Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred in Hindu Culture?

Hindus have worshipped trees and regarded all flora and fauna as sacred. This is not an old fashioned or uncivilised practise. It reveals the sensitivity, foresight and refienment of Hindu Culture. While modern man often works to "conquer" Mother nature, ancient hindus "worshipped" her.

The Lord, the life in us, prevades all living beings be they plants or animals. Hence, they all all regarded as sacred. Human life on earth depends on plants and animals. They give us the vital factors that make life possible on earth : food, oxygen, clothing, shelter, medicines etc. They lend beauty to our surroundings. They serve man without expectation and sacrifice thenselves to sustain us. They epitomise sacrifise. If a stone is thrown on a fruit-laden tree, the tree in turn gives fruit!

In fact, the flora and fauna owned the earth before man appeared on it. Presently, the world is seriously threatened by the destruction of the forest lands and the extinction of many species of vegetation due to man's callous attitude towards them. We protect only what we value. Hence, in Hinduism, we are taight to regard trees and plants as sacred. Naturally, we will then protect them.

Hindu scriptures tell us to plant ten tress if, for any reason, we have cut one. We are advised to use arts of the trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. We also urged to apologise to a plant or tree before cutting it to avoid incurring a specific sin named soona. In our shildhood, we are told stories of the sacrifice and service done by plants and trees and also about our duty to plant and nourish them. Certain trees ans plants like tulsi, peepal etc. which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped till today.

It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees and plants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the God.



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