geo-biology

The term "manai",a tamil word ,refers to house."sastra" refers to a discipline of study .Thus manaiyadisastram refers to the discipline which analysis the impact experienced by the residents of the house. Manayadi sastram is an ancient architecture science. Which concern about not only home or building but concerned with total well being of a person who is residing or working there. Manayadi sastram consider the electromagnetic energy effect of planets and stars. It also consider natural sunlight and fresh air circulation and seasonal effect so that we can live with nature by achieving maximum blessing or gifts of nature.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Parijatham - Pavalamalligai plant

Though a native of the sub Himalayan tract, the tree established widely all over the South. It is considered sacred and is grown in temples and gardens. Being a good coppicer, the branches, when cut produce several branchlets that bear many flowers. Planted cuttings and dibbled seeds grow easily and establish. The quadrangular stems droop gracefully to one side. Plant the tree in whatever little space is available for a harvest of happiness. Though a large shrub with no entitlement to be considered a tree, it finds a place here as it grows into a small tree, if properly nurtured. It is a favourite with garden-lovers, mostly because of the fragrance of its flowers in the early hours of the day. The flowers bloom at night and before dawn fall off the tree giving the ground underneath a pleasing blend of white and red. Called Pavalamalligai in Tamil and Coral Jasmine in English, it has a tell-tale botanical name: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, Nyctanthes meaning that which blossoms at nightfall.


Its leaves are large, about 4" long and 2.25" broad. Of significance is the rough and abrasive nature of the leaf, and so employed to scrub metallic vessel, to give them a shine. However, such an employment of the leaf is not advisable where gold and silver are concerned.


The flower is very attractive with a red corolia tube bearing unequally lobed petals at its top. The petals are snowy white with dew drops sitting on them, for flowering occurs in December, when in our clime there is heavy dew in the early hours of the morning.

There is a beautiful story in Bhagavatam centred around Parijatham. An original inhabitant of Indra's Garden, Nandanavanam, its flower was gifted to Krishna by Narada. At the time, Krishna was with Rukmini and naturally, the flower went into the hair-do of Rukmini, put there by Krishna with his own hands. A maid in the service of Satyabhama was a witness to the scene. She reported the matter to her mistress, no doubt adding some pepper and salt. Satyabhama felt slighted, perhaps more than necessary. Mischief was set afoot. And of course, all as per the plan of Narada. He wanted to prove a point. Krishna, who is none other than God Himself, could be won over only by pure devotion and total surrender. Neither beauty nor wealth would entice him. Satyabhama had both and was under the impression that Krishna was more attached to her: after all, she was the most beautiful of all the consorts of Krishna and richest too, thanks to the Samanthaka Mani which her father, Satrajit owned. One day, Narada proclaimed in the presence of all, Krishna would belong to the person who gave him unstinted devotion and love, with no element of Quid-pro-Quo involved.

To prove this point, Narada enacted the game of Parijatham. One thing led to another and a great comic act of auctioning Krishna was organized. A balance was brought and Krishna sat in one of the pans. Narada urged Satyabhama to outweigh Krishna with all her possessions. She used all her gold and other wealth but the pan in which Krishna was seated would not move up even by a millimetre. It was now the turn of Rukmini. The pan containing all that Satyabhama put into it was emptied and Rukmini put a single Thulasi Dalam, an apical leaf cluster of basil, the sacred Thulasi. Lo! The pan with Krishna in it, jumped up. Narada was vindicated. Of course, later Krishna defeated Indra in a duel and brought the Parijatham plant itself and presented it to Satyabhama!

The tribals of Dandakaranya have a more poignant story, which explains why Parijatham blooms only at night and the flowers fall away at sun-rise. The story goes thus:

They call Parijatham, the tree of Sorrow. The daughter of a tribal chief fell in love with the Sun-God. The God reciprocated the love, but soon betrayed her by deserting the girl. She died of grief and her body was cremated. The ashes blown by the wind fell all over Bharatavarsha and a tree grew wherever a portion of the ashes fell. That explains the distribution of the plant all over India. Not only that. The flower, which personified the love the girl bore for the Sun God would not like to see Him again. So, the tree flowers during nights which fall away at sunrise. What a beautiful story!

Parijatham has many medicinal uses: antibacterial, antiinflammatory and anthelmintic. Further, a dye extracted from the corolla tube is used to lend colour to Tussore Silk. Was it used as a surgical tool in ancient India to remove catract? I remember to have read something to this effect.

Surely, many home gardens in Chennai, have a Parijatham, for it is a much sought after plant.

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