December 10, 2016: Often deep-rooted traditions seem to be superstitious, but actually, it is not always so. Hindus worshipping the peepal tree is one such example. People water the roots of the tree, and women are seen circumambulating it, and they are seen worshipping it especially on Saturdays.
It is also said in the “Brahma Purana” that Lord Vishnu was born under a Peepal Tree, Therefor the “Peepal tree” also symbolizes lord Vishnu. Because of such an important role, this tree has a god-like figure in Indian mythology. In art and sculpture, the child form of Krishna is shown on a peepal leaf
5 reasons why Hindus Worship peepal tree in Hinduism:
The leaf, bark, and roots of the tree help in curing asthma, fever, and its leaves cure eye pain. According to Ayurveda, this tree can cure over 50 disorders, including epilepsy diarrhea, and gastric troubles.
Along with Neem and Tulsi, Peepal is considered to be the one largest oxygen providers. The tree not only purifies the surroundings but also kills bacteria.
When the demons had defeated all the Gods, Lord Vishnu is said to have hidden in the Peepal tree, according to Brahma Purana.
Also it is believed that every Saturday, goddess Lakshmi sits under the Peepal tree, and thus Hindus consider it to be sacred and worship it.
Related to Lord Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu
It is believed that Lord Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu used to hold their councils under the peepal tree, which made it more special for the Hindus. The leaves being Lord Shiva, the trunk Vishnu and the roots Brahma.
Closely linked to Lord Krishna
Peepal is also closely linked to Lord Krishna. In the Holy Scripture, Bhagavad Gita, he says, “Among trees, I am the ashvattha.” Also, Lord Krishna is said to have died under the Peepal tree.
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.
I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.
Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”. Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so. We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas”(musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentration. The objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.
However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.
Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.
Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali