Cacti Plant worship in Hinduism (Post No.11,911)


Post No. 11,911

Date uploaded in London – –  17 APRIL 2023                  

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Hindus worship, mostly medicinal plants like Tulsi and Vilva (Bilva). Hindus use, mostly fragrant flowers in the worship of gods and goddesses. But even cacti trees and plants are given divine status in Bengal and neighbouring states like Assam and Orissa. Euphorbia is a genus with lot of cacti plants which grow in dry areas without any effort.

There are some interesting stories in 100 year old books on Hindu festivals.

Here is the first story reported by Rai Bahadur B A Gupte (year 1919):

Nivadung (Panchdhaari)

Euphorbium pentandra is worshipped in Bengal as Goddess Manasaa. In Bombay, during Divaali, boys of the Pathaare Prabhu caste have great fun with lamps prepared from it. Small pieces of the stems are used as lamps. Boys carry them to the houses of their friends and put them in the verandas. This act shows the desire of the boy to have a bride from that house. As it is done by very young children, not exceeding ten years of age, it means no mischief and the fun is much enjoyed by the neighbours. Sometimes a boy from the house in which the lamp is placed retaliates by taking it back and putting it in the veranda of the house from which it came to his place. Everyone laughs at these pranks.


Another story reported by M M Underhill (Year 1921)

Snake worship is found throughout India. Manasaa is the snake goddess in Hinduism. Naaga Panchami is popular in Maharashtra and western India where as Manasaa worship is popular in Eastern India.

Manasaa Panchami falls on Aashaada Krishna Panchami.

Manasaa is the third of the legendary snake deities which have special days appointed for their worship she combines in herself the properties of one of the mother earth guardians and of the snakes. She is not found in the classic list of nine big snakes, but she is even more popular than them in Northern India.

There are many legends about her and one of them associates her with the cacti plant.

Here is the story:

A girl, unpopular with her husband’s family was carried off by Manasaa to her underground palace, where she lived for some time with great happiness and prosperity with Naga people. On her return to her husband’s house she praised the Nagas. Grateful Nagas loaded her with treasure. As a result, her husbands family became rich. They were guaranteed their prosperity if snake worship is regularly observed by them. Manasaa told them that she lived in the cactus tree. She advised the family to bring home that tree on Naga Panchami and Dasara days and do the worship.

In some other parts of India, grass bunch is twisted and made like snakes and worshipped.

Those who have not got children for long even after marriage, worship her. Others worship her for general prosperity and wealth.

Euphorbia plants grow in many parts of the world,  but every species is different. Manasa worshippers take similar euphorbia plants and do the ritual worship. It is called Sij, Sehund plant in some parts.

Here is the botanical information about the plant:

commonly known asfive-tubercled spurgehedge euphorbiaIndian spurge treemilk spurgeoleander spurge • Assameseসৰু সিজু sarau siju • Bengaliমনসাসিজ mansa-sij • Gujaratiભુંગરા થોર bhungara thorથોર thorથૂવર thuvar • Hindiसेहुण्ड sehundसीज sijथूहर thuhar • Kannadaಎಲೆಕಳ್ಳಿ elekalliಮಾಲೆಕಳ್ಳಿ malekalli • Malayalamഇലക്കള്ളി ilakkalli • Manipuriতেঙনৌ tengnou • Marathiमिंगुट mingutपालेहुरा palehuraवई निवडुंग vayi nivadunga • Oriyaଗୁଡ଼ା gurda • Sanskritसेहुण्ड sehundaस्नुही snuhi • Tamilஇலைக்கள்ளி ilai-k-kalliநாத்தாங்கி na-t-tanki • Teluguఆకుజెముడు aku-jemudu • Tibetansi ri kha ndasnu-ha • Urduتهوهر thuhar

botanical namesEuphorbia neriifolia L. … synonymsElaeophorbia neriifolia (L.) A.Chev. • Euphorbia edulis Lour. • Euphorbia ligularia Roxb. ex Buch.-Ham. • Euphorbia pentagona Blanco [Illegitimate] • Euphorbia pentagona Noronha [Illegitimate] • Tithymalus edulis (Lour.) H.Karst. … The Plant List (2010). Version 1

The “Sij plant” (as called in Hindi or Euphorbia Hguhria called Sehund)  is very sacred to Her, which belongs to cactus family and has the ability to cure poisons

In some villages, there is no such temple but an uncovered altar upon which there is an Indian Spurge tree/oleander spurge (Mansa-sij in Bengali) — called a Mānasa-tala (abode of Mānasa). The deity is worshipped with flowers, incense, boiled milk, ripe plantain, vermilion, etc.

Manasa Devi › tag › manasa-devi

4 Aug 2018 — It is a Hindu festival celebrated throughout India. Though the stories change from area to area the basis is same. People worship snakes or …

Manasa › tag › manasa

17 Jun 2012 — Snake Goddesses such as Manasa Devi and Naga Yakshi are worshipped in India. The Vedas has an authoress named as Serpent Queen.

— subham —

Tags- Manasa devi, Snake worship, Cacti plant, Euphorbia plants, Sij plant , Sehund, Nivadung, Panchadhaari, Pathare prabhu community

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