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The Divine Gardener

A young boy, on his way to school, would cross a beautiful garden everyday. The garden was home to the choicest variety of the most exquisite flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Apart from the visual scenery, there was something very captivating about the garden. An aura of selfless love and bliss enveloped the entire ambience; the place was as if paradise on earth, a place embodying the very definition of peace. The matchless beauty mesmerized the little ones heart. With each passing day his curiosity grew exponentially. Unlike other kids, he did not want to play in the garden; rather, his only desire was to discover the person behind all this beauty.

One day he left for school much earlier than his usual time and hid behind the bushes, curiously expecting someone to show up. Within a few minutes, an elderly man, all frail and gray, slowly walked out of a nearby house. His gentle mannerism, peaceful smile, and loving countenance reminded the lad of his own grandfather. The old man walked very slowly, as if avoiding the careless trampling of small bushes and insects across the path. No sooner had he entered the garden, he began his work.

His wrinkled hands carefully plucked out the weeds, watered the plants, reinforced plant supports, and performed all that was required to maintain the place. After a few hours of toiling, a divine radiance lit his face and he looked at his creation with utmost satisfaction. As he walked through the garden, he gently touched all the plants and lovingly spoke to them in a language that the boy could not comprehend. Once his work was done, the man sat on a stone, quietly observing the garden from afar. Within minutes the boy realized they were not alone. Butterflies swarmed to the flowers in their quest for nectar. Birds and animals of all sorts came to the garden, each to fulfill its own needs. Even humans enjoyed rest under the shade of trees. Seeing all this, the elderly man shed tears of joy.

By now the boy had forgotten all about school. At the sight of an old man in tears, the compassionate youngster could hold it no longer. He accosted the gardener, saying, Sir, why do you cry? Are you sad because so many people visit your garden? Or, are you afraid they will spoil all your hard work? The old man slowly lifted his head and wiped his tears to get a clear view of the little questioner. No, my child. These are tears of joy, replied the gardener, I feel great joy when I see so many souls reaping the benefits of my work. He continued: I get inspired by God. The Lord has planted all of us in this garden called earth. With great care, He removes the weeds (of hatred, desire, and ignorance), clearing our path for growth; waters us (with His infinite grace); distributes sunshine (the warmth of His love); and takes great care to ensure our continued spiritual growth. After doing this work everyday, just like me, He sits and watches us with great joy. He is eagerly waiting for us to become like the flowers that share nectar with unknown butterflies (share our love and bliss with fellow-beings) or like the fruits and vegetables that satisfy the hunger of many (selfless sharing with the needy) or like the trees that give shade, protecting all from the scorching sun (being compassionate and helpful to the suffering souls). God experiences even more joy when little ones like you make an attempt to see the power behind all this creation. He knows that you are hiding in the bushes of this world, trying to get a glimpse of His reality. He is anxiously waiting for you to trust Him enough to come out of the thick bushes of worldly desire and speak to Him the way you would to your own.

The old man stopped speaking to look at the little boy, who was now in tears. The gentle gardener lifted the little one and placed him on his lap, wiping the tears that covered his beautiful blue eyes. Bliss permeated the environment, as if their selfless love and mutual admiration had made a deep impact on Mother Nature. Hours had passed and it was now time for the boy to return home to his anxious mother. The lad gave a big hug to his new teacher and bade goodbye, promising to return for more.

An illuminating glow shone on the boys face as he recollected the teachings imparted by his gentle benefactor. He smiled at the thought that although he had missed school that day, he had learned lessons that he would remember for the rest of his life.

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