Kalpavriksha

Kalpavriksha (Devanagari: कल्पवृक्ष), also known as kalpataru, karpaga viruksham,kalpadruma or kalpapādapa, is a wish-fulfilling divine tree in Hindu mythology, Jainism and Buddhism. It is mentioned in Sanskrit literature from the earliest sources. It is also a popular theme in Jain cosmology and Buddhism.

The Kalpavriksha originated during the Samudra manthan or "churning of the ocean" along with the Kamadhenu, the divine cow providing for all needs. The king of the gods, Indra, returned with this tree to his paradise. Kalpavriksha is also identified with many trees such as Parijata (Erythrina variegata), Ficus benghalensis, coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), Acacia, Madhuca longifolia, Prosopis cineraria, Bassia butyracea, and mulberry tree (Morus nigra tree). The tree is also extolled in iconography and literature.

Kalpataru, Kinnara-Kinnari, Apsara-Devata, Pawon Temple
Kalpataru, the divine tree of life being guarded by mythical creatures Kinnara and Kinnari, flying Apsara and Devata. 8th century Pawon temple, Java, Indonesia.
Jain statues in Anwa, Rajasthan 24
Idol of 10th Jain Tirthankar Shitalanatha with his symbol of Kalpavriksh below.

Religious beliefs

Kalpavriksha is an artistic and literary theme common to the Hindu Bhagavatas, the Jains and the Buddhists.[1]

In Hinduism

Kalpavriksha with Flowers in Ranchi, Jharkhand
Kalpavriksha with Flowers in Ranchi, Jharkhand

Kalpavriksha, the tree of life, also meaning "World Tree" finds mention in the Vedic scriptures. In the earliest account of the Samudra manthan or "churning of the ocean of milk" Kalpavriksha emerged from the primal waters during the ocean churning process along with Kamadhenu, the divine cow that bestows all needs. The tree is also said to be the Milky way or the birthplace of the stars Sirius. The king of the gods, Indra returned with this Kalpavriksha to his abode in paradise and planted it there. The tree also finds mention in the Sanskrit text Mānāsara, part of Shilpa Shastras.[2][3]Another myth says that Kalpavriksha was located on earth and was transported to Indra's abode after people started misusing it by wishing evil things.[4] In Indra's "Devaloka" it is said that there are five Kalpavrikshas, which are called Mandana, Parijata, Santana, Kalpavriksha and Harichandana, all of which fulfill various wishes.[4] Kalpavriksha, in particular, is said to be planted at Mt. Meru peak in the middle of Indra's five paradise gardens. It is on account of these wish-granting trees that the asuras waged a perpetual war with the devas as the heavenly gods who exclusively benefited freely from the "divine flowers and fruits" from the Kalpavriksha, whereas the demigods lived comparatively in penury at the lower part of its "trunk and roots". The Parijata is often identified with its terrestrial counterpart, the Indian coral tree (Eyrthrina indica), but is most often depicted like a magnolia or frangipani (Sanskrit: champaka) tree. It is described as having roots made of gold, a silver midriff, lapislazuli boughs, coral leaves, pearl flower, gemstone buds, and diamond fruit.[3] It is also said that Ashokasundari was created from a Kalpavriksha tree to provide relief to Parvati from her loneliness.[5]

In Hindu mythology Shiva and Parvati after much painful discussions while parting with their daughter Aranyani gave her away to the divine Kalpavriksha for safe keeping when the demon Andhakasura waged war. Parvati requested Kalpavriksha to bring up her daughter with "safety, wisdom, health and happiness," and to make her Vana Devi, the protector of forests.[6]

In Jainism

Kalpavruksha-Wall-Painting-In-Jain-Basadi-Moodbidri
The wall painting of Kalpavruksha in Saavira Kambada Basadi, Moodbidri, Karnataka

In Jain Cosmology Kalpavrikshas are wish-granting trees which fulfill the desires of people in the initial stages of a world cycle. In initial times children are born in pairs (boy and girl) and don't do any karma.[7] There are 10 Kalpavrikshas which grant 10 distinct wishes such as an abode to reside, garments, utensils, nourishment including fruits and sweets, pleasant music, ornaments, fragrant flowers, shining lamps and a radiant light at night.[7]

According to Jain cosmology, in the three Aras (unequal periods) of the descending arc (Avasarpini), Kalpavrikshas provided all that was needed, but towards the end of the third ara, the yield from them diminished. Eight types of these trees are described in some texts, each of which provided different objects. Thus from the "Madyanga tree" delicious and nutritious drinks could be obtained; from the "Bhojananga", delicious food; from "yotiranga", light more radiant than the sun and the moon; while from "Dopanga" came indoor light. Other trees provided homes, musical devices, table ware, fine garments, wreaths and scents.[4]

The Tiloya Panatti give the following list: Pananga, Turiyanga, Bhusananga, Vatthanga, Bhoyanga, Alayanga, Diviyanga, Bhayananga, Malanga, Tejanga with excellent drinks, music, ornaments, garments, edibles and ready-made dishes, mansions to live in, lamps, utensils and garlands of flowers respectively while the last type, namely Tejanga, seems to be self-luminous, serving the purpose of heavenly luminaries.[8]

In Buddhism

In Buddhism a small wish granting tree is depicted decorating the upper part of the "long-life vase" held by "longevity deities" like Amitayus and Ushnishavijaya. The goddess Shramana devi holds jeweled branch of Kalpavriksha in her left hand.[3]

Worship of the Nyagrodha tree as a form of non-human worship is depicted in a Buddhist sculpture at Besnagar.[9] This sculpture in Besnagar, also known as Vidisa (Bhilsa), is dated to third century BC and is exhibited in the Calcutta Museum.[10]

In Myanmar, where Theravada Buddhism is practiced, the significance of the Kalpavriksha is in the form of an annual ritual known as Kathina (presenting a robe) in which the laity present gifts to the monks in the form of money trees.[11]

Identification with other trees

Kalpvriksha
Kalpavriksha in Mangaliyawas (near Ajmer, Rajasthan in India)
Parijat-tree-at-Kintoor-Barabanki-003
Parijata tree at Kintoor, Barabanki.

In different states of India some trees are specifically referred to as the Kalpavriksha. These are stated below.

The banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis), also called Nyagrodha tree, which grows throughout the country is referred to as Kalpavriksha or Kaplaptaru because of its ability to amply provide for human needs.[12][9]

The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) found in most regions of the country is called "Kalpavriksha", as every part of it is useful in one way or the other. The coconut water inside the nut is a delicious drink. In dried form it is called copra and is used to manufacture oil. The coconut husk, called coir, is used to make rope. Leaves are used to make huts, fans, mats. Palm sugar is made from budding flower. The dried midrib is used to make boats.[13]

Ashwatha tree (sacred fig tree) is also known as Kalapvriksha where the deities and Brahma are stated to reside, and it is where sage Narada taught the rishis on the procedure for worshipping the tree and its usefulness.[14]

Mahua tree (Madhuca longifolia) holds an important place in the day-to-day life of the tribal people. It is like the Kalpavriksha wish tree called madhu (Madhuca indica).[15]

Shami tree (Prosopis cineraria), found in desert areas of the country, called in local dialect as Ajmer or jaant is called Kalpavriksha. In Rajasthan desert area its roots go deep to a depth of 17–25 metres (56–82 ft). This checks the erosion of the sandy soil of the desert. For this reason the tree stays green even drought conditions of weather. People of Rajasthan hence regard this tree as Kalpavriksha, because at the time of drought when no grass or fodder is found anywhere the animals are able to sustain by eating its green leaves.[16]

Chyur tree in the high altitudes of the Himalayas growing at an altitude between 500 and 1000 m, known as the Indian butter tree (Diploknema butyracea), is called a Kalpavriskha, or tree of paradise by the people of the mountainous region as it yields honey, jaggery and ghee. It is in the shape of an umbrella.[17]

In Joshimath in Uttarakhand a mulberry tree, which is said to be 2400 years old, is renowned and revered as the Kalpavriksha as it was the location where, in the 8th century, Adi Sankaracharya did "penance" under the tree as he considered it an incarnation of Lord Shiva.[18] It is also believed that sage Durvasa meditated under this tree,[5] in Urgam.[19] The mountain slopes of Kailasa are stated to have a profusion of Kalpavrikshas.[19]

At Mangaliyawas near Ajmer, Rajasthan, there are two revered trees (Male and Female) which are more than 800 years old, known as Kalpavrikshas. They are worshipped on an Amavasya day in the Hindu month of Shraavana.[5] In Ranchi (Jharkhand, Ranchi, India) there are three Kalpavrikshas. They are at a locality called Hinoo. In Tamil Nadu's culture, tala (Borassus flabellifer) a variety of Palmyra palm (Borassus), also known as toddy, is referred to as Kalpataru as all its parts have a use. This tree is also native to Asia and South East Asia, has normally a life span of 100 years, grows up to 20 metres (66 ft) height; its leaves in the shape of a fan are rough texture. The leaves were used for writing in the ancient times.[20]

In the Harivansh Puraan, the Parijata, baobab tree, is called a Kalpavriksha, or wish bearing tree, which apart from the village of Kintoor, near Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, is only found in heaven. The tree has mythological link with prince Arjuna of the Pandava clan who is said to have brought it from heaven. His mother Kunti after whom the village Kintoor is named used to offer flowers from this tree to worship Lord Shiva. It is also said that Lord Krishna brought this tree from heaven to please his wife Satyabhama.[21]

Kalpalatha is another wish fulfilling tree, a creeper, which was extolled during the later part of the Aryan period. It is said that a person standing below this tree would be blessed with beautiful ornaments, dresses and even unmarried girls.[22]

In iconography

In iconography, Kalpavriksha, the wish-fulfilling tree, is painted within a picture of a landscape, decorated with flowers, silks, and suspended with jewelry.[3] It is a pattern which has a prominent symbolic meaning.[1] Ornamental Kalpavriksha design was a feature that was adopted on the reverse of the coins and sculptures in the Gupta period.[23]

Kalpavriksha is also dated to the Dharmachakra period of Buddhism. The paintings of this period depicting the tree with various branches and leaves have a female figure painted on its top part. The female figure is painted from mast upwards holding a bowl in her hand. Similar depiction of female figure with tree representing it as presiding deity was a notable feature during the Sunga period as seen in the image of "Salabhanvka" in the railing pillars.[24]

In most paintings of Kalpavriksha Shiva and Parvati are a common feature. It forms a canopy over Shiva. In one painting Paravati is paying obeisance to Lord Shiva with her hands held up in adoration when she is blessed with a stream of water from the Kalpavriksha.[25]

In literature

A Kalpavriksha is mentioned in the Sanskrit work Mānāsara as a royal insignia. In Hemādri's work Caturvargacīntama, the Kalpavriksha is said to be a tree of gold and gem stones.[26]

In poetry Kalpavriksha is compared to Lakshmi as its sister emerging from the sea. It is born to the Naga King Kumuda, the fifth descendant of Takshaka, along with his sister Kumudavati. It emerged from below the bed of the Sarayu River challenging Kusa considered an incarnation of Vishnu just in the disguise as a son.[27]

Kalidasa, in his poetry Meghadūta epitomizing wish-fulfilling trees found in the capital of the Yaksha king extols the virtues of Kalpavriksha as "the dainties and fineries for the fair women of Alaka, coloured clothes for the body, intoxicating drinks for exciting glances of the eyes, and flowers for decorating the hair and ornaments of various designs".[28]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Agrawala 2003, p. 87.
  2. ^ Toole 2015, p. 73.
  3. ^ a b c d Beer 2003, p. 19.
  4. ^ a b c Dalal 2014, p. 620.
  5. ^ a b c "Background Context and Observation Recording" (pdf). Sacred Plants. National Informatics Center Rajasthan Forest Department. pp. 23–24.
  6. ^ Sivkishen 2015, p. 578.
  7. ^ a b "Kalchakra". Jainism simplified. University of Michigan.
  8. ^ Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 71.
  9. ^ a b Gupta 1991, p. 48.
  10. ^ Randhawa 1964, p. 10.
  11. ^ Padma 2013, p. 83.
  12. ^ Jha 2013, p. 83.
  13. ^ Allied S Environmental Education For Class 6. Allied Publishers. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-8424-065-8.
  14. ^ Samarth & Kendra 2008, p. 173.
  15. ^ Rastogī 2008, p. 46.
  16. ^ Rastogī 2008, p. 53.
  17. ^ Rastogī 2008, p. 25.
  18. ^ Limaye, Anita (1 June 2006). "Visit the 2,400 year old Kalpavriksh". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b Nair 2007, p. 65.
  20. ^ Jha 2013, p. 111.
  21. ^ Wickens 2008, p. 61.
  22. ^ Randhawa & Mukhopadhyay 1986, p. 2.
  23. ^ Bajpai 2004, p. 152.
  24. ^ The Journal of the Bihar Purāvid Parishad. Bihar Puravid Parishad. 1992. p. 302.
  25. ^ Dehejia 1999, p. 96.
  26. ^ Roger Blench; Matthew Spriggs (2 September 2003). Archaeology and Language IV: Language Change and Cultural Transformation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-81623-1.
  27. ^ Sivaramamurti 1980, p. 74.
  28. ^ Cunningham 1962, p. viii.

References

Achamana

Achamanam (achamana, achmana) is one of the most important rituals in the Hindu tradition. It is a purification ritual that is believed to cure all physical and mental illnesses.

Agnikaryam

Agnikaryam is the Yajna performed in a loukika agni (worldly fire) by brahmacharis (celibate bachelors). The Agnikarya is performed with the help of Samits or small wooden sticks or twigs usually of Arali (Ficus Religiosa) tree. This homa is performed daily twice: once in the morning and again in the evening. These two are respectively called Pratah Agnikaryam and Sayam Agnikaryam. Agnikaryam is also known as Samidadhanam. The method and mantras of performing the Agnikaryam are different for Rigveda and Yajurveda.

Archana (Hinduism)

Archana is a special, personal, abbreviated puja done by temple priests in which the name, birth star and family lineage of a devotee are recited to invoke individual guidance and blessings. Archana also refers to chanting the names of the Deity, which is a central part of every puja. The Sanskrit meaning is "honouring, praising."

Archana is also a common Indian female name. It means adoring or dedicated.

Ashokasundari

Ashokasundari (Sanskrit: अशोकसुंदरी, Aśokasundarī) or Ashoka Sundari, is a goddess and the daughter of Shiva and Parvati in Hinduism. She is referenced to in the Padma Purana (पद्म पुराण), which narrates her story. The goddess is mostly venerated in South India in the form of Bala Tripurasundari. Her son is called Yayati.

Ashram

Traditionally, an ashram-Hindi (Sanskrit ashrama or ashramam) is a spiritual hermitage or a monastery in Indian religions.

Chausa hoard

The Chausa hoard, thus named after the place of discovery: Chausa or Chausagarh is located in the Buxar district of Bihar state, India. This was the first known bronze hoard discovered in the Gangetic valley and consists of a set of 18 Jain bronzes. The oldest of such bronzes to be found in India, experts date them between the Shunga and the Gupta period, (from 2nd BC to the 6th Century AD).

The hoard includes a Dharmachakra showing Dharmachakra supported by two yakshis supported by makaras; a kalpavriksha and sixteen tirthankaras. Among the tirthankaras, those of Rishabha are easily identified by the locks of hair. The bronzes currently reside in the Patna museum.

Other well-known hoards of Jain bronzes include Akota Bronzes, found in Gujarat; Hansi bronzes, found in Haryana; and Aluara bronzes, found in Bihar.

IRIS (Management Festival)

IRIS, formerly known as āhvān, is the annual management fest of IIM Indore. It is usually conducted during the second week of November every year. The 2017 edition is occurring on 10-12 November.

Kalpavriksha (disambiguation)

Kalpavriksha may refer to:

Kalpavriksha, a mythological tree

Morus (plant), a mulberry tree

Parijaat tree, Kintoor, locally known as Kalpavriksha

Adansonia digitata, the baobab

Kalpavriksh, an Indian Non-Governmental Organisation

Karmkand

Karmkand refers to ritual services proferred by swamis or religious Brahmins in exchange for dakshina.

Kulakara

In Jainism, kulakara (also manu) refers to the wise men who teach people how to perform the laborious activities for survival. According to Jain Cosmology, when the third ara of the avasarpani (present descending half-cycle of cosmic age) was nearing its end, felicities due to ten type of Kalpavriksha (wish-fulfilling trees) started declining. The number of the sages who thus appeared is said to be fourteen, the last of whom was Nabhirai, the father of the first tirthankara, Rishabhanatha.

Parijaat tree, Kintoor

The Parijaat tree is a sacred baobab tree in the village of Kintoor, near Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India, about which there are several legends.It is a protected tree situated in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, India. By the order of local district magistrate, any kind of damage to the tree is strictly prohibited. The tree is known as baobab in modern science which is originated in Sub-sahara Africa and hence its presence in the fertile land of India makes it rare. Also the age of the tree is still not determined, which makes it quite possible that the tree may have been planted by someone who used to travel between India and Africa. The tree needs international attention of scientists to find out more about it. The tree is also known as 'the tree from paradise' due to its mythological significance.

Parmarth Niketan

Parmarth Niketan is an ashram located in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

Parmarth Niketan is situated in the lap of the lush Himalayas, along the banks of the Ganges. The ashram was founded in 1942 by Pujya Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj (1901–1965). Since 1986, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj is the President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan.As the largest ashram in Rishikesh with over 1000 rooms, Parmarth Niketan provides a clean, pure and sacred atmosphere as well as abundant, beautiful gardens to thousands of pilgrims, who come from all corners of the Earth. The daily activities at Parmarth Niketan include daily yoga specializing in Vinyasa yoga, general Hatha yoga and yoga Nidra. Daily activities also include morning universal prayers and meditation classes, daily satsang and lecture programs, kirtan, a Ganga aarti at sunset attended by hundreds of visitors each day at the shore of Ganges, as well as Nature Cure and Ayurvedic treatment and training. Parmarth Niketan is the home to a 14 feet Shiva statue on the banks of Ganges which provides a perfect view to the ashram. The divine tree of heaven Kalpavriksha was planted at the premises of this ashram by Vijaypal Baghel of Himalaya Vahini.

Additionally, there are frequently special cultural and spiritual programs given by visiting revered saints, acclaimed musicians, spiritual and social leaders and others.

There are frequent camps in which pilgrims come from across the world to take part in intensive courses on yoga, meditation, pranayama, stress management, acupressure, Reiki, Ayurveda and other ancient Indian sciences.Parmarth Niketan is also the headquarters of the Swami Shukdevanand Trust, a non-profit, religious/spiritual organization dedicated to religion, spirituality and culture, founded in 1942 by Pujya Swami Shukdevanandji Maharaj and registered in 1962 under the Societies Registration Act.Parmarth Niketan is open to all visitors, with no discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion, caste or creed.

Pinda (riceball)

Piṇḍas are balls of cooked rice and barley flour mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds offered to ancestors during Hindu funeral rites (Antyesti) and ancestor worship (Śrāddha).

Pindi (Hindu iconography)

Pindi are decked stones or tree stumps viewed in Hinduism as abstract manifestations of the mother goddess Shakti. Most of the 20th century goddess temples in Himachal Pradesh, India, enshrine a pindi.

Pravargya

In the historical Vedic religion, Pravargya was a ceremony introductory to the Agnishtoma (Soma sacrifice), at which fresh milk is poured into a heated vessel called mahavira or gharma and offered to the Ashvins. The ceremony is described in details in the technical texts on proper ritual, the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Shrautasutras.

Pundareekapuram Temple

Pundareekapuram is a small temple atop a little rise called Midayikunnam near Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam. Architecturally it is not very different from any typical village temple of Kerala. A tiled and saddle roofed square “Chuttambalam”encloses a square sanctum sanctorum. Appended to the square enclosure is a small ‘balikkalpura’. The idol worshipped here is the image of Vishnu sitting astride his celestial vehicle Garuda together with Bhoodevi. This is a rare icon.

There’s a fine picture of Siva and Parvathi sitting beneath the Kalpavriksha; a powerful picture of Durga vanquishing the buffalo-headed demon Mahisha, the pranks of Krishna the divine boy of Ambadi; a picture of a Yakshi the dangerous seductress of legends; Rama Pattabhishekham or the coronation of Sri Rama; Siva Thandava and a picture of Sastha astride a horse to point out a few of the striking paintings at Pundareekapuram.

Since the temple is tucked away in off rarely trodden village road, these paintings have for long remained relatively obscure. But these murals, no doubt can hold their own against the better known wall-paintings of Padmanabhapuram and Mattancheri Palaces. In all probability these murals were painted during the later half of the 18th century.

Another characteristic of the Pundareekapuram paintings and Kerala murals in general are the boldness and accuracy of the lines which give a unique force to the paintings.

Thousands of Nagaraja images are installed here with Garuda.

Pushpanjali

Pushpanjali (Sanskrit:पुष्पाञ्जलि, literally folded hands full of flowers) is an offering of flowers to Indian Gods.

Pushpanjali is the first dance in a Bharatha Natyam performance. It is the salutation to the lord of dance Nataraja, the Guru, the musicians and the audience.

Putrakameshti

Putrakameshti is a special Yajna performed in Hinduism for the sake of having a male child/son. It is a kaamya-karma.

In the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, upon the recommendation of Sage Vashishta, King Dasharatha of Ayodhya performed the Putrakameshti Yajna under the supervision of Rishishringa Muni, who was an expert in Yajurveda, which has the guidelines for this prayer. After its successful completion, the Lord of Fire, Agnidev appeared and gave a bowl of sweet to the King of Ayodhya, which was provided to his three queens in order to promulgate his sons Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna.

Temple dance

Temple dance denotes a religious performance held in the temples, such as sadir, prescribed by Agamas (scriptures that codified temple rituals, etc.). Traces of these ancient temple dances of India are seen in Bharatanatyam and Odissi.

The sacred Hindu temple dance used to be performed by devadasis and Mahari Dance, who were supposed to manifest in the material body the heavenly dance of apsaras.

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