A Mango Tree
There was a full-grown tree, a mango tree. It was standing alone, being nice to everyone. One day, a young child from a nearby colony came to play under the tree. The tree fell in love with the child at first sight. The tree was happy watching the child play in its full innocence. After some time, the child returned home. Once he was gone, the tree happily recounted the memory of the child and waited for him to return.
The next day, when the child returned to play, the tree bowed down its branches to reach the child so that the child could eat mangos. Love blossoms between a “big” person (be it of age, fame, wealth, or size) when the big person does not see a difference between others and themselves. (Moral: love teaches you to bow down and surrender, regardless of one’s size, stature, or importance.) The child too fell in love with the tree. Slowly, he began to climb the tree, hug the tree, and sleep in the branches of the tree. In this way, the tree and child happily spent time together.
But naturally, the child began to grow. It started going to school and had less time to spend with the tree. The tree was still happy, the child was growing and learning. The tree only wanted the child’s presence, no other expectations. He found contentment in the smaller periods of time they spent together.
As the child continued to grow, his studies increased. He began to spend even less time with the tree, but occasionally he still would come to see the tree. Again, the tree was happy. The child was growing. During mango season, he would keep the best mangoes to give to the child. (Moral: real love always delights in the beloved’s growth.)
The child continued to grow and became a young man. He fell in love with a woman and stopped coming to see the tree. The tree would wait patiently, thinking of the day when the boy would come and sit on its branches, but the boy did not come for a few months. Once, the tree saw the boy passing on a nearby road.
He called out to him. “I am always waiting for you. Why don’t you come to see me?” he said to the boy.
His answer shocked the tree, “Why should I come to see you? What will you give me?”
The tree replied, “I’m ready to give you everything.”
“Can you give me a million dollars?,” the boy responded.
“Money is a human invention, I cannot give you that. I can give you everything I have: my fruit, my flowers, cool shade, peace, my branches to sit on, a place to be at one with nature – everything I have. The day that trees have money, that day, we too will have to sit in the temples or search the world to find peace.”