The story goes back to the time when gods walked among us. During Mahabharata, Lord Krishna had many wives. And despite being the god, he used to have issues with them (Obviously). Once, Narad Muni, the imp Sage, descended from Svarga with a Patijat flower in his hand. He met Krishna, and presented the flower to the Lord, and told the lord that his wife should have this celestial fragrant flower. Pleased Krishna gave this flower to his wife Rukmini.
After doing this little thing, Narada went straight ahead to Satyabhama, Krishna’s second wife, famous for her short temper. Without missing any detail, he told the story of the Parijata flower. How Krishna gave her the legendary flower and how Rukmini was ecstatic after receiving such honor. Being short-tempered, jealous Satyabhama burst with anger. Calming her down, Narada said, don’t worry my child, forget about just a flower, Krishna loves you so much that he will bring the entire parijat tree to you if you will insist.
Saying this, mischievous Narada left and Satyabhama came straight to Krishna’s chamber throwing tantrums. Knowing Narad muni very well, Krishna tried to console her but there was no use. Defeated by his wife’s stubbornness, Krishna left for Amaravati to bring the Parijat tree to Dwarka…
When Gods and demons decided to churn the sea for Amrut, i.e. Elixir of immortality, several other things came up before it. Among those, emerged this divine tree with the golden bark, fruits, and small flowers with an awesome fragrance that filled up the entire universe. It was considered as the king of all the trees, which immediately was claimed by Indra and he kept it in his City named Amaravati. Amaravati was located in Svarga, a place in heaven.
Daily, sages and deities gather in the garden of Amaravati, where Indra had planted the Parijat, to worship it. Indra and his wife Sachi, raised the tree-like their own child, with love and affection. Both were proud and splendorous of their possession. Parijat was known to produce all kinds of jewels that one can think of in his mind.
Krishna reached Heaven and demanded Parijata, but he was declined by saying this tree belongs to gods, and humans cannot deserve it. If it will be taken to the earth, deities of heaven will be very unpleasant and there will be no difference between heaven and earth and all the mortal men will become the same as immortal gods. People will stop praising the gods, doing rituals, sacrifices, and righteous things and there will be chaos on earth due to Adharma. So, Krishna, you cannot take the tree to the earth.
Despite all these pledges, Krishna went ahead and uprooted the tree and carried it to Garuda. Seeing this, a war broke down in heaven.
Satyaki, Daruka, Pradyumna all on their chariots accompanied Krishna, mounted on Garuda, and started the attack on Heaven. Along with Indra, his son Jayanta took on Pradyumna in war. With them, Legendary archer Pravara came along to help Indra and started raining arrows on Satyaki. Here, Garuda, the king of birds was busy fighting a fierce battle with four tusked mighty Airavata. Both being celestial creatures, nobody was backing down. After a while, the earth started to shake and havoc created on all the worlds, then Brahma with Aditi appeared in between two armies and calmed them down. He requested both of the gods to stop fighting on behalf of the welfare of all beings. Brahma ordered Indra to give up the tree, along with many more divine gifts to the rest of the wives of Krishna.
Krishna took the tree and planted it on the border of the gardens of both Rukmini and Satyabhama. He planted Parijata in such a way that the trunk will be on Satyabhama’s side and branches, loaded with flowers will be on Rukmini’s side. Satyabhama desired a tree, so she got it, while every day, Rukmini’s backyard was drizzled with celestial flowers.
Krishna Indra Battle at Halebeedu
Krishna Indra Parijat Battle is depicted beautifully here on the walls of Hoysaleswara temple, Halebeedu.
Lord Krishna is flying while sitting on the broad shoulders of Garuda. Satyabhama can be seen on Krishna’s left. Krishna has four hands, holding Shankha, Chakra, Mace, and Lotus holding Satyabhama tightly. Garuda is holding a beautifully carved Parijata tree trunk in his left hand while holding a weapon in his right hand, attacking Indra.
The sculptor has shown the leaves, branches, and flowers of the Parijata tree very elegantly. Looking closely enough, you can see a bird, eating a fruit on a tree as well. Under the tree trunk, you can observe the roots of the tree, waving in the strong winds of heaven. Garuda is wearing some astonishing jewelry. He is wearing a beautiful crown, along with Vanamala, a garland, coming from his shoulders, reaching to the knees. Along with it, he is wearing a belt called Mekhala. Garuda has his signature style pointy nose, resembling a beak of an eagle.
Facing them is Indra, riding on four tusked Airavata, under a parasol. Indra is attacking Krishna with his legendary Vajra, holding in his right hand. Airavata is charging with unstoppable speed towards Garuda, and hence, Sachi, the wife of Indra, is bouncing a bit in her pillion seat. As the elephant charges angrily, its tail gets lifted. Here, the same anger has been depicted by the sculpture with the help of the lifted tail and bulging eye. Ornaments worn by both Garuda and Airavat are worth noticing.
The same incident has been carved on the walls of the Somnathpur temple as well. Here, you can see Indra’s wife Sachi, sitting in Howdah. While traveling from Amravati to Dwarika, few seeds of the Parijata tree fell down over the jungles of the Satpura region. In this jungle, you can still find those trees in their natural habitat. During Hemant and Shishir Rutus, you can see the celestial flowers blooming at night, filling the entire atmosphere with a distinct delicate fragrance. In the morning, you will see the entire land beneath them, sprinkled with these while flowers with orange stems, looking like a snowfall.
3. Jewel Box of India, Glories of Belur and Hlebeedu, By Dr. Neelkanth Kote
4. Mahabharata Harivamsham, Sanskrit text follows that edited by Pandit Ramachandrashastri Kinjawadekar and published by the Chitrashala Press in 1936.
5. Samudra Manthan, Concept art by Ashish Boyne https://cdnb.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/025/386/235/large/ashish-boyne-smanthanconcept-a004jpg-copy.jpg?1585636831
6. Satyabhama Krishna poster From Chandamama Magzine