The Divine Trees

Banyan Tree – God’s Shelter to Devotees

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The Banyan Tree is considered as a symbol of shelter provided by God to His devotees. The Banyan Tree is the national Tree of India. The large and beautiful Leaves of the Banyan Tree is taken for rituals of worship. The Holy Banyan Tree is referred to as ‘Bargad’ or ‘Vat Briksha’. The Tree has aerial roots which grown down from branches forming additional trunks and anchor the Tree to the ground, and therefore is also referred to as Bahupada – meaning the Tree which has many feet.

In the Scriptures

Many Ancient Indian Texts and Scriptures mention Banyan Tree representing Divine Creator and symbolising longevity. The worshipping of the Holy Tree is believed to provide fulfilment of wishes and material gains. In the Agni Purana,  one of the Hindu religious texts, the Banyan Tree has been considered to be symbolic of fertility which can provide help to those who want children. Cutting of Banyan Tree is considered as highly inauspicious. In Puranas, there is a legend of Svitri and Satyavan where there is a woman named Savitri whose husband passed away while worshipping under a Banyan Tree, and Savitri goes into the realm of the dead to find him. Savitri meets Yama, the Lord of Death, and wins husband’s life back. In the month of June, during full moon night, women all over India fast and gather around the Banyan Tree, tying ceremonial thread around the Banyan Tree, and pray for the longevity and healthy lives of their husbands, in the festival referred to as “Vat Purnima”.

Facts, Stories, Myths and Legends

  • The Leaf of the Banyan Tree is said to be resting place of Krishna.
  • Generally, in Hindu Temples there are often Banyan Trees which have been deliberately planted.
  • The Banyan Tree is usually NEVER cut, as a sign of longevity.
  • Banyan Tree is also said to symbolize the creator Brahma, as the Tree symbolizes longevity.
  • Banyan Tree does not allow even one grass to grow under the Tree and is also associated with Yama, the God of death, and planted outside of villages near crematoriums.
  • Banyan Tree represents spiritual aspirations, and said to be immortal or Akshaya, which can even survive Pralaya or destruction of the world.
  • The Banyan Tree is high regarded in Buddhism as Gautama Buddha sat under a Banyan Tree for seven days after enlightenment to absorb new-found realization.

Shiva and Banyan Tree

  • The Banyan Tree is often compared with the Hermit, who has only spiritual aspirations and no family. The Greatest Hermit Shiva is represented as a Lingham under the shade of the Banyan Tree.
  • In Iconography, Shiva is depicted sitting under a Banyan Tree, embodying Universal Soul.

Medicinal Properties

Banyan Tree has many medicinal properties with extensive references in Ayurveda. The bark of the Banyan Tree and the Leaves can stop excessive bleeding from wounds. The Latex from the Banyan Tree can cure piles, rheumatism, pain and lumbago.