Shastra As A Desire-Tree

[Vyasa writing]“Before Vyasadeva’s writing, the Vedic literature was simply heard, and the disciples would learn the mantras quickly by hearing and not by reading. Later on, Vyasadeva thought it wise to write down the Vedas, because in this age people are short-memoried and unable to remember all the instructions given by the spiritual master. Therefore, he left all the Vedic knowledge in book form, such as the Puranas, Vedanta, Mahabharata and Shrimad-Bhagavatam.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 5)

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“One of the things I love about Vedic literature is the details about the future. There is extended insight into what life will be like moving forward. Aside from the scientific basis for the continuation of life, through the cycle of rebirth, you get a clearer picture of the two extremes in terms of temporary stay.

“We kind of already knew about the hellish realm. That is where the sinners go. This is their punishment. They have to suffer in a variety of ways. At least with the Vedic tradition we learn of the true duration of that stay, how naraka is really just another planetary system and that all of these systems feature birth and death.

“Heaven is known as svarga-loka, and the way to enjoy is quite interesting. There are these trees that can grant desires at a moment’s notice. They are known by different Sanskrit names. Kalpa-vriksha. Sura-taru. Kalpa-taru.

“It is a wonderful way to conceptualize material enjoyment, as well. The trees with which we are already familiar provide rewards, in a way. The pious ones yield fruit. Any person can go up to a tree and pick off what they need, during the proper season.

“I guess in the heavenly realm you don’t have to wait. And you are not limited to fruit. You can pluck off anything you want, in a manner of speaking. This is one of the rewards for following pious behavior, for being a good person while on earth.

“While it is nice to be rewarded in such a way, is there any possibility for the other side? That is to say, instead of taking, is there a way to give? Is there a way to become something like a desire-tree for helping others?”

Goswami Tulsidas uses the desire-trees in heaven as a reference point for eliminating the false restrictions imposed by society based on caste. This is the status determined by birth. Known as jati, Tulsidas says that even a person of an inauspicious caste can become famous throughout the world. Just as the lowly trees in the heavenly realm are auspicious, so the person associated to Divinity through worshiping the Supreme Lord can attain elevation in status.

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 streets in the heavenly realm are famous throughout the three worlds.” (Dohavali, 16)

[fruit tree]The devotional side of spiritual life, in the Vedic tradition, focuses on giving instead of taking. How can I serve? How can I be of assistance? How can I make the root of the desire-tree of the material creation happy? How can I assist His dedicated servants?

The person who thinks in such a way, while connected to the Supreme Lord through His words and His activities [lila] is able to become something like a desire-tree. We have the historical example of Vyasadeva, who wrote so much Vedic literature that he simultaneously kept within memory.

If I approach someone who can answer difficult questions by quoting from shastra, they are something like a desire-tree. From memorizing even a single verse, a person can stay connected to the Supreme Lord.

That original source can provide more than any tree. He can grant any desire. He is the most potent. Remembering Him is the most auspicious activity.

While Vyasadeva and others could retain works of epic length within memory, in the current environment such memory-power is rare, if not impossible, to find. The same desire-tree of Vedic wisdom is available in written form, in a manner that can be consulted at any time within the day.

Those who helped to produce such works are like desire-trees. They are an extension of the Supreme Lord’s mercy. They follow in the footsteps of great personalities like Vyasadeva. They are able to rescue others simply by their presence. Their activities are to be celebrated day after day, into eternity.

[Vyasa writing]The fruits from this desire tree are not of the material world. They have the potential to blossom into supreme bliss, ananda. There are no limitations, either. It is not that I pluck one fruit in the form of a verse and I am leaving taking away something from others. The spiritual world is not bound by the laws of the material world. One minus one can still equal one. One plus the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always the majority.

In Closing:

Choosing shastra verse one,
Like desire-tree to become.

Because to Krishna connected,
Where consciousness directed.

Such that even prior to heaven bound,
Identical situation found.

Where again and again to produce,
One fruit taken but not to reduce.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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