The old legend says, that when the forest dwelling hermit dies a seed is planted in his mouth. He is buried vertically in the earth from where an ancient tree begins its life all over again…
The EYES. My reflection was floating like a mirage of fata morgana on the surface of her iris. Her entire vision, from one eye rim to other, was covered by the thick layer of an intricate net of my branches and roots growing upwards and downwards. Her eyes were caught inside the living maze, which embraced her sight from all directions.
I observed myself in her eyes and at the deepest bottom of them, I could see mirroring my own arboreal rings. At the beginning of eternity, our lives mingled together and drew those lines inside of us. They were maps, the invisible paths to the land of our forgotten silent memories. The immortal dense layers of life and death imprinted in the circles of the time.
The time was moving in the circles. The rotten body of Hermit, which nourished the seed from which I had sprouted, belonged to her hundreds of years ago. Every stem of my roots and branches is connected to the veins of her body. My thoughts can freely flow in her blood through the bone marrows and the soft tissues directly to her mind and heart. The Hermit inside me slips into her visions silently.
I knew she was coming since the day she was reborn in a place called in old Germanic languages 'deracinated'. The place, where all the tree roots were pulled out from the soil to create a space for a new settlement for the people, who were trying to find their own roots...
The PLACE, where I grew up carried a curse and an omen in its name. The Chronicle, written by my grandfather's brother, recounts a legend from the beginning of the 17th century according to which the settlement was established after the destruction of an old village, originally built on the steep hill above the valley.
The old village was destroyed by the thunderstorm. The strong rainfall with lightning and thunders came suddenly during a dark stifling night at the end of the Summer, when most of the villagers were celebrating the harvest and heavily drinking in the barrelhouse. They were too drunk to save their own houses and families. Everything was demolished except the small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The storm was generally considered to be a God’s punishment for all the sins they had done, but also an omen requiring to build a new settlement in the river valley overlooked by the Virgin Mary.
The thick forest in the valley around the right bank of the river was burnt down and the soil was deracinated. The new houses were built, but no temple. The remaining few inhabitants of the old village felt abandoned by God and decided to worship the Virgin Mary in the chapel on the hill above the new village.
"There is a Banyan Tree which has its roots upward and its branches down, and the Vedic hymns are its leaves. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas." Bhagavat Gita
The TIME was passing and the well-protected place in the river valley came to the attention of the royal investors. In 1850 Stefanska Huta (Istvánhuta), the first electrolytic refinery in Europe was established by Count Gyula Andrassy and co-financed by Rothschilds. For that time revolutionary project attracted young progressive scientists, pioneers and enthusiasts in electronics, who moved from all parts of Austro-Hungarian Empire to the village to be part of the great leap forward in science. At the beginning of the 19th century the village had 150 houses and 30 languages were spoken in the middle of nowhere, where no temple was built, but with one of the most modern factories in the world.
One of them was my grand-grandfather, he was in charge of the turbine on the river. During the heavy winter nights, when temperatures dropped deep below zero Celsius degrees and the machines had to be heated to be protected from the frost, he started to initiate himself into the alchemy of the artistic metalsmithing. Soon after he was officially permitted to build his own small forge as a part of factory workshop. It were cruel freezing nights, which gave life to a delicate tender rose flowers made from metals. Shakespeare would ask: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?" And my grand-grandfather, a smart Protestant of German origin, answered the question in his own way when he brought the symbol of roses inside the Catholic churches and cemeteries in nearby villages. The symbolism of the Rosicrucianism roses on the cross was unknown to the ignorant villagers.
The WAR. During the World War I and World War II, he fought his silent art war with the sound of the hammer in one hand and the violin, which he learnt to play by himself as well, in other one. He played his own tunes, when his first wife, too beautiful, too wise and too fragile for this world, died at the psychiatric clinic, and he did not stop it till his second wife, stubborn, strong and practical woman, give a life to his two sons, one of them was my grandfather.
When my great-grandfather came to the place, where I grew up, it was freshly deracinated. All the roots were removed, there was no temple to worship the God and no dead person lying under the ground. Nothing was giving the sense of belonging to that place to alive ones. He was the first one in the line, who was buried in this place. His legacy was transferred to my grandfather and from him directly to me.
Born with the curse and omen of being without the roots I travelled. The countries of my living I’ve never chosen, but the journey took me exactly, where I supposed to be. It was a tryst with destiny, which brought me to India. There, almost 10 years ago in the state of deep meditation, he came to my vision for the first time. I met the silent Hermit inside of me…
The PEACE. From the moment I put a seed under my tongue I knew, that one day she would find me and see the answers inside of me. In the time of my physical death, I gave my life to this banyan tree and let the wind to take my soul to unknown land across the ocean to born again and show her way back to her roots. I did not want to become a banyan tree, I wanted to be its meaning.
We are born with questions, which are buried deep inside of us. Out of time and space, they sink into obscurity and turn to dust from which the genetic material of our countless-time reborn bodies, is created. For unknown reasons we are searching, again and again, the answers to the questions we have forgotten a long time ago.
I saw my old questions inside of her, shaped into the seed from which she could grow once it fell down into the soil nourished by the answers. Too many questions inside of her did not allow her to see the answers, which were already there. She was moving in the circles driven by passion and patience and drew the dense lines reflected on the arboreal rings of the tree that I became. But when the last lines of her story started to be eaten by termites, I slipped into her visions and brought her here.
Here she is. The tree I have become is mirroring in her eyes. The picture inside of her lens is turned upside down. The branches go downward and the roots upward. One cannot see the difference. The roots descended from the branches anchor the tree to the ground and then they are transformed into the trunks, so that decades later it is difficult to distinguish root from a stem.
Similarly, according to ancient texts, this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world. During the centuries I turned my branches and roots into the pillars of the living temple, where one tree, one hermit and one woman, became united into the oneness…
THE BANYAN TREE
The 300 years old Banyan Tree photographed for this story is overlooking the sacred beach Aum, in mythological town Gokarna, where Swaswara, the CGH Earth Ayurveda Resort is situated. SwaSwara means your inner voice and true to its name, this is a place of natural harmony to release, refocus and recalibrate the self.
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Founder & Director of Ayurveda Trails, healing collection of (extra)ordinary people and their stories, whose experiences are transferred into various trails shared by travelers.
While he is searching for the right frame, he believes, that art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Perhaps he is lost in Pondicherry or found in Cochin.
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