Questions & Answers - The Mother

The Significance of Flowers

Flowers on the Samadhi
The Offering of Roses
The fragrance of flowers
Contact with the psychic
Dreams, Beings and Forces
The care of Plants and Flower
Answers by Sri Aurobindo

The Significance of flowers

Sweet Mother, how do you give significance to a flower?
By entering into contact with it and giving a more or less precise meaning to what I feel… by entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its inner truth; then one knows what it represents.

Each flower has its special significance, hasn't it?
Not as we understand it mentally. There is a mental projection when one gives a precise meaning to a flower. It may answer, vibrate to the touch of this projection, accept the meaning, but a flower has no equivalent of the mental consciousness. In the vegetable kingdom there is a beginning of the psychic, but there is no beginning of the mental consciousness. In animals it is different; mental life begins to form and for them things have a meaning. But in flowers it is rather like the movement of a little baby - it is neither a sensation nor a feeling, but something of both; it is a spontaneous movement, a very special vibration. So, if one is in contact with it, if one feels it, one gets an impression which may be translated by a thought. That is how I have given a meaning to flowers and plants - there is a kind of identification with the vibration, a perception of the quality it represents and, little by little, through a kind of approximation (sometimes this comes suddenly, occasionally it takes time), there is a coming together of these vibrations(which are of a vital-emotional order) and the vibration of the mental thought, and if there is a sufficient harmony, one has a direct perception of what the plant may signify.
In some countries (particularly here) certain plants are used as the media for worship, offering, devotion. Certain plants are given on special occasions. And I have often seen that this identification was quite in keeping with the nature of the plant, because spontaneously, without knowing anything, I happened to give the same meaning as that given in religious ceremonies. The vibration was really there in the flower itself.... Did it come from the use that had been made of it or did it come from very far, from somewhere deep down. From a beginning of the psychic life? It would be difficult to say.

Have flowers a power in the occult world?
Yes, they have an occult power; they can even transmit a message if one knows how to charge them with it.

Can the flowers transmit other messages apart from the significances you have given?
It is not impossible but the person who sends the message must have a great power of formation.

Is the power of formation purely occult or can a mental or vital power of formation also transmit messages?
The mental power of formation can certainly transmit messages. But for these messages to be received and understood, the person to whom they are sent must himself be very receptive mentally and particularly attentive.

When we offer flowers, with what attitude should we offer them? Does it matter if we do not know the significance?
This depends completely on the person who gives the flowers and on his state of consciousness. The same answer may be given to both the questions. According to the degree of consciousness of people what they do has a deep significance.

If our flower-offering depends on our state of consciousness, does it help us to learn the significances of flowers even if it is purely mental to begin with?
Yes, surely.

Concerning the flowers on the Samadhi, does Sri Aurobindo transmit a special message through them, apart from their significance?
I do not think so-that would depend on different cases. It would be rather that he would receive messages if people put them into the flowers. That is quite possible. It may happen that if people put flowers with an intention or a precise prayer, Sri Aurobindo receives the message and answers it and that one receives his answer if one is sufficiently sensitive.

The Offering of Roses

Why do u generally give red roses to men and light-coloured roses to women and different colours to the little boys and girls?
It is because red roses give an impression of force and light-coloured roses an impression of charm and sweetness.

May I ask you with what intention you give me one red rose and one light-coloured one?
The human being transforms all its passions into love for the Divine and the Divine replies with his ineffable love.

The fragrance of flowers

Is there a relation between the perfume of a flower and its significance?
Certainly there should be one but so far I have not studied it.

How can one begin to study this relation? What is the first step?
Study and experience. You take a flower with a strong and definitive perfume. You breathe in the perfume, trying to find what thought or image it evokes. If you find something, you compare it with the significance given to the flower.
It is a long and detailed work. After some hundreds of experiences one may arrive at a conclusion.

In the study of perfumes of which you spoke, one observes that some perfumes seem to made up of several perfumes. Must one study each sub-perfume separately?
Yes, certainly. If one wants to study this is a terribly complicated, for not only are there differences between flowers but even similar flowers must differ among themselves, which means that the study can never come to an end and one cannot reach anything final and complete.
This is, you know, the influence of the hour –day and night-the influence of the time of the year, the influence of the seasons…

Scientists explain that flowers have perfume in order to attract insects. What do u think about it?
It is men who see and find a reason for everything-but I suppose if the Supreme has any such preoccupation.

Contact with the Psychic

You have written: "Love of flowers is a valuable help for finding and uniting with the psychic. Could you explain this more in detail?
Since flowers are the manifestation of the psychic in the vegetal kingdom, love of flowers would mean that one is drawn by the psychic vibration and consequently by the psychic in one's own self.
When you are receptive to the psychic vibration, that puts you in a more intimate contact with the psychic in your own self. Perhaps the beauty of flowers too is a means used by Nature to awaken in human beings the attraction for the psychic.

What is the best way of opening ourselves to the deep influence of flowers?
To love them. If you can enter into psychic contact with them, then that would be perfect.

How can one enter into psychic contact with flowers?
When one is in conscious contact with one's own psychic, one becomes aware of an impersonal psychic behind the whole creation and then, through this, one can enter into contact with flowers and know the psychic prayer they represent.

What is this impersonal Psychic you spoke of?
By impersonal psychic I mean the psychic region which does not belong to any individual in particular-the psychic region which is the creation, as air is in the earth’s atmosphere.

What is this psychic prayer that flowers represent?
The psychic, when it manifests in a plant, in the form of a flower, is in the form of a wordless prayer; it is the élan of the plant towards the Divine.

We have flowers with such significances as ‘Greed for money’, ‘Passion’, ‘Vanity’, ‘Chatter’, etc. How do these flowers represent a psychic prayer?
These flowers offer their bad vibrations for transformation.

Do strong-scented flowers represent a more ardent psychic prayer than the unscented ones?
Their nature gives itself more generously and more integrally.

And is there the same difference among plants and trees?
No, that is like the difference among the animals; some are big some are small. But everyone is like that… in minerals, in animals, in men. Each manifests its own nature and these natures are innumerable.

Dreams, Beings and Forces

What do flowers and gardens in our dreams signify? Sometimes in dreams one sees flowers which don’t exists?
This happens undoubtedly in the subtle physical. But it may also be possible that these flowers exist physically on the earth in a place you don’t know.

What do these flowers symbolise?
These symbols are most often individual and most often different people have different significances. It may happen that certain people have written books and those who regard them adopt their symbology. But it is purely mental question. You give a certain meaning to the flower. For instance to a rose-we have a certain meaning for rose.
As we have given this meaning, in your dreams you see the same symbolism. If you could tell me one of your dreams I could explain it to you. You see, a flower must spontaneously tell you something, then that would be symbolic for you. But it may be what we have already decided.

Are there subtle beings who are in an intimate relation with flowers?
That is possible, even probable. There are children who have experienced this and related it.

Is it possible to become conscious of these beings and work in harmony with them?
Yes. It is a question of nature and capacity.

Is possible to develop this capacity and how to do it?
Certainly one can develop the capacity if one takes sufficient interest in this to put in the time and necessary effort. Naturally it will be more or less difficult according to each one’s nature.
To become conscious of one’s dreams helps to do this. A silent and still concentration helps also.

Are there forces directly hostile to the vegetal nature? Are insects a manifestation of these forces?
There do not seem to exist forces consciously and voluntarily hostile to the vegetal kingdom. Insects do harm because they feed on plants, it is in a way they serve them also; both things are there, good and bad, without any conscious will. They do good they do harm, without knowing it.

Mother, does a plant have its own individuality and does it also reincarnate after death?
This may happen but is accidental. There are trees-trees especially-which have lived long and can be the home of a conscious being, a vital being. Generally it is vital entities which take shelter in trees, or else certain beings of the vital plane which live in forests-as certain beings of the vital live in water. There are old legends like that, but are very based on facts. The plants serve as home and shelter, but the being is not created by the plant itself!

The care of Plants and Flowers

How to develop our consciousness in order to work in a better way with plants and flowers?
First you must learn to be silent, and note carefully what happens in the consciousness.

Why do plants fall ill and what can we do to help them?
When man does not meddle, the illness of plants seems to be accidental. But when man’s action has upset the life of plants, even as that of animals, of course.

There are many plants we are trying to grow here which suffer because of our climate. How can we help them to grow and blossom here?
Naturally, plants which like cold climates grow in greenhouses. Also by planting forests one could have a regulating action on the climate.
Growth of consciousness in the atmosphere will surely have an effect which is difficult to describe beforehand.

Sweet Mother, what should we do with the flowers which you give us every day?
Flowers? You ought to keep them as long as they are fresh, and when they are no longer so, you must collect them and give them to the gardener (any gardener you know), so that he can put them in the earth to produce other flowers. Yes, one must giveback to the earth what it has given us, for otherwise it will become poor.

Can I remove the branches of shrubs which are overhanging and causing inconvenience to the inmates?
I cannot say yes or no, as all depends on the way it has to be done. It is not only the welfare of the inmates that must be taken into consideration but also the welfare of the shrubs.

Why is the flower symbolising your compassion so delicate and why does it wither away so soon?

No, the compassion does not wither with its symbol - flowers are moment's representation of things that are in themselves eternal.

What is the significance of the Mother's giving us flowers at Pranam every day?
It is meant to help the realisation of the thing the flower stands for.

Are powers mere symbols and nothing more? Can the flower symbolizing silence, for example, help in the realisation of silence?
It is when the Mother puts her force into the flower that it becomes more than a symbol. It then can become very effective if there is receptivity in the one who receives.