Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Legends of Parijat


Parijat, also known as Harsingar or Nyctanthes arbor-tristis or Night-flowering Jasmine or Shefali or Shiuli, is a flower that blooms at dusk and withers at dawn.

Legend, at least a version of it, has it that the Parijat tree was one of the things that emerged out of Samudra Manthan. The tree became the property of the Gods and found a place on Indralok. Once, when Krishna was visiting Indralok with one of his wives Satyabhama after killing Narakasur, Indra gifted a parijat flower to him. On his return to Dwarka, Krishna gifted the same to his other wife Rukmini. A jealous Satyabhama, instigated by Narad of course, demanded that Krishna bring the entire tree to her. Unwilling to part with the divine tree, Indra challenged Krishna to a battle. Indra was about to lose when Aditi (mother of the Gods) intervened and called off the fight. She also granted the tree to Krishna. In order to avoid any further disputes at home, he planted the tree in Satyabhama’s garden in such a way that although the tree was in her garden, its flowers fell on the side of Rukmini’s garden. And the two queens lived happily ever after, singing this song….

फूले पारिजात रे अँगना हमार रे

स्वर्गलोक का वृक्षराज ये, धरती पे आया है आज ये
द्वारिका के द्वार रे ...

सींचें मिल के दोनों रानी, प्रभुचरणों का निर्मल पानी
गायें गीत मल्हार रे ...

सोने की सुहानी डाली, पतियाँ रे मरकत वाली
छायेंगी घरबार रे ...

मूंगे की डंठल आयें, मोती की पंखुड़ियाँ आयें
अमृत की रसधार रे ...

फूल हमारे डोर तुम्हारी, हिलमिल गूंथें आओ दुलारी
पिया गले के हार रे ...

This song is from a Hindi-Marathi bilingual by Raja Paranjape - Shri Krishna Satyabhama (Hindi)/ Parijatak (Marathi)

Phoole Parijat Re – Shri Krishna Satyabhama (1951) – Malati Pande – Keshavrao Bhole – Pt. Mukhram Sharma

Another legend talks about why the tree only blooms during night time. A princess named Parijat fell in love with Surya, the Sun God, who did not reciprocate. Dejected, she committed suicide and the tree emerged from her ashes. Unable to bear the sight of the one who rejected her, the flowers wither as soon as the sun rises.

Here’s a song that talks about the nigh-blooming feature of this tree.

साँझ खिले भोर झरे फूल हरसिंगार के
रात महकती रही …

Sanjh Khile Bhor Jhare - Phir Bhi (1971) - Hemant Kumar & Ranu Mukherjee - Raghunath Seth - Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan