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Why Is The Fifteenth Chapter Of Bhagavad Gita Known As Purushottama Yoga?

The fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is known as "Purushottama Yoga" for several reasons rooted in its content and significance. "Purushottama" is a Sanskrit term that means "the Supreme Person" or "the Supreme Purusha," and "Yoga" means union or path. Thus, "Purushottama Yoga" can be translated as "The Yoga of the Supreme Person."

Here are the key reasons why this chapter holds this title:

Identification of the Supreme Purusha: In this chapter, Lord Krishna explains the concept of the Supreme Purusha or the highest being. He describes three types of beings: the perishable (kshara), the imperishable (akshara), and the supreme being (Purushottama). The supreme being, or Purushottama, transcends both the perishable and the imperishable, representing the ultimate reality and the source of all existence.

The Metaphor of the Ashvattha Tree: Krishna uses the metaphor of the Ashvattha (banyan) tree with roots above and branches below to describe the material world and its entanglements. The tree symbolizes the impermanent, material reality, and understanding its true nature helps one to seek the eternal truth beyond it, leading towards the realization of Purushottama.

Path to Liberation: This chapter emphasizes that understanding and worshiping the Purushottama leads to liberation (moksha). By recognizing the supreme nature of Purushottama, devotees can transcend the cycle of birth and death, achieving eternal union with the supreme.

Focus on Devotion and Knowledge: Purushottama Yoga combines elements of devotion (bhakti) and knowledge (jnana) as the means to realize the Supreme Person. Krishna declares that He is the ultimate goal of all paths and the essence of the Vedas, reinforcing the idea that true knowledge and devotion lead to the realization of the Supreme Purusha.

Krishna's Self-Identification: In this chapter, Krishna explicitly identifies Himself as the Purushottama. By doing so, He reveals His supreme position and the importance of recognizing and worshipping Him as the ultimate divine reality.

In summary, the fifteenth chapter is called "Purushottama Yoga" because it elaborates on the nature, identity, and importance of the Supreme Purusha, offering a path to realize and unite with this ultimate reality. It encapsulates the essence of spiritual wisdom and the means to achieve liberation through the understanding and devotion to Purushottama, the Supreme Person.