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17. 01. 2018
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AMALAKA EKADASHI

What India achieves distinctly in the matter of faith over other faiths that have originated elsewhere and not influenced by the Hindu concept of accepting the same instinct pulsating in every animate and inanimate things is its reverent attitude towards all that is useful to us. Hence we find the rivers are being hailed as mothers and the animals like cows being considered very sacred. It is because of the overriding belief that it is the Universal Spirit that pervades all and the Omnipresent instincts everything in this creation with its insupplantable element. He dwell, in all, the witness, the sentient all alone and devoid yet with all attributes.

It is this very thought current that underlies the worship of trees. On Amalaka Ekadashi (Anwala in Hindi or Emblica Officinalis), Amalaka is worshipped on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of P ialguna. It is believed that on this day Hari (Lord Vishnu) dwells n^ar this tree.

One very peculiar or characteristic trait of the Sanatan Dharma is subtly interweaving medical requirement with the religious dictates. We all know that Anwala is the richest source of Vitamin "C". And during this period(later January), a peculiar dryness sets in the human bodies—particularly in north India. This is basically due to Vitamin C deficiency due to drying weather. Hence Anwala worship on this day. It is religiously ordained to protect this tree which gives us so a useful fruit. After morning abulations Anwala tree is ceremonially ba'hed and watered and then worshipped. Fast is observed on this day and the brahmans are given gifts etc. It is believed that consuming Anwala and its products ensures happiness, prosperity and beatitude.

There is another reason of worshipping this tree on this day so ceremonially. It is this period when frosts etc. threaten tree's fruits and their own life. So this day used to be observed as Vanamahotsava when not only Anwala trees but all trees of useful products were planted and preserved. Although it is rarely celebrated in India barring a few pockets in tribal regions which still value Nature's bounty, it is being deliberately included in this book to make people realise that our ancients knew that Nature and man are dependent on each other and hence they shouldn't neglect each other. Now when we see our jungles are being obliterated by human capriciousness to lord over all that is created by the Lord, causing menace of floods, famine and other natural calamities triggered by man's greed, we are reminded about these festivals which worship trees.

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