But for a very few flowers of ‘Nandi battalu’ or the ‘Ananta’ , which flower through the year, my flower bowl has been empty for the last three months. I think rainy season is the time for the plants to rest and relax. It has not rained for a week now and there is bright sunlight. The plants are back in action. My bowl was full today. It is a sight which ‘makes my day’ as we say. The pleasure is twofold when there are a lot of ‘parijata’ (some call it the ‘night flowering jasmine’) flowers. I get to enjoy the sight as well as the fragrance. It sort of fills my soul (assuming that there is one in my body).
The flowers are for the daily worship. My worship is the shortened version - lighting a lamp and placing the flowers on the idols. We offer the fruits and flowers to the lord and take them back as ‘prasada’. But in my case the lord gets the flowers only after I have enjoyed the sight and fragrance. I enjoy the fragrance when the ‘parijaata’ buds start flowering at night and then enjoy the sight of the flowers on the plant in the morning. I enjoy picking them and also enjoy the sight and smell of flowers collected for worship. Only then the lord gets them. I hope he does not mind.
He shouldn’t actually. He was the one who told Arjuna “Pick up your bow and kill. It is my will. Actually you are not killing and they are not dying. I am the one who is killing and I am also the one who is dying. I play this game and all of you are just pawns.”
If and when I get to talking terms with him he is sure to say “You fool, you are not enjoying the fragrance. I am. I made the flower fragrant and I gave you the senses to enjoy it. In fact, I am the very essence of that fragrance also” or some such thing. Incidentally the parijaata is supposed to be his favourite.
(My wife usually does not read what I write, which explains how I have my limbs intact till now. She was attracted by the picture of the flowers and read this post. She has an explanation - Every flower is first touched by the wind, that is, 'Vayudevaru' or 'PraNadevaru' as wind is known in dwaita philosophy. PraNadevaru is supposed to be in a constant worship mode. 24*7 if you understand that better. So, the moment a flower is touched by 'Vayudevaru' it is said to have been offered to the god. What we get is always the seconds and we offer it to the lord again just for our satisfaction.)
Parijata flowers, I feel are the embodiment of the word ‘delicate’. They start flowering late in the evening. They remain on the plant till early morning and then fall to the ground. Try to pluck them before they are ready to part from the plant and the delicate petals get torn. When they fall to the ground, even if there is as much as a drop of water/dew on the ground, they get wet / soggy and are spoilt. The same happens even if there is a light shower after the buds flower. If you want them in good condition, you have to gently separate them from the branches just before they get detached (Hoovu 'biDisodu' as we say in kannaDa. Not 'keeLodu') or pick them up as soon as they fall to the ground. Very difficult to time it.
I remember one of my neighbours who had a parijata plant in her compound. She would spread a bed spread under the paarijata plant every night to make sure that the flowers did not fall on the mud. She would come down early in the morning, shake the plant gently to bring down the flowers stuck between the leaves and gather all of them. I used to think her crazy going to such lengths to get a few flowers. Now, I understand her and in fact, that is what exactly I do. I am getting crazy!