Naina recalls her experience how plants respond to love.
Even a plant grows more if the gardener gives attention to it. If it is neglected, if everything else is given to it – the right soil, fertilizers, rain, sun rays; everything is given to it except conscious attention – it takes a longer time to grow. Now this is a scientific fact: observed and found correct. If you love the plant and you pay much attention to it, if you talk to it, if you sometimes say to it, “I love you,” it grows faster. Attention is a vitamin.
Osho, The New Alchemy to Turn You on, Ch 12
Call it an experiment or an experience, I will always remember the withering little brinjal (eggplant) seedling that was supposedly no good in the gardener’s eyes when he transplanted the healthy ones to the rows of soil in another part of the garden.
I spent my childhood in a very beautiful place where the word compound meant the premises were surrounded by half walls with barbwire fencing on top. The front compound showed a lush lawn of Korean grass, surrounded by beautifully appointed flower beds. In spring, as the green grass glistened with dew, the garden was a colourful symphony full of petunias, phlox, poppies, and marigold in full glory among the many other flowers that I never knew the names of.
The rest of the compound was mainly dedicated to vegetable beds. It was fun to move along the beds, on the narrow paths designed for a single person to walk on. The vegetable garden consisted of local vegetable plants found in the lower Himalayan belt and among them was a great variety of popular brinjals.
Brinjals (or aubergines or eggplants) are native to the Indian subcontinent, and they have been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia for millennia. The first known written record of the plant is found in Qí mín yào shù, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544. As per 2010 statistics, India is the second largest producer of brinjals, after China.
Every time I watched our gardener Bhola sowing the seeds on a bed of earth, I waited very impatiently for them to sprout. It was my hobby after school to visit the green kitchen garden because somehow I felt very happy there and sometimes shrieked with joy when little sprouts popped up from the earth.
I spent many hours watching Bhola pick up particular brinjal seedlings and put them in his special bamboo basket. While he transplanted them, I asked him why he left out some of them in the soil. He said that only the healthy ones are to be chosen because they will bear big fruit. I asked him if I could take one of the weak seedlings and plant it near my play corner. He told me to pick up whatever I liked as he had no need for the remaining plants. So I picked up a little one, which looked very weak and thin compared to the others, and replanted it near my play corner. I dug up some soil, and put the little one’s roots in, added a little cow dung and a little ash. I had heard that fire ash prevents pests from attacking the seedlings.
From that day on this little plant which I named Konmani Joni (meaning ‘the little one’ in Axomiya, the local language of my childhood in Assam) became my friend. Before and after school I watered it, removed the weeds, touched its new leaves and giggled with it. When I played during the rains, it seemed to dance with me. Within weeks I could see Konmani Joni growing up, getting greener and fatter as if it were putting on weight. Before long this little one grew at an exponential pace and now looked more like a bush than a plant. The others looked like pygmies in comparison to this one!
A few weeks later, I suddenly saw small purplish buds as if trying to burst out and say hello. And then they came, the tiny purple flowers! Before long the fruit arrived and the plant was laden with purple fruit, a scene that appeared like a dream to me and a miracle to Bhola. Whenever I tried to pick a few brinjals, it almost seemed they were hiding under the leaves, as if they were playing hide and seek with me. This wonderful plant became very popular in my neighbourhood and often my friends stopped by to say hello to it. It was indeed a miracle that while all the others withered away after completing their life spans, this little one lived on for almost four years and never stopped producing amazingly large fruit. And during those years I remember sharing my joys, sorrows and gossips with it every day; I loved to touch it and feel its soft leaves and smooth purple fruit.
Eventually, the day arrived when I was to leave my home for boarding school; I was very excited and looked forward to starting a new life. I missed Konmani Joni in the beginning but soon I found new friends and almost forgot about it. After a month, my mother informed me that though Bhola took real good care of Konmani Joni, it just started to wilt and within days withered away. Bhola tried to revive it but Konmani Joni never came back to life.
Today, while reading Osho on how plants respond to our love, I remembered Konmani Joni and the beautiful experience I had with it in my growing years. I am full of gratitude to existence for enriching my life with such beautiful friends.
You can take two plants of the same size, of the same age, and for one you sit every day for thirty minutes. forty minutes, with a deep feeling of love – touch the plant, feel for it, have a little talk, say something to the plant, talk about the weather, the clouds, say that: Today the sun has not arisen but don’t be afraid, it will be coming soon – just spread your warmth around the plant.
And the other plant – you give exact nourishment to the other plant, but no love. You give fertilizers, water, sun, everything – the same of these to both – but no love; and suddenly you will see – the first plant is going higher; within weeks it has doubled; and the other plant is shrinking, struggling hard to grow – but something is missing.
You can do it with three plants; the third plant every day you curse, say bad things, discouraging things, such as: Don’t think that this cloud is going to leave, it is going to remain forever, you are doomed…. And these are now scientific facts – the cursed plant will die. With every care you cannot revive it. And the loved plant will grow, and bigger flowers will come to the loved plant. It will be almost double the size of the other plant which has not been loved.”
Osho, Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 4, Ch 6
Naina for Osho News