This is why the sages have said that the tree that you see as having its roots below and its branches above is actually just the reverse: the branches of the tree of life are not above, they are below, and the roots are not below but above. The sages have called this phenomenon “the ageless, eternal pipal tree”. This is only a poetic symbolism, but the meaning of it will not become clear unless it is applied to different aspects of life.
“This manifest world is likened to an eternal pipal tree, if the tree were to have its roots above and its branches below. In the deepest roots of this tree lives the brahman…”
…But it is not visible. We see only the manifestation, the visible, but the reality is invisible. To us the divine is invisible and matter is visible. When someone reverses this phenomenon of life then matter starts receding and the divine starts becoming apparent. The day when matter recedes totally and you see only the divine, understand that you have known the truth.
This is why in that ultimate state of consciousness the enlightened ones have said that this world is maya, illusion. They say this because for them the world is no more there, it has become unreal – just as the unenlightened say that the divine is unreal. But the unconscious people are bound to say this, because the common understanding is that what cannot be seen does not exist. So the ignorant ask, “Where is the divine?” There is no way to show where the divine is because it is not a question of whether or not the divine exists, but of the blindness of the one who is looking. The ignorant man’s way of seeing is such that he can only see matter and he cannot see the divine.
The enlightened one sees only the divine, he does not recognize any reality in the material world. The ignorant say, “This world is the reality and the divine is an illusion.” But the enlightened one says, “The divine is the essential reality and this world is just illusory” – it is reversed. If you understand this process and start experimenting even a little bit with it in your life you will find that you have started changing, you have started becoming new.
How to experiment with this? I have just given you the metaphysical explanation, but this can be practiced in your daily life too.
This is a very valuable sutra. When someone abuses you, you become annoyed – but this is the natural state of any unconscious person. The enlightened ones say that when someone becomes angry with you, compassion has to be your response: the process has to be reversed. When someone is angry then you should forgive, nourish the feeling of forgiveness. Your life will start becoming new. If somebody abuses you and you become angry then your life will remain the same as it was before. Then no transformation is possible because you are not changing the base.