The tree of life
A tree is symbolic of how life must be lived on the earthly plane by humans, says Dr Arun Mathur
‘If you have not grown a garden you have not lived your life’ says a Chinese proverb. Gardening is a creative hobby, which keeps us connected with nature. It fosters a sense of peace, compassion and satisfaction, apart from providing an opportunity to appreciate nature’s bounty. However, its most important aspect is the inspiration that we can draw from nature to make our lives more meaningful. BODHI means inspirational and spiritual in Sanskrit.
Since time immemorial, trees have had a very important significance in several cultures across the world. The tree is symbolic of physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation and liberation, as well as life and fertility. An evergreen tree is synonymous with immortality. The world tree—a motif present in several religions and mythologies—represents the unity of all life, and the struggle for order and growth against chaos and disintegration. In fact, one can draw parallels between a tree in nature and the tree of life.
There are three important parts of a beautiful tree—roots, trunk and the crown. Roots are a very important part of the tree—they supply water and nutrients from the soil to the trunk and the crown to keep it alive and healthy. The roots are not visible but they anchor the tree and provide it stability. Deeper the roots, healthier and stronger the tree. Roots are synonymous with spirituality. While spirituality provides us with an anchor in life, it is not visible. Similarly, if we do not work on what is unseen, it is difficult to sustain what is seen. Spirituality, it helps a person stay grounded, calm, emotionally stable and strong even in adverse circumstances.
The trunk of the tree provides structure, shape and strength to it. It helps transport nutrition processed by the leaves to all parts of the tree and supports the branches. It connects the roots with the crown of the tree. The tree trunk can be compared to a person’s physical and emotional stability. If we learn to equip ourselves with a strong character, find our anchor in spirituality and keep ourselves physically fit, we will be resilient to weather any storm in life.
The crown of the tree bears leaves, flowers and fruits—which are its offering and contribution to others. While the leaves process nutrition to sustain the tree, they play an important role of filtering dust particles from the air, provide shade and oxygen for life. The beautiful flowers and fruits are the selfless offerings of the tree to the universe – sustaining the animal kingdom and human beings. They help in keeping nature beautiful and immortal. Inspired by this, we constantly endeavour to give back to the community and pay it forward by offering our services to others in the world.
A tree that wants to touch the sky must extend its roots into the earth. The more it wants to rise upwards, the more it has to grow downwards. Similarly, in order to serve others, we need to keep ourselves emotionally stable, physically strong and spiritually anchored. So take good care of your roots, trunk and crown to be able to add value to others.
Be like a tree
• Stay grounded
• Connect with your roots.
• Turn over a new leaf.
• Bend before you break.
• Enjoy your unique natural beauty.
• Keep growing.
Dr Arun Mathur is former Professor, Medical College Meerut, and a gardening enthusiast.
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