Monday, January 21, 2008

On the Metaphor of the Tree: It's Use in Hinduism and the Baha'i Faith

More on the metaphor of the tree. - gw

The symbol of the tree occurs in many places in the Hindu Holy Books. In the Rig-Veda there is mention of a cosmic tree, sustained by the Lord, that has its roots in heaven with its branches spreading down to earth. The same concept is found in the Bhagavad Gita and many other places. (30)

In the Upanishads this tree is said to be the same as Brahman:

The Tree (Asvattha) of Eternity has roots in heaven and branches that grow down to earth. It is Brahman; it is pure Spirit. It is called the Immortal. All the worlds rest on that and beyond it none can go. (31)

Baha'u'llah identifies Himself with this `Tree beyond which there is no passing'. This tree is the Manifestation of God, the Avatar, the signpost, guiding the world of man. In one passage, speaking of the need for each individual person to take responsibility for his own spiritual development, Baha'u'llah writes:

Ponder a while thereon, that... ye may perceive the subtleties of Divine wisdom ... which... I have revealed ... and that ye may not stray far from the All-Highest Throne, from the Tree beyond which there is no passing, from the Habitation of everlasting might and glory. (32)

{Photo: Uploaded on May 2, 2006 by premasagar on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic}

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