Glory of Trees (Tarumahima)

Glory of Trees (Tarumahima)

Glory of Trees (Tarumahima) (1)

Tarumahima (Glory of trees / Awareness program)

This is exclusively an Awareness program that highlights the greatness of trees and strategies that can be adopted to conserve them at ex-situ and in-situ levels. Evaluating the aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, ancient Indian scholars arrived at the conclusion that the Trees can survive without man, but man cannot survive without trees. 

Nurturing the star trees was the concept evolved by Vrikshayurveda as part of the biodiversity conservation. To implement this concept, they developed a holistic strategy with people’s participation, by establishing connectivity between stars, plants, human beings, animals and birds. Their vision was to establish an ex-situ conservation site with 27 trees that possess high carbon sequestration potential, therapeutic and aesthetic value. This concept demands further scientific investigations regarding the climate change mitigation properties, carbon sequestration potential as well as dust and atmospheric pollution control by these trees.

There are certain concepts and effective strategies evolved by the ancient Indian scholars as part of biodiversity conservation. They also developed holistic strategies with people’s participation, by establishing connectivity between stars, plants, human beings, animals and birds. This vision led to the establishment of an ex-situ conservation site with 27-star trees, which possess high therapeutic and aesthetic value. The basis of the star tree concept was to enhance the conservation of these rare trees to attain the ultimate goal of biodiversity conservation through people’s participation, by implementing various Eco-educational programs. They evolved a two-pronged approach for implementing this special tree conservation package program, consisting of solo action and community participation.

“One man one tree” - “Plant a tree and save lives” were the mantras for solo action, while construction and popularization of “Nakshatravana” (Astro-forest) were carried out through community participation. Stars, plants, and men were the major players in these action programs, which unraveled the unknown power of healing.

Evaluating the aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, ancient Vrikshayurvedic scholars arrived at the conclusion that “Trees are the most valuable living things on earth” and “Trees can survive without man, but man cannot survive without trees”.As part of the biodiversity conservation strategy, the scholars coined a message for awareness and popularization among the public. The message is given below:

“Desakoopa sama vapi desavapi samo hrada:

Desahrada sama: putro desaputra samodruma”

(Sarangadhara padhathi – Tarumahima)

“Ten wells are equivalent to one pond

Ten ponds are equivalent to one lake

Ten lakes are equivalent to one son

Ten sons are equivalent to one tree”

Stars and trees at a glance

The stars are considered as characteristically massive, self-luminous objects, shining by radiation derived from internal energy sources. Usually, living beings release two kinds of energy, positive and negative. Sometimes they also remain neutral. According to the astrological connotations, each star has its own name. Every person born on earth lives under the direct influence of any one of the stars and each one of us is associated with a tree, animal, and bird.

The powerful energy that we release will be directly absorbed and stored by “Star trees”.These trees further transform the energy and release it towards the human being for their sustenance. This has been turned and programmed at the genetic level, and will be expressed in a rhythmical or cyclic manner, like the changing seasons. You may experience the season like spring, summer, autumn and winter in your body and mind. Aggravation and depletion of such expressions sometimes create natural catastrophes and you may be under severe stress and tension. (Rajasekharan et al., 2005)

The original stanza that describes the stars and corresponding trees are given below for reference

“Atha vakshyami nakshatravrikshanagamalekshithan

Poojyanayushpradamchaiva vardhanatpalanatapi

Vishadru dhatri tharu hemadhugdha

Jamboosthathakhadirakrishanavmsa: Aswathanagoucha

vata: palasa: Plakshasthatambashtatharu: kramena:

Visvarjunou chaiva vikamkatho atha Sakesara:

sabarasarja vanchula: Sapanas arkacha sami kadamba-

Sthathambra nimbou madhukadruma: kramat

Ami nakshatra vriksha: siu: saptavimsati:

Aswinyaati kramadevamesha nakshatra padhati:”

(Sarangadhara padhathi)

“Plant your own star tree within your reach or vicinity

Nurture her with affection and love

She will bless you with health, wealth, happiness and

prosprity”

(Rajasekharan et al., 2005)

Compared to 27-star trees mentioned in the almanacs, seven are different according to the original reference in Vrikshayurveda. On verification it was found that certain stars corresponding to the trees in the Almanac are illogical for example:- the local names of the tree species mentioned against Aayilyam, the 9th star mentioned in the almanac(Malayalam) are: (I) Narakom (Citrus sp.), (ii) Nangu (Ladiosiphon eriocephalus) and (iii) Naga(Mesua ferrea). On analysis, it was found that the sign of the star Aayilyam is directly connected to the Snake God. The tree species mentioned as (i) and (ii) does not have any direct connection with the sign of the star. But the tree species mentioned as (iii) Naga, meaning the serpent, itself denotes its direct link with the sign of the star. The original Sanskrit name mentioned in the text is Naga which is translated into Malayalam as Nagapoo (the flower of the serpent world), and botanically identified as Mesua ferrea. Note: The local names Narakom and Nangu erroneously translated into Malayalam.

Stars and trees

Name of the Star (Local Name) Sanskrit Local Name Name of the trees - Botanical Name
Aswathi Aswini Vishadru Strychnos nux-vomica L. (Loganiceae)
Bharani Bahrani Amalaki Phyllanthus emblica L. (Euphorbiaceae)
Karthika Krittika Atthi Ficus recemosa L. (Moraceae)
Rohini Jamboo Njaval Syzygium cumini (L.) (Myrtaceae)
Makayiram Khadira Karungali Acacia chundra (Rottler) Willd. (Mimosaceae)
Thiruvathira Krishna Kumbil Gmelina arborea Roxb. (Verbenaceae)
Punartham Vamsa Mula Bambusa vulagaris Schrad. Ex J.C.Wendl.(Poaceae)
Pooyam Aswatha Arayal Ficus religiosa L. (Moraceae)
Aayilyam Ashlesha Nagapoo Mesua ferua L. (Clusiaceae)
Makom Makha Vatah Ficus benghalensis L. (Moraceae)
Pooram Poorva Plash Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. (Fabceae)
Uthram Uttara Pleksha Ficus microcarpa L. f. (Moraceae)
Attam Hasta Amratakom Spondias pinnata (L.F.) Kurz. (Anacardiaceae)
Chithira Chitra Bilwa Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. (Rutaceae)
Chothi Swathi Arjuna Terminalia arjuna(DC.) Wt. & Arn. (Combretaceae)
Visakhom Vishaka Viakmkata Flacourtia montana Graham. Flacourtiaceae)
Anizham Anuradha Kesara Mimusopus elengi L. (Sapotaceae)
Ketta Jyestha Sabara Symplocos cochinchinensis (Lour.) Moore. (Symploceceae)
Moolam Moola Sarja Vateria indica L. (Dipterocarpaceae)
Pooradam Purvashada Vanchula Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng. (Lecythidaceae)
Uthradam Uttarashaa Panasa Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (Moraceae)
Thiruvonam Shravana Arka Calotrophis gigantea L. (Aslepiadaceae)
Avittom Dhanistha Sami Prosophis cineraria (L.) DRUCE. (Mimosaceae)
Chatayam Shatabhisa Kadambam Neolamarckia cadamba (Roxb.) Bosser (Rubiaceae)
Poorurutati Uttarabhadra Aamra Mangifera indica L. (Anacardiaceae)
Uttratati Poorvabhadra Neem Azadirachta indica JUSS. (Meliaceae)
Revati Revati Madhuka Madhuca nerifolia (Moon) H. J. Lam. (Sapotaceae)

The corrected version of the other six plants are

1. Gmelina arborea, locally known as Kumbil (*Krishna) (existing plant name in the Almanac is Karimaram (Diospyros ebenum)

2. Symplocos cochinchinensis locally known as Pachotti (Saabara*)

(existing name in the Almanac is Vetti (Aporosa lindleyana),

3. Vateria indica locally known as in the Almanac is Kunthirikkom (Sarja*) (existing plant name in the Alamanac is Pinus longifolia(pine),

4. Barringtonia racemosa locally known as Samudrakai(Vanchula*) (existing plant name in the Almanac is Vanchi/Attuvanchi (Salix tetrasperma/Ochreinauclea missionis),

5. Neolamarkia cadamba locally known as Kadambu (Kadamba*) (existing name in the Almanac is Kitha/Thazampoo (Pandanus odoratissimus),

6. Azadiracta indica locally known as Veppu (Nimba*) (existing name in the Almanac Karimpana(Borassus flabellifer).

The life span of trees

According to Ashtangahridaya Nigundu, Ashvatha (Ficus religiosa) has a maximum life span of 2200 years.

Salmali vatadhyapeshaya na swachiram thishtadi Asvatha

It denotes that Ashvatha (Ficus religiosa) have a maximum life span among all tree species on Earth.

Shatir varsha sahasrani vana jeevati salmati)”

The life span of Bombax ceiba is estimated has six hundred years

Benefits of planting trees in homesteads

This is one of the peculiar and popular conservation strategies evolved by the ancient Vrikshayurvedic experts with a view to establishing linkages between cultures, religions, and beliefs. The table given below shows the abstract of various concepts and strategies once popular among the public. It is recommended that one who plants more edible trees in his garden reach the divine world of Lord Siva and will be able to reside there for more than three yugas. In short, Vrikshas are able to provide four Purashartas such as Dharma(eternal law), Artham(wealth), Kamam (desire) and Moksham (salvation).

Planting of tree species having Carbon sequestration potentially

Carbon sequestration means capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere or capturing anthropological (human) CO2 from large-scale stationary sources like power plants before it is released to the atmosphere. Once captured, the CO2 gas (or the carbon portion of the CO2) is put into long-term storage. CO2 sequestration has the potential to significantly reduce the level of carbon that occurs in the atmosphere as CO2.

Participatory approach for planting trees

Sl.No Sanskrit name Botanical name Local name Benfits
1 Surasa Ocimum tenuiflorum Krishna thulasi Able to reside in the world of Vishnu known as Vaikundam
2 Vilwa Aegle marmelos Koovalam Family will be blessed with healthy children, grand children and prosperity for a longer period
3 Aswatham Ficus religiosa Arayal Able to reach the world of Vishnu
4 Dhatri Phyllanthus emblica Nelli Will recieve enormous benefits equal to the benefit obtained by performing thousands of Yagas(rituals). Furthur he will get benefit similar to the blessing arrived by distributing free land to the poor and also blessing attained through Bhramacharya Vritha (self controlled life style)
5 Nimba Azadiracta indica Aryaveppu One who is able to cultivate and grow three neem trees can easily reach the world of sun and remain there for 30000 years.
6 Plaksham Ficus microcarpa Ithi Will get benefit equivalent to the blessing recived by onducting the famous Rajasuyam Yaga
7 Ambram Mangifera indica Mavu One who cultivates and grows five msngo tree in the premises of his garden or on both side of the street, slavation will be attained for his 14 previous and 14 future generations
8 Sireesham Albizia lebbeck Nenmenivaka One who plants 6 trees of Sireesham will reach the world of Garuda (Brahminy kite) in his life period
9 Palasam Butea monosperma Chamatha One who plants seven Palasam or one Palasam tree is able to reach the world of Brahma, where he will be respected by the devas.
10 Udum baram Ficus racemosa Athi One who plants eight Udumbaram or encourage others to plant this tree species will reach the world of moon
11 Madhukam Madhuca nerifolia Ilipa One who plants ilipa tree, will be blessed with Goddess Parvathi and get benefits equal to the blessing recieved by doing poojas to all diine God and Godesses and will be free from all diseases.
12 Sheerika Manikara hexandra Pazamunpala One who cultivates and grows Sheerika, Kadali (Musa suparba), Draksha (Vtitsvinifera), Prelayam (Buchanania latifolia) and Panasam (Artocarpus heterophylus) will be free from all kinds of illness for himself and seven future generations. He will also have happines in his life.
13 Jambu Syzygium cumini Njaval If the Jambu tree is either cultivated or naturally grown in the homestead and the inhabitants are following all rights according to Dhrama (eternal law), Prosperity will come. Aprt from these, one who cultivates/grows useful trees or plabnts which are flowering and fruiting profusely will get blessed equivalent to the donation of the healthy cows and diamonds

It is interesting to note that the concept of planting trees having carbon sequestration potential is described in ancient Vrikshayurvedic literature. According to Acharya Sarangadhara, one who plants the following plants in a prescribed number and constructs a pond nearby will never reach the world of naraka (place of torment).

Carbon sequestration of tree species

Sl.No Sanskrit Botanical name Local name Number of plants to be planted
1 Aswatham Ficus reliosa Arayal One
2 Pichumanda Azadiracta indica Aryavepu One
3 Vata Ficus Benghalensis Peral One
4 Tintrini Tamarindus indica Valan puli Ten
5 Kapitham Limonia acidissima Valr maram Three
6 Vilwam Aegle marmelos Kooovalam Three
7 Amalaki Phyllanthus emblica Nelli Three
8 Ambra Mangifera indica Mavu Five
        (Sarangadhara padhathi)