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Thursday, May 14, 2009


This past Mother’s Day I visited the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and from the moment I entered the grounds the sight of the colorful flowers and lush green foliage produced an exhilaration in me that lasted long after I left. I attended a lecture and demonstration given by one of the staff on the care of tulips and in listening to her I realized that she was describing how a segment of the world that God had created functions, and that the entire Botanical Garden was God’s creation in action. Insects, birds, animals, plants, trees, and minute organisms went about their respective tasks of propagating and preserving the species in an interdependent community operating in accordance with universal laws and design.

I compared this activity to life in our modern civilized society with its emphasis on what man has made. Raised in an environment almost devoid of nature (see my essay cubists) and schooled in the works of man, increasing numbers of people have been cut off and insulated from the natural environment they were designed to live in.

The vocational and career training of our children focuses on occupations created in response to the negative effects of our un-natural lifestyle. Social workers deal with the breakdown of the family; occupational therapists deal with job-induced stress; physicians deal with the effects of the pollution of our air, water, and food; and lawyers deal with our inability to relate with each other. An increasing proportion of societal activity focuses on “fixing” the damage wrought by the ignorance of its un-natural lifestyle.

In his book The Holy Science, Sri Yukteswar defines ignorance as the perception of the nonexistent, and the non-perception of the Existent. He goes on to explain that man believes that this material creation is the only thing that substantially exists, there being nothing beyond, forgetting that this material creation is substantially nothing and is a mere play of ideas on the Eternal Spirit, the only Real Substance, beyond the comprehension of the material creation. This ignorance is not only a trouble in itself, but is also the source of all the other troubles of man.

Sri Yukteswar’s comments were in essence an explanation of Jesus’ statement “My Kingdom is not of this world.” At the time of Jesus, the focus on the material world and ignorance of the spiritual world was the source of all troubles, as it is today.

The gross material focus of Western society, especially Anglo-American society is upon material possessions and accomplishments. I had a blogger say to me, “Just look at what we have done,” referring to the accomplishments of Western man. I emphasize the word “look” for the results of Western man’s efforts can be seen. The skyscrapers, airplanes, automobiles, highways, bridges, dams, home appliances and communications equipment serve as visual examples of the results of Western man’s productivity.

The blogger, however, did not “see” our children suffering from a lack of nurturing due to the breakdown of the family; nor did he see the ever-expanding prison population and explosive increase in mental illness. He did not see the utter defilement of the female beginning in grade school where 10 year-old girls participate in sex clubs; continuing to adulthood where streams of women journey to the California, the world’s Mecca of pornography, to serve as interns in X rated films in order to build up resumes necessary to obtain work in big city strip clubs; to the unprecedented rate of unwed motherhood, which spawns juvenile problems and creates stress induced depression upon their mothers. These conditions are not readily seen, but they do exist and evidence the collapse of society caused by its focus on the seen and its ignorance of the unseen.

My pleasure in the Botanical Gardens derived partially from what I saw, but also from what I didn’t see. Looking at the tulip bulbs caused me to reflect on how they produced the offspring that would be the next generation of flowers. I was aware that flowers follow the path of the sun and that trees reach their branches out to it. I realized that the roots of plants and trees unerringly grow towards the source of water and nourishment. Birds always seem to know just where to build their nests and bees know which flowers to pollinate. Unseen forces guide the movement of the entire community of the Botanical Gardens, which provides the environment for the interplay of gender called patriarchy. Everything seen and done at the Botanical Gardens derived from the unseen and its harmony with universal vibrations.

This interplay of the unseen and the seen to produce life and sustain it is not limited to plants, animals and insects, but occurs in greater depth among humans. The indigenous peoples of all continents except Europe based their communal existence on unseen principles. All rites, customs, rituals, traditions, and religious practices derived from their efforts to propagate and preserve the species while it grows spiritually. Their farming, fishing, gathering, and hunting were in harmony with nature and the unseen forces upon which it depended.

Western man calls these societies primitive because they had not exploited their resources to construct material things. These “primitive” societies did not have orphanages, foster care, old-age homes, prisons, and insane asylums. They had no need for social workers, therapists, police, or parole officers, and they didn’t have to take vacations or anti-depressants. They had a high regard for matters spiritual, lived in harmony with nature, and were happy.

The “ME” orientation of Western society focuses on the accumulation of material things and a self-indulgent lifestyle. The American Constitution emphasizes the right to health, wealth, and the pursuit of happiness; there’s nothing in it about the propagation of the species, family, universal love, or spirituality. Freelance writer Wendy Dawn’s article titled Wealth, Wealth and the Pursuit of Happiness that appeared in Associated Content described the growing emphasis on material accumulation in America and the resultant decline in fundamental values.

Published on November 20, 2007 Wendy’s article reflects a growing awareness on the part of Americans that the emphasis on gross materialism is creating negative effects on society and is un-natural. At the time of her article there was little recognition of the cause of this materialistic emphasis, namely the imbalance of gender in Western society. However, I have noticed an increasing awareness of gender issues in the past six months along with an increased realization that men and women are different not only in appearance but in attributes. Eventually people will come to realize that these different attributes were designed for different functions and that a genderless society is an aberration.

This trend is encouraging, especially when I consider that the establishment and all the institutions under its jurisdiction such as education, law, and especially the media has a grossly materialistic focus that it projects to the populace on a continual basis. However, what the establishment does not recognize is the existence of spirit and that it works through all people. This spirit provides the truth that eventually prevails over material ignorance. The spirit that causes plant roots to seek water, flowers to follow the sun, and bees to pollinate is always at work. Adversity tends to motivate us out of our somnolence and get back in touch with the spirit and the harmonious life it produces.

We are at the threshold of great societal change. This decade will witness a return to a more natural way of life and the survival and growth of those who embrace it.

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