I have a bunch of ‘to be read’ books in my ‘iBooks’ library that I occasionally delve into, like a pelican diving into the water when thirsty…
One of the waters that I often dive into consists of the ‘poetry’ of Rabindranath Tagore, India’s Nobel laureate in literature. There is something about his works which always seems to give me a warm feeling ~ like the inexplicable smile that spreads across your heart when you know that you are ‘home’…
Today was no different. I tapped open the text called, simply, “The Gardener” . Tagore opens the work with a conversation between a ‘servant’ who wants to be of special service to ‘the Queen’:
QUEEN. What will your duties be?
SERVANT. The service of your idle days.
I will keep fresh the grassy path where you walk in the morning, where your feet will be greeted with praise at every step by the flowers eager for death.
I will swing you in a swing among the branches of the saptaparna, where the early evening moon will struggle to kiss your skirt through the leaves.
I will replenish with scented oil the lamp that burns by your bedside, and decorate your footstool with sandal and saffron paste in wondrous designs.
How beautiful a service is That?! We often talk about service, and that being spiritual is about ‘selfless service’, but we perhaps don’t talk enough about the service that mother nature and her helpers provide to us…
‘Selfless service’ is such a high ideal, that it almost seems difficult for our busy minds to grasp. So, ‘the Queen’ asks the ‘servant’ about his expectations…
QUEEN. What will you have for your reward?
SERVANT. To be allowed to hold your little fists like tender lotus-buds and slip flower chains over your wrists;
to tinge the soles of your feet with the red juice of ashoka
petals and kiss away the speck of dust that may chance to
Could it be possible, that that is all he wanted in return for his service? Well, the ‘Queen’ was impressed, and she agreed to make him “the gardener”.
For who could refuse a request to be rendered such beautiful, selfless service?
Would you?! 🙂
What are your thoughts? Is ‘selfless service’ possible in today’s world? Can you share an example?