It is early summer in Munger now and we are all watching the mangoes ripen on the trees. It is an interesting process, and one from which we, as disciples, can learn.
Mango trees are so incredibly beautiful. Their leaves are a dark glossy green, slender and long. The trees are elegantly shaped. Sometimes their branches are such that they look as though they are dancing, and other times they are tall and commanding, like army generals. They bloom in early spring and within two weeks or so the whole tree is covered with sprays of golden flowers, smelling sweetly, like honey or nectar of some kind. Then the mango tree looks like an angel on Earth.
Why do mango trees produce mangoes? Not for their own satisfaction, but to feed others - to give to others. What the tree gives is its own fruit. It labours to produce the fruit so that others can benefit. So, if guru is like a mango tree, we can imagine that the disciple is the fruit.
In the same way that the guru attracts new disciples, so the tree blossoms. The attraction of the blossom is simply overpowering for the bees, and baby mangoes are created. When they initially form on the sprays of blossom, they are tiny and many, tightly clustered. As time passes, the mangoes ripen and grow. But there is a variety of weather in spring - winds come, rain comes, crows and squirrels roam around the branches. These things do not affect the tree. It stands immovable in the midst of all these fluctuations, because the roots of the tree go deep into the ground. The little baby mangoes are disturbed, and many of them fall off. The connection between the mango and the tree is a tiny stalk, which sometimes is not strong enough to withstand these disturbances.
As the mangoes grow, the connection between the mango and the tree also becomes stronger, to support that growth. All this time the tree is giving energy, food, support andshelter under its big branches to the little baby mangoes nestled amongst the leaves. Through this connection between the mango and the tree, the nutrients that the tree derives from the soil and the elements can be transmitted. The tree does this so the mangoes can eventually grow into their full potential, and help fulfil the sankalpa of the tree by providing for others in need.
It doesn't matter how close the mango is to the trunk, or what position the mango is in. What matters is the strength of that connection between the mango and the tree, which starts off as a tiny stalk, but can become strong enough to hold the ripened fruit steady against any wind that comes.