Home » Paramhansa Yogananda, Spiritual Practices

The Wishing Tree

by Paramhansa Yogananda
Fall 2012 One Comment

Once upon a time there was a hermit of Hindustan named Hari, who wore the soles off his feet traveling through the rocky regions of the Himalaya Mountains in search of a certain wishing tree. The Indian legends say that this wishing tree was grown by divine fairies and endowed with the power to grant the fulfillment of any or all desires of the person who sat under it.

Hermit Hari was spiritual, devoted, and firm in his determination. Long he had searched for God but he had received only glimpses of Him in meditation. Next to God, the object he coveted and searched for was the wishing tree.

Although Hari had failed in his efforts to commune with God at will, nevertheless he had acquired great occult powers due to his austerity, self-discipline, and occasional contacts with God. His determined search had resulted in the accumulation of considerable good karma. Hari now believed, that through the magnetic power of his stored up good karma and the latent divine power within him, he was going to be rewarded by finding a wishing tree.

Hermit Hari’s desire found fulfillment when he accidentally came across a great bushy tree in the course of his travels in the snow-walled valleys of the Himalayas, a virgin land which very few people were able to travel. Hari’s intuition enabled him to recognize at first sight that the large bushy tree was a wishing tree. Inspired by untold delight, he raced toward the tree and stood under it. He wanted to test the occult powers of this famous wishing tree.

Hermit Hari said to himself, “If this is a wishing tree, then I desire the instant materialization of a mighty castle.” No sooner had he expressed the wish than the great castle suddenly materialized beside the tree, spreading out over a vast area as if it had always been there.

Encouraged by his first success with the wishing tree, Hari made another wish: “I would like to be attended by bright-eyed damsels and fairies serving me food on golden plates.” This also came to pass. Encouraged still further by the instantaneous fulfillment of so many of his long-unfulfilled desires, Hermit Hari then wished for a mighty army to protect him and lo, there appeared a mighty army guarding the great castle.

After dinner, Hermit Hari retired to a secluded room on the ground floor of the castle. This room was rather dark and dreary. As Hermit Hari lay there looking toward the open window which overlooked the forest, he sent forth another strong thought: “I am protected here by an army of soldiers but the window in my room is open and without bars. If a tiger comes in and gets me, that will be the finish of me.”

Just then, while Hermit Hari still held on to his attitude of fear, a big tiger bolted through the open window of the castle and carried off the fear-frozen Hermit Hari. It was too late for him to realize that he was under the influence of a wishing tree which would grant both his good and bad wishes, irrespective of the motives behind the wishes. The business of a wishing tree is to grant wishes, according to the strength of the thought, whether positive or negative, and this wishing tree was true to form.

My great master, Swami Sri Yukteswar, often used the foregoing story to illustrate that we are all living in this world beneath our all-desire-fulfilling wishing tree of will power. Our will, being a reflection of the Almighty Divine Will, has in it the seeds of almighty power.

Most people rejoice if, as the result of a continuous use of will power in an unknown past life, they suddenly succeed in this life. But if most people suddenly reap evil consequences, they forget that they created such consequences by the continued misuse of their own almighty will power in an unknown past. When standing beneath the almighty wishing tree of your will power, always be careful to wish for good things and not to concentrate upon fears, failures, or diseases. The consequences of your negative wishes might suddenly loom out of the unseen and cause you unending troubles.

Remember, you were born beneath the boughs of the wishing tree of high achievements. You must not think evil thoughts because such thoughts will bring you nothing but harm. Since you are living under the invisible wishing tree of the divine will, always use your will power to learn of God and attain Self-realization. In this way you will forever quench the thirst of any unspiritual desires.

From the Praecepta Lessons.

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