(used under the Creative Commons Attribution licence 2.0)
I have just found this incredibly beautiful parable at http://parables.swami-center.org/ © Vladimir Antonov, 2010. This material may be reproduced with a reference to the author and to his site.
Parable about the Golden Flower, the River of Love, and the Immortal Gardener
Many legends were composed about the mystery of the Flower of Heart. Some legends call it the Flower of Life; some speak about it as about the Golden Flower, others assert that it is the Flower of Immortality. All these names are not casual: they reflect the blissful aroma of this Flower and lift slightly a veil of the mystery which surrounds it…
… Once there was a man who lived in a small valley hidden in the mountains. He lived easily and lightly! Many people called him saint; others called him monk; the others called him the Enlightened.
Yet he neither spoke nor thought about himself in that way.
Sometimes he called himself a gardener, although he did not have a garden. He cultivated just one single flower: the Golden Flower of Spiritual Heart, the Flower which grants Immortality.
This man lived simply. He lived and rejoiced at the existence that he contemplated! He was a friend with the mountains where he lived, with the winds which passed over his small valley, with the grasses and flowers which bloomed there in spring and beautified his abode during the summer. He was a friend with the stars which smiled at him at night, and with the sun which shone during the day. He was a friend even with the clouds and snows which covered his dwelling place in late autumn and in cold winter.
Sometimes animals or birds came to him; they were his friends. Sometimes people who needed help and healing visited him. And he helped them all; he never refused to help anybody.
He lived for a long, long time. But one day his Flower was grown and it was time for him to leave; he went to the other Immortals and became the Gardener Who sows seeds and cultivates shoots which produce new Golden Flowers.
And he left for people the memory of the Golden Flower which grants Immortality, and of the Source of the River of Love which flows and nourishes growing Flowers.
… The mystery of the Golden Flower attracted people. They climbed the mountains to find the Flower of Immortality. They found different flowers there, tore them off mercilessly and made powders and tinctures, decoctions and ointments… But those potions could not make them Immortal...
Others believed that magical power was hidden in the roots. And they dug them out and killed in vain those gentle creatures…
Nobody succeeded in finding the Golden Flower. And its mystery remained unsolved…
… But once a young man came to that place. His beloved was seriously ill. He was told that she was dying. Yet one healer said him that she will recover from her illness if the man gives her the Flower of Life.
The young man went to the mountains and found there a beautiful flower. Its corolla was so gentle that the young man thought it was the Flower of Life! He knelt down before the flower… but could not tear it off. The mercy towards life did not allow him to ruin this beauty!... The young man lowered his hands and whispered: “Forgive me!” And it was not clear whether he said this to his beloved or to the flower…
At that moment a Voice sounded: “He who respects life deserves to be helped!…”
This Voice was the Voice of the Divine Gardener, Who could appear in any time and in any place as any of the Immortal Ones.
He Himself consisted entirely of Light and Peace. Bliss emanated from each His movement and word.
“I am glad that you had mercy on this flower!” He said.
“The girl that I love is dying…” the young man whispered.
“You were told to give her the Flower of Life. But it is impossible to tear it off and bring somewhere! It is only possible to grow it from your own cordial love, nourished by the River of Love!”
“But my beloved is dying right now… And I do not have enough time to help her…” answered the young man.
“Do not grieve, I will help you. Over there, there is the Source of the River of Love. And a tiny pure brook is also streaming over there. Fill your hands with its water and tell to this water from your spiritual heart: ‘I love you!’. Then pour out this water on the flower and say to it the same words: ‘I love you!’ After a while dewdrops will appear on the petals. Collect these dewdrops from the flower, and this will be enough to cure your beloved! And while you are waiting for the dewdrops to come, enter the River of Love and try to understand the Laws of Love according to which a person can live happily on the Earth!”
The Gardener explained to the young man how to dive into the Flow of the Living Light of the River of Love and disappeared.
The young man stayed in that Flow for a very long time and listened to the Living River; singing streams of it were telling him about the mysteries of life, about the laws of Tao.
And he understood how love transforms a human life! And any person who does not have cordial love in the heart cannot enter the River of Love! Souls, in which the light of love does not shine, are not capable of touching the Flow of Living Love, and that is why they are deprived of happiness.
On the other hand, those who live, giving their love, live and grow in the Flow of the River of Love where Light, Joy, and Bliss are streaming! And only these people can be happy!
And when the young man realized all this, being filled with happiness, and transformed himself, he could see transparent droplets on the petals of the flower. He picked them up carefully and went to his beloved. She took the medicine of the Gardener and was cured.
… They lived in peace and happiness; for their life was passing in the River of Love!
… When their son grew up and became a young man, he decided to thank the Immortal Gardener for the wonderful healing of his mother, for the life He gave her, and in that way to him too.
So he took the road to find that small valley in the mountains.
He climbed higher and higher and admired the beauty which was opening to his sight. Majestic mountains greeted him with their peaks illumined with the sun. Gentle wind, which was flying over the open space, embraced him. Flowers, which beautified a valley, gave him their fragrance. He was walking, and stars smiled at him at night, and the sun lit up each day.
He found a small valley in the mountains, where the Immortal Gardener lived once, and the Source where the River of Love originated.
And he thought then: “I wish to cultivate the Flower of Life and then to tell people about the Way to the true happiness!”
And at once he saw the Immortal Gardener. The Gardener said: “Let it be as you want; for you are dreaming not only of your personal welfare, but of the welfare of others! I will show you how — out of the Silence of Tao — the Flower of Life opens in a human spiritual heart! I will show you the Depths from which its root comes out! And then you can grow your own Flower and tell people about the mystery of the Flower of Life — the Flower of Heart which grows from Infinite Tao and opens in a human soul! You can become the Gardener too!”