7 Sacred Trees of India
India is deeply connected with her ancient roots. Prayers, pujas (blessings) using different elements allow us into this magic world of gratefulness. Through the sacred trees and practice of yoga in nature the elements open themselves up to us.
The association between many different kinds of trees, plants and flowers with religious practice is a deep and significant one. It’s based on a thought system that recognizes that every living thing, every plant and tree is an individual personality. We at YogiPi firmly believe in harmony & connection with nature through Yoga.
Banyan: Tree of Life
It is an impressive type of fig tree with large and glossy leaves. Its trunk appears 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, earning it the nickname “strangler fig.” The banyan tree represents the Trimūrti, the trinity; the three lords of cosmic creation, preservation and destruction. Lord Brahma (the creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver) and Lord Shiva (the destroyer). With its ever-spreading roots and branches, it is also symbolic of life and fertility in Indian culture. 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.
Those who live near ancient banyans visit them daily to offer a prayer, light a candle and incense. They spend time with and under this powerful energy. Each banyan is a temple.
We have been offering online classes from different parts of India under beautiful and sacred banyan trees. All while enjoying the good vibrations and refreshing shade.
Coconut: Ceremonial Food
In India, coconut trees are used for all kinds of religious purposes. They utilize the coconut fruits in puja (religious ceremonies) and many kinds of traditional food preparations. Some say that the fruit represents Lord Shiva, with the three black marks on coconuts depicting his eyes. You have to crack a coconut to access the delicious meat and water inside. Same may occur within us. We have to break our outer shells to be able to access our inner self. Around the world, the coconut fruit is known for its distinctive flavor and nutritional benefits. It also has good medicinal value with anti-bacterial properties.
Bodhi: Tree of Enlightenment
This tree, also known as “Ashvatta” or “Peepal” and is one of the most worshipped tree in India.
Hindus associate the roots of the tree with Lord Brahma, the trunk of the tree with Lord Vishnu, and the leaves of the tree with Lord Shiva. 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 auspicious.
Mango: Symbol of Love and Fertility
In India, the mango is commonly seen as a symbol of love and fertility. Also used in religious and social ceremonies. The mango leaves are often strung in a mala (garland) and hung over the entrance of a dwelling. This to signify auspicious occasions. The Buddhists also revere the mango tree. 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.
Banana: The Resourceful Tree
Their huge lush green leaves make it clear that bananas thrive in a rainforest environment. The leaves, fruits and flowers of this tree are all utilized in Indian religious ceremonies. For example, the fruit is offered to Gods and Goddeses, especially Lord Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi. Banana leaves are used as plates to distribute blessed and offered food, called prasadam. Those of Hindu faith also worship the banana trees, bearing fruits and flowers, for the welfare of the family.
Neem: A Tree of Healing
Neems are drought-resistant evergreens in the mahogany family, with small leaves and white, fragrant flowers. The flowers and leaves are used in traditional Indian cooking and medicines. It is greatly respected for its medicinal uses, including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and even sedative properties. Yet it is also used as a toothbrush giving a fresh, stringent taste. People in India, Africa, 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). It is associated with the healing of skin ailments like small-pox. Neem flowers, leaves and even smoke from burning the leaves is often used to ward off evil spirits.
Sandalwood: Sacred Incense
A special paste called “chandanam” is created from sandalwood. Which is often applied on the body, head, chest and neck. And is used cosmetically or as part of a religious ceremony. The fragrant, sweet-smelling pastes of sandalwood are used to worship the Gods and Goddesses by burning incense sticks. It is known that Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha out of a sandalwood paste and breathed life into his 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.
We at YogiPi are grateful for the Journey throgh India of these Beautiful Sacred trees that feed us the oxygen to live.
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