Saturday, June 29th, 2013
The spiritually potent, significant and blessed Banyan Tree in Prasanthi Nilayam, popularly known as Meditation Tree, turned 54 today. Commemorating the occasion a brief programme was organized at the venue this morning. The programme commenced with Veda chanting followed by 108 Ashtothara of Bhagawan, concluding with a brief spell of Bhajans and Mangala Arathi at 10:30 a.m. Sizeable number of devotees attended the 45 minute function.
Mentioning the significance of the Meditation Tree, Prof. Kasturi wrote in Sathyam Sivam Sundaram thus:
The Banyan Tree that is growing in the grove has a peculiar sanctity of its own. In April of 1959, while talking one evening on the sands of the Chitravathi River to a gathering of devotees, Baba spoke of Buddha and the Bodhi tree, the “Tree of Wisdom,” and of the Sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) seeking some specially favorable spots for their austerities. Even as He was speaking thus, He “took” out from the sands a thick copper plate about fifteen inches by ten inches in size which contained mystic markings and letters of many known and unknown alphabets! He said that such mystic plates, cryptograms written on copper or stone, are planted under trees where aspirants engage in austerities so that they may be helped to develop concentration of mind and control of the senses. He announced that He would be placing the copper plate under a Banyan tree that He proposed to plant in the grove. This was actually done on the twenty-ninth of June, 1959, and Sai Baba declared that Yogis who have reached a certain stage of spiritual progress will automatically come to know of this tree and this mystic plate, and they will be drawn by the mysterious force of these toward the meditation grove which will then fully justify its name!
…And here comes the Spiritual significance of the Tree, in Prof. Kasturi’s own words:
The Banyan tree, known as Nyagrodha, “down-grown,” and Vatavriksha, “enclosure tree,” is famous in Indian sacred literature and history. Lord Maha Vishnu, the great God of Preservation, or Siva, God in the Form of the Guru, is described as sitting under a Banyan tree, and expounding by His very silence all knowledge to His disciple. This tree may be said to symbolize Sanathana Dharma, the Eternal Wisdom, for its branches reach out in all directions and draw sustenance from every type of faith and spiritual striving. It is also called Rahupada, “many-footed” in Sanskrit, for the series of roots that its branches send down toward the earth strike the ground and seek food therein and make the branches independent even of the parent trunk. The tree is therefore immortal. There are in India Banyan trees that have been worshipped for thousands of years, such as the one at Triveni at Prayag, Allahabad, or the one called Akshaya-vat, the “Indestructible,” at Gaya.
II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II