Each variety of flower, according to the Mother, has its own special quality and meaning. During her lifetime she gave names or significances to 898 flowers.
In this book these flowers, with their significances, are arranged thematically in twelve chapters. In each chapter flowers of related significance are grouped together and placed in a sequence that develops the chapter's theme. Brief quotations from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother accompany many significances as an aid to understanding them. 630 colour photographs help to identify the flowers and reveal their beauty. A separately bound reference volume contains indexes, glossaries, descriptions of the flowers and botanical information on them.
Gentle and lovely, flowers share their beauty with us and bring us a touch of eternal things. According to the Mother, each variety of flower has its own special quality and meaning. By establishing an inner contact with the flower, this meaning can be known.
Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen to them, the Mother said. It is a subtle and fragrant language. As if to provide a key to this language, she identified the significances of almost nine hundred flowers. In this book these flowers and their messages are presented in the light of her vision and experience.
This 462-page book consists of two separately bound parts:
Part 1. Text and photographs
- Part 1 is printed on glossy art paper
- Part 2 on woodfree paper.
The 324-page text of Part 1 is arranged thematically on the basis of the Mother's flower-significances. In each of the twelve chapters, flowers of related significance are grouped together; these groups are then placed in a sequence that develops the theme of the chapter.
For each of the 898 flowers, the Mother's significance is given, her comment on the significance, the botanical name of the flower, and its colour or colours. Quotations from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother accompany many significances as an aid to understanding them. 630 colour photographs help to identify the flowers and bring out their beauty.
Part 2. Indexes, Glossaries and descriptions
The second part is a 138-page reference volume containing indexes, glossaries, descriptions of the flowers and other information. The three indexes make it possible to locate the flowers in Part 1 by the Mother's significance, the botanical name and the common name.
The two glossaries:one of botanical terms, and the other of philosophical and psychological terms – define the technical terms in the book. The largest section, "Descriptions of the Flowers", provides detailed descriptions and full botanical information about the flowers. There is also a note on the symbolism of colours.
The origin of the flowers:
Mother, when flowers are brought to you, how do you give them a significance?
"By entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its inner truth. Then one knows what it represents.
There is a mental projection when one gives a precise significance to a flower. . . . A flower does not have the equivalent of a mental consciousness. . . . It is rather like the movement of a little baby, neither a sensation nor a feeling, but something of both; it is a spontaneous movement, a very special vibration. Well, if one is in contact with this vibration, if one feels it, one receives an impression which may be translated by a thought. This is how I give a significance to flowers and plants. There is a kind of identification with the vibration, a perception of the quality it represents."
Examples ot the Mother's significances:
Common Name - The Mother's Significance
Bougainvillea - Protection
Gladiolus - Receptivity
Hibiscus - Power
Iris - Aristocracy of beauty
Ivy - Lasting attachment
Jasmine - Purity
Orchid - Attachment to the Divine
Petunia - Enthusiasm
Rose - Love for the Divine
Water lily - Wealth
Zinnia - Endurance
About the Author:
Born in Paris in 1878, the Mother studied painting at an art studio and became an accomplished artist. Primarily interested in inner development, she was associated with several groups of spiritual seekers in France.
In 1914 she journeyed to India to meet the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry and settled there permanently in 1920. For nearly fifty years, she was the head of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, from its founding in 1926 until her passing in 1973. She also established a school, the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, in 1952, and an international township, Auroville, in 1968.