The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes in praise of planting trees etc. which is chapter 58 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the fifty-eighth chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 58 - In Praise of Planting Trees etc.

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Vyāsa said:

1. I shall (now) tell you what the fruit of (planting) trees is. O illustrious ones, listen to it. And also listen to the fruit derived from planting (trees) singly.

2. It is not possible to know or to narrate the meritorious fruit earned by that man who plants auspicious trees all round.

3. The fruit that a man would get by planting trees near water is a lakh crore times more than the fruit that he would get by planting them somewhere else.

4. He who plants it on the bank of a lake gets unending fruit. We say that hundredfold more is the fruit (that one gets) by planting meritorious trees.

5. A man does not obtain that fruit even by hundreds of sacrifices which he gets by planting an Asvattha (fig) tree on the bank of a pond.

6. The leaves (of the fig tree) falling in the water (of the pond) on the parvan[1] days are like the rice balls offered to the manes and bear inexhaustible fruit.

7. The fruit (of the fig tree) are eatens [eaten?] by birds freely and like the food eaten by Brāhmaṇas (at a śrāddha) they give inexhaustible merit.

8. The fruit that one obtains by planting a fig tree fit to be eaten (exceeds) not only the fruit of performing a hundred sacrifices, but even of having a hundred sons.

9. In the hot (season) cows, deities, brāhmaṇas receive shadow (from the tree). Eternal heaven is had by the hosts of the manes of the planter (i.e. the manes of the man who plants the holy fig tree live in heaven eternally).

10. Due to the holy fig tree being eternal there cannot be any difficulty that would befall the planter. Therefore, making all efforts a man should plant this holy fig tree.

11. By planting one tree a man is not abandoned (i.e. does not fall) from heaven. Therefore, O best brāhmaṇas, plant (this) great tree.

12-13. He who, the large-hearted one, plants trees like the holy fig tree near the charming vicinity of (reservoirs of) water, at the place where drinks are bought and sold, on the path or (near) a tank, goes to the lovely heaven after planting them. O brāhmaṇas, I shall now tell you what merit (a man gets) by worshipping the holy fig tree.

14. He who touches the holy fig tree after his bath is free from all sins. He who without bathing touches it gets the fruit due from a bath.

15-16. By seeing it (i.e. when it is seen) it destroys sin; it gives wealth by (i.e. on) touching it. Long life would be (obtained) by going round it while keeping it to one’s right. (A man should recite the hymn;) ‘O holy fig tree, I always salute you. I always salute the holy fig tree[2] whose leaves are shaking, in whom Viṣṇu always resides, and who is fit (to be saluted).’

17. By offering (i.e. he who offers) to the holy fig tree oblations, water, an offering of eatables, flowers, incense, and lamp, one is not abandoned (i.e. does not fall) from heaven.

18. Remember that worship of the holy fig tree gives eternal wealth, prosperity and fame along with sons, as well as success and honour.

19. All that muttering (of hymns)done, all that offering made, all the hymns of praise sung, all mystical diagrams used as amulets and all sacred prayers etc. recited at the root of the holy fig tree is said to give the fruit which is crore times greater.

20. Who in the world would not worship it at whose root resides Viṣṇu, in whose middle part stays Śiva, and at whose top lives Brahmā?

21. The fruit that one gets by observing silence, bathing and saluting the holy fig tree on a Monday or a new moon day is the same as is had by making a gift of a thousand cows.

22. By going round it, while keeping it to the right, the fruit that is obtained is (the same as obtained by giving away) a myriad of cows. By going many times round it while keeping it to one’s right the fruit is a lakh crore times greater; therefore one should always go round it while keeping it to one’s right.

23. Whatever, fruits, roots, water etc., is offered there (i.e. at its root), gives an eternal fruit in many births.

24-25a. Oh! there is no other form of Viṣṇu on the earth like this tree-form, viz. the holy fig tree. As in the world a brāhmaṇa is adorable or cows and deities are adorable, so is the god in the form of the holy fig tree most adorable.

25b-26a. When it is planted, preserved, touched and worshipped, it always gives in (that) order, wealth, sons, heaven and salvation.

26b-27a. A man who makes cut in the body of the holy fig tree is born in the cāṇḍāla and other (castes) after having suffered (i.e. lived in) a hell for a kalpa.

27b-28a. By cutting its roots he is never reborn (i.e. eternally lives in hell). Men stand (by) him in (the hell called) Raurava of a fearful sight.

28b-29a. That fruit which is (obtained) by planting (just) one holy fig tree is also obtained by planting three trees (i.e. plants) of campaka and arka (i.e. the sun plant).

29b-30. The fruit of planting eight bilva trees, seven nyagrodha trees and ten nimba trees is the same. O brāhmaṇas, I have told you the fruit obtained by planting each one of (these) trees.

31. He, a religious-minded man, who, knowing this, prepares an artificial forest (i.e. plants trees) goes to (i.e. lives in) heaven for crores of thousands and crores of hundreds of kalpas.

32-33a. (He gets the same fruit) by (planting) a thousand mango trees. Or he enjoys double or triple fruit or that which is smaller or greater (than that); and after having enjoyed it he would be made a king or a good lord.

33b-35. Enjoyable heaven, happy, lucky, auspicious kingdom, good health endowed with heroism come from (the construction of) a garden, the fruit (of the trees) of which are eaten by thousands of beings, birds, insects, or moths etc. that resort to them, or beings resorting to their shadows and other persons equalling that number.

36-38a. Hundreds of venerable deities become his servants. All the trees possessing vitality are of the form of deities. They should be worshipped as the manes (are worshipped), and should be served (as the manes are), and water and piṇḍas should be offered (as they are offered to the manes). In every birth on the earth, they are born as his handsome and very modest sons.

38b. (In his house) auspicious and meritorious rites are always (performed). Thus the beings sticking to the mango tree become the lords of the attendants of Śiva.

39. All the trees like emblic myrobalan, yellow myrobalan and others producing pungent, bitter and sour (fruits), become pure due to (their being planted in) a garden, give fruits, and always give auspicious things.

40-43. Those who give (i.e. plant) trees go to that place where there are golden palaces adorned with all (kinds of) jewels, where there are aeroplanes resembling the wind (in speed), where the trees are full of gold and always give everything and give pleasure in all seasons, where the maidens resembling celestial nymphs are intent upon singing and dancing, where there are tanks and other pools and also rivers having mud in the form of milk and decked with pure stones, having foam of milk, and endowed with the (objects of) six tastes.

44-45. He gets the same enjoyment in heaven as on the earth, and again (the same) on the earth; and again due to the old habit he constructs a tank or a garden. Doing such meritorious deeds the man becomes the lord of heaven and of human beings. A man who is incapable (of constructing a tank) gets the fruit of constructing a tank by erecting a place to distribute water to travellers.

46. Here (i.e. in this world) the quality of a place to distribute water to the travellers greatly removes all sins; it gives all enjoyments, is pure, is steady and gives (i.e. leads to) heaven and salvation.

47-49a. I shall narrate to you the characteristic(s) of a place to distribute water to the public, which enhances one’s fame. A man, who gives fragrant substances like agallochum, water, betel-nut with camphor, seat and tāmbūla, after having erected temporary hall at a place where there is no water and which is mixed with the sounds (of people i.e. which is a crowded place) where many travellers come in summer, rainy season and even in autumn, does not fall from heaven.

49b-51a. If this is done for three years, the fruit (obtained) would be like that of (the construction of) a tank. He does not fall even from heaven, and is honoured even by gods. He who gives (water) at such a temporary hall for a month during summer when there is no (i.e. when there is scarcity of) water, would live in heaven for a kalpa, and fallen from heaven, is honoured (on the earth).

51b. Those who give (water to travellers at such) temporary halls stay there where the givers of (i.e. those who construct) tanks live.

52. Otherwise (i.e. if the erection of such a hall is not possible), one should offer an auspicious ‘dharmaghaṭa’[3] for the destruction of(one’s) sins. This should be known as a meritorious dharmaghaṭa which is of the nature of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.

53. (One should pray to the ghaṭa as:) ‘May my desires be fulfilled due to your favour.’ One should also give a māṣa[4] of gold with the jar as dakṣiṇā.

54-56. Thus (i.e. if this is done) for three years only, one would get the fruit of offering (water at) a temporary hall. He, who would recite or make others hear (i.e. recite to others) the fruit got from (the construction of) a tank etc. would evidently be free from sins, and would get beatitude by its favour. He who recites this auspicious meritorious account among (i.e. to) people, lives in heaven for thousands of crores of kalpas.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Parvan—The days of the four changes of the moon, i.e. the eighth fourteenth day of each half month, and the days of the full and new moon.

[2]:

Bodhisattva, like Caladdala, is one of the names of the holy fig tree.

[3]:

Dharmaghaṭa—A jar of fragrant water offered daily (to a brāhmaṇa) in the month of Vaiśākha.

[4]:

Māṣa—A particular weight o gold.

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