The Affirmation Song of a Realised Soul

Sri Aurobindo translates Taittiriya Upanishad, Shikshavalli, Chapter Ten:  “I am He that moveth the Tree of the Universe and my glory is like the shoulders of a high mountain.  I am lofty and pure like sweet nectar in the strong, I am the shining riches of the world, I am the deep thinker, the deathless One who decayeth not from the beginning.  ‘This is Trishanku’s voicing of Veda and the hymn of his self-knowledge.”

When the realisation comes to the seeker, he realises his oneness with the entire creation and identifies with the Brahman, the creative force and being that sets the universe in motion.  This is not an intellectual understanding, but a knowledge which takes over the entire consciousness.  The experience leads, in this case, to the ecstatic declaration set forth in this chapter, which stems from the divine standpoint.

Sri M.P. Pandit discusses the image of the tree:  “The Supreme Reality in manifestation, its manifold Creation, is often compared in the ancient traditions — Indian and non-Indian — to a gigantic Tree with innumerable branches and leaves.  The Rig-veda speaks of the Tree out of which the Earth and the Heaven have been fashioned, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad compares the One Purusha by whom all this is filled to an Immovable Tree, the Katha refers to the Eternal Ashwattha Tree whose roots are above and branches downward and the Gita repeats the very epithet describing the Cosmic Tree.”

In his Essays on the Gita, Sri Aurobindo comments on the passage appearing in the Gita:  “First there comes a description of cosmic existence in the Vedantic image of the Aswattha tree.  This tree of cosmic existence has no beginning and no end, … in space or in time; for it is eternal and imperishable….  The real form of it cannot be perceived by us in the material world of man’s embodiment, nor has it any apparent lasting foundation here; it is an infinite movement and its foundation is above in the supreme of the Infinite.  Its principle is the ancient sempiternal urge to action … which for ever proceeds without beginning.  Therefore its original source is above beyond Time in the Eternal, but its branches stretch down below and it extends and plunges its other roots, well-fixed and clinging roots of attachment and desire with their consequences of more and more desire and an endlessly developing action, plunges them downward here into the world of men …. the branches of this cosmic tree extend both below and above, below in the material, above in the supraphysical planes.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Taittiriya Upanishad, Shikshavalli, pp.255-264, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 109-182

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