An interesting excerpt from Rajiv Malhotra’s book Being Different:
In the West, the forest is often seen as a place of chaos, confusion and bewilderment; it is the ‘dark wood’ of Dante, the place where ‘the straight way is lost’).109 The desert is the place of illumination, where truth in all its black-and-white absolutism and starkness is revealed. It is also empty, barren and flat. In contrast, the forest in Dharmic traditions is a place of refuge, hospitality and profound spiritual inspiration.
Sri Aurobindo uses a forest analogy to show some essential differences between Indian and Western spiritual philosophy:
The endless variety of Indian philosophy and religion seems to the European mind interminable, bewildering, wearisome, and useless; it is unable to see the forest because of the richness and luxuriance of its vegetation; it misses the common spiritual life in the multitude of its forms. But this infinite variety is itself, as Vivekananda pertinently pointed out, a sign of a superior religious culture. The Indian mind has realized that the Supreme is the Infinite; it has perceived, right from its Vedic beginnings, that to the soul in Nature the Infinite must always present itself in an endless variety of aspects.