Professor Douglas, the center’s director, who has spent a major part of his life studying them, has discovered a number of facts. Ordinarily, all of us know that the age of a tree can be calculated from the number of these rings. Every year one new ring is grown; one new layer is made within the tree every year. If the tree is fifty years old, if it has seen fifty autumns, then fifty rings have formed inside the tree. But it is surprising to know that these rings also indicate what sort of seasons there were in a particular year. If the seasons were hotter or wetter than usual, the ring formation is broader. If the seasons were cold and dry, the ring is not so wide. It is possible to know when there were strong rains, when there was drought, and when the seasons were very cold.
If Buddha had said that there was a good rainfall in a particular year, the bodhi tree under which he sat would confirm the truth of it. Buddha might have made a mistake, but the tree could not. The tree ring will be wider or thinner, indicating the type of season that particular year.
While conducting his research, Professor Douglas reached still another conclusion which was far beyond anything he could have anticipated. He observed that the rings are wider every eleventh year – and every eleventh year there is maximum nuclear activity on the sun; the sun becomes more active. It is as if the sun has a periodic rhythm, and its radioactivity is then at a maximum. During such a year a tree makes a wider ring – not in one forest or in one place or country, but all over the Earth all trees behave similarly in order to protect themselves from the intensified radioactivity. To protect itself from the excessive power that is released by the sun, the tree grows a thicker skin every eleventh year.
Due to this phenomenon, scientists coined a new phrase: “global climate.” The seasons are different in different places: it will be raining in one place, cold in another, and hot somewhere else; and the idea of there being a global climate has never existed before. So in referring to the effects of this eleventh year, Professor Douglas coined the term “global climate.” And while we may not notice it, trees do. There is a gradual decrease in the width of the tree rings that are formed after the eleventh year, and after five years there is again a gradual increase in the width up to the eleventh year.
If the trees are so sensitive that they can carefully record an event happening on the sun, then is it not possible that in the mind of man there might also be some layer…that man’s body might have a subtle sensitivity to the sun’s activity that creates ripples in his psyche? Until now scientists have not been able to clearly find any effects in man’s body – yet it seems impossible that the body would not record such activity.
Astrology is an investigation into the possibility that whatever is happening anywhere in the universe also affects man. But it is not as easy to investigate the body of man because it cannot be cut open like a tree. To cut open a human being is a very delicate and dangerous affair. And because man has a mind, it is not the body which registers events in this way but the mind. The tree has no such mind, and so its body has to register the events.