Skip to first unread message

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 4, 2008, 1:09:32 PM10/4/08
to indiantreepix

Sometime back there was some discussion on Kalpavriksha, the mythological wish-giving tree. I had heard about  a book named Plant Myths and traditions in india by Ms Shakti Sinha. Luckily somebody told me the name of the publisher and I could procure a copy. It is an interesting collection of mythology and tribal folklore associated with so many trees. Kalpavriksha has been variously associated with several trees according to various puranas, and mythological stories. These trees are :

  1. Parijata or Harshingar (Nyctannnthes arbor-tristis)
  2. Nyagarodha or Bargad….Banyan (Ficus Benghalensis)
  3. Kadamba (Neolamarckia cadamba). Or is it Kaim (Mitragyna parviflora) which is claimed by many to be the real Krishna Kadamba
  4. Mandara …Indian Coral tree (Erythrina variegata)


Both Parijata and Mandara came out of the churning of Ocean of Milk (Kshirsagar) with Sumeru mountain as the churner, snake Vasuki as the rope, and Vishnu as the pivot for the churner in his Kachchap (turtle) avatar. The objective of the churn was to procure amrita, the drink of immorality.


Parijata is the heavenly tree which symbolizes mind. One's desire is fulfilled if asked for  sitting in its shade according to the mythology.


Mandara also came out of the churning. Both were planted in Nandan Kanan, the garden of Indra. Parijata was taken away by Krishna for his wife Satyabhama. Later Mandara was desired by Rukmini and Krishna took that away as well. Mandara tree is also considered holy because of  the trifoliate leaves signifying the trinity of gods, that is Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.  Bilvaptra or Belpatra is also arranged thus, and so is Butea monosperma (Palash). A famous saying in Hindi is 'dhaak ke teen paat'. However, mandara and bilvapatra are offered to Shiva only. And so far as palash is concerned, I do not find any mythology associaated with it, except that its wood can be used to make vessels tol store pujan articles and is also used as sacrificial fuel. Palash when in bloom is a lovely sight, and as it flowers during the time of Holi, the festival of colours, water boiled and cooled  with palash flowers is used to throw colour at people.


Ficus Benghaalensis or Nyagrodhais also known as desire fulfilling tree, and is supposed to give to the worshipper food and drink, clothes and ornaments, children and hold your breath, een beautiful maidens as well. Wish I had known earlier!

According to Bhagvad Purana kadamba is Kalpavriksha. Kadamba is association of awine which was used to entertain Balram, the incarnation of Sheshnaag. However, Kadamba does not exude any juice, but its floeers are distilled to make a spirit. Kadambari is another name for wine. The trinity of exciting habits kadamb, kamini, kanchan, or sura, sundari, sangram (wine, woman and war) is the material for many a mythological story.

Parijata, Palash and Mandara are not preferred as garden plants mainly because the trees are nothing much to look at. Banyan is a fine tree but can be used only in large parks. Kadamba of course is a graceful tree, but it likes humid and cool weather. Although now it has ben acclimatised all over the country.

Sorry if it was boring and didactic. 




Anand Kumar Bhatt
A-59, B.S.F.Colony, Airport Road
Gwalior. 474 005.

J.M. Garg

Oct 5, 2008, 2:23:12 AM10/5/08
to Anand Kumar Bhatt, indiantreepix
Hi, Anand ji,
It's really interesting.

For learning about our trees & plants, please visit/ join Google e-group (Indiantreepix) http://groups.google.co.in/group/indiantreepix?hl=en

Shivakumar N.

Oct 5, 2008, 3:56:15 AM10/5/08
to J.M. Garg, Anand Kumar Bhatt, indiantreepix
Kalpavriksha, the mythological wish-giving tree......OR in other words a tree
that well could be USEFUL in all aspects to the human being. If it is merely a wish
fulfilling tree.... any tree with "religious connotations" would fit the bill. As you mentioned
the four trees. Another two i would like to mention are The Peepal tree and the Neem tree
that are worshiped across the country in various varying degrees and held auspicious.

But to my mind a tree that is useful in all aspects like the Coconut tree or The Banana
tree (plant) fits the bill because all the parts of the tree have been used by mankind
in India since ages. The fruit is obviously eaten with relish, the flowers are made into curry,
the leaves for making mats, eating plates etc, trunks for canoes as in the coconut and rafts as in bannana....But then these two tree do have the BIGNESS or the VASTNESS
of the Banayan or the Peepal or the Kadam etc.

What then is the Kalprivksha tree??? Qualified Botanists and Knowledgeable tree lovers
you may have your say on that MYSTERIOUS Kalpavriksha.
Or is it only a theory ENLARGED  by our ancestors over thousands of years
or is it some kind of Religious GROVES put together in ancient times
that had some collection of trees and plants that served as MEDICINES for some common
irritating health problems.

2008/10/5 J.M. Garg <jmg...@gmail.com>

N.Shiva Kumar.
NOIDA - 201 301.
(National Capital Region) NCR - Delhi
alternate E-mail : natu...@gmail.com

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 5, 2008, 7:31:14 AM10/5/08
to J.M. Garg, Shiva....@gmail.com, indiantreepix
I fully agree with you about the virtues of coconut tree, and partially about banana. The only remark that I want to make in this regard is that all these trees which have been mentioned as Kalpavriksha are mainly north Indian trees, and not from the Southern part of India. Does it say anything about the so-called  Aryan civilisation being of the nothern part of the country?
Best wishes,

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 5, 2008, 4:22:12 PM10/5/08
to DHIREN PANIA, indiantreepix
My context was entirely different. It was suggested that coconut and banana are also Kalpavriksha and should be recognised as such. I replied that for coconut I agree, but for banana agree only partially. Then I wondered whether there is any reason behind the  trees mentioned as Kalpavriksha in the Puranas and other sources all belonging to northern part of the country. Then I conjectured that maybe it is due to the Aryans initially come to northern part of 'Jumbudweep' . It is only an academic discussion with absolutely no other overtone.
So far as your list is concerned, What one would like to know is whether you have sourced it from somewhere or it is only your personal opinion. If latter be the case, I dont agree with the inclusion of  Palash and gullar trees. I don't know how all their parts are useful to men.   
On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:39 PM, DHIREN PANIA <123.d...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hallo Anandji,

Its not  like that Trees from Western & Southern  parts are also called as "Kalpavruksha".
Basically, Kalpavruksha  is   tree/s are tree which  fulfill all needs of human being with respect to food, shelter & medicine. 

And I feel depending upon geographical  region you will find many regional Kalpavruksha trees. Their reference can be find in our  Vedas & Purana's and great epics. And also  one find these trees in each & every villages, around  ashrams of many rushimuni schools.

Such Kalpavruksha Trees were also commonly popular with Tribal people. As these trees fulfill their need, as & when required.

For eg. five trees -- three ficus trees, one fruit bearing tree and one Medicinal property tree. which grows  all over India called  also "Kalpavruksha"  trees and they are--- 

VAD        ( BANYAN, Ficus Bengalnensis),
PEEPAL  (Ficus religiousa),
UMBER   (Ficus glomerata),
PALAS    ( Guj:Kesudo,Kesu/  Butea frondosa) and
MANGO   (Hindi:-Aam, Mangifera indica)

are worshiped as Kalpavruksha trees  because of their multidisciplinary usefulness.
Some one can correct me if I am wrong or can through some more light on these subject.

dhiren pania

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 6, 2008, 1:44:55 PM10/6/08
to DHIREN PANIA, indiantreepix
Dhirenji! Let us agree to disagree.
Best wishes,

On Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 9:45 PM, DHIREN PANIA <123.d...@gmail.com> wrote:

Banana can not be treated as Kalpavruksha, Besides banana, is tropical fruit mainly growing along SE Asia. "Jambudweep" includes  SE Asian countries, 

My list is concern it not my theory nor my creation. But, information  collected from various religious books & research papers. following are some uses of Palas & guler.which may interest you.

Palas-- its flowers are used in Holi for natural colour,for dying of clothes. In summer Indian Princess & Queens  from Central & Western India were using it for bath.Today also in Ayurveda bath of Palas flowers recommended for reducing heat from body. Besides flowers , Leaves are used as packet for pan and flowers.In MP & UP one get dish of Palsh leaves for eating. The extract of Palas is useful in many disorders.  
White flowers - Palas called B.monosperma which  is  rare and grow only in MP is astrologically important.

Guler /Fig--its  from deciduous  forest,Its fruits are used as dry fruits,  which has richest  cooper magnesium,potassium,its used as laxatives & antioxidants.In Greek,Islamic  & Christianity   its being sighted as forbidden fruit.  Many reference are their for its medicinal & other uses.

Besides these five trees what I have mentioned are common in our Central India, Western & Southern forest. My saying was more of scientific. Besides, u can ask any Ayurvedic Dr, for their uses and u will come to know.

Dhiren Pania

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 6, 2008, 1:50:42 PM10/6/08
to indiantreepix, J.M. Garg

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 7, 2008, 3:10:49 AM10/7/08
to Maitreyee Das, indiantreepix, sibdas ghosh
Probably Sibdas Babu would be able to enlighten us. About Joshimath I will  anxiously wait for a response. Sometime back there was a link to the Valley of flowers with a beautiful travelogue, and link to pictures which were uploaded on some site. May be he could.
Best wishes,

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 7:44 AM, Maitreyee Das <manush...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Anand ji,
                 I saw one tree in the old Sankaracharya Math in Joshimath near Badrinath, which they considered as the Kalpabriksha and hundreds of years old(!). It was a very  exclusive looking tree and belonged to neither of  the trees  mentioned by you. If anybody  who visited that place can shed some light in this matter, I will be really grateful to him. There is another tree  in the Kalighat temple ( I saw it in many other temples also like the famous Dakshineswar temple) in Kolkata which is also considered as the Kalpabriksha and so everyday thousands of devotees worship it. This is a big cactus like tree with thorns. For a very long time I was intrigued by the true identity of this mythological tree. So your discoveries are really interesting to me. Thank you for sharing them with us.
           With high regards,

On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 10:39 PM, Anand Kumar Bhatt <anand...@gmail.com> wrote:
Tele: 0751-247 2233. Mobile 0 94253 09780.

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 7, 2008, 3:14:44 AM10/7/08
to Maitreyee Das, indiantreepix, sibdas ghosh
Yes, it was Tabish who had gone to the Valley of flowers

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 13, 2008, 11:51:54 AM10/13/08
to mahendrap...@yahoo.co.in, indiantreepix
thanks, Mahendra.

On Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 1:56 PM, Mahendra Prasad <mahendrap...@yahoo.co.in> wrote:
Thanks. I can't say for others, I found it very interesting. Its at times like these we can gather a part of our culture, heritage & knowledge.

--- On Sat, 4/10/08, Anand Kumar Bhatt <anand...@gmail.com> wrote:
From: Anand Kumar Bhatt <anand...@gmail.com>

Get rid of Add-Ons in your email ID. Get your...@rocketmail.com. Sign up now!

Anand Kumar Bhatt
A-59, B.S.F.Colony, Airport Road
Gwalior. 474 005.

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 17, 2008, 2:18:35 PM10/17/08
to Sushmita Jha, sibdas ghosh, malyada, indiantreepix
Ghosh Babu, I know it is all guesswork, but the clinching factor in favour of Mitragyna is the fragrance, as Malyada had stated. Mitragyna is fragrant whereas N. cadamba is not, and the mythology says that Kadamba was fragrant. She also says that whereas Mitragyna is found in the area, N. cadamba is not.  However, here we are sitting about 3500 years after Krishna, and making wild guesses. In this I agree with you. But some names have stuck and they have been there from the beginning. Rajnigandha (not tuberose), parijat/ harshingar, vata, ashwattha, (Seeta) Ashok, malti, madhumalti, and your own champak (michelia champaka) are what they were before. And no harm in making this study and this site interesting also. 
Sushmitajji, the Publishers of  Shakti Sinha's 'Plant Myths and Traditions'  are Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, PO Box 5715, 54 Rani Jhansi Road, New Delhi 110055. 
all the best,

On Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 8:00 PM, Sushmita Jha <sushmi...@gmail.com> wrote:
Who is the publisher of this book?

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages