Perth has been blessed by an exceptional amount of recent rain. Coupled with intermittent days of sunshine, and the scheduled warming of the earth due to Spring, my little garden is waking from Winter slumber with an appealing display of fresh growth.
One of my favourite garden sights is lush new foliage and profuse buds on my rose bushes. Soon they will be bursting forth with fragrant blooms, and I’ll get another chance to cut handsome rose stems, arrange them in vases, and decorate my humble home altar as an offering of love and thanks to their Divine Architect.
The sight and smell of a rose invokes many powerful meditations. When I smell their divine aroma I remember the words of Bhagavad-gita, where Krishna, the Supreme Mystic, reminds us that He Himself is that very fragrance of the earth.
Yet, nothing reminds me more of the transient nature of life than a rose. I often recall the words of Bhaktivinode Thakur, my great-grandfather Spiritual Preceptor, who wrote:
Was man intended to be
A brute in work and heart?
Should man, the Lord of all around,
From common sense depart?
Man’s glory is in common sense
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven’s embrace.
The flesh is not our own alas;
The mortal frame a chain;
The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.
Why then this childish play in that
Which cannot be our own;
Which falls within a hundred years
As if a rose ablown.
Our life is but a rosy hue
To go ere long for naught;
The soul alone would last fore’er
With good or evil fraught.
How deep the thought of times to be!
How grave the aspect looks!
And wrapt in awe become, O, we,
When reading Nature’s books.
(excerted from Sharagrahi Vaishnava, composed in 1874)
When we think of pleasures to come, we often use the phrase ‘the future is rosy’. But, after all, the greenery and hope of Spring is but a temporary show. It looks very pleasant, but we must remember that it will not last. After all, the happiness of life comes (and goes) unannounced and uncalled for, as if not in our hands.
Our determination to avoid distress and enjoy some material happiness, like our smelling the fragrance of a tender, fully-blown rose, really represents no factual gain in life. In due course, the rose shrivels and falls, like this once young and fragrant body.
Our real business in life is to achieve permanent happiness and eternal life, and it is for that purpose only — for our ultimate gain — that we should work.
My Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada wrote in his “Light of the Bhagavata”:
‘We should not try to be beautiful like seasonal flowers or greenery that flourish in the rainy season but are weary in the winter. To be enlivened by the clouds of ignorance overhead and to enjoy the sight of temporary greenery is not at all desirable.
One should try to live in the unlimited clear sky overflooded with the rays of the sun and moon. That is what we actually desire. A life of freedom in eternity, complete knowledge, and a blissful atmosphere is the heart’s desire of an enlightened soul. We should undertake all sorts of penances and austerities to attain that permanent source of happiness.’
Posted by Kurma on 17/9/07; 12:05:20 AM