This patch design is something that I've been playing with in my spare time for a few months now. It started when I acquired a vintage Railroad Brotherhood bandana. I had been hunting for one of these for a long time, they generally go for more than I'm willing to pay, but I lucked out when I found an eBay auction with a typo in the listing that helped keep the price down. The rust stains may have helped too, but a little visible history doesn't bother me.
The original lantern artwork is there in the lower right corner. I knew immediately that I wanted to use it for something. It's too cool a piece of art to let it sink into history uncelebrated, so I scanned and cleaned it up in photoshop and waited for some inspiration to strike.
Inspiration came in the form of a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti. When I first read the line "truth is a pathless land", I didn't know anything about Krishnamurti or the context that the quote came from. Still, it got stuck in my head and stayed there for days, so I finally took the time to read a bit about it/him.
Krishnamurti had an intensely weird life. At age 16 he was installed as the leader of a Theosophic society called The Order of the Star in the East, whose founder was a self-proclaimed clarivoyant who believed that Krishnamurti was a messianic leader, destined to evolve humanity through spiritual teaching.
Krishnamurti rejected his own divine status and independently dissolved the Order,
"You can form other organizations and expect someone else. With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free."
He continued to speak, write, and teach, but didn't regard his own teachings as spiritual.
Here is an extended version of the quote on the patch...
"I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. "
If you're interested in reading the entire dissolution speech, you can find it here.
The patches were something that I felt just needed to be made, I wanted one for myself, and wanted to be able to give a few to friends, so I took a gamble on having a whole batch made in the hopes that enough people would be into them to help pay for the project and possibly fund another patch or pin down the road. They're available here on my store for 8 bucks, they're made in the USA, 3" across, and have an iron-on backing, though you should take the time to stitch it anyway.