Written by London swaminathan


Date: 16 FEBRUARY 2019

GMT Time uploaded in London – 15-36

Post No. 6082

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog. ((posted by swamiindology.blogspot.com AND tamilandvedas.com))

Hindu tree worship is known in the Vedas and the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization. The wonder is that they have been worshipped until today. Most of the worshipful trees are associated with famous giants. When one Bodhi tree (Pipal – Ficus religiose) gave the Buddha wisdom, Buddhists took its branches or saplings to different counties like Sri Lanka and Burma. Hindus never did it because every tree is holy for them.

Here are some trees which are famous among Hindus, at least local Hindus:-

Alandi near Pune in Maharashtra , is a famous pilgrimage centre. Marathi poet and saint Dhyaneswar attained Samadhi here. There is an Ajaana vriksha (vriksha=tree) is in the temple complex. According to botanists, this tree is known as Ehretia laeveis (family Boraginaceae)

In addition to this tree, there is a peepal tree which is also worshipped by the pilgrims. On the Ekadasi of Kartika Krishna Paksha there is a big festival is held in Alandi.

Golden Sami Tree

On Vijaya Dasami Day (October, End of Navaratri) Sami tree ( also known as Vahni)is worshipped. The leaves of these trees are distributed to friends under the name of gold. It means the tree is as valuable as gold. In many places where the tree is not available, the more common AApta (Bauhinia) is substituted. The significance of the tree is that the Pandavas hid their weapons during their incognito period. On the Vijaya Dasami day they took their weapons from the hiding place and fought against the Kauravas and won the Mahabharata  war.

Asoka Tree

Asoka tree is known through Ramayana because Sita was kept under watch in Asoka Grove in Sri Lanka. Asoka means NO SORROW (a+ soka)

There are two festivals associated with this tree.

Asoka Shasthi means sorrow free sixth day. It falls in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of Chaitra month (coreesponding April/May). The goddess is invoked to ensure the well being off children. Women drink water in which six flower buds of the Asoka tree have been steeped.

There is a very strange and interesting story behind this custom.

The legend says that a certain sage found an infant at his door, whom he adopted and brought up. At her marriage to a prince, he gave her some Asoka seeds, telling her to scatter them on the ground as she went to her husband’s house, and an avenue of trees would grow up, down which she could come to find him, if at any time she needed help.

Later on disaster fell her family; one morning all her sons and their wives were found dead. The queen remembered the promise, and went down the Asoka avenue, at the end of which she found the sage. The sage gave her some holy water, which being sprinkled upon the dead bodies, restored them all to life.

Two days after Shasthi comes Asoka Ashtami (8th day). This day coincides with the Brahmaputra River bathing festival. Asoka flowers only are used.

The legend is that Ravana, demon king of Sri Lanka imprisoned Sita (Rama’s wife) in a grove of Asoka trees. Hanuman saw her for the first time sitting under the Asoka tree. He reported back

to Rama, who rescued her after killing Ravana, who abducted Sita. Sita, through out her stay under the tree prayed for her release. In memory of this event women worship the tree on Asokashtami Day. They embrace it and eat its leaves toscure immunity from sorrow.

Both festivals Asoka Shasthi and Asoka Asthami are celebrating the trees.

Story of Avali Tree Festival

In the month of Kartika (November), on the Shukla Ekadasi (ii days after new moon/Amavasya) Prabodhi Ekadasi (Awakening 11th day) is celebrated. Vishnu is said to have woken up after four months sleep. Tulasi (holy basil plant) marriage is done on the following day.

But a special custom is followed by Marathis and it is called Avali Bhojana or Vana Bhojana. The Avali tree is Embilica myrobalan and it is sacred to Vishnu. It is well known for its medicinal use (Amalaki in Sanskrit and Nelli in Tamil). People in Maharashtra go to grove where these trees are and have a picnic. They go with music bad. They sprinkle water at its roots, wind a thread around it and worship it with mantras and circumambulation. After this they eat under the tree.

This is a popular festival among women and children. Those who have laid their Vishnu image to rest , restore it today in upright position. The image from some temples are taken to near by river or tank and invoked to awake. Actually, this day marks the end of rainy season.


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