Upanishads, the – Commentary by Mircea Eliade
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Patterns in Comparative Religion – Mircea Eliade
Indian tradition, according to its earliest writings represents the cosmos in the form of a giant tree. This idea is defined fairly formally in the Upanishads; the Universe is an inverted tree, burying its roots in the sky and spreading its branches over the whole earth.... The Katha Upanisad describes it like this:
'This eternal Asvattha, whose roots rise on high, and whose branches grow low, is the pure sukram, is the Brahman, is what we call the Non Death. All the worlds rest in it'.
The asvattha tree here represents the clearest possible manifestation of Brahman in the Cosmos, represents, in other words, creation as a descending movement. Other texts from the Upanisads restate more clearly this notion of the cosmos as a tree.
'Its branches are the ether, the air, fire, water, earth' …. the natural elements are the expression of this 'Brahman whose name is Asvattha'