By Madan Mohan Dasa
I’m not sure that this is the ideal place to share this, but, as a gardener, I think that gardens might have a special role to play in the future of our temples. Perhaps it already exists, but if not, I think it would be great for the institution to have a department that focused on the landscape aspect of the temple properties. Beyond just making the temples aesthetically acceptable, I’d love the movement to have a reputation for tangibly beautifying the world. There are obvious “preaching” implications to this as well.
My thoughts on this are partly in response to seeing (on this site) the model of the proposed temple to be built in Mayapura. I’d like to see the setting for the temple be as moving as the structure itself, or more so. Perhaps there could be a botanical garden/arboretum incorporated into the plan. Gardens are living, buildings are not, at least in this world. Gardens are ideal places to contemplate and connect to God through His immediate handiwork. They are natural temples, great places for higher thinking to depart from. I’m not just talking about beds of Marigolds and Gardenias for garlands. There is so much more happening in contemporary garden design, and devotees have perhaps more reason than anyone to be in tune with it.
There are those who will be reached by preaching as we know it. There are others who will find a connection through avenues yet unexplored. I think it’s reasonable to assume that if the movement becomes associated with beautifying the world through, among other things, making magical gardens for people to feel God’s presence through, more hearts will be touched in the right way than not.
And think of all the health benefits - mental, physical and emotional - to the devotees who make and tend these gardens, for Krsna. How needed is that?
Garden preaching! A new wrinkle? Yes and no. But new can be good sometimes, especially when it’s good. I haven’t collected supportive quotes for those who live and die by the quote. This is only an unmasked, personal, creative inspiration that I’m sharing - food for thought (organic of course).