ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Hindus have also paid great respect to trees and other plants as they are the foundation of life.

In Hindu religious texts such as the Puranas great importance has been shown to trees and plants, equating them with Gods.

It has been written to treat them as members of the family.

Scientists have stated that trees and plants are living beings.

In the Rid-Veda 6.48.17 its says, “Do not trouble tree.

Do not uproot or cut them.

They provide protection to animals, birds and other living beings”

According to religious scriptures when people plant and care for trees, those are reborn as their children.

Those who give trees for charity pleases the gods, which is shown through flowers and fruit.

Trees can provide shelter.

God has created them for the welfare of living beings.

They face the sun and can protect those who come under their shade.

We cannot also discount the number of saints and sages who have offered prayers and been in deep meditation under trees.

Trees just keep giving.

During “Vat Savitri” ladies offer prayers to the Banyan tree.

It is believed to provide the fulfilment of wishes and provide material gains.

According to the Agni Purana, the Banyan tree is symbolic of fertility and can provide help to those who want children. 

The leaves of the Banana tree are also used to serve food as they are considered pure and clean.

It is also said that the Kalpavriksh known as the wishing tree came from the Samudramanthan.

Prayers are offered to the Ashoka tress to end sorrow.

Prayers are offered to the Amla tree in the month of Kartik as it is believed that Lord Vishnu resides in this tree.

The leaves of the mango tress are used in pujas.

Lakshmi, is also found to reside within a tree – the sacred fig tree.

Shitala Ma (the goddess of poxes) is considered to reside within a neem tree.

Neem has been used to treat an array of poxes and other illnesses for many centuries, as a result the neem tree is considered sacred.

Rudra, the storm god, and who is now seen as perhaps interchangeable with Shiva,

is also linked with the rudraksha tree For this reason, those who worship Shiva will often adorn themselves with mala made with seeds of the rudraksha tree. 

It is believed that the trimurti, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva reside in the Peepal tree.

The roots Brahma, the bark Vishnu, and the branches Shiva, one is blessed when offering prayers and water.

Also the Tusli plant is greatly revered I wrote a blog on this before which I will share on stories.

Did you know we had a forest Goddess Aranyani? I wrote about her last year check out our blogs Today is internal forest day, our planet needs our trees for many many reasons.

Worship of Trees in Hinduism

Trees are major processors of solar energy which is vital for our existence, and they yield flowers, fruit, wood and medicine.

So, worship of trees in Hinduism is a matter of gratitude.

The importance of all the elements of nature, including trees, has also been discussed in the Hindu scriptures.

It is believed in Hinduism that a person who plants an ashvattha tree, a neem tree, ten tamarind trees, three banana plants, three shami trees, three amla trees and five mango trees is a holy man.

According to the scriptures, there are twelve or more trees that have special significance in Hinduism.

To worship any god or goddess of Hindu religion, many plants and leaves of many plants and trees like banana, tulsi, paddy, arum, ashoka, shami, wood apple etc.

and flowers like jaba, padma, sheuli, aparajita, kunda, parijaat, dhutra etc.

are very important.

Medicinal plants have been given importance in Hinduism since Vedic period.

Many Hindu devotees lead their lives as vegetarians.

In Hinduism, trees are believed to have souls and should be honoured and cared for.

According to Hindu mythology, nine forms of Devi (goddess) Durga were appeared through nine kinds of plants which are collectively known as Nabapatrika.

Fruits are also important in different puja occasions.

So, trees bearing fruits are always given importance in Hindu community.

Today I will present here some of the trees that are considered very important in Hinduism.

Tulsi (basil) Plant

Tulsi plant is a fragrant and medicinal plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family.

Its scientific name is Ocimum sanctum (sanctum means holy place).

Goddess Tulsi is worshipped in almost every Hindu household.

According to Hindu scriptures, Tulsi is an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi.

She is regarded as the avatar of goddess Lakshmi, and thus the consort of the god Vishnu.

In Golok Vrindavan, Tulsi (Gopika Vrinda Devi) is the nurse of Radha-Krishna and the main director of performing their (Radha-Krishna) various leelas (divine plays).

She is the messenger of Lord Krishna, experienced in kunja (grove) reform and a scholar in Ayurvedic scriptures.

She is known as Tulsi because she is the holiest of all the goddesses.

(Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Prakritikhand, 22, 24, 42).

She is also called Bhakti Devi or Bhakti Janani as she is the giver of devotion.

Neem (margosa) Tree

Neem has miraculous medicinal properties.

Neem is considered as mother Durga and another form of God.

It is also called Nimari Devi somewhere.

This tree is worshipped by Hindu devotees.

The neem tree has been found in India for many centuries.

Bael (wood-apple) Tree

In Hinduism, it is considered to be the form of Lord Shiva and it is believed that Mahadev resides in its root i.e. its root and its three leaves which together are considered to be the form of Tridev.

Bael is a tree that is found in many parts of the world.

The group of five leaves of this tree is more auspicious.

Peepal or Bodhi Tree

According to Hindu mythology, peepal tree is considered to be the abode of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

So, peepal trees are also very important in Hinduism.

The peepal tree itself is also called Shiva.

Visiting a peepal tree is compared to visiting Devadidev Mahadev.

Kadali (banana) Plant

Kadali Plant is used in most of the religious activities of Hinduism.

It is usually used in the worship of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.

In Durga Puja and Ganesha Puja, kadali plant has a special importance.

The main ceremony of Durga Puja begins with Nabapatrika snan and the entry of Nabapatrika in the Durga temple.

The nine plants are:

Kadali or Rambha (Banana) Plant,

Maankachu (Colocasia) Plant,

Haridra (Turmeric) Plant,

Bael (Wood-Apple),

Dalim (Pomegranate) stem,

Ashoka stem, Jayanti Stem,

Twigs Of White Aparajita Plant and Dhanya( Rice) Plant.

The nine plants of Nabapatrika are collectively signify Navdurga or the nine special aspects of Durga.

Shami Tree

In the Ramayana story, Lord Rama worshipped shami tree before the conquest of Lanka.

According to the Mahabharata story, the weapons of the Pandavas were hidden in a shami tree in the last year of their exile.

Shami or Khejdi trees are worshipped in Hinduism.

There is a custom of worshipping shami tree on the occasion of Durga Puja.

 The wood of the shami or khejri tree is considered sacred for Yajna (fire sacrifice).

Dalim (pomegranate) Plant

It is believed that positive energy is produced from the dalim plant.

Pomegranate is counted among the five fruits of puja offerings.

At the same time, this plant has many medicinal properties.

Ashoka Tree

The leaves of Ashoka tree are used for Hindu auspicious and religious purposes. Ashoka tree is considered sacred and beneficial in Hinduism.

It is believed that planting Ashoka tree in the house brings auspicious time, and a person can be freed from all exploitation.

Narkel(coconut) Tree

Narkel is an essential part of all Hindu rituals. During puja, the narkel is placed on top after being filled with water.

In Lakshmi puja, narkel naru is offered to the goddess.

It is a symbol of Mangal (auspiciousness).

This fruit are also offered to most of the gods.

Mango Tree

In Hinduism, whenever there is a good deed, the door and the wall of the house or the mangal ghat of the puja, the mango leaves are used.

Mango is known worldwide for its own taste.

However, the religious significance of the mango tree is much higher in Hinduism.

Its leaves are used in religious ceremonies and decorations in mandapas.

Chandan (sandalwood) Tree

Chandan is also considered to be a holy and sacred tree.

The fragrant wood of the tree is made into a paste, which is then used in worshipping Lord Vishnu and Shiva.

The paste of the tree is considered very pure and holy.

Tamal Tree

Tamal tree is very auspicious to the Vaishnava devotees of Hinduism.

This tree is associated with Lord Krishna.

According to mythology, Krishna played his flute sitting on the branch of the tamal tree in Vridavana.

The 52nd Harinam initiation anniversary of His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami, who was very dearly accepted as a disciple by Srila Prabhupada on 14th of April, the Easter Sunday of 1968, in San Francisco, within just one month of his having joined the temple.

Srila Prabhupada explained the meaning of Tamal Krsna : “Your name is Tamal Krishna.

Tamala is the name of a tree that grows in Vrndavana. Because it is the same colour as Krsna, the gopis, out of separation, sometimes mistake the tree to be Krsna Himself.

Kadamb Tree

Lord Krishna used to play his flute under the Kadamb tree.

All the activites in his childhood, were done near this tree.

The kadamb tree is also a favorite among many gods and goddesses.

Devi Durga is believed to reside in the Kadamba forest.

Ashvattha Tree

In the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 10, Verse 26), Lord Krishna says,

asvatthah sarva-vrksanam

devarsinam ca naradah

gandharvanam citrarathah

siddhanam kapilo munih

“Amongst trees I am the asvatthah tree (sacred fig tree); of the celestial sages I am Narad.

Amongst the Gandharvas I am Chitrath, and amongst the siddhas I am the sage Kapil.”

Actually, every ingredient of Ashvattha like bark, leaves, fruits, seeds, leaves and roots are all very effective.

Ashvattha is a very important tree in every sect of Hinduism.

Rudraksha Tree

Rudraksha seeds and rudraksha tree is very significant Hinduism.

The saints of the Himalayas used rudraksha to quench their thirst.

Rudraksha garlands, rudraksha bracelets have been used by Hindu Shaiva devotees, Buddhist monks and Bauls for thousands of years.

According to the mythology, Lord Shiva fought for a long time with unwavering eyes while trying to slay demon Tripura.

That is why a drop of tears fell from his exhausted eyes.

Then Rudraksha tree was grown from those tears. So rudraksha tree is very important in Hinduism.

The 5-mukhi rudraksha is the most common in nature.

However, 1 to 36 mukhi rudraksha can also be found in nature.

The price of 14 to 21 mukhi rudraksha is higher as it is not readily available.

Gauri Shankar, Triyuti rudraksha is well- known in the world but it is beyond the purchasing power of the common man.

Gauri Shankar rudraksha seeds seem to be paired together, which is considered to be the symbol of Shiva and Parvati.

Importance of Tree Worship in Hinduism

Hinduism is an age-old religion that is associated with multiple gods and goddesses. Each deity has His/Her own significance.

Among the innumerable deities, Hindus have developed the ritual of worshipping trees from the ancient past.

This practice is followed even today as it is  considered to be one of the several Hindu traditions.

The Rig Veda also makes references to trees and says that trees are not to be troubled at any point of time.

They should neither be uprooted nor cut as they protect birds, animals and other living beings.

According to Hindu puranas, Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva once cursed Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.

The curse transformed Brahma into a palasa tree while Vishnu was transformed into a peepal tree.

There are many reasons why Hindus worship trees with utmost devotion.

Some main reasons to do so are for moksha, fulfilment of desires, fertility and/or immortality.

The banyan, peepal and mango trees are the most commonly worshipped trees.

The banyan tree, specifically, is worshipped when different types of vrat are observed.

Read on to know some other reasons why Hindus worship trees.

Trimurti Concept

According to some Hindus, the sacred trees represent the unification of the Trinity, namely, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Hence, they believe that engaging in tree worship will help them to be bestowed with the blessings of the three lords and in turn pave way for spiritual enlightenment.

The Three Worlds

Hindus associate the physical structure of a tree as a connecting link among the three worlds comprising Heaven, Earth and Underworld.

Hence, it is said that an offering made to the trees finds its way to all the three worlds.

Associated with Saints

Hindu mythology makes several references to many saints engaging in meditation in the shade of a tree.

This is why these trees are said to be more sacred than others.

There are also other connecting factors between trees and saints.

One such association talks about how the sage Markandeya hid himself in a banyan tree and prayed to Lord Vishnu to escape from the perils of the flames of a huge fire that struck earth and perished all living beings.

The banyan tree was the only unaffected living tree and the saint took refuge in its shade.

Long Married Life

In some Hindu communities, young women are first married to a peepal tree before actually getting married to their life partners.

It is believed that this action will help them to be blessed with a long married life.

A long thread is tied around the trunk of the tree to represent the mangalsutra.

The tree is then decorated with garlands and sandal paste.

Ladies go around the tree 108 times while offering their worship at the same time.

Offerings to Almighty

Fruits, leaves and flowers of some trees are used to worship the deities associated with those trees.

They are also used for various pooja rituals.

Hence, these trees are believed to be sacred and worthy of worship.   

Blessed with Progeny

Childless couples worship and make offerings to be bestowed with a progeny. Hindu scriptures state multiple references indicating that if a person plants a tree and cares for it, the same tree will be reborn as the person’s child.

There are many trees that Hindus consider to be sacred for several reasons.

Each of these trees has its own significance.

The following are some trees worshipped by Hindus.

Peepal Tree

Hindus believe that the roots of this tree symbolise Lord Brahma while the trunk and leaves represent Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva respectively.

They are also of the belief that Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu breathed His last under this tree.

Hence, it is considered to be highly inauspicious to cut down this tree.

Banyan Tree

The banyan tree symbolises fertility and life.

Hence, this tree is offered prayers by couples who long for a child.

Like the peepal tree, this tree symbolises the Trinity and is therefore said to be unfavourable by Hindus.

Bel Tree

This tree is specifically associated with Lord Shiva.

The leaves of this tree have a trifoliate structure that are said to represent the lord’s Trishul or His three eyes.

Hence, a worship or pooja in honour of the god is considered to be incomplete without offering Him these leaves to please Him.

Ashoka Tree

Hindus relate the Ashoka tree with removal of grief.

Hence, they pay their obeisance to this tree to get rid of their sorrows and be blessed with happiness.

This tree is also associated with Kama Deva who is portrayed in Hindu mythology as the God of Love.

Neem Tree

The neem tree is highly respected by Hindus because of is multitude of medicinal benefits.

In Hindu culture, this tree is believed to represent Goddess Durga.

There is also an association with Sitala Devi as the neem tree is supposed to be Her abode.

She is believed to be the Pox mother who can cure several ailments.

Neem flowers as well as burning neem leaves is also believed to help in keeping evil spirits at bay.

The famous incomplete idols in the well-known Jagannatha shrine were created using the wood from this tree.

Some other trees that are revered by Hindus and treated by them with high regard are the banana tree, the mango tree, the kadamb tree and the sandalwood tree.

These trees are believed to be just as sacred as the trees mentioned above and their significance and can in no way be undermined.

The origin of tree worship dates back to the Vedic period when there were no temples or shrines dedicated to the Hindu deities as there were today.

Hindu puranas give them high importance and equal status as that of the gods.

Trees are worshipped in various forms by Hindus such as Brahman, living spirits and manifestation of the divine power.

Some Hindu festivals like Amala Ekadashi, Vat Savitri Vrat, Sheetala Pooja, Bakula Amavaya and Ashoka Pratipada are exclusively dedicated to and centred around the worship of several trees.

12 Religious Plants in India Which has Great Importance in Many Rituals

Religious plants are one of the very important parts of India.

They are mainly used by Indian people for worshipping gods, goddesses.

The religious plants in India are very unique as they not only help you to grow as a better person but also help you to attain mental peace and material prosperity.

The plants like rudraksha mala have roots in Hinduism and are believed to be worn by Shiva and his family.

On the other hand the sacred fig tree, peepal is regarded as one of the most sacred trees for both Hindus and Buddhists.

Some of the plants like black pepper and cactus on the other hand enhance your lifestyle and help to grow as a better person.

There are many plants and trees which are worshipped in India.

Here are 12 Religious Plants in India which has great importance in many rituals.

1. Peepal:

The peepal is venerated as a sacred and auspicious tree and also as a religious plant.

The Sanskrit word peepal literally means ‘wisdom’.

It has been specifically used to denote the four Vedas and the sacred texts written on palm leaves.

The main source of knowledge of Indian traditions which are based on Hindu scriptures or Vedas contains very rich metaphorical and analogical references to the peepal tree.

2. Tulsi:

Tulsi (Bot. Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a small perennial plant and members of the Lamiaceae (mint) family and is an integral part of the religious and cultural fabric of India.

It has been venerated for centuries, both as a medicinal herb and revered as a tree that provides spiritual nourishment, offering protection from evil and disaster.

Almost every Hindu household in India grows at least one Tulsi plant.

3. Banyan:

In Hinduism, it is a symbol of continuity, ancient wisdom and longevity.

In Jainism it symbolizes purity.

In ancient Buddhism to the banyan was sacred and highly revered.

The oldest banyan tree still surviving is at Gobardhan in Jaipur, Rajasthan,

with a canopy spread over more than 50 acres the present one is the descendant of a banyan planted by Adi Sankara nearly 1000 years ago.

Banyan is a religious plant in Indian culture, most commonly worshipped in North India.

4. Bael:

The Bael (known as Bel, Vembu or Valpippali in some places) is a religious plant in some Asian countries.

Even the leaves and the fruit of this plant are used for worship.

There is a belief that these plant helps to make some wishes come true.

In the western part of India, some Hindus worship this plant for longevity and good health.

The fruit of this plant is consumed as a healthy food supplement.

It has been used as one of the ingredients in making herbal medicines that cure various diseases.

5. Ashoka:

An Ashoka tree is associated with several religious rituals in India.

It is planted in the temple compound, used in the preparation of the garbha-griha, or house of worship, and used in marriage ceremonies.

An Ashoka tree is also worshipped as a divinity and is one of the most popular sacred trees in India.

6. Mango:

A tree of spiritual and religious importance in India, the Mango tree is part of many Hindu rituals and festivals. Mango plants are used as religious plants as well as for their fruits.

In some parts of India, farmers plant this tree near the boundary of their property as they tend to shield the home from evil eyes and bad luck.

Mango leaves and twigs, mixed with milk or yoghurt and sugar, is given to children before exams or school-leaving certificate (SLC) to maintain good grades and concentrate on studying.

7. Neem:

When speaking of trees of Indian origin, the height, appearance, flowers, fruit and aroma are profoundly striking.

The Neem tree is one of the most important religious plants located in the northern part of the subcontinent.

The word “Nim” means to grow or multiply.

It is also known as the Margosa tree in Sanskrit.

In Hindu scriptures, neem is mentioned as a sacred plant and as a source of effective herbal medicine for a variety of ailments.

In the modern world, neem has been further validated as a practical treatment for a multitude of ailments.

From being used as traditional pest control to topical treatment for acne and dandruff, neem’s uses have been proven through time and confirmed today.

8. Lotus:

Lotus is one of the revered religious plants in India.

Given its exalted status, it was always grown in special ponds.

The lotus flower has been an essential ornament for depicting gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology since early times.

Lotus is a water-pollinating flower, which symbolizes purity and sacredness in Indian traditions.

It is a very sacred plant of Hindus and Buddhists.

9. Sandalwood:

The Sandalwood tree is valued as a religious plant in the Hindu religion.

It is very sacred to the people of India and represents Krishna and Vishnu.

In times of old, the wood from the trees was used in religious offerings to gods and goddesses.

Sculptures can be seen with pieces of sandalwood, in temples in India, and Buddhist monasteries.

For thousands of years in India, it has been a part of worship.

It is a strong connection to one’s soul and creates a home for the soul when one has walked away from the world. It is a sacred plant for many religions.

10. Banana:

Banana trees are one of the most revered religious plants in India.

The belief associated with this plant is that five gods are living in every banana tree.

According to Hindu mythology, these gods are known as “Pancha Ganapathi”.

It is for this reason that banana is also referred to as “Pancha Ganapathi Poorna”.

11. Coconut:

Coconut tree plant’s leaves, flowers, fruits are used for religious purposes in India.

The coconut tree is called “Mahua” in Hindi which means “Great Gift”.

The Hindus get highly delighted when they see this tree.

Coconut is recognized as a very important plant in India.

Its ripe flesh is used for making coconut oil, which is one of the most commonly used cooking oils in India and many other countries in the world.

However, in India, coconut uses and benefits go beyond its use as an edible fruit and cooking oil.

12. Kadamb:

The Kadamb tree has a religious place in India. As a religious plant, it is grown in compounds of religious places.

It is a sacred tree in Hinduism and there are several superstitions attached to its use.

India is a multi-religious country.

In this multi-religion, there has been a common belief that God resides in trees.

Worshipping plants as a part of nature as a whole is an age-old practice.

People respect nature and the natural resources of land, water and air in worshipping trees in India.

Therefore, tree worship in India is a very important aspect.

So, here was everything you need to know about the 12 Religious Plants in India which have great importance in many rituals.

A Brief Guide to The Sacred Trees of India

With a rich, colorful culture, thousands of years of history, and many intertwined religions, India has been called the land of gods and goddesses.

In this spiritually charged world, special sacred trees occupy a respected, ceremonial position and some are even worshipped.

Peepul: Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment

The peepul is in the fig family, with curiously heart-shaped leaves that taper off at the point in a small “tail.”

Rather mysteriously, the leaves of this tree rustle even when there is no breeze to move them, which is attributed to the long leaf stalk and broad leaf structure.

This tree, also known as “Ashvatta,” is purportedly the most worshipped tree in India.

Lord Krishna, the original incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the supreme lord of the universe according to the Vaishnava faith, identifies with the peepul in the sacred text Bhagavad Gita.

He states, “Of all trees, I am the holy fig tree.”

In addition, the Hindus associate the roots of the tree with Lord Brahma (the creator of the universe), the trunk of the tree with Lord Vishnu (the protector and preserver), and the leaves of the tree with Lord Shiva (the destroyer).

The Buddhists also revere this tree since Lord Buddha is thought to have attained enlightenment under the peepul tree.

Thus it is also called the Bodhi Tree or Tree of Enlightenment.

A red thread or cloth is often tied around the tree for worship and it is considered very inauspicious to ever cut one down.

Bodhi Tree located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher later known as Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment.

Banyan: Tree of Life

This is actually another type of fig tree, with large, glossy leaves and trunks that appear to be composed of a labyrinth of roots (called “aerial prop roots”).

It grows around a host plant, often killing the original tree or plant in the process, earning it the nickname “strangler fig.”

The banyan tree often represents the Trimūrti, the three lords of cosmic creation, preservation and destruction—namely, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

It is very often used for metaphorical reference in the Vedic scriptures written in ancient Sanskrit.

With its ever-spreading roots and branches, it is also symbolic of life and fertility in many Indian cultures and is consequently worshipped by those who wish to have children.

The revered banyan tree is never cut, and thus often grows over many acres.

Banyan trees

Bael: A Medicinal Tree

The bael is a slender, aromatic tree that bears a sweet, yellow-green fruit.

It is a very medicinal plant as well as a sacred tree.

All parts of it are used for different healing purposes—the roots, leaves, and fruits—and it has proven effective in combatting many different kinds of bacteria.

It is known as “Sivadruma” by the Hindus, and the leaves are often offered to Lord Shiva, who is known to be particularly pleased by this tree.

Baels have trifoliate leaves, i.e. a leaf structure of three, and this is sometimes thought to symbolize Siva’s trident or the Trimūrti (described above) as well.

All parts of Bael tree are used for different healing purposes.

Ashoka: A Guard Against Grief

This is a small evergreen tree, with dark green leaves and fragrant orange-yellow to deep red flowers.

The name of this tree means “without grief” or “one who gives no grief.”

Water in which the ashoka flowers have been washed is used as a protective and healing draught against sorrow.

It is representative of Kama Deva or the God of Love in the Hindu faith, and thus it is also associated with fertility.

In fact, the bark of the tree is used as a remedy for reproductive disorders and to restore fertility.

It is also thought that Lord Buddha was himself born under an ashoka tree and so it is often planted in Buddhist monasteries.

Ashoka tree

Coconut: Ceremonial Food

The classic appearance of the coconut palm, with its slender trunk, large fan-like leaves, and round hard-shelled fruit, is beloved as a symbol of exotic beaches and tropical forests.

In India, however, coconut trees are used for all kinds of religious purposes, mainly utilizing the coconut fruits in puja (religious ceremonies) and all kinds of traditional food preparations.

Some say that the fruit represents Lord Shiva, with the three black marks on coconuts depicting his eyes.

Around the world, the coconut fruit is well regarded for its distinctive flavor, nutritional benefits and even medicinal value, possessing anti-bacterial properties.

Coconut used in puja ceremony.

Mango: Icon of Love and Fertility

Mangos can grow exceedingly tall, over 100 feet, and can live hundreds of years.

When mature, these trees have dark green leaves and put out small white, sweet-smelling flowers, which eventually ripen into the famous luscious fruit.

In India, the mango is commonly seen as a symbol of love and fertility and is used in religious and social ceremonies accordingly.

The mango leaves are often strung in a garland and hung over the entrance of a dwelling to mark an auspicious occasion.

The Buddhists revere the mango for it is believed that Lord Buddha created a huge mango tree in Shravasti, an Indian district, from a seed.

The mellow, sweet flesh of mangos is very popular everywhere for its delicious flavor.

In India, the mango is commonly seen as a symbol of love and fertility.

Banana: The Resourceful Tree

Their huge lush green leaves make it clear that bananas thrive in a very rainforest-like environment.

The leaves, fruits and flowers of this tree are all utilized in Indian religious ceremonies.

For example, the fruit is offered to various gods and goddesses, especially Lord Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune. Banana leaves are used as plates to distribute blessed and offered food, called prasadam.

Those of the Hindu faith also worship the banana trees, bearing fruits and flowers, for the welfare of the family.

This tree is certainly more than just a household fruit in India.

Because of its use in religious ceremonies, Banana is much more than just a household fruit in India.

Neem: A Tree of Healing

Neems are drought-resistant evergreens in the mahogany family, with small tapering leaves and white, fragrant flowers.

The flowers and leaves are used in traditional Indian cooking and small preparations of neem are consumed as part of the New Year’s celebration in several provinces.

Deities are sometimes garlanded with offerings of neem flowers and leaves.

It is greatly respected for its medicinal uses, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and even sedative properties.

It is also commonly used as a “toothbrush.”

People in India (as well as Africa and the Middle East) have been chewing on neem twigs to clean their teeth for centuries.

In Hindi culture, neem is manifested as the Goddess Durga, also known as Parvati (the wife of Shiva).

In some parts of India, the neem tree itself is thought to be a goddess, Neemari Devi.

It is associated with Goddess Sitala Devi in the north as well as Goddess Marimman in the south, who are both associated with giving and healing of skin ailments like small-pox.

 The beautiful and famous Jagannatha deities in eastern Odisha are formed from neem wood.

Neem flowers, leaves and even smoke from burning the leaves is often used to ward off evil spirits.

Old Neem tree

Sandalwood: Sacred Incense

These small trees, with glossy green leaves and tiny scarlet flowers, are related to mistletoe and live off the roots of other trees.

The harvested wood is yellowish, fine-grained, very aromatic, and, unlike other woods, has the distinction of retaining its prized fragrance for decades.

A special paste called “chandanam” created from sandalwood is often used on the body, applied to the head, chest or neck either cosmetically or as part of a religious ceremony.

The fragrant and sweet-smelling pastes of sandalwood are also very often used to worship the gods and goddesses.

There is an account connected with this tree wherein the Goddess Parvati (Shiva’s wife) created

Lord Ganesha out of a sandalwood paste and breathed life into the figure.

Sandalwood is also prized by Buddhists who use the scent in their own ceremonies and meditations.

It is very often used to purify temples and holy places in both the Hindi and Buddhist faith.

Sandal tree leaves

This is a small taste of the relationship between trees and spiritual life in India.

The association between many different kinds of trees, plants and flowers with religious practice is a deep and significant one.

It is based in a thought system that recognizes that every living thing—including every plant and tree—is an individual personality.

Sacred Trees in Hinduism

Sacred Plants and Trees

It is mentioned of the Kalpavriksha and Chaityavriksha in the ancient scriptures indicating that the worship of the tree is indeed an ancient Indian practice.

The Ancient Aryans worshiped nature.

Plants, Trees and the other elements were always revered and several rituals were connected to them.

Tree worship continues to be an element of modern Indian traditions.

There are many trees which are considered Sacred.

Some of the Sacred Trees are as follows :

Rudraksha Tree

Rudraksh is a large evergreen broad leaved tree in Elaeocarpaceae family.

The Seed of the plant is known as rudraksha which is traditional used for prayer beads in Hinduism. This spiritual bead is considered as a personification of Lord Shiva.

Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra (“Shiva“) and akṣha (“Tear Drops“). It is said that Lord Shiva wears a garland of Rudraksha Tree.

This mala is often made from 108 beads and used by many Hindus during prayers.

The majesty and magnificent powers of the Rudraksha are mentioned in ancient books such as the ‘Shiva Purana,’ ‘Padma Purana,’ and ‘Srimad Bhagavad.’

Ashoka Tree

Ashoka is one of the most legendary and sacred trees of India, and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of flower essences.

It belongs to Caesalpaeniaceae family.

It is a very handsome, small, erect evergreen tree, with deep green foliage and very fragrant, bright orange-yellow flowers, which later turn red.

The flowering season is around April and May.

It is found in central and eastern Himalayas as well as on the west coast of Bombay.

Ashoka is a Sanskrit word meaning without grief or that which gives no grief.

Of course, the tree has many other names in local languages as well.

One such name means the tree of love blossoms.

The Hindus regard it as sacred, being dedicated to Kama Deva, God of Love.

The tree is a symbol of love.

Its beautiful, delicately perfumed flowers are used in temple decoration. There are also festivals associated with this flower.

Lord Buddha was born under the Ashoka tree, so it is planted in Buddhist monasteries.

Banyan Tree

Like Peepal Tree, the Banyan Tree also symbolizes the Trimurti-Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma.

The tree also symbolizes life and fertility in many Hindu cultures.

That is the reason, banyan tree is worshiped by those who are childless and this tree should never be cut.

The tree can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares.

The Great Banyan in the Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, is considered to be the largest tree in the world.

Lord Dakshinamurthy, who is worshiped as the “ultimate guru”, is usually depicted beneath a banyan tree.

He symbolizes Lord Shiva and is seen as the the destroyer of ignorance and embodiment of knowledge.

Bel Tree

In India, Bel tree is considered to be very sacred because it is associated with Lord Shiva.

It is said that Lord Shiva is pleased by offerings of leaves from the Bel Tree, also known as bilva or bel tree.

Thus, the Brahmanas worshiped Lord Shiva by for a period of one fortnight by offering bel leaves and that way satisfied Lord Shiva greatly.

The fruit, flowers and leaves of the tree are all sacred to Shiva.

Planting these trees around home or temple is sanctifying and is equivalent to worshiping a Linga with bilva leaves and water.

The trifoliate leaf or tripatra of the bel tree is believed to symbolize the three functions of the Lord-the creation, preservation and destruction as well as his three eyes.

The offering of the leaves is a compulsory ritual while worshipping Lord Shiva all over India.

The Bal tree is also sacred to the Jains.

It is said the 23rd Tirthankara, Bhagwan Parasnath ji attained “Nirvana” enlightenment under a Bel tree.

Besides religious significance, almost all parts of the tree have medicinal qualities Bel is an ingredient in many Ayurvedic and Siddha formulations.

Bamboo Tree

The common names of Lord Krishna-Venugopal, Bansiwala, Murali and Muralidhar reflect His association with Bansuri or Venu, His constant companion. Bansuri is actually a flute made of bamboo.

That is the reason, bamboo is revered in India because it is associated with Lord Krishna.

Banana Tree

Though banana is not a tree but it is considered a tree because of its structure and size. It is a very sacred tree and all parts of the tree are used for some purpose or the other. For example, the trunk of banana is used to erect welcoming gates.

The leaves are used to make the ceremonial pavilion. In some pooja, the leaves are used to serve “prashad“.

Just as leaves of bel tree are customarily offered to Lord Siva, it is believed that offering of the leaves of banana pleases Lord Ganesa.

Banana as a fruit is offered to Lord Vishnu and Laksmi.

Infact, the eleventh day of the bright half of Pausa (December-January) is considered to be very auspicious to offer banana to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi and sixth day of the bright fortnight of Kartika (October-November) is considered auspicious to offer banana to the Sun god.

In some regions, banana tree is worshipped while performing Kadali Vrata or fast.

According to tradition, during Vaisakha, Magha or Kartika sukla caturdasi, a banana tree is planted and nurtured till it bears fruit.

It is said that worshiping the tree with flowers, fruit, etc. will help in the welfare of one’s family.

Bhang Plant

To all Hindus, the Bhang Plant is a very Holy Plant.

There are many beliefs associated with the Bhang Plant.

It is believed that a guardian lives in the Bhang leaf.

To see in a dream the plant or water or leaves of Bhang is considered lucky as it brings wealth and prosperity into the dreamer’s power.

Bhang is a popular drink made of the leaves and flowers of the Bhang Plant and considered to be a “prasad”.

It is must for every devotees to have bhang on Maha Shivratri.

Coconut Tree

In Sanskrit, the name for the coconut palm “Kalpa vriksha“, which means “the tree which provides all the necessities of life” or “wish-fulfilling tree“.

The coconut tree is given a special place in most Hindu households and great care is taken to nature the tree.

In the southern part of India, it is a must for every household to plant coconut trees.

There is a popular saying, “Water the plant for five years, reap coconuts for life” .

The coconut is used for all religious purposes.

Infact, it represents the main “sthapana” of any pooja.

The whole pot filled with water, mango leaves and coconut, also known as “Purnakumbha” is a symbol of Goddess Laksmi or Fortune and the coconut represents divine consciousness.

To break a coconut in the beginning of any event is considered to be very auspicious.

Coconuts are offered in Temples to worship to various Gods and Goddesses.

The fruit is also believed to represent Lord Shiva and the three black marks on the coconut shell, symbolizes his eyes.


The Lotus is always considered as an evocative symbol of beauty, purity and divinity and a highly revered flower by all Hindus.

In Hinduism many of the deities are pictured sitting upon a lotus or holding a lotus flower.

Rising up pure and unsullied from the depths of the muddy swamp, the lotus represents the manifestation of God.

The pure white lotus flower is the only plant to fruit and flower simultaneously.

The flower is a symbol of Goddess Laxmi.

One of the incarnations of the Mother-Goddess or Devi and wife of the Hindu god Vishnu,

Laxmi is the goddess of fortune and prosperity as well as the epitome of feminine beauty.

According to Hindu mythology she was born radiant and fully grown from the churning of the sea.

Lakshmi is always portrayed as sitting on a lotus flower which is her traditional symbol.

That is why this flower held in high esteem.

The Lotus flower has also symbolized spiritual enlightenment.

It is said that the Lotus in Eastern Culture has a similar symbolism to the Rose in Christianity.

Mango Tree

The mango tree is another sacred tree of the Hindus.

The significance of this finds mention in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas.

The mango as a fruit is a symbol of love and fertility.

The leaf of the tree is used during most religious and social ceremonies of the Hindus.

A “Purnakumbha” is a pot filled with water and topped with fresh mango leaves and a coconut and considered to be the “sthapna” of the puja.

The pot symbolizes Mother Earth, water is the life giver, coconut the divine consciousness and the mango leaves symbolizes life.

The whole “Purnakumbha” is symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi and good fortune.

On various auspicious occasions, mango leaves are used to adorn entrances at home to signify good fortune.

Mango blossoms are used on Basant Panchami day in the worship of Goddess Saraswati.

The tree is also sacred to the Buddhists because it is believed that Lord Buddha performed during his lifetime the instantaneous creation of a large mango tree from the seed at a place called Shravasti.

Neem Tree

It is said that on the first day of Chaitra, after Amavasya, it is very essential to worship the neem and eat its leaves, mixed with pepper and sugar, as a safeguard from fever.

The neem tree besides having various medicinal benefits is a highly revered tree among the Hindus because it is a manifestation of “Goddess Durga” or “Maa Kali”.

That is why the tree is sometimes referred to as Neemari Devi.

The Tree is worshiped very intensely.

Tamil Ladies, while worshiping Maa kali dress in red, carry branches of the Neem tree,

and dance in public places swishing the branches as an act of exorcism and to purify the world.

The multi-headed occult goddess Yellamma (a highly revered goddess in south India) sometimes assumes the appearance of a young neem tree.

Young maidens worship this Goddess by cladding themselves all over in neem branches.

In Bengal, neem is considered to be the tree which is the abode of “Sitala” (the great Pox-mother who can cause or cure disease).

The customary treatment of pox is therefore to rub the body with neem leaves while making prayers to Sitala.

It is also said that the smoke of burning neem protects both the living and the dead from evil spirits.

Peepal Tree

Peepal Tree also known as “Ashvattha” in Sanskrit, is a very large tree and the first-known depicted tree in India.

A seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, one of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation depicts the peepal being worshiped.

According to the Brahma Purana and the Padma Purana, when the demons defeated the gods,

Lord Vishnu hid himself in the Peepal Tree and that is why it is believed that the Peepal Tree is a symbol of Vishnu and is worshiped since a long period of time.

There is another belief that the tree represents the Trimurti-the roots being Brahma, the trunk Vishnu and the leaves Shiva.

Some says that Lord Krishna is believed to have died under this tree, after which the present Kali Yuga started.

According to another belief, Goddess Lakshmi also inhabited the tree, specially on Saturday and hence it is considered auspicious to worship it.

Infact women worship the tree to bless them with a son tying red thread or red cloth around its trunk or on its branches.

According to the Skanda Purana, to cut down a peepal tree is considered a sin.

Even Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under the peepal tree and the peepal is also sacred to Buddhist.

Hence it is also called the Bodhi tree or “tree of enlightenment”.

Red Sandalwood Tree

Besides being used in cosmetics industry, fine woodworking and aromatherapy, Sandalwood is commonly used for incense and religious ceremonies.

The Red Sandalwood Tree is considered to be a very sacred tree and is like a sage among many people.

It is said that all other trees are considered ordinary trees and are like ignorant men in front of a Red Sandal wood.

Popularly known as Chandan, Sandalwood has an extraordinary fragrance.

Sandalwood paste is used in all religious rituals.

The paste is smeared on the foreheads of devotees of Vishnu and Shiva and it is said that the sandalwood paste is meant to cool and protect the “Agna chakra” present between the eyebrows.

In India, the death pyre is made using sandalwood branches for centuries.

According to legend, Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure.

According to Indian mythology, sandalwood tree is depicted as being entwined with serpents.

Sandalwood remains cool and aromatic even when the poisonous serpent coils around it.

This also has another meaning that the basic nature of an individual cannot change because of outer effects.

Sandalwood Tree

Sandal wood, its paste and oil are important in worship of gods.

The Sandal tree is highly regarded in the Vedic texts, and the heartwood is considered to be sacred.

It is said that chandan, or Indra’s Sandalwood tree, scents the whole of paradise with its fragrance.

Sandalwood is considered the epitome of excellence, imparting fragrance even to the axe that cuts it.

For this reason anything that is excellent is referred to as chandan. It is used in sacred ceremonies and to purify holy places.


Tulsi is always associated with purity and a highly revered and used for all religious purposes among the Hindus.

It is considered very auspicious to have a Tulsi plant in the front courtyard of many Hindu households.

Tulsi beads can always be seen around the necks of serious yogis and mystics in India, worn to purifying the mind, emotions and body.

Dispelling the unwanted influences of others, gross and subtle, is one of the many benefits bestowed by Tulsi plant and hence worshipped by all.

Tulsi plants are also prized in Ayurveda, where they are considered an integral part of that sophisticated healing system.

In practically every temple in India, no puja can be started without few Tulsi leaves.

There is always a special place reserved for this sacred plant.

The qualities and amazing powers of this plant are found throughout the oldest writings on Earth, the Sanskrit Vedas of ancient India, where it is stated that simply touching the wood is purifying at many levels.

Tulsi plant is most loved by Lord Vishnu and Vrinda Devi, the Goddess ruling Tulsi is known as the personification of bhakti or devotion to the Supreme Being.

Siginificance of Tree Worship


In the Indian context we get mixed signals.

 On the one hand people, especially women worship the tulsi plant while we can see the reverence with which Indians treat the vat and the banyan tree.

On the other hand trees are mercilessly cut down to make roads, construct buildings and sometimes for no excuse whatsoever.

We also see that there is an awakening all over the world towards saving the ecology that is now the panacea against an increasing carbon footprint.

However, the worship of trees did have a religious bias in India.

Whether environmental sentiments were actually behind it all or not the reader has to judge for himself/herself.

Hinduism and Nature

Nature has been intertwined with Hinduism ever since the basic Aryan philosophy was born in the Vedic era.

Today all one needs to do is to turn the pages of the great literary works such as

The Vedas, The Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwad Gita or the Puranas to be convinced of the fact that Hinduism has always been a philosophy that is sensitive to environmental concerns.

The accent in these great religious and philosophical works has been to maintain a balance of the environment and ecology.

Unlike in the West, there has never been an urge to look upon nature as a hostile element that needs to be conquered.

As a matter of fact man has been directed not to exploit nature in any way but to live in total harmony with it while recognizing the divinity present in all God’s elements.

These elements included not only the wind, water, earth and agni but also plants, animals and minerals besides mountains and water bodies such as rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.

Top 20 Plants associated with God in Hindu Mythology

There are many plants that are associated with different gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology.

Here are twenty plants that are particularly significant:

  1. Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a sacred plant in Hinduism, and is often called the “Queen of Herbs” for its medicinal properties. It is associated with the goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu, and is often planted in front of homes and temples.
  2. The lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a symbol of purity and spiritual awakening, and is associated with the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati, as well as the god Brahma.
  3. The neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is known for its medicinal properties, and is often associated with the god Vishnu. In some stories, Vishnu is said to have rested on a neem tree during his incarnation as the dwarf Vamana.
  4. The banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) is considered sacred in Hinduism, and is often associated with the god Shiva. It is said that the banyan tree provides shelter and nourishment to all living beings.
  5. The sandalwood tree (Santalum album) is highly prized for its fragrant wood, and is associated with the goddess Lakshmi and the god Vishnu. Sandalwood is often used in Hindu rituals and ceremonies, and its fragrance is believed to have calming properties.
  6. The mango tree (Mangifera indica) is associated with the god Krishna, who is said to have loved to eat mangoes. In Hindu mythology, the mango is also a symbol of love and fertility.
  7. The pippal tree (Ficus religiosa) is considered sacred in Hinduism, and is associated with the god Vishnu. It is said that the peepal tree provides shelter and nourishment to all living beings, and that meditating under a peepal tree can bring wisdom and enlightenment.
  8. The ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) is associated with the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati, as well as the god Shiva. In Hindu mythology, it is said that the ashoka tree brings love and happiness to those who plant it.
  9. The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is associated with the god Vishnu, who is often depicted holding a coconut in his hand. In Hindu mythology, the coconut is considered a symbol of life and fertility.
  10. The pippal tree (Ficus religiosa) is another sacred tree in Hinduism, and is associated with the god Shiva. It is said that the pippal tree provides shelter and nourishment to all living beings, and that meditating under a pippal tree can bring wisdom and enlightenment.
  11. The bilva tree (Aegle marmelos) is associated with the god Shiva, and is often used in Hindu rituals and ceremonies.
  12. The palasha tree (Butea monosperma) is associated with the god Agni, the god of fire, and is said to be the tree under which the sage Valmiki wrote the epic poem Ramayana.
  13. The aksha tree (Madhuca latifolia) is associated with the goddess Ganga, who is said to reside in its leaves.
  14. The parijata tree (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) is associated with the god Krishna, and is said to have bloomed in the gardens of Indra, the king of the gods.
  15. The nagakeshara (Mesua ferrea) tree is associated with the god Vishnu, and is said to possess powerful medicinal properties.
  16. The kadamba tree (Neolamarckia cadamba) is associated with the god Krishna, and is said to have bloomed in the gardens of Indra, the king of the gods.
  17. The arjuna tree (Terminalia arjuna) is associated with the god Arjuna, one of the heroes of the epic poem Mahabharata.
  18. The vata tree (Ficus benghalensis) is associated with the god Vayu, the god of wind, and is said to have the ability to grant wishes.
  19. The ashvattha tree (Ficus religiosa) is associated with the god Brahma, and is said to be the tree under which the god attained enlightenment.
  20. The jambu tree (Syzygium cumini) is associated with the god Vishnu, and is said to possess powerful medicinal properties. It is also known as the “black plum” tree.

These plants are considered sacred in Hinduism, and are often used in religious rituals and ceremonies.

They are also valued for their medicinal properties, and many of them are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.


The Banyan tree is mentioned in many scriptures as a Tree of Immortality, Tree of life or World Tree.

Its aerial roots grow down into the soil forming additional trunks and is therefore called Bahupada बहुपाद, the one with several feet.

It symbolizes longevity and represents the divine creator, Brahma.

The rustling of the leaves of the tree is attributed to the deities residing on it.

It grows on Pushkara dvipa, a special abode of Brahma.


In Vishnu Parana, the tree is compared to Vishnu.

“As the wide spreading Nyagrodha tree is compressed in a small seed, so at the time of dissolution, the whole universe is comprehended in thee as its germ.

As the Nyagrodha germinates from the seed and becomes first a shoot and then rises into loftiness, so the created world proceeds from thee and expands into magnitude”.

Nyagrodha planted in front of temples is tenanted by either Krishna or Shiva.

The tree planted in public places like cross-roads, village squares are tenanted by lesser divinities such as Yakshas, Kinnaras, Gandharvas etc.


The Banyan is associated with Yama the god of death and the tree is often planted near crematoria.

The Banyan does not let a blade of grass grow under it.

Thus it does not stand for rebirth and renewal.

That is why it is not part of fertility ceremonies like marriage and childbirth.

There are tree shrines as idols consecrated belowthe Banyan, and even today women go around these trees longing for eternity of their marriages in the memory of Savitri who lost Satyavan under a Banyan and later regained his soul from Yama.

Vata Savitri Poornima

Vat poornima, also known as Vata Savitri Poornima is a festival of women, celebrated especially in Maharashtra in the month of Jeyshta (May-June).

On this day women pray for long life of their husbands and children.

Women observe a fast and tie threads around a banyan tree and pray for the same husband in every birth.

The celebration derived from the story of Savitri and Satyavan.

It has been foretold that Satyavan won’t live long.

Resting on the lap of Savitri, Satyavan was waiting for death under a banyan tree, when the day of death came.

The messenger of Yama, the God of death came to take Satyavan.

But Savitri refused to give her beloved husband.

Messenger after messenger tried to take Satyavan away, but in vain.

Finally, Yama himself appeared in front of Savitri and insisted to give over her husband.

Since, she was still reluctant, he offered her a boon.

She asked for the well being of her extended family.

He granted it to her.

She then followed him as he took Satyavan’s body away.

He offered her another boon.

She now asked for the well being of her parents.

This boon, too, was granted.

But she was relentless, and continued to follow him.

As they approached Yama’s abode, he offered her a final boon.

She asked for a son.

He granted it. She then asked him how it would be possible for her to beget sons without her husband.

Yama was trapped and had to return her husband.

Following the legend married women pray to the banyan tree for the long life of their husbands and children.

A fast is observed the whole night till the next morning.


Yoga Dakshinamurti is an aspect of Shiva as a guru (teacher) of yoga, music, and wisdom:

In iconography, Lord Shiva is visualized as Dakshinamurti (Giver of true knowledge), he who faces the south, that being the direction of death and change.

He is shown as sitting under a banyan tree.

His one leg rests on the ground, crushing ignorance – as represented by the mythical apasmara under the feet of the deity.

The foot lies folded on his lap.

His four arms are shown in different ways.

He carries a rosary or mala in his upper right hand; the upper left hand is shown as carrying fire; the lower right hand is depicted in abhayamudra ; and the lower left hand is holding the Shastras?.

A genre of Sanskrit texts on law and conduct, and refers to the treatises (śāstras) on Dharma.

Below his seat an apasmara is crushed under the feet a cobra is around his arm and looks towards him.

The Abhaya Mudra, a gesture with the hand lifted above thigh with palm facing out, fingers pointing, is interpreted as his grace upon his students.

The rosary or the snake signifies tantric knowledge.

The fire represents illumination, removing the darkness of ignorance.

He sits under the Banyan tree, the botanical embodiment of the universal soul, facing the terror of death and change,– stoically, unafraid – because of his profound understanding of the world.

According to another school of thought Dakshinya means Karuna in Sanskrit or kindness (benevolence).

So this manifestation of Shiva is a benevolent teacher who accords wisdom to seekers of salvation.

At the Tiruvannamalai Temple, India, four sages, sit around Shiva and under the Banyan, they are :

  • Sanatkumara (always a youth),
  • Sanaka (ancient),
  • Sanatana (eternal),
  • Sanandana (having joy).

They are born from the mind of Brahma and live eternally as Brahmacaris, Kumaras, students or disciples.

Taboo of the Oriyan tribes

To some Oriyan tribes, the tree is the Sadru-shrine of the gods and it is a sacrilege to cut it.

The taboo against felling it is so great that if anyone cuts it in ignorance, he has to sacrifice a goat to the gods living on the tree.

Some Indians consider the tree as mother, for according to a legend, two orphan children were left under the tree and they were nourished by the milk or the latex that dripped from the tree and were thus saved from starvation.

Bodhi tree in Buddhism

Buddhists consider the tree sacred as Prince Siddhartha sat in meditation under this tree and found enlightenment. 

The tree since then is known as the Bo or the Bodhi tree. 

After attaining enlightenment under a Bodhi Tree Lord Buddha is believed to have sat under a Banyan Tree for seven days, absorbed in the extent of his new understanding.

The Great Stupa at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, India has many depictions of the bodhi tree which is shown as being worshipped for its association with Lord Buddha.

The bodhi tree is an akshaya vata, eternal, life giving tree.

Originally commissioned by King Ashoka in 3rd century B.C many structures were added to the stupa complex by other dynasties.

Scenes from Lord Buddha’s life are sculpted on the toranas (gateways) and other structures in and around the stupa.

Legend of the Pardhans

The Pardhans people worship the Banyan tree because of the following legend:

When Guru Jalranda of the Pardhans died, his body was buried by his sons under a tree of Palasa (Butca frondosa).

The sons used to light a fire on the grave daily to keep away the wild animals from desecrating the grave.

One day they found a Nyagrodha tree growing out of the grave.

The eldest son saw his father in a dream that night who asked him to serve the tree as it had grown out of their father’s bones and brains.

According to the Pardhan’s, the adventitious, hanging roots of the tree are the long and matted hair of the guru.

Sikhism: Parjat – wish-fulfilling Elysian Tree.​

In Sikhism, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib’s scriptures have various references to the tree, more commonly referring to it as Parjat, which translates to “Elysian Tree”.

From Sanskrit paarijaat (the coral tree Erythrina indica)Pali paarijaat (the coral tree).

ਬਿਰਖੁ ਜਮਿਓ ਹੈ ਪਾਰਜਾਤ॥ ਫੂਲ ਲਗੇ ਫਲ ਰਤਨ ਭਾਂਤਿ॥
birakh jamio hai paarjaat. phool lage phal ratan bhaaṅt.
A wish-fulfilling tree, which bears flowers and fruits precious like jewels, has sprouted (within my mind).

Guru Arjan Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 1180.

In the verse above, Guru Arjan Sahib uses this tree as an illustration to help us visualize what can grow in our minds when we make a connection with the Divine.

The paarjat, a night flowering jasmine, is another wish-fulfilling tree mentioned in Hindu mythology.


Banyan Tree – Use (See Bodhi Tree)

All parts of the Banyan Tree have been used as a medicine for their cooling and healing properties, as part of the Ayurvedic healing system.

The bark and leaf buds – are useful in arresting secretion or bleeding.

The fruit – exercises a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes, alleviates swelling and pain, and serves as a mild purgative.

It is also nutritious.

The leaf buds – are beneficial in the treatment of chronic diarrhea and dysentery.

The latex is also useful in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.

 latex (sap)– of the banyan tree mixed in milk and taken daily helps cure bleeding piles.

– rheumatism, pain and lumbago.

 Tender roots – are considered beneficial in the treatment of female sterility.

A regular douching of the genital tract with a decoction of the bark of the Banyan tree and the fig tree is helpful in leucorrhoea.

Medicine for diabetes.

* Cleaning the teeth with the aerial roots of the Banyan is beneficial in preventing teeth and gum disorders.

As one chews the stick and brushes, the astringent secretion from the root-stick cleanses and strengthens the teeth and gums.

* A hot poultice of the leaves can be applied with beneficial results to abscesses to promote suppuration and to hasten their breaking.

*The milky juice from the fresh green leaves is useful in destroying warts.

The latex is commonly used locally for sores, ulcers and bruises.

*The tender ends of the aerial roots can be taken to stop vomiting.

Next time when you see a Banyan, take a moment off to remember that you are looking at a tree that has been venerated right from the beginning of Indus civilization.