“Dhalta Chand karei eshara. Suraj tu hai kaha”?( The Moon sets and asks the Sun, “where is he”)?
Love comes with a cost of betrayal, suffering, loss and yet it blooms after the curse. My aunty’s Whatsapp status quoted “ Shiuli blooms in our garden”.After seeing the ancestral Shiluli the Parijat, as Bengalis affectionately call blooming at the garden of my village home in Agarpara at Calcutta, I was drowned in Shiuli’s beauty that I had to pour my feelings for the night jasmine whose also known as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis ,and is the only flower which is lifted from the ground and not from the tree because she blooms only at night and withers by the morning and falls on the ground.
Whenever I used to enter my colony at night, after a moody day or after seeing my beloved holding his hand to his Rose or after a good day at school, dance and singing class or post a heavy meal I used to be drawn to the attention of Shiuli, the night jasmine planted by my grandfather. Shiuli whose also known as Shephali only blooms at the kiss of the moonlight in pitch darkness. I used to call my late grandfather as Dadu fondly was an avid nature lover. For him, Shiuli was his ventilator.
My aunty’s WhatsApp status makes me recite the tale of the flower that blossoms at the nights dusk in sheer remembrance of my grandfather as Shiuli was his grandchild way before me.
Admitting the armour of Hindu mythology,there is a story in the the Vayu Purana , which is a Sanskrit text and one of the eighteen major Puranas any of a class of Sanskrit sacred writings on Hindu mythology and folklore of varying date and origin, the most ancient of which dates from the 4th century AD. of Hinduism.
The Vayu Purana claims to a popular, beautiful version of a story devoting love, grit, and anger via the story of the Parijat tree. Folklore says the king had a daughter named as Parijakta, fondly known as Parijat who was mesmerized and in divine worship of love with Surya, the Sun God whose ball game of condition was that Parijat could never turn her back towards him. The innocent, poised Parijat could never ever imagine of turning away from her beloved because real love had a selfless ego. The fall of the leaves had marked Autumn and in that beautiful fall, Parijat gets married to Surya. Seasons rolled and summer came with which Surya’s power rose. It becomes troublesome for Parijat to go at the close quarters of Surya, as even going remotely close to him would burn her.
One fine day Surya suddenly comes to the doorstep of Parijat’s home and she flinches her back. Surya becomes ferocious and as he boils through his power Parijat faints. Some beliefs say that Surya had betrayed Parijat and had left her broken and had forgotten about her. The pain about separation devastates the hope of living because the soul of Parijakta was attached to Surya so in that disunion it is said that she had burnt herself to ashes. Surya realizes his mistake and goes to the Gods for aid, though the Gods knew that Parijat loved Surya faithfully, with a pure soul, with innocent beauty so she was granted another lifespan as a tree, shrub.
The blossom of Shiuli at the garden of my village in Calcutta.
Picture courtesy- Swati Kar
The sun makes love to Parijat at night. The flowers are so sweet-scented because the sun plucks its kisses to her. It caresses her but she still can’t bear the rays of Surya and so the tree shreds its flowers at dawn. Shiuli and Surya’s bond becomes unconditional like the bond between a mother and her child. It is also said that Parijat could not witness the sight of the beloved sun who abandoned her so she does not bloom in his sunlight but silently in the moonlight.
According to another popular folklore Shiuli the night jasmine had appeared at the beginning of Samundra Manthan which was basically the seethe of the ocean explaining the milky way. Her mermaid beauty was irresistible even by the gods. Folklore recites the prince of the yadava clan, the heartthrob of sixteen thousand gopi’s ( women) Lord Krishna had a war with Lord Indra to win over the Parijat tree as his first wife,the avatar of Bhumi Devi Satyabhama ordered the tree to be turned towards her courtyard though Shiuli used to only bloom at the adjacent courtyard of Queen Rukmini, Krishna’s second wife whom Krishna had heroically kidnapped. This popular story speaks on how Krishna knew to be a peacekeeper between his two wives who wanted Parijat soulfully for themselves, in order to show that they were the dominated one in love.
Shiuli is the flower symbolizing the agony of loss and tragedy. She has an earth scattering fragrance and has her order to be lifted from the ground, unlike other flowers whom the tree dominates. She sheds off her beauty in a million zest. Isn’t love a pure unconditional fragrance? There are some feelings which you can’t express. The Shiuli that used to bloom in my area has been cut down recently, though she was there at my society till my grandfather was alive. Just like Shiuli has a short lifespan, my grandfather too had one, leaving the earth with his scattering fragrance and the want of longing with a void in the soul wrenched in the need to be heard like my Shiuli.