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Workshop on Myths, Stories, Reality.

There are many plants that are considered Sacred. The Sacred plants like Kalpa-vriksha (Adansonia Digitata) and Chaitya-vriksha (Ficus religiosa) in the ancient scriptures indicated that “the worship of the tree is indeed an ancient Indian practice”. But did you know “trees and plants worship” still continues to be an element of modern Indian traditions? Want to know why?

Get your popcorn ready and dive into our workshop “Myths, Stories, Reality” with our speaker Nikita Sharma. You can learn more about her through her Instagram page:

Nikita and her say on common myths regarding plants:

“Hello, everyone. Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us Miss. Nikita Sharma. Today, she is going to talk about the myths and stories regarding some of the plants we see every day and also the realities regarding the same. So, let us start without any further delay,” said Ishika.

“Hello, all. Coming to the first plant of today, I would take up our national tree, the banyan tree. We have often heard it is infested with ghosts. We have to understand that it is a sort of jungle in itself, such is its great structure. It gives a home to many insects and birds and also shades to mankind. However, owing to these myths, often time we find a reduced number of banyan trees today. There is no such thing at all. In fact, in the Vedas, it is considered of religious significance. Even peepal plants are also defamed for the same reason, which needs to be given up.

Then, with regard to our houses, people would like to plant trees based on specific directions; some would believe that plants with thorns should not be planted, while others would say that some other particular plant should not be planted. At the same time, people also believe in myths like growing a certain plant would be lucky or bring about wealth in the household. I would say that no plant would impart a negative influence at all. According to Vastu, people would plant tulsi but would never prune the plant because of beliefs being followed down the generations. These myths should be strongly discouraged since they have no base. 

You may also see during construction that if there is a peepal plant in the plot, they will uproot it. It is preferable to transplant it somewhere instead of uprooting it forever. In fact, if any plant comes in the way of some construction, it would be best to mold the structure a bit in order to prevent the cutting down of the plant.

People also bring plants to their homes based on beliefs. To cite from personal experience, my father once brought a kuber plant and asked us to keep it indoors. He might have read it somewhere or something. Now, it isn’t an indoor plant, so it might as well need sunlight from time to time. However, he prohibited anyone from shifting the plant. So, we will find many people give in to such other beliefs,” said Nikita.

“So how did this idea come to your mind that you should be vocal about it? When did you start observing these things?”

“Actually, in our old house, we used to have many plants surrounding us, and we had quite a good memory and breaking fruits from those plants and everything. However, many of the plants were cut down when our new house was constructed. That is when I started to think deeply about the matter, and in 2018 I started speaking openly about this affair. In lockdown, I started planting from nurseries, but I believe that apart from growing plants at home, you should plant big trees outside as well. Technology will not provide us with oxygen after all.”

“Are there any scientific reasons or benefits behind the plants getting worshiped? Likewise, any ways to mold the current practices?”

“There are some plants like Tulsi, Neem, etc., which have been worshipped by our ancestors for long. Certain reasons might be involved, such as tulsi being grown in the center of the house, and it is known to keep away mosquitoes. In fact, there always is a positive energy surrounding the plant. You have to experience certain things on your own to understand their values instead of just going by others’ words. Over time, research is being conducted, and new benefits of plants are being realized by us now.”

“Why is banana leaf given such importance in festivities?”

“It is quite similar to why we use silver for serving food. I believe it might have some nutritive value or energy to add the food, which is why it is so popular.”

“When we are often afraid of Peepal tree and such others, why do we worship them? What are your views?”

“The very first thing that governs us is fear. Then we also believe on another side that these plants are also associated with certain gods and goddesses, and that is why they are worshipped. I would suggest not believing in either of such beliefs. The only thing we should consider is it would help in our ecosystem, how it would help us in our survival,” said Nikita.

“At one part of the time, cactus was considered a negative plant. What myth do you think is associated with it?”

“This is because people think thorny plants can have a negative impact on the household. However, we need to understand that those thorns are provided so that the flowers are not damaged by any other insect or animal. So, there is always a positive aspect of looking at things.”

“That was a great workshop and quite knowledgeable indeed. Thank you for joining us today.”