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Name
Peepal
Place
Kaikondrahalli Lake, Valliyamma Layout, Harlur, Bangalore, Karnataka 560103
Observed
Submitted
Updated
Notes

Learning the mythology associated with trees is an enchanting and mystical experience. According to tradition, Peepal is supposed to be married to Neem tree and that is what is depicted here in the pictures. On Amavasya, this tree is worshipped and a symbolic marriage is solemnized. After the threads are tied around the tree, people walk around it for 108 times. The Peepal tree is revered and worshipped and people in India usually never cut a peepal tree.

I have categorized interactions of humans with trees into three broad categories. Peepal with Neem falls under the second category.

  1. Need based association - Trees are propagated for the human needs like fruits, bark leaves being used for various purposes of humans.
  2. Religious Reverence - Religious reverence has helped us preserve many a trees which would have otherwise gone extinct long back. Even in an urban setting, a tree like Peepal or Aegle marmelos survives and people usually don’t cut it.
  3. Fear – Aspect of fear is very interesting and again aids conservation. People don’t dare to cut a Terminallia bellirica which is supposed to have evil demons. Neither do people cut an Alstonia scholaris for same reason. I have a strong feeling that these mythological stories around fear might also have been made up during olden times by a wise few who had a foresight to conserve. Terminallia bellirica bark is one of the component of Triphala medicine of Aurveda. Even Alstonia scholaris is a forest tree with varied uses. If reverence cannot work and if the need for consumption for common masses is not so strongly felt, what better way than to introduce the aspect of fear which keeps them away from the tree. The tree gets its protection and the wise few who know about the tree, use it for the benefit of human needs.

Fear, reverence and uses of the tree have all in its own way helped the common cause of conservation of the tree. Now isn’t that a good example of diametrically different forces acting together for the same noble cause? I find it enchanting!

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