How Sacred is the Banyan Tree
In Hinduism, trees have held great significance. They are considered sacred are often associated with Gods and goddesses. The Vat, Bargad or Banyan tree is one of the most venerated trees in Hinduism. It has the ability to grow and survive for centuries, and is compared to as God’s shelter to his devotees. It has large leaves, which are commonly used worship and rituals. For time immemorial, it has been associated with various Hindu rituals.
The banyan tree is considered as the symbol of immortality. It has aerial roots that grow down from its branches forming additional trunks and anchor the tree to the ground, therefore this tree is also known as Bahupada, or the one with several feet. This tree symbolizes the creator Brahma, as it symbolizes longevity.
The Banyan Tree – Symbol of Fertility
In India, the banyan has been ascribed its own temperament – one that implies it is kind and generous ruler that nourishes all. The motif of its massive and exquisite leaves is usually recreated in rituals of worship. The banyan is mentioned in several ancient Indian texts and scriptures, representing the divine creator and symbolizing longevity. In Hindu mythology, the tree is believed to give the fulfillment of desires and provide material gains. As per the Agni Purana, one in all the eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, the banyan is symbolic of fertility and may provide help to those that wish for children. As such, the tree and its leaves are never cut and are only used in the time of famine for food.
The main trunk of this tree represents Shiva, hence worshiping the tree with bhava or true spiritual emotion, helps us gain the fruit of divine consciousness or Chaitanya. Shiva is represented as a stone called Lingam under the shade of the banyan tree, and is then worshiped.
The banyan tree is also used in sacrificial fires, as it lives the longest and represents immortality.
Must Do Rituals Of Banyan Tree
Women in northern India, are often seen tying cotton threads on the trunk of the banyan tree. The women perform this sacred ritual on Vat Savitri Puja (typically in May or June). This based on the famous katha of Satyavaan Savitri. It is believed that Satyavaan was breathing his last under this tree on a Full moon in Jyeshth. While, Yama Raja ( God of death) appeared to take his soul, his wife Savitri begged him return his soul. But instead of his soul, Yama Raja gave her many other gifts but with her intelligence she was able to get her husband’s soul back. To commemorate this mythology, women fast the entire day and tie a cotton thread around the trunk of the banyan tree 108 times while praying for a long healthy life for their husbands.
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