First Parijat flower in the garden (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis).
First Parijat flower in the garden (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis). The levels of carotenoids are responsible for the orange color of the corolla and its tube. "Parijat" means descended from the heavens. This aromatic and edible flower has many names including Harsingar ("ornament of the gods"), night-flying jasmine, Rajanī-hāsa (“one who forms the night’s smile"), coral jasmine, and "tree of sorrow." Bearing orange, honey, and milk scented vespertine flowers that open at dusk and fall to the ground by morning, it is sometimes referred to as the Jewel of the Gods, being the only flower deemed worthy of being picked up off of the ground and offered to them. The plant is native to South and Southeast Asia, where it has a history going back to ancient Sanskrit texts, including the Mahābhāratam and the Viṣṇu-purāṇa. Parijat appeared as a result of the attempt to obtain Amrita, the nectar of immortality, in an episode referred to as Samudra Manthan, or the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Later Krishna and Indra battled over the plant. Like other sacred plants with "night flying" epithets, such as the poisonous Amanita muscaria ("fly agaric," so named because it could be powdered in milk to kill flies), Parijat is connected to the death-defying substance legends of Amrita and Soma, the Ancient Greek νέκταρ ("néktar") itself descending from the Proto-Indo-European *néḱtr̥h₂, derived from the roots *neḱ- (“to perish, disappear”) and *terh₂- (“to overcome”).
© 2022, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.