Nitāi: Translation = "The Blessed Lord said = There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches downward, whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas."
Purport = "After the discussion of the importance of bhakti-yoga, one may question, 'What about the Vedas?' It is explained in this chapter that the purpose of Vedic study is to understand Kṛṣṇa. Therefore one who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, who is engaged in devotional service, already knows the Vedas.
"The entanglement of this material world is compared here to a banyan tree. For one who is engaged in fruitive activities, there is no end to the banyan tree. He wanders from one branch to another, to another, to another. The tree of this material world has no end. For one who is attached to this tree, there is no possibility of liberation. The Vedic hymns, meant for elevating oneself, are called the leaves of this tree. This tree's roots grow upward because they begin from where Brahmā is located, the topmost planet of this universe. If one can understand this indestructible tree of illusion, then one can get out of it.
"This process of extrication should be understood. In the previous chapters it has been explained that there are many processes by which to get out of the material entanglement. And, up to the Thirteenth Chapter, we have seen that devotional service to the Supreme Lord is the best way. Now, the basic principle of devotional service is detachment from material activities and attachment to the transcendental service of the Lord. The process of breaking attachment to the material world is discussed in the beginning of this chapter. The root of this material existence grows upward. This means that it begins from the total material substance, from the topmost planet of the universe. From there, the whole universe is expanded, with so many branches, representing the various planetary systems. The fruits represent the results of the living entities' activities, namely, religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation.
"Now, there is no ready experience in this world of a tree situated with its branches down and its roots up, but there is such a thing. That tree can be found beside a reservoir of water. We can see that the trees on the bank reflect upon the water with their branches down and their roots up. In other words, the tree of this material world is only a reflection of the real tree of the spiritual world. This reflection of the spiritual world is situated on desire, just as the tree's reflection is situated on water. Desire is the cause of things' being situated in this reflected material light. One who wants to get out of this material existence must know this tree thoroughly through analytical study. Then he can cut off his relationship with it.
"This tree, being the reflection of the real tree, is an exact replica. Everything is there in the spiritual world. The impersonalists take Brahmā to be the root of this material tree, and from the root, according to Sāṅkhya philosophy, come prakṛti, puruṣa, and then the three guṇas, then the five gross elements [pañca-mahābhūta], then the ten senses [daśendriya], mind, etc. In this way they divide up the whole material world. If Brahmā is the center of all manifestations, then this material world is a manifestation of the center by 180 degrees, and the other 180 degrees constitute the spiritual world. The material world is the perverted reflection, so the spiritual world must have the same variegatedness, but in reality. Prakṛti is the external energy of the Supreme Lord, and the puruṣa is the Supreme Lord Himself, and that is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Since this manifestation is material, it is temporary. A reflection is temporary, for it is sometimes seen and sometimes not seen. But the origin from whence the reflection is reflected is eternal. The eternal reflection of the real tree... The material reflection of the real tree has to be cut off. When it is said that a person knows the Vedas, it is assumed that he knows how to cut off attachment to this material world. If one knows that process, he actually knows the Vedas. One who is attracted by the ritualistic formulas of the Vedas is attracted by the beautiful green leaves of the tree. He does not exactly know the purpose of the Vedas. The purpose of the Vedas, as disclosed by the Personality of Godhead Himself, is to cut down this reflected tree and attain the real tree of the spiritual world." [pause]
Nitāi: Next verse?
Prabhupāda: Now explain.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So this material world is a perverted reflection of the transcendental spiritual world. Everything that we find here can somehow..., we can trace its origins to the spiritual world. Just like we have...
Prabhupāda: Therefore it is said, ūrdhva-mūlam. Mūlam means root. Just like from the root the tree grows and becomes expanded. So now this experience, the mūla is upside and the tree is expanding in this way... Ūrdhva-mūlam. Adhah-śākham [Bg. 15.1]. The branches are down. Here we have got experience, all these trees, the root is down and the branches are spread up. But here the experience is... That means this material is created not from this matter. From spiritual world. Go on.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So just as in the material world there are personal relationships, just like everyone is trying to make friends, has family, so many... [break]
Prabhupāda: ...here, ūrdhva-mūlam. Just like if you have to keep yourself the legs are up and the head down, somebody keeps you like this, how long you will feel comfortable? If you..., somebody takes your legs and catches you and your head down, then it is not very comfortable. So this whole material world is like that, ūrdhva-mūlam. The mūlam should have been down, but it is up. Therefore it is discomfortable. And another explanation is the..., it is perverted reflection. We have got experience of the ūrdhva-mūlam. I think I have explained that, that a tree... On the bank of a river or the bank of a pond, the tree is standing, but the reflection, we find that the same tree has become ūrdhva-mūlam and adhah-śākham. So by this statement, Kṛṣṇa says that this is not real. That reflection in the water, of the tree, is not real. Real tree is up. Similarly, real enjoyment, real varieties---everything is in the spiritual world. It is simply reflection. It is not fact. Therefore our enjoyment here is called māyā, or illusion. So in later ślokas Kṛṣṇa has described how to get out of this māyic reflection and go to the real tree. That has been described later on. Go on.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So in this material world everything is actually a perverted reflection... [break]
Prabhupāda: Even..., what is that? Macmillan Company. Their trades manager, statistics, they have said that our Bhagavad-gītā sale is increasing, other Bhagavad-gītā decreasing. In America also, they are seriously studying how this movement is being spread so quickly. People ask me also how it is wonderfully increasing. Because there is no adulteration, that's all. [speaks to someone in Hindi] [break] ...before the public. And that's a fact. If you don't accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, you will never be happy. This is fact. Everything is there---social, political, economical, philosophical, religious---all perfect knowledge. So what is to be done next?
Prabhupāda: Prasādam? [end]