Inner View · Spiritual Significance of Flowers · Spirituality beyond Religion

A Table’s Call

“Things also have a consciousness of their own….The Divine is in things also and that is why they must be treated with care.” (The Mother, 17.05.1955)

I have this small side table at home. It is a lightweight table with simple wooden legs. The charm of the table is in its top, a simple sheet of plywood covered by handmade paper with small dried leaves rolled in giving it a wonderful texture. The paper surface is laminated but in order to further protect it we have placed a sheet of clear glass of the same size as the table top. But enough about the outer details of the table.

It is the function for which this table, any table, is used that makes it important. No?

Well, not really. Not always. Often we have many objects at home, including pieces of furniture that are mostly or even merely decorative. So can we then say that these objects are important only for their aesthetic value?

Or maybe there is something else too in those objects.

Sri Aurobindo: …In material objects there are physical forces trying to maintain the forms. But there is even some life-force gathered round the form by the universal consciousness which is behind it. (Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, recorded by A.B. Purani, dated 04.02.1926)

At least that ‘something else’ is there in my little side table. For me. Seen only from the outside, it has become a little stage for me to experiment with interesting ‘vignettes’ or ‘table tales’ as I sometimes call them.

But nothing is only what you see on the surface. This table has also become an important means for me to consciously slow down and reinforce for myself the truth that nothing, not even any object, can be experienced only from outside. One has to try and carefully listen to the ‘inside story’ – often that is not spoken or is spoken very mildly – in order to ‘know’ someone. Or oneself. Or an object. Even a table.

Sri Aurobindo: Do you believe that there can be life in a watch?

Disciple: Children believe that!

Sri Aurobindo: And I agree with children. The watches behave differently with different men. It is also certain they answer to man’s thought and will.

Disciple: So watches have life!

Sri Aurobindo: You are getting surprises one by one.

Disciple: Flowers have souls — watches have life! It is baffling. I have heard that motor cars have also life.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes — engines and tools also.

Disciple: What is called “fatigue in metals”, may it not be a sign of life?

Sri Aurobindo: Fatigue is a sign of life. There is a consciousness also in metals, as well as mind. Life is everywhere.  (Evening Talks, dated 17.08.1926)

 

Every time I think of changing something on this particular table, I get one more chance to listen to its inner story.

Now, to be honest, it is not that I don’t move things around on other surfaces in my home – be it other side tables, dining table, kitchen counters, tops of bookshelves, display cabinets etc. In fact, sometimes my husband says that I move things around too much! But in my defense, it is not who moves those objects around, it is just that the objects are telling me that they want to move. What can I do? I have to listen, no? Each object has to find its right home, and until it has been found it will need to move. It must.

Kind of like us.

A continuing journey of discovering that right “home.” The inner one.

But there is still something special about this little side table. Every time this table calls for a changeover, it is never only about changing its ‘look’, the outer form. It is almost always an opportunity for me to somehow get in touch with something that is trying to express the real ‘essence’ of this table.

What? Does a table have something like an essence? What are you smoking? Yes, I can hear the questions.

My answer: Of course, it does. This particular table surely does. Let me also add this – I think if you pay attention to some of the tables (or chairs or bookshelves or other pieces of furniture in your homes) you may also begin to notice that they each have their unique ‘table-ness’ or ‘chair-ness’ etc. 

For this little table in my home, the essence is all about the gods who make this little table their home from time to time. And how I adorn their home. No, this is not the main ‘mandir’ in my home. That is elsewhere. But this table also wants to be one. Or at least, that’s what I hear when it speaks to me.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of the ways it has expressed its mandir-ness, and decide for yourself.

I

P1040996

This was the day when a single but richly blossoming branch of pink-lavender Bougainvillea (‘discreet protection’*) delighted my Krishna, merrily engaged in his Raas-Lila with Radha and gopis. But just to give him something little extra, a small white blossom of Rose Periwinkle (‘integral progress’) was placed in the nearby empty essential oil diffuser. Perhaps as a reminder for myself, that only in His Protection any real inner progress is possible.

Disciple: What is this psychic prayer that flowers represent?

The Mother: 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.

II

1422490_10207110983947063_3124817319162214648_n (568x800)

On that day a beautiful sun-dried leaf caught my attention as I stepped outside the house for something. This provided the necessary contrast to the bright red hibiscus (‘dynamic power’) which was offered that morning to the ‘Giridhar’ Krishna standing in a most beautiful tribhanga pose balancing the Govardhan mountain on his little finger, protecting his entire village. Who knows from which tree and when this dried leaf had fallen, but the glorious sheen of it somehow reminded me of the golden yellow of Krishna’s Pitambar, perhaps a tad bit faded in colour but nonetheless magnificent. And the leaf found its home at the feet of the Lord.

And what of that little bird behind the Giridhar Krishna? Well, it was the bird that had first landed on the table. But soon it got lonely and restless, and Sri Krishna in His Supreme Grace agreed to grace the table and show the bird how to ‘tune’ its music to His Flute. And from that day on, they were inseparable.

III

11890917_10206256595907896_4209209464206557349_n

More golden yellow this time. But in addition to Sri Krishna, this time Lord Vishnu also shares the offering. I had meant to offer each one of them – the Lord and His Avatar – a separate little blossom (you can see the empty tiny jars there), but somehow that day this task remained undone. I am sure, however, that the gods were mighty pleased with the golden Gerberas  (‘frankness’) who were given to me by a visiting friend the day before. But frankly speaking, I have no recollection of why that morning I never managed to bring more flowers from the garden.

IV

946122_10207178713760266_1063110518209859197_n (566x800)

This is the most recent form this table has taken. I think from a morning last week. A small floating arrangement with tender white blossoms of Parijat (‘aspiration’), a small white Frangipani (‘perfect psychological perfection’) topped in the middle by a dark purple Globe Amaranth (‘immortality’) definitely made it necessary for that bright red Hibiscus (‘dynamic power’) to be there. Even gods need help. I mean, without His dynamic ‘Shakti’ even Lord Vishnu can not convert a seeker’s weak-willed yearning into a burning flame of aspiration. And just to make sure that gods get all the extra help they need, a small tea-light holder was also placed for when it will be dark. 

******

So, are you now convinced that this is no ordinary table? Didn’t I tell you so? It is a table that is kind of living, changing, evolving and in the process discovering its true purpose, to be a home for the gods.

Kind of like us.

* The spiritual significance of the flowers as given by the Mother


Linking with ABC Wednesday, C: C is for Call

Gratitude-Circle-Vidya-Sury-Final-e1453801581346

Linking with Vidya Sury’s The Gratitude Circle

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “A Table’s Call

  1. So many lovely moods to your table Beloo! I am thrilled you joined me today! Your table reminds me of two stools we have at home – made of mango wood. I remember paying rs.20 each and watched them being made. I brought them home and finished them myself (sanding, varnishing) to save Rs.10 each. They’ve subsequently been used for a number of things, and continue to be our favorites. Two plain wooden stools, but so full of memories. Did I mention they are 30 years old? 🙂

    Everything we experience is living and an important part of our life, because we choose to bestow them with that love. Wonderfully rich read, as always!

    1. And thank you, Vidya for such a rich comment, and especially for sharing about your two little stools. I can imagine how fond you all must be of those stools! Such special objects do become part of our lives, that’s so correct. My table isn’t that old, about 7 years or so, manufactured locally here in Auroville, but I can still remember how thrilled I was when I purchased it. Perhaps the connection was there from that moment on 🙂 Who knows!

  2. Lovely read Beloo! How beautifully you relate the tables to how we evolve as individuals. The older an objects get, the more the memories that get attached..pretty much like us, again 🙂

    1. Thank you for this lovely comment, and welcome to my blog. I am glad you zeroed in on one of the key points I wanted to make in this post 🙂 But in a way it is so much more about memories. It is about the life-force itself, don’t you think so?

  3. Wah! A living entity in your drawing room! Loved every bit of the post, the story of the objects and the aspects of the flowers offered. And of course the photographs. Reading the first quote of Sri Aurobindo, (But there is even some life-force gathered round the form by the universal consciousness which is behind it.), I am reminded of the saying that the murtis we worship both at home and in the temples are infused with life,which is why we find the positive vibrations in their presence.

    1. Aah, and this is why I always love hearing from you 🙂 You take the point I am trying to make to a totally new, much deeper level. Thank you, Zephyr! I suppose perhaps because the gods themselves are REAL living beings and not merely abstractions or symbols (as modern mentality would like to believe), that’s why perhaps their outer ‘forms’ – murtis, paintings etc when created, served, worshipped and loved with a feeling of real, living devotion and surrender are absolutely full of life and consciousness.

  4. You know, Beloo, this post somehow reminds me of my study table…My dad brought it home when I was in Nursery and it is still there at home..I think it is made of some very qood quality wood because it’s just the same…The table has unwittingly shaped me into who I am today…I can’t quite explain how but it is more than just a table and no one in my family wants to get rid of it even after I have moved to Bangalore..It is still there and I’m sure it will still be there

    1. Thank you Nabanita for sharing this beautiful story about your table. I am intrigued by the fact that you feel that in many ways that table shaped you into who you are. I guess such things really are beyond any logical, mental explanation, aren’t they?! Obviously, it is understandable why nobody wants to get rid of it after all these years. Some things are meant for life 🙂

  5. I agree, the table has a voice and a view. I too agree that our ‘stuff’ has its voice since many times I have requested them to behave, praised them and thanked them.
    Such a beautiful way to express their thoughts. The table wants to at the Lord’s feet. 😀
    Love the pictures, so much calm I see.

    1. Thank you, Inderpreet! Glad you could connect to this post, and especially happy to note that you could ‘see’ the calmness in the pictures. I am grateful I remembered to take these pictures over the last few years, because the table sometimes changes its form rather frequently 🙂

  6. although i don’t have any myself, i can imagine how a table, or anything else for that matter, can hold a sentimental value. A table like this can be used and re-used over and over again, that what you do, how nice!

    Have a nice abc-day / – week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

    1. Thanks Melody for sharing your perspective. Appreciate it very much. This particular table is indeed a special little piece of furniture, something that knew right from the first day it moved into our present home from our previous place.

      Wishing you a happy weekend.

    1. Well said, Suresh! Times are indeed strange when we have to learn how to slow down so that we can really ‘see’ and ‘experience’ things around us and more importantly ‘within’ us. Thanks for your comment.

  7. This is a wonderful post, Beloo. It reminds me of a chair at my parent’s place. I used to sit on it while reading books.The chair knows all my feelings and emotions as they have evolved, as I have grown up, from a kid to a woman. It is a part of my being, I can feel it’s presence in all of my memories, be it sweet or sad.

    Loved the pictures, flowers, they make me happy, especially the frangipani… 🙂

  8. Thank you, Maniparna for sharing about your special chair. Isn’t it interesting how some special objects, pieces of furniture become such an important part of our lives, outer and inner? I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. Frangipani is one of my favourite flowers too. I wish I had a bigger garden so I could plant even some more Frangipani!

  9. Not just a table. I love it. I would asked about the table everytime in changes, ofcourse when I would be at your house. I love the flowers u use, and I think your husband should be silent because you have a great taste in decorating.

    Liesbeth ABCWT

  10. Loved every bit of this piece. I also like to connect with the life force within each object I use –in fact I thank everything after using it and feel blessed to have it in my life. Your aesthetic sense is admirable and I love your flower arrangements -a reflection of your inner tranquility and reverence for the Divine !

    1. Thank you so much, Sunil for this lovely compliment! I am happy you enjoy the simple flower arrangements I do. Somehow morning doesn’t feel complete without flowers, even if it is just a few blooms! Thanks again. I am always so touched by your words.

  11. Only you can turn a homely object into something holy. You amaze me. There are so many aspects to you… all inspiring, all endearing.

    Thank you for this. May I too be blessed with the ability to look deep within things and hear their stories.

    1. Heard the phrase – “Like recognises like”? So don’t tell me that you, my dear Dagny are not already blessed with this ability, okay 😉 Rugs of Life is a living proof!

  12. Hey there! I have nominated you for the ‘one lovely blog award’! Hope you know what a brilliant blog you have. For more details, kindly visit my blog and check out the latest post on it. Hope you have a wonderful day ahead. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the lovely award nomination 🙂 I am flattered. Since you are new to my blog, I thought I will let you know that two years ago I had decided to make this blog an ‘award-free’ blog. Which means that as much as I am thankful to you for nominating for this lovely award, I won’t be able to accept it. For more details on why I made this decision please read this post – https://beautyishisfootprint.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/in-a-quandary-about-blogging-awards-a-personal-take-2/

      Once again, thank you for the honour. And congratulations for the award, I read your post and am happy to know a little more about you. And I hope you will understand my reasons.

      1. I understand completely. I will read the reason behind it nonetheless. It was just to appreciate your lovely blog. I completely understand your sentiment behind this though and I wish you all the very best for all your future endeavours. 🙂
        It was a pleasure.

  13. As I kid I too used to think things have life … I love your perspective about things in general. Reading about the table made me realise how I have never stopped to appreciate an article … not in a profound way., trying to understand it’s story but rather in terms of value of money or it’s glam factor.

    1. Thank you, Rajlakshmi! To be honest, I also lived through that phase of life when I didn’t or couldn’t find a way to stop and ‘see’ things around me. I mean, see in a deeper way. I suppose it is part of the ‘modern’ life-style we are so getting used to, with every passing day, where everything is merely seen either through utilitarian lens or economic sense (both materialistic lens). But then I suppose, life itself has a way of telling us when to change our approach to life and living, including our perspective on all that is in our immediate surroundings. In any case, I am happy and grateful that it happened for me when it did.
      I am glad you enjoyed this post and in a small way it made some impact.

  14. Oh yes, this is no ordinary table. So much beauty in something that we would otherwise just view as a materialistic possession. I’ve realized that as I grow older, I actually pause and ponder more about people and things. Thank you for this rich post.

    1. Thanks Rachna. Glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, so often we miss out on seeing/hearing or even noticing what those objects etc around us because we are too occupied with ourselves and our petty lives!

Response? Reaction? Thought? Question? Criticism? Let me know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s