Ancient societies lived in harmony with nature, the source of food, medicine, and shelter. Religious and other texts contain references to ecology, trees, and animals as the worship of gods was associated with nature and trees. Traditions and folklore developed around nature, and certain trees were considered sacred.

It is only natural that India, a country that is sunny and hot for most of the year, considers large trees with dense foliage sacred. Peepal and banyan (Ficus religiosa and Ficus benghalensis) fall in this category. Mango (Mangifera indica) is not only a large tree with dense foliage but also yields luscious fruit, as is Bel-Aegle marmelos. Saraca indica, commonly known as Ashoka, has beautiful showy red flowers and is a sacred tree for the Hindus. In ancient Hindu texts, many other herbs and shrubs possessing medicinal or aromatic properties have also been declared sacred.

The earliest reference to the worship of trees in India goes back to the Indus Valley Civilization (roughly the period of 2600-1800 BC). Seals from that era show people praying to a peepal tree.work was produced by these Vedic people. These include the Upanishads, the Upvedas like Ayurveda and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, and religious texts like Bhagwad Gita.

Many of these works allude to trees and plants. Manu considered an early architect of the Hindu religion, has stated that trees are like humans and feel pleasure and pain. Eulogies to trees have been sung by various Indian sages and philosophers.

Vedas, regarded as one of the holiest scriptures of the Hindus, was scripted by the Aryans. A whole body of philosophical and religious work was produced by these Vedic people. These include the Upanishads, the Upvedas like Ayurveda and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, and religious texts like Bhagwad Gita.

Many of these works allude to trees and plants. Manu considered an early architect of the Hindu religion, has stated that trees are like humans and feel pleasure and pain. Eulogies to trees have been sung by various Indian sages and philosophers.

Human society all over the world has had a strong association with nature, as evidenced by the Biblical references to the Garden of Eden and those to plants and herbs in the Vedas. The cultural interaction between the Vedic and before them the Indus Valley Civilization and people of Greece, Mesopotamia, Sumeria, and Rome had an influence on the thinking of the time.

There is much more to sacred trees. If interested read the chapter of sacred trees here.

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