बरगद बरगदाही वटपूजा Every year my mother used to keep fast on this day that falls in JUNE? this day is dedicated to Burgad which is called as vat in Sanskrit. In some parts of India it is known as Vat Savitri Vrat वट् सवित्रि व्रत all married women keep fast and do not drink water till they perform the pooja of Banyan Tree. savitri This date or तिथि (tithi) falls in JUNE every year or so. But one thing amazing I found that it always falls near to the #World Environment Day. When whole world celebrates world environment day and on the other hand we don’t remember the Vat Savitri pooja day with same fervor as people mention world environment day on social media with a # hashtag? WHY?
I know this pooja has been there in our society since ages. I mean this is performed in India since many centuries. But how come it falls near the day on world environment day? I really don’t know? Why they have kept this day in June as World Environment Day?
बरगद (Bargad) the Banyan tree as world knows, is a symbol of longevity. It never dies. This tree lives forever, often it lasts more than many generations of humans. That’s why it is revered as the someone who is Divine and lives forever. Thus all women seek blessings from banyan tree for longevity of their husbands and their sons. And only Banyan tree is competent to give such a boon? since itself it lives many hundreds of year!!
Here comes the gender discrimination? Mothers seek for others and even for yet to come generation? Yes. Women swallow the bud of shoots. It symbolizes, as the boon for a better healthy SON, who is yet to be born?? I mean the next generation also is being protected by Mothers(to be). Then another symbol is that mothers or women (married) seek blessings for their life and seek that they live as a “suhagan” सुहागन- a married woman all her life. Silently they seek blessings to die being a married woman. That has connotation of the social stigma attached to the Widow women in the society? They seek blessing to remain married till their death? this is the extreme sacrifice of women and mothers.
Mothers wake up early before anyone in family wakes up. Specially Husbands and Sons. Daughters usually help their mothers and follow her.
Mothers prepare themselves so that they take up this ritual remaining as “PIOUS”. it is like penance more than anything else for our mothers. They have to fulfill the duties of households also. Mother & Father in-laws, Husband, Brother & sister in-laws, Sons & daughters in that order of priority in any usual family. Mothers prepare food, clean houses, etc. Lucky are those mothers who get help from others and those who leave aside these for time being and perform pooja.
Poori पूरी , 12 balls of wheat flour are cooked and few other sweets. Specially the Gram or some call it as black gram (chick pea) soaked in water or boiled are used. They go to any Banyan tree nearby in their locality and perform pooja. Seek blessings from the presiding deity of that day the Banyan Tree, who is evergreen tree that means she lives for infinity? They swallow the tender shoot apex of the tree.
Actually these are not edible as listed in the link (Banyan Tree click and read) see that shoot apex is not edible even then women swallow it? without complaining. that is the height of sacrifice of mothers, who do it for blessings of a good SON? who will support his mother in her old age?
Savitri is known all over India as a Goddess like figure.
It has continued for centuries from generations to generations. Whether anyone is educated or uneducated, but they must be knowing about Savitri. She has brought back her dead husband from the clutches of Yamraj the God of Death. Not many got this chance. She was a brave lady. with her determination, courage, wit, wisdom, persistence debated with the God of Death and then with her wisdom made god of death to return her Husband. It is a very famous story commonly known to all households, who celebrate this day.
Banyan Tree has been an important part of our village life since centuries. It is needless to emphasise it. But in context of the present times when young generation is forgetting everything which is Indian then it is very important to repeat whatever we know? In age of #social media and when the #hashtag has become a method of making any statement, reading writing our old traditional stories is becoming meaningless? is it? I had written earlier that we have been totally cut off from our roots, as we do not know our own language Sanskrit? Sanskrit a language, Sanskritee, sanskritaah and also History untold, re-told, historians revisiting their works All or most of our treasure was written in Sanskrit. For the past 500 years or so we have been detached from our language Sanskrit. Do you know how many children feel happy while reading Sanskrit in their school? They think it as a burden? But Why? Why this perception has crept up in mind of our children? I largely put ourselves (Parents) at fault? but then they are also not to be blamed. In schools also the apathy is noticed towards learning of Sanskrit?
The villages used to have a small hermit of trees nearby. What I am saying is that Earlier there was large green cover around villages. When population started increasing, that resulted in need of land. Most natural and easy way was to cut forest cover? Still there was small patch of forest left untouched in most of the villages. By tradition and belief they were considered Sacred. These small hermit of trees housed many varieties of trees and in return it housed flora and fauna.
Banyan tree alongwith Peepal, Neem were always considered as sacred. Now scientifically we know that Peepal tree exhale Oxygen 24 hours? Thus if there are Peepal Trees that means more oxygen around us. Most of the village weekly markets were held in some kind of hermit of trees. Most often big Banyan trees and encircling trees/shrubs offered best place to assemble. I have seen many temples who have these sacred trees in their vicinity.
I have always liked the Banyan Tree which was there in the central place in our IIT Kanpur campus. Every one in IIT knew about that grand Banyan Tree. It was a big tree spread over a large area. Earlier two or three school buses used to stand under it. Students from Armapur and other parts of Kanpur city came by these buses to attend KV IITK. In free period we sometimes used to go to this tree. It housed many ant holes. I have almost learnt many biology lessons under it? strange? But true. It provided shelter to Squirrels, many types of birds, small insects. Few bird Nests were there. worms larvae etc all we could see there. As time changed this big tree together with its encircling patch of ground was enclosed by wire fence.
Still there are few Banyan trees left in our villages. I have heard that people out of superstition do not keep Banyan, Peepal trees near to their residences? Why? But it was true that earlier people thought these trees as sacred.
I have not read this book by R K Narayan yet?
this picture below right indicates that it is nice place to hold gurukul classes or Dance class or performance? as I dream it must have been there in Kalashetra, as dreamed by Smt Rukmini Devi Arundale in Adyar, Chennai?
There in Adyar also a big Banyan Tree was there, it was of several years old?
The concept of Shantiniketan by Guru RabindraNath Tagore was also based on the concept of being at harmony with nature. Thus in a serene atmosphere he established this gurukul. As we read in school Tolstoy was also on similar thought.
Thus in our Indian traditions we have learned that to live in harmony with nature. That includes trees, forest, wild life, animals etc surrounding us. It means the existence of human is not possible without conservation of every life around us. All the festivals are revolving around something or the other in Nature. We must respect our Indian traditions and must try to learn about it.