In the Sanatan tradition, trees and plants hold a deep spiritual significance. It is firmly held that various forms of gods and goddesses dwell within different tree species, resulting in the fulfillment of devotees’ desires when they pay homage. This enlightening article unveils the intriguing details of such trees, each carrying its own powers, thus establishing a deep connection with faith.
1. Vat Vriksh (Banyan Tree)
The Banyan tree holds immense cultural and religious significance in Hinduism and Indian culture.
The association between the Banyan tree and Lord Vishnu is truly fascinating. Krishna (one of Vishnu’s incarnations) would find solace in sleeping under the shade of this majestic tree.
During the Maha Pralaya, the grand dissolution of the Universe, Lord Krishna would manifest on a Banyan leaf as a newborn, contently sucking his toe. This beautiful imagery has led Lord Vishnu to be also known as VataPatra Sai, meaning “one who sleeps on the Banyan leaf” like a child.
In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says – “Amongst all trees, I am the vata vriskha (banyan tree)!”
2. Dūrvā (Scutch Grass)
Dūrvā, a type of grass, is associated with Lord Ganesha. In ancient times, a demon named Anlasur was causing havoc on Heaven and Earth by engulfing saints and humans alive. Indra and other deities sought help from Lord Shiva, who advised that only Lord Ganesha could defeat Anlasur. Lord Ganesha devoured the demon but soon felt irritation in his stomach.
Despite trying various remedies, the irritation persisted. Rishi Kashyap then made 21 knots of Durva and requested Lord Ganesha to consume it. Upon consuming the Dūrvā, Lord Ganesha found relief from the irritation. This event marked the beginning of the tradition of offering Dūrvā to Lord Ganesha.
3. Gunjā (Rosary Pea)
Gunjā seeds have captured the hearts of jewelry enthusiasts, especially among the indigenous population. Gunjā seeds have a deep-rooted connection with the revered deity Krishna. Their significance holds a special place within the Gaudiya sect, comprised of devoted followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Krishna worship. In the enchanting realm of devotion, the child Krishna and his cherished Gunjā maala remain inseparable. The Gunjā seeds are said to symbolize Radha.
4. Neem (Indian Lilac)
The neem tree and its leaves hold significant symbolism in Hindu culture, particularly in connection with powerful female deities such as Durga, Kali, Karumariamman, Mariamman, and other forms of Mother Goddess Shakti.
These leaves play a crucial role in worship, puja, festivals, and rituals devoted to Hindu goddesses, particularly in the southern region of India. Their association with Goddess Shakti sparks curiosity as to why this connection exists.
In rural South India, there are fascinating stories. According to these tales, the Mother Goddess herself resides in this tree, believed to possess amazing healing properties and the ability to ward off evil.
In rural South India, it is said that the divine power of the Mother Goddess, residing in the neem tree, intervened with Yama, the deity of death, preventing him from claiming the lives of those who were deeply devoted to her. Ever since the neem tree has become inseparably associated with Shakti.
5. Bel Patra/Bilva Patra (Wood Apple)
The offering of Bel Patra holds immense significance in Hindu puja due to its ancient origins. According to Hindu scriptures, the Bel tree originated from the sweat drops of goddess Parvati, the wife of lord Shiva.
This divine occurrence is beautifully described in an excerpt from Skanda Purana, which narrates that as sweat droplets fell from Parvati’s forehead, a majestic tree blossomed on the Mandrachal mountain. Named ‘Bilva’ by the goddess herself, it is believed that she resides in various forms within this sacred tree.
This makes it the perfect tree for the worship of Lord Shiva, who holds a special affinity for it. Even the mere touch of a Bel patra can liberate an individual from all forms of negativity, sins, and ailments.
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