The Tree of Life and its Meaning
The tree of life is a spiritual symbol of cosmic order.
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The Tree of Life – the spiritual meaning
- Revered as sacred, the tree is found in almost all cultures around the world.
- As a symbol, the tree of life stands for growth, strength, health and the cycle of life.
- In all cultures, the tree of life is surrounded or inhabited by mythical animals.
- Birds are regarded as bearers of messages from or to the gods who live in heaven.
The Tree of Life in Hinduism
The ashwattha tree (Ficus religiosa)
Hindus worship the fig tree as the residence of the gods, or as the deity himself. The most widespread belief is that Lord Krishna chose the fig tree as his earthly residence because he passed away under it.
Sadhus and Hindus sanctify the fig tree as the tree of life and make pilgrimages to selected temples to meditate under a fig tree.
The ficus religiosa grows upwards and downwards. On contact with the ground, the branches form roots. For believers, this is a symbol of the immortality of the tree of life, which thus symbolises the universe and life itself.
The tree of life in Indian folklore
The Bodhi Tree in Buddhism:
According to tradition, Siddharta Gautama achieved enlightenment (Sanskrit: Bodhi) under a fig tree . This gave the fig tree the name Bodhi tree.
Devout Buddhists make pilgrimages to the sacred tree of life to meditate under it. Seeds of the fig tree are made into prayer beads. This direct proximity to the Bodhi tree is also said to bring enlightenment closer.
In addition, the fig tree is almost immortal:
A branch forms roots on contact with the ground, from which a new tree then grows, which is nevertheless the same.
The oldest fig tree found was estimated to be over 3,000 years old. No wonder, that the fig tree is considered the tree of life.
Yggdrasil with Celts and Teutons
The world tree stands in the centre of the universe and symbolises the world axis at the centre of the earth.
At birth, the tree of life is determined and planted by means of a tree calendar. This tree stands as a lifelong spiritual companion and mental anchor.
The Tree of Knowledge in Christianity
However, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and they were banished from the Garden of Eden. In the New Testament, the serpent of paradise is equated with the devil.