Rumi & the Tree of Life
Via Masnavi Rumi Poetry --
On seeking the tree whereof none that eats the fruit shall die.
From Rumi's Masnavi Book 2: 62, The search for the Tree of Life.
"A learned man once said, for the sake of telling a story, “In India there is a certain tree: Who so takes and eats of its fruit, he grows not old nor ever dies.” A king heard this tale from a veracious person: he became a lover of the tree and its fruit. From the Divan of culture he sent an intelligent envoy to India in search of it.
3645. For (many) years his envoy wandered about India in quest (of the tree)...
3670. You have gone after the form, you have gone astray: you canst not find (it) because you have abandoned the reality. Sometimes it is named ‘tree,’ sometimes ‘sun’; sometimes it is named ‘sea,’ sometimes ‘cloud.’ (It is) that one (thing) from which a hundred thousand effects arise: its least effects are everlasting life. Although (in essence) it is single, it has a thousand effects: innumerable names befit (may be properly applied to) that one (thing). One person may be father in relation to you; in regard to another individual he may be son.
3675. In regard to another he may be wrath and a foe; in regard to another he may be graciousness and a friend. (He has) hundreds of thousands of names, (but) he is one man: the owner of every quality belonging to him is blind to (incapable of) giving any (true) description (of him).
Whoever seeks the (mere) name, if he is entrusted (with a confidential mission) he is hopeless and in distraction, even as you art. Why do you stick to the name ‘tree,’ so that you art left bitterly disappointed and ill-fortuned? Pass on from the name and look at the attributes, in order that the attributes may show you the way to the essence.”
3680. The disagreement of mankind is caused by names: peace ensues when they advance to the reality (denoted by the name).