Our Root – In Gita Verse 13.1-2 Arjuna said: O my dear Kṛṣṇa, I wish to know about prakṛti [nature], puruṣa [the enjoyer], and the field and the knower of the field, and of knowledge and the object of knowledge. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: This body, O son of Kuntī, is called the field, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the field.

Arjuna asks what is the relationship between body, soul, existence and a knower of one’s own inner space. To which Krishna answers – The body is the first step for a seeker – but no attention or thought has been given to it. Not only at certain times, but for thousands of years, the body has been neglected. The neglect is of two kinds. 

Firstly, there are the indulgent people who have neglected the body. They have no experience of life other than eating, drinking and wearing clothes. They have neglected the body, misused it, foolishly wasted it – they have ruined their instrument, their veena.

If a musical instrument – for example, a veena – is ruined, music cannot arise out of it. Music is an altogether different thing from the veena – music is one thing, the veena is another, but without the veena music cannot arise. Those people who have misused the body through indulgence are one type and the other type of people are those who have neglected the body through yoga and renunciation. They have tortured the body, they have suppressed it and they have been hostile towards it. And neither the people who have indulged the body nor the ascetics who have tortured the body have understood its importance.

So there have been two kinds of neglect and torture of the veena of the body: one by the indulgers and another by the ascetics. Both have done harm to the body. In the West, the body has been harmed in one way and in the East, in another way, but we all are equal participants in harming it. The people going to the whorehouses or to the pubs harm the body in one way, and the people standing naked in the sun or rushing into the forests harm the body in another way.

Only through the veena of the body can the music of life arise. The music of life is an altogether different thing from the body – it is totally different, something else – but only through the veena of the body is there a possibility of attaining it. No proper attention has yet been given to this fact. The first step is the body and the proper attention of the meditator towards the body.

A few things need to be understood.

The first thing: the soul has a connection with the body at some centers – our life energy comes from these connections. The soul is closely related to these centers; from them our life energy flows into the body. The seeker who is not aware of these centers will never be able to attain the soul. If I ask you which is the most important center, which is the most important place in your body, you will probably point to your head.

Man’s very wrong education has made the head the most important part of the human body. The head or brain is not the most important center of life-energy in man. It is like going to a plant and asking it what its most important and vital part is. Because the flowers can be seen at the top of the plant, the plant and everybody else will say that the flowers are the most important part. So although the flowers seem to be the most important they are not, the most important part are the roots, which are not visible.The brain is the flower on the plant of man, it is not the root. Roots come first; flowers come last. If the roots are ignored the flowers will wither away because they have no separate life of their own. If the roots are taken care of, the flowers get taken care of automatically; no special effort is needed to care for them. But looking at a plant it seems that the flowers are the most important part and in the same way it seems that, in man, the brain is most important. The brain is the final development in man’s body; it is not the root.

Mao Zedong has written a memoir of his childhood. He wrote, “When I was small, there was a very beautiful garden near my mother’s hut. The garden was so beautiful, it had such beautiful flowers, that people from distant places used to come to see them. Then my mother became old and fell sick. She was neither worried about her sickness nor about her old age. Her only worry was about what would happen to her garden.” Mao was young. He said to his mother, “Don’t be worried, I will take care of your garden.”

And Mao took care of the garden, working from the morning till the evening.

After one month his mother got better, and as soon as she could walk a little she came into the garden. Seeing the condition of the garden she was shocked! The garden was ruined! All the plants had dried up. All the flowers had withered and fallen away. She became very much disturbed and said to Mao, “You idiot! You were in the garden the whole day. What did you do here? All these flowers are destroyed. The garden has withered away. All the plants are about to die. What were you doing?”

Mao started crying. He himself was troubled. Every day he used to work all day, but for some reason the garden went on drying out. He started crying and he said, “I took great care. I used to kiss each flower and love it. I used to clean and wipe off the dust from each and every leaf, but I don’t know what happened. I was worried also, but the flowers were withering away, the leaves were drying out and the garden was dying!” His mother started laughing. She said, “You are an idiot! You don’t know yet that the life of the flowers is not in the flowers and the life of the leaves is not in the leaves!”

The life of a plant is in a place that is not at all apparent to anyone. It is in the roots which are hidden beneath the ground. If one does not take care of those roots, the flowers and the leaves cannot be taken care of; howsoever much they may be kissed, howsoever much they may be loved, howsoever much the dust on them may be cleaned, the plant will wither away. But if one does not bother about the flowers at all and takes care of the roots, the flowers will take care of themselves. The flowers come out of the roots, not the other way round.

If we ask somebody which is the most important part in a human body then unknowingly his hand will point towards the head and he will say that the head is the most important. Or, if it is a woman, then maybe she will point towards her heart and say that the heart is the most important.

Neither the head nor the heart is the most important. Men have emphasized their heads and women have emphasized their hearts. But by emphasizing these two parts the society so formed is continuously being ruined every day, because neither of these parts are the most important part in a human body. Both are very late developments. Man’s roots are not in them.

What does Krishna mean by the roots of man? Just as the plants have roots in the earth from which they draw their life-energy and life juices and live, similarly, in the human body, there are roots at some point which draw life-energy from the soul. Because of this the body remains alive. The day those roots become feeble, the body begins to die.

The roots of plants are in the earth; the roots of the human body are in the soul. But neither the head nor the heart is the place from where man is connected to his life-energy – and if we don’t know anything about those roots then we can never enter the world of a meditator.

Then where are the roots of man? Perhaps you are not aware of the place. If even simple and common things are not given any attention for thousands of years, they are forgotten. A child is born in the womb of a mother and grows there. Through which part is the child connected to its mother?

Through the head or through the heart? No, it is connected through the navel. The life-energy is available to it through the navel – the heart and the brain develop later on. The life-energy of the mother becomes available to the child through the navel. The child is connected to his mother’s body through his navel. From there the roots spread out into the mother’s body and also, in the opposite direction, into his own body as well.

The most important point in the human body is the navel. After that the heart develops and after that the brain. These are all branches which develop later. It is on them that the flowers blossom.

Krishna says – The journey of a meditator is downwards – towards the roots. One has to descend from the brain to the heart, and from the heart to the navel. Only from the navel can anybody enter into the soul; before that, one can never enter it.

Normally the movement of our life is from the navel towards the brain. The movement of a seeker is exactly opposite. He has to descend from the brain to the navel.


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