By Maurine Renville
In 2014 my spouse Sandy and I made contact with Divine Mother Center in Laytonville to explore the possibility of selling our home and moving to the mountain. We listed our home for sale in a depressed real estate market where the average time from listing to close on the sale was 18 months. We were willing to be patient to make the move.
Within 29 days of listing we received an offer on our home. We were amazed and delighted. We felt Baba’s grace was with us. After negotiations, we accepted the offer. Then title problems began to surface that seemed endless. Week after week, month after month we dealt with zoning, our realtors, the family of the prior owners and attorneys. We had packed all of our belongings and had made arrangements with a moving van, which we kept rescheduling.
I finally went to our puja room and prayed fervently and heartfully to Baba that if the obstacles would be removed and the deal closed, I would plant him a marigold garden after we arrived. All obstacles disappeared and the deal was closed within the week.
Once we arrived on the mountain I began clearing the plot for the garden at the base of the pathway leading up to the Baba Temple. I wanted the garden to be within his line of vision. The first and second years the garden was all marigolds. After that it seemed right to include other flowers. Some flowers were given to the Temple and some other residents planted. It was always a delightful surprise to find a newcomer in the garden.
One day while weeding and watering in the garden, I received the message from Baba that he wanted a pink rosebush. I was on my way to Santa Rosa the next day to pick someone up from the airport and I thought I would have time to shop for a rose while I was there. Once I arrived, I received a call that the flight had come in an hour early so I wouldn’t have time to shop. Disappointed, I picked up the traveler and returned to the Temple.
When we arrived back at the Temple, Janice Strakbein had arrived for a program. After a warm greeting, Janice told me she had stopped on the way to pick up a couple of bouquets of flowers for the Datta and Baba stages. She told me that while she was at the store, one plant kept pulling her attention. She finally purchased it and on the way to the mountain asked what Baba wanted her to do with it. She said he told her to give it to me, she didn’t know why, but “here it is” she said. And she handed me a pink rosebush in a pot.
I told her my part of the story and we were both awestruck and humbled at the synchronicity of the leading from Baba, and the unity that created. Each time the rosebush blooms, and it blooms multiple times through the summer, I send Janice photos. It revitalizes the connection between us and with Baba.
The next year, after hearing that Baba loved lilies, I decided to plant some in the garden. I ordered several varieties including daylilies, oriental and Asiatic lilies. I was set up to begin planting when Durgamaa (Alexandra) Song walked by and asked if she could help. She picked one, planted it, and then went about her day. I thought it was a little odd, so definite and just one bulb. I noted where she had planted the lily and went on to plant all the rest.
Later that summer the bulb Durgamaa planted bloomed. It was a huge, gloriously beautiful, Oriental lily. It was the day of a moon puja and I picked the blossom for the puja tray. On the way to the puja I passed Durgamaa who told me her grandmother had just passed away. I offered my love and care and went on to the puja. As the puja tray was being offered, Baba told me to tell Durgamaa he had her plant the lily for her Grandmother. It was yet another synchronicity that strengthened a connection and unity between us and with Baba.
The next year the lily bloomed again and I told Durgamaa it had bloomed that day and showed her a picture. Later, in a conversation with her parents, her father checked the date of her grandmother’s passing. The lily had bloomed on the exact day of the anniversary of her grandmother’s crossing. All of the oriental and Asiatic lilies died at the end of that summer. Those lilies had fulfilled their purpose and created the memory of a miracle experience that deepens our connection to Baba and one another.
The garden is now full of peonies, iris, roses, daylilies, dahlias, nasturtiums, marigolds, snapdragons and parsley that came in as a hitchhiker on a potted plant. It reseeds itself every year and I don’t have the heart to eradicate it. People give plants for the garden and when that happens I make sure to find a corner somewhere to give it a home. The garden has come to represent so much to me about a living relationship with Baba, with one another, and with the life of the garden itself. It is unruly and a little wild, much to my liking. People pick flowers to offer to murthis on the Temple grounds and for the dhuni during pujas.
It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to Baba and he pulls people to it to plant, to harvest, and to enjoy. I am attached but not attached. It is a bhakti offering, a beloved seva, and a place of miracles. Each day since I arrived at the Temple I water the garden with the milk and water from Baba’s morning Abishek. The constancy of the care of the garden keeps me aware and alive in my connection with Him.