From The Caves And Jungles Of Hindostan Translated From The Russian Of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


The Sannyasi brought us also a nosegay from the Swami, a nosegay
of the most extraordinary flowers, which are totally - Page 220
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The Sannyasi Brought Us Also A Nosegay From The Swami, A Nosegay Of The Most Extraordinary Flowers, Which Are Totally Unknown In Europe. They Grow Only In Certain Himalayan Valleys; They Possess The Wonderful Capacity Of Changing Their Color After Midday, And Do Not Look Dead Even When Faded.

The Latin name of this charming plant is Hibiscus mutabilis.

At night they are nothing but a large knot of pressed green leaves, but from dawn till ten o'clock the flowers open and look like large snow-white roses; then, towards twelve o'clock, they begin to redden, and later in the afternoon they look as crimson as a peony. These flowers are sacred to the Asuras, a kind of fallen angels in Hindu mythology, and to the sun-god Surya. The latter deity fell in love with an Asuri at the beginning of creation, and since then is constantly caught whispering words of fiery love to the flower that shelters her. But the Asura is a virgin; she gives herself entirely to the service of the goddess Chastity, who is the patroness of all the ascetic brotherhoods. The love of Surya is vain, Asura will not listen to him. But under the flaming arrows of the enamoured god she blushes and in appearance loses her purity. The natives call this plant lajjalu, the modest one.

We were spending the night by a brook, under a shadowy fig-tree. The Sannyasi, who had made a wide circuit to fulfil Dayanand's request, made friends with us; and we sat up late in the night, listening whilst he talked about his travels, the wonders of his native country, once so great, and about the heroic deeds of old Runjit-Sing, the Lion of the Punjab.

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