न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते
नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा |
अश्वत्थमेनं सुविरूढमूलं
असङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा ||१५-३||


na rūpamasyeha tathopalabhyate nānto na cādirna ca sampratiṣṭhā .
aśvatthamenaṃ suvirūḍhamūlaṃ asaṅgaśastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā ||15-3||



15.3. The nature of this is not perceived in that manner, nor its end, nor its beginning and nor its centre (the middle). Cutting this holy Fig-tree-with its firmly and variedly grown roots-by means of the sharp (or strong) exe of non-attachment;

Shri Purohit Swami

15.3 In this world its true form is not known, neither its origin nor its end, and its strength is not understood., until the tree with its roots striking deep into the earth is hewn down by the sharp axe of non-attachment.

Sri Abhinav Gupta

15.3 See Comment under 15.5

Sri Ramanuja

15.3 - 15.4 The form of this tree, having its origin above, i.e., in the four-faced Brahma and branches below in the sense that man forms the crest through continual lineage therefrom, and also having its branches extended above and below by actions done in the human state and forming secondary roots - that form of the tree is not understood by people immersed in Samsara. Only this much is perceived: ‘I am a man, the son of Devadatta, the father of Yajnadatta; I have property appropriate to these conditions’. Likewise, it is not understood that its destruction can be brought about by detachment from enjoyments which are based on Gunas. Similarly it is not perceived that attachment to the Gunas alone is the beginning of this (tree). Again, it is not perceived that the basis of this tree is founded on ignorance which is the misconception of self as non-self. Ignorance alone is the basis of this tree, since in it alone the tree is fixed.

This Asvattha, described above, firm-rooted, i.e., the roots of which are firm and manifold, is to be cut off by the strong axe of detachment, namely, detachment from the sense objects composed of the three Gunas. This can be forged through perfect knowledge. As one gains detachment from sense-objects, one should seek and find out the goal from which nobody ever returns.

How does this attachment to sense-objects, which consists of the Gunas and erroneous knowledge forming its cause, cease to exist?

Sri Krsna now answers:

One should seek ‘refuge (Prapadyet) in the Primal Person’ alone in order to overcome this ignorance. One should seek refuge (Prapadyeta) in Him who is primal, namely, the beginning of all entities, as stated in the following text: ‘With Me as the Lord, the Prakrti gives birth to all that which moves, and that which does not move’ (9.10), ‘I am the origin of all; from Me proceed everything’ (10.8), and ‘There is nothing higher than Me, O Arjuna’ (7.7). From Me, the creator of everything, has streamed forth this ancient activity, continuing from time immermorial, of attachment to sense-objects consisting of Gunas. This has been declared already by Me: ‘For this divine Maya of Mine consisting of the Gunas is hard to break through. But those who take refuge in me alone shall pass beyond this Maya’ (7.14).

Or a variant of this stanza is ‘prapadya iyatah pravrttih’ (in place of ‘prapadyet yatah pravrittih’). This gives the sense that this discipline of taking refuge in the Supreme Person for dispelling of ignorance has continued from a distant past. The tendencies of ancient persons seeking liberation are also ancient. The purport is this: The ancient liberation-seekers, taking refuge in Me alone, were released from bondage. [This can be taken to mean that Prapatti or taking refuge in the Lord had originated in the Bhakti tradition of the Sri-Vaisnavites from ancient sages i.e., from the Alvars who preceded Ramanuja by several centuries. It is not a creation of Ramanuja].

Sri Shankaracharya

15.3 But, asya, its-of this Tree of the World which has been described; rupam, form, as it has been presented; na, is not at all; upalabhyate, perceived; iha, here; tatha, in that way. For, being like a dream, water in a mirage, jugglery, an imaginary city seen in the sky, it is by nature destroyed no sooner than it is seen. Therefore, na, there exists neither; its antah, end, limit, termination; so also, neither; its beginning. It is not comprehended by anyone that it comes into existence beginning from any definite point. Its sampratistha, continuance, the middle state, too, is not perceived by anyone. Chittva, after felling, uprooting, together with its seeds; enam, this, above described; asvattham, Peepul, the Tree of the World; suvirudha-mulam, whose roots (mula) are well (su) developed (virudham); drdhena, with the strong-hardened by a resolute mind directed towards the supreme Self, and sharpened on the stone of repeated practice of discrimination; asanga-sastrena, sword of detachment-detachment means turn ing away from the desire for progeny, wealth and the worlds; with that sword of detachment-.

Swami Adidevananda

15.3 Its form as such is not perceived here, nor its end, nor its beginning, nor its support. Having cut off this firm-rooted Asvattha with the strong axe of detachment৷৷.

Swami Gambirananda

15.3 Its form is not perceived here in that way; nor its end, nor beginning, nor continuance, After felling this Peepul whose roots are well developed, with the strong sword of detachment-;

Swami Sivananda

15.3 Its form is not perceived here as such, neither its end nor its origin, nor its foundation nor resting place: having cut asunder this firmly rooted peepul tree with the strong axe of non-attachment.


Swami Sivananda

15.3 न not? रूपम् form? अस्य its? इह here? तथा as such? उपलभ्यते is perceived? न not? अन्तः (its) end? न not? च and? आदिः (its) origin? न not? च and? संप्रतिष्ठा foundation or resting place? अश्वत्थम् Asvattha? एनम् this? सुविरूढमूलम् firmrooted? असङ्गशस्त्रेण with the axe of nonattachment? दृढेन strong? छित्त्वा having cut asunder.Commentary The idea is continued in the next verse.So long as one is under the sway of ignorance? he cannot understand the form of this tree? its end? origin and foundation (middle). O Arjuna Thou mayest perhaps consider that such a huge tree cannot be uprooted by any means whatever. It is not so. However firmly rooted it may be? it can be cut by the powerful axe of nnattachment or dispassion within the twinkling of an eye.After cutting this tree you will have to look within? meditate on the Self and behold the Supreme.Tatha As such As described above. Is it necessary to pull down castles in the air or to break the horns of a hare or to pluck a flower growing in the sky or to get butter from the milk of a tortoise or oil from stone Similarly? O Arjuna? there is no reality in this tree. Therefore why should you entertain any fear as to whether it may be uprooted or not Its form as such is not perceived by anybody here it is like a dream or a mirage or an imaginary city in the sky formed by the clouds or caused by a juggler. It appears and disappears. This tree has DrishtaNashtaSvarupa like the mirage. That object which is destroyed when one beholds it is DrishtaNashta. Nobody has perceived the end? the origin or the foundation of this illusory tree. No one can say that it has arisen from such and such a place or point.Samsara or the peepul tree is inveterately deeprooted. You will have to struggle hard to uproot it with its seed or the selfreproducing deep root.Asanga Dispassion? freedom from attachment to children? wealth and the world.Dridhena Strong. You will have to cut the tree with a strong axe which is sharpened again and again on the whetstone of the practice of discrimination. Further your mind should be turned towards the Supreme Being with the strong determination that you can attain eternal bliss only in Him and that He is the ony Reality.The desire for sensual pleasure is Sanga. Its opposite (dispassion) is Asanga. Renunciation of the three kinds of Eshanas (desires)? viz.? children? wealth and the world (PutraVittaLokeshana) is Asanga. Just as the axe cuts the tree? so also dispassion cuts this tree of Samsara. Hence dispassion is termed an axe. Cutting the tree of Samsara is annihilation of egoism? ignorance? latent tendencies? and renunciation of the fruits of all actions? through the practice of dispassion? control of the mind and the senses? etc. (Cf.VII.14)