Forest and trees


Compiled by Priti Sawant

English name: Mango; Hindi name: Aam; Scientific name: Mangifera indica

Mango, a popular evergreen avenue tree, known for the best fruit in the world. This fruit of the summers have been one of the favorites from the times of lord Buddha. Moghul Emperor Babur has described it as beauty of the garden in Babur –nameh (1525).

The Hindus and the Buddhists consider mango tree sacred. Lord Buddha was once presented with a grove of mango tree under which he used to rest and since then the Buddhist consider the tree holy.

According to a Burmese legend, a gardener presented Buddha with a large mango fruit. The fruit was cut and got ready for Buddha to eat by his favorite disciple Ananda. Later, Buddha handed the stone (seed) of the fruit to Ananda to plant it in a suitable place. When Ananda planted the stone as directed, Buddha washed his hands over it and suddenly a beautiful white mango tree sprang from it, bearing flowers and fruits. This story is represented in a sculpture at Bharhut.

Hindus consider the plant of great religious significance. Symbolically the plant is Prajapati, lord of all creation, therefore, on all religious occasions, Hindus use its leaves as spoons for pouring libations.

Villagers in India believe that the mango tree puts forth fresh leaves at the birth of a son. Mango leaves are festooned across the doorways of a house where a marriage is performed in a hope that the young married couple will beget a son.

The origin of a tree is seeped in mythology. An enchantress was pursuing the daughter of surya, the Sun God. To escape her, the girl threw herself into a pond and turned into lotus flower. A king saw the flower and wished to possess it. But before he could take possession of it, the enchantress burn it, and from the ashes of the lotus flower, arose the mango tree. The king saw the tree full of fruit, and desired it. When the fruit ripened, from it arose the daughter of Surya whom the king recognized as having been his wife in an earlier birth.

Uses: Rich is vitamin C, the fruit is effective against sunstroke in summers. The twigs, being antiseptic, are used like toothbrushes for oral hygiene.

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