The tiger is a very powerful animal, and it’s majestic and kingly strides, and sharp jaws, can certainly elevate it to the status of the lord of the jungle. It is packed with energy, always on the prowl, carves out its territory, lives in an exclusive cave, and folklore speaks about all the animals in the forest being afraid of it. It is a great symbol of pride to nations where they inhabit and is depicted on many flags and mascots.

The tiger born as a young cub, blind and helpless is reared by its mother and groomed to hunt at a very early age. A tiger becomes fully independent at the age of 2.5 Years, and from then on, can entirely be on its own.

The tiger has little patience for weak and old creatures, for nature has designed its genetics to quickly chase them and eliminate them, as a source of food for it primarily, and in the larger scheme of things, to sustain the forest’s biodiversity.

A tree, on the other hand, is a very mild living organism in the forest. Its tiny saplings that grow out of small seeds often goes unnoticed. The sapling slowly finds the best soil to spread its roots, and the best space above the soil, to spread’s its branches and leaves to gather sunshine. The tree is immobile, but that seems to be of little trouble, for the intelligence embedded in its creation help’s it to seek out and reach and gather the best of nutrients, from above and below the earth’s surface.

As the tree grows and matures, and spread’s its wings, an eco-system starts developing on it. The little birds that build their nest on it, the termites that create it’s dwelling on its branches above to escape the bear, the monkeys that feed on its fruit’s, the multitude of insects that feed of its leaves, the elephants that break its branches and feed on its leaves, the deer’s that often that feed of the remains of what the elephant eats; all of these creatures work in unison to ensure that the tree, while it is a source of food and shelter for them, remains preserved and continues to grow year over year, and mature and continue nurturing…

The tree never speaks or roars like the tiger. The tree never hurts anyone, like the tiger. The tree never encroaches into another territory, since it is immobile. But all along, with silence as its weapon and strength and wisdom, with introspection as its way of nurturing life and growth, the resilient tree lives and lives, to what seemingly for us mortals is the eternity.

The tiger, on the other hand, cannot truly nurture life. The only way it seems to do this is by leaving the leftover flesh, after its feast, to the lesser aggressive animals and birds in the forest, the jackal, the vultures and so one. The tiger has truly never known the value of creating life since, in its’ lifespan, other than the cubs it gave birth too and rears for a short time,  it has never sustained any life form in the forest’s ecosystem.

Nature, the silent intelligent, ever observing power, has ensured that a tiger cannot really climb the tree, or knock it down when in aggression, for one could imagine the aftermaths, if such power were bestowed onto this creature!

For all the aggression of the tiger, it has to go back to a cave to sleep, since it is also afraid! Afraid that other more powerful animals will hunt it down, afraid that its territory would be lost, afraid that one day it will grow old and become the prey instead of the aggressor.

The tiger lives for about 60 years, and as it grows old and dies, there is hardly anyone left to mourn. Its carcass and flesh is possible of value to some hunters, or the flesh-eating scavengers.

The tree often lives for centuries, continues to spread its roots and leaves and branches and as it does so, generates more and more oxygen for all of us to live, and transforms itself into a great source of inspiration, to all life forms. Its immobility does not mean that it is afraid, it needs no caves, it can withstand the strongest of winds, and rains, and typhoons, and often the harshest of summers, for its deep-rooted growth has ensured that there is a source of nutrient to be tapped upon, in any of such eventualities.

And in the final eventuality when it falls, either due to old age, or the vagaries of nature, every single part of it, be it the leaves, the trunk or the roots, becomes the fodder for a variety of animals. Beyond this, the wood that gets buried by layers of sand, soil and rock, is compressed to form coal which fuels about a quarter of our energy requirement across the world. A select few become diamond, a stone that we humans consider to be the most exotic symbol of admiration and love.

It is no wonder that the great Buddha, found his wisdom and purpose of life, under a Great Banyan Tree. No cave, the traditional dwelling of a tiger would have been such a true source of inspiration and introspection, for such wisdom needs an environment where thoughts can be seeded, grow roots, and then branches and leaves, for wisdom to eventually flower and spread it’s fragrance to the rest of the creatures in the universe, and thus lead to the fructification of scriptures that can inspire all of us, creatures, over centuries of existence.


Next workshop is planned at Thiruvananthapuram in December 2018. This is a Pre Registration drive.

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