ASOKA

Sita requests

The Asoka tree-

Prove true thy name;

Banish my Soka.

Your tender leaves burn

Me like fire

Pain surrounds me from

Every side.

Hanuman sees the frail woman

Her hair, a knot, unwashed, dusty

Eyes focussed at her tiny feet

Her whole aura, whispering

Ram, Ram.

Ravan approaches, Mandodari in tow

And a hundred beautiful women

From all clans-

Naga, Human, Gandharva, Rakshasa

” Listen, all of these women

Including Mandodari, my Queen consort

Shall be your slaves,

I give my word.”

Asoka cries along with Mandodari

At the humiliation, agony

Of debasement…

It cries along with Sita

At the humiliation, agony

Of debasement…

Two women crying

Over the same man

For different reasons:

One from hatred

One from love

Tears overwhelming…

The tree-

Wonders why it is

Doomed

To be named

Remover of pain

It sheds its leaves,

That burn both

Sita and Mandodari.

********

Asoka- without soka or pain.

The story referred to, is from SundarKanda in Ramayana.

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