Names given by the Mother to Matrimandir’s twelve gardens*:
Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power,Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, Perfection.
The sequence in which these names are listed is important because, in Sanskrit, the first three names are Sat-Chit-Ananda, which is the essence of the Divine. Perfection being the ultimate aim of evolution comes last in the list. The gardens rotate counter-clockwise and the first and last gardens are on either side of the East radial pathway.
It was probably towards the end of 1971 or early 1972 that the Mother selected the central flower of each garden in the presence of Richard (an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram) who had brought these and many other flowers to her. She selected a hibiscus for each of the gardens except Wealth and Perfection. (The Mother had given spiritual names to some 900 flowers and had named “Power’ most hibiscus.) Some other flowers expressing the vibration of each particular garden will also find a place in it.
For the Garden of Wealth, Richard reminded the Mother that “Wealth” was the name she had given to water lilies and “Riches” to cacti; she concluded: “These flowers will do”. Hence in the Garden of Wealth, there will be mainly ponds with water lilies of different colours and a garden (a rock garden?) with all sorts of cacti.
The Mother’s explanations of what these twelve gardens have to express:
- “It must be a thing of great beauty, of such beauty that when people come they will say ‘Ah, this is it’.”
- “One must know how to move from consciousness to consciousness.”
- “It must be an expression of that consciousness which we are trying to bring down.”
The person to whom the Mother said this (Narad) also understood from her that the Garden of Power must really express power, the Garden of Harmony, harmony and so forth; that “the vibration and essence of each garden must be felt”.
Significance of these twelve gardens as a whole:
Though the Mother did not say it explicitly these gardens as a whole seem to represent what the Mother calls “the twelve Powers of the Mother manifested for her work”. Sri Aurobindo explained that these “12 powers are the vibrations that are necessary for the complete manifestation”.
It is probably because “the manifestation” is not yet “complete” and all these powers and vibrations haven’t “manifested” fully as yet that the Mother said that these twelve gardens must “be an expression of that consciousness which we are trying to bring down”. This explains also why the architect keeps on stressing that these gardens will evolve with the consciousness of the Aurovilians.
About Sat-Chit-Ananda(Sanskrit names of the first three gardens)
“That which has thrown itself out into forms is a triune Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. Sachchidananda… All things that exist are what they are as terms of that existence, terms of that conscious force, terms of that delight of being.”
Significance of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol and its connection with these gardens:
“The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love.
The junction of both – the central square – is the perfect manifestation having at its centre the Avatar of the Supreme – the lotus.
The water – inside the square – represents the multiplicity, the creation.” (The Mother)
- Sat, Chit and Ananda are the Sanskrit words for Gardens 1, 2 and 3 respectively.
- Life and Light are the names of Gardens 4 and 5.
- Love is represented here by the Matrimandir itself (at first referred to by the Mother as the Pavilion of [Divine] Love). (In 1968-69, at a time when the 12 gardens were planned on the Lake’s outer bank, she had spoken of a Garden of Love surrounding the Matrimandir.)
- The Matrimandir, the Pavilion of the Mother, is in the shape of a fully open lotus.
- Water will be represented by the Lake surrounding Matrimandir and its gardens. In 1965, the Mother had said that water would also surround Matrimandir itself; this feature has been retained – symbolically – by gutters filled with running water surrounding the Matrimandir and its twelve large ‘Petals’.
About Max Théon’s** ‘Cosmic Square’ and its connection with these gardens:
In a conversation about the Matrimandir and the significance of the 12 ‘petals’ of her symbol, the Mother was reminded of Théon’s ‘Cosmic Square’ in which Love was at the centre and whose four sides were Might, Light, Life and Utility.***
- Love at the centre is represented by the Matrimandir, Pavilion of [Divine] Love.
- The Mother changed Might into Power, which is the name of Garden 6.
- Light and Life are the names of Gardens 4 and 5.
- Utility is the name of Garden 8.
These hints may help us to understand better the deeper meaning of these twelve gardens.
* The Mother gave these names in French: Existence, Conscience, Félicité, Lumière, Vie, Pouvoir, Richesse, Utilité, Progrès, Jeunesse, Harmonie, Perfection.
** Max Théon, editor of the ‘Revue Cosmique’, was the Mother’s instructor in occultism.
*** Max Théon wrote these names in French: Amour, Puissance, Lumière, Vie, Utilité. Puissance should be translated here as Might because ‘Dieu tout puissant’ is ‘God almighty’.
(a compilation by Gilles G., March 2007)