Where does the tree figure in this?
The tree is fundamentally important to save the environment and I would like to take a look at the way Vedic teachings venerate the tree. The tree is treated as a composite of all the three Shaktis – that is Shri Lakshmi, Usha and Saraswati. The three sibilants sh, shh and sa of the Sanskrit alphabet are represented in these three names. These alphabets are the oshna or energy sounds. Shri is the sound that belongs to accountability. It is diminished by giving. The wooden trunk of a tree is representative of this consumable form of energy. Usha is the Shakti that replenishes itself – such as the sunlight, flowing water in the river and leaves of the tree which naturally belong to this regenerative realm. Saraswati is that energy that increases by giving – the lighting of lamps, the spread of knowledge and the abundant fruits and seeds of plants and trees constitute this Shakti. It is this relentless, increasing magnitude of Saraswati that leads one to the fourth sibilant of ooshna, which is ha, the aspirate, which represents Brahman, the Unknown. The banyan tree (Ficus bengalensis) is considered the abode of Brahman, as the tree keeps expanding its base by dropping aerial roots which give it its majestic expanse, sometimes to the extent that the central trunk is indistinguishable. The plant kingdom automatically and very naturally embraces the rhythms of the universe and exists equally at all three levels of Shakti. It takes from the surroundings exactly what it requires through its intricate network of roots and branches and gives back to nature more than it absorbs. It lives symbiotically with thousands of bacteria, fungi, ants, birds – seeding the rain with its water evaporation and constantly converting noxious carbon dioxide in the air to nurturing oxygen.