Discovery of the Banyan Tree, sacred gift to the Indians

If you have ever had the chance to visit India, you cannot have missed these gigantic trees decorated with checkered fabric that sit proudly alongside the temples.

Resembling enormous piles of lianas, branches and roots, this species of tree is called banyan tree.

We will see it together in this article, but already know that the banyan tree is sacred for millions of people in Asia, very sacred even.

From Hindus to Buddhists, Indians to Balinese, it figures in the myths and legends of many communities.

You will be able to enter things about him as varied as his ability to connect men to heaven, to represent immortality or, on the contrary, the gods of death.

In short, the banyan tree is very clearly a prominent cultural element that far too many tourists pass by without realizing what they have next to them.

Contents :

Origin of the name of the banyan tree

Short botanical description

And so, why would the banyan tree be sacred?

The banyan tree is revered in India… and elsewhere then?

The place of this tree in traditional medicine

Several Indian merchants trading spices in a market.

Origin of the name of the banyan tree

The French word “banyan” actually dates back to the very first discoveries of Europeans in Asia.

There once existed in India a merchant caste called banias.

These men had a nomadic lifestyle and liked to place their camp near strange trees with gnarled trunks... Exactly, we are talking about banyan trees here!

According to some historians, the sole purpose was to cool off in the shadow of these impressive colossi.

We'll see it right after this, but it could well be that the reasons are more spiritual.

In short, it is in association with these merchants that our famous tree took its name.

Aerial roots of a banyan tree growing on a large trunk.

Short botanical description

When we see one, the banyan tree may seem strange to us. Its bizarre curves can even scare little ones after dark.

In fact, this strange appearance comes from its greatest botanical peculiarity: it sometimes happens that one of its seeds germinates at the top of another tree, its roots falling to the ground like lianas from the canopy.

This process takes place in a fairly simple manner.

If a bird comes and places a banyan seed in a neighboring tree, and the seed has sufficient strength and vitality, it can germinate despite the absence of soil, drawing its nutrients from the host tree.

As it grows, the young banyan tree will see its roots grow until they reach the ground, and finally enter it.

This way of growing “attached” to another tree is often described as a sacred union between two competing beings, two adversaries that destiny irremediably brings together.

However, there is no balance in this relationship: over the years, the banyan tree will completely cover its unfortunate neighbor with its enormous roots, to the point of depriving him of light and finally causing him to die.

To go further, here is a more precise botanical description of the banyan tree.

A statue of a Hindu deity and several other lucky charms from Hinduism

The mysteries of the Orient

through the ancient wisdom of Hinduism

Discover

And so, why would the banyan tree be sacred?

Trees have always had great importance in Indian culture. They are considered sacred beings and some of them are even seen as the dwelling places of powerful gods.

If we tell you this, you must suspect it, it is quite simply because the sacred banyan tree is one of the most respected in all Hindu tradition.

This ancient religion has been the source of a formidable tradition, powerful symbols and great truths. If all this speaks to you, here is a collection of some lucky objects from this religion.

In short, some people even worship the banyan tree itself, seeing it as the material expression of powerful spiritual forces of life.

Even if this may seem a little excessive, we will see: there is no shortage of reasons to venerate the banyan tree.

View of the branches and roots of a banyan tree seen from below.

A tree that connects us to the sky and the gods

It is enough to stand under one of these superb trees and observe it for a thought to immediately come to mind: despite their imposing root trunks, banyan trees seem to float in the air, almost as if a strength helped them stay in the heavens.

This is undoubtedly why they were considered throughout history as celestial trees forming the “bridge” between the Earth and the clouds.

This notion of a bridge actually goes further…

Hinduism teaches us that the banyan tree allows us to connect with the deities.

In particular, it is said that some of them enjoy meditating under these trees, leaving some of their spiritual energy there.

It would then be enough to spend enough time there to be imbued with it... We now understand why so many temples and sanctuaries are built under the banyan trees!

Face of a Hindu guru living as a hermit, with painted face.

Immortality, longevity and spirituality

In Indian culture, the banyan tree is also associated with three prominent concepts: spirituality, longevity and even immortality.

Spirituality comes from the “aerial” side of the tree : it is free from the weight of the material world and can therefore rise physically as well as spiritually.

It is therefore not uncommon to see gurus and hermits meditating, sometimes even living, below one of them. Symbolically, it must be seen as a rejection of the materialism specific to the world of men.

The notions of immortality and longevity come more from a Hindu legend.

One day, the creator god Brahma would have sought to materialize on Earth.

While most minor deities can do this without much trouble, Brahma was far too ethereal a being and, despite several attempts, he could not find any material receptacle capable of receiving his divine essence.

Among his attempts, we can note the creation of a tree: the banyan tree.

Painting of several deities of Hinduism.

The banyan tree is sacred to a whole bunch of gods

The banyan tree is therefore a sacred tree for Brahma. Very clearly, given the importance of this god in Hinduism, this is something to take into account.

However, this should not overshadow the relationships that the banyan tree has with other deities... which are quite numerous!

For example, the goddess Shiva is often depicted resting in the shade of a banyan tree. The stories say that she feels good there because of the presence of spirits, and because of the distance from village life and people.

We can also talk about Yama, the god of death. Its link with the banyan tree undoubtedly comes from the fact that nothing grows under this tree, its foliage is so dense.

We have only cited two additional examples here, but keep in mind that there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of them.

When we know that there are millions of different gods in the Hindu religion, we better understand why!

Gigantic banyan tree in a natural park.

The banyan tree is revered in India… and elsewhere then?

It’s clear: the sacred banyan tree is a major figure in Indian culture.

The state even went so far as to elevate it to the rank of national emblem!

But in fact, are there other countries in the world where this tree is respected?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes.

Here is a list of some cultures where the sacred banyan tree is respected:

  • As a general rule, countries with a Hindu or Buddhist tradition will consider the banyan tree to be a sacred tree.
  • In the Philippine archipelago, this tree is seen as the home of good spirits... but also of some with more evil intentions.
  • The religions of the Pacific peoples (Maoris, Polynesians, Hawaiians, etc.) consider the banyan tree to be the “house of the gods”.
  • In Indonesia, the banyan tree is a symbol of the unity of the country and is also found on the country's coat of arms.
  • Throughout the Southeast Asian region, it is seen as the source of the appearance of demons and spirits. Many religious festivals and ceremonies aim to “clean” and honor the banyan trees in order to appease the entities found there.

Woman in the middle of a relaxation and traditional treatment session.

The place of this tree in traditional medicine

There are many different traditional medicine traditions in Asia.

Most have found virtues in the banyan tree, and listing them all would take hours.

We will therefore limit ourselves here to the main properties described by Indian medicine, better known as Ayurveda.

Firstly, banyan sap is traditionally used as a cream against blisters and burns. Sometimes it is also used as an infusion to bring tone to the body.

Some also like to use its whole vines, but this time as a treatment for the mind. In fact, their mere presence would attract the gods and with them would come a whole host of blessings.

Better energy in the house, more luck for its inhabitants... The banyan vine is considered by many Indians as a real good luck charm!

If you want to check this for yourself, here are some banyan vines that will allow you to see whether or not their presence changes the atmosphere in your home.

Besides this, we can also mention its bark and its seeds which, prepared in infusion or powder, serve to regulate body temperature and general vitality.

Lucky charm featured in this article

Banyan vines

Banyan vines

See more
author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.