Śirīṣa シリーシャ

Albizia lebbeck (Siris tree)


A medium to large sized unarmed deciduous tree about 20 m in height with an umbrella-shaped crown and grey to dark brown rough irregularly cracjed bark; leaves abruptly bipinnate, main rachis with a large gland above the base and one below the upper-most pair of pinnae 2-4 pairs, leaflets 5-9 pairs with glands between their bases, the lateral ones elliptic-oblong, the two terminal ovate-oblong, all unequal sided; flower white, fragrant, in globose umbellate heads; fruits long, characteristic pods, bluntly pointed, thin, pale yellow, smooth, shiny, reticulately veined above the seed; seeds 4-12, pale brown, ellipsoid, oblong, compressed. Flowering-fruiting February to January. (Ashok Sheth (Ed.). 2005 The herbs of ayurveda vol.5 Gujarat : Ashok Sheth. p56)

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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