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Vat purṇima - a spiritual perspective

vat purnima


1. Introduction to Vat Purnimā

Vat purnima(Vatapournimā) is a vowed religious observance performed by married women on the full moon day (pournima) of the Hindu lunar month, Jyēshtha, to prolong their wifehood. Deity Brahmā along with Shrī Saraswatī Devī are the main Deities while Satyawan, Savitri, Nārad and Deity Yama are the subordinate Deities in this vowed religious observance (vrat). Among the famous, chaste women (pativratas) of India, Savitri is considered the ideal. She is also considered the symbol of eternal wifehood.

When Deity Yama took Satyawan's (her husband's) life, Savitri debated with Him for three days. Appeased with her knowledge of the scriptures and her selfless determination, Deity Yama brought Satyawan back to life. The debate took place under a banyan (vata) tree. Hence the banyan tree is associated with Savitri. Women began this vowed religious observance for the longevity of their husbands. The banyan (vad or vata), fig (pimpal), Holy fig (oudumbar) and shami trees are considered sacred and are used in sacrificial fires (yadnyas). Among all these trees, the life of the banyan tree, is the longest. It also spreads extensively by the means of its aerial roots. Women ritualistically worship the Deities Brahma and Saraswati residing in the banyan tree and make prayers like, 'Please bestow health, longevity, wealth and progeny upon my husband and I. May our family grow and become prosperous.'

Below is the subtle observation of a banyan tree by a seeker (having advanced sixth sense and doing sādhana as per Gurukrupāyoga ) on the day of Vat purnima. This explains the science behind worshipping the banyan tree on the day of Vat purnima.


2. The subtle observation of a banyan tree on the occasion of Vat purnima*

1. I realised that worshiping the banyan tree is more important on this day as the Shiva (Purush or male) principle in the banyan tree is more active on this day.

2. When I went closer to the banyan tree, my state of mind became stable due to the touch of the Shiva principle.

3. While I was going towards the banyan tree I felt as if I was swinging in the air. Then my attention was drawn to the aerial roots of the banyan tree and I realised why I was feeling like that.

4. Felt that the aerial roots came down from the sky. The invisibility of the expansiveness of the banyan tree was a spiritual experience of the unmanifest.  

5. The unmanifest Shiva principle was flowing towards the earth through the aerial roots.

6. Though Shrīkrushṇa's chant was going on, inside I was remembering Deity Shiva sitting in the Himalayas. I realised that I felt that way because Deity Shiva is related to the basic Purush Nature (Prakruti) and the banyan tree is a symbol of Deity Shiva.

7. The touch of the waves of Divine consciousness (Chaitanya), emitting from the banyan tree, strengthened the determination to reach the goal of God Realisation. The Divine consciousness frequencies emitted by the banyan tree were stable.

8. As I was thinking 'What can be the importance of the banyan leaves?,' a banyan leaf fell on my head.
9. Noticed that the Shakti principle was getting awakened in the women, by the recitation of mantrās during the worship of the banyan tree.

10. While I was meditating on Savitri, I remembered a lotus. Then realised that Deity Brahma's energy is in fragrance and that fragrance can be represented by a lotus.

11. I felt as if the banyan tree is standing in the midst of fog. This vision of the banyan tree surrounded by fog was a vision of the manifest Shiva principle.

12. Experienced the smell of Ash (bhasma). Bhasma's colour is related to the Shiva Principle whereas its fragrance is related to Deity Brahma. All the principles of the Deities manifest qualities have these three powers. The energy of absolute action lies in the Deity's form, the energy of absolute knowledge in the vacuum of the Deity's form and the energy of absolute will in the Deity's fragrance.

13. While listening to the mantras recited during the worship of the banyan tree, noticed Shiva principle at the center of the tree in the form of a petal. That was a symbol of action.

14. While doing a ritual of bathing the Deity with water, milk, etc. (abhishēk) saw a white subtle dot. Felt that it was Deity Shiva in the form of the subtle dot. 

15.Due to the tying of a thread around the banyan tree in three rounds, our desires get fulfilled or they become a resolve. This is because 'resolve' is a combination of the power of the three absolute energies of desire, action and knowledge.

16.This is a religious observance. A religious observance means the path of deliberate rigour (Haṭhayoga). The spiritual emotion awakened during the observance is the path of devotion (Bhaktiyoga). The aim of becoming one with the name of the Deity itself means the path of natural spiritual practice (Sahajayoga). I realised that through all the actions in the religious observance, I finally have to go towards the one that is to 'the chant.' I felt gratitude with the thought that today, Guru has given that opportunity, to all the seekers.

17. Realised that the husband of one of the ladies, who was worshipping the Banyan tree, had an incurable ailment. Hence the vibrations from her worship were not reaching the tree.

18. Experienced a stream of white water flowing from the roots of the tree. My feet became cold due to this. From this experience I came to realise why there is a round cement bench (paar) built around the tree. I realised that we build the paar around the tree as the roots of the banyan tree are a symbol of the Divine stream of the Shiva principle.

19. 'The wifehood of a woman remains prolonged' implies her union with the original Shiva principle as being able to stay with him continuously. The union of the energy in the form of the jīva with the principle in the form of Shiva means the union of the jiva and Shiva. I realised that we have to attain the same through celebrating Vat purnima.


3. The Divine knowledge received by a seeker doing spiritual practice per Gurukrupayoga  

Following is the information given by 'one scholar' to the seeker receiving knowledge, Mrs. Anjali Gadgil

Compiler: Do we get the same benefit by worshipping a branch of the banyan tree compared to worshipping the tree itself?

Divine Knowledge: The main trunk of the banyan tree contains the Shiva principle. Hence worshipping the banyan tree with spiritual emotion (bhāv) helps us to gain 30% of the benefit of the worship, compared to only 2-3 % gained by worshipping it's branch. Since the branch is separated from the main trunk and hence from it's life, it has very negligible capacity to attract and transmit Divine consciousness. Bringing such a branch home and worshipping it, does not give much benefit. In the vicinity of nature, life exists in abundance and hence the fruits of Divine consciousness, can be derived in higher proportion.

Compiler: It is said that this kind of vowed religious observance (vrat) of Vat purnima is to be observed only after visiting Kashi (also known as Banaras, one of the Holiest cities in Bharat). The oldest married lady of the house, who started observing this vrat after visiting Kashi, passes the tradition on to her eldest daughter-in-law after the demise of her husband. What is the purpose behind this practice?

Divine Knowledge: This is just an established tradition.


4. The spiritual experience of a seeker about Vat purnima worship

On 11th June 2006, I could not go and physically worship a banyan tree. So I worshipped the banyan tree by drawing it's picture on a piece of paper. I prayed to the banyan tree "My dear God, I could not go out. I am worshipping you, with the spiritual emotion that you are present here." At that time I could actually see the banyan tree with it's pā rambya (aerial roots) hanging down. After that when I went close to Parampujya's (founder FHA) photo, I could see a large banyan tree. At that time, a thought came to my mind "Parampujya Gurudēv, this is only due to your blessing and grace" and I experienced overwhelming spiritual emotion. For two to three days before this incident, I had been experiencing bliss from within. - a seeker, Miraj, India.

* Based on Divine knowledge received by some seekers doing sadhana  per Gurukrupayoga .

To know more about this Divine knowledge please visit the About us section of this website.


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