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The Peepal tree is denoted as a God in the Rig Veda, is considered necessary in every yagya according to the Yajur Veda and it has been described as the abode of all the Gods in the Atharva Veda.
When the excavations of the Harappan Valley were done, traces of worshiping the peepal tree were found there too. Also, the images of deities were seen surrounded by peepal tree leaves.
Peepal tree is the most rewarding tree because of both material and its spiritual benefits. This is one of the trees which gives out oxygen 24 hours. Hinduism gives immense importance to nature. That is why, worshiping the plants and trees is one of the most common traditions prevalent among the Hindus. Here, let us explore why Peepal tree is considered so sacred.
Lord Vishnu Stays In The Peepal Tree
In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna has himself said that he is the Peepal tree. The roots of the tree are Vishnu. Its stems are Keshav. The branches are Narayan and the leaves are Hari himself. This is why the tradition of worshiping a peepal tree is followed from the ancient times. It is believed that both Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are present there in the Peepal tree on a Somavati Amavasya.
Signifies The Cycle Of Birth And Death
A Peepal tree never sheds off all of its leaves at one time. They keep falling and more leaves keep coming and taking new birth. This signifies the cycle of birth and death. It therefore relates to the spiritual reality. That the tree is the macrocosm, and the life and death are the part of the cycle, through which the nature runs it.
The Permanent Spirituality
Peepal tree never dies, it stays forever. Its permanent nature also relates it with the permanent soul, which is immortal and never dies. Human body perishes but the soul never does. Hence, this is another reason to worship the Peepal tree.
Story Of Savitri And Satyavan
Mahabharata mentions the story of Savitri and Satyavaan. Savitri's husband Satyavaan died under a Peepal tree. Savitri was so badly hurt that she started worshiping Lord of death, Yamraj and tied a sacred thread around a Peepal tree, praying that her husband be brought to life again. Compelled by her, Lord Yamraja had to return the man back to life. Since then, married Hindu women follow the custom of Peepal Puja on the day of Vat Savitri Vrat.
Lord Buddha's Enlightenment
Many sages have practiced asceticism and attained enlightenment under a Peepal tree. Lord Buddha is the biggest example among them. Lord Buddha sat under a Peepal tree near a river in Gaya, Bihar. He practiced meditation and soon at the evening of the fourteenth day, he attained enlightenment. This tree came to be known as the Mahabodhi Tree and the place known as Bodh Gaya. Any tree that is grown from the branch of this tree is also known as the Bodi Tree now. Therefore, all the Bodhi Trees trace their origin from the same Peepal tree, which Lord Buddha sat under.
Ancestors Worshiped Through The Peepal Tree
It is believed that the spirits of the ancestors live on the Peepal tree. There is a tradition of worshiping the ancestors in all the religions, especially in Hinduism. Ancestors are worshiped on the day of Amavasya. Therefore, worshiping the Peepal tree is considered as an offering for our prayers to the ancestors.
Peepal tree is also linked to Lord Brahma, the deity who is unborn and never takes birth and in whom the spirits finally get assimilated to. This is also a reason why performing the last rites under a Peepal tree is what people prefer more.