Paramhansa Yogananda dedicated his autobiography to Luther Burbank, whom he called an American saint, and tells a beautiful story of how Burbank developed a spineless cactus through the persuasive force of love, gently talking to the plants, “You have nothing to fear. You don’t need your defensive thorns. I will protect you.” Seeing this miraculous demonstration of the horticulturist’s art, Yogananda asked for cuttings of that plant to take back to his garden at Mt. Washington in Los Angeles.
For many years that cactus grew without spines but one night, after Master’s passing, vandals broke into the grounds and beat the cactus with sticks. Amazingly, the cactus started growing spines once again.
Seeing this, the monks and nuns began to give the cactus focused attention and love, reassuring it that it was safe and protected. Slowly, the cactus dropped its newly developed spines.