Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Word Petals

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Swami Veda Bharati tells of two types of trees in India, and his experiences with them when young.


 When I was a little boy in India, my sister, who was in a religious boarding school – I would sometimes go to see her – and, as little boys would, wander around. There were two trees that were my favorite haunts. One tree in India, is called a peepul. It spreads and spreads and spreads, and sends down shoots and spreads, sends down shoots from their branches. So, they don't let these shoots gain ground, they cut them so that the tree will not spread too much, and build round platforms around the tree and people sit under the tree as though under a leafy canopy. You can have two hundred people sit around that tree. And often the teachers sit and have spiritual discourses under those trees. Singers come and sit down under that tree and sing. Someone who feels like saying something goes and spreads a white cloth, opens a book and sits down. After a while somebody else passing by goes and sits down: "What are you reading?" And he starts reading, and next day there are three people, and another day there are thirty, and soon there's a big crowd, if there is appeal. If there isn't, it dwindles and disappears. It's that kind of a tree – one of my favorite haunts.

And there was another tree. It was a maijapani tree. I don't know if you know maijapanis. A tropical flower. It used to drop those lovely white blossoms with a pale yellow core that were fragrant for yards away, and I would stoop down and fill my hands and bring them to my mother. And whenever, ever since then, I see not flowers, but petals dropped on the ground, I feel like God or someone from the sky has given me a precious gift, more precious than all the pearls in a king's crown, and I cannot resist picking up those blossoms and bringing them to those I love Or picking them into my heart and carry them in my heart. The memories of blossoms that are scattered on the ground are the blossoms I carry in my person. Every now and then, they cannot be contained; they become words.