Nīpa ニーパ

Ixora coccinea (Jungle flame)


A large, glabrous shrub. Leaves simple, opposite, decussate, elliptic, sessile, coriaceous. Flowers red, scarlet, or other shades, in corymbose cymes. Fruiut globose, fleshy, smooth. Flowering-fruiting major part of the year. (Ashok Sheth (Ed.). 2005 The herbs of ayurveda vol.3 Gujarat : Ashok Sheth. p644)

नीपं दृष्ट्वा हरितकपिशं केसरैरर्धरूढैर्

आविर्भूतप्रथममुकुलाः कन्दलीश्चानुकच्छम् ।

दग्धारण्येष्वधिकसुरभिं गन्धमाघ्राय चोर्व्याः

सारङ्गास्ते जललवमुचः सूचयिष्यन्ति मार्गम् ॥ २१ ॥

Nīpas appear green and red with the half-grown stamens;
The first buds of the Kandalīs emerge at the bank;
And the fragrance of the earth in the burnt wilderness increase;
Recognising them, the antelopes will show the path for you, the water-pourer. (21)

鹿たちは示すだろう、水の雫もたらす きみの道を(二十一)

After taking some water from the Revā river, in the cloud’s journey. Mallinātha (in Kale 1999: 41) lists Nīpa as Kadamba. Amara dictionary also lists thus, but in Riṭusaṁhāra, which is attributed to Kālidāsa, there is a verse that contains both Nīpa and Kadamba, as different flowers (Kimura 1962: 184). Confusion also arises from the word ‘harita’, whose colour ranges from yellow to green, and ‘kapiśa’ meaning ‘ape-colour’, which can range from orange to brown as well as red. Here I have followed Kimura’s suggestion and take Nīpa as the red Ixora coccinea flower. [Reference: Kale, M. R. 1999. The Meghadūta of Kālidāsa. Corrected Edition. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.; Kimura, Hideo 1962. Kālidāsa Literature Series No.1: jojōshi kisetsushū kumo no shisha. Kyoto: Hyakka-en.]

हस्ते लीलाकमलमलकं बालकुन्दानुविद्धं

नीता रोध्रप्रसवरजसा पण्डुतामाननश्रीः ।

चूदापाशे नवकुरबकं चारु कर्णे शिरीषं

सीमन्ते च त्वदुपगमजं यत्र नीपं वधूनाम् ॥ ६५ ॥

There, in the women’s hand, is a red lotus to play with;
Her ringlet is adorned with young Kunda;
The grace of her face is made fair with the pollen of the Rodhra flowers;
On the braids at the head, fresh Kurabaka; on her hairs, lovely Śirīṣa;
And at the hairline, Nīpa which has sprung upon your approach. (65)

手には遊びの赤睡蓮[カマラ] 髪の一房は若きクンダの花で飾り
頭上の髪束には摘みたてのクラバカ 耳元には愛らしきシリーシャ

A description of (the women in) the Yakṣa’s hometown Alakā. Kimura (1962: 253) writes that they are flowers from different seasons but florishing all at once as this is a place of the demi-gods.

[Reference: Kimura, Hideo 1962. Kālidāsa Literature Series No.1: jojōshi kisetsushū kumo no shisha. Kyoto: Hyakka-en.]


(c) Tomomi Sato 2013

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