I’ve always enjoyed the beauty and poetry of words. There’s a certain category that I find especially delightful: the terms for gatherings in nature. Expressions like “a flamboyance of flamingoes,” “a murmuring of magpies,” or my favorite, “an exaltation of skylarks,” all hint at the glory of God’s creation.
Well, I’d like to create one of my own now: a resurrection of tulips. Why resurrection? Yoganandaji describes the word in this way: “Resurrection means any beneficial change that happens to an object or to a human being. . . . You cannot sit still spiritually because you must either go backward or forward. Isn’t that a marvelous truth that in this life you cannot remain stationary? Either you must accept changes which are harmful to yourself, or focus on those that are beneficial.”
Why tulips? Throughout the month of April Crystal Hermitage Gardens are open to the public to enjoy the beauty of 17,000 glorious tulips blooming in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. If you’ve ever planted a tulip, you know that the bulbs are not very exciting, having the appearance of a small onion. But put them in the soil in October or November, let the winter rains and snows keep them moist, and when April comes they more than fulfill their promise of beauty.
It isn’t only the tulips that are resurrected, however. The ten thousand visitors who come to enjoy the gardens are also beneficially transformed. Coming from all over California, with a great diversity of young and old, of races and ethnic backgrounds, singly or in groups—all are “resurrected” by the beauty and harmony they find here.
It was Swami Kriyananda’s dream to create “world-class gardens” at Crystal Hermitage, his home at Ananda Village. After visiting the tulip fields in Holland, he had the inspiration to recreate their beauty here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Now this dream is a reality.
Swamiji, whose anniversary of passing, his “Moksha Day,” is celebrated on April 21, would be delighted to see the thousands of people transformed by the beauty of these gardens. The joy on their faces and the laughter on their lips reflect their awakened understanding that behind all of life’s challenges are God’s loveliness and eternal peace.
Swamiji loved to share beauty with others, and wrote in his book, Cities of Light: A New Vision for the Future, “To draw God’s light down to earth, pure hearts are needed—devotees whose will is to live in light. Even as squalor attracts negative energies, however, so outward harmony and beauty attract Godly energies. Man cannot create heaven on this earth, for heaven is in God. But his duty is to reflect heaven in all he does, and in all that he creates.”
This work of reflecting heaven to others extends far beyond beautiful gardens. One of the teachers at Ananda Seattle’s temple wrote us, “We have a weekly meditation group here, and recently we took it from online-only to hybrid in the Temple. Three weeks in a row somebody new joined in person. The first week, the new person came in and started crying right away because she had been holding herself together throughout the pandemic, losing her husband to cancer, and being diagnosed with cancer herself. Coming into the Temple sanctuary as she heard us praying, she said she finally could relax and feel safe once more.
“The next week another new person started crying after class, saying she hadn’t known a place like Ananda existed, and her heart felt so touched and moved. And last week someone new came and didn’t cry at all! Well, not so fast—the next morning I woke up to an email from her expressing gratitude that the meditation had helped her to regain her ‘peace and silence in the realm of reconnecting with her heart.’ She shared that she was crying, because her heart was so moved and grateful. If nothing else, we make people cry here. I say that tongue in cheek, of course.”
So, my friends, I hope that your heart is as touched as mine in hearing how the divine gifts of beauty, prayer, meditation, and silence can transform the lives of others. “A resurrection of tulips” is a metaphor for the power of God to change all of life beneficially and fill it with His love and joy.
In divine friendship,
Listen to Devi as she reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:58):