Thursday, 12 February 2015

We – the Phoenix

The Banyan tree              Today’s early morning walk brought a close encounter with the perpetual persevering quality of nature when one finds oneself at the end of the road. Well, literally. Reaching the point where right at the curve, one road gave into another that itself winded into a never ending maze, was where I came upon this sight that I thought was extra ordinary.
Beyond the wire mesh that divided the footpath from the protected and enclosed green cover that included a host of wild flowers, tall Cedar, Ficus, Casia, Mulberry, Pine etc, came to view a green bouquet of Banyan branches, each one healthy, independent and ready to very soon enforce an identity of their own. Nothing new in that. All plants grow this way. Some grow laterally into a bush, some tall and erect some tall and wide canopied while some raise branches in this or that direction according to space, climate, or the general environment. The one thing common to all these plants is the fact that they grow while drawing strength from their roots.
My Banyan tree branches did the same as nature ordained they should. In the prime of their life, they grew gaily unmindful of any dangers or care for or of the world while they received their strength from the ground below their stems. Except, the ground wasn’t immediately beneath them. What formed a fertile base for them was a lopped off or possibly a storm fallen stump of an old Banyan tree that lay rotting and circled by a net of grass that wove itself around the still carcass of a once magnificent glory. It was something that wasn’t very old, but mature enough to demand veneration of all those that passed under its fulsome shade at some point in the past.
The tree mustn’t have expected an early demise too for it must’ve had many hopes harboured in its tough wood, through its seeds or its potent rooting branches. It is the tree of eternity. It can perpetuate its life interminably if left on its own. The sapling that emperor Ashoka’s son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra took to Sri Lanka with the Buddha’s message of peace and non violence still lives on. Faith is the key. Faith didn’t let the sapling be destroyed, veneration gave it longevity.
My fallen stump- mine for the moment- went down to forces beyond its control and even when virulently infested by termites and ants from within, it maintains a sturdy facade on the outside. With the young roundish and green leaves radiate in the early sun’s rays, the stump slowly, almost imperceptively crumbles down unto its dull, earthy grave. Dust unto dust. With it will die away the last remnants of its reigning magnificence and power that those passers by withheld with much awe and more such aspirations it kept within itself to achieve in later times. Or will it?
The sprouting branches tell a different story. Why have they made a home in a crumbling nest of termite ridden pocket of a bark and not taken the solidity offered by the earth just a little distance away? The only reason I can find is that it’s because the stump wanted it to happen. They are a product of the stump’s own hopes and aspirations and instead of letting them die; it strove to create other entities to perpetuate itself. The tree was re-birthing itself from its own dust much like the phoenix from its own ashes. Makes me believe that the Phoenix wasn’t just a lore and in fact its the way the nature’s cycle works. Evolution is all about perpetuating the self. We keep repeating such cycle even in our lifetime. Every time we fall, we rise, we perpetuate our beliefs, we- the Phoenix.

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