A Lesson from Trees
Inside each person is a treasure trove of love, a storehouse of devotion for the Lord, lying there, brimful. There’s not just a drop or two, there are oceans, full to the brim.
Discourses on Sant Mat, Vol. II
These beautiful words came from a discourse given by Maharaj Jagat Singh. Stuck in this world of travail, misery and all manner of evils that seem to get worse as time goes by, this wondrous state described by the Master seems like a fantasy. Yet he says that this devotion is inside each person – not one or two, not some, but every person.
The Masters stress that we should relax and be happy. What’s more, they themselves provide the perfect example of happiness, light-heartedness, good humour and all the qualities of joy and love.
We all know that on this path meditation is the key, and although it seems so difficult and dreary and long, we have to buckle down and just do it. Yet, is it really so difficult, or is that the way one’s mind chooses to see it?
The Masters have always stressed the need for a positive attitude, accepting whatever comes our way – both the good and the bad – as being his will. What is happening has already happened, so the saints tell us. Our destinies are mapped out step by step, breath by breath, from birth until death. Our soul has been going through this cycle, in all the myriad forms of life, for a very long time. Now, as initiates on this path, we have been given the key to escape this prison.
But, as we satsangis and seekers are only a handful, let us consider the apparent plight of the vast majority of souls who continue to revolve in the creation. In Discourses of Sant Mat the Great Master describes the process of reincarnation and remarks: “The heaviest punishment on the earth plane is descent of the soul into a tree.”
Now this is an interesting point: The very worst punishment is to become a tree! And yet surely a tree is one of creation’s greatest masterpieces. From our human-consciousness point of view, to be a tree would certainly seem a terrible punishment. Yet one may ask, is a tree unhappy?
Eckhart Tolle, in his book The New Earth, says of a sapling:
The sapling doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And … it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life.
Interestingly, in A Treasury of Mystic Terms, it is noted that the fire element or tattva is dormant in all plants so they have no mental concept of ‘getting about.’ Neither do they express the weaknesses of frustration and anger associated with the fire element. Does this fact not make it understandable why the Masters insist on a vegetarian diet – the eating of which incurs the least karma and can be paid off through meditation?
Generally trees and most plants – despite their always being excep-tions to the rules in this complex creation – grow straight and towards the light. At the time of initiation, one of the instructions we are given on meditation posture is to sit still, with the spine as erect as possible. And to think that there are trees that are thousands of years old – which is of course why it’s a heavy karma to take the form of a tree. But how’s that for patience?
According to the scale of elements, trees and plants are considered one of the lower forms of life, but we would not be able to survive without them. Think of the service they perform in providing us not only with our food, but also the healing medicine they give us. What would we do without the oxygen trees supply, and the shade they provide?
Maharaj Charan Singh made the planting of trees at the Dera a priority. He said: “Trees are the breathing lungs of man. They look wonderful and are beautiful and give protection to birds.” And what about wood – its sheer beauty and myriad uses?
Hazur Maharaj Ji’s hobby of photography was well known to us all. When his mother asked him why he took so many pictures of flowers, he told her, “They don’t ask anything of me – and they always smile.”
We can draw inspiration for our spiritual lives from many living creatures in the creation and from the magnificent trees around us, if we care to look for it. Many express the qualities that we, as seekers of spiritual perfection, strive to achieve through our meditation. And are we not all the expression of his love?
Sant Charandas explains that the divine melody is the source of love, devotion, knowledge and salvation. It is a never-ending stream of energy which flows from the fathomless Lord. It creates and sustains the whole universe and simultaneously flows from the Lord to the creation and back.
In fact, all the saints speak of this dance of love in every particle of the creation. Sooner or later we will, through our meditation and Master’s grace, realize and become one with this treasure trove of love.
Just as the perfume of flowers spreads fragrance all around, the company of Saints or enlightened persons exalts the people around them.
The Dawn of Light