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of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

A Garden and A Home

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 28, 2009

I am in a reflective mood. It has been Christmas. Or is it still Christmas? Various dear kin and friends have dispersed until we meet again. My reader may forebear that I pause from other concerns and share a thought or so.

The Christmas-New Year holidays are often said to be a time of family togetherness. In the West where I live, this notion is repeated  – often bravely and grimly – by those whose homes are far from together. One of my greatest experiences was to be with Indian families on pilgrimage. This intensified, and made yet more visible, the extent in that society of family bonding and cooperation, whatever may be the social lesions at large. India and other very old societies have much to show us recent arrivals in these matters. 

Much wisdom is available in all the cultures. It is singularly unwise that any of us should detain ourselves in quarreling about differences. A great question to be raised is whether all of our countries can arrest the madness for materials. And to be wise in the manner of arresting, too. Whether that perennial wisdom can be valued, experienced, harnessed and applied is perhaps the question of all questions.

The lovely family bonding I saw wherever I traveled in India sprang from time-honoured roots that respect each of the different stages of human life – long before modern industrialization put greed rampant. Before memory was made so forgetful. Before the heart (which one of my philosophical friends says cannot be proved to exist) was made a shrinking thing. So that shining machines and elegant systems and contending theories of State could claw and chew to pieces all that is natural and kindly. When I returned to the West after several years in India, the breakdown of the family was even more advanced. To a character in one of my writings, I gave the following song:

A Garden and A Home

I saw just how my Grandpa loved her well

He quipped that he did in case she would give him hell

Long-time I watched to see if his love was craft

But he never forgot her heart, and to make it laugh

 

I asked Grandma – is it true – does young love go?

Her face grew flushful, and she crooned: “Oh no!”

She smiled when I asked how it was that their love had grown

“It’s because we keep a garden and a home”

 

        Because they kept a garden and a home – that’s what she said

        Because they kept a garden and a home

 

I looked all around, saw all of my friends, my foes

And we’d all known how thorns are grown with the rose

But then we’d hide, and the thorns we philosophied

Our homes divided, and our kids denied

 

        How can a rose tree grow in a garden home? I ask

        If even one can grow, won’t someone make it known? At last

 

I live in a house – I suppose it’s some kind of home

I poured cement so roses are unknown – Not grown!

And in cement no lover ever smiled

And in cement no smiling rose grows wild

 

        And I’ll admit that I don’t feel at home in my home

        I will admit that I don’t feel at home at home

 

Though I asked: Grandma, is it true – does young love go?

When her face grew flushful, and she crooned: “Oh no!”

How she smiled when I asked how it was that their love had grown!

She said: “It’s because we keep a garden and a home”

 

        Because we keep a garden and a home

        Because we keep a garden and a home

        Because we keep a garden and a home

        Because we keep a garden and a home

Note:  This song is protected under provisions of:

The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) 

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