Chapter 8

To Manly P. Hall, founder and president of the Philosophical Research Society of Los Angeles and a student of comparative religion, mythology, and esoterica, [Luther] Burbank revealed that when he wanted his plants to develop in some particular and peculiar way not common to their kind he would get down on his knees and talk to them. Burbank also mentioned that plants have over twenty sensory perceptions but, because they are different than ours, we cannot recognize them. “He was not sure,” wrote Hall, “that the shrubs and flowers understood his words, but he was convinced that by some telepathy, they could comprehend his meaning.”

Hall later confirmed what Burbank told the famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, about his development of the spineless cactus, a years-long procedure during which Burbank at first had to pull thousands of cactus thorns from his hands with pliers, though in the end the cacti grew without thorns. “While I was conducting my experiments with cacti,” said Burbank, “I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. ‘You have nothing to fear,’ I would tell them. ‘You don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.’ ” Burbank’s power of love, reported Hall, “greater than any other, was but a subtle kind of nourishment that made everything grow better and bear fruit more abundantly. Burbank explained to me that in all his experimentation he took plants into his confidence, asked them to help, and assured them that he held their small lives in deepest regard and affection.