Plants and Trees Considered Sacred and Worshipped in Hinduism
Hinduism and nature are very closely associated. People not only worship the elements but also several trees and plants which are considered sacred and venerated and associate them with different deities. People either worship the plant or the tree or use their fruits and leaves for worship and on auspicious occasions. Let us find which are these trees and the different deities they are associated with.
Know why these plants and trees are worshipped in Hinduism
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India is known as the land where a number of religions peacefully coexist. It is also a land which has very deep religious roots. The people of India have been worshipping the elements since time immemorial and have come to associate them including plants and trees with different deities. Therefore, these plants and trees worshipped with the same devotion as the deities they are associated with them.
Let us take a look at some of these holy plants and trees that are venerated by the faithfuls and wherever possible they find a place inside their homes.
Hinduism is the origin of the plants like the rudraksha mala, which are said to be worn by Shiva and his family. In contrast, both Hindus and Buddhists view the sacred fig tree, or peepal, as one of the most sacred trees.
Peepal tree is one of the most worshipped tree of India and is also popularly known as the Bodhi tree. It is sacred for both Buddhists and Hindus. It is believed that Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree. In Hinduism, the peepal tree represent the three supreme gods- Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva. The roots represent Brahma, the trunk represent Vishnu and the leaves of the tree represent Shiva. Peepal tree has its uses in Ayurvedic medicines as well and is known to treat many ailments. A cloth or thread of red color is tied around the tree to worship it.
Banyan tree is said to be the humble abode of Lord Krishna. Banyan trees are always found either near a temple or their is a shrine below the tree itself. It is also the national tree of our country and has a large foliage which provides a vast field of shade providing shade during the scorching summer heat.
Bael is a very sacred tree of India and is associated with Lord Shiva. The leaves of the bael trees are always offered to Shiva. The religious ceremonies are considered incomplete if the Bael leaves and fruits are not offered to him during worship.
Ashoka is a very well-known evergreen tree which has beautiful and fragrant flowers. The Ashoka tree is considered sacred by Hindus, Buddhists and even Jains. In Hinduism, this tree is associated to the God of Love, also known as the Kama Deva.
The leaves and fruits of the mango tree are used in several religious ceremonies. This tree finds mention in epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. The mango is an emblem of purity, love and fertility. You must have noticed that in India people use the leaves of the mango tree are hung by a string during auspicious occasion.
The neem tree is one of the most venerated trees in India due to its innumerous religious and medical benefits. The medical properties of the Neem tree is used to treat many diseases. Neem tree is also associated with goddess Durga and it is also believed that the neem trees helps in keeping evil spirits at bay.
The banana tree is used in several religious ceremonies. It’s leaves are hung near the entrance of the house on auspicious occasions and are also used as plates to give prasad and serve food. Banana is offered during religious ceremonies to different deities, in particular, Lord Ganesha and Lord Vishnu.
In South India, the coconut tree is considered the most sacred tree. Most of the people plant coconut trees in their houses. Coconut is used in many religious ceremonies of the Hindus and is even distributed as prasad. Coconut is also used during various auspicious occasions, like starting something new or buying something new.
Lotus is considered to be the purest of all the flowers found in India. It is also the national flower of India. The beautiful lotus flower is an emblem of knowledge and prosperity. The goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati sit on red and white lotuses. The lotus is also associated with Lord Brahma.
Sandalwood is also considered to be a holy and sacred tree amongst Hindus. 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.
Kunda known for its beautiful white flowers and is associated with Lord Vishnu. People in Manipur, use the flowers in many religious ceremonies and worship of several gods and goddesses. Kunda is an essential part of the marriage ceremonies and the flowers are used as garlands in the ceremony.
It is said that Lord Krishna used to play his flute under the Kadamb tree. In fact that he performed all his childhood activities like playing under this tree. The kadamb tree is a favorite among many gods and goddesses and. Goddess Durga is believed to reside in the Kadamba forest.
Tulsi is one of the most common sacred plants in Hinduism. Many people keep a Tulsi plant in their backyards. Tulsi is always used in religious ceremonies and is also known for its medical applications. Tulsi plant is closely associated with Lord Vishnu and in Hinduism, Tulsi vivaah is a very popular religious practice. Apart from this, yogis wear tulsi beads to purify their mind, body and soul.