Friday, January 11, 2008

The Fruit Tree Metaphor

I'm a writer.

I realize the importance of words.

I also have a sense of their "slipperiness"...

From a Speech delivered 3 December 1912 by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at 780 West End Avenue, New York, New York: "Be not satisfied with words, but seek to understand the spiritual meanings hidden in the heart of the words."

"Man is like unto a tree. If he be adorned with fruit, he hath been and will ever be worthy of praise and commendation. Otherwise a fruitless tree is but fit for fire. The fruits of the human tree are exquisite, highly desired and dearly cherished. Among them are upright character, virtuous deeds and a goodly utterance. The springtime for earthly trees occurreth once every year, while the one for human trees appeareth in the Days of God—exalted be His glory.

"Were the trees of men’s lives to be adorned in this divine Springtime with the fruits that have been mentioned, the effulgence of the light of Justice would, of a certainty, illumine all the dwellers of the earth and everyone would abide in tranquillity and contentment beneath the sheltering shadow of Him Who is the Object of all mankind.

"The Water for these trees is the living water of the sacred Words uttered by the Beloved of the world. In one instant are such trees planted and in the next their branches shall, through the outpourings of the showers of divine mercy, have reached the skies. A dried-up tree, however, hath never been nor will be worthy of any mention."

Bahá’u’lláh: Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, "Excerpts from Other Tablets" (excerpt #18), p. 257

"Strain every nerve to acquire both inner and outer perfections, for the fruit of the human tree hath ever been and will ever be perfections both within and without. It is not desirable that a man be left without knowledge or skills, for he is then but a barren tree.

"Then, so much as capacity and capability allow, ye needs must deck the tree of being with fruits such as knowledge, wisdom, spiritual perception and eloquent speech."

Bahá’u’lláh: from a Tablet translated from Persian, quoted in the compilation Excellence in All Things, Selection #9

"….if this tree were entirely fruit, the vegetable perfections could not be attained; for leaves, blossoms and fruits are all necessary so that the tree may be adorned with utmost beauty and perfection. In the same way consider the body of man. It must be composed of different organs, parts and members."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 32: "Explanation of the Verse ‘For Many are Called but Few are Chosen’", p. 129