Lessons under the Gooseberry Bush


The Japanese Gooseberry bush. Sadly, mine no longer looks like this

I was chanting in the garden this morning and noticed that every single leaf of my Japanese Gooseberry bush had been eaten away. The culprits are tiny caterpillars, almost too tiny to see. But there are lots of them and they have a voracious appetite.

Its my fault of course. If I was anything of a gardener I would have sprayed the entire bush – as I managed to do last year – and that action would have prevented them from feasting and thereby depriving the bush of its leaves. No leaves means no photosynthesis, which means no production of sugars. No sugar production means that cellular respiration cannot convert any sugar into adenosine triphosphate, the fuel of growth. And no growth means no gooseberries, which means, ultimately, no gooseberry pie. Woe is me.

Question: Which link in the long chain of of chemical reactions deprived me of my gooseberry pie? Which bit was the most important? Answer: They are all vital, each and every one of them. Remove any one of those chemicals from the equation and I’ll end up with no gooseberry pie.

And isn’t it paradoxical to consider that in order for me to end up with some round, red, delicious fruit, I first have to take care of the bits that are flat, green and foul-tasting? To get the bits I want I have to take care of the bits I don’t want.

Life is a bit like that isn’t it? In order for me to feel really satisfied, I have to think of others first, and to serve them. In order for me to enjoy total spiritual freedom, I first have to commit myself to the rules and disciplines given to me by others.

Movements like ours are a bit like my gooseberry bush too. For an organisation to grow with vigor and to produce fruits, the skillful gardener-leader has to look after the often smaller, less sweet, neglected members, without whom the necessary chain of events leading to proper growth does not take place.

Leaves are always in greater number than the fruits, and ordinary members will always be in greater numbers than those extraordinary members who are the sweet, ripened fruits. But to neglect the former will lead to the latter withering away.

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4 Comments

Filed under Gardening, ISKCON, Journal

4 responses to “Lessons under the Gooseberry Bush

  1. sabjimata

    also, much like our western movement, the gooseberry plants have a shallow root system. when transplanted, they need lots of water to thrive.

    nice metaphor. jaya prabhupada…a whole ocean of mercy!

  2. Thanks Sabjimata. I was just looking at your jams yesterday to pick the one I’d like the best. I think it had to be the peach and saffron. Excellent combination. Made me think of my gooseberries this morning – which led to my writing my blog. Funny how it all connects isn’t it? Good luck with the jams…and the T-shirts!

    (To my readers: You can check out sabjimata’s site at http://www.buyhumanmade.com)

  3. Sita

    Respected Sir,
    I know of the Indian Gooseberry,and always wondered about the western one which gave Amla its english name.Your picture made things clear for me .Thanks a lot.Hari Om.

  4. sabjimata

    šŸ™‚

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