Vedānta – the tree and the mother

The tree of Vedānta is magical. The gods covet her but she grows in the soil of human heart. She has a thousand branches which bear a thousand fruits. Each of her fruits is full of wonder and has its special taste.

These fruits are for all to relish. But, a simple mind is so captivated by one of her fruits that he cherishes that one to the exclusion of everything else. He argues that there is only one real fruit and everything else is rotten.

It is clear to the sage that every fruit carries within itself the essence of the tree. A tree that bears only one true fruit is a sick tree. A tree that bears fruit only at one instance of its existence is as good as dead.

The tree of Vedānta is enduring and timeless. She bears her fruits again and again, for different times, each carrying within itself her essence.

And what is this, her essence?

Her roots are the Brahman and her soil is the human heart. Water the soil with love, and she grows forth.

In her essence, she proclaims the bold truth that everything is divine. When one listens in silence, she speaks through the rustling of her leaves. It is a distinct voice that says, brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati. Knowing the Brahman, one becomes Brahman. 

She urges us to leave this petty narrowness, this illusion of being separate, the illusion of arriving in to this world for some purpose for ourselves.

She looks at us with amazement and asks curiously, Where did you come from? We scratch our heads and find no answer. Nowhere we could have come from that is not Brahman.

We tell her that we are petty individuals who need to fight one another to succeed. She disagrees sadly and asks, What is all this around you? How are you alone and separate? You grow with food, you breathe the air, you let the cool water kiss your throat and let the fire caress you with warmth. In her voice, you can sense pity.  She pulls us like a mother would towards her chest and seats us on her lap. Taking her face very close to ours, she makes us see her point of view.

We protest and cry. How could I be divine? Only the Brahman is divine, while I am a petty fellow. It would be a crime to think otherwise.

She has an answer.  Dear child! Quite the opposite. It would be foolish to think that you are anything other than the Brahman. The idea of a lonely you, bound inside four walls is a tragic myth. You feel separate only because you are separately conscious. But, you are born from the Brahman, you sleep in the Brahman, you play in the Brahman. How could you be anything other than the Brahman? Anything other than profoundly divine? It is true that you are a small manifestation of the Brahman’s endless energies. Yet, the rays of the sun are not other than the sun. They are the expression of the sun’s being and so are you. It is through you that the Brahman announces Itself.   

We drink her milk of knowledge and the recognition of our folly is immediate. We drench her lap with endless tears. What folly of mind to think we are different from our Lord! What folly of mind to think of ourselves as independent agents, fighting and crying for our petty toys!

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