A unique form of floral tribute was offered to Swami Vivekananda in January 2020 in the city of Bengaluru. A brief description of this Flower Show is presented here.

S ince the time Kempe Gowda-I, a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire, built Bengaluru in 1537, the city with its salubrious climate, greenery, and kind-hearted people has been steadily growing, attracting people and organisations from across the country and even abroad.

For the devotees and admirers of the Ramakrishna Order, there are two significant events in the history of Bengaluru: the first is Swami Vivekananda’s visit in 1892 and later Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi’s visit in 1911. These two visits, along with the visits of other direct-disciples of Sri Ramakrishna – Swamis Brahmananda, Ramakrishnananda, Abhedananda, Shivananda, and Vijnanananda, made Bengaluru an important centre for spreading Ramakrishna-Vivekananda movement across Karnataka. One of the great maxims of Swamiji: “They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive” was written to Chamaraja Wadiyar, the Maharaja of Mysore. For more than a century, the people of Bengaluru have been paying tributes in various ways to Swami Vivekananda, the patriot-monk. Last January, a unique tribute was offered in the form of the Republic Day Flower Show, 2020 at Lalbagh. It was called Viveka Pushpa Namana or ‘Floral Respect to Vivekananda’, and held from 17th to 26th January 2020.

Lalbagh Garden was conceived by Hyder Ali in 1760 and completed by his son Tipu Sultan. It gradually developed into the present 240-acre botanical garden nurturing a variety of plants and trees. From 1912 Lalbagh began to organise flower shows. There were two annual flower shows, known as Summer Show and Winter Show. Since 1951, these shows are organised as Independence Day Show and Republic Day Show. These shows serve as a medium to educate people about the variety of flora and develop public interest in plant conservation. The flower shows are organized in the Glasshouse which is also known as the The Jewel of Lalbagh; it is modeled on London’s Crystal Palace and was built around 1889.

To commemorate the 157th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the theme for this year’s Republic Day Flower Show was “Swami Vivekananda’s Life & Teachings”. Titled as ‘Viveka Pushpa Pradarshana’, the 211th floral show recreated, using a wide variety of flowers, important incidents and places related to Swamiji.

The flower show was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri B. S. Yediyurappa on 17 Jan 2020 in the presence of the chief guest, Sri V. Somanna, Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Sericulture, Government of Karnataka, and Swami Tadyuktananda of Ramakrishna Math Basavanagudi, Bengaluru. The event was the joint effort of Sri Ramakrishna Vidyarthi Mandiram (SRVM), a unit of Ramakrishna Math, Basavanagudi and the Department of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka.

The Glass House

In the Glass House the presentations included floral replicas of (i) Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial of Kanyakumari; (ii) the interior of Swami Vivekananda Temple at Belur Math; (iii) the podium from where Swamiji addressed the audience at the Chicago Parliament of Religions as “Sisters and Brothers of America” (with an audio rendering of his speech in the background); (iv) a vertical garden of the Swami Vivekananda Mantapa at the Ramakrishna Math, Bengaluru (with the stone bench on which Swamiji sat while staying in Bengaluru); (v) embossed sculptures of Swamiji; (vi) Swamiji’s statues in different attires; (vii) 110 boards displaying Swamiji’s life and message; (viii) original pictures of Swamiji displayed on the walls of the Glass House; (ix) floral arrangement by many organisations with different themes; and (x) a display of 2000 exotic flowers.

Attractions in the garden

A number of activities and programmes were conducted in the park. A drawing competition on Swami Vivekananda was held in which 1300 students from class 1 to class 10 participated on 16 January. A film show on the life of Swami Vivekananda was held at the Kuteera near the Bonsai circle. SRVM and Ramakrishna Math, Basavanagudi screened a documentary film on Swamiji and his famous lectures. These films were shown on wide screens near the Glass House and Bonsai circle. SRVM arranged a book exhibition-cum-sale in the garden. Near the Band Stand area, visuals using 60,000 Chrysanthemum flowers depicted the moral stories narrated by Swamiji in his lectures. Around 200 posters with attractive floral arrangement displayed powerful statements of Swamiji. Electric poles, ornamental poles, and trees all around Lalbagh displayed Swamiji’s quotations.

Every evening from 4.00 pm to 6.30 pm, SRVM arranged cultural programmes in which eminent artists and speakers presented bhajans, Vedic chantings, monoacting, classical music, classical dance, and martial arts.

The Viveka Pushpa Pradarshana attracted over 3 lakh visitors. This crowd, and the wide media coverage rekindled the life and message of Swami Vivekananda in the minds and hearts of the people of Bengaluru.


Source : Vedanta Kesari, March, 2020