Before I begin this article let me tell you all a small incident that happened in my life, which became the source and inspiration for this. There was a more than forty-year-old tree outside my home. It had grown old but still was strong and healthy. Since my childhood, I saw so many seasons go passing by, yet this tree always protected us from the summer heat.
A few days back due to a heavy thunderstorm, this tree fell and damaged our vehicles parked near it, but still, our home was protected. The reason for its falling was the termite that had made the stem of the tree quite weak, even though its branches were flourishing with fruits. Now, this tree has been completely cut off and it made me upset, due to the attachment that I had with it. It even let me ponder over one valuable learning from the great book Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
In chapter 15 of this book, the material world in which we live is compared to a banyan tree. We as human beings are engaged in fruitive activities and our attachment to this imperishable tree leads to no liberation in our lives.
And this tree besides being indestructible is also a complete illusion of a real tree. Another interesting aspect is that its roots are in the upward direction whereas the branches are in the downward direction. The source of roots is explained in the book in terms of materialism and the fruits of this tree are compared to economic activities and economic development.
The image given above shows the tree of illusion.
We can imagine this tree similar to what we see as a reflection in the water of a tree near a riverbank. “In other words, this material world tree is only a reflection of the tree of the spiritual world.” (Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, 2020). It is a mirage or a false replication of it.
To liberate ourselves from this material world, we need to cut off the attachment to it. Just like a tree gets its nourishment from water, similarly, this tree grows through adding material things. It is said the real form of this tree cannot be comprehended in this world. We are entangled in it, and through our knowledge and understanding, we can detach ourselves from it.
The only way to do it is by complete surrender to God (Shri Krishna) and devote our lives to the service of others.
Source: Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, A. (2020). Bhagavad Gita as it is. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.