Had the joy of having the freshest possible idlis and steamed dosa for breakfast yesterday at the Visitor Center at Auroville. The joy was doubled when I saw a sweet lady come out of the restaurant kitchen with a basket full of assorted flowers and a polished-to-shine urli filled up to brim with water. She was about to start arranging the flowers in the urli - something that one can see on the restaurant main counter every time one visits this delightful eating joint. Leaving my husband alone at our table, and taking my coffee cup with me I went near this petite lady and after greeting her with a smile and hello, asked her if I could simply stand there and watch her do her ‘thing’ with flowers. She smiled a sweet smile and said yes.
And then it began...the delight of watching one of the sweetest and most beautiful work in progress.
All the flowers from the top of the basket were first laid out on the counter and separated by colours. First came a layer of delicate flowers (Rose periwinkle/Madagascar periwinkle/Catharanthus roseus; Spiritual significance given by The Mother – Integral Progress).
Each flower was floated in the water with careful precision and delicacy. After all the flowers were arranged in a circular pattern, the lady very gently pulled at one of the petals of each flower in order to leave just a hint of a space between the rim of the urli and the flower. This made the water sparkle in the combined light of the shiny brass of the urli and the white brightness of the flowers. And I thought to myself – what a nice idea! How beautiful it looks. But within a second I understood her actual reason for doing that.
She had discovered a whole bunch of tiny purple/lavender flowers at the bottom of the basket (Wishbone flower/Bluewings /Torenia fournieri; Spiritual significance given by The Mother – Krishna’s Play in Matter) and this tiny little space between the rim and each of the white flowers was just enough to float those purple gems.
And then it began again...my awe at how she was so carefully handling each of these purple flowers and arranging them in an exact precise manner so that their petals were floating in the same direction. No randomness, all in perfect order and harmony, and yet all done with such flawless spontaneous movements of her fingers. The flowers were so tiny but her soft eyes and gentle fingers were so observant and exact that not a teeny-weeny extra bit of an over-grown petal or accompanying leafy material made it to the arrangement.
Perfect precision in creating a work of art from the heart. I wish I had the camera with me to capture that gentle perfection in progress....but perhaps it is for the best that such beautiful moments of creating beauty are simply experienced in the flow of the moment, and not frozen.
Beauty of the action...
Perfection of the form...
Seeking the divine harmony behind everything...
The Sunday breakfast turned out to be a perfect lesson!