Friday, September 17, 2010

Ashvatha- Eternal Tree of Life

Daniel B. Holem
As Above So Below
The Tree of Life is found as symbol in many of the creation myths and mystical tradition of our World cultures, including Biblical Garden of Eden parable, the ancient Assyrians, Native Americans, many indigenous cultures, Kabbalistic mystery, schools, Nordic & Celtic, mythologies to name a few. Here are my studies and finding that has inspire & continuously change my experiences toward the central understanding universal teaching of human interconnectedness in life.

Rig Veda
 "(=Atharva-Veda 9.9-10): This hymn, consisting of fifty-two verses, is a collection of profound riddles. The sixth verse, for instance, asks about the nature of the one that is unborn and is yet the cause of the manifest universe. Verses 20-22 speaks of the two birds that occupy the same tree. The one is said to eat of its fruit, while the other merely looks on.The tree can be read as a symbol of the World. The unenlightened being devours the tree's fruit, impelled by egoic and primal desires. The enlightened being, or the sage, however, abstains and merely looks on dispassionately. The tree could be could be seen as a symbol of the tree of knowledge, of whose fruit the sage partake but not the uninitiated. A more strictly Vedantic interpretation is the following: the on looking bird is the uninvolved self beyond the realm of nature; the other is the embodied being enmeshed in condition existence."   Interpretation by Georg Feurstein

Yogo & the Tree of  Life
This tree is an original and ancient symbols embody the ground and field of understanding in the Yogic tradition. The first written reference to this symbol, the tree of life, is found in Rig Veda, a text composed in India over 5000 years ago;

"What is that tree, what kind of wood is it made from, from which the Earth and Heaven are fashion?".

Archeological finding from Mohenjo-Daro show images of the Ashvattha Tree of the Yogis along with images of the Yoga practitioners sitting in meditation poses. These iconographical treasures unearthed in modern day Pakistan date back to more than 1000 years before the oldest parts of the Bible were composed.A reference to this ancient tree is found in the Katha Upanishad, a Vedic scripture dated around 1000BC;

"There is an eternal tree call the Ashvattha, which has its roots above and branches below. Its luminous root is call Brahman, the Supreme Reality, and it alone is beyond death. Everything that exist is rooted in that point. There is nothing else beyond it." 

This points to the Source of All that is also the seed from which the cosmic tree of Yoga springs. In other words, creation springs from the Eternal and Yoga has its roots in the same Ground of Being. This up side down tree is a metaphor illustrating the connection between all of existence with its transcendental origins. We can also follow the tree of Yoga back to its roots.

Written by Shantarasa Shcool of Yoga

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