|Leaves in Scriptures|
Leaves in Hindu Scriptures
See also Trees in Hindu Scriptures
Text in this color is leaves' other common uses
From the very beginning trees have a very important role in our Hindu scriptures. Some trees have been described on and off in our scriptures. Some type of leaves are used to keep eatables (plantain leaves in South), some leaves are to be consumed themselves (Cilantro, Mint, Maithee); some leaves are used for smell as well as eating (Cilantro, Mint, Maithee). Some leaves are cooked and eat (Spinach, Maithee, Mustard). Some are used for mere smell alone (Curry leaves). Let us see what kind of leaves are popular and used in our scriptures.
There are five leaves may be offered to Devtaa during their Poojaa. These five leaves represent the five great cosmic elements - Water, Air, Earth, Fire, Ether. All Devtaa have their own nature also that is why a certain kind of leaf is liked by a certain Devtaa, that is why a certain kind of leaf is to be offered to that specific Devtaa. Devtaa are in the forms of light. The principles of Devtaa are activated with the help of these five elements. These elements are quickly activated through these leaves, for example Tulasee leaf to Vishnu and Krishn and Raam; Bel leaf to Shiv; Doorvaa grass is for Ganapati.
In Karm Kaand all - Tulasee, Bel and Doorvaa grass are mandatory. Ritual worship is incomplete without the leaves. The leaves of five trees - Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Audumbar (glomerous fig tree), Ashok (Jonesia Asoka), mango, and Vat (ficus indica) are of special spiritual significance in religious rituals. They are known as Panch Pallav (five leaves)
--In Bhagavad Geetaa, Krishn says - "If anybody offers me even a leaf
with full devotion, I accept it by manifesting in gross form."
In addition to offering to Devtaa, there are some other leaves used in worshipping processes, for example in decorating the worshipping place. Here we give the sacred leaves which are very important in worship --
Tulasee is a sacred plant. Sins of even many lives are destroyed just by seeing, touching, meditating, offering obeisance, planting and using of Tulasee. All deities reside in the plant of Tualsee from its roots to the tip. It is said that whoever has a Tulasee plant in his house makes nine miles (one Yojan) area as pure as River Gangaa. There is a specialty of this plant that its every part is fragrant - from roots, wood, leaves, flowers, to seeds... Even the soil in which it is grown becomes fragrant with its fragrance.
--Skand Puraan says that some of the drops of Amrit (nectar) fell on the
ground during the process of Samudra Manthan. Tulasee was formed out of
those drops. Brahmaa Jee handed over them to Vishnu. It also says that
"Tulasee ye Vichinvant Dhanyaaste Kar Pallavaah" - means they
are blessed who pluck Tulasee leaves with their hands for worship."
Although the whole Tulasee tree or plant is very
important for a Hindu but Tulasee leaf is especially important leaf in a
Hindu's life. The Vaishnav cannot live without Tulasee plant, because he
will need Tualsee leaf twice a day for the Naivedya offered to Vishnu.
Do not pluck Tulasee leaves singly, pluck in pairs
Bel Leaves (Bilva Patra)
Doorvaa or Darbhaa Grass
It is customary to exchange Betel leaves on important occasions, such as
on marriage occasion husband and wife feed Paan to one another as a sign
of love and trust. It is because every betel leaf has an innate quality
that we may not be aware of, for example --
Leaf in Dwaapar Yug
It is said that Krishn left Duryodhan's good food and ate leaves Saag at Vidur's place when He went as a Peace Messenger to Hastinaapur.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/03/13