The Indian Tree


A learned man once said, for the sake of saying something,

“There is a tree in India. If you eat the fruit of that tree, you’ll never grow old and never die”

Stories about “the tree” were passed around, and finally a king sent his envoy to India to look for it.

People laughed at the man. They slapped him on the back and called out, “Sir, I know where your tree is, but it’s far in the jungle and you’ll need a ladder.”

He kept traveling, following such directions and foolish, for years.

He was about to return to the king when he met a wise man. “great teacher, show me some kindness in this search for the tree.”

“My son, this is not an actual tree, though it’s been called that. Sometimes it’s called a sun, sometimes an ocean, or a cloud. These words point to the wisdom that comes through a true human being, which may have many effects, the least of which is eternal life! In the same way one person can be a father to you and a son to someone else, uncle to another and nephew to yet another, so what you are looking for has many names, and one existence. Don’t search for one of the names. Move beyond any attachment to names.”

Every war and every conflict between human beings has happened because of some disagreement about names.

It’s such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing there’s a long table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.

– Rumi