father, however, was quite wise. One
day he gathered the three sons together and took them
into the backyard. He pointed to a small sprout coming
up out of the ground. He told one of his sons,
�Uproot that sprout.� The son looked surprised at
the order, but he reached down and pulled the seedling
easily out of the ground. Then, the father pointed to
a small bush growing by the side of the garden.
�Pull up this bush,� the father told his second
son. The bush was not huge, but still its roots were
firm in the ground. The son had to reach his arms
around the bush and pull hard to uproot it. Finally he
succeeded and showed his father the empty hole in the
earth where the bush had once grown.
the father pointed to a large tree.
He ordered his last son, the biggest and
strongest of all: �Uproot this tree.�
The son looked at his father in dismay. �But
Father,� he said. �You know one can not just
uproot a tree with one�s bare hands.� The father
insisted. �Just try it. You are strong.� So the
youth pulled and pulled with all his might. But the
tree did not even budge. His brothers came to help
him. Together they pulled and pulled and pulled until
their faces were red and hot and their arms ached.
But, still the tree did not move at all.
Finally, they gave up.
said the father. �When something is new, barely a
sapling, it is easy to uproot. But, let it grow into a
tree with its roots firmly in the ground and you will
never be able to pull it up again. It is the same with
your drugs and alcohol and reckless ways. Abandon them
now when they are saplings and small bushes. You will
have to work only a little. But, do not be ignorant or
over-confident and let them grow their roots into you,
or you will never be able to rid yourself of them.
our lives we frequently put off ending our bad habits
until �tomorrow.� We will start a new diet
�tomorrow.� We will begin to exercise
�tomorrow.� We will stop eating meat and other
non-veg products �tomorrow.� We will end the
relationship which we know is not right for us
�tomorrow.� However, unfortunately �tomorrow�
rarely comes and if it does, it is frequently too
is said beautifully:
thought, reap an action.
action, reap a habit.
habit, reap a trait.
trait, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
must never allow ourselves to entertain a wrong
thought for even a minute. Send it out of your mind
like you swat a fly in the house! Nor must we allow
ourselves to engage in actions which we know are wrong
for even a moment. Before the moment is over, our
actions will have become habits. We must guard our
destiny and therefore our characters like a vigilant
guard protects a castle, allowing no mischievous
intruders to enter.
it is not only bad habits which we must uproot, it is
also our ego.
yagna one of the most beautiful meanings relates to
our own egos. Our egos are also like the seed of a
tree � if we water it, nourish it and let it grow,
it will dig its roots into us and be nearly impossible
to uproot later. One of the key messages of a
spiritual path is to annihilate the ego, to become
humble, to surrender oneself to God. However, if the
ego�s roots have a tenacious grip on us, it is very
difficult to be free.
if one roasts a seed before planting it, then no
matter how much it is nourished or watered, it will
never grow. Therefore
we offer the �seed� of our ego to God in the
Yagna, so that He may burn our ego, so that no matter
how much it is watered and nourished by the praise,
glory and success we achieve in life, it will never be
able to grow and grip our lives.