published April 15, 1991
Cover Image by Takeda Yoshifumi
“Paradise” derives from the ancient Persian pairidaeza, meaning an enclosed space or garden. The Sanskrit counterpart is paradisha, the supreme domain, the highest sphere, from the center of which a spring sends water flowing in the four directions. The river that watered the Garden of Eden is likewise said to have flowed from the garden in four directions (to the Nile, the Persian Gulf, the Tigris and the Euphrates). In the Koran, the four rivers of paradise are filled with water, milk, wine and honey.
If we wish to recreate paradise on earth as in heaven, there would be a spring at the center that flows in the four directions. Such a geometry of paradise has been beautifully preserved in the Islamic garden, with its central fountain or pool filling four waterways in the shape of a cross. Four gardens separated by four canals in a walled pairidaeza. —Takeda Yoshifumi, Topos of the Spring