Aśoka アショーカ

Saraca asoka (Asoka tree)

A medium-sized handsome evergreen tree upto 9 m in height with numerous spreading and drooping glabrous branches; leaves pinnate, 30-60 cm long having 2-3 pairs of lanceolate leaflets; flowers orange or orange-yellow in dense corymbs, very fragrant ; fruits flat black pods, leathery, compressed; seeds 4-8 per pod, ellipsoid, oblong and compressed. The bark is dark brown to grey or black with a warty surface, fresh cut ends are pale yellowish red. The thickness of the bark varies from5 mm to 1 cm. The entire cut surface turn reddish on exposure to air. Flowering-fruiting January to July. (Ashok Sheth (Ed.). 2005 The herbs of ayurveda vol.4 Gujarat : Ashok Sheth. p1010)

रक्ताशोकश्चलकिसलयः केसरश्चात्र कान्तः

प्रत्यासन्नौ कुरबकवृतेर्माधवीमण्डपस्य ।

एकः सख्यास्तव सह मया वामपादाभिलाषी

काङ्क्षत्यन्यो वदनमदिरां दोहदच्छद्मनास्याः ॥ ७५ ॥

The red Aśoka tree’s fresh leaves are wavering and Kesara is lovely
Near the hedge of Kurabaka and the pavillion of Mādhavī.
The former longs for the left foot of your female friend my lover, just like me;
The latter desires her mouthful of wine, pretending it yearns to bloom. (75)

赤きアショーカは若葉を揺らし、ここで ケーサラは愛らしく
クラバカの垣根 マーダヴィーのあずまやの傍で
一つはきみの女友だちの左足を、私とともに 切に望み
いま一つは彼女の口含んだ酒を 蕾もつものの望みにかこつけて欲するだろう(七五)


Somewhere near the Yakṣa’s home in Alakā. The first is Aśoka and the other is Kesara. According to Kale (1999: 132), “The Aśoka is said to put forth flowers when kicked with her left foot by a beautiful woman” and Kesara “is poetically described as putting forth blossoms when sprinkled over with mouthful of wine by young ladies”.
[Reference: Kale, M. R. 1999. The Meghadūta of Kālidāsa. Corrected Edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.]

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(c) Tomomi Sato 2013.

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