Home » Spirituality » The Fortress and the Garden

Long ago a man heard tales of a great and magnificent garden. In this garden it was said lay wonders beyond imagination, a place of ultimate peace and joy. The man decided to do whatever was needed to find this garden and set off on his quest. Presently after much wandering he came upon a great range of mountains. It soon became apparent that these peaks could not be scaled, so he set about finding a pass through the range. As he made his way around the foot hills he happened upon a great fortress. From far behind the soaring walls he could see a faint rainbow tinted light. Surely the man thought to himself, this must guard the pass through the mountains. As he approached the broad arched front gate he saw a grey haired gentleman sitting calmly on a bench. He related to the man his quest for the garden and inquired if he might obtain passage through the fortress to continue on his quest. The man smiled and told the seeker that he had encountered good fortune indeed, for not only did he know of the garden but had seen it himself and that this very fortress guarded the entrance to that garden. The man nearly became uncontrollable with excitement. “How”, he asked, “May I gain passage through the fortress to see this marvel, I will pay any price, make any sacrifice ?” The grey haired man smiled calmly at him, “Before you pass through, let me show you the inside of this magnificent structure, We are quite proud of it you know.” The seeker agreed reluctantly, eager to continue his journey. Once inside, the seeker was met with an amazing sight. Story after story of balconies rose higher than the man could see, each lined with door upon door. As they walked together there were small windows in each door. Peering through several, the seeker saw inside each room a similar scene. People of various races, all engaged in differing activities. Some sitting quietly with folded hands, some singing boisterously, other tending to sick or needy people. There was one great golden door that had no window and which was strangely avoided by the guide and not spoken of. After some time of this exploring, the seeker petitioned his guide if they might not stop at least for a while to eat and refresh themselves. The guide agreed and they both retired to a small dining room where they were met with food and drink and a small couch to lounge upon. Presently, the seeker asked his guide again,”I am indeed amazed by this wonderful structure and I thank you for your great hospitality, but I am anxious to continue on my journey, Tell me please, how may I obtain passage through this magnificent fortress ?” The grey haired man looked at him solemnly, but not crossly,”I in fact am the guardian of this place. None come or go here without my acquiescence. If you wish to pass, you must meet my conditions and gain my approval.” The seeker was momentarily taken aback, but soon regained his resolve, remembering the wonders he would soon be witness to.
“Tell me then, and I will do what is required” said the seeker firmly.
“First,” said the guardian,”You must spend time here, not only looking into the rooms, but spending time in them, experiencing them. You will only have time to visit a few rooms while here, so after a time I will ask you to leave, to return from where you came and return again later at a time of my choosing.”
“How many rooms must I visit ?”, asked the seeker, “And how many visits must I make?”
“Ah!”, said the guardian, “That is a most excellent question, I see you already are becoming a good candidate for entry. You will visit the fortress and experience differing rooms several times and each time I will speak with you again. When I feel that you have gained sufficient understanding of the fortress and it’s purpose, I will grant you passage through the golden door we saw earlier.”
“Can you at least tell me something of the garden and the purpose of visiting the rooms?”, asked the seeker.
“Another excellent inquiry” remarked the Guardian, “The Garden is indeed as wonderful as you have been told, even more so in fact. Each room will offer you a glimpse of a small section of the garden, but none will reveal all of it’s wonders.”
“Very well then” said the seeker” I will agree to your terms, When may I start ?”
“Ah, Your journey began with the question” said the Guardian, “Which room will you choose to begin?”
“Will you not assign me a room ?” asked the seeker.
“No” said the guardian, “You must choose that for yourself at each visit.”
And so the seeker happily began the task of gaining passage to the Garden.

If you understand the meaning and intent of this story, I applaud you. If not, I will explain.
The Garden is the great Universe, Heaven, Nirvana, whichever you prefer.
The seeker is, of course, you and I.
The Fortress is life on earth. Each room represents a religion to be experienced while here.
Note that each gives a view of only a part of the ultimate reality, but none gives the entire picture.
Remember, how many trips you make is up to your diligence in learning. Visit lots of rooms.
Each incarnation gives us the opportunity to experience a new viewpoint and thus gain insight into the ultimate reality of existence.

I hope you enjoyed this. I hope to do more in the future. Peace and blessings.