Lessons from the Garden: To Eliminate or To Harmonize?

Beloo Mehra

 

“Just take the whole thing out,” my husband said.

“No!” I almost yelled.

“It will be easier that way, it is getting too messy.”

“But I like it very much, I like the other one too.”

We were talking about the two much-over-grown creepers which had climbed up on this one over-grown and crowded wall in the front of our garden, each trying to over-power the other, squeeze out the other, and climb up on each other. Result was that both were not able to yield much flowers because they were not getting enough nutrition. And it was beginning to look messy and chaotic.

Let me now introduce now the two pushovers being discussed here. First up is Combretum indicum, commonly known as Rangoon Creeper or Madhumalti, in Hindi.

Rangoon Creeper

And the other one is Passiflora, commonly known as Passion Flower.

Passiflora (640x480)

The flowers of both these vines are not only beautiful but also beautifully fragrant. So how could I sacrifice either one? But it was also true that something needed to be done in order to make sufficient room for each of them. My husband was in favour of eliminating Passiflora and his argument was that we already have another vine of Passiflora growing in the back of the garden. “But that is on the back wall, we should have this one in front too,” was my argument. 

So I suggested harmonizing the two – cut back each of the vines enough to make room for both. Snip, snip here, snip, snip there. Pull out a few of the extra shoots from this one, remove some of the growth from that one. Surely as they begin to grow back, the two may still try get in each other’s place, try to take over as much of the territory as they can, but eventually with some regular guidance, coaxing and cajoling (i.e. timely pruning and snipping and training) they will learn to co-exist and make room for each other, even if it means giving up a bit of their pride.

They may not be always able to show off their heads full of heavy blossoms, but they will still flower and spread beauty and fragrance, provided they get what is most essential – good soil and good light. They will learn to live in harmony, a harmony that will need to be re-shaped, re-worked and renewed every now and then, by the wise hands of the gardener(s). And most likely in due course of time, some elimination of unwanted weeds that would begin to sneak into the place allotted for the two desirable vines will also become very necessary, but that too will be done in order to achieve a new harmony.

Harmony between Faithfulness (the spiritual significance of the Rangoon Creeper flower) and Silence (the spiritual significance of the Passiflora flower).

I love it when my garden teaches me such deep lessons about Life and Living.

What do we need to live in harmony? Harmony with each other. Harmony with what surrounds us. Harmony within ourselves. Exactly what the two vines in my garden need – Good Earth (Well-developed Aadhar/Base – Body, Heart and Mind) and Good Light (Knowledge and Grace that descend from the Higher Realms), and of course, the Wisdom of the Gardener Within (Buddhi, the Intelligent Will and faculty of Discernment) to guide and motivate. And yes, some discriminating elimination might be necessary too from time to time to weed out the undesirable pesky little things that crop up here and there.

Can the two vines in my garden do it? Can I do it? I will have to regularly keep checking up on the vines….and certainly on myself too.

After all, both the qualities of Faithfulness and Silence are essential for a more integral and harmonious inner growth.

Author’s note:

Photos are from author’s garden. The spiritual significance of the two flowers referred to here is given by the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. She gave spiritual significances to about 900 different flowers, based on her conscious inner identification with the soul of the flowers. For more information on this, visit: http://www.blossomlikeaflower.com/

  
About the author
Beloo donned the hats of school teacher, university professor and researcher for many years, and is now happy to be doing what she does best – learn. Living in Pondicherry for the last 7 years and working part-time as an online educator for a private university in the US. She devotes most of her time to studying the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, blogging, reading, gardening and just being. She blogs at http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.com and can be reached at beloome@gmail.com
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