Flowers and their Messages

"Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen to them--it is a subtle and fragrant language." (The Mother)

The rishis of ancient India discovered the One Existence in all things. They saw the animate and inanimate alike as manifestations of Spirit pervaded through and through with living consciousness. They recognised not only the divinity of all but also the uniqueness and individuality of each. What they saw was codified and recorded in the holy scriptures, the Shastras. These rishis did not know by the mind or the senses. They perceived by a direct inner vision and identity with the object of perception. Of all animate and inanimate things on earth they found that flowers are nature’s purest manifestation of the Divine. They knew that each flower embodies in its color, form and fragrance a particular vibration or consciousness and that contact with a flower can bring one into contact with that vibration. For this reason flowers were commonly used in all forms of worship, offering and devotion. Through the ages flowers became an integral part of Indian culture playing a very significant though often forgotten role.

The Jasmine flower, for instance, was originally found at the foot of the Himalayas from where it later spread all over the world. Even today in India it is one of the best loved of flowers. It is revered for its pure white color and its sweet fruity fragrance. It is used to adorn every temple temple and home, it is given by the devotee to his guru, and in the South it is commonly worn as a small garland by young ladies in their hair. The particular consciousness of jasmine is purity. By offering it at the temple or to the guru, man aspires for that purity in his own being. By wearing it in the hair and decorating the home, vibrations of purity are attracted to the place where these flowers are kept.

The beauty of flowers arises from their pure vitality. But they have in them also the seed of a psychic or spiritual presence and it is this presence appearing through the transparency of vegetal life that gives them their inexpressible splendor. It is a glimpse of the Divine manifesting as beauty. Take the rose, for example. Its great perfection of form, color and smell expresses an aspiration of the soul. It is a psychic gift. Look at a rose opening in the morning with the first contact of the sun--it is a magnificent self-giving aspiration.

There is in all plant life an unquenchable thirst after light. Sunlight is the material symbol of the Divine Consciousness. The life of plants is a worship of light. If you have ever been in a forest at sunrise you can feel the flowers and trees awakening to the touch of descending light, twisting and struggling to catch it. It is a movement, an aspiration, a thirst for light. So also when the sun sets and all becomes silent, if one sits in communion with Nature, one can feel something rising up from the plants like an intense longing and love of light. The movement is so pure and powerful that it can awaken aspiration in man who is far more developed in his consciousness but so complex that his being is less open and receptive than a flower.

Every flower has its own unique quality of consciousness. For example, the Gladiolus is known as "Receptivity" for its spontaneous openness to the higher consciousness. The Geranium is "Spiritual Happiness". It radiates a feeling of smiling serenity. It is possible for man to discover for himself the consciousness of different flowers. The Mother has described the process and given names to over 800 varieties of flowers. She says that there is a spontaneous vibration or movement in a flower like the movement of a body, neither a sensation nor a feeling but something of both. If you contact it and feel it, it gives rise to a certain experience. If you are able to identify fully with the experience, you can perceive the quality of its vibration. The Mother found flowers a very effective medium for transmitting a particular spiritual help to the aspirants. Most commonly red and white roses were given because they were able to retain the spiritual blessing longer than other flowers. But sometimes a group of flowers would be given whose combination conveyed a certain meaning and consciousness to the recipient.

When flowers appear in a dream or vision it indicates a blossoming in the consciousness, an opening to or contact with the spiritual or psychic presence deep within or the touch of that presence in the body, nerves, heart or mind. It is also possible to use flowers as an aid in meditation, to help one experience higher and purer states of consciousness or develop certain parts of the personality. If one sits very quietly holding a "Passion flower" there can come the experience of "Silence". This silence is not mere absence of noise or even absence of thought. It is a concrete full stillness which is the foundation for great creative force and inspiration. One must know how to receive it calmly and let it suffuse through the whole being. The flower of the Night Jasmine tree radiates "Aspiration" which is like a flame of self-giving leaping forth from the heart. Day Jessamine is the flower of "Light", and meditation with it can bring a flood of pure light into the mind. The solitary pink rose brings the vibration of "Loving Surrender" to the Divine. Honeysuckle helps one develop "Constant Remembrance of the Divine". Lavishly scented Sweet Basil brings the "Joy of Union with the Divine", and fills the heart with its sweetness. Sunflowers are "Consciousness turned towards the Light". They evoke a thirst for light and a joyous seeking after it.

Color is a significant aspect of a flower’s consciousness. Each color represents a certain kind of aspiration. Many occult traditions have discovered the correspondences between color and consciousness. There are some general guidelines of correspondence but also many exceptions. It depends on the flower and its other qualities. Ivory white or light cream is the color of divine bliss, "Ananda," as in the small cream-white Hibiscus. Pure white flowers generally denote purity or integrality. For instance, the white Bougainvillea is "Integral Protection". It offers protection to the entire personality. The white Gardenia, a relative of jasmine, is "Radiating Purity". Golden-yellow and orange are colors of the highest supramental or spiritual qualities.

The large double golden-yellow hibiscus is "Power of the Supramental Consciousness". Yellow is the color of mental aspiration like the flower "Mind" (Yellow Oleander) and "Mental Love for the Divine" (Yellow Rose). Usually this is greenish yellow and is distinct from yellow shading into orange which indicates light. Cream yellow flowers frequently represent vibrations from the higher mind or intuitive mind which lies beyond the normal sense and thought mind as in pale yellow Canna which is the "Illumined Mind Center." Various shades of lighter blue represent different levels of the spiritual mind, the higher, illumined and intuitive planes of truth. Pink or pale rose are the colors of the soul or psychic region which lies deep behind the heart. Pink Crepe Myrtle is "Intimacy with the Divine in the Psychic", while the "Psychic Center" itself is the salmon-pink Canna and the pink Snapweed is "Psychic Generosity". The heart or emotive center is often expressed by light-mauve or lilac-pink as in "Offering of the Emotions" (mauve-pink Hollyhock).

The darker colors denote the vital, the physical or Matter. The vital is the center of power, nervous energy and desire in man. It is usually divided into three layers. The higher vital which is closely linked with the emotions is represented by lavender, deep mauve or carmine as in "Enthusiasm in the Higher Vital" (bluish-mauve Petunia). The vital proper is often blue or dark red as in "Offering of the Vital to the Divine" (dark red Hollyhock) and "Vital Progress" toward the Divine (rose-violet Vinca Rosea). The lower material vital is denoted by dark blue, violet blue or dark purple. Red is the color of the physical, usually a clear bright red. "Ananda in the Physical" is a small cream yellow Hibiscus with a deep red center. "Physical Endurance" is a dark red Zinnia.

These are a few general guidelines, but, as we said earlier, there is a lot of variation. Flowers such as "Offering" (Hollyhock), "Protection" (Bougainvillea), "Center" (Canna), "Progress" (Vinca Rosea), "Intimacy with the Divine" (Crepe Myrtle), "Enthusiasm" (Petunia), "Generosity" (Snapweed), "Sincerity" (Aster) usually take on the quality of the center corresponding with their color.

But there are other flowers where mere color does not clearly denote the meaning. For instance, rose is "Love for the Divine" and red roses "Human Passion changed into Love for the Divine". But white roses tinged pink are "Affection for the Divine"; orange roses are "Flaming love for the Divine"; "Humility in the love for the Divine" is a lavender rose, "Surrender" is a pink Edward or Country rose, and "Integral Love for the Divine" is a solitary pure white rose. With Hibiscus the variation in consciousness is even greater depending on size, color, number of petal layers. The single red Hibiscus is "Dynamic Power" and there are many other aspects of power such as "Power of Integral Purity" which is white with a red center. A few in the Hawaian family relate to beauty such as "Beauty of Supramental Love" (a large salmon pink flower with pink center and pale pink aura). "Consciousness One with the Divine Consciousness" is a large double light pink flower with deep pink center and cream border on the petals. The very special "Divine Grace" (Hibiscus mutabilis or Cotton Rose) is a large double flower which opens pure white and gradually turns pink. For purposes of meditation one of the most effective is "Godhead" (Hawaian, Cromwell variety, large single flower with cream or yellow gold petals and a pink center).

Certain flowers can play a very useful role in supporting physical health. A powerful remedy for fatigue or lack of energy whether occasional or recurring is the "Life Energy" flower (Florist’s Chrysanthemum). Just holding these flowers can revive one’s energies very quickly, and meditation or concentration on them can relieve even a prolonged condition of exhaustion due to physical or psychological stress. The flower "Wakefulness in the Mind" (West Indian Holly or Sage Rose) can help awaken the mental faculties, remove drowsiness and inertia. The Portia Tree is called "Health" and it is known that its presence in large numbers can diminish or prevent the occurrence of disease in a large community. There are other flowers which can help attract forces of material plenty such as "Wealth" (Water lily), "Material Abundance" (Cotton Plant), "Riches" (Cactus flower) and "Prosperity" (Cannonball Tree). Another very useful flower is "Common Sense" (Sweet-scented Tobacco). Whatever one’s goal in life "Equanimity" (Candytuft) creates a firm foundation and "Cheerful Endeavour" (African Daisy) provides the right attitude for sure success. In India the most highly revered of flowers are the white Lotus, flower of "The Divine Consciousness", and the red Lotus, flower of "The Avatar--The Supreme Manifested on Earth in a Body".

Growing flowers, keeping them in the home, meditating with them creates a purified and inspiring atmosphere much like burning of incense. In fact, the perfume of a flower is closely related to its significance. Flowers teach us the charm of silence and thus the self-giving which demands nothing in return. The best way to open oneself to the deep influence of flowers is to love them and to seek to discover the same qualities in oneself. Love of flowers can be a valuable help in finding and uniting with one’s own true psychic being. This love means that one is drawn by the psychic vibration in the vegetal kingdom and consequently by the psychic presence in one’s own self. The beauty of flowers is one of Nature’s means of awakening in man the quest for his own soul.