Monday, March 25, 2013


SACRED TREES IN INDIA India is widely recognised for the amalgamation of various religions and cultures. India is known as a land of spirituality and people across the world visit the country for spiritual solace. It is a country where you find the essence of religion and spirituality in every state including the age old architectures and temples. On a factual note, people in India especially Hindus are known to pay their respects to the nature, including animals and trees. For example, if you visit the temples of India, you would not be surprised to find the presence of peepal tree, which holds a significant place in the Hindu religion. Worshiping trees is not a strange practice in India.
Few trees are said to be sacred, filled with spiritual powers and sometimes associated to the supreme deities. Trees such as peepal, coconut, bhang and sandalwood are worshiped in many states of India and have high regards in Hindu religion. The sacred trees are famously referred as 'kalpa-vriksha', the following are some of them:

Bael tree, also referred to as 'bilupatre' is associated with 'Lord Shiva', the God of Destroyer. Offering the leaf of this tree to the almighty is said to be very beneficial. Peepal tree is found in almost every temple of India; especially in South India. Peepal tree holds the highest rank among all holy Hindu trees. This tree is associated with Lord Vishnu, and the Puranas says that this tree is home to the Trinity of Gods, the root represents Brahma, the trunk is Vishnu and its leaves represent Shiva. Bamboo tree is associated with Lord Krishna. According to the myths, the flute of Lord Krishna is said to be made of bamboo.
Sandalwood tree is associated with Goddess Paravati because it is believed that she created Lord Ganesha out of sandalwood paste and her sweat. Bhang tree is known to be really auspicious as it brings wealth and prosperity. Abundance of bhang leaves are offered to Lord Shiva during Mahashivratri festival. Coconut tree is used for all auspicious moment of any pooja.

These well known sacred trees - called "Kalpa Vriksha" - hold a significant place in Indian society. Apart from being worshiped, they also have certain medicinal benefits. The author of the article, Vijayalakshmi, explains that the trifoliate leaves of the Bael tree symbolise the functions of the Almighty that is creation, preservation and destruction. Bamboo tree represents Lord Krishna and his flute. The Sandalwood paste is widely used to worship Gods and Goddesses. Bhang tree is always associated with Lord Shiva, and its leaves are also used for making 'prasad'. The worship of trees in India can be traced to the Indus Valley Civilization and the Hymns of the Vedas contain references to sacred trees and plants (like the Tulsi) which are associated with Deities. 

Big shade trees stand as silent symbols of India's spiritual roots. ... Sages dwelt in these forests, living simple and austere lives in search of spiritual perfection. Living with them beneath the trees were their students, who could learn the Vedic truths in perfect natural surroundings, reminded in a thousand ways of the all-pervading presence of God. Because they lived in the forest, the early Vedic teachers attached great importance to trees. Beneath a tree was the correct place for a disciple to receive spiritual instruction from a guru. 
The tree was the symbol of patience and tolerance. They carefully studied and recorded the herbal and medicinal properties of the forest. Some trees gained special significance and poems and prayers were composed about them and the spirits dwelling within them

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
"Hinduism & Ecology"
Chapter Two: "The World Forest"
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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