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The Four Princes and the Semal Tree

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This story is a sweet reminder for me to wait before responding—to look for and consider other perspectives of a situation. The story also helps me to understand why we have different experiences. The tree was always the same tree; bringing the brothers’ individual perspectives together allowed them to have a whole understanding of what the tree looked like in its different stages. Likewise, when I hold the awareness that there is a gem in each perspective, it helps me to see the whole.

South Yarra, Australia

The focus in this story on the natural sequence of life stages that the semal tree goes through inevitably reminded me of all the life stages that I have already gone through, and the fact that I am approaching the last decades of my life. Given that reality, I was grateful to also be reminded that no matter the life stage, my deepest identity is as the changeless, eternal Self.

The story, and the shares below it, also reminded me that I have the power to decide how to perceive a given situation, even if my initial response is on the negative side. This was timely, since I had recently allowed some new health issues to weaken my equilibrium and to cloud my perspective. Inspired by this story, I have now resolved to see these issues as a blessing, and to give thanks for all the skilled and compassionate help I have already received in addressing them—and for the Guru's grace that never leaves me.

Oregon, United States

I was profoundly moved by this tale as it invigorated my understanding that the source—the tree—represents the essence of the immutable Self. The experiences that the princes had reminded me that nothing is eternal, not even good or bad times, such as the change of a season.
In any case, it is important for me to fathom that in every life interaction, I can stay connected to my higher Self by remaining deeply rooted in my spiritual practices—and by bringing the constant practice of detachment to my daily observing of unique life experiences. In my contemplation, I perceived that the Siddha Gurus of the Siddha Yoga lineage can be viewed as a steady tree that remains the witness, totally unaffected by external mutability.

The Houghton, South Africa

For me every posting and teaching on the Siddha Yoga path website is like the semal tree. How deeply I go into each one by studying, practicing, and assimilating it depends upon my yearning to understand its true essence. Like the king, the father of the four princes, Shri Guru’s grace opens me to grasp the fuller truth of each teaching.
I also usually read and contemplate almost all the shares below a posting, because they help me get a clearer and more complete understanding of the teachings in that posting.

Udaipur, India

I am always so grateful to Gurumayi for these stories that illustrate a universal truth. This story reminded me that when things appear difficult in my life, it always helps to remember that this is just the perspective I have at that moment. Even later on the same day my perceptions may completely change, but I can always know that I, the Guru, and the rest of the world are all part of the Self.

Hawaii, United States

As I read this story twice, I understood that just as the seasons change, our lives are also changing. Not every time period is the same; happiness and sorrow come into our life one by one, like brothers. I have to accept both of them because each one comes to teach me something. I can see that just like a steady semal tree, my soul—my true Self—is always present and my task is to turn within toward it.

Allahabad, India

My favourite "semal tree" experience relates to the golden column of light within. I had never seen it—or so I thought. One evening in meditation, I prayed to have a vision of the golden column. Then I heard a kindly, loving voice tell me, "You do see the golden column of light. But to you, it looks like this." And a heart shape appeared in my vision.
Some time later, I started to wonder about experiences of Kundalini Shakti that I thought I did not have. The same voice gently informed me that I do have experiences of Kundalini. It said, “She appears to you as this: a rainbow.”

Sydney, Australia

I am grateful for this lovely story with the beautiful illustrations. I work with the elderly, and this story reminds me to recognize in each person— despite the outer appearance of age—their inner Self, always youthful, and full of wonder, joy, and enthusiasm.

California, United States

Reflecting on this story, I see that my life over the years has taken different forms, like the tree changing in appearance over the seasons. Nevertheless, deep inside myself, I always remain the Self and that’s what I really am. The So’ham mantra continually keeps me reminded of this Truth.
Like the father of the four sons, the Guru made me aware of this unchanging and eternal identity.

Rodez, France

The seasonal changes seen in the outward appearance of the beautiful semal tree remind me of the "stages of life" that we as humans also go through. Each stage of our human life is filled with new responsibility, new purpose, and a new external appearance, while all along we continue to be guided by our beloved Gurumayi' s grace as we make our own effort and our own choices.

Nairobi, Kenya

Reading this story reminds me that although outer appearances will change, what matters for me is the grace, love, and teachings of the Guru. These will never change.

Washington, USA

This story is making me even more aware and appreciative of the striking beauty I see in nature at this time of year. I’m delighting especially in the soft, light-green leaves on the trees as they are appearing and transforming before my eyes.
The depiction of nature’s constant cycle of growth and transformation in the story reminds me that I too am growing and transforming—and yet, at my core, I’m the same as I’ve always been. It’s wonderful to remember that my own true nature hasn’t changed. No matter what the season may be, I can return to it and count on it.

Ohio, USA

This story is such a beautiful way to communicate the important message that, despite our outward differences, the same Self dwells in all of us.
I am looking forward to sharing this story with my six-year-old son tonight at bedtime. He's always excited to listen to new stories.
Thank you, Gurumayi, for this wonderful story and for your everlasting love.

Pune, India

This story reminds me that we each have our own unique perspective, vantage point, and experience-- even when it seems that we are all seeing or doing the same thing. I was inspired that the princes assumed their brothers were telling the truth and there must be some other explanation for why they had such different perceptions. I want to remember these reflections to help me consider other people's perspectives with more respect and awareness. 

Minnesota, USA