An excerpt from “The Yoga of Herbs” An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine written by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad
Evolution is a manifestation of latent potentials. Within each thing is contained all things. In the seed is the tree; in the tree is the forest. Therefore, intelligence is contained implicitly in the many worlds of nature, not only in our human-centered world. Another way of saying this is that consciousness exists in all forms of life. It is the very basis of creation, the power of evolution. Life, creation, and evolution are the stages in the unfoldment of consciousness. There is nothing in existence that is unfeeling, nothing that is profane or unspiritual, nothing without a unique value in the cosmos. Life is relational, interdependent, interconnective, a system of mutual nourishment and care, not only physically, but also psychologically and spiritually.
Consciousness, therefore, is not merely a though, much less intellect or reason. It is the feeling of being alive and being related to all life. Consciousness as pure feeling exists already in the plant and is hidden in rock, even within atom itself. Elemental attraction and repulsion are similar to love and hate, like and dislike. For this reason, the ancient seers of India held that the Self alone exists, that unity is the basis of all existence – that the unity of life is the unity of consciousness.
By this they meant that every living thing was sentient, that everthing was, in the sense of consciousness, human. True humanity, which is humane feeling for all life, is at the heart of all life. Plants and animals sometimes show this sense of caring more than certain humans, who have hardened in their isolated sense of humanity. It is only when we come to look upon all things as human that we are capable of a truly human existence. Such a lesson is taught to us by plants and herbs whose existence is still grounded in the unity of nature, through which we may return to understand ourselves better.
Man as microcosm contains within himself all the elemental, mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. Within the plant is the potential of the human being. Conversely, within the human being is the underlying energy structure of the plant. Our nervouse system, it could be said, is a tree whose plant-essence is human. Therefore, plants may communicate directly to that essense of feeling which makes a true human being.
The Plant Kingdom existsto bring feeling into manifestation. On the plant level, feeling exists in a pure and passive form. The animal and human kingdoms manifest this more actively, more separately, but often with less beauty. Consciousness in plants is on a primal level of unity, therefore it is more psychic, telepathic.
Life forms are stations for the reception and transmission of foreces, through which all are nourished. Each thing exists to nourish all others, and, in return, to be nourished itself. In this manner each kingdom of nature serves to receive and transmit life. This life is implicit in light and in the transmission of stellar or astral forces.
The earth, like a gigantic receptor or radio-station, inhales and exhales stellar and cosmic forces, the absorbed essence of which grows and unfolds as life. These forces are not all material, but include subtle energies of an occult or spriritual nature. Plants transmit the vital-emotional impulses, the life-force that is hidden in light. That is the gift, the grace, the power of plants.
Plants bring us the love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of all the stars, of all light. These cosmic energies emanated by plants thus nourish, sustain and make grow our own astral body. In this way the existence of plants is a great offering, a sacrifice. They offer us not only their own nutritive value but the very light and love from the stars, from the cosmos whose messengers they are. They bring to us the universal light so that we can enter the universal life. They exist for psychological, as well as physical nourishment. Our feelings, then, are our own inner plants, our own inner flowers. They grow in accordance with our perception of athe nature of all life.
Creation is light. In the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India, the great god Agni, the principle of Fire, the Divine Seer- Will, builds up the worlds, and makes of all creation a series of self – transformations.
Plants exist to transmute light into life. Human beings exist to transmute life into consciousnesness, love. Thes three – light, life and love – are one, each an expression of the other, three dimensions of the same existence. Plants transmute light into life through photosynthesis. The human being tansmutes life into consciousness through perception. Through direct perception, the seer is the seen, the observer the observed.
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