The Symbolism of Leaves

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Spiritual Function

The symbol of the leaf is almost always used in conjunction with the symbols of trees and fruits.  The leaf is meant to symbolize the individual believer within a community.  Sometimes a leaf can be poisoned by a contrary wind.  Other times it can receive a gentle breeze.  But, the relationship between the leaf and the tree is always emphasized.  

It's common for the Baha'i text to refer to it's followers as leaves of a single tree.  This is meant to emphasize unity.  But, their is also a functional relationship between the leaves and the other parts of the tree.  Fruits, flowers and roots all need each other in order to survive. [text] [text] [text]

Trees always have branches.  But, spiritual realities reduce the utility of these branches.  A tree that has achieved spiritual perfection would be without branches.  That tree is Baha'u'llah and all of the dispensations before him. [text]

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Practical Application

If you want to be a good leaf, you must fulfill your obligation to the tree.  Know that you are the only means by witch the tree receives sunlight.  That means that you should always work hard.  The work that you do should always be guided by the word of God.  Also, your efforts should bear fruit for your community as well as yourself. [text] [text] [text]

If you cut a branch off of an actual physical tree, the leaves that were attached to that branch would die.  But, that's where the analogy breaks down.  Spiritual leaves are not attached to anything except God.  As believers we should cut unhealthy branches off of the tree of the world community.  This will keep all of the leaves healthy.  In this case, the unhealthy branches symbolize ideologies that do not adhere to the will of God.  [text] [text]

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Relation to the Sun

All leaves are absorbing the light of the same sun.  Thus, the sun is a force that unifies the leaves.  In fact, most of the other symbols in the garden are being used to unify leaves.  This is particularly true of trees.  It is sometimes true of the wind.  But, the wind can also poison the leaves in some cases. 

If you find yourself feeling like a leaf in the wind, seek unity.  There are a lot of different sources of unity.  Friends family and coworkers can all be a source of unity.  But, the word of God is an immovable source of unity.  That's why it is represented by the sun. [text] [text] [text] [text]

Related Quotes

  • "O people of the world, ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch. Walk with perfect charity, concord, affection, and agreement. I swear by the Sun of Truth, the light of agreement shall brighten and illumine the horizons." Abdu'l-Baha
  • "All men are the leaves and fruit of one same tree, they are all branches of the tree of Adam, they all have the same origin. The same rain has fallen upon them all, the same warm sunmakes them grow, they are all refreshed by the same breeze. The only differences that exist and that keep them apart are these: there are the children who need guidance, the ignorant to be instructed, the sick to be tended and healed" Abdu'l Baha
  • "The leaves are yellowed by the poisoning winds of sedition: Where is the downpour of the clouds of Thy bounty, O Giver of the worlds?"Baha'u'llah

Related Symbols

The Symbolism of Clouds

The Symbolism of the Sun