What more life-giving than fresh Air?
What purer than Sunshine?
What springs forth life like the Soil?
More than Water what be divine?
I’ve seen them search in churches and temples,
I suspect they search in vain;
For not surprisingly the form you take O Lord,
Is the simple and the plain.
They look for you in books and prayers,
They try to find you in the words of the wise;
In meaningless rituals, gems and beads,
They search for you with hungry eyes.
I know not much I must confess,
But I have felt the presence of thine;
In Sunshine Water Air and Soil,
What can possibly be more divine!
Fragrance of the Earth
The sweet smell fills the night air, As the Earth below me parched and dry; Rejoices in its re-kindled love affair,
With the daughter of the sky.
I rejoice in the first raindrops as well,
And in the fresh fragrance of the Earth;
How sublime this simple joy I cannot tell,
That heralds a new season’s birth.
How blessed am I to behold
That resplendent beauty bathing in gold;
She adorns and lights up my street
A spectacular joyous summer’s treat;
Cascade-like her petals tumble down
Lantern-like is her bejewelled crown;
The other trees they must want to hide
Over-shadowed by the gorgeous bride;
You put a smile on my face;
You are unmatched in grace;
You arrest my frenzied pace;
You compel me to stop and gaze;
I cannot but extol and praise;
To you this humble toast I raise!
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
The Semal/Silk Cotton Tree is proud of its dazzling beauty and believes that Vayu, the Wind God, stays away from the tree in fear. Vayu is outraged when he hears the tree’s audacity and decides to teach the tree a lesson. Narrated by a dying Bhisma to Yuddhistira in the Mahabharata, the tale teaches a valuable lesson about kingship. It also serves as a window to children about evergreen and deciduous trees.
The Sita Ashok is a beautiful tree under which Sita sat during the time she had been abducted and taken to Lanka. This backstory from the Puranas associates an interesting Bhil connection to that episode of the Ramayana, perhaps as an attempt at social synthesis. It seeks to explain why the Ashoka tree is the tree that takes away sorrow.
Shiva curses Nandi and the Bull must forever pay the price of his folly by helping Humans grow their food on earth. Find out more in this endearing tale about Nandi from Gujarat, published on Talking Myths, an Online Archive of Traditional Tales from the Indian Subcontinent.
That Bhishma lay writing in pain, impaled upon a bed of arrows during the war of Kurukshetra in the Mahabharata is a well known story. The story of the Lizard that cursed him is not one that is commonly known. Here I explore an oral story about the Asana Tree and a forest Lizard that connects with Bhishma’s bed of Arrows.
The Peepal Tree is sacred to the people of India and a myriad different myths and stories are attached to the tree. This one belonging to the Muria tribe of Chhattisgarh, speaks about a tussle between the trees to have a king and the drama that unfolds.