Story of Banyan Tree in Hinduism (Post No.11,920)


Post No. 11,920

Date uploaded in London – –  20 APRIL 2023                  

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Ficus bengalensis in the botanical name of Banyan tree. This is known as Maha Vrkisham in the Vedas, It has been mentioned in the Rig Veda, Atharvana Veda and Aitareya Brahmana. It was called Naisa Saaka or Nyagrotha – both meaning downward growing. The very word banyan which is derived from the word bania is also of Sanskrit origin. Banias are vendors under the banyan tree. Vanik or Vaanik is the Sanskrit word for vendor, shop owner, business man etc. bania is the corrupted form of Vanika. V=B change is known in all the old languages.

All the poets from Pancha tantra in Sanskrit to Athiveera rama Pandyan in Tamil has sung the glory of this huge tree. It symbolises eternal, immortal, undying, perpetual, deathless, never ending etc. Banyan tree is the only living organism that never dies. Its roots are spreading for ever. It is shown with the Krishna as baby lying on it after the Great floods (Maha Pralaya).

In Sanskrit it is popularly known as Vat or Vata vrksham. The world-famous Cambodian Hindu temple Angkor Vat has also this Vata in its name signifying the presence of banyan tree. It is the National Tree of India and the sthala vrksha in at least six Tamil temples and the famous immortal tree is also in Kurukshetra.

This tree is worshipped by the Hindus from Nepal to Bengal and from Himalayas to Vindhyas during Vata Savitri Vrata. Tamils celebrate the same Vrata as Kardaiyan Nonbu at a different date.

There is no Hindu woman who has not heard about Savitri who was as chaste as Arundhati . Story of Sathyavaan – Saavitri has been taken as feature films at least 40 times and enacted throughout India thousands of times in stage dance dramas . Her life is associated with this Savitri Vrata or Vata Poornima which falls on the 13th, 14th and 15th day of Sukla Paksha of Jyeshta month in Hindu calendar. 15th day is the Full moon/ Poornima day. On that day, Hindu women go to banyan trees in sarees and tie a thread around the banyan tree seven times. This, they believe, will ensure long life for her husband, eventually giving her married status until she dies in ripe old age. That way both husband and wife can look after their children and grand-children, in some cases even great grand-children.


They draw the figures of Sathyavan and Savitri in sandal paste or keep their figures in metal and worship near the banyan tree. Each woman greets another woman Janma Savithri Ho (Long Live like Savithri or Be Another Savithri) जन्म सावित्री हो .

Here is the story of Satyavan in brief from Mahabharata and other Puranas.

Sathyavan was a prince who was looking after his blind father and the mother in a forest. They were dethroned by the enemy kings. Savithri was the beautiful girl born to Asvapathi and Malavi, the king and queen of Madra Desa. They asked Savitri to find her own man and she fell in love with Sathyavan after seeing his devoted service to his father and mother. But the heavenly messenger, inter-continental traveller Narada appeared before them and told that Sathyavan would die within a year. But Savithri decided to marry and live with him.

During the last three days, she prayed to God strongly which allowed her to see Yama, God of death. She followed him and argued with him. At the end of persistent argument Yama yielded to her and was ready to give her a boon. She tricked him and asked for a blessing as Deerga Sumanagli (Never becoming a widow). That is the usual blessing offered to every married woman in India (Deerga Sumangali Bhavah) by the elders and Sadhu Sanyasins. Yama readily said ‘Yes; so that be. Then he realised that he had to revive her husband so that she could be a Sumaangali (married status till her death). This story is known to all Hindus and they name their daughter after Savithri from Himalayas to Kanyakumari. Savithri is the name of goddess Gayathri as well. Brahmins worship Gayathri, Savithri and Saraswati three times a day

But what is the connection between the banyan tree and Savithri?

There are two interpretations:

That Sathyavan died under the banyan tree and she was praying for three days under the tree.

Another interpretation is that the banyan tree symbolises eternal life for her and her husband. It is very true they are remembered until this day. They attained immortality. As I said earlier Banyan tree is the one that lives for thousands of years through its spreading roots. That is the largest tree occupying acres of land.



Savitri is regarded as the highest type of conjugal fidelity, and her example is held out to every daughter of the Indian for imitation.

She was given three boons by Yama and Savitri asked

1.the restoration of the lost eyesight of father in law and mother in law of her father in law (he should become king again)

3.birth of 100 sons

Some versions say that Satyavan died because of snake bite; other versions say he died when the tree branch fell on him. But all agree that he was lying his head on Savitri’s lap at the time of death.

The Savitri Vrata is a fast kept by Hindu women on the last three days of the bright half of Jeshta (June) to avert widowhood.

—- subham —–

Tags- Banyan tree, bania, Vata, vat, Savitri, Poornima, Sathyavan, Yama, Ficus bengalensis , Vrata


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