Once Rishi Narad was going to Devlok (Heaven) to pay his obeisance to the Lord Almighty. On the way, he chanced to see an aged saint doing tapasya under a hoary tree to propitiate God. Rishi Narad asked the aged saint if he had any message to be conveyed to God. The sage said that he had been doing tapasya for the last three lives, and yet God had not manifested to him. He solicited Narad to find out as to when God would reveal to him.
On the way Narad met another saint, a young one, similarly engrossed in tapasya. Narad put the same question to him. And the young saint sent the same message to God. On his return Narad told the aged saint that God would reveal to him after he had planted as many saplings as the leaves of the tree under which he did penance.The divine message annoyed the saint. He abandoned his tapasya and departed in anger.
However, when Narad conveyed the same message to the young saint, he started dancing in joy because God had given him a celestial mission.
The moral: tree plantation is a form of worship. A tree depicts the divine plan. It also depicts the ‘life’ plan as God himself lives in man. There can’t be a better and lovelier poem than a tree. As a poem dwells in beauty, so does a tree dwell in the beauty of nature, and does enhance the beauty of living.
That is why tree worship prevalent in most of the ancient civilizations accentuated tree preservation. The Oak was sacred to the Celts, the Ash to the Scandinavian peoples, the lime-tree in Germany, and the Peepul in India. The concept is already found in the Upanishads, where it is said that the branches of a tree are ether, air, fire, water, and earth, the five elements that constitute a human world. In the Vedas, trees have been classified in accordance with the qualities of gods.
Nature has done her part; it is now our turn to do our duty.