The Tree of Life

When my brother visited Bahrain last year, he went to see the famous Tree of Life. He showed me pictures of the tree and described the mystery behind its existence. Upon seeing the pictures, I felt the tree was indeed mysterious I could gain many spiritual lessons from it.

Standing alone in the heart of the hot desert of Bahrain is this mesquite tree. The survival of this tree is a mystery because there is no obvious source of water supply. Yet the tree has been standing for the last four hundred years completely covered with green leaves and bearing flowers twice a year. Thirty-two feet in height this tree has continued to grow despite extreme temperatures, massive sand storms and lack of water. This wonderful tree is called the Tree of Life.

Many speculate how the tree manages to stay alive, how does it draw water. Some scientists say that the closest water source is the underground stream that is over 2 kilometers away. That means it has to have such far stretched roots to bring the water back to the tree. Other scientists say that the tree has a mystic power to extract the moisture from the winds that come from the Persian Gulf. Some say that the tree has actually learnt the art of survival by putting pressure on sand, and extracting moisture from it. Few people believe that the Tree of Life marks the exact location of the Garden of Eden, and hence draws special blessings to live. Yet what draws attention is the lesson that the Tree of Life is giving us.

The most important lesson is that whatever situations we are in, Krishna’s grace is always with us. We only need to access this grace. We need to connect ourselves to the divine grace of Krishna. We have to extend our roots deep within our hearts to connect every aspect of this material world with Krishna. The situation outside our self could be encouraging us to complain, find faults, and present excuses. But we make no progress doing that. Human life is meant to make progress only by understanding how to mend the disconnected relationship with Krishna, which we once relished by constantly serving and pleasing Him.

Krishna’s grace can be attracted by following a very simple instruction given by our acharyas, that we should “always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna.” But in reality this really seems difficult to practice. Fortunately, Arjuna also had this query and he put forth to Krishna. Krishna made it very simple for us. He revealed that amongst all the moving and non-moving living entities He is present as an exceptional opulence. That makes it so easy to connect Krishna with everything that we experience in our life.

The Tree of Life demonstrates how to remain Krishna conscious all the time. As the hot winds blow, and the scorching heat tries to burn the leaves, the Tree of Life inspires to remember that Krishna is present as the heat in the fire. As the leaves move with the hot wind, one can understand that amongst the purifiers, Krishna is the wind. Therefore, not a single leaf can move without His will. While there is no water supply, the Tree of Life enthuses to continuously search for the remote source of life. Similarly, whatever situation comes forth in our life, when we see the remote cause of it as Krishna Himself, we can accept the situation with a smile on our face.

The continuous search for Krishna in every movement of life strengthens the faith in Krishna. Faith in Krishna prompts us to accept all dualities of life, happiness and distress, success and failure, pleasure and pain, praise and ridicule, joy and grief. As the roots of faith go deep, dependence is fortified, and one begins to experience gratitude towards the Supreme Lord, Lord. With passing times Krishna gives an opportunity, to each one of us to stand alone like the Tree of Life stands in the hot desert, to prove our determination to withstand the hot winds of problems and challenges, with the enthusiasm to search for the water supply of taste for chanting, hearing and serving. And if Krishna finds us failing, then He protects us and assures us that He will always preserve what we have and carry what we lack. And the devotee once again stands in search of Krishna, chanting His name, ready to serve Him and to please Him.

Kalyani Ajrekar has done her postgraduate in management studies from the University of Mumbai. She conduct various courses based on Krishna consciousness for children and adults in Mumbai.