India is the natural home to many kinds of plants. We have always taken care of the plants around us. Indian culture is rich with stories about nature. There are many stories about plants which tell us how important they are to us. This is one such story.

The heavenly tree

A tall tree is I, full of goodness too.

All parts of me are very useful to you- coconut tree.

Many uses are from me.

Some people worship me. Do you know why?

Long ago there was a king, called his name Trishanku.

The wise sage Viswamitra was helped him.

In return, the sage granted him a boon. Trishanku wanted to go heaven. So by the power of his prayers, the sage was made Trishanku rise towards the sky. But the Devas said, `Humans are not allowed here!’. They did not let him in.

Poor Trishanku was left hanging in the sky! The sage felt sorry for him. He created a new heaven in the sky just for him. Then he planted a long pole in the ground. The pole reached Trishanku and he held on to it for support. After some time this pole changed into the first coconut tree and Trishanku became a coconut.

Now you know why some people worship me. I have the goodness of Trishanku, the blessings of Viswamitra and the divine qualities of heaven.

Some Indians also worship trees like the Margo, peepal, banyan, amla, Asoka and the tulasi plant. Trees and plants have been worshiped by some Indians for thousands of years. Our forefathers learnt to make medicine from plants. These medicines could prevent and cure some illnesses. They called this science Ayurveda or the knowledge of life. It is believed that chewing tulasi leaves cures the cold. Your grandmother may give a bitter paste of Margo leaves when you have an upset stomach. Even to day many people respect and follow Ayurveda. This knowledge of life is precious and so are plants. It is therefore our duty to look after them.


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