In the Earlier post, I have talked about the traditions related to Sharad Paksha.

Today I want to touch upon another Indian tradition and its implicit sustainable aspects.

The worship of different plants and trees which are most beneficial to the environment or which are most required for that geographical locations is one such example. Indians are known to worship Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) as most pious plant which is now known to have hundreds of medicinal and therapeutic effects. It helps in purifying the air and soil as well. For example- Tulsi (Holy Basil) is an excellent anti-biotic, germicidal, fungicidal and disinfectant. It helps in protecting our body from nearly all sorts of bacterial, viral and fungal infections. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It also has immuno-modulatory properties. It is anti carcinogenic and it found to be effective in healing nearly all types of cancer and tumors. In recent past a number of applications were being filed for the therapeutic effects of Tulsi leaves by different foreign countries and India had to fight hard to keep them unpatented. All these effects are known since ages to the Indian community. It is made pious and worshipped as a Goddess in Indian culture. Thus it developed as a Tradition to have Tulsi plant in every home and use it daily. Thus you can see Tulsi plant in every house and concern about its growth.

There are many other such trees which were made pious and different days are allotted for them for some good reasons. Like for getting a handsome groom, girls are advised to worship Peepal(Ficus religiosa) tree and pour water in it on every Thursday. Also we are known not to cut Peepal tree as God won’t forbid us for this. There is a tradition of knotting Raksha Sutra( Red Thread) around trees and make a wish for our good fortune. The use of Neem (Azadirachta indica) on the day of Akshaya Tritiya on door of house or the culture of growing five trees in courtyard are examples of sustainability intermingled in our tradition.

Now see the implicit sustainability in this. As we have tradition of worshiping the plants, we will not cut them for any reason. We will take utmost care of them. We pour water in them daily and use them daily without any harm. Our children also learn to care of the plants. Hence these traditions take us near to nature and educate us to live in harmony with it. This leads to a win-win situation where environment has viability and in turn it benefits to human in every aspect.

Thus if any good practice converts to tradition like worshiping of trees, it will be persistent and hence will keep us sustained for a better future.

- Ms Seema Gupta