The Cosmic Purusha, the Tree and the Leaf.

By Yogi Baba Prem


The Vedas reminds each of us that nature can teach us about deep spiritual concepts. It is simply a matter of investing the necessary amount of time into study and meditation.   An example of nature teaching each of us deeper spiritual concepts would be the Purusha, the tree and the leaf.

Before we begin, let’s gain a little clarity on terms and some background information. The Purusha, in this case, would be referring to our absolute consciousness.  References to Purusha can be found in the Rig Veda and most notably the famed Purusha Suktam. The Purusha Suktam is important as it mentions four varnas (groups of people.) References to varna are commonly twisted in an attempt to suggest it means caste, though those knowledgeable about the Vedas understand the varnas are not castes.  One message from the Purusha Suktam is that each person plays not only a role but an important role in society.  This is where I see the important analogy of the tree. 

Within yoga, Hinduism and Dharma there are important references to trees with images such as the Peepal tree suggested as being represented in some seals from the Indus valley and the Sarasvati River Civilization; there are other trees such as the famed Bodhi tree that is commonly referenced in dharmic traditions. Even the term ‘tree hugger’ is birthed in India, when Hindu women banded around trees to save them from being harvested.  


The Vedas teaches us to look to nature as the densest manifestation of the Devas, for example, Vayu is the wind, Agni is fire, Surya the sun, etc.  The tree is akin to and a reminder of the cosmic Purusha, as well as an example of the important message in the Purusha Suktam—each varna is central to and a part of the whole.   The tree is not just a reminder of the Purusha; it is an important reminder to each of us that as individualized consciousness, we are part of a greater whole—Purusha.  The Sun (Surya) is the inner sun and nourishes our being and manifestation of consciousness in physical form.  The outer sun reminds each of us of this message daily.  The leaves of the tree are important, the bark, the limbs, trunk, and roots are all important parts of the tree. The roots of the tree are symbolic of being rooted in our deeper spiritual connection and deeper levels of consciousness.  The leaves of the tree indicate the various individual members of society, incarnated into the physical world, each an individual expression, yet connected to the whole.  Each leaf dies eventually, and in time, a new leaf is born, yet, the tree continues to exist just as the Purusha does. Through the process of spiritual pursuit, one comes to realize they are not the leaf; they are the limb.  Eventually one realizes they are the trunk and finally the realization that they are one with the whole tree (Purusha.) We call this self-realization.


In this example, we see that nature can easily teach us about lofty spiritual concepts. Meditation upon a tree can teach us that each of us is an important part of the whole.  Coming into form (the leaf) seasonally, and leaving the physical expression eventually, yet our true essence remains (the tree/Purusha,) as the tree does not cease to exist due to the absence of the leaf. Through this meditative process, one can awaken to a deeper awareness. An awakening that we are eternal consciousness coming into temporary expression in the physical world and disappearing from matter, just as the leaf.  This journey begins with simply considering the leaf, the tree and the Purusha.

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Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 


  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.