Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 12 NOVEMBER 2017


Time uploaded in London- 13-17



Post No. 4389

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



I have written several articles on trees. Now I am adding more points to the Pipal and Nyagrodha tree articles:-

Three important trees of Ficus genus (Plant Family: Moraceae) are considered holy by the Hindus. Of the three, the most important one was Ficus Religiosa known as Pipal or Peepul or Bodhi tree. Tamils named it as King Tree, i.e. the King of the Trees. Hindus has never lived without the Pipal tree. They used the sticks for the fire sacrifice. Even today Brahmin boys use it for their daily Samidhadanam ( fire ritual of celibate boys) . The seers were named after this tree. Pippaladan is found in Vedic literature. Almost all the Pipal trees in Tamil Nadu will have one god’s statue underneath and worshipped. Because of its sanctity Buddha who was born as a Hindu sat under it and attained wisdom. Asoka made the tree more popular by sending its branches to Sri Lanka and other places. Then it became more popular among the Buddhists.


Upanayana and Wedding to a Tree!

Pipal tree is believed by some as to be the abode of Brahma and is consequently invested with the sacred thread by the regular Upanayana ceremony. Others believe that all the Three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva abide in it. Ohers again connect it to Vasudeva, father of Krishna.

Devout Hindus worship the tree, pour water at its roots and smear the trunk with red ochre. Women make vows under the tree to get a male child. In Tamil,  there are even proverbs about it. “As soon as she went round (circumambulated) the tree, she touched her abdomen” to see whether she had become pregnant is the Tamil proverb.


Women tie cotton threads around its trunk or fastening red strips of red materials to its lower branches. A vessel of water for the comfort of the departed souls on their way to ‘the land of the dead’ is hung from its branches.  And beneath it is placed the rough stones which form the shrine of many village gods. In Tamil Nadu, Ganesh statues or Nagadevas (snake figures) are installed under the tree.


When a statement is made on oath the witness sometimes takes one of its leaves in his hand and invokes the gods above him to crush him if he is guilty of falsehood.

In South India the trees are married to Neem trees. Some people touch it only on Sundays believing Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, comes to it on Sundays.  They go around the tree after pouring water at its roots. If a Monday coincides with new moon day, pious Hindus go round it 108 times. They wind cotton threads about its trunk.


Birds drop its seeds in the cracks of the building and it sprouts from there damaging the buildings. But yet because of its holiness some people never disturb it.


Huge banyan tree, another Ficus species (Ficus indica), is also worshipped in the same way. This tree is sacred to Vishnu. But we find other village gods also under the tree. The tree once planted propagates itself by its hanging roots. It lives for several hundred years. The planter uses the following prayer:

“Oh Vishnu, grant that for planting this tree, I may continue as many years in heaven as this tree shall remain growing on earth.”

He also expects that he won’t be scorched on his way to Yama loka (after death).


Please read my old articles on Trees:-

Nyakrodha tree | Tamil and Vedas

Posts about Nyakrodha tree written by Tamil and Vedas.

of trees | Tamil and Vedas

5000 year old Yew Tree (from The Guradian News paper). Research Article Written by London swaminathan. Date: 3 November 2015. Post No:2297.

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


Picture of Palasa tree. Research Article Written by london swaminathan. Date: 7th August 2016. Post No. 3043. Time uploaded in London :– 16-24. ( Thanks for …

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…/tansen-and-tamarind-tree-ghosts-in-ta…


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.








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.




Palmyra Tree Worship in India and Sri Lanka!

battocaola branched palmyra
Rare branched palmyra trees in Batticaloa in Sri Lanka.

Research paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No 1306; Dated 23rd September 2014.

Tree worship is practised around the world. We see it in Sumer, Indus and Maya civilizations to name a few. But India is a country where it is practised till today with same fervour as it was 2500 years ago. Vishnu Sahasranamam gives three trees as Gods names : Asvatta, Udumbara and Nyagrodha. All these trees belong to the genus Ficus (Pipal, Fig and Banyan Trees). We have even people named after these trees in our old literature- both secular and religious. But the surprising thing is the Worship of Palmyra Trees!

Palmyra’s botanical name is Borassus flabellifer (Family: Arecaceae or Palmae). It is indigenous to India. Lord Krishna’s brother Balarama had it on his flag. It is strange that he chose this tree when there were hundreds of beautiful flowering and fruit laden trees in India. The oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam mentioned the Palmyra flag of Balarama. Nakkirar in Purananauru verse 56 also praised Balarama carrying Palmyra flag and plough. The tree and its parts are used in hundreds of ways. No part of this tree is useless. So it is called Karpaga Taru (Wish Fulfilling Tree).

Major temples in Tamil Nadu have “Sthala Vrkshas” meaning the local tree of the temple. This is the tree of the temple in Tiruppanandal, Tiruppanangkadu, Tiruppanaiyur, Tirumazalpadi and Tirukkurungkudi. Both Buddhists and Hindus worshiped this tree. Some people thought it was because the palm leaf that was used for writing the scriptures and preserving them. But it is not convincing. Moreover the 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature and Sri Lanka’s chronicle Mahavamsam specifically say that these trees are abodes of Gods!!

It is called Panai or Pennai in Tamil and Tal or Tad in most of the Indian languages. In a few temples in Tamil Nadu Adi Shankara and his followers did Tadanga Pradhista to Goddesses. It was used as an earring of women at one time. That is why it was called Thadanga ( In Tamil Thodu).

palmyra with 8 branches
Palmyra tree with 8 branches

In Mahavamsa

During the reign of Pandu abhayan in Sri Lanka he built several buildings and made several facilities for the public. One of them was the erection of a Palmyra tree surrounded by a fence which was the God of the Hunters (See chapter 10).

In Sangam Tamil literature Palmyra tree is said to be worshipped by the residents of Neithal landscape (sea shore and its surrounding area). Alamperi Sathanar of Natrinai verse 303 says that there was a Palmyra tree in the meeting place of the village and the tree had a huge stem where God resides. The commentator adds that it is common for the people of the littoral land to invoke family deity and city deity in the Palmyra tree.

Indian temple sculptures from second century BCE show Palmyra tree in at least eight places. In many of them Balarama’s killing of Dhenukasura is portrayed with the tree. I have already written about Vibhishana’s gift to Rama in the Ramayana Wonders series where Vibishana presented Ram, a momento with seven golden Palmyra trees. It was a puzzle and I commented that it may be due to Rama’s heroic act of piercing through seven trees with one arrow. Now my guess is proved right.

palmyra 7
Amriteshwara temple, Karnataka

At the Amriteshwara temple in Amritapura, Karnataka, there is a sculpture with seven Palmyra trees. There are markings on the tree to show that it was pierced by an arrow and Sri Ramachandra is standing on the left with his bow. The arrow having pierced through the trees is denoted by a downward moving line. There is a snake under the trees. Lakshman, Hanuman and Sugreeva are all watching the scene (See page 200 of Plants in Indian Temple Art by Shakti M Gupta). So this is the reason for Vibishana donating a Seven Golden Palmyra trees memento to Rama. Ramayana refers to a different tree. Palmyra tree is Tala tree. There may be some confusion in the transcription of the word. There is scope for more research here.

In my Tamil article Long Live Palmyra Tress posted on 27th January 2014, I have listed the Tamil proverbs on Palmyra trees and the important Tamil verses where Palmyra is used as a simile.

Palmyra Tree Miracle
When the famous Saivite saint Sambandhar visited Tiruvothur he saw a devotee crying. The devotee raised some Palmyra trees so that he can use the income for his community service in the Shiva temple. By rare coincidence all the trees were male trees and did not yield fruits. Atheists were mocking at him and teased him asking when his god would yield him fruits. When Sambandhar asked him the reason for his sad face, he told him about the ‘male only Palmyra trees’. Later Sambandhar visited the Shiva temple and looked at the Palmyra trees and he sang ten verses in praise of the Lord and said the male trees will yield (Kurumpai Aan Panai Eenum in Tamil). Next minute all the trees bloomed and bore plenty of Palmyra fruits! Dr R Nagasamy, renowned historian and archaeologist, has quoted the Sanskrit lines from the Upamanyu Bhakta Vilasam giving the same meaning: Tala: pumamsa: sruthvai they bhavanthu paritha: palai:
Fruits of Palmyra Tree

Talisman and Tale Tree
I guess the English word Talisman and Tamil word Tali came from the Sanskrit word Tala for Palmyra leaf. In the ancient India, Hindus wore ornaments made up of Palmyra leaf in which they wrote mantras. Adi Shankara and his followers installed Thadanga in Kanchi Kamakshi Temple and Trichy Akilandeswari Temple. But that is worn on the ear as ear studs.

During lunar and solar eclipse times the Brahmin priests visited my house and asked us to wear the Palmyra leaf with written mantra on our foreheads. This is to ward off the evil effects of the planets, if the eclipse occurred on the day of your birth star etc. This custom shows that wearing the palm leaf with written mantra has been there for ages.

Tamil Youths Ride on Toy Palmyra horses
In ancient Tamil Nadu, Tamil youths who fell in love with girls used to make a horse toy with Palmyra leaves and used to ride on it along the streets to make it public. Then the parents of the girls were forced to marry them. Though it was practised only by the Tamils in ancient India, the association of horse in this ritual show that it also came from the north. Horses came to India from outside. The oldest reference is in the Rig Veda.

Star Anuradha is called Mudai panayam in Tamil meaning stunted Palmyra tree.
Countries like Cambodia have Palmyra trees as their national emblem. In Tamil Nadu and Palakkadu area of Kerala the tree plays a big role in common man’s life. It may be due to the toddy tapped from these trees.

122 Amruteshwara temple Rama Sita Lakshmana Golden Deer
Ramayana in Karnataka Temple

My earlier Ramayana and Tree related posts:

1.Where is Rama Setu (Rama’s Bridge) ? 2. Did Sita Devi Die in Earth Quake? 3. Ramayana Wonders Part1 (4) . Ramayana Wonders Part2 :How many miles did Rama walk? (5) Ramayana Wonders Part 3: Rama and Sanskrit G’ramma’r (6) Part 4: Who can read all 300 Ramayanas? (7) Ramayana Wonders part 5: Indus Valley Cities in Ramayana (6) Indian wonder: The Banyan Tree (7) Ramyana Wonders Part 6 (8) Where there is Rama, No Kama and many more


Pictures are taken from different websites;thanks.

Lord Shiva and Tamils adopted Trees!

Deodar means Tree of Gods

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 some interesting information about adoption (Sweekar) of trees. Lord Shiva adopted a Devadaru Tree according to Kalidasa. A Tamil woman adopted a Punnai tree and watered it with milk and honey according to 2000 year old Sangam literature!


Love towards animals is known throughout the world. But love towards plants is rarer in literature. Kalidasa in Raguvamasa says (II-36-39):


‘’Look at that Devadaru tree. Shiva considered this tree as his son. Parvati also waters it with water from golden pots like she gave milk to her son Kartikeya (from her breast). The tree is compared to Subramanya. Once a wild elephant scratched its temple against it and destroyed its bark. Parvati grieved for it as if her son Subramanya was injured by the missiles of demons’’.

It looks like Kalidasa liked trees very much. In his Megadutam verse 74 also he says:


‘’Close by grows a young Mandara tree

Nurtured by my love like son and now bending

With clusters of blossoms

Within reach of her hand’’.

This is echoed in Natrinai verse 172 (see below).


Kalidasa’s  most famous drama ‘Sakuntalam’ has more references to love towards plants and animals. ‘I love them like a sister’,says Sakuntala (I-17),pointing to plants. Sakuntala even named her favourite jasmine plant as ‘Vana Jyotsni’(I-20). In another place Sakuntala’s girl friend says, ‘’Look, Sakuntala, here is Madhavi bush. Father Kanva nurtured with his own hands as he nurtured you. Sakuntala refers to plants and deer as sisters in more than three places.


In Kumara Sambhava Kavya (II-55), Kalidasa advocates tree protection. The poet says, ‘’Even a poisonous tree is not cut off’’. Tamils also echo this by saying,  ‘’Even a tree with medicinal properties is not fully destroyed’’ in Natrinai verse 226 by Kani Pun Kundranar. Sakuntalam has a proverb: Can anyone water a jasmine creeper with hot water?’(Sakuntalam IV-1)



Picture of Punnai Tree

Tamils adopt Trees

Tamil Sangam literature has a similar episode in Natrinai  verse 172:

‘’Do you remember? When we were young we were playing with Punnai seeds and left one forgetfully under the soil. It grew up big and we watered it with milk mixed with honey. When it became a tree, your mum commented ‘Oh this Punnai tree is better than you. It is like your sister’. Now I feel shy to date my lover under the tree’’.

Since the girl considered the tree as her own sister, she refused to date her lover under the tree. What a great poem! She truly believed her sister is watching. Ancient Hindu girls didn’t date boys in front of others, particularly relatives. Tamil poems even advocate to ‘Do sex like crows’, which is never seen by the public.


A Tamil saint of our times Vallalar Ramalinga Swami said in a song that he withered whenever he saw a withered plant. This was an echo of 2000 year old literature. In Natrinai verse 230, a simile is used by a poet: ‘’I feel (happy) like a withered plant getting water’’.


The best examples are in Tamil in the stories of Pari and Bekan. They are among the Last Seven Philanthropists (Kadai Ezu Vallalkal). Pari gave his chariot to a Jasmine creeper when he saw it fluttering in wind without any support. Bekan gave his royal shawl to a peacock when it danced spreading its feathers. He thought it was shivering in cold! Love is blind!


There are innumerable references in Tamil and Sanskrit where the poets greet the plants, because something good happened. There are hundreds of references about the reactions of plants and animals when good and bad things happened.

Whenever a king visited a sage or saint inside the forest, he always stationed his army at a distance. The reason given for it in Raguvamsa (11-52) was to avoid the destruction of forests. They showed so much concern for environment.


Trees are worshipped by the Hindus. Peepul tree ,banyan tree and fig tree—all the three trees of the Ficus genus (asvatta, Vata and Udembara)  are worshipped by the Hindus. Vishnu Sahasranama also praised the three trees.

cedus deodara in Kumaon, Himalayas painting at London Kew Gardens


Picture of a painting from Kew Gardens,London

Please read my earlier posts on Kalidasa:

1.Gem stones in Kalidasa and Tamil Sangam Literature

2.Holy River Ganges in Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil Literature

3.Gajalakshmi in Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil Literature

4.Sea in Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil Literature

5. Bird Migration in Kalidasa and Tamil literature

6.Hindu Vahanas in Kalidasa and tamil literature

7.Amazing Statistics on Kalidasa

8.Kalidasa’s age: Tamil works confirm 1st Century BC

9.சங்கத்தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தில் காளிதாசன் உவமைகள்

10. காளிதாசனின் னூதன் உத்திகள்: தமிழிலும் உண்டு


contact; pictures are taken from other sources;thanks.

Aladdin’s Magic in Valmiki Ramayana

Ramyana Wonders 6

Aladdin’s Magic in Valmiki Ramayana

Valmiki Ramayana has some magic shows as well. Bharadvaja Maharishi (seer) showed some amazing magic to Bharata. Chapter 91 of Ayodhya Kanda gives a vivid description of the magic shown by Bharadvaja.

The seer asked him why he came alone leaving his army behind. Bharata replied to him that his army was huge and they may damage the trees and huts and defile the water.

Look at the environmental concerns of Bharata!

But Bharadvaja insisted to him to bring the army so that he can entertain everyone. In the middle of the thick jungle, he summoned all the angels. Suddenly a cool breeze came from Malaya and Dardura hills. There was a rain of flowers. Sound of divine gongs could be heard on every side. Apsaras women danced to the tune of the Gandharvas. Earth and sky were filled with sweet and harmonious sounds. Bharata’s army could see the wonderful creations of Viswakarma (Divine Architect).

The forest looked like a paradise with fruit bearing trees. A royal palace emerged from nowhere. Ambrosial drinks of every kind were provided as also magnificent attire and food of every variety well prepared. Rivers were running with sweet water. Magnificent mansions appeared. Bharata entered a palace full of gems. Rivers of Payasa flowed at the feet of Bharata.20,000 Apsara girls appeared and danced.

All were in ecstasy at these marvels and they thought they were dreaming. Then the Gandharvas returned from whence they had come, as also the lovely Apsaras girls.

This is from the translation of Valmiki Ramayana by Hari Prasad Shastri. Bharadvaja achieved more than what Aladdin achieved through his magic lamp. Probably the authors of Arabian Nights copied it from Valmiki!

Sita worshipped Banyan Tree

I have already written about the Indian Wonder: The Banyan Tree. Valmiki gives more information about this tree in Ayodhya Kanda chapter 55:

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita crossed the river Kalindi in a raft. Sita offered obeisance to the river. Then she went to a banyan tree (nyagrodha) named “Shyama”. Vaidehi approached the tree and offered salutations to it, saying, “ “Homage to thee, Oh Mighty tree! May my lord fulfil his vow! May we behold Kausalya and the blessed Sumitra once more!”

With these words, the virtuous Sita with joined palms circumambulated the tree. This shows tree worship was among royals and general public from time immemorial. We have ancient coins with fenced trees. After killing Ravana Rama, Lakshmana and Sita returned to Ayodhya by aerial car. Rama pointed out the tree to her once again and reminded her.

In chapter 56, there is a beautiful description of Chitrakuta forest. All nature lovers must read it. Valmiki must have been well versed with the jungle trees. He never missed an opportunity to mention the trees. Hundreds of trees are mentioned by name in a lot of places. Valmiki must be a great lover of nature.

Rama—A Tiger

Vedas describe Indra and others as Bull. Ramayana described Rama as a tiger  among men in several places and bull among men in other places.

Venkateswara Suprabatham sung at Tirupati Balaji temple begins with

“Kausalya Supraja Rama purva sandhya pravarthathe

Uththishta narasardhula karthavyam daivamahnikam” (Balakanda)

Not many people know that this is a couplet from Valmiki Ramayana. The meaning of ‘Narasardhula’ in the couplet is Tiger among men.

Cave of Horrors

We have seen mysterious caves with treasures etc in films such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But Valmiki beat Indiana Jones stories in the description of mysterious Nikumbila caves. It is a Cave of Horrors where Ravana’s son Indrajit did voodoo ceremonies by sacrificing blood and human beings. Read Valmiki’s own words about this eerie place:

The cave was in a dark place with lot of trees. It was “darkened by trees”. There was “a huge Nyagrodha tree (banyan tree) of fearful aspect”  under which the sacrifice was done.

Indrajita went to the sacrificial altar of Nikumbhila and invoked the God of Fire, Pavaka. Indrajita started pour on the libations and the fire blazed up, consuming the oblations of blood. Then he poured libations on the earth.

Indrajita had a boon of winning anyone provided he does a sacrifice there. Vibheeshana warned Rama and Lakshmana to finish off Indrajita before he did the sacrifice. Lakshmana with Hanuman went on time to Nikumbhila and prevented the sacrifice.

Nobody knew what God was worshipped in the cave .Some think it may be Kali or Pratyankara Devi.

Please read other posts by Santanam Swaminathan :

1. Ram –the Best PR Man 2. தியாகராஜ சுவாமிகளுடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி 3.நாமும் அனுமார் ஆகலாம் 4.கம்பனுடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி 5.ராமாயண வினா-விடை (க்விஸ்) 5.Where is Rama Setu (Rama’s Bridge) ? 6. Did Sita Devi Die in Earth Quake? 7. Ramayana Wonders Part1 (8) . Ramayana Wonders Part2 :How many miles did Rama walk? (9) Ramayana Wonders Part 3: Rama and Sanskrit G’ramma’r 10) Part 4: Who can read all 300 Ramayanas? 11) Ramayana Wonders part 5: Indus Valley Cities in Ramayana 12) Indian wonder: The Banyan Tree  13) இந்திய அதிசயம்: ஆலமரம்

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Pictures are from various websites; thanks.