Sacred Fig

Sacred Fig

Overview
The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree (from the Sanskrit bodhi: "wisdom", "enlightened", and as a Sinhalization of this the Sinhala bo), Peepal (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

) is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of banyan
Banyan
A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree...

 fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

 native to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, southwest China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

. It belongs to the Moraceae
Moraceae
Moraceae — often called the mulberry family or fig family — are a family of flowering plants comprising about 40 genera and over 1000 species. Most are widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, less so in temperate climates...

, the fig or mulberry family.

Ficus religiosa is a large dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

-deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 or semi-evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 tree up to 30 metres (98.4 ft) tall and with a trunk
Tree Trunk
"Tree Trunk" is a song recorded and released in 1972 by The Doors."Tree Trunk" was recorded by the surviving members of The Doors as they assembled material for their second and final album, Full Circle, following the death of Jim Morrison...

 diameter of up to 3 metres (9.8 ft).
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Encyclopedia
The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree (from the Sanskrit bodhi: "wisdom", "enlightened", and as a Sinhalization of this the Sinhala bo), Peepal (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

) is a species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of banyan
Banyan
A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree...

 fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

 native to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, southwest China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

. It belongs to the Moraceae
Moraceae
Moraceae — often called the mulberry family or fig family — are a family of flowering plants comprising about 40 genera and over 1000 species. Most are widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, less so in temperate climates...

, the fig or mulberry family.

Description


Ficus religiosa is a large dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

-deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 or semi-evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 tree up to 30 metres (98.4 ft) tall and with a trunk
Tree Trunk
"Tree Trunk" is a song recorded and released in 1972 by The Doors."Tree Trunk" was recorded by the surviving members of The Doors as they assembled material for their second and final album, Full Circle, following the death of Jim Morrison...

 diameter of up to 3 metres (9.8 ft). The leaves
Leaves
-History:Vocalist Arnar Gudjonsson was formerly the guitarist with Mower, and he was joined by Hallur Hallsson , Arnar Ólafsson , Bjarni Grímsson , and Andri Ásgrímsson . Late in 2001 they played with Emiliana Torrini and drew early praise from the New York Times...

 are cordate in shape with a distinctive extended tip; they are 10–17 cm long and 8–12 cm broad, with a 6–10 cm petiole. The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 is a small fig 1-1.5 cm diameter, green ripening to purple.

Religious sacredness


The Ficus religiosa tree is considered sacred by the followers of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

.

Buddhism
Buddhist legend tells of Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 attained enlightenment
Bodhi
Bodhi is both a Pāli and Sanskrit word traditionally translated into English with the word "enlightenment", but which means awakened. In Buddhism it is the knowledge possessed by a Buddha into the nature of things...

 (bodhi) while meditating underneath the Bodhi tree
Bodhi tree
The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo , was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree located in Bodh Gaya , under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi...

, a Ficus religiosa. The site is in present day Bodh Gaya, northern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The Bodhi tree and the Sri Maha Bodhi
Sri Maha Bodhi
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is a Sacred Fig tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is said to be a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Buddha became enlightened...

 propagated from it are notable specimens of Sacred Fig. The known planting date of the latter, 288 BCE, gives it the oldest verified age for any flowering plant (angiosperm)
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

.

In Theravada Buddhist Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, the tree's massive trunk is often the site of Buddhist or animist shrines.

Hinduism
Sadhu
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

s (Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 ascetics) still meditate beneath sacred fig trees, and Hindus do pradakshina
Pradakshina
Pradakshina or Pradakshinam , meaning circumambulation, consists of walking around in a 'circle' as a form of worship in Hindu ceremonies in India. The devotees walk around the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost chamber of the shrine housing the temple deity. It is done around sacred fire , trees and...

 (circumambulation) around the sacred fig tree as a mark of worship. Usually seven pradakshinas are done around the tree in the morning time chanting "Vriksha Rajaya Namah", meaning "salutation to the king of trees."

Vernacular names




The Ficus religiosa tree is known by a wide range of vernacular names in different locales and languages, including:
  • in Indic languages:
    • bawdi nyaung pin
    • Bengali
      Bengali language
      Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

       অশ্বত্থ asbattha, পিপল, Peepal
    • Hindi
      Hindi
      Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

      : पीपल pipal (sometimes transliterated as: peepal, peepul, pippala, etc.)
    • Kannada araLi mara ಅರಳಿ ಮರ
    • Konkani Pimpalla Rook/jhadd
    • Malayalam
      Malayalam language
      Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

       അരയാല്‍ Arayal
    • Marathi
      Marathi language
      Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

       पिंपळ pimpaL (where L stands for the German ld sound, used in for example Nagold)
    • Oriya
      Oriya language
      Oriya , officially Odia from November, 2011, is an Indian language, belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is mainly spoken in the Indian states of Orissa and West Bengal...

       Ashwatth
    • Pali
      Páli
      - External links :* *...

      : assattha; rukkha
    • Sanskrit
      Sanskrit
      Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

      : अश्वत्थः aśvatthaḥ vṛksha, pippala vṛksha (vṛksha means tree)
    • Sinhala: බෝ bo, ඇසතු esathu
    • Tamil
      Tamil language
      Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

       கணவம் kaṇavam, also அரச மரம் (arasa maram)
    • Telugu
      Telugu language
      Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

       రావి raavi,
    • Urdu
      Urdu
      Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

      : peepal
    • Punjabi
      Punjabi language
      Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

      :Pippal
    • Gujarati
      Gujarati language
      Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

      :vad,vadlo,pipdo પિપળો

Sanskrit


Plaksa is a possible Sanskrit term for Ficus religiosa. However, according to Macdonell and Keith
Keith
Keith may refer to:People*Keith *Keith * Baron Keith, line of Scottish barons in the late 18th century* Clan Keith, Scottish clan associated with lands in northeastern and northwestern Scotland...

 (1912), it denotes the Wavy-leaved Fig tree (Ficus infectoria) instead.

In Hindu texts, the Plaksa tree is associated with the source of the Sarasvati River
Sarasvati River
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata...

. The Skanda Purana
Skanda Purana
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya , a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him...

states that the Sarasvati originates from the water pot of Brahma
Brahma
Brahma is the Hindu god of creation and one of the Trimurti, the others being Vishnu and Shiva. According to the Brahma Purana, he is the father of Mānu, and from Mānu all human beings are descended. In the Ramayana and the...

 and flows from Plaksa on the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

. According to Vamana Purana 32.1-4, the Sarasvati was rising from the Plaksa tree (Pipal tree).

Plaksa Pra-sravana denotes the place where the Sarasvati appears. In the Rigveda Sutras, Plaksa Pra-sravana refers to the source of the Sarasvati.

Traditional medicinal uses


Ficus religiosa is used in traditional medicine for about 50 types of disorders including asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammatory disorders, infectious and sexual disorders.,

Cultivation


Ficus religiosa is grown by specialty tree plant nurseries for use as an ornamental tree, in garden
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

s and park
Park
A park is a protected area, in its natural or semi-natural state, or planted, and set aside for human recreation and enjoyment, or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of rocks, soil, water, flora and fauna and grass areas. Many parks are legally protected by...

s in tropical and subtropical climates.

See also


  • Bodhi tree
    Bodhi tree
    The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo , was a large and very old Sacred Fig tree located in Bodh Gaya , under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi...

  • Sri Maha Bodhi
    Sri Maha Bodhi
    Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is a Sacred Fig tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is said to be a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Buddha became enlightened...

  • Shitala Devi
    Shitala Devi
    Shitala , also called Sitala , is a Hindu goddess widely worshipped in North India, West Bengal, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan as the pox-goddess. Shitala Devi literally means the cold Goddess.-Name and variants:...


External links