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Bilva Leaves For Lord Shiva To Removing Sins of Three Births



Bilva leaves for lord shiva is a scraggy tree with three leaves and with a crust of thick thorns. The three leaves together, look like Trishul, or the Trident, the emblem of Siva. These tri-foliate leaves signify the three functions of Siva. A fallen tree is never used for firewood and though its fruit is highly valued by people, the people of Kerala never eat it, as it signifies the head of Siva. Bilva leaves are offered to Siva on Mondays in the month of Shrawan (July). Its wood is included in Homa and the fruit is believed to promote fertility. 

Bilva Leaves For Lord Shiva

Bilva, latin name is Aegle marmelos, commonly known as bael, bhel, Bengal quince, golden apple, Japanese bitter orange, stone apple or wood apple. Bilva is a species of tree native to India, Nepal, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Myanmar. It is present in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia as a naturalized species. The tree is considered to be sacred by Hindus, the fruits are used in traditional medicine and as a food throughout its range.

Bilva is the only member of the monotypic genus Aegle. It is a deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree, up to 13m tall with slender drooping branches and rather shabby crown. The bilva tree contains furocoumarins, xanthotoxol and the methyl ester of alloimperatorin, flavonoids, rutin and marmesin. A number of essential oils and, among its alkaloids, a-fargarine, O-isopentenylhalfordinol, O-methylhafordinol. Bilva tree is highly medicinal, particularly useful in curing diseases of the skin by purifying the blood. The fruit, believed to have come from the breasts of Goddess Lakshmi, is a remedy for dysentery. The tree is planted on the north side of the house.

Bilva Leaves For Lord Shiva


They also represent his three eyes. That is why Bilva leaves are considered effective in removing the sins of three births. The tree is sacred to Siva and is worshipped by his followers on the 14th phase of the moon’s wane between the months of Magha (Feb.) and Phalguna (March) 27th of February is the greatest Sivaratri day in the year. On this day is celebrated Siva’s first manifestation of himself in phallic form. 

The Linga is bathed in milk, decorated and wrapped with Bilva leaves. Bilva is considered as one of the important sacred trees and keeps on recurring in Hindu Mythology.  The following story is from Brihaddharma Purana as quoted by Gupta in his article on Tree symbol worship in Bengal. Lakshmi, while worshipping Siva used to make a daily offering of one thousand lotus buds. One day when she was going to worship Siva, she found that the lotus flowers were short by two. 

She was in a quandry as to what to do when she remembered that her husband, Vishnu had always compared her breasts to lotus buds. So she decided to cut off her breasts, and substitute them in place of the lotus flowers that were missing. As she cut off one breast, Siva satisfied with her worship of him and at her sacrifice appeared before her and said that her cut breast, which was not placed on the ground and therefore did not become unclean, would be the Bilva tree. 

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According to Banihipurana and Tantrik folklore, Lakshmi was born as a sacred cow and from her dung arose the Bilva tree and therefore it is considered sacred. The tree being associated with lakshmi, it is also called Sribiksha, the tree of prosperity and good fortune. 

Another legend says that Lakshmi and Saraswati were both wives of Vishnu but Vishnu loved Saraswati more than he loved Lakshmi. Enraged, Lakshmi started the worship of Siva and was engaged in meditation of Siva for a very long time but Siva did not appear before her. After a while, Lakshmi became the Bilva tree and now Siva dwells in the tree. 

Reference

  • Plants Myths & Traditions in India. By Shakti M. Gupta, 1968.
  • The Astrological Magazine. Publish by Raman Publications, 2003.



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