The Rose Garden
Spring had brought new life to this beautiful rose garden. Each bush was abloom with roses of different hues, shapes and sizes. The roses on three of the bushes got talking.
The roses on the first bush were blood red in colour. The second bush had roses in yellow with pink streaks, but their unique selling point was their shape. Each one of them was exquisitely formed. Each fold and each petal was a sculpted masterpiece. The third bush had soft light pink roses known as desi-gulab or wild roses. They were not at all pretty to look at, but they were extremely fragrant.
The red roses said, “We wish we could be given to a beloved, for red roses are the ultimate expression of love.”
The roses on the second bush said, “We are so perfect, we should be displayed for people to see and admire.”
The roses on the third bush said softly, “We hope to be able to spread our fragrance to more and more people.”
The next day, the gardener came and cut the rose stalks. He sent them to a florist.
The red roses were bought by a rich old lady who passed them on to an expert garland stringer. The garland stringer chopped off the stalks and leaves. She strung the roses into an exquisite garland, adding some asparagus ferns and silver strings. Two beautiful garlands were made and delivered to the rich old lady. She offered them with devotion to Radha and Krishna at the temple. The red roses were happy for they had been used by the lady as an offering of love, to none other than Radha-Krishna the proverbial lovers. Many devotees saw the exquisite garlands and wowed at them. The red roses swelled with vanity. The next day the priest removed the garlands from the deities and cast them away in a corner of the temple. The red roses cried, “Oh Krishna! Oh Radha! We are sorry for being vain. We were too caught up in pride to enjoy our closeness with you. Please Lord! Give us another chance to serve you. Please do not caste us away.” The roses beseeched the Lord, but no one came forward to listen to their cries.
Meanwhile the perfect yellow roses were bought by an interior decorator and were used to design an enormous flower arrangement along with various types of greens. The entire set up was placed on the centre table of the entrance of a hotel. The roses were proud for they were the centre of attraction for all to see. Busy executives rushed past, holding their cell phones, deep in conversation. Others hurried past, glancing at their expensive wrist watches and talking sixteen miles to a dozen. The yellow roses preened and smiled, but only a few people had time to stop by and admire their perfection.
Let us pause for a moment to look into the fate of the little pink roses. That bunch was left sitting in the shop of the florist for days, for no one seemed to want to buy them. Eventually the florist gave them away for free to the girl who worked in the shop. The roses wept for they felt dejected and useless. They were almost beginning to rot and their dreams of giving fragrance to people seemed to be quite impossible to realize. The girl took the roses home and gave them to her mother. The mother shook off all the petals into a huge basin of water. The petals lay immersed in the water for days. They added some powder to the water now and then so that it would not start stinking due to stagnation. Some days later she carefully removed the petals and pure rose water was left behind! She bottled the rose water and gave it to the priest in the temple. The priest used the fragrant rose water to wash the feet of the Lord and also to sprinkle on devotees to shower blessings on them. The roses were so happy that they literally wept in devotion!
In the corner of the temple the repentance of the proud red roses had finally touched the heart of the Lord. A man saw the wilting red garlands. He picked them up and put them in the sun to dry along with many other flowers that had been laid out for drying. When the flowers were totally dry, they were crushed to a fine powder and some glue like substance and some oils were added to them. A group of young workers were deputed to hand roll the mixture onto fine sticks. Aggarbattis were made! They were used in the temple to sanctify the area with their aroma. The red roses’ vanity was burnt away and they were reduced to nothing, but they were happy!
What about the perfect yellow roses? They spent all their life waiting for recognition and admiration. Eventually they wilted and the hotel cleaner dumped them into the garbage along with the rotting peels of vegetables, egg shells and chicken bones. Even their cries could be heard by no one.
Here is some food for thought. The end that you eventually meet with depends upon the road you choose to take for the journey. The red roses suffered a setback to their vanity but made up for it because they soon realised their folly. The wild roses were focussed right from day one, whereas the yellow roses thought about nothing, but the physical and the mundane. Find your focus, that is of utmost importance. Perhaps you could identify with either of the roses and in case you are on the wrong track, this could just be the right time for you to change your track. Do you want to end up giving fragrance to the world or do you want to end up in a dustbin? The choice is yours!
When you came into this world, you were crying and all those around you were smiling. Live your life such that when you are to go, you are smiling and others are crying.