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Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Verse 2

भगवद् गीता अध्याय 15 श्लोक 2

अधश्चोर्ध्वं प्रसृतास्तस्य शाखा
गुणप्रवृद्धा विषयप्रवालाः।
अधश्च मूलान्यनुसन्ततानि
कर्मानुबन्धीनि मनुष्यलोके।।15.2।।

English Translation - Swami Gambirananda

15.2 The branches of that (Tree), extending down-wards and upwards, are strengthened by the alities and have sense-objects as their shoots. And the roots, which are followed by actions, spread down-wards in the human world [According to A.G. and M.S. manusya-loke means a body distinguished by Brahminhood etc.].

English Translation - Swami Sivananda

15.2 Below and above spread its branches, nourished by the Gunas; sense-objects are its buds; and below, in the world of men, stretch forth the roots, originating action.

English Translation - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

15.2. Of which (Tree) the branches, spreading downward and upward, well developed with Strands, have sense objects as sprouts; also below in the human world are Its roots, stretching successively, having actions for their sub-knots.

English Commentary - Swami Sivananda

15.2 अधः below? च and? ऊर्ध्वम् above? प्रसृताः spread? तस्य its? शाखाः branches? गुणप्रवृद्धाः nourished by the Gunas? विषयप्रवालाः senseobjects (are) its buds? अधः below? च and? मूलानि the roots? अनुसन्ततानि are stretched forth? कर्मानुबन्धीनि originating action? मनुष्यलोके in the world of men.Commentary The countless objects? large and small? which life needs are all products of the five elements through the activity of the alities. This tree of Samsara is nourished by the three alities of Nature. The senseobjects are its buds and the roots which grow downwards are the bonds of Karma for those who lead a life of passion and attachment in this world? who are under the sway of likes and dislikes. The sprouts of this marvellous tree are the charming objects of the senses with their characteristics of sound? touch? colour? taste and smell. The roots? the Karmic tendencies from the past lives? grow downwards to generate the bonds of Karma in the world of men. These roots strengthen the bondage by further actions.The primal root is ignorance from which arises the eightfold Nature -- the five elements? mind? intellect and egoism. From the stem of the tree spring four branches called Svedaja? Andaja?,Jarayuja and Udbhijja. Eightyfour lakhs (eight million and four hundred thousand) of species came into being.One branch shoots straight upwards. This is the branch of Dharma which yields the fruit of enjoyment in heaven. Another branch is the branch of dispassion which yields the fruit of Selfrealisation. The sun? the planets? the manes and the sages have also come out of this wonderful tree. Above them are the branches of the worlds of Indra and the gods. Still higher are those of the sages and the men of austerities and penance. Still higher is the Satyaloka where Hiranyagarbha dwells.From man down to the immovable objects below and from him up to the realm of the Creator above? whatever regions are attained in accordance with the nature of knowledge or action? they are the ramifying branches of the tree of Samsara. They are nurtured and fattened by the three Gunas which form their material base.The senseobjects such as sound? touch? colour? taste and smell represent the buds that sprout from the branches of the physical bodies which are the products of actions.The highest root of this wondeful tree is Brahman. The secondary roots are the latent impressions (Samskaras) of likes and dislikes? which spread in this world of men and impel them to perform virtuus and vicious actions and bind them fast to actions.Now listen to the way by which this tree can be cut off. Only he who thus cuts his bondage to this tree of Samsara can be happy even in this world. He has the highest wisdom because he stands as a spectator of this tree and knows it as it is? without being tied to it.

English Translation of Sanskrit Commentary By Sri Shankaracharya's

15.2 Sakhah, the branches, as it were; tasya, of that Tree; prasrtah, extending; adhah, downwards, from the human beings to the immobile (trees etc.); ca, and; urdhvam, upwards, upto Brahma-beginning from the Creator of the Cusmos to Dharma (Death) [According to A.G. human beings stands for the world of human beings, and Brahma for the world of Brahma (Satva-loka). So Dharma may mean the world of Death (pitr-loka).-Tr.], which, in accordance with their work and in conformity with their knowledge (Ka. 2.2.7), are the results of knowledge and actions; are guna-pravrddhah, strengthened, made stout, by the alities sattva, rajas and tamas, which are their materials; and visaya-pravalah, have the sense-objects as their shoots. The sense-objects (sound etc.) sprout, as it were, like new leaves from the branches (bodies etc.) which are the results of actions. Thery the branches are said to have sense-objects as their shoots. The supreme Root, the material cause of the Tree of the World, has been stated earlier. And now, the latent impressions of attraction, repulsion, etc. born of the results of action are the subsidiary roots, as it were, which grow later on and become the cause of involvement in righteousness and and unrighteousness. And those mulani, roots; karma-anubandhini, which are followed by actions; anu-santatani, spread, enter; adhah, downwards, as compared with the world of gods; manusya-loke, into the world of human beings particularly-for it is well known that (only) here men have competence for rites and duties. They (these roots) are said to be karma-anubandhini since actions (karma) that are characterized as righteous and unrighteous follow as their product (anubandha), (i.e.) succeed the rise of those (attraction, repulsion, etc.).

English Translation of Commentary - Dr. S. Sankaranarayan

15.1-2 Urdhva-mulam etc. Adhas ca etc. In other scriptural texts it is delcared All is the holy Fig-tree; that alone is to be meditated upon. The present verse tells us this : What is intended by that declaration is only the religious meditation of the Brahman, the Bhagavat. Root : the one with a highly tranil nature. That is high (above) : Becasue it can be attained by him alone who has withdrawn himself from every other [lower] thing. The [Vedic] hymns are the leaves [of it] etc. : Just as the girth, height, the fruits and the taste etc. of a tree are indicated by its leaves, in the same fashion the idea of the Brahman-being is through the scriptures that are included in the Vedic hymns. This is what is narrated here. With Strands : i.e., with the Sattva etc. Well developed : i.e., starting from gods down to the stationary ones. Of this tree, the roots, that are below, are the good and bad actions.

English Translation of Ramanuja's Sanskrit Commentary

15.2 The secondary roots of this tree having the main roots in the world of Brahman and its crest in men ramify below in the world of men. They bind them according to their Karma. The meaning is that the effects of acts causing bondag become roots in the world of men. For, the effect of actions done in the human state brings about the further condition of men, beasts etc., down below, and of divinities etc., up above.

Commentary - Chakravarthi Ji

The branches of this tree spread down (adhah) in the form of animals and others, and upward in the form of the birth of devatas and other elevated beings. These branches increase and increase by the watering, in the form of actions of the three gunas (guna pravrddha). The small twigs of the branches are the sense objects such as sound (visaya pravalah). Moreover, it can be inferred that, at the base of the tree, unknown to all people, is some great treasure. There are external roots from the branches of the asvattha, meaning in this case banyan tree, which is dependent for support on both the main root and the external roots. These secondary roots, the cause of continued action, spread out everywhere  (anusantantani) below Brahmaloka (adhah), in the planet of humans. Karma anubandhini means that after enjoying the results of ones actions, those actions become stimulus for actions in another human birth.

Rudra Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The branches of this ancient banyan tree are the perishable jivas or embodied beings from Brahma the secondary creator who lives for trillions of years down to humans who may live for a hundred years down to an insect that may live only for some hours. All regardless of their span of life have their limiting adjuncts and restricted effects and represent the branches of this tree. Of those jivas who have the inclination for evil and demoniac activities their births will be in the reptile and insect species. Those jivas who are oblivious to their divine nature and act like beasts will correspondingly take birth in the animal kingdom and those jivas of virtuous and pious nature nature will take birth among the Brahmins, Vaisnavas and demigods. All jivas constitute the unlimited branches of this ancient banyan tree represented in the mundane material existence. Furthermore it should be understood that they are nutured by the three gunas or modes of goodness, passion and nescience according to their qualifications and propensities. The tips of the branches are the senses and the innumerable sprouts and shoots are the sense objects. The roots are spread out above and below with the central primary tap root representing the Supreme Lord alone with the roots below representing desires for enjoyment and the roots above representing subtle impressions of past enjoyments. The effects of such are specifird by the words karma anubandhani which refers to actions according to the proclivity to perform righteous or unrighteous activities which results in corresponding reactions some positive, some benign and some negative. When past reactions eventually have been finally exhausted the jiva once more takes birth in the world of humans directly related to the influence of the subtle impressions accumalated from enjoyments experienced in the previous lives and worlds which are the subtle motivating impetus for the inclinations and propensity to experience these activities again. The ability to experience these actions is limited to the worlds of humans alone and so Lord Krishna states manusya-loke meaning the world of men.

Brahma Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

Since the unmanifest atma or immortal soul exists in an impreceptible sub- atomic form within the bodies of all jivas or embodied beings, they are described as spread upwards and downwards. The attributes are the modes of material nature, the three gunas of sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The pleasurable experiences are the sprouts and desires are the buds. The main central root is the divine resplendence representing the Supreme Lord and the subsidary roots are the results acquired due to following righteousness or unrighteousness. This is described in the Ballava section. In this ancient asvattha or banyan tree representing material existence the brahman or spiritual substratum pervading all existence as manifestation of the Supreme Lord is the primary and central root. The subsidary root is prakriti the material substratum pervading physical existence and the three gunas are its attributes. The elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are the branches and the leaves are the Vedic hymns. The demigods who administer universal management are the smaller branches and human beings are the twigs. From adherance or rejection of the injunctions and prohibitions defined in the Vedic scriptures do sweet and bitter fruits results which are the karmas or reactions to the previous actions one has performed. Righteous actions bestow pleasant rewards and unrighteous actions bestow unpleasant rewards. This ancient banyan tree rewards liberation and bondage as well depending upon the merit of righteousness enacted. It also has fruits, branches and roots that are unmanifest as well as those that are apparent and manifest. This does not otherwise come to happen neither does it not come not to happen. This means that the cause is enveloped in the effect and that the effect is containing the cause. In this way as a tiny seed contains an entire tree and a tree contains a tiny seed the roots and the branches are intertwined eternally.

Shri Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The branches on this asvattha tree symbolise all the jivas or embodied beings who arise due to karma or reactions to actions. The downward branches symbolise humans, animals, plants, etc. and the upward branches symbolise the 300 million demigods administering universal management. All the branches are part of prakriti thematerial substratum pervading physical existence and all are nourished by the three gunas or three modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The sprouts on the branches symbolises desires for objects of the senses. This asvattha tree has its roots in Brahma-loka the highest material planet and its branches end in the worlds of humans but there the humans are constantly creating new rootlets which are the karmas acquired from performing actions which are enjoined and prohibited in the Vedic scriptures.The activities performed as jivas while in bodies of humans exclusively results in higher level or lower level births. By ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures the results are lower level births such as animals, reptiles, insects, plants. The adherance to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures results in higher level births such as the demigods and also human births which still affords a jiva the golden opportunity to spiritually evolve and grow; sometimes even achieving moksa or liberation from material existence in their very next lifetime.

Kumara Vaishnava Sampradaya - Commentary

The branches on this asvattha tree symbolise all the jivas or embodied beings who arise due to karma or reactions to actions. The downward branches symbolise humans, animals, plants, etc. and the upward branches symbolise the 300 million demigods administering universal management. All the branches are part of prakriti thematerial substratum pervading physical existence and all are nourished by the three gunas or three modes of material nature which are sattva or goodness, rajas or passion and tamas or ignorance. The sprouts on the branches symbolises desires for objects of the senses. This asvattha tree has its roots in Brahma-loka the highest material planet and its branches end in the worlds of humans but there the humans are constantly creating new rootlets which are the karmas acquired from performing actions which are enjoined and prohibited in the Vedic scriptures.The activities performed as jivas while in bodies of humans exclusively results in higher level or lower level births. By ignoring the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures the results are lower level births such as animals, reptiles, insects, plants. The adherance to the injunctions and prohibitions of the Vedic scriptures results in higher level births such as the demigods and also human births which still affords a jiva the golden opportunity to spiritually evolve and grow; sometimes even achieving moksa or liberation from material existence in their very next lifetime.

Transliteration Bhagavad Gita 15.2

Adhashchordhwam prasritaastasya shaakhaahGunapravriddhaa vishayapravaalaah; Adhashcha moolaanyanusantataaniKarmaanubandheeni manushyaloke.

Word Meanings Bhagavad Gita 15.2

adhaḥ—downward; cha—and; ūrdhvam—upward; prasṛitāḥ—extended; tasya—its; śhākhāḥ—branches; guṇa—modes of material nature; pravṛiddhāḥ—nourished; viṣhaya—objects of the senses; pravālāḥ—buds; adhaḥ—downward; cha—and; mūlāni—roots; anusantatāni—keep growing; karma—actions; anubandhīni—bound; manuṣhya-loke—in the world of humans