As a result of this churning of the ocean 14 gems or Ratnas emerged from the Kshirsaagar and among these 14 gems or Ratnas were also 2 trees. The Paarijaat the divine flowering tree with blossoms that never fade or wilt being one and the second being the Kalpavriksha or the wish granting tree.
Thanks to an impressive blogger whom i stumbled upon accidently http://prempiyush.wordpress.com/2004/12/22/samudra-manthan-and-14-ratnas/ i need not narrate the mythological story of Samudra Manthan here. Not when i want to talk about Paarijaat. i would want to believe that the tree was brought down to the earth by Lord Krishna from the garden of Indra the lord of Heaven.
As a child i remember when my father was posted in Arrah one of the districts of Bihar we had this tree in our garden and Ma would go every morning just before sunrise to pick all these flowers that formed a carpet on the ground. She would use these not only to make garlands for her Gods but on the eve of Holi (the Hindu festival of colours) would prepare coloured water for us kids to play with, using the stalks of these flowers.
It never occurred to me then why when she would pick these flowers from the ground she plucked others from the trees for her daily pooja. It was much later that i learnt that these flowers have a special status and are the only flowers that can be offered to the Gods even when they lie on the ground.
Ma told us many stories about Harshringaar when we were infants and one of the stories was how this tree which was in heaven was brought to the earth. As kids we delighted in the stories and found it so real because even Gods behaved like us and they quarreled like us be it for supremacy or even trees.
The second story was about the jealousy between wives and the third spoke volumes in favour of Lord Krishna as to how with his cleverness he could maintain peace between his two wives when both wanted the one and only Paarijaat exclusively for themselves. Of course these stories were preceded by the great Churning of Khirsaagar ( The Ocean of Milk ) from which as one of the bounties emerged this tree.
i would like to believe that this indeed is the tree that also grants boons as of late i have come to know the immense medicinal values of Paarijaat/Harshingaar that caters to a host of ailments like piles, constipation, jaundice, malaria, rheumatism, sciatica, dry cough, ring worm and other intestinal worms, chronic fevers, as a tonic for females to cure gyneacological problems, as a safe purgative for infants in Patan, Gujrat ( India) and some even use it to get rid of dandruff and lice. Finally for those interested in cosmetology a face mask made with these flowers helps to have a glowing and radiant skin.
Sometimes i wonder how names too convey sadness and why in the first place have sad names. The taxonomic name 'arbotristis' means "sad tree". The flower blooms in the night and falls off from the tree at the first light of the sun carpeting the ground, still a delight to the revelers like me. i guess then nature in this form is always teaching us reminding us to be selfless. Also to live life beautifully even when it could be a short life. Definitely it could sadden the heart when you think from the point of view of the tree itself as my friend from school and fellow blogger has put it so beautifully.http://rrashmi211.blogspot.com/2010/04/blossoms-story.html
My story today is the legend from Vishnu Purana about a beautiful daughter of a king. She fell head over heels for Surya ( the Sun).
The Sun in his passionate moment said, "Leave your kingdom and be mine ."
Such is the the power of love that she readily agreed and discarded her royal robes and followed her beloved.
As it happens with passion which soon dies off, the Sun grew indifferent to her and cold towards her devotion and love. He got tired of her and deserted her leaving her in the lurch and fled back to the sky.
The young beautiful princess wilted and languished and soon died heartbroken. She was cremated as per the rites of being burnt on the funeral pyre. But lo and behold! from her ashes grew the most beautiful tree.
From the drooping branches of the tree grew the most beautiful flower with a deep orange heart. But since the flowers cannot bear the sight of the sun they only bloom after sunset and drop down as the first ray of sun shoots out at dawn. The flowers thus carpets the area on the ground surrounding the tree with a sweet and refreshing fragrance. One can get this refreshing fragrance at it's best before dawn between 5-6 am.
That Siuli/Sephalika/Sephali is the official flower of West Bengal is a newly learnt fact thanks to the great search engine Google. Since i thought i saw lots of Tuber roses ie Rajnigandha in Kolkata i was pleasantly surprised. My knowledge about it also being the official flower of Kanchanaburi province Thailand was an additional bonus of this search.One search led to another and i realised that i knew so little about something that is helping me to get rid of my own aches and pains and also of my MIL who suffered for a long time with sciatica. My neighbour on learning from me about her problem told me about the curative powers of the decoction made with the leaves of this tree.Since i was aware that my in laws have this tree in their garden i quickly disseminated the knowledge to them. Whether she tried it or not i didn't know because she never gave me a follow up on that but all i know now is that she no longer complains on my absence from the scene when she had to rely upon the neighbours for help in her time of distress. Not until my enquiry about her pain on the telephone was answered with a dry " Abhi dard nahin hai " ( Now there is no pain). This brought a smile on account of two reasons firstly that i know she tried it and it worked and secondly so typical of her, finding it so hard to say Thank You to her bahu ( daughter in law).
The search engine failed me on one account though and exhausted me to sleep as i looked for this classical song by Hemant Kumar and his daughter Ranu Mukherjee from this film ' Phir Bhi ' which i thought would had been very apt for this blog as it goes on about this beauty like this " Saanjh Khile bhor jhar phool Harshingaar ke ..." ( Blossoming in the evening shedding at dawn this flower Harshingaar ...) Maybe some good soul who stumbles upon my blog could help me out on this. High hopes but nevertheless...
What i did find i thought was very informative so i quit for the time being with this article by Pankaj Oudhia
http://www.botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/145_parijat.html and so many lovely photos of so many avid enthusiasts. God bless them for their love and hard work which dazzles and enlightens people like me who suddenly seem to know more about that creation which not only supports and protects but sparkles our dull lives with so much of beauty. Beauty that soothes and relaxes and...BRINGS BACK ROMANCE INTO OUR LIVES.
Oh and i must mention this that as Vasanti Amma peered into my screen to find out what made my food go cold she looked at the pictures and wanted to say so much. i asked her first as to why we don't get to see this beautiful tree in Chennai? She had a weird explanation to that. She said that Chennaites are very afraid of snakes and because fragrant trees attract snakes they avoid fragrant shrubs of any kind in the garden.
Animatedly she talked about Bangalore as she is originally from there and sort of goaded me that if my husband takes a transfer posting there then i'd be happier as Bangalore roads are fragrant and there are this and many other fragrant trees all around and it also has a wonderful climate not at all hot and sultry like Chennai.
She sits down to narrate how she eloped home at the age of 12 with her Hindu lover and came to Chennai in the early 70's. She talks with fondness of the Bangalore she left and i let her carry on.Interrupting her to tell her the latest would've been cruel on my part. The latest being that unscruplously the trees in Bangalore are being cut down making space for more human settlements. It would be cruel on my part to tell her that the city of gardens has seized to be one and instead is turning into the very familiar concrete jungle and the climate that she knew of has undergone a sea change from what she had experienced pre elopment. Some of us like my fellow blogger Karthik are finding it heartbreaking to see this happening quite regularly and speak with sadness about the goings on " who cares for trees these days...". What are we doing to this beautiful land of ours? i guess then let's enjoy what we can cause we don't know how long this enjoyment is going to last. So let me dwell on all around me and all those that are perfuming my thoughts. At the moment this one the HARSHRINGAAR.
The flower of the Gods for
the Gods helps mankind against all odds
Stumbled upon this simple but nice poem by Ritty Patnaik on Coral Jasmine:
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/coral-jasmine-in-mollys-garden/ and now it's time for me to go about my mundane chores which apart from picking up flowers like today i have Kaner (Nerium oleander), Gerbera and Harsingaar ( Nyctanthes arbor tristis) that have fallen off the tree/plant and arranging them into bowls filled with water are endless...the Gerbera however was incorporated here from another vase which had just Gerberas from the florists and were not just picked up...
http://community.webshots.com http://travel.webshots.com/photo/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/incredibleayurveda/4078308756/