Plant Life in Hinduism

Hindu religious scripts, mythology, and rituals have attempted to drive home the importance of preserving nature by deifying it through the centuries. Bhagavadgita (9.26)states:

Patram Pushpam phalam toyam, yo mey bhaktya prayachchati
Tadaham bhakt yupahrutam asnaami prayataatmanaha

I accept a leaf, flower, fruit or water Or whatever is offered with devotion

The Ashwatta (banyan/fig) tree is considered to be very sacred and worshipped as the abode of the trimurthis reside as the following sloka states:

Moolatho Brahma Roopaya, Madhyato Vishnu Roopini,
Agratas Shiv Roopaya, Vriksha Rajayte Namaha

Brahma shaped at the root, Vishnu shaped in the middle and Shiva shaped at the top, we salute you, the king of all trees.

Krishna extolled the Ashwatta tree in Bhagavadgita (Ch. 10. 26)

Ashwattah sarva vrikshanaam, devarsheenaancha naaradah,
Gandharvaanaam chitra ratah, siddhaanaam kapilo munihi.

Ashvwatta the tree of trees, Naarada the supreme deva rishi Chitrarata the supreme Gandharva, and Kapila the supreme siddha.

Plants and Trees

The neem tree is sacred and its flower is offered to God and eaten on New Years day although it is sour. The bilva tree, its flowers and fruits are very sacred for Shiva worship. The tulsi plant is regarded as the abode of Krishna and is important in all pujas. Sandal wood, its paste and oil are important in worship of gods.

All plants and flowers have medicinal value in the Hindu system of medicine (ayurveda) brought by the divine medicine man Dhanvantari during Samudra mathana (churning of oceans).

The coconut tree and the coconut are sacred and are offered to God during worship. Mango leaves are used as festoons during pujas and auspicious events. All flowers and leaves of plants are used during worship for pushpa puja and patra puja. The lotus is a sacred flower and plant for Hindus. The banana plant and leaves are used for ornamentation and worship.


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Subject Index: Deities | Festivals | Mantras | Prayers | Texts