banyan

Akshayvat: The Indestructible Banyan

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On the banks of Yamuna, in the historic city of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, stands the Akshayvat, or the Indestructible Banyan, the roots of which seep deep down into the Treta Yug, the times when Ram, Sita and Lakshman lived on earth.

The story goes that Ram, Lakshman and Sita came to Gaya to perform the sacred rites for their father, King Dashrath. The two brothers went to gather essentials and did not return at the time when rites were to be performed. Sita, having no other option, made offerings of sand to Dashrath in their absence and requested the Akshyavatam, River Phalguni, a cow, a tulsi plant and a brahmin to bear witness to the event.

Having gathered the material for rites, when the brothers returned and called upon their father, he did not appear, leaving them wondering. Sita then narrated what had happened but the brothers refused to believe that their father accepted the offerings of sand. Sita then called upon her witnesses all of whom, save the banyan tree, denied seeing anything.

A distraught Sita cursed the Phalguni River to dry up, banished the tulsi plant from Gaya, cursed the brahmins of Gaya to be hungry forever and dictated that the cow shall never be worshipped from the front, since it had lied from its mouth, its mouth would always be laced with filth…

Stories from Puranas are not a myth, all these characters and events are actually a part of world history and the four who lied are still paying the price for their karma…Case in point, just take a look at the cows on the street today, you will find them foraging in the garbage dumps, ingesting plastic and bearing immense pain owing to plastic poisoning. While the cow is paying back for its karma, the humans who are inflicting pain upon the cow are in return earning the curse of the cow—the reason why there is so much disease and suffering in the present yuga which is ushering in the end of human civilisation.

Author: Daphne Menezes

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