Peter J. Claus pclaus at
Fri Dec 13 03:52:26 UTC 1996

Date: December 12, 1996 
Indology List
indology at
Reply to Devesh Soneji
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the Satyabhama myth, but the story
of how Krishna gets the parijata (flower) tree from Swargaloka for her is
a very popular story in the folklore of Karnataka and Andhra (although I
can't give references for it there).  There is a prose translation of one
version of the Tulu paaDdana (ballad) tradition in The Folktales of India
(Beck,, U. of Chicago Press, 1987. p. 155) In the Yakshagaana of
the coastal region there are several different versions in drama form. In
Northern Karnataka there is a whole genre of drama called parijata aaTa. 
Somehow, they are all apparently drawn from four lines from the Bhagavata
Purana which describe only that when Krishna and Satyabhama were in
Swargaloka, walking in the pleasure garden of Indra, Satyabhama saw a
flower that such a beautifual smell that it attracted many bees.  He then
battles Indra's army to a stale-mate to obtain it for her.  As a
settlement, the tree is on earth for 6 months of the year and in heaven
for six months. 
But the various folk forms use this to greatly and imaginatively elaborate
on Krishna's romantic character in various disguises and on the intriguing
problems of being a god with two (+) wives as well as jealousy between
Other than the Tulu piece, though, I don't think any have been translated
or even described in English. There is (I'm told) a piece of Bengali
literature from which some of the Karnataka traditions draw; perhaps
someone on the list knows of this. 
Peter J. Claus                        
fax: (510) 704-9636
pclaus at

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