Mustard seeds of the various mustard plants are among
the smallest of seeds. The seeds are about 1mm in
diameter, larger than seeds of poppy, columbine, potulaca,
dandelion, and many thousands of other plants. Mustard
seeds may be colored from yellowish white to black. They
are important spices in many regional cuisines. The seeds
can come from three different plants: black mustard (Brassica
nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white
mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba).
Earliest reference to
mustard in India is from the story of Buddha in 5th
century BCE. Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving
mother (Kisa Gotami) and the mustard seed. When a mother
loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to
find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of
mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child,
husband, parent or friend. When the mother is unable to
find such a house in her village, she realizes that death
is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief.
The Buddha also stated that if an individual were to
pick a single mustard seed,every hundred years from a
7mile cube worth of mustard seeds, then by the time the
last seed is picked, the age of the world cycle would
still continue.If a mustard seed is 3mm in diameter, then
taking one seed every 100 years from a 7mile cube of
seeds, takes 1.265 sextillion years!
The French have used mustard seeds as a spice since 800
AD, and it was amongst spices taken by the Spanish on
explorations throughout the fifteenth century.
Quran, Allah states that the scales of justice will be
established on the Day of Judgement, and no soul will
suffer the least injustice. Even the equivalent of a
mustard seed will be accounted for because God is the most
Jewish texts compare the knowable universe to the size
of a mustard seed to demonstrate the world's
insignificance and to teach humility. The great Jewish
philosopher, Nahmanides, mentions that the universe
expanded from the time of its creation, in which it was
the size of a mustard seed.
In the Christian New Testament, the mustard seed is
used by Jesus in the parable of the Mustard Seed as a
model for the kingdom of God which initially starts small
but grows to be the biggest of all garden plants. Faith is
also spoken about in the context of a mustard seed.
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