Having two wives is not easy, besides being illegal of course! But what is not easy for mortals, is simple for the gods, or is it? According to an interesting story, the Parijat tree which gives lovely white flowers with an orange stem, was planted in the abode of Lord Indra. This tree was part of the gifts received during the samudra manthan or the churning of the ocean and was a celestial plant, not found on earth.
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Narada, the mischief making sage
Once Narada got a few of the flowers and gave them to Lord Krishna, wondering which of his wives would he give the flowers to, Rukmini or Satyabhama. Krishna gave the flowers to Rukmini. On seeing this, Narada went to Satyabhama, and told her about it. When Satyabhama’s jealousy was aroused well enough, Narada went on to suggest a solution to her. He suggested that she should not settle down for just a few flowers, rather insist on Krishna getting the plant itself from Indralok and plant it at her home, for a regular supply of the flowers! Krishna’s wives had no clue then what Narada had in mind.
When Krishna came to Satyabhama’s quarters, she showed her anger and disappointment at the whole incident and insisted that she would settle for nothing less than the plant itself!
Narada meanwhile went and warned Indra that some earthlings were out to steal the celestial plant from his Indralok! Krishna and Satyabhama managed to steal one branch from the tree, but just when they were about to leave they were accosted by Indra, leading to a battle.
Indra lost the battle, but not before cursing that the plant would never bear fruits, though it might bear flowers, and since then the Parijat tree does not bear any fruit.
The Parijat tree was divided between Krishna’s wives, Rukmini and Satyabhama
But trouble was not over for Krishna. Having brought the tree to Dwarka, Rukmini too took fancy to the tree, because of its flowers and she insisted that she too wanted the flowers. This led to a dilemma for Krishna. He couldn’t decide between his wives whom should he give give preference?
So Krishna planted the tree in such a manner, that though the tree was planted at Satyabhama’s house, when it bore flowers, they would fall in Rukmini’s home!
Satyabhama had asked for the tree and she got it, and Rukmini wanted the flowers, and she had it too!
While this is an interesting myth about how Krishna resolved his personal crisis and divided the tree between his two wives, the flower itself has an interesting, though a trifle sad, myth of its own.
The sad story of the Parijat tree
According to this myth, Princess Parijataka was in love with the Sun, but her love was never reciprocated. Having lost in love, she committed suicide and from her ashes rose the Parijat tree. Since she is unable to bear the sight of her love during the day, she blooms only at night, and sheds the flowers as tears, before the sun rises. Some myths go on to say, that the tree sheds its tears on the touch of the first rays of the sun! The fragrant flowers spread their fragrance in the entire area, during the day, as a sign of undying love for her lover, the Sun.