SACRED TREES IN JAINISM – JAINS’ LOVE AFFAIR WITH TREES! (Post No.7460)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No.7460

Date uploaded in London – 16 January 2020

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

The whole world knows about the importance given to trees in Hinduism. In fact 150 years ago, Christian preachers projected India and Hinduism as primitive, unlettered , illiterates mass and tree and snake worshippers. Now after the concerns regarding pollution and climate change hitting the headlines, the whole world salutes Hindus for respecting nature and for appreciating the value of natural resources.

Because of Buddha the Asvattha Tree (Pipal, Peepul, Ficus religiosa) became a worshipful tree. Now the world Buddhists flock to see the original Bodhi tree in India. But not many people know about the sacred trees of Jain religion. All the 24 saints (Tirthankaras) have sacred trees associated with them.

Just before going into the details, let me give some interesting tit bits:-

Lord Krishna said in  the Bhagavad Gita that he is the Asvattha Tree (Ficus religiosa) among the trees. Having read this, Buddha also went to the sacred tree and attained enlightenment. In Vishnu Sahasranama hymn, the three trees belonging to the same genus and  same family are given as Vishnu’s names (Ficus religiosa, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus glomerata or racemosa of Family Moraceae).

Tamils went one step ahead and called the Asvattha as the KING TREE (Arasa Maram). Even today the women who are without children go around it to get children. The oxygen that it produces is higher than that of many other trees.

Vedic Hindus even named themselves after this tree such as Pippaladan (Mr Asvattha). Brahmins use the sticks of this tree till this day.

Regarding the Banyan tree, a lot of things are in our religion and litrature. It is Vishnu’s name (Nyagrodha); it is worshipped by women during Vata Savitri Vrata. It is in the name of the world famous Anghor ‘Vat’ Temple (vata is banyan tree). Alexander amazed at the sight of it. Panchatantra and Tamil literature have beautiful verses on it.

With this in background we have to look at the trees associated with Jainism. Unlike other sages, Jains attained Mukti or Kevala Jnan under the trees. They did not go to the top of the mountains or into the caves. So we can even say that the Buddha followed them. Sanit Mahavir,last of the 24 Tirthankaras, was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

Here is the list of 24 saints of Jain religion and the tree under which they did the penance to attain liberation:-

(I have taken the list from the article written by Rachana Jain in ‘Essays in Honour of Caarusrii’, Bangalore, 2019; She has taken it from Suchitra Jain’s article in the internet.)

xxx

Many of the plants mentioned above are worshipped by the Hindus. Tamil Hindus have one Sthala Vrksha for every big temple in South India. Tamil Hindu Kings are associated with one particular tree. They have one Kaaval Maram (Guard Tree) as well.  If any one harms it, that led to big fight or war.

Hindus named their country as Jambudwip after the Jambu Tree. Tamils also used this word from ancient days (Naavalan Thivu). Hindus named big land mass after trees or plants such Kusa Dwip, Salmali Dwip. Tamil Hindus also followed this and named big land tracts after plants such as Kurinji, Mullai, Marutham etc. Several town names in India are named after trees such as Patalipuram, Thillai, Kanchi.

In short, Indians excelled others in living one with the Nature. If we return to those golden days, we can save our environment and avoid the evil effects of climate change.

For those interested in botanical terms I have given the botanical names of 24 plants according to Rachana Jain-

1.Bargad, Vata, Nyagrodha – Banyan tree, Ficus benghalensis – Moraceae

2.Semala, Salmali, Saptaparna, Bombax ceiba, Bombacaceae

3.Sala, Asakanni – Shorea robusta , Dipterocarpaceae

4.Chir pine, Sarala – Pinus roxbhurgii, Pinaceae

5.Priyangu- Callicarapa macraphylla, Verbenaceae

6.same as above

7.Sirisa – Albizzia lebbeck, Mimosaceae

8.Nagakesara – Mesua ferrea , Guttiferae

(Wikipedia gives the family name as Calophyllaceae)

9.baheda, bibheleya, aksa- Terminalia Bellerica, Conbretaceae

10.Bela, Plaksa, Ficus lacor, Moraceae

11.Tendu, tindu- Dispyros melanaxylon, Ebenaceae

12.Patala, Kadamba- bignonia spp., Bignonioceae

13.Jamuna, Jambu- Syzygium cumini, Myrtaceae

14. Pippala, dhamarukha, Asvattha- Ficus religiosa, Moraceae

15.Visnukaanta, girikandi- Clitoria biflora, Cleomaceae

16.Nandi, nandirukha- Cedrella toona, Meliaceae

17.Tendu, tilaka- Dispyros melanaxylon, Ebenaceae

18.Mango, amba- Magnifera indica, Anacadiaceae

19.Asoka, asoga, kankeli- Saraca indica, Caesalpiniaceae

20.Naga campa, campakgumma- Michelia campaca, Magnoliaceae

21.bakula, nimbakarya- mimusops elengi, sapotaceae

22.Kokama, Ambilasaya, mesashrnga- Garcinia indica, Guttifereae

23.Dhav, dhava, Devadaru- Anogeissus latifolia, Combretaceae

24.Sala- Shorea robusta , Dipterocarpaceae.

Following are my old articles on Trees–

Nyakrodha tree | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/nyakrodha-tree/

 of trees | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/of-trees/

Trees in literature | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/trees-in-literature/

Picture of Deodar: Tree of the Gods. We have heard about people adopting children. But the greatest of the Indian poets Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil poets give …

save trees | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/save-trees/

Trees of Wisdom | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/trees-of-wisdom/

Picture shows Newton under Apple Tree. Hindu Saints composed Upanishads under the Himalayan Trees. Buddha attained wisdom under the Bodhi Tree.

water and trees | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/water-and-trees/

Posts about water and trees written by Tamil and Vedas.

Peepal tree | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/peepal-tree/

19 Feb 2017 – Trees are used as similes and metaphors in Tamil and Sanskrit literature from very ancient times. The upside down Peepal Tree(Ficus …

Bodhi Tree | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/bodhi-tree/

Mahabodhi Tree in Bodha Gaya. Research paper by London Swaminathan Post No.1325; Dated 3rd October 2014. This article is part of my series on …

Nature | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/category/nature/

Posts about Nature written by Tamil and Vedas. … “Trees that have fruit but no flowers are traditionally known as the Lords of the Forest; those that bear both …

Hindus’ Respect for Trees and Forests | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/…/hindus-respect-for-trees-and-forests/

18 Feb 2015 – In the Vedas, Lord Shiva is called the Lord of the Forests (Vanaspathi), Lord of the Trees (Vrkshanaam pathi) and Lord of the Animals …

Tamarind Tree | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/tamarind-tree/

Posts about Tamarind Tree written by Tamil and Vedas.

Magic of Trees! | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/2012/11/25/magic-of-trees/

25 Nov 2012 – Buddha attained wisdom under the Bodhi Tree. Vaishnavite saint Nammalvar attained wisdom under a Tamarind tree. Sanatkumaras attained …

Tansen and Tamarind Tree! Ghosts in Tamarind … – Tamil and Vedas

26 Mar 2016 – Tansen and Tamarind Tree! Ghosts in Tamarind Trees! (Post No 2666). tansen tomb. Research Article by london swaminathan. Date: 26 March …

Indian Wonder: The Banyan Tree | Swami’s Indology Blog

swamiindology.blogspot.com/2012/05/indian-wonder-banyan-tree.html

26 May 2012 – There is a beautiful verse in the Panchatantra about Banyan Tree: “Deer recline in its shade; Birds in multitude gather to roost. Darkening its …

Swami’s Indology Blog

swamiindology.blogspot.com/

Nov 6th. வேதத்தில் மரங்களின் கதை (Post No.4372). Nov 6th. STRANGE STORIES ABOUT TREES IN VEDAS –Part 2 (Post No.4371).

Plants in Mahavamsa | Swami’s Indology Blog

swamiindology.blogspot.com/2014/10/plants-in-mahavamsa.html

3 Oct 2014 – In the same chapter we come across the story of Nigrodha (MrBanyan Tree). When Emperor Asoka killed his elder brother Sumana, his …

Significance of Neem Tree in Hinduism – Swami’s Indology Blog

swamiindology.blogspot.com/2017/06/significance-of-neem-tree-in-hinduism.html

11 Jun 2017 – 18 Mar 2013 – Reand and enjoy this article about “Banyan Tree” from Mr. Santhanam Swaminathan. Tamarind Tree | Tamil and Vedas.

tags – sacred trees, Jainism, Jain religion, Kevala Jnan, Tirthankaras

 Xxxx subham xxxxx

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