth and Kaama is the enjoyment of pleasures.  Mahabharata says:  “The one who uses Dharma, Artha and Kaama in a balanced manner without harming anyone of the three by the other two attains Moksha (salvation)”. one should first follow Dharma by doing one’s duty righteously. Then one should earn money and make economic progress, fulfill all noble material and spiritual desires with the money earned, and progress towards Moksha, which is the goal of human birth.

Na vittena tarpaneeyo manushyo  lapsyaamahe vittamadraakshma  chetvaa |
Jeevishyaamo yaavadeesishyasi tvam varastu may varaneeyah sa eva || Ka. up. 1.27 ||

Man does not rest satisfied with any amount of wealth. If we do really need wealth, we can obtain if we can only see thee.  We would only live as long as thou hold thy sway.  Hence that alone is the boon worthy of being desired for, by me.

People are never satisfied with wealth and material possessions.    Having gained the wealth a   man can enjoy but they are available only till such time as he has not met the Lord of death. A dead man shall need no more money not even a penny out of his rich coffer. As Nachiketas had no need for any wealth having met God of Death all his desire then was to know how to attain Eternal Bliss from Lord Yama.


CONCLUSION
Brilliant authors of Kathopanishad and Bhagavadgeeta both have made Lord Krishna and  Dharmaraja (King of Cosmic Laws)  as  Gurus answering the questions posed by a brilliant mind of budding intelligence, Nachiketas and matured  master-mind,   Arjuna. Both these texts have not drawn them to myths and horror stories of Puranas and also   not resorted to negative approach and pessimism.  Bhagavadgeetaa is a production of Puraanic times but yet its approach is guided by the wisdom of Upanishads.  Strangely enough, though Swarga is mentioned in the Upanishads several times, its opposite Naraka (hell) of the type met with in the Puranas like Kumbheepaka seems to be unknown to both these texts. Both are univocal in proclaiming that everyone is entitled to liberation if they have the right will and approach for it.  The time lag depends on one’s own Karma. Those who have performed Sakaama Karma (desire-motivated actions) or practiced lower kinds of Upaasanas (meditation) get their desires fulfilled. Some of them go to Swargaloka (heaven) from where they will return to this world after exhausting the results of their good deeds.   This journey is through Pitrumaarga wherein the soul is led to Chandraloka (The world of the Moon) after passing through smoke, night, the dark fortnight and the six months of the Southern solstice. After exhausting the result of good deeds the soul returns again to this earth, through the sky, rain, vegetation and living beings.  The rare few liberated souls (Jeevanmuktas) rest for a while in Chandraloka even though they die during Dakshinaayana and then proceed through Uttaraayana (Northern solstice) to merge with Brahman (you all know Bhishma’s story). Those who know neither of these two paths return again and again and may even be reborn at the sub-human levels, as animals and worms.

The question and answers discussed in these two texts are true for all times and to all religions of the world. Western society   thinks today that the spiritual message contained in Bhagavaadgeeta and Upanishad offers an alternative direction of social growth which is reflected in contemporary Hindu society based on brilliant interpretations from eminent   scholars starting from Sankara.  Sankara’s authorship of Geetaabhashya has been disputed but not of Chandogya Upanishad.  Contrary to the Western thinking it is unfortunate present day Indian social aspirations are, most of them, shaped by the latest twentieth century market driven world-view of the West and particularly American, more so  in the case of  Hindu Americans. This is no doubt unavoidable consequences of global migration, which has become necessary for one’s own survival.    But yet the continued acceptance of wisdom of  Upanishads   skilfully marketed by Vedavyasa as “Bhagawanuvacha” in Bhagavadgeetaa on the  Hindu mind indicates that there are indeed more things under our heaven and earth than could be dreamed of in a contemporary Western perspective with which Hindu Americans  are in close touch every day.

One should be guided by the words of wisdom from Vedas, Upanishads and   Bhagavadgeetaa in their Spiritual and temporal pursuits. To me what appeals most is to follow the catch words or mottos set by these scriptures; These are: “Uttishthata Jagrata varaannibhodata” meaning “Arise,  awake and Learn from the  superiors (Gurus)” from Kathopanishad; “Ma suchah, maamekam saranam vraja” stop grieving and abide in the Supreme (the parting advice  to Arjuna by Lord  Krishna in Geeta); and “Charaiveti Charaiveti” --the Vedic instruction to keep moving and move on in life to achieve our goals.

“Charanbai madhu vindati charantsvadu mudambaram. | Sooryasya pasya sreemanam yo na tandrayate charan | Charaiveti, charaiveti.”

[The literal translation of the verse according to sources is "The honey bee, by its motion, collects honey, and birds enjoy tasty fruits by constant movement. The sun is revered, by virtue of its constant shining movement; therefore, one should be constantly in motion. Keep moving, keep moving on and on!"]



 REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
1.      Ramanada Prasad, Bhagavad Geetaa, American Gita Society, Freemont, CA, USA.
2.      Ananta Rangacharya, Principal Upanishads, Bengaluru, India.
3.      Swami Vireswarananda, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ramakrishna math, Chennai, India.
4.      Ramachandra Rao, S.K., Geetaa-Kosha (Trisati), Kalpataru Research Academy, Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Bengaluru, India.
5.      Rajagopalchari C.R., Upanishads, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, India.
6.      Krishnamoorty P., Upanishad Vallari, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, Tirupati, India.


[This discourse material is a compilation from the reference above    as well as other sources for a prepared lecture for delivering at Vedanta Class of Sri Ganeha Temple which is gratefully acknowledged. I do not claim anything as original though I have included my explanations and comments elaborately suitably editing. Anybody is free to download partly or fully this discourse, modify and redistribute this as well as other  discourses from the blog Hindu Reflections <nrsrini.blogspot.com> for spreading the wisdom of Vedas and scriptures further.  These  lectures are  posted on the blog for the benefit of those who are not able to attend my lectures personally due to personal reasons or due to not living in Nashville or able to go through the various sources as I have done.]