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The Upanishads, Part 1 (SBE01), by Max Müller, [1879], at


1. 'If some one were to strike at the root of this large tree here, it would bleed, but live. If he were to strike at its stem, it would bleed, but live. If he were to strike at its top, it would bleed, but live.

p. 103

[paragraph continues] Pervaded by the living Self that tree stands firm, drinking in its nourishment and rejoicing;

2. 'But if the life (the living Self) leaves one of its branches, that branch withers; if it leaves a second, that branch withers; if it leaves a third, that branch withers. If it leaves the whole tree, the whole tree withers 1. In exactly the same manner, my son, know this.' Thus he spoke:

3. 'This (body) indeed withers and dies when the living Self has left it; the living Self dies not.

'That which is that subtile essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self, and thou, Svetaketu, art it.'

'Please, Sir, inform me still more,' said the son.

'Be it so, my child,' the father replied.


102:2 The next question is: Waves, foam, and bubbles arise from the water, and. when they merge again in the water, they are gone, How is it that living beings, when in sleep or death they are merged again in the Sat, are not destroyed?

103:1 The commentator remarks that according to the Veda, trees are conscious, while Buddhists and followers of Kanâda hold them to be unconscious. They live, because one sees how their sap runs and how it dries up, just as one sees the sap in a living body, which, as we saw, was produced by food and water. Therefore the simile holds good. The life, or, more correctly, the liver, the living Self, pervades the tree, as it pervades man, when it has entered the organism which produces breath, mind, and speech. If any accident happens to a branch, the living Self draws himself away from that branch, and then the branch withers. The sap which caused the living Self to remain, goes, and the living Self goes away with it. The same applies to the whole tree. The tree dies when the living Self leaves it, but the living Self does not die; it only leaves an abode which it had before occupied. Some other illustrations, to show that the living Self remains, are added by the commentator: First, with regard to the living Self being the same when it awakes from deep sleep (sushupti), he remarks that we remember quite well that we have left something unfinished before we fell asleep. And then with regard to the living Self being the same when it awakes from death to a new life, he shows that creatures, as soon as they are born take the breast, and exhibit terror, which can only be explained, as he supposes, by their possessing a recollection of a former state of existence.

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