Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peepal Live !

My FB friend  Amit Amembal, recently posted this amazing capture of a Peepal Tree.

Called Ashwattha is Sanskrit, पिंपळ in Marathi, પિપળો in Gujarati, അരയാല്‍ Arayal in Malyalam, araLi mara ಅರಳಿ ಮರ in Kannada, Arasa maram அரச மரம் in Tamil,  Pippal in Punjabi, and  Ficus Religiosa  in Botany,  this is a species of fig native to the subcontinent. With over 50 medicinal uses, the peepal is the first-known depicted tree in India: a seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, one of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation (c. 3000 BC - 1700 BC), shows the peepal being worshipped.  The Bramha Purana, Skanda Purana , Upanishads, as well as the BhagwadGita mention this tree, and it is the tree underwhich the Buddha is supposed to have received the enlightenment.

Its speciality , among many other things, is its gnarled roots that often descend and connect with the earth. 

For some reason these roots here seemed to be in a trauma of sorts ......

It is someone
with a
long Vanaprasthashram.

For someone,

whose roots
are considered Brahma,
whose trunk
the abode of Vishnu
the leaves,
gracefully existing as Shiva,
and thrilled to bits
as the Buddha
imbibed it all
meditating beneath,
the roots
gnarl now in agony,
twisting and turning
as they slowly,
helplessly descend.

In all its years
of living, fruiting
and dispensing wisdom
and cures,
it has never felt
as hopeless
as it feels now,
the country
denigrating the girl child.

"Treat me as a son
if you do not beget one
your family name
will flourish with me"
the tree said in the Skand Purana.

But do the
listen ?


  1. Hey, you left out Tamil. it is Arasa maram அரச மரம் in Tamil. So please add it. The roots indeed look tortured and in agony!

    1. Zephyr, the omission now rectified and post updated. Thank you!

  2. wow..incidentally this is my favorite subject in photography too..have clicked many gnarled root of peepul and banyan.
    Truly religiosa..dispensing wisdom :-)

    1. Sangeeta, I sometimes wonder if these visuals are not mere accidents, but are meant to make us think ?

  3. No, they will not listen...even women want male children, when they know very well that male and female children are equal nowadays and female children are more attached to the family and take care of the parents later on! So if we start insisting on women to carry their maiden surname after marriage, it might change...hahaha, just a thought...dream!

    Very good imagination! The roots look very much in agony, here, as Zephyr says!

    1. Sandhya, women keeping their maiden name is such a great suggestion. Then the men will start fighting over whose name the child is to carry. Sigh.

  4. Great picture by Amit and you have built it so well by connecting it with the male-progeny craze amongst Indians. I did not know this:

    "Treat me as a son
    if you do not beget one
    your family name
    will flourish with me"
    the tree said in the Skand Purana"

    This male progeny desire is so often sanctioned by the texts that it pains my very existence. But you capture that agony better in your verse.

    1. Bhavana, Thank you! I was doing some research before I wrote this poem, and was myself surprised to see this . Have a look at http://www.gurjari.net/ico/Mystica/html/peepal_tree.htm

  5. Thank you very much. Feel honoured!