“The impious trees are useless jungles only, and they can only be used to supply fuels. In the modern civilization such impious trees are planted on the sides of roads. Human energy should be properly utilized in developing the finer senses for spiritual understanding, in which lies the solution of life. Fruits, flowers, beautiful gardens, parks and reservoirs of water with ducks and swans playing in the midst of lotus flowers, and cows giving sufficient milk and butter are essential for developing the finer tissues of the human body.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.11.12 Purport)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes how there is a distinction between trees. The ones which bear fruit are pious; at least this is the classification. It is like a reward for good behavior. There is an extra emphasis for worship and appreciation from those who take advantage.
Whereas the other trees are sinful. They cannot sustain human life on their own. They are forced to remain in a single place for a long time, tolerating the elements. They remain stationary during the cold winter and the intense summer heat. They must bend to the heavy winds and suffer the constant threat of man intervening and abruptly ending life.
One way in which both trees help humanity is through shade. A popular electronic reading application has an icon of a person sitting underneath a tree and reading. The tree provides the paper to publish the works, and the same kind of tree gives shade to the person sitting underneath, intently focused on the content they are consuming.
The shade is a kind of comfort. Though the tree just stands there and is incapable of movement, it still has meaningful interaction with other living entities. It is usually not a burden. Its presence provides comfort in the visual evidence of the continuation of life. It represents the brilliance in artistic expression of the creator.
There is the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. From a single fruit, produced without extra effort, so much energy is available. In the most extreme case, a person can remain alive by eating the fruits that fall from a tree. There is an abundance of variety and quantity, already provided by nature.
The fruits from a tree have scientifically proven healing capabilities. They contain compounds that are beneficial for the human digestive system, when consumed appropriately. The end-products contain everything needed for succession; there are seeds inside.
There is the chance that the fruit-tree with an abundance of leaves can give shelter from the elements. During a snowstorm, the area near the root may be free and clear of precipitation. During an intense rainstorm, a person might run underneath to avoid getting drenched.
Vedic teachings provide an analogous concept to the commonly known “heaven,” with additional details. That place is a realm similar to where we are now, except with extended stay and augmented enjoyment. For instance, instead of spending upwards of one hundred years in a human body living in a royal palace, a person can remain in the heavenly realm for thousands of years.
Instead of servants ready to attend to every need, there are kalpa-vrikshas. These are desire trees. Approach one and ask for anything. The desire can be granted immediately. The trees are so amazing that size and appearance do not matter. Even the lowly one lining the streets is considered worthy of worship.
राम नाम सुमिरत सुजस भाजन भए कुजाति |
कुतरूक सुरपुर राजमग लहत भुवन बिख्याति |
rāma nāma sumirata sujasa bhājana bhae kujāti |
kutarūka surapura rājamaga lahata bhuvana bikhyāti |
“By remembering Shri Rama’s holy name, even those who are born into a low caste become worthy of fame, just as the wild trees that line the roads in the heavenly realm are famous throughout the three worlds.” (Dohavali, 16)
Heaven is still part of the three worlds, which are perishable. These are set for destruction on a given cycle. Not to worry, as everything will manifest again at some time in the future. The living beings who remain in a conditioned state are set to populate the new worlds, thereby continuing the cycle of birth and death.
भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)
Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has His own realm. This is above the three worlds. That place is considered unmanifest because it is not subject to creation and destruction. The land is as infinite as God Himself.
In this respect, Bhagavan can be considered the greatest desire tree. He is like the fruit tree in its benefit to living beings, except on the largest scale. His shelter is without blemish. The rain and the scorching rays of the sun never have to penetrate the cover created; the person underneath is always safe.
परं ब्रह्म परं धाम पवित्रं परमं भवान् ।
पुरुषं शाश्वतं दिव्यमादिदेवमजं विभुम् ॥
paraṃ brahma paraṃ dhāma pavitraṃ paramaṃ bhavān ।
puruṣaṃ śāśvataṃ divyamādidevamajaṃ vibhum ॥
“Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty.” (Bhagavad-gita, 10.12)
For this reason Arjuna declared Bhagavan to be the supreme resting place, param dhama. There is no better shelter, and everything is provided for when under such protection. There is no reason to go elsewhere.
Proper justification not,
For elsewhere to drop.
Since supreme shelter seen,
Protection against extreme.
Whether in this world or another,
By weather or scares of other.
Like the fruit tree and all its giving,
Krishna for Divine way living.
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