Once upon a time there was a jungle full of animals, birds, plants and trees. And in the middle of this jungle there was a huge and generously large tree. This was a unique tree, as it used to produce all types of fruits. In the summers it would yield mangoes, leeches and sapota, and in the winters its branches would bear apples, oranges, plums and bananas, papayas were available throughout the year.
The jungle was an integral part of a mighty Kingdom called ‘Jeewangarh’. People of the Kingdom used to enjoy the fruits of the tree. The tree was also one of the main sources of survival for the poor in the villages as they not only ate but also sold the fruits to travellers. Children used to climb and play on the tree and used to hang on to her and the tree would feel as if the children were hugging and kissing her.
The people of the kingdom also took great care of the Jungle providing appropriate environment for the tree to grow fresh and tasty fruits. During February and March, the tree also bloomed beautiful flowers.
For these qualities, the people of the Jeewangarh kingdom named the tree as ‘Jeewan’ tree. They called it so, because the tree was the source of their respectful existence and dignified living. For years, the tree sustained the villages around and the Kingdom became very rich. No one begged or slept on an empty stomach. People always stayed healthy, happy and wealthy. Every year the Jeewangarh King observed special celebrations and festivities under the Jeewan tree along with the people of his Kingdom.
One day the King of the Jeewangarh kingdom was invited for hunting by the neighbouring Kingdom called ‘Surajpur’. The Jeewangarh King was very kind and happily accepted the invitation and went hunting. For the first time, the Jeewangarh king left his soldiers and went alone. The King of the Surajpur Kingdom was very jealous of Jeewangarh Kingdom’s health, happiness and most importantly wealth. While hunting, the Surajpur King inquired about the soldiers of the Jeewangarh King. The Jeewangarh King says, ‘I trust you my friend, my soldiers were very tired of the celebration at the jungle and I asked them to stay behind.’ The jealous Surajpur king considering this as a favourable opportunity to take over the Jeewangarh Kingdom, shoots an arrow at the Jeewangarh King.
The Jeewangarh King falls down, the Surajpur King commands his soldiers to arrest him and install the flag of Surajpur Kingdom at the Jeewangarh Kingdom palace. Soon the Surajpur King arrives at the Jeewangarh palace to live in it. The Jeewangarh palace was not only huge and beautiful but was equipped with all sorts of advanced comforts. The palace had its own huge garden with a variety of flowers, a separate garden for medicinal plants and vegetables too.
After the Surajpur King starts living in the Jeewangarh palace, he realises how great the palace is. One day he decides to go hunting in the jungle of Jeewangarh Kingdom. He reaches the jungle along with his soldiers. But as they were new to this jungle, after a little while they lost their way and the Surajpur King was left alone. After hours of wandering the Surajpur King reaches the Jeewan tree. He was so tired and thirsty that he plucked a fruit from the tree, ate it and slept under the shade of the tree. His soldiers who were searching for him, soon find him resting under the tree. They also pluck a few fruits and eat and feel rejuvenated.
Soon the King gets up and they all return back to the Jeewangarh palace. Since it was dark and late the King eats his dinner and goes to sleep. Next day in the morning, he calls for ‘Balram’, one of the faithful ministers of the Jeewangarh Kingdom and asks him about the ‘Jeewan Tree’. The faithful minister who was still sad and fearful of the arrest of his Jeewangarh King, feels better to talk about one of the treasures of the Kingdom with pride and happiness. He shares about virtues the tree and tells how it has kept the Kingdom flourishing over the years. He says, ‘The tree is the lifeline of the Kingdom and is an integral part of the Kingdom’s wellbeing and growth.’ He tells the Surajpur King how the people from the surrounding villages benefit from it and how it adds to the Kingdom’s wealth.
After listening to the minister, the Surajpur king commands his soldiers to uproot the tree from the middle of the jungle at once and plant it in the garden of the Jeewangarh Palace. The minister standing next to the King immediately interrupts and suggests the King to not do so as it may result in adverse effects and the Kingdom might suffer bad impacts. The Surajpur King rudely shouts back at the minister to ‘Shut up’, and then shrewdly says, ‘The tree belongs to the King of the Kingdom and if anyone is to be benefitted by the tree it would be the King only, and then the Kingdom will be blessed by the King.’
The soldiers immediately get into action and go to the jungle and start digging the roots of the tree. The people of the surrounding villages seeing this, beg them not to do so. The soldiers push them back and shout at them, ‘Move back you all! We are doing this on the command of the King.’ People immediately rush to the Jeewangarh palace to plead with the King to take back his command and not to uproot the Jeewan Tree. The King makes them wait for hours in the vicinity of the palace and then meets them from the balcony of the palace. People cry and with folded hands beg to the King, ‘The great King, under whom the Kingdom comes, we humbly plead you to not uproot the tree from the jungle, it is an integral part of the jungle and our lives.’ The King, polite in his gesture and clever in his tone tells the people ‘Dear people, you all are so innocent, the jungle belongs to the Kingdom and don’t you know if the King will profit the Kingdom will prosper’, saying that he turns his back on them and goes inside the palace.
All the helpers and soldiers of the palace looked at the plight of the people with sorrow but couldn’t do anything. They remembered their Jeewangarh King, who was no more among them, but who had always thought for them with a kind heart. They all return back silently and, on their way out, they see the soldiers carrying the Jeewan tree inside the palace to plant it in the garden of the palace. Next day when the King gets up, he sees the Jeewan Tree right in the middle of his garden. He feels proud and happy that now he has the lifeline of the Kingdom in his control and that he has the authority over it.
In the coming days miraculously, the tree starts blooming again and produced fruits and flowers adding to the wealth of the Surajpur King. Back in the villages many people started sleeping on empty stomach and few even died of extreme hunger. Many people lost their livelihoods. The travellers who used to buy their fruits were now buying them at higher cost. Many of them did not even stop for any sort of purchases which used to add money to the poor pockets. The children were missing climbing the tree and hugging and kissing it. The condition of the people started becoming bad to worse. More people were falling sick. People were struggling to keep up their health. The environment of the jungle was void and everyone felt the absence of the Jeewan Tree. Beautiful migrant birds missed the big tree for resting while flying over the boundaries. The jungle started crying, the plants, animals, birds etc. In the flower garden of the Jeewangarh palace the beautiful flowers started dying and along with them the medicinal plants and for months the gardeners were not able to grow good quality vegetables.
Down the months, the financial advisors were happily sharing the profits they had made by selling the products of the Jeewan Tree. They started criticised the low production by the gardeners for flowers, medicinal plants and vegetables. The treasurer of the Surajpur King says, ‘These people do not appear to work as hard now and it’s time for them to be replaced, their productivity has gone down.’ To this the King replied, ‘So I was thinking, their faithfulness has been arrested just as their King in the captivity.’ He then orders, ‘The new gardeners be appointed and these old unproductive creatures should be sent to their faithful King in the prison.’ The gardeners pleaded before the Surajpur King, but he turned a deaf ear to them. New gardeners are appointed. They were given the task to bring back the lost glory of the garden. The new gardeners went around the palace; but they had no idea about the ‘Jeewan Tree’, planted in the middle of the garden.
After spending a few days going around they realise that the shadow from a huge tree in the middle is blocking the sunlight to reach the plants below. It had been months that the plants and soil have received adequate sunlight. Sunlight is so important for the growth of the plants moreover it is making the garden look gloomy. The new gardeners meet the king in his court and convey the faulty plantation of the tree and say, ‘Your highness, the tree is in the wrong place. It is blocking the sunlight to reach the plants on the ground, but we can cut the branches to shape the tree and allow the sunlight to reach the ground.’ The Surajpur king listens to them and says, ‘Do as you feel like, but the tree should remain.’ The gardeners start the work and start trimming the branches of the tree. This though makes it look very small and different but allows the sunlight to reach to every corner of the garden. The garden started looking beautiful as before in a month’s time, but the tree started dying.
In the next financial meeting, the treasurer updates the King of the low income and no profits that the Kingdom has made. On the other side people have started dying of hunger and bad health. People have no jobs and travellers are diverting their routes. The advisor of the King says, ‘It’s no longer worthy to keep the Jeewangarh Kingdom under our authority, if we continue to do so then we may need to empty the treasures of Surajpur Kingdom to feed and take care of these parasites’. The Surajpur King, fears a little bit and then decides to call off the meeting.
That night there was lot of chaos in the palace and everyone from soldiers to helpers in the palace had no idea of what was going on. It was only after midnight that the things began to calm down and everyone went to sleep. Next day, early in the morning when everyone got up, they realise the palace was all empty from inside and the Surajpur King and His ministers were absent. All the expenses and belongings of the palace were missing or stolen.
Soon the minister Balraam realises that the Surajpur King ran away seeing the crisis around. They happily shout, ‘Let us release the King, our King, the Jeewangarh King, the great King of the great Kingdom Jeewangarh’. Saying this they rush towards the prison and find their King, the few ministers and the gardeners chained in the prison. They release them, bring them to the King’s room and nurse them to good health.
The Jeewangarh King takes a few hours to come to his strength and notices the tree in the garden and enquires about it. Minister Balraam tells him the entire story. Without any further delay the King calls for a meeting and orders for the relief work for the poor dying of hunger and poverty. He commands his soldiers to plant the tree back in the jungle. The soldiers immediately obey the King and start work. As the soldiers went about carrying the tree back, the people of the kingdom enquired about it and came to know that their great, kind and merciful Jeewangarh King has been released from captivity and has taken over again. People feel relieved and assist the soldiers in planting the tree back with great care. By the end of the day the relief work was started and the tree was planted back in its original place.
After a month, even though the condition of the people started improving as they were receiving the supplies from the King’s treasure with whatever was available but the tree was not blooming. People brought this to the notice of the King and the King requested the people to take care of the tree, sing songs to the tree and nurse the tree with love and care. Children started hugging and kissing the tree. They kept doing it continuously for months. People felt very hopeful and were getting back their health and then one day they noticed the branches had started blooming with leaf buds. The tree had started blooming and after a few months the tree was full of flowers and fruits. The tree came back to life and brought everyone back to their life. The ‘Jeewan Tree’ re-started the Life (Jeewan) of the Kingdom. People started eating the fruits of the tree and used it for their livelihood. Travellers returned back and started taking the old route to buy the fruits. The Glory of the Jeewangarh Kingdom was restored. The King felt happy and realised his mistake of going without his trusted soldiers. He apologised to the people of his Kingdom and announced the festival of the new beginning of life.