The aSOka flowers are waving in the spring breeze!

jkmrao's picture

In kAlidAsA's RtusaMhAram, you will find the following poem:

aa mUlatO vidrumarAgatAmraM
sapallavaM pushpachayaM dadhAnAH
kurvatyaSOkA hRdayaM saSOkaM
nirIkshyamANA navayauvanAnAm

From top to bottom
the trees are resplendant
with the copper red flower bunches
Alas, the joy-giving aSOkA blooms
are filling with sorrow
the hearts of the love-lorn young ones

The aSOka flower is also one of the five flower-arrows of manmatha.
These flowers are coral red. Of course, we all know that sItA spent her
time in the aSOkavana as a prisoner of rAvaNa. It is also called vanjula
in Sanskrit. In one of jayadEva's ashTapadis (haririha mugdha vadhUnikarE)
there is a mention of manjula vanjula!

Here are some patterns with an idealised aSOka flower.
The spring is around the corner, is it not?

Regards! - mOhana

Rangoli: The aSOka flowers are waving in the spring breeze!


Lata's picture

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but is this called Ixora too, or is Ixora a shrub, unlike Asoka?
The color also reminds me of Gulmohar ( a tree I'll never see where I live).

jkmrao's picture

latAjI, you're right. Ixora is a shrub and its flowers also have four petals.
But aSoka is a huge tree. In fact, even in India the tall mast tree which is
generally planted in the campuses and has mango-like leaves, but curvy, is
mistaken for the aSoka tree. The tall mast tree is so called because its wood is
used as a tall mast in ships. The gul mohr is called the flame of the forest
and my favourite too. We used to have a lot of those trees both in the Bangalore
IISc where I studied and in Madurai University where I worked. Interestingly,
gulmohr can shed all its leaves before putting forth new flowers. Again kAlidAsa
somewhere mentions that in those days, the most beautiful women used to put the
first sod when the aSoka was planted!

Regards! - mOhana

indira sundar's picture



jkmrao's picture

Srenithy, thanks! You've developed beautiful beauty-spotting eyes Smile

Regards! - mOhana