There was once a beautiful tree laden with ripe fruits. It enjoyed its own existence and the aroma of its flowers and fruits. Some ripe fruits fell to the ground. Some passer-by picked up and ate a fruit, throwing the poor seed aside.
The seed till now protected and feeding on the nourishing juice of the parent tree's fruit, felt too insecure, lying all alone without a covering, on bare sand. It looked around helplessly, turning its eyes towards the parent tree for help. The parent tree did not heed much for its asking gazes. It knew that this was the only way to make the seed grow, to find its own way into existence and come alive as a tree.
Dejected by the indifference of its own parent the seed had hardly begun to mourn its fate that a young boy came by. He picked the seed, dug up the soil, made a slightly deep pit, and sowed the seed there. This only added to the woes of the seed. It felt buried alive. Into this deep dungeon, where it couldn't get help from any corner, no light, no air, no water!! This was too much for the poor little seed that was totally unaware of its own potential. It felt almost dead. With darkness all around, it saw no possibility to survive. But somewhere within it, it had strength of trying to live. A spirit of not to give up! Perhaps this was the only blessing it had.
Under layers of soil, it struggled hard to breathe, to get a glimpse of light again. In the process, it pushed and pushed hard. The seed’s coat came off! Now this covering too came off, it did not know whether this was something to feel good about or be sad. It had lost all sense of emotion and direction. But this definitely was a change, and it was feeling lighter, and it was easier to push now. So it was only action and result now, with little place for emotions. The shedding of coat made it easier to push and so it pushed with greater force. It had no knowledge of which direction to apply the force to, but it simply went by instinct, trying all directions. Few days later it became aware of a hair like thing coming out from its lower portions and it could now sip water through them. It had managed to grow its first roots!
Its body had split into two fleshy leaf-like things. Wow this was all amazing! Too many changes, in its own body form, made it marvel at the process of trying to live by pushing hard. The fact that brought most solace to its heart was that it was still alive! And that too away from the world, where no one was around to provide or help, it was still alive! Although its body form had changed; it looked different, but it was happy to be alive. It now directly tasted the soil, about which it had only heard of from its parent tree. Indeed the soil and the water that the soil held, tasted like nectar from heaven, because this was 'hard-earned' food.
The seed knew now what survival really meant. It could now appreciate the lives of its parents and fore-fathers who had given it a rich lineage. It could see now, how much hard work they had to undergo in their own times and yet survive and live gloriously. Slowly feeding on and pushing hard, it grew a plumule which let out some secretions that softened the soil above. One morning it woke up and was dazzled by the light it saw. Yes, this was the Sun! It had finally managed its way above soil!
Delighted by its own discovery, the little seed danced with joy. It smiled at the world and the world seemed to smile back to it. It took a deep breath to fill itself with the fresh air above. The soil too looked beautiful now, than it did when it was deep in it! It could now appreciate the soil as its nourisher, a mother indeed! The Air charmed it with its freedom and the Sun with its light. This was a totally new world!! It spread out its arms as it awoke to this new world. It was now becoming aware of the strength it had, its own potential. The potential to grow!
The seed had seen grown up trees, but had never seen the process of growth. But now it was seeing the process of growth as it was constantly aware and consciously going through it. It had witnessed growth in a unique yet very simple and common manner.
The initial growth was in itself a catalyst to boost and encourage further growth. As it grew further its vision improved and it could see many flowering plants around it. Hit with the desire to decorate itself with beautiful flowers -it grew its roots still deeper, to draw more nourishment, to look healthier and prettier. This phase was marked by tough competition, every tree around seemed to be trying its best to get the best nutrients for its growth, after all each one wanted to look the prettiest. It competed at first, but the more it did to outdo others, the more it lost on itself. It felt that it was showering most of its energies in attending to what others did than on what it should itself be doing. So it gave up on competition, and simply worked on what seemed to be best for itself. In a year's time its form was studded with beautiful flowers, that smelled so sweet that it itself was intoxicated by their aroma. It could see admiration in the eyes of people who passed by it. This brought pride and joy to its heart. It knew it was hard work to make those flowers bloom, but the scent they bore was a gifted bonus!
This success was as if not enough to satiate and the hard work not enough to tire it out. Its ambitions soared once again, when it saw a group of people and some children gather around a neighbouring tree laden with fruits. Human attention was too tempting to be forgone. It was now living on a plane where it felt that besides physical food, there was something more that it needed to survive; perhaps, mental food, or food for its ambitions! It wondered what the neighbouring tree had in special, to attract all those people. "Oh it’s the fruits!" it realized. It was struck by desire again, the desire to bear fruit. By this time it had made good friends with the bees and butterflies who visited it regularly for the sweet nectar of its flowers. It asked their help in pollination so it could bear fruit.
Now, fruits needed lot more nourishment than flowers, so it had to go deeper and deeper into the soil and grow more leaves to make more food, expand and strengthen its branches to support the fruit to be borne. This was a tough exercise; sheer hard work! It spent more hours at work, working till late, sleeping only little bit, slogging hard to make it happen. This was much more hard-work than it took to bear flowers. It wasn't easy to be a parent tree. And it wasn't easy to fulfil dreams either. But all along it was sure it could do it! The zest to make its dream a reality did not make work seem like work. It did not feel tired even though the work was too much! It was beginning to realize that work itself had no properties to tire oneself; it was only the idea of getting tired that made one feel tired.
Finally when the first fruit appeared upon its branch, it was overjoyed! And in its joy it spread out its branches to hug the world. It smiled through its flowers and bore many more fruits. Such is the effect of inner joy, that within a month it was loaded with fruits.
People started gazing at the tree, some appreciating its beauty, some for the fruits, some for its shade others for the wood, and still others simply being happy for the tree to be around. The tree now stood above ground like a proud tall tree, admiring its own-self for the way it had utilized its years of life to make a glorious living. While it was basking in the glory of its accomplishments it looked up at the sky. The sky seemed so near, it had never been so clear, so blue. A Banyan tree nearby congratulated the tree for its achievements and this tree only felt prouder thinking ‘oh even the banyan is congratulating me! Now that's something!’ Little was it aware of what was next to come.
Days passed by, the sun's heat increased at such a high level, as it was closer to the skies, and more so the hot air rose from the ground. The tree felt the heat, but bore it silently as it knew this was the only way the fruits would ripen. No sooner did the fruits ripen, children started pulling its branches, and some of them even climbed them up. It hurt, and it was painful. In the process, some of the branches broke off. The worst part was that the tree could not express its displeasure as trees especially fruit trees were meant to serve people through their fruits. And it had chosen to be a fruit tree. This came as a price for the choice it had made. This choice had proven to be too expensive. Some people even hurled stones at the tree to get its fruits. It had nothing but fruits to offer in return! Being nice was not a choice; it was now a choice less reality!
While it was thinking all this, it saw a young boy eat its fruit and throw the seed on the soil nearby. It once again remembered its past. It remembered how this had happened to it too. How it had looked up at the parent tree for help and this seed too looked up to it. Now it understood what the indifference of the parent tree meant.
In those few hours it lived the whole of its life again, down the memory lane. All of life seemed a mere play of desire, hopping from one desire to another, then another, till you end up yielding the seeds of your own desires! The whole life cycle, a big circle seemed a big Zero.
Then pulling itself up, it thought to have another look at the entire process of growing up and found that as a seed it had taken the soil on an upward journey through space. Creating the tree-trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and finally regained its form within the fruit! It had been a journey of immense creativity; in the process losing itself and then resurrecting itself in the final produce. This was amazing! As a seed it had contained within itself the entire tree and many other seeds like itself!
It was not a journey from soil to fruits, but from limited self to infinite self…and in the process uplifting ‘Mother Earth’ to make her have a glimpse of the world from top.
Though it stood in the same place over so many years, it had travelled a long distance. A distance that took it away from its origin, through its desires, its passions, its ambitions, its emotions, and yet a distance that brought it closer to its own true Self.
All this came with the promise of hope that even if you lose yourself in creating a fruitful world, you’re bound to create Your Self and many others too in the process.
Author: Jyoti Prateek