Floral Surrender

One trigger is enough if you are ready…

As soon as I wake up in the morning and thank God for giving me another beautiful day, I unlock the kitchen door and step into the common area of the residential complex in which I live.  It comprises a seven-feet-wide passage lined with flower pots lovingly maintained by my better half.  With a little tray in my hand, I pass by each pot, and spotting a flower, I stand before it admiring its freshness.  As I extend my hand to pluck the flower, a slight apprehension afflicts me because I am about to pluck it off from its parent plant.  Am I killing the little flower by extricating it from its guardian plant?  Will it be able to bear the agony of separation from its motherly fold?  I know not!  The fact is that I am plucking the flower only to offer it at the feet of the Lord when I sit for puja an hour or so later.  The predicament is short-lived.  That the flower is plucked to be rendered to the divine decides the fate of the flower, and it is gently plucked and placed in the little tray but not before a heartfelt apology.

Nevertheless, I’m sure I resembled a heartless butcher looking for a juicy animal for a sacrificial ceremony infusing the fear of the devil in the rest of the herd!  But here, in contrast, the innocent little flowers appear to be crying for attention in unison.  They do not manifest any fear, but there appears to be a prayer on the face of each flower pleading to be picked as this was an opportunity for salvation and ultimate confluence with the Creator, a most fortunate and blessed moment of their existence.  Like Ravana was fortunate to be extinguished by Lord Rama, Bali was blessed to be killed by Vamana, Sishupal was fortunate to be eliminated by Krishna, Jalandhara was blessed to be destroyed by Lord Shiva…

Still unsure of my theory which remains a riddle, I proceed with the tray of flowers towards the puja room and reverently place the tray in front of the divine altar.  I can feel and see the flowers standing tall with their heads held high awaiting their merger with the divine.  This daily chore is both satisfying and a little guilt ridden but pursued every day without a break.

Last Sunday after the garden tour, I went for a walk along the Pondicherry beach.  On my way back home, I saw three trees in a line bearing the champa (plumeria) flowers and wished I could pluck a few and offer them to my God during the morning puja.  Walking towards them, I noticed that the flowers were perched quite high on the trees.  I tried to reach out with my extended hands, but they were very much out of reach.  I did not have the heart to pick the few that lay on the road because I felt it was not appropriate.  I continued walking under the shade of the trees disheartened.  As I wearily reached the third tree, ‘plop’ fell a little plumeria on my protruding belly and held on to my creased T-shirt.  I just stopped in my tracks, and with a trembling hand, I picked it up and held it between my fingers and looked upward awestruck.  Was the benevolent tree smiling at me?  Was it just a coincidence or the grace of nature?  Did the tree feel that it should not lose the golden opportunity to make its floral surrender by offering its freshest flower to the divine?  In this Kaliyuga, does the Lord answer prayers and fulfil one’s aspiration so graciously and so quickly?  What do I make out of this little event?  Once again my mind went out to the thoughts behind my plucking of flowers in my backyard and the yearning of those flowers to find the feet of the Lord.  Was it the same yearning that brought down the little plumeria on my frame?  Holding the beauty between my fingers, I moved forward more in trance than by walk.  What a divine fragrance it left in my psyche transporting me into the depths of bliss!  Once home, the plumeria joined the other flowers in the sacred tray waiting to cuddle the feet of the Lord.

I have no rational or spiritual explanation for this little episode.  But a cosmic divine plan defying all explanations did take over and set the divine providence in motion and made my puja that day memorable and soul satisfying.

To say the least, these little flowers have clarified many dynamics in my head and taught me a lesson on selfless surrender.  They have elucidated clearly the purpose of my life.  Without saying anything, they have taught me the philosophy of self-surrender and made me understand how nature and spirituality coexist.  This floral surrender further opened my eyes towards the divine and refreshed my soul.  The language of silence can be potent and comforting at the same time, for through silence, one appreciates and achieves serenity and grace.  With their silence, the tender little flowers have transformed the hardness inside me into compassion.

I believe that even the silent photographs of flowers in our homes usher bliss, peace, love and compassion.  Their very sight purifies our thought, spirit and intellect and makes a difference in our lives.  In meditative silence, I dedicate this humbly penned bouquet to all the flowers adorning the world and their Creator.

Without saying anything, they have taught me the philosophy of self-surrender and made me understand how nature and spirituality coexist.

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