Of The Inverted Ashwath

Ashwath (Novita Singh, 2020)

We have heard it being repeated over epochs…

–that the sublime Lord Shiva meditates under the invisible energy matrix of the great Deodar, the tree of the gods…

–that, once, when he opened his eyes after experiencing a deep state of meditation, tears of perfect joy and peace fell from his eyes upon the earth, from whence sprung the Rudraksha tree…

–that Devi Sita, of fire-like purity and force, found solace in a tranquil grove of Ashok trees in Lanka…

–that Krishna always took himself into the lush arms of a Kadamb to play his flute…

–and that Gautama, the Buddha, climbed through the layers of consciousness into enlightenment under an Ashwath or Peepal tree…

The Samsara, it is said in our ancient books, is an inverted Ashwath tree, a staggering Fig, Banyan or Peepal, its branches disappearing endlessly into the nothingness above. It is where we are plugged into the gorgeous electric.

Prophetic (Rakhi Varma, 2019)

How is it, then, that, as the centuries fell away, trees became not only bystanders, but both raw material and obstacle in man’s path of progress towards becoming the most advanced of all species? How did we let it slip that, at every milestone in our evolutionary spiral, the one partner who has led us by the hand has been trees? And that because they have led us, and were here first, and shall outlive us, one way or another, they are the bigger Gods?

In the book, The Hidden Life Of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, a dedicated forester, a woodsman with a tree-heart, tells us that one of the oldest trees on Earth is a Spruce in Sweden–more that 9500 years old. One of the oldest.

How long did the oldest man live? And, thus, how much did he ‘know’?

Driving through a busy metro or a highway, one doesn’t notice the quiet trees lining the broad metaled road. While our eyes are fixed on the digital watch on the dashboard, or, worse, on the mobile phone with its unceasing pull of messages, or on the traffic breathing heavy, these trees, dusty, manicured and solitary, struggle to push their roots through the compacted tar and concrete, looking for the water bed, or for loose soil to breathe in and belong to. Sometimes they find a line of pipe and happy roots curl up around the sudden stability, so essential for the heavy crown above. And sometimes, unknowingly, innocently, the roots grow into a crevice in the pipe, just like a hand trying to hold on, causing the pipe to break, creating an emergency above on the road. Workers from the department then come and fell the tree.

What did it do…?

There was a time not so long ago when there was a tree in every yard of every household. The woman of the house would light a lamp under the tree every evening at dusk. Somehow, it seems, that the spirit of the woman and the spirit of the tree are One. They hold together. They nurture. They fight by transcending. As trees disappear, the spirit of the woman, the feminine aspect of strength, disappears too. Our planet Earth is the Mother. A woman. A tree. An inverted Ashwath. You know what that means.

Moonlight Blossoms (Zahir, 2015)

Enchantment has ancient associations with beads and wands. The first beads were seeds. The first wands were reeds. Every single tree on Earth has a distinctive quality running through its veins. Every herb, even the tenderest one, has some magic to give. What elixir of life can man give a tree? Space to be. Phew….

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age;
That blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer…

Bob Dylan wrote that. He knew, it’s the same. What lives and dies in us and as us, lives and dies in other life forms and as them. There is no difference.

When did the difference creep in?

Sitar. Veena. Shakuhachi. Mridangam. Violin. Guitar. Harp. Bassoon. Marimba. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees… It’s the sound of the spectacular green soul responding to your touch. Only when it rocks in you can you rock the audience. There’s no other way to make music. It is the same as make love. Drop the distance.

Tune in. Kneel and kiss the ground where they stand… Go further. Become them. Cry tears of Rudraksha.

Have you ever been struck by the word ‘dappled’? It makes me want to look up at the sky shimmering through leaves innocent as children.

Perhaps, when you have the time, or especially when you don’t but want to find some, you could go find a tree. Time and a tree are the same. One could also say that sitting with trees slows down time. And makes it disappear. Such that nothing remains, no hurry to do anything. Go, and just be. And if you find a Harsingar, the Night Jasmine…stay. Its tiny flowers bloom by night and fall by dawn. Do you suppose time has any meaning there? Their heady fragrance of life blasts through existence full throttle for while, and…who’s counting? Go, sit below it. It has a thousand messages for you. Go, listen.

And what would we do without those poets, visionaries and artists of any kind, those people of love who spoke of trees and told their tales, and wove them into their fairytales, and their dreams of love? And those that went out marching, holding banners, protesting, hugging trees, or wrote articles in the papers, or spoke on whichever medium available, possible. It is because of them that we are aware, still, of what it means to be alive, breathing, growing and evolving, and, above all, celebrating every minute of our lives on this green planet, full of a thousand forms of life…

May that awareness, that knowledge stay in our hearts forever, so that we know how to protect it from our own darkness. May we stay connected with the eternal inverted Ashwath that is the centre of the filigree of our consciousness.

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