Plants of religious significance

From Biodiversity of India
Jump to: navigation, search
* Click on the arrows besides the column headers to sort the table by that column

* Clicking on the blue links will lead you to the respective pages

If some information is missing or you think is wrong, YOU CAN CHANGE IT YOURSELF!!! Click here to know how...

A total of 22 plants having religious significance as YES

List of plants

Species nameCommon nameName in HindiIntrodescriptionReligionReligious use descriptionIs this a native plant?
Cedrus deodaraDeodar CedarदेओदारThese are evergreen conifers known for their ornamental value and broadly used as timber. their wood has aromatic smell with red or red-tinged colour and is decay-resistant and insect-repellent.Among Hindus it is worshipped as a divine tree, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab villages, as the name deodar suggests. The first half of the word deva means the words divine, deity, deus, and Zeus and the second part connotes durum, druid, tree, and true.

Several Hindu legends refer to this tree. In Valmiki Ramayan

Forests full of Devadaru trees were the favorite abode or living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to Hindu god Shiva for whom they performed very difficult tapasya (meditation) to please him.
Mimusops elengiSpanish cherry, Bullet woodबकुल Bakul, मौलसरी MaulsariThe tree is used in rest of the world for its hard wood. In India, it is also used to make garlands from its fragrant flowers. It finds use in many Ayurvedic products. especially those for oral health. Lord Krishna is said to have played his flute under Bakul trees attracting young women. The tree is said to flower when sprinkled with nectar from the mouths of beautiful women. (Source: Wikipedia, Flowers of India)It is said that Lord Krishna liked Bakul flowers very much. He used to play his flute underneath a Bakul tree in Vrindavan and the milkmaids used to get attracted towards the sound of the flute. Even today, Bakul flowers are offered during the worship of Lord Krishna. The ancient poet Kalidasa mentioned the Bakul tree in his creation Meghdoot. The plant is also listed in Charaka Samhita and Shushruta Samhita as having medicinal properties.
Jasminum sambacJasmineबेला Bela, मोतिया Motiya, मोगरा MograJasminum sambac is a species of jasmine native to southwestern and southern Asia, in the Philippines, India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. It is grown mainly as an ornamental plant due to its fragrant and beautiful flowers.Jasmine flowers are used in many religious occasions as offerings to Gods. Garlands made from Jasmine flowers, as shown above, are adorned by women during special occasions.
Nelumbo nuciferaWater Lily, Lotus, Sacred Lotus, East Indian Lotusकमल KamalThe Indian Lotus, also known as the Sacred Lotus, is a culturally significant plant in many Asian cultures in general and Indian culture in particular. It is a plant native to the Indian subcontinent, but now is found as an ornamental plant worldwide. The Lotus is considered a symbol of devotion and purity. It is the seat of Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The flowers of Lotus have several medicinal properties as per Ayurveda. Lotus is also the national flower of India.Lotus is a symbol of purity and innocence. It is the seat of Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. It is most significantly associated with Lord Brahma. Lotus flowers are used as offerings in Indian temples.
Phyllanthus emblicaIndian Gooseberry, Amlaआमला AmlaPhyllanthus emblica or Indian Gooseberry is a species commonly known for its fruit called Amla. The fruit has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C (160 times more than apple) and thus is reputed as a strong antioxidant. Amla finds uses in many medicinal and cosmetic products, especially those for hair such as hair oils and tonics. Amla fruit is used in Indian cooking mainly as pickles or as mouth-freshners. It is also a constituent of the popular Dabur Chawanprash.Significance in worship of Goddess Lakshmi
Saraca indicaAshokaअशोक AshokSaraca indica or the Ashoka tree is an important plant from a religious and cultural point of view in India. The tree has beautiful red flowers and a dense foliage which makes it seem stately to its devotees. The tree is a symbol of fertility in Indian culture and has been recently shown to provide relief to women during menstruation. The tree is revered in Hinduism and Buddhism and is frequently found in royal palace grounds or near temples.JainismThe ashoka tree is closely associated with the Yakshi mythological beings. One of the recurring elements in Indian art, often found at gates of Buddhist and Hindu temples, is the sculpture of a Yakshi with her foot on the trunk and her hands holding the branch of a flowering ashoka tree. As an artistic element, often the tree and the Yakshi are subject to heavy stylization. Some authors hold that the young girl at the foot of this tree is based on an ancient fertility symbol.

The ashoka tree has a symbolic importance in Buddhism. Queen Māyā of Sakya is said to have given birth to the Buddha under an ashoka tree in a garden in Lumbini. According to tradition, the queen walked in the garden until she came to an ashoka tree to take a rest. Then the tree magically bent down for her and she grasped a branch. At that moment the Buddha emerged from her right side.

Yakshis under ashoka trees were also important in early Buddhist monuments as a decorative element and are found in many ancient Buddhist archaeological sites. With the passing of the centuries the yakshi under the ashoka tree became a standard decorative element of Hindu Indian sculpture and was integrated into Indian temple architecture as salabhanjika, because there is often a confusion between the ashoka tree and the sal tree (Shorea robusta) in the ancient literature of the Indian Subcontinent.

This tree is also regarded with veneration in Jainism. In the Jain tradition Mahavira is said to have renounced the world under this kind of tree in Vaishali.

In Hinduism the ashoka is considered a sacred tree. Not counting a multitude of local traditions connected to it, the ashoka tree is worshipped in Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu Calendar. It is also associated with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of Love, who included an Ashoka blossom among the five flowers in his quiver. Hence, the ashoka tree is often mentioned in classical Indian religious and amorous poetry, having at least 16 different names in Sanskrit referring to the tree or its flowers.

In Mahākāvya, or Indian epic poetry, the ashoka tree is mentioned in the Ramayana in reference to the Ashoka Vatika (garden of Ashoka trees) where Hanuman first meets Sita.
Santalum albumIndian Sandalwood, White Sandalwoodचन्दन ChandanSandalwood is an economically important plant and has been cultivated for several centuries for the fragrance of its oil. Due to extensive and sometimes, illegal cutting of native Sandalwood trees, this species has become vulnerable to extinction. S. album is native to South/South-East Asia, possibly Indonesia. Another species Santalum spicatum is native to Australia.The heartwood of Sandal is used in religious pujas to make "Chandan pastes". These pastes are applied to the forehead of gods and of the worshipers. Sandalwood oil is also used in incense sticks used in such pujas. The oil is also offered in the sacred Yajna fires.
Ocimum tenuiflorumHoly Basil, Indian Basilतुलसी TulsiOcimum tenuiflorum or Tulsi is one of the most sacred plants in Hinduism. The plant has several medicinal properties. It is found throughout India.Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for "the incomparable one", is worshiped throughout India, most often regarded as a consort of Vishnu in the form of Mahalakshmi. There are two types of Tulsi worshiped in Hinduism—"Rama Tulsi" has light green leaves and is larger in size; "Krishna Tulsi" has dark green leaves and is important for the worship of Vishnu. Many Hindus have tulsi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special Tulsi pots. It is also frequently grown next to Vishnu temples, especially in Varanasi.

In the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah, Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu annually on the eleventh bright day or twelfth of the month of Kartika in the lunisolar calendar. That day also marks the end of the four month cāturmāsya period, which is considered inauspicious for weddings and other rituals, and so the day inaugurates the annual marriage season in India. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartika includes the worship of the Tulsi plant, which is considered auspicious for the home. Vaishnavas especially follow the daily worship of Tulsi during Kartika.

Vaishnavas traditionally use japa malas made from tulsi stems or roots, which are an important symbol of initiation. Tulsi malas are considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to put them under the protection of Vishnu or Krishna. They have such a strong association with Vaishnavas, that followers of Vishnu have long been called "those who bear the tulasi round the neck".
Curcuma longaCommon Turmericहल्दी HaldiCurcuma longa or Turmeric is a plant with high medicinal and cultural value in India. The rhizome of the plant has medicinal properties. The dried root is ground into a powder which is used on several religious occasions in Hinduism. India is the largest producer of Turmeric in the world. (Adapted from Wikipedia)Turmeric paste is applied to the body of the bride before marriage to cleanse the body and make it more radiant. On religious occasions, Turmeric is applied to the forehead of devotees and also the forehead of the statues of gods.
Hiptage benghalensisHiptage, Helicopter flowerमाधवी लता Madhavi Lata, अतिमुक्त AtimuktaHiptage benghalensis is a plant native to India and South-East Asia. It forms woody creepers called lianas and spreads quite rapidly, making thickets and smothering vegetation. Thus, it is considered a weed in many parts of the world. In India, this plant has mythological association with Lord Krishna in Vrindavan. It is also cultivated for its fragrant and beautiful flowers.Vrindavan, atleast in olden times, was full of this plant and it created a beautiful atmosphere, with its fragrant and three-colored flowers. It was said that those who desired peace came to Vrindavan, one of the reason being the presence of Atimukta or Hiptage trees.

Click on further results on bottom right corner of the above table to get an exhaustive list

The code used to generate the above table

{{#ask: [[Category:Plants]] [[Religious significance::Yes]]
| ?Common name
| ?Common hindi name=Name in Hindi
| ?Introdescription
| ?Religion
| ?Religious use description
| ?Native plant=Is this a native plant?
| limit=10
| sort=Religious use description
| mainlabel=Species name