About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Searching for True Paradise

This year during Lent and Easter I want to invite you to search for Paradise. But first we need to know what we are looking for, and we need to get some basic directions.
We can start with the Bible. In the New Testament Greek, Paradise is called παράδεισος “Paradeisos.” This word also appears in the Hebrew Bible, there it is rendered as פַּרְדֵּס “pardēs”.
     All these words: Paradise, Paradeisos, Pardes, are clearly related. They sound similar, they contain the same consonants, they are coming from the same verbal root, but they are not native to any of these languages.
    All these words are loan words from yet another language. Paradise, Paradeisos, Pardes are all borrowed from an old Avestan expression “pairi-daēza”. In this ancient Iranian language Paradise actually has a meaning; it can be translated as “encircled with a wall.” And it was not just any place behind the wall; it was more specifically a park or a garden.
     These Iranian and horticultural origins of Paradise make very good sense. Apples, Apricots, Peaches, all originated in different parts of Asia. Alexander the Great is often credited for bringing them to Europe. But he did not cultivate them, he did not even collect them from their original homelands, he just took them from Persian gardens where they had been cultivated for centuries. 

     Persian gardens were large, important and famous. Gardens were integral parts of all Persian royal palaces, and royal princes were educated in many different disciplines and skills, but also in gardening. Gardening provided the future rulers with an excellent training in patience and self discipline.
     Thus when we are looking for Paradise, when we are looking for this archetypal place of heavenly harmony and bliss, we need to look to Persia (today’s Iran) and its gardens. Can you imagine, paradise originating in Iran? But even further, can you imagine, paradise not as an outward reward, but a spiritual challenge and discipline and daily work?
     Gardens are here only an image and training ground. The whole world is meant to be the paradise! If only we started to care for one another as well as we care for beautiful flowers and care for worldwide nature as we are able to care for orchards.

Ancient Persians were instrumental for cultivation and spread of peaches - here a peach tree blooms in Brooklyn Botanical Garden. 

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