The Campaka Flower part 1

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The following is a description of flowers in the spiritual world.

“There were various trees and creepers on all sides of the lake, and there were mad bumblebees humming all about them. The trees appeared to be very jolly due to the sweet humming of the bumblebees, and the saffron, which was contained in the lotus flowers, was being thrown into the air. These all created such an atmosphere that it appeared as though a festival were taking place there.

“Trees and creepers are also different types of living beings. When bumblebees come upon trees and creepers to collect honey, certainly such plants become very happy. On such an occasion the wind also takes advantage of the situation by throwing pollen or saffron contained in the lotus flowers. All this combines with the sweet vibration created by the swans and the calm of the water.”

 

Among the most desirable of sweet flowers targeted by the bees of Vraja are the glorious Campaka flowers. The creamy yellow blooms have an all-attractive scent, making them a favorite flower of Sri Krsna, Radharani and the Gopis. The beauty of the Lord in His various forms and many of His transcendental associates are compared to the Campaka flower in Vaisnava literature.

The Champaka flower[1] is synonymous with the Sanskrit terms hema-puṣpaka[2] and dīpa-puṣpa[3]; the term campeya is also used to mean ‘gold’. There are a few other Campakas in Sanskrit: the bhūmi-campakā or bhū-campakā, both meaning ‘ground-Campaka’; and the śveta-campaka[4], which is apparently the same as the kśīra-campaka. However, all of these are different from the Michelia Campaka.

Because of their pleasing color and aroma, Campaka flowers are prized for offering to the Deities, and Campaka trees are found in many temple precincts and asramas.

Such sweetly aromatic flowers are included among the five primary ingredients of Deity worship mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta:

(1) very good scents,

(2) very good flowers,

(3) incense,

(4) a lamp and

(5) something edible.

 

Campaka flowers are specifically mentioned in the same verse, describing sodasopacara[5], which recommends that one “offer flowers with good fragrance, like the rose or campaka”.

Because of its heady scent, the Campaka flower is often described as being one of the five flower-darts employed by Kamadeva:

indindirair nirbhara-garbham

īṣa-dunmeṣac-campaka-puṣpam āsīt |

hiraṇmayaṃ śāsana-lekha-hetoḥ

sajjaṃ maṣī-bhāṇḍam iva smarasya ||

“The campaka flower, just beginning to open, its inner bud filled with bees, seemed to be the golden ink pot of Smara[6], the god of love, readied for the pen-stroke of his edict.”

The glories of the Campaka flower are very evident in this passage from Caitanya-caritamrta[7], which compares the golden lustre of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the Campaka:

taṁ sanātanam upāgatam akṣṇor

dṛṣṭa-mātram atimātra-dayārdraḥ

āliliṅga parighāyata-dorbhyāṁ

sānukampam atha campaka-gauraḥ

“As soon as Sanātana Gosvāmī arrived in front of Lord Caitanya, the Lord, seeing him, became merciful to him. The Lord, who has the complexion of a golden campaka flower, opened His arms and embraced him while expressing great affection.”

Also associated with Mahaprabhu is the tomb of the Chand Kazi in Mayapur, which sits beneath a Campaka tree.

[1] Michelia champaca

[2] Golden-flowered

[3] Lamp-flowered

[4] White Campaka

[5] The sixteen ingredients for Deity worship

[6] Another name for Kandarpa, Cupido

[7] Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 24.349

 

This is a section of the book “On a Silver Platter”.

To buy the complete book, click above

 

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