Having explained how Hindu mythology was in synchronization with nature and thus preached sustainable living in Disconnect from ones culture is the root cause of Global Warming. We continue to explore how mindless modernization is taking us headlong towards extinction.
The state of Maharashtra,India will have drought this year. It is official. To reverse that, people from different communities are praying for Divine intervention. It was a front page news today. However the day before, I read the news that the BMC ( municipal corporation of Mumbai ) will chop down to build homes ( read concrete jungle) 481 odd trees. With BMC permission, trees like gulmohar, neem, ashoka, suru and acacia will be felled in Goregaon’s Dindoshi area ( suburban Mumbai ).
While the suburban Mumbai is merrily cutting down trees, in Thane the neighbouring district, TMC ( the municipal corporation of Thane) joins hands with Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI) CREDAI to organize a Go Green Initiative ! And to bring the green revolution to the power-loom town of Bhiwandi (town under Thane municipal limit), zone II of the Thane police commissionaire has taken up an initiative to plant trees in and around the taluka.
The contrasting values of two districts within the same state is telling. It also shows how the response to the environment is a knee-jerk reaction, driven more by personalities and not a policy of the State. If Mumbai, the State capital & commercial city of India has this attitude towards the environment, its of little wonder that we are having farmer suicide and droughts with a regular monotony.
By how is it that such matters come to pass? How do we, allow such foolish ventures ? Knowing fully well that the City of Mumbai can not grow any further from the within. We must look at Navi Mumbai and beyond and develop in a sustainable and planned way, this is well documented. Then why do not the public protest on felling of trees ?
The reason is that we as Peoples have completely lost connection with our roots. We in our mad dash for recognition as ‘arrived’, follow the culture of consumerism. Money and Fame dominates over Character & Health. The concept of Wealth – 1. Wisdom 2.Character 3.Fame & 4.Riches has reversed. Today we start the count from Riches and Wisdom is laughed upon.
When Currency becomes capital over Conscience, disastrous Climate Change follows.
Whenever we get disconnected from our Nature, we invite disaster. And if one has a close look, all Religion advocated sync with Nature. When we lose our connection with Nature we also effectually become pseudo religious.
Through this article, in the shortest possible way I would once again attempt to reconnect human with Nature and thereby God. Although I can only write from the concept I practice (Hinduism is a concept of living life which leads to the path of “moksha“; not a religion. As it conform to no single God-head and there are no single way of practicing it.) people from all faiths hopefully would connect to this love for Nature and perhaps find similar note in their practice of what is pure and holy.
In 1737, when officials of the king of Jodhpur (Rajasthan, India) started felling a few Khejri trees in Khejerli village, men, women and children hugged the trees that were being axed. In all, 363 Bishnois from Khejerli and adjoining villages sacrificed their lives. Later, hearing about it, the King of Jodhpur apologized for his action and issued a royal decree engraved on a copper plate, prohibiting the cutting of trees and hunting of animals in all Bishnoi villages. Violation of this order by anyone including the members of the ruling family would entail prosecution and a severe penalty. A temple and monument stand as testimony to the sacrifice of the 363 martyrs. Every year, the Bishnois assemble there to commemorate the extreme sacrifice made by their people to preserve their faith and religion.
Trees being nature’s major processors of solar energy which is vital for our existence, and yielding flowers, fruit, wood or medicine, have been worshipped by the Hindus as a matter of gratitude. Manu believed that they were conscious like humans and felt pleasure and pain. Indian sages and seers eulogized asvattha or peepal (Ficus religiosa), gular (Ficus glomerata), neem (Azadirachta indica), Bel (Aegle marmelos, bargad or Banyan (Ficus bengalensis), Asoka (Sereca indica), Amala (Phyllanthus emblica), Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna) and many other trees which acquired social and religious sanctity with the passage of time.
Some trees are considered sacred due to their association with prophets and holy men. The Barged (Banyan; pronounced – Bar+Gaad), for example, is sacred to Hindus because the sage Markandeya took shelter on its branches during the deluge; Lord Rama lived in a grove under five banyan trees near Nasik when he was in exile; and lord Krsna played around it during his childhood. Sala is sacred to Buddhists because Lord Buddha took birth and passed away under it; so are Peepal and Bargad, as the Lord meditated under them for gaining supreme realization.
If one reads closely, one can see that the Banyan tree, known for its large girth and deep roots, can not be swept away by severe storm or flood. A tree like that can only be a life-saver during such time. That both the most important Avatars of the Supreme Lord Vishnu – as Rama and Krishna could find shelter among the grove of banyan tree, also points to the fundamental direction ( Food-Cloth-Shelter the 3 fundamental need for Human ) the same tree has importance in Buddhist religion with Gautama becoming “Buddha” post meditating under it.
Banyan tree is known for its extensive medicinal properties and uses. The stem bark, root bark, aerial roots, leaves, vegetative buds and milky exudate are all used in Ayurvedic medicine and in the preparation of a number of important compound formulations. Further, the crushed seeds and the milky juice exuded from the cut stems, branches and twigs are applied externally to relieve pains, sores, ulcers and bruises, and as an anodyne for treating rheumatism and lumbago. It is considered a valuable application for relieving and healing cracked and burning soles, and is also used as a remedy for toothache. The crushed dried fruits of banyan tree are taken with honey as a treatment for spermatorrhea among the tribal inhabitants of central Orissa; in this region the latex of the plant is taken with banana in the treatment of gonorrhoea. The seeds are considered cooling and tonic. A paste of the leaves, or the heated leaves, is applied as a poultice to promote healing of abscesses. An extract of the leaves is used as an aphrodisiac by the people in north-eastern Karnataka. The bark is astringent; its infusion is considered a powerful tonic and useful for treating diabetes, dysentery and diarrhea, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and nervous disorders. An infusion of the young buds is considered useful for diarrhoea and dysentery. The young tips of the aerial (hanging) roots are given as an anti-emetic; crushed and boiled in cow`s milk; the hot filtered solution is taken to relieve piles among the tribal inhabitants of Sundargarh District in Orissa. The aerial root tips are also applied as a paste to relieve bleeding piles and to promote healing of syphilitic lesions among the Kondhs of south-western Orissa, and mixed with egg as an external application to promote healing of bone fractures among the Gond tribe of Uttar Pradesh. Banyan tree is used in several other ways.
The Banyan tree is also a fig, now called Ficus benghalensis (ben-gal-EN-sis) meaning from Bengal. The largest is in India and covers four acres. It has a circumference of about a half a mile, is some 80 feet high and has (as of 2008) 2880 aerial roots reaching down to the ground. It is said it can shelter 2,000 people.
The five most sacred leaves of peepal, gular, pilkhan (Ficus lacor), bargad and mango-are ubiquitously employed in making prayers and offerings. On auspicious occasions, mango leaves are tied to a string and hung on doors; leaves of palasa and bargad make workable plates and bowls during community feasts. Leaves of some other trees are also customarily offered to deities of bel to lord Siva, of banana and arjuna to Lord Ganesa, and of amaltas (Cassia fistula) to all the gods and goddesses. Banana is offered to Lord Visnu and Laksmi on the eleventh day of the bright half of Pausa (December-January) and to the Sun god on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of Kartika (October-November). Mango and bel fruits are also included in the worship material-the former is offered to all gods, the latter especially to Lord Siva.The wood of sacred trees like bel, bargad, sami, palasa and pipal is never used as fuel as it invites the wrath of gods. But it is employed, in other ways, in sacrificial rites and ceremonies. Sacred trees are invoked on special days for long life, for the expiation of sins, for averting mishaps, or for the fulfillment of a particular wish. Young girls are symbolically wedded to the pipal tree or bel fruit to avoid future widowhood. Tree trunks are tied with thread and circumambulated 108 times and adorned with vermilion and sandal-paste; earthen lamps are lighted under them-and the effect of all these is considered equal to a thousand sacrifices. The Saivites count prayers by using rosaries made of rudraksa berries.
As one can see, not only the tree, but leaves , flower, fruit and every part of a tree has some importance. Our ancestors by connecting the tree with our every day rites and ritual ensured that they exist side by side. And thrive as should the animals who were the “Vahan” ( deity’s mount ) of the Gods, as explained in the Part -1 of this article.
Sustainability or sustainable towns and cities can not be built without the active participation of the People. However much we try to make C40 Cities or write about Sustainable Development Goals and pledge for Agenda 21, nothing would come to pass unless the common person understands and connects.
It is therefore important for the World community to come together and teach the values ingrained in Religious text. For all task become easy when people have Faith.
Lets re-look at all our religious text from the angle of Sustainable Living and we still have a chance to save the World.
Courtesy: My heartfelt thanks to : http://www.esamskriti.com, from where I found so much.
- The Great 250 years old Banyan Tree (creativegenes.wordpress.com)
- Sacred banyan tree from Bhagavad Gita slowing dying (mnn.com)
- Nagara Panchami – Revering the Nature (ensures.wordpress.com)
- Unique 200th b’day celebration of banyan tree (assamtribune.com)
- ‘Bhagvad Gita’ banyan tree dying in Haryana (insightnewspaper.wordpress.com)
- nobody is above the time (advocatemmmohanaksharaalu.wordpress.com)