It's Origin and Importance
Once, when the whole earth was submerged into the water and Lord Brahma was immersed in the meditation of Parbrahma (Almighty Vishnu). He became so full of emotion that tears started rolling down from his eyes and fell down on the earth. The Amla tree germinated from those tears.
The Amla tree had many branches, and it was full of Amla fruits. Since the Amla tree was the first tree to manifest itself on the earth, therefore it is also known as ADIROHA (Pre-eminent tree).
This Amla tree was very much liked by Lord Vishnu and all the deities alike. One day while the deities was looking at this pre-eminent Amla tree, they heard a voice from the sky: "This Amla tree is the supreme among all the trees because it is dear to Lord Vishnu. A mere remembrance of this tree gives the virtues attained by seeing this Amla tree are twice than donating a cow and the virtues attained by eating an Amla fruit is thrice as compared to donation of a cow. So efforts should be made for its preservation.
Eating the fruits of Amla is very nutritious for the body. Taking bath by the water mixed with the juice of Amla fruit has great curative values. The performance of 'Pindadana' under the Amla trees gives salvation to the souls of dead ancestors. Ghosts and other evil spirits do not trouble a house where Amla fruits are kept. One who is desirous of acquiring wealth should take bath by water mined with the juice of Amla fruits daily.
A person who washes his hairs with the juice of Amla mixed with water, attains 'Vishnuloka' by destroying all his sins of this Kaliyuga.
A person who has his food under an Amla tree in the Hindu month of Kartik, becomes free from the defects of the food (annadosha) for one year.
All the above-mentioned benefits of the amla tree and amla fruit has been described by sage Vyasa in 'Skanda Purana'.
'The holy Fig Tree' The concept of divinity even in vegetation’s, trees etc has been prevalent in Indian civilization since time immemorial and have been accepted as a tradition.
Lord Sri Krishna has said in Bhagawad Gita that the holy fig tree personifies his own glory. The five-trees (Pancha-vat) are considered as very sacred in India, they are:-
- Fig tree,
- A wild fig (Sycamore) tree (Gular),
- Banyan tree,
- Pakar (citron-leaved), Indian fig tree,
- Mango tree.
Among these the holy fig tree is considered as the most sacred. A man who plants this tree goes to the abode of almighty God after his death. He can neither be tormented by the miseries of 'Yama-loka' nor has to face miseries in this world.
Lord Vishnu dwells in the roots of this tree, 'Keshav' (Krishna) in the trunk, Narayana dwells in the branches, Lord Shri Hari in the leaves and all the deities dwell in the fruits of the holy fig tree. This tree is the personification of Lord Vishnu. Great men serve the 'Virtuous roots of this tree. Protection of this tree liberates a man from all his sins and help in the accomplishment of every desire.
The cutting of a holy fig tree without a proper reason is similar to cutting one's own ancestors. By doing this, one destroys his descent. But cutting of this tree for sacred activities like 'Yagya' (sacrificial fire) is not sinful, on the contrary it helps in the attainment of Heaven. The mere worship of this tree is worship all the deities. (Parikrama) moving around a holy fig tree is reverence and pouring water on it daily destroy all kinds of inauspiciousness. Pouring water on the roots of this tree in the month of May (Vaishakh) gives immense virtues,thus worshipping it with devotion gives long life.
There is a rule of making three circumambulations of a holy fig tree. Planting this tree on any auspicious day one should nurture it with water for eight years, just like his own son. After that, performing the sacred-thread (yagyopavita) ceremony of this tree and worshipping it with proper methods give undiminishing wealth and fortune, the lineage continues without any hitch, gives long life, and the dead ancestors attain salvation by getting liberation from the hell.
Hindu girls perform many fasts connected with this tree right from their childhood. A girl who has a probability of becoming a widow according to the inauspicious combination of planets in her horoscope must worship the holy fig tree. After taking bath she should purify the soil around the holy fig tree by cow dung paste, decorate the tree with threads and Ochre and worship it with the help of a Brahmin. She should invocate Lord Vishnu and Laxmi who dwell in the holy fig tree and worship them by chanting 'Purusukta' Mantras and by performing "Havana' and 'Tarpana'. After that she should circumambulate the holy fig tree for 108 times and tie a white thread around it.
The holy fig tree has medicinal properties too. According to Ayurveda this tree has both sweet and bitter taste and has a cool property. Intaking the bark, fruit and buds with different Combination of things cures the diseases related with Phlegm, bile, inflammation swelling and indisposition etc. The soft bark and the bud of this tree cures 'Prameha' (a disease in which sperms emanate through urine).
The powdered form of the fruit of this tree increases appetite and cures numerous diseases. So the holy fig tree holds a very important place in Indian civilization i.e. religious point of view, medicinal and social point of views, and hence it is worth being worshipped.
THE HOLY BASIL (TULSI)
The holy basil plant has a very important place as per the scriptural and scientific considerations. This is the reason why its mention has been made not only in the scriptures and mythological tents, but also in the Ayurvedic texts. The holy Basil is as holy as Lord Vishnu, because she is also known as ‘Vishnupriya’, ‘Vishnukanta’ and ‘Keshavpriya’. The holy basil originated from the hairs of Tulsi who in her previous life was blessed by Lord Narayan.
According to the mythological point of view, a place is considered to be the most sacred pilgrimage where exists the holy basil plant. This is the reason why every Hindu tries to have it in the house. Women have been worshipping it with the desire for good fortune and well beings of her lineage.
It is believed that the lord of death does not dare to enter a place, where exists a holy basil plant. Worshipping god with the new sprout of basil plants give salvation. Such a man is freed from the cycles of birth and death. Even the deities are desirous of attaining salvation, with the help of basil plant.Taking bath with water, in which basil leaves have been mixed, gives virtues similar to that of all the pilgrimage.
The deities and all the places of pilgrimages have their dwelling places in whole of the basil-plant from its root to the shade. Any ceremony, which is performed in the vicinity of a basil plant, enables a man to attain salvation and God.
Even the soil underneath the holy basil plant is of such great importance, that if it is applied on the forehead, all the sins of a man gets destroyed and he attains happiness, prosperity and benediction.Wearing a string of beads consisting of basil-seeds makes a man free from the fears of death. If chanting is done with the help of basil beads, then it helps in the attainment of accomplishment.
The use of the leaves of holy basil in the ceremonies like ‘Shraddh’ and ‘Tarpan’ gives indestructible virtues to the dead ancestors. The tradition of offering the leaves of basil plant, to the person approaching death has been continuing since time immemorial. This act of offering basil-leaves terrifies the messenger of ‘Yama’ and helps the person is attaining to the abode of Lord Vishnu, after his death. If the last rite of a dead person is performed in the wood of basil plant, it helps his soul to attain to the abode of Lord Vishnu. Not only this, if even a single wood of basil plant is kept on the burning pyre then all the sins of that person get destroyed.
Although the use of stale flower and stale water is prohibited in the worship but this is not applicable to the leaves of basil plant, however there are some days on which selection of basil leaves are prohibited - Sunday, last day of dark lunar phase (Amavasya), twelfth day of every Hindu month (Dwadashi), ‘Sanskranti’ and till the three hours after mid night. Therefore the leaves should be collected, well before the above mentioned days and times.
The holy basil, which is also called ‘Tulsi’ in India, its birth and marriage ceremony is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik every year. This celebration gives great virtues and benediction.The holy basil has the same importance in the Ayurvedic field as it has in the spiritual and religious fields. It has miraculous curatory effects on numerous physical and mental ailments.
The holy basil plant keeps away the germs capable of causing diseases from its vicinity. It also helps in the purification of mind by purifying the whole atmosphere around it. This pure atmosphere helps us to attain physical and mental health.
All the parts of holy basil plant such as leaves, sprout, stem, soil underneath the plant have great medicinal properties.