Chapter 12: Communing with the Absolute through the Cosmic Tree
"How do we approach God?" and "How do we conceive Him?" are questions raised at the beginning of the Twelfth Chapter. These procedures that we adopt in our endeavour to contact God are called, as you know very well, Yoga. A Yoga is an art of union with Reality. God, who is the Ultimate Reality, is to be contacted by some means. The means that we adopt is the Yoga, the method of inner communion.
It is possible to regard God as an all-pervading, infinite presence. Or, we can conceive God as a Supreme Person appealing to our emotions and feelings. Which is the better way? Arjuna put a question: "Are we to concentrate our mind on our concept of the Universal Impersonality of the Absolute, or are we to occupy ourselves with the Supreme Personality of God?" The answer is very interesting: It is perfectly all right if you are in a position to commune yourself with the Infinite Presence. This is very good. But who on earth will be able to achieve this, or perform this mighty feat?
The concept of the Infinite becomes a bare abstraction without any inner content when we stand outside it as visualisers of the Infinite. The mistake that the concept of the Infinite can commit is that it stands outside the Infinite when it so conceives it. Who will conceive the Infinite, inasmuch as the Infinite includes all the finites? So the question itself becomes redundant. Are we to meditate on the Infinite Impersonality? Who are 'we'? What kind of 'we' or 'I' is this? Who is it that is thinking in this strain? Is there anyone capable of conceiving the Infinite? The Infinite precludes the concepts of finitude of every kind – finitude of even the conceiving person, the seekers of God. As long as this body is here as a so-called hard substance clinging to our consciousness, as long as even the best of seekers of Truth cannot forget that he or she has a body, a strong isolated personality and the consciousness of 'I' exists. The best of people cannot overcome this consciousness of 'I exist'. The consciousness of 'I exist', or the awareness of the so-called 'me', will not be able to achieve this feat of the communion with the Infinite.
Kleśodhikataras teṣāṁ avyaktāsaktacetasām (Gita 12.5): A great difficulty, great sorrow, great problem indeed is this for anyone to think of the Infinite, inasmuch as the Infinite alone can think the Infinite. The only one who is fit to meditate or conceive the Infinite is the Infinite itself, and no one else can do that because anyone else is a finite. So while it is a wonderful thing to hear that someone is attempting to conceive the Infinite and meditate on the Infinite – most glorious indeed even to hear that such a thing is possible – is it practicable? It is not practicable as long as body-consciousness persists, as long as I-consciousness of individuality continues. When you exist as a person, the Infinite cannot be there. Either you are there, or the Infinite is there.
So we can, for the time being, conclude that nothing can be better for a person than to endeavour to contact the Infinite. Yet, there has to be a proviso that it is not practicable in ordinary circumstances. We can aspire for it, we can keep it as a kind of possibility in our future; it is a great, worthwhile thing, yet the physical individuality which is ridden over with ego and often controlled by the activities of sense organs will be an unfit instrument for even the notion of the Infinite.
Therefore, the personality of the individual seeker can accommodate itself only with the personality of God. A person can contact only a person. A person cannot contact a nonperson. There cannot be any kind of harmony between personality and impersonality. As every one of us is a person, God also has to be a person for us – a Supreme Person. We can stretch our imagination to the extent of excluding everything outside His personality. Mighty Visvarupa, Cosmic Form, All-inclusive God, Almighty Father – you may designate Him in any way you like, but nevertheless He is the Supreme Person.
The concept of God's personality arises on account of our impossibility to get over the consciousness of our own personality. God's personality, as we conceive it, is a cosmic counterpart of our own individual personality. It is an extension of our own notion of what we are, so that God would look like a big person and something like our own personality. We cannot think in any other manner. If we want to associate immense capacity and great knowledge and power with God, the only thing that people can think is that He has multiple powers. His eyes are everywhere, His hands are everywhere, His feet are everywhere, as the Gita tells us. Inasmuch as our hands or eyes cannot be everywhere, we have to associate God with everywhereness of even the limbs. We are ignorant, and therefore God has to be all-knowing. We are unhappy; therefore, God is bliss. We are in only one place; therefore, God is everywhere. There is an opposite, counter-correlative aspect of God's conception of us in our endeavour to think Him.
So in the earlier stages of spiritual practice, it is no use on the part of any seeker to jump over his own skin and try to be infinite if the Infinite becomes only a conceptual object, an abstraction to the conceiving mind. Yet, we may maintain it as a kind of theoretical possibility. One day or the other, this finitude of ours may melt down and the Infinite may take possession of us. It is a blessedness we may await. But in the earlier stages, God-consciousness will take the form of a blessed, benevolent father, mother, friend, guide, philosopher – whatever you call it. This is the answer Bhagavan Sri Krishna gives to Arjuna's question: Which is the better way for a spiritual seeker – the pursuit of the impersonal Absolute, or devotion to a personal God?
The answer is that both are equally good, under different circumstances and conditions. But the body-consciousness of an individual will not permit an immediate communion of itself with the infinite Absolute, so love of God is what is available to us as a redeeming factor. Meditation should be carried on in this way, on the Supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe. What kind of meditation? How are we to adjust our mind to the thought of God?
As I mentioned, these ways are called Yoga. We have four Yogas mainly, as you must have heard – Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Karma Yoga. Four verses, commencing with the verse mayy eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya, nivasiṣyasi mayy eva ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ (Gita 12.8), briefly adumbrate the nature of the practice of the four Yogas: Concentrate yourself on Me only, to the exclusion of everything else. Let your mind be devoted to Me and the intellect dedicated to Me, and you shall reside and abide in Me. The abiding of oneself in God is the crucial point in Jnana Yoga.
When we tried to understand the meaning of jnanin on an earlier occasion, we observed that a jnanin expects nothing from God because he wants God only. To want God is to abolish oneself as a person because of the infinite inclusiveness of God. So the abiding of oneself in God implies, would suggest, a total surrender of oneself to the extent of annihilation of personality itself; otherwise, abiding in God would be difficult. You would be abiding in God as a separate entity there, and the infinitude of God would not permit that situation. So this verse is a suggestion for Jnana Yoga: seeing everything everywhere.
Taccintanaṃ tatkathanam anyonyaṃ tatprabhodhanam, etad ekaparatvaṃ ca brahmābhyāsaṃ vidur budhāḥ (Panchadasi 7.106). Brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma havir brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam, brahmaiva tena gantavyaṁ brahmakarmasamādhinā (Gita 4.24). These verses tell us that our occupation in daily life should also get melted down into the very process of meditation. Work and meditation do not stand apart in jnana. There is no secular life and spiritual life isolated from each other. In jnana, in wisdom of God, there is no secularity, materiality, externality, personality. All 'ities' vanish. There is only the wisdom of existence, wherein one beholds all things everywhere. If a jnanin talks, he does not talk on any other subject. And when he discourses to people, he will not discourse on anything else. He will try to elevate people to the consciousness of the Infinite Existence of God and depend on the grace of God only. The Gita also tells us tadbuddhayas tadātmānas (Gita 5.17): The mind is sunk in it, the intellect is entirely devoted to it, and the soul is totally inseparable. Depending on that only even for your sustenance, such a thing is jnana, which is hard for anyone to practice because it depends mostly on external factors, under conditions of bodily existence and, to some extent, sensory activity.
If you find that to be difficult, the Lord adds more. Without expecting any word from the disciple, the Teacher, the Master, the Guru apprehends the difficulties that are possible in the case of an ordinary seeker, and without even a question raised, the answer comes as an emendation of the first doctrine of jnana: If this is not possible, go on practicing again and again the same routine every day, whether you succeed or not. A continuous day-to-day maintenance of the consciousness of God's omnipresence as jnana may be difficult, but you may try for it at least. By practice you become perfect. Sit for meditation at a particular time, at any time as is convenient to you, and do not forget to be seated for meditation at this particular time. You may say the mind is not concentrating, it is not coming round. It does not matter; sit nevertheless. Make a decision that, "I have sat here for meditation to rouse in my mind the consciousness of God's existence." And every day if the sitting is done, one day or the other the mind will come round, and you will succeed. Repeated attempts on the part of a person to see that the consciousness of God enters one's mind can be assisted by the study of scriptures, the company of great masters and saints, etc.
Perhaps this is also not possible: "Even that repeated practice is difficult for me; my knees are aching and my back is paining in excruciating agony, and my mind is flitting from one thing to another thing; even my simple practice is difficult, let alone jnana, or the knowledge of God." The Lord says if the second prescription is also not fitting to you, love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. Can you not at least love? Are you so poor that even love is not possible? I am not asking you to concentrate your will or strain your intellect or reason. I am telling you some simple recipe. Be immensely affectionate to God. You can love God and want nothing else. Always wanting God is the highest sadhana, as you will realise one day or the other. If you do not want Him, all your efforts, concentration of will – dhyana, bhakti, karma – nothing will work. As love can emanate from a person spontaneously on account of the preponderance of the emotional faculty in oneself, loving God is considered as easier, especially in this age of distraction and sufferings of various kinds. The directing of one's feelings and emotions to God in utter devotion and surrender is to be considered as the best of Yogas. You need not go to Patanjali's Sutras or Yoga Vasishtha or the Upanishads; they are very difficult things. If you love anyone, the love is reciprocated automatically. Your affection will be felt even by animals and trees. Therefore, if you cannot sit for meditation every day and carry on this practice, at least in your heart be devoted to God.
But that also is not possible. You have an excuse for that also; even love is not possible. What else is possible? "I will do work. I am very busy with all kinds of work, so I have no time to love anybody." If you say that, okay; if you do not want to love even God Himself, do your work. But whatever fruit accrues out of your work, offer it to God. If you get something as a fruit, as a consequence, as a result, a fructification of your deeds, do not enjoy those fruits. The phala tyaga, or the abandonment of the fruits of one's action and the dedication of these fruits as a consecration to God, that also is a Yoga, and God says He can be satisfied with it. Sarva-karma-phala-tyāga (Gita 12.11) is also a great Yoga.
But the mind is such a mischievous imp that it will not permit you to do even that: "Why should I abandon the fruit? It is my tree and, therefore, the fruit also is mine only. How can the tree be mine and the fruit be somebody else's? If I do hard work, I will reap the fruit thereof. And if God takes the fruit, and I work hard, the mind will say that this is no good."
You have to expect something. The expecting of some result as a consequence of your deeds is to create a gulf between the fruit and the action because the action is confined to the present, while the fruit is in the future. The expectation of the fruit of an action is also a miscalculation. The fruit you accrue is not in your hands. Only the action is your prerogative. Work you must, but you cannot expect a particular result to follow from it. While you have the choice and the freedom to act according to the ability of your higher reason, you cannot know at that time what consequence will follow from that action because the result of an action is conditioned and determined by various other factors which are not always under your control.
First of all, the fruit is in the future, not in the present; therefore, your expectation of the future fruit will cause unnecessary distress in your mind: when will it come, when will it come, when will it come? And when it comes, it may not come in the way you expected. So many a time you find that your actions fail, as they do not bring you what you wanted. Sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ (Gita 18.48), says the Bhagavadgita: Every action that one performs is infected with some defect. As no one can be omniscient, no one can know what kind of result will follow from a particular action. Unexpected result follows. Therefore, expecting a result of an action is not wise. Let anything come, and offer it to God. You have done your duty.
Here also a caution has to be exercised that the work that you perform should be a duty, and not merely any kind of humdrum activity. Selfish action cannot be regarded as duty. A duty is an incumbent operation on your part for the welfare of a larger inclusiveness of your personality which comprehends other people also. Service of nation, service of people, service of humanity, does not actually mean service of somebody outside you. Outsideness also brings selfishness, together with it. The people outside, so-called – humanity in general whom you are serving – are not standing outside you as independent individuals. They are included as ingredients in a larger comprehensiveness of a vital selfhood you call the self of humanity. Actually, you are serving the larger self of your own individual self, you may say. In your service to people you have actually expanded the dimension of yourself, and you see yourself in the selves of other people. The otherness of people gets obliterated completely as soon as the Selfhood in them is recognised. You see people as ends, and not as means.
So the duty that you perform is a kind of participation in the welfare of the world as a whole, and not some work that you do for personal gain or profit. If this kind of unselfish action is performed, and your life is devoted to this kind of unselfish work, and the fruit is dedicated to God only, that is also a great Yoga, and God is satisfied with it. How a devotee behaves in this world – how gentle and good, how compassionate, how satisfied, how non-complaining – is described towards the end of the Twelfth Chapter.
It is in the Thirteenth Chapter that we have some philosophical considerations once again brought out which were perfunctorily touched upon in the earlier chapters of the Gita. The cosmological doctrine of the creation of the universe was covered in our earlier considerations – how the world evolved from God – and you know it through the Sankhya doctrine of evolution. Briefly the Thirteenth Chapter also mentions the creation of the five elements, the tanmatras, and the individualities of a person.
Mahābhūtāny ahaṁkāro buddhir avyaktam eva ca, indriyāṇi daśaikaṁ ca pa–ca cendriyagocarāḥ (Gita 13.5), and the next verse, icchā dveṣaḥ sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ saṁghātaś cetanā dhṛtiḥ, etat kṣetraṁ samāsena savikāram udāhṛtam (Gita 13.6) both tell us briefly that the universe is constituted of the five elements, the mind, intellect or reason, Avyakta Prakriti, and the Supreme Being. It was in the Second and Third Chapters that we had occasion to know something about this evolutionary process, during our consideration of the Sankhya doctrine. In the Thirteenth we have, in addition to a brief description of the same cosmological process, the life of an individual that is to be lived as a spiritual seeker by the gradual adjustment of oneself to the realities of life, which is described in verses commencing from amānitvam adambhitvam (Gita 13.7), etc., all which you must read very carefully from a good commentary.
The presence of God as a Supreme Inclusiveness is beautifully narrated in certain verses in the Thirteenth Chapter. What is the Absolute? The vision of it we had in the Eleventh Chapter, in a beautiful literary style. Some verses of the Thirteenth Chapter tell us what Brahman is. J–eyaṁ yat tat pravakṣyāmi yaj j–ātvāmṛtam aśnute, anādimat paraṁ brahma na sat tan nāsad ucyate (Gita 13.12): Having known which, you shall become immortal. I shall tell you what it is. That is the Brahman, the Absolute, which has neither a beginning, nor an end. Sarvataḥ pāṇipādaṁ tat sarvatokṣiśiromukham, sarvataḥ śrutimal loke sarvam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati (Gita 13.13); sarvendriyaguṇābhāsaṁ sarvendriyavivarjitam, asaktaṁ sarvabhṛc caiva nirguṇaṁ guṇabhoktṛ ca (Gita 13.14); bahir antaś ca bhūtānām acaraṁ caram eva ca, sūkṣmatvāt tad avij–eyaṁ dūrasthaṁ cāntike ca tat (Gita 13.15); avibhaktaṁ ca bhūteṣu vibhaktam iva ca sthitam (Gita 13.16).
J–eyaṁ yat tat pravakṣyāmi yaj j–ātvāmṛtam aśnute: The pervadingness of God, the inclusiveness of this Absolute, and the unconditioned existence of what is called Brahman is described in these verses. It is, on the one hand, the light that shines in your own heart. On the other hand, it is the creative principle in the cosmos. It is Atman inside and Brahman outside. It is the Self within everybody and also the Universal Reality outside. And all values in life, all that you consider as good, all that is meaningful in itself, is a manifestation of this Great Principle.
Avibhaktaṁ ca bhūteṣu vibhaktam iva ca sthitam. It appears to be divided into various particularities, while it beholds the apparent particularities or individualities. But it is avibhaktaṁ: it is really undivided. It is undivided because it exists even between the so-called divided objects, the terms of divided relation. When something is different from another thing – one thing is divided from another – the consciousness of this division, the awareness of there being two things, is there at the same time, transcending the two things. There is a relation that transcends the terms of the relation. A is different from B, but the one who is conscious of the difference between A and B is neither A nor B; therefore, there is a transcendent principle present even in the so-called divided object – avibhaktaṁ. The adhideva principle, which is undividedly present everywhere, connects the so-called particulars.
Bhūtabhartṛ ca taj j–eyaṁ grasiṣṇu prabhaviṣṇu ca (Gita 13.16): It absorbs everything into itself as the body, the sense organs, and the mind are held in unison by the Atman consciousness within them. We feel a sense of integratedness of our personality on account of the Selfhood within us; otherwise, we would be dismembered shreds of personality, fractions rather, not individual wholes. The wholeness that we feel in our own self is due to the Atman consciousness pervading all the particulars. So many limbs, so many cells, so many parts constitute this body, but yet we never feel that we are made up of small bricks. We are one continuous, indivisible, compact form. This compactness and indivisibility that we feel in our own selves is due to the pervasion of that indivisible consciousness. It is throughout the body, inside and out. It is within, and contacts every little part of the body, giving a sense of wholeness, but it operates even outside it – not merely within. Its operation outside takes place when we perceive objects outside. When we are aware of something that is there in front of us, the consciousness within pervades in a particular manner through the sensation and the mind, and it is manifesting itself as also that which is beyond us, transcendent to us, outside us.
Jyotiṣām api taj jyotis (Gita 13.17): It is the light behind all lights. It was mentioned in the context of the Visvarupa Darshana: thousands of suns cannot shine before it. All the brightest lights that you can think of are like shadows cast by that light. Yasya chaya amritam yasya mrityuh, says the Rig Veda: Even immortality and death are shadows cast by the Absolute. God is not to be considered even as immortal because the word 'immortal' is coined from the word 'mortal', so it is not a positive description of God. If mortality is not there, there will be no concept of immortality. Death and deathlessness are both shadows. Being unable to express the nature of God positively, the great poets go to such ecstasies of literary beauty, they say even immortality is not a proper description of God. Both death and deathlessness, here and hereafter, earth and heaven, are reflections of the Almighty's archetypal existence.
This is the grand presentation of the structure of the Supreme Absolute in the verses of the Thirteenth Chapter. Some of these beautiful verses in the same chapter also go into the details of how we can meditate by satsanga with saints and sages, by study of scriptures, by chanting of the Divine Name, by japa sadhana, and such things. A few sidelights on the Sankhya doctrine also are shown in the Thirteenth Chapter.
The Thirteenth Chapter is philosophical. Many devotees and interpreters of the Gita think that philosophical description is to be found in the Thirteenth Chapter, the means of devotion to God are to be found in the Eleventh Chapter, the means of meditation are to be found in the Sixth Chapter, and the art of work or performance of duty is to be seen in the Third Chapter. So if you cannot study the whole of the Gita from One to Eighteen, read the Third for gaining knowledge as to how you have to perform your duty, read the Sixth for knowing how to meditate, read the Eleventh to know how you have to love God as an Almighty Person, and read the Thirteenth to know the intricacies of the philosophical aspects of the Bhagavadgita.
The chapters of the Gita that follow from the Fourteenth onwards give us some additional insight into the themes touched upon in some of the earlier chapters, especially the Second and the Third. There are the gunas of Prakriti. You know what are these gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. These gunas of Prakriti were considered as the substance of Prakriti, the very thing out of which Prakriti is made. Now, when we think of substance or thing, we are likely to imagine some solid thing in front of us. The gunas of Prakriti, or Prakriti itself, are not substances in the sense of tangible things. They are forces, not solid objects. These gunas are actually energy contents. It is something like electric energy. You cannot call it an object. It can solidify itself into some objectified form under given conditions, but by itself it is a force, an energy, a motion. The gunas of Prakriti – sattva, rajas and tamas – are actually motion, energy continuum, forces operating not in the world but constituting the world itself. The gunas of Prakriti do not act as something outside the world; they are the very stuff of the world. Today we are told that electric energy is the sum and substance of all things. Even space and time can be bundled up into a continuum of space-time complex. Ultimately the world is made up of not substances or things, but energies, forces which devolve on themselves.
These gunas are described in the Fourteenth Chapter, suggesting thereby that they constitute the be-all and end-all of everything. To remove the idea of tangibility and solidity, substantiality, etc., an additional chapter is devoted, which is the Fourteenth, where we come to know that the entire world which looks so hard, so solid and charged with gravitations of every kind is, after all, not so constituted. Appearances are deceptive. Things are not what they seem. The world is not solid. We feel the solidity of a table or a chair when we touch it with our fingers; but we are told today it is due to the electrical impulses created between the molecules constituting our fingers and the molecular content of the object called the table or chair. There is a repulsive activity taking place, a colliding of atomic principles, the molecular forces that form the object into a shape of wood or steel or any object on the one hand, and on the other hand they operate through the sensations of our fingers, etc. Actually, what we touch is not an object, and that which touches cannot be regarded as a finger; it is a sensation. If the sensation is not from the finger, the touch will not be there. If we cannot have the sensation of seeing or touching or hearing or smelling or tasting, there will be no world before us. Therefore, the world is sensory, sensational, which means to say, it is non-solid. It is liquid, as it were, a non-substance, and it fades into airy nothing.
God actually created the world out of nothing, because there was no material substance before God. Either we should say God created the world out of Himself, or we should say that He created it out of nothing. To say that God created the world out of Himself is to say the world does not exist except God; and to say that God created it out of nothing is again to say God only is, and nothing else exists. Prakriti, the gunas and the Sankhya doctrine, and the adumbration of all these properties that we are discussing, finally lands us in a negation of all particularity, externality, and the very world-consciousness itself.
In the Fifteenth Chapter we are taken to a height of a different type altogether where the cosmological theory is brought before our eyes once again in a new fashion. Ūrdhvamūlam adhaḥśākham (Gita 15.1): This universe can be compared to a tree with its roots up and its branches down. Usually the roots of trees are below and the branches shoot forth above in the sky, but here is a cosmic tree which is of a different nature. All this world seen with our eyes, the entire presentation of phenomena, should be regarded as the branches, the twigs, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits of this mighty tree of creation, of which the roots are above in the Absolute Creative Will. Ūrdhvamūlam: the root is above; adhaḥśākham: the branches are below.
Aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam: The tree is compared to an aśvattha, a holy tree, the sacred peepal tree. Aśvattha also means 'that which will not last until tomorrow'. Transitory is this world. It will not last until tomorrow, not even until the next moment, because every new moment is the creation of a new form and a shape of the structural pattern of creation. So the world is transient, momentary, a fluxation, and it is not a solidity. That is why it is called aśvattha – na śvaha tha. Aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam.
Chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni yas taṁ veda sa vedavit: All the Vedic knowledge, all knowledge whatsoever of any kind, should be regarded as the leaves of this mighty tree. The knowledge of the world is also a manifestation of this tree. Sankaracharya, especially in his commentary on this description of the inverted tree in the Katha Upanishad, goes into great details of beautiful enunciation of the problems we feel in our life and the manner in which we are connected to the Ultimate Being.
The root sustains the whole tree; therefore, if you manure and water the root, you will be feeding virtually the whole tree. If you want to see that the leaves are green and luscious, and there is flowering and that the tree yields fruit, you water the tree and put manure. But you will not manure and water the leaves, though they are actually what are in your mind. Although you are not interested in the root of the tree as much as the fruit and the leaves, still when you tend the tree, you tend the root because the leaves and branches are automatically nourished spontaneously by the nourishing of the root.
Mūlaḿ hi viṣṇur devānāḿ, yatra dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ (Bhagavatam 10.4.39): The Supreme Being is the root of all things. If you serve God, you serve entire humanity. On the other hand, if you serve all the leaves and allow the root to dry up, you have virtually done no service. So you may do any kind of service to your brethren and your family members, and even to the whole world of people, but you have done nothing at all if the root is forgotten. If the root withers and dries up and your love is not there, if your concentration is diverted from the root's welfare and goes to the leaves and the branches, then your service is nil. You have to learn the art of moving from the leaves, the twigs and the branches to the root, through the stem.
That Great Being is to be sought after, says the Fifteenth Chapter, by withdrawal of sense organs and humility of practice. The process is gradual ascent. We are down below in the form of these manifested shapes of the tree as leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, twigs, etc. We have to go gradually through these processes to the trunk, and then touch the root. Having gone there, we see the whole tree present in an incipient form.
You will find the entire universe in God. In the root, in the seed, you will find the whole banyan tree. The little seed of the banyan, so minute in its contents, that tremendously insignificant little particle of seed, contains within itself this tremendous expanse of the banyan which can give so much shade. So is this invisible Reality looking like an abstraction and no substance at all, a non-entity for us. God is a non-entity because He cannot be seen with the eyes. He cannot be contacted because He is non-objective. Such a non-objective, so-called abstraction of intellect is the very reality of all things. As this solid, mighty banyan is in this insignificant, invisible seed, the so-called invisibility of God will become the substantial visibility when you see the cosmos present in everything. When baby Krishna yawned, the entire ocean, the entire sky and time were seen inside his mouth.
So this mighty tree is only an allegorical description of the creative process which was otherwise described in earlier chapters. This world is one aspect of the manifestation of this tree which is there before us as an object, and ourselves as subjects of perception also stand there as another aspect. And a third aspect is Purushottama. Dvāv imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cākṣara eva ca, kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭasthokṣara ucyate (Gita 15.16); uttamaḥ puruṣas tv anyaḥ paramātmety udāhṛtaḥ, yo lokatrayam āviśya bibharty avyaya īśvaraḥ (Gita 15.17). Kshara and akshara are the perishable and imperishable aspects of creation. The perishable aspect is the adhibhuta, the imperishable aspect is the soul in the adhyatma or individual. Transcending both is the Purushottama, the Supreme Person. Reaching and having known Him, you will remain perfectly blessed, says the Fifteenth Chapter.