Dialogues of self and soul- 3

‘The tree of life’

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By Michael Spencer

“Have you ever heard of the tree of life?” I asked.

She responded by raising her head from my shoulder to look at me inquiringly.

By now, due to our frequent meetings, I was a bit less in awe of her. Nevertheless, her doe - like eyes succeeded in casting an instant spell on me!

I raised my hand to stroke her long black hair. Her head fell back on my chest and she closed her eyes.

I found my voice again!

“You know where it is?” I whispered.

“What? The tree of life?” She asked.

“Yes!”

“I live in it.” The soul stated matter of factly.

“Really? Then please take me there, I desperately want to see it once!” Barely able to hide my surprise, I pleaded.

“Close your eyes.” She raised her head again and smiled.

I did and immediately felt her soft fingers pressing on my forehead.

“Open your eyes now!”

… I opened my eyes and a colossal tree filled my entire vision.

Both of us were now standing in front of the fabled tree of life.

“Oh my God…its beautiful!” I shouted like a child.

“Come!”

She took my hand and we started to rise in the air.

My mind was overwhelmed by the mesmerizing sight as we passed through a grand array of myriad colors in the form of innumerable fruits and flowers on the tree.

“This is life in all its splendor!” She said. We continued to rise higher.

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“Look, there they are!” She pressed my hand and we stopped in mid air.

I surveyed the branches and suddenly my heart skipped a beat.

Two beautiful birds of golden plumage were perched on the branches of the tree. One of them was jumping from one branch to another and tasting the fruits of the tree; the second one, was however, calmly observing it.”

“What are they?”

The one who acts is Jiva, the individual self or the soul and the one who observes it is Ishwara or the Supreme Self (Brahmana).

The soul is eating the fruits of sensual pleasure, she momentarily forgets her lord and tries to enjoy the fruit independently of him. Whereas, the Supreme self is Nirvikar - beyond all sensual pleasure! So it simply accompanies the soul while it ventures in the material world.” She explained.

She took a step in mid air and we started to move forward — the branches parted to give us the way. Soon, we were standing near the two birds.

A cry of anguish escaped from my lips as I gave the Jiva bird a closer look. The magnificent bird was weeping! I looked up, in contrast Paramatma’s eyes were half closed in perfect calm and serenity.

“What is the meaning of all this? Why is the Soul unhappy?”

“The soul is drowned in grief because of delusion and lack of satisfaction. Only when it beholds the Supreme Self, it realizes its own glory and gets freed from sorrow.”

At first I was stunned at the revelation. Then slowly it dawned upon me- the gravity of the tree of life and its profound message!

Every individual’s search for union with God is the bridge which he/she has to cross to be free from this world of suffering and that is the true meaning of life!

“The wise man should merge his mind in the Tranquil Self. The path is hard to tread and difficult to cross, but having realized the Supreme Self which is without beginning and end — one is freed from the jaws of death.” I heard the words being whispered into my ears.

“ Thank you. Now I know the imperishable Brahman, who is fearless, and who is the end and refuge of those who seek liberation.” I said and turned around.

I was alone.

I folded my hands and bowed my head in reverence. Finally recalling the eternal truth as told by Yama to Nachiketa in the Katha Upanishad around three thousand years ago.

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