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Discipleship in the New Age I - Personal Instructions to Disciples - C.D.P.
MY GARDEN

By C. D. P.

In the Himalayan Mountains, I seemed to see a high and fair plateau. A winding road leads up to it from the valley beneath. Mountains look down upon the plateau from the east and west, lower mountains to the north, and a steep slope to the south, with the path to the valley. [528]

This beautiful land in the high, bright air, has been made into a garden with walls - oriental walls - fourteen feet high, with, in each corner, a Chinese-looking little minaret. A stream runs the entire length of this garden, from east to west; it comes in and goes out of the garden through arches in the walls, where there are iron grilles. Above these grilled arches, supported upon short stone beams projecting from the wall, are two narrow, stone-and-wood Chinese-curved bridges, backing on the wall, and with a latticed hand-rail on the side towards the stream. The gate to this garden is in the middle of the north wall - one of the long sides - the garden being more long than square. When one approaches the gate from outside, one sees written over it the words Peace, Rest, Service. It is an arched gate set into the thickness of the wall. A bell-rope leads to a bell hung in the arch. There is also a light, which shines at dusk, on the three words.

On being admitted, one steps inside, onto a path in the green lawn which slopes a very little towards the stream. Twenty feet down this path, on either side of it, is a flowering apple tree, the branches touching. A border of red peonies extends east and west from the apple tree, for about fifteen feet, ending, each in a red rose bush, a most fragrant rose. The path continues down the slightly sloping green lawn to the stream, which is about fifteen feet wide, and has rocks and ferns, depths and shallows. Butterflies and birds fly over it, and stepping-stones cross it at this place.

The stepping-stones over the stream lead to a path which wanders towards a pagoda of Chinese design, large, and with open sides. A circular table of some Indian wood is in the center of the pagoda - and upon it a statue of Buddha faces the entrance. Before the Buddha is a carved wooden bowl lined with silver and containing water, on which floats a single white lotus.

There are brackets in the open sides of the pagoda, containing sweet-smelling flowers, mignonette and heliotrope. There is a circular seat around the wall, and rugs of some eastern grass on the floor. On either side of the entrance there are panels with shelves, containing scrolls and occult manuscripts for reference. Just outside are  four beautiful spruce trees, two [529] on each side of the doorway, and firs and pines continue to the back of the pagoda, and go down the entire length of the long south walk, forming a plantation about twenty-five feet wide, including native mountain trees, and our dogwood and small oaks. There is a path through this plantation, which is full of ferns, rocks and wood flowers. Between two rocks is a spring. It is a place of repose and peace for those who love the woods. Although one cannot see the lawn, one can come out on it when one wishes, over the pine-needles and moss, leaving behind the cool shade, and the birds and shy, small creatures - who sometimes follow - and then one sees, a few feet away, midway between the woods and the stream, a long flower border set right in the lawn, and containing every flower one ever loved! They are of every color and every fragrance, except that red is not predominant, because of the red peonies and rose bushes across the stream.

Towards the western end of the lawn, a little beyond where the flower border ends, a lone oak tree seems to have marched out on the grass for a Druidic purpose of its own, a shapely young tree, taller than those in the wood. There is a bench beneath it.

Not far off, between the oak tree and the stream, there is a lotus pool, embedded in boulders and large flat rocks, like some of the rocks along the stream's edge and in the woods.

The lotus pool is kept replenished by water piped from the spring in the woods. Seated on these rocks one looks over and down about a foot or two, and sees these beautiful lotuses of different colors.

But the two ends of the garden are the real beauty spots - the eastern end, on both banks of the stream, being a mass of roses, beds branching out from the stream in the form of wings, going as far up as the narrow, hidden path along the eastern wall, so that one, standing on the curved stone bridge (at either end of which are feathery clumps of waving pampas grasses), looks down on seraphs' wings of glorious roses, shaded from faintest rose to golden yellow. At the western end of the garden the seraphs' wings are of lilies, from the purple of the iris to the radiant white of the Madonna lily. The shrubbery at the ends of the western bridge are "yellow bush" and lilacs. A fine [530] green vine runs all over the wall here, where, at the other end, it is rambling roses. These seraph-wing rose and lily beds, though large, do not extend into the corners of the two ends of the garden; trees are there, spruce, pine and Japanese yews; more plentiful in the southwest corner, as they form the beginning of the woods. In the northwest corner there are three tall yews, only - and the same in the corner to the northeast. The southeast corner is filled by the pagoda, with the woods behind it and the spruce trees to right and left, in front. Across the stream from the pagoda, in the middle of the lawn (the eastern line of the peonies and the red rose bush not being very far away), is a circular stone seat, called the Disciples' Seat. It has a small willow tree and two short copper beeches behind it, and has an English box bush at either end. In front of it is a natural rock, of chair shape and height, where the Master sits to talk to the Disciples.

When one stands on the path and looks towards the entrance gate, one sees fruit trees, en espalier on the wall to the right, peaches and nectarines - and on the wall to the left, vines of white and of purple grapes. A narrow path runs the length of the wall. To the left on the lawn is a rustic, moss-covered well-house, enclosed by bushes of sweet shrub and white lilac, behind and at the sides, certain small shade-loving flowers, a very few lilies-of-the-valley, here and there a fern.

There is a small, graveled space in the front of the well - it contains a rustic table, where the grapes and fruit are brought to be arranged in flat baskets, to be sent down the mountain, by donkeys, in care of those who have the right to be admitted to the garden, to the ill and weary in the town below. (Old Aleck, a saintly old gardener, these many years dead, may be one who helps with this work. I do not know!) The well water is very cold, - a bucket is always ready for the descent. I believe this water has the property of giving one greater vision. It is pure joy to offer it to the thirsty and weary, and each day, among the souls arriving, there is a different well-keeper, always one who has had a glimpse of the vision.

I believe this is the picture of my garden!

As you can see, it is a magical garden, for all the flowers bloom all the time, and of course there are many in that long [531] flower border that I have not mentioned, only to say that all the flowers one ever loved were there, - but I have planted dahlias, for childhood memory, canterbury bells, pinks, phlox, small chrysanthemums, platycondon, evening primrose - still memory! - sweet geranium, lavender, lemon verbena, sweet alyssum, old-fashioned roses, day lilies, tiger lilies (in spite of my rose and lily beds to the east and west!) and in the stream is growing mint, near the western exit, and other water-loving herbs. But I think every brother who enters this garden sees his own favorite flowers, - I want to think so.

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