Meaning: noun: The silk cotton tree.
ਸਿੰਮਲ ਰੁਖੁ ਸਰਾਇਰਾ ਅਤਿ ਦੀਰਘ ਅਤਿ ਮੁਚੁ॥ ਓਇ ਜਿ ਆਵਹਿ ਆਸ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਨਿਰਾਸੇ ਕਿਤੁ॥
siṁmal rukh saraairaa at deeragh at much. oi ji aavahi aas kar jaahi niraase kit.
The silk cotton tree is straight as an arrow, very tall and very thick. Then, why do those birds, which visit it hopefully, depart disappointed? – Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 470
Message: Taking the birds’ viewpoints as an example the Guru says: A Simmal tree is as straight as an arrow, very tall and thick. But the birds which come to sit on it return disappointed. Why? Because its fruits are tasteless, its flowers are nauseating, and its leaves are useless for the birds. What use is its height and thickness then, if it is not of any use to anyone? Are not those trees better, which are low and small, yet bear beautiful flowers and sweet fruits?
Are we like a Simmal tree? Being tall (mighty and good looking) or having many possessions or good name, does not necessarily make us virtuous and good humans. What matters are, our thoughts and actions or deeds. Sweetness lies in being humble. Humility is the essence of all merits. But humility needs to be sincere and not contrived.
ਸਿੰਮਲ ਰੁਖੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਮੈ ਮੈਜਨ ਦੇਖਿ ਭੁਲੰਨਿ॥ ਸੇ ਫਲ ਕੰਮਿ ਨ ਆਵਨੀ ਤੇ ਗੁਣ ਮੈ ਤਨਿ ਹੰਨਿ॥
My body is like the Simmal tree, seeing me, other people are fooled just as seeing the Simmal tree, the parrots are fooled. As the fruits of Simmal are useless, so are the qualities of my body. – Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 729
The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm. – Confucius
The Oak and The Reeds
A giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song.
“You have reason to complain,” said the Oak. “The slightest breeze that ruffles the surface of the water makes you bow your heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the howling tempest.”
“Do not worry about us,” replied the Reeds. “The winds do not harm us. We bow before them and so we do not break. You, in all your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But the end is coming.”
As the Reeds spoke, a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds. (fablesofaesop.com/the-tree-and-the-reed.html)
Never let your failures go to your heart or your successes go to your head. – Soichiro Honda, a Japanese engineer and industrialist, 1906 -1961
Etymology: From Sanskrit salmali (the silk cotton tree) and simbala (flower or fruit of some plant) → Pali simbali → Prakrit siṁbali → Punjabi sambal/simmal.