..in successive generations, he visited gardens and cultivated places
throughout the world.
In one place he planted a wonderful garden, and instructed the people
in its upkeep and even in the theory of gardening.
But, becoming accustomed to seeing some of the plants come up and flower
every year, they soon forgot that others had to have their seeds collected,
that some were propagated from cuttings, that some needed extra watering,
and so on.
The result was that the garden eventually became wild, and people started
to regard this as the best garden that there could be.
After giving these people many chances to learn, the gardener expelled them
and recruited another whole band of workers.
He warned them that if they did not keep the garden in order, and study his
methods, they would suffer for it.
They, in turn, forgot--and, since they were lazy, tended only those
fruits and flowers which were easily reared and allowed the others to die.
Some of the first trainees came back to them from time to time, saying:
'You should do this and that,' but they drove them away, shouting:
'You are the ones who are departing from truth in this matter.'
But the master-gardener persisted.
He made other gardens, wherever he could, and yet none was ever perfect
except the one which he himself tended with his chief assistants.
As it became known that there were many gardens and even many methods of
gardening, people from one garden would visit those of another, to approve,
to criticize, or to argue.
Books were written, assemblies of gardeners were held, gardeners arranged
themselves in grades according to what they thought to be the right order
As is the way of men the difficulty of the gardeners remains that they
are too easily attracted by the superficial.
They say: 'I like this flower', and they want everyone else to like it
It may, in spite of its attraction or abundance, be a weed which is choking
other plants which could provide medicines or food which the people and the
garden need for their sustenance and permanency.
Among these gardeners are those who prefer plants of one single color.
These they may describe as 'good'. There are others who will only tend the
plants, while refusing to care about the paths or the gates, or even the
When, at length, the ancient gardener died, he left as his endowment the
whole knowledge of gardening, distributing it among the people who would
understand in accordance with their capacities.
So the science as well as the art of gardening remained as a scattered
heritage in many gardens and also in some records of them.
People who are brought up in one garden or another generally have been so
powerfully instructed as to the merits or demerits of how the inhabitants
see things that they are almost incapable--though they make the effort--of
realizing that they have to return to the concept of 'garden'.
At the best, they generally only accept, reject, suspend judgment or look
for what they imagine are the common factors.
From time to time true gardeners do arise.
Such is the abundance of semi-gardens that when they hear of real ones
'Oh, yes. You are talking about a garden such as we already have, or we
What they have and what they imagine are both defective.
The real experts, who cannot reason with the quasigardeners, associate for
the most part among themselves, putting into this or that garden something
from the total stock which will enable it to maintain its vitality to some
They are often forced to masquerade, because the people who want to learn
from them seldom know about the fact of gardening as an art or science
underlying everything that they have heard before.
So they ask questions like: ' How can I get a more beautiful flower on
The real gardeners may work with them because true gardens can sometimes be
brought into being, for the benefit of all mankind.
They do not last long, but it is only through them that the knowledge can
be truly learnt and people can come to see what a garden really is.
Abu-Ishak Shami Chishti
Ancient Wisdom Website