Story by Noel Parent, Illustrated by Pankhuri Singh, Designed by Krupa Jhaveri
Auroville Press Printing, Auroville, India, 2015, p. 42
As the title suggests, “Yaroslava’s Flowers” is a story about a girl, named Yaroslava, who is born >>in a field of flowers<. Yaroslava loves flowers and the flowers speak to her. They talk to her about >>how to care for them<<. They have special names, which is a secret and they reveal their secret names to her because she creates a bond with them. One day a flower spirit appears and gives her a small bag that contains magic seeds and she asks Yaroslava to >>plant them in very special places wherever help is needed<<. Yaroslava goes on a journey with the small bag containing magic seeds. She plants the seeds wherever she finds people and places that need to be awakened to new life. Yaroslava can change the world with flowers as she becomes conscious of their true meaning (the Mother’s names for them).
According to Mirra Alfasa, the founder of the Auroville, whom the people lovingly call the Mother, Knowing the true meaning of the flower means understanding the spirit of the flower. She was of the opinion that the botanical name even the common names of flowers do not reveal their true character. Hence while associating the flowers with their deepest aspiration; the Mother gave spiritual name to nearly nine hundred flowers, and some of them are listed in Yaroslava’s Flowers, along with their botanical, common and spiritual names. However, her commentaries on the flowers, explains, how one can find significance for a flower. According to the Mother, flowers have a spontaneous movement, very special vibration like that of a little baby. One needs to identify the vibration of the flowers. Identifying the vibration means having >>a perception of the quality it represents<<, and then these vibrations, which are of vital – emotional order, come together with the vibration of the mental thought and when a sufficient harmony amongst these vibrations takes place, then, >> one has a direct perception of what the plant may signify<<. She gave the flowers significance >> by entering into contact with the nature of the flower, its inner truth<<.
The book, with many full-page colourful illustrations, can be seen as an attempt to share with the larger world the spiritual connection that one needs to establish with the flowers that have healing and transformative power. During her journey Yaroslava finds the magic-like solution through flowers for the places and people facing problems and for herself too. It is appreciable that while making the readers (not having knowledge of the Mother’s work on flowers) aware of the spiritual names of the flowers, given by the Mother, still it does not show Yaroslava simply picking a particular flower with a particular spiritual name for a particular place. She has an individual connection with the flower, and by caring for them, and talking to them, she gets closer to understand their representative qualities, and hence she can make the true use of the flower power.
This is a children book, however not age – specific. What makes this book interesting amidst so many books on flower available to children is its message to look at the flower not through the scientific knowledge of it, but through connecting to the spirits of the flower. There are several children books (fictional and non – fictional) that make flowers, its beauty, its scientificity, their subject – matters. However, in this alienated way of living in society, a touch of spirituality brings the children to the core of the life. Interestingly there is a process (in the commentaries), that the Mother, while giving significance to the flowers, talks about, the book, tries to talk about it with the help of the metaphors like “magic seed” and “flower spirit” etc. In the illustrations it also shows how for example, the >>eternal smile<< (a name given to the flower, hibiscus) seeps through the earth and blossoms on the tip of the branches of hibiscus trees to express the Mother’s view on flower being the physical expression of the higher consciousness, still it is not an easy subject. However the book initiates the children to connect spiritually to the flowers and so must be read!
The book’s preview is available at http://www.truthyoga.wordpress.com/books/yaroslavas-flowers and a facebook page is dedicated to the book at the following link: http://www.facebook.com/yaroslavasflowers
Listen to the audio narrative of the book here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P8TOXmR3xQ&t=2s