Post No.7460

Date uploaded in London – 16 January 2020

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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.)


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

 of trees | Tamil and Vedas

Trees in literature | Tamil and Vedas

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

Trees of Wisdom | Tamil and Vedas

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

Posts about water and trees written by Tamil and Vedas.

Peepal tree | Tamil and Vedas

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

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

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…/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

Posts about Tamarind Tree written by Tamil and Vedas.

Magic of Trees! | Tamil and Vedas

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

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

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

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

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


Granite tree in a Tamil Temple; posted by Lalgudi Veda

Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 6 NOVEMBER 2017


Time uploaded in London- 16-08



Post No. 4371

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.



(First part was posted yesterday)


Picture of a sacred tree in Varanasi


The Gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Prajapati, strove together. The gods, having placed Agni in the front, went up to the Asuras.  The Asuras cut off the point of that flame held forward. It settled down on this earth and became that Krimuka tree; hence it is sweet, for there is vital essence in it. Hence also it is red, for it is a flame, that Krimuka tree being the same as Agni; it is in the shape of fire that he imparts growth to it- Satapata Brahmana 6-6-2-11


When Prajapati performed the first offering, a Vinkankata tree (Flacouritas apida) sprang forth from that place where, after offering, he cleansed his hand  –6-6-3-1


“When the gods and Asuras, both of them sprung from Prajapati, strove together, all the trees sided with the Asuras, but  the Udumbara tree alone did not forsake the gods. The gods having conquered the Asuras took possession of their trees. They said, ‘come let us lay into the Udumbara tree whatever pith, whatever vital sap, there is in these trees; were they then to desert us they would desert us worn out like a milked-out cow or like an ox that has been tired out drawing the cart. Accordingly they laid into the Udumbara tree what pith and essence there was in those trees; and on account of that it matures fruit  equal to all other trees; hence that tree is always moist, always full of milky sap- that Udumbara tree indeed, being all the trees, is all food—Sat Br. 6-3-2-3


Aitareya Brahmana also gives the same story (1-23)


(VERY IMPORTANT POINT: Gods and Asuras came from Brahma/Prajapati. Foreigners wont highlight this point anywhere in their writings; those cunning and conspiring people wanted to project Asuras as aborigines or Dravidians. Throughout Hindu literature, Asuras, Rakshasas or so called Shudras are shown as children of same father and mother)


“Trees were temples of Divinities, and in the old way the simple country folk to this day dedicate any remarkable tree to a god”—Pliny in Natural History 12-3

Pliny (23-79 CE) was a Roman scholar and his Natural History reflected the Hindu views on Trees.


Persian Poet Haafiz praised the trees too,

“Mark where yon tree rewards the stony shower

With fruit nectareous, or the balmy flower,

All nature calls aloud, ‘Shall man do less

Than heal the smiter and the railer bless?”

Posted by Lalgudi Veda, Vellerukku, Siddhavatam

In India that is Hindustan all life is sacred. Hindus are believers in the law of continuity, for in their creed the life of gods is connected with that of demons, the life of demons  with men, the life of men with animals, the life of animals with that of trees and plants, the life of plants with a supposed life in rocks and stones, and the divine soul is thought to permeate all. There is no break anywhere. Tamil Saints like Manikkavasagar sings about several births of soul from stone to man. According to Hindus, all plants are conscious beings, having distinct personalities and souls of their own as gods, demons, men and animals (Manu 1-49).


Good spirits and demons occupy the trees. They may often resort to it as guests or take up their abode as tenants.


There is a firm belief that certain trees are demon haunted. Tamils believe that demons occupy Tamarind trees. However it is necessary to make clear  distinction between sacred trees and trees feared as the home of evil spirits. Hindus worship trees out of fear or out of its sacredness. Another reason for the worship of trees is their wonderful utility in daily life. Their shade is grateful in a hot climate. Their wood is the source of fuel/fire. Their fruits, juices are bark have medicinal and curative properties. Plamyra palm or Coconut tree of south India has over fifty distinct uses.

Huge banyan trees are assembling point for vendors, gossip mongers, Assembly Hall and Court House of the village communities. It becomes the abode of village god or Ganesh in South India.

Kuruntha Tree, Avudayar Koil, by Lalgudi Veda




In the olden days a Hindu who plants a grove of mango trees will not take the fruit f the mango tree before they have been married to another kind of tree, usually a tamarind tree, sometimes an acacia or even a jasmine plant which is planted in the grove. It is done only when the mango tree reaches fruit bearing stage. In the same way a tank is married to a plantain tree.


The tree worship began in Vedic age. We see a whole Mandala of Rig Veda is devoted to Soma (plant) worship. Pipal tree is worshipped from the Vedic days. Rishis/ seers are named after Pipal trees. Buddha, born as a devoted Hindu, did penance under the pipal tree (Bodhi).  Parijata came form the ocean when demons/ Asuras and Devas/angels churned the milky ocean.


Tree worship is seen among tribal Hindus as well; in the Birbhum district annual pilgrimage is made to shrine in the jungle to leave offerings to a Bel tree.


The custom of hanging votive offerings or rags or threads on the trees is of great antiquity. It is seen from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

Kadamba  Tree in Chir Ghat, Yamuna River

This custom existed in other parts of the world as well; names like Holyoake, Hollywood recall the English worship of trees and groves.


Ovid (43 BCE), the Roman poet, says,

“There stood a mighty oak of age-long strength

Festooned with garlands, bearing on its trunk

Memorial tablets, proofs of helpful vows”

–Metamorphoses, 8-741, also Fasti 3-267


This Hindu custom was prevalent in different parts of the world; now we can see such pictures in museums or in their literature; but in Hindu India, where it originated, is still practised!!


The famous Bodhi tree in Gaya (Bihar, India) and its sister trees in Sri Lanka, Tamarind tree of Tansen and Nammalvar, Banyan Tree of Lord Krishna and Panchavati (five Banyan trees) of Lord Rama are some examples. There are hundreds of trees like these throughout India Every Tamil temple has a tree worshipped in its complex.

A pilgrim under a tree

Classical analogies of tree deities are found in many places: Daphne turned into a laurel that Apollo honours for her sake, and the sorrowing sisters of Phaethon changing into trees, yet still dropping blood and crying for mercy when their shoots are torn”

–Metamorphoses of Ovid 1-452, 2-345


Like I have pointed out earlier, they are all in old literature or museums in other parts of the world; In India, Hindus practise it even today and worship all the nature as God; and India is not primitive; it is the first developing country to send a spaceship into sky; it is the first developing country to explode a nuclear device. it is the country with highest number of computer personnel.