पारिजात - Parijat
Parijata Tree, Indian Celestial TreeParijata Tree was a celestial tree produced at the churning of the ocean.
Parijata Tree was a celestial tree produced at the churning of the ocean. Parijata Tree was made from the whirlpool of the deep, the delight of the nymphs of heaven, perfuming the world with its blossoms.
Lord Krishna longing of his wife Satyabhama carried off this tree from the gardens of Indira. Sachi excited Indra to prevent its removal. A conflict ensued between the gods and Krishna, which is described at great length in the Vishnu Purana.
Krishna was victorious, and took the tree to Dwaraka where it was planted in Satyabhama`s garden. When Krishna discarded his mortal body the tree proceeded to heaven again along with the Sudharman palace.
पारिजात - Parijat
Common name: Har singar, Coral Jasmine, Tree of Sorrow, Queen of the night • Hindi: हार सिंगार Har singar, शैफ़ाली Shefali, पारिजात Paarijat
• Manipuri: Singarei
• Tamil: பவிழமல்லி Pavizhamalli
• Malayalam: Paarijatam
• Sanskrit: पारिजात Paarijat
Botanical name: Nyctanthes arbortristis
Family: Oleaceae (Jasmine family)
Har singar should not be confused with the West Indian shrub Cestrum nocturnum, also called queen of the night. Nyctanthes arbortristis literally means, night-blooming sad tree. Grows as large shrub or small tree depending on how it is trained. The large attractive leaves are rough and hairy. The sweet scented flowers are small, attractive with white petals and an orange-red tube in center and bloom profusely, opening at night and drop off in the morning, thus making a carpet of flowers in the morning. Used for worship. Needs warmth during winter months. Use well drained soil and fertilize once a month.
Identification credit: Rita Singh
Vishnu, in his second incarnation, is in the form of half-man half-tortoise (Kurma), the lower half being the tortoise. He is normally shown as having four arms. In the upper two he carries the conch-shell and the wheel while the lower two are in the protection and the boon giving postures or carrying a mace and a lotus. Kurma, the Tortoise, was used for support to mount MANDARA, as a churn dasher, when the Devas and the Asuras churned the ocean (SAMUDRAMATHANA).
After the Pralaya-Deluge at the beginning of the present KALPA the Gods lost the immortality.
When the gods were in danger of losing their authority over the demons they decided to go to Vishnu, who preserves the order of the universe, to beg help. Vishnu advised them to churn the ocean so that they might procure amrita (ambrosia), which would make them strong and immortal. He promised to become a tortoise on which would rest the mountain Mandara, which was used as the churning stick.
The legend of the Kurma avatar goes as follows:
Sage Durvasa was a great ascetic. Once he was walking along holding in his hand a garland of flowers called SANTANAKA.
INDRA who was coming from the opposite direction riding Airavata ignored him. He threw the garland given by Durvasa on Airavata, which threw it on the ground and trampled it. Durvasa lost his temper and cursed: "The pride of wealth has entered your head. Let Lakshmi forsake you." Then Indra realized his folly. He bowed to Durvasa and sought his pardon. Durvasa said, "Sri Vishnu will do you good," and left.
On account of Durvasa's curse, Lakshmi left Indra and went away. Because Lakshmi the goddess of power, bravery, enthusiasm and radiance left, Devendra's life became miserable. The demons that were waiting for such an opportunity invaded heaven, defeated Indra and gods in war and occupied heaven. Indra lost his kingdom and hid out of sight of the demons. The Gods in due course lost their immortality and valor.
A number of years passed. Indra's teacher Brihaspati thought of finding a way out for Indra's troubles. He went with the gods to Brahma, who went to Vishnu with all of them and put forth the appeal of the gods. Then Vishnu said, "don't fear; I will show you a way out. The sea of milk must be churned. It is a very difficult job. Therefore, gain the friendship of the demons and get their assistance. Use MANDARA Mountain as a churning rod and VASUKI, the king of the serpents, as a rope.
I will come to your assistance at the proper time. When the sea is churned ambrosia will be produced. Let the gods drink it and become immortal. They will then attain superb strength. It will then be possible for you to defeat the demons. When the sea is churned, Lakshmi who has disappeared will appear again. Her grace will be bestowed on you." He consoled the gods and arranged for the churning of the sea.
Brihaspati was very clever. He met the demons, managed cleverly to bring about friendship between them and the gods and arranged to make them churn the milky sea. The demons agreed in the hope of getting ambrosia and wealth. Thus having gained the consent of the Asuras of their help the Devas began the offerings and worship of the ocean of milk. The Devas and Asuras cast all kinds of plants and herbs into ocean of milk.
The Asuras and the Devas all gathered together to accomplish the feat of getting the Mandara Mountain. They reached the plain where the majestic mount sat and after great deal of digging managed to uproot it from its spot. They then tried to carry the Mandara Mountain, but the weight of the mountain crushed them down. Many perished and some were injured. Just then Vishnu came there and with a glance revived everyone and ordered Garuda to carry Mandara to the ocean. Garuda carried on his back the mount MANDARA and leaded it to seashore and dipped it in the sea of milk. They tied Vasuki, the king of snakes, as a rope. The demons at one end and gods at the other end held Vasuki and commenced churning the sea.
The churning continued for a time without any hitch, then the mount Mandara began sliding into the ocean bed. The Devas as well as the Asuras where at loss, they could not continue the churning of the ocean without Mandara. They pleaded with Vishnu for mercy.
Vishnu hearing the cries once gain came to the rescue. Vishnu then took the body of a KURMA tortoise and brought to the surface the Mountain, which was at the bottom of the sea. Mandara was hoisted on the back of the tortoise and was floating. The Devas and the Asuras breathed a sigh of relief, now they could continue with the churning of the ocean. The Devas and the Asuras with the renewed zest and with the encouragement from Vishnu began the churning of ocean once again.
The churning of the ocean of milk continued with vigor. Then suddenly arose from the ocean bed a cloud which choked the Devas and the Asuras. The Devas and Asuras began shouting for help. They were at loss as to the reason for the suffocation. Then they realized that the ocean had thrown up the 'KALAKUTA,' the dreadful poison. Everybody was frightened by its fierceness.
The Devas fervently prayed to Shiva and hoped that he would come to their rescue for the poison was the most effective fiery substance, which no one except Shiva could swallow. Shiva hearing the cries immediately came to the recue. Then, as requested by the gods, Shiva agreed to drink the poison. Shiva held this poison in his throat and saved mankind. The poison was so powerful that it turned Shiva's throat blue, giving him the name 'NEELAKANTHA' or the 'blue-throated one'.
The poison was thus consumed by Shiva. The Devas and Asuras were once again revived and with enthusiasm began the churning once more.
The Devas and Asuras continued with the churning. As the churning continued many celestial articles took shape.
The churning brought to the surface the precious objects that had been lost in the deluge. SURA (goddess of wine), CHANDRA (the moon), APSARAS (celestial nymphs), KAUSTABHA (the precious gem for Vishnu's body), UCHCHAIHSHRAVAS (the divine horse), PARIJATA (the wish granting coral tree), SURABHI (the cow that grants all desires), DHANWANTRI, the celestial physician with his vessels containing medicines, AIRAVATA(the four-tusked elephant), PANCHAJANYA (conch-shell) and SHARANGA (the invincible bow) emerged one by one as the churning continued.
After that a surprising spectacle appeared. In the midst of the waves of the sea of milk, a goddess with heavenly looks came into view. She was standing on a fully blossomed lotus. Wearing a lotus garland in the neck, she was holding a lotus in her hand. Her appearance was most attractive. She, who was radiantly smiling, was Lakshmi herself.
The sages began reciting hymns in praise of Lakshmi. Gandharvas sang. Apsaras danced. The elephants on either side sprinkled sacred holy Ganga water on the goddess and bathed her. Because the elephants sprinkled holy water on her, she acquired the name of GAJALAKSHMI. Because she was born in the sea of milk, she was called SAMUDRATANAYA. The king of the sea appeared in his natural form and comforted Lakshmi as a daughter. He presented her with attractive clothes and jewels. He handed to her a garland of lotus flowers. While everybody was looking in surprise, Lakshmi put the garland around the neck of Vishnu and occupied his chest. When she looked at Indra kindly, he acquired an extraordinary radiance.
The Devas and the Asuras continued the churning and finally Dhanvantari emerged from the sea. Dhanvantrai is the doctor of gods. He had a sacred pot in his hand. The pot contained the celestial nectar, which when consumed would result immortality.When it became known the demons ran forward and snatched the pot. Suddenly the Asuras, forgetting their agreement, took possession of the jar all for themselves. Then there was fighting between the gods and the demons. Again it was Vishnu who came to the rescue. Vishnu appeared disguised as Mohini. Mohini arose from the ocean with all charm and grace.
As she was handsome, the demons looked at her in surprise. Mohini came near them and said, "May I know the reason for the quarrel." The Asuras immediately replied that the fight was for the nectar of immortality. Smilingly Mohini said, "Do not quarrel for ambrosia. If you agree, I will myself serve ambrosia. You sit in two rows."
The Asuras thought that a lady with such beguiling beauty and charm would not cheat and since she was a female there was no harm in handing her the pot. So it was agreed that Mohini would serve the nectar. The demons sat in one row and the gods in another. By sleight-of-hand Mohini served intoxicating drinks to the demons and ambrosia to the gods. The demons were enamored of her charm did not notice the trick played on them. The gods drank ambrosia and became immortal. They became free from fear of death. The demons came to know afterwards that they had been deceived. They started a war. The gods who had gained strength by consuming ambrosia defeated the demons and drove them away.
In his second incarnation Vishnu as Kurma saved the Devas from mortality and loosing their authority to the wicked Asuras, thus saving the mankind.