Vatapournima

Children, on this day of Vatapournima,
let us resolve to imbibe the virtue of benevolence from trees

Children, our great Hindu Dharma and culture has gifted us a very rich heritage. Our great Saints and Sages have explained in the scriptures the importance of various Vrats (Vowed religious observances) in order to live an ideal and blissful life. In ancient times, every Hindu would strive to observe these Vrats meticulously. Observing these Vrats would give them various spiritual experiences, because of which they had staunch faith in these Vrats. They would have the bhav (spiritual emotion) that everything in this world has the existence of God in it. Even today, if we keep such faith, we will be blessed with such spiritual experiences and a similar bhav will be created in our minds. This will help in eliminating all social evils such as murder, rape, theft, destruction etc.

Friends, Vatapournima falls on Jyeshtha Pournima (The full moon day of the month of Jyeshtha of the Hindu lunar almanac). On the occasion of Vatapournima, let us learn how to live a cultured, ideal and blissful life by augmenting our moral values.

1. Hindu women worship the Vatavruksha
(Banyan tree) in order to keep their wifehood intact

We celebrate Vatapournima once a year. On this day, every married Hindu woman worships the Vatavruksha (Banyan tree) in order to keep her wifehood intact. Our Sages have taught that, since every tree has the existence of God in it, one should worship it like God.

2. It is essential to keep in mind that every tree has the existence of God in it

Friends, we learn the subject of ‘Environmental Science‘ in school. In that, we are taught to plant trees and save trees. We are also taught that trees are our friends. However, do we really have that emotion in us ? Do we really feel this from within ? No, not at all. In ancient days, there was no need to teach such things to our Hindu brethren. This is because, every Hindu had the faith that God exists in every tree. Everyday, Hindus used to offer obeisance to trees. They used to offer gratitude to trees, with the bhav that, ‘we are alive because of trees’.

On this occasion of Vatapournima, let us pray to God to help us gain awareness of His existence in every tree.

3. Let us resolve to imbibe the virtues of trees in ourselves

Children, have you ever thought why we are taught the subject of Environmental Science in school ? At present, all students study this subject with the sole objective of acquiring good marks in the exams. But is this attitude correct ? No. So today let each one of us resolve that, “I will not study this subject just to get good marks in the exams; instead I will keep in mind that God exists in every tree and try to imbibe the virtues of trees in myself.”

4. Virtues of trees

4 A. Benevolence : Trees bear the intense heat of the sun and in turn, provide shade to others. Similarly, during monsoon, trees withstand the brunt of torrential rains and provide protection to anyone that seeks their shelter. Also, trees provide us with fruits and flowers. From this, we learn that we too should always be ready to help others and give happiness to others. Remember, it is against the teachings of our Dharma to behave in a manner that makes others unhappy.

4 B. Egoless : In spite of giving us so many things, trees never have the ego that ‘I have done it. I am great’. They have the bhav that ‘Everything is done by God’. On the contrary, on performing the smallest good deed, we are filled with the ego that ‘I have done it.’ From today let us shed our ego and keep the bhav that, ‘Everything is done by God’.

4 C. Giving happiness to others : Various medicines are prepared from different parts of the tree. These medicines help in relieving our sufferings and thus make us happy. We too should strive to provide happiness to others from every action of ours.

4 D. Providing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide : Trees absorb the harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen, which is required for every animal’s survival, including humans. Trees provide support to all humans, animals, birds, insects and creepers. Hence, we should be grateful to trees.

5. Learn the virtue of sacrifice from trees to lead an ideal and blissful life

Hindu Dharma teaches that, ‘there is bliss in sacrifice’. Trees teach us the virtue of sacrifice. Every single cell in the tree lives and dies trying to provide happiness to others. Trees teach the qualities of benevolence and helpfulness. That is why, it is a practice in Hindu Dharma to worship trees. If we imbibe the virtues of tress in ourselves, we will surely be able to lead an ideal and blissful life.

So friends, from today, all of us shall strive to imbibe the virtues of trees in ourselves and try to spread happiness in the life of others. Let us pray to God to give us the strength and wisdom to achieve this.

Shri. Rajendra Pavaskar (Guruji), Panvel