Plants and Trees

From Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Volume II

Plants, animals and everything existing in this world are all a part of evolution. They are not just inert matter; they are sensitive beings. We may not be able to see their agonies or understand when they smile, but definitely they do. When a person approaches them, they understand and immediately shrink away or become glad. The secretions in their systems are highly reactive and are altered either positively or negatively in response to different kinds of people.

Trees and plants are greatly affected by the actions performed near them. They have a highly developed system of vision and recording. You may have killed someone and think that no one has seen, but the trees have witnessed it and they know all about it. They have memory membranes, and if you could develop plant interpreters and put them into the trees, they would tell us everything that has taken place nearby within the last week.

In India, many plants and trees are considered to be sacred, and a lot has been said about this in the Hindu religion. Hindus regard trees and plants as you would your brother or sister. Relating to this, there is an interesting custom which is still practised today in many Hindu families. When a Hindu girl is about to be married, her astrological chart is analysed to see whether she is destined to become a widow early in life. If so, this is what they do. Before the actual wedding ceremony takes place, the girl is taken to a particular tree which is regarded as the devata, and is given in marriage to that tree. Thus, even if her husband dies, the girl is never widowed because of her first marriage to the tree devata. This is why we consider trees to be important members of the human family.

—8 September 1980, Zinal, Switzerland.