Hinduism and Nature by Nanditha Krishna

Hinduism and Nature by Nanditha Krishna

Author:Nanditha Krishna [Krishna, Nanditha]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9789387326545
Publisher: Penguin Random House India Private Limited
Published: 2017-12-06T00:00:00+00:00

Yet another tree with sacred associations due to its appearance is Krishna’s butter cup, also known as vata. Baby Krishna is generally depicted as sleeping within the leaf of this tree because its sides are turn upwards in the form of a cup to hold a child. According to legend, Krishna used to make cups from the leaves of this tree to steal curd and butter from his mother and the cowherdesses. Hence it is also called makkhan katori or butter cup.

Bengal quince or bilva is associated with Shiva and is invariably found in Shiva temples.

Similarly, neem is associated with Devi and is found in Devi temples. It is also a great medicinal plant, which is why Devi is associated with many dreaded diseases like smallpox, which are generally treated with neem.

Tulsi is a sacred plant worshipped as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore associated with Krishna. Saint Tyagaraja, the Carnatic music composer, hailed tulsi as the ‘Mother of the Universe’ and composed six kirtans about her.10 The plant is generally kept in the centre of the open courtyard in Hindu homes and women worship and water it every day (Figure 4.4). On a more practical note, tulsi prevents coughs, colds and fevers, and hence it is placed in the open courtyard.

Brahma’s religious association is with the cluster fig or udumbara. It is a kalpavriksha or a wish-fulfilling tree of life which is used in the homa or sacred fire.

Figure 4.4: Tulsi

Drawing by Y. Venkatesh, The C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation


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