Holy Fig Tree

Definition - What does Holy Fig Tree mean?

The holy fig tree, native to the Indian subcontinent, has significance in three of the major religions that have their roots in that region: Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. It is also known as the sacred fig, ashwattha tree, bodhi tree and peepul tree. Its botanical name is Ficus religiosa.

It is thought that Gautama Buddha attained bodhi (awakening or enlightenment) while seated under the holy fig tree. Likewise, ascetics in the Hindu and Jain traditions often meditate under holy fig trees because they are believed to be sacred.

Yogapedia explains Holy Fig Tree

The Hindu god, Vishnu, the supreme deity of Vaishnavism, was said to have been born under a holy fig tree. Symbolically, the Hindus associate the holy fig tree with the trinity of Brahma the creator (the roots), Vishnu the protector (the trunk) and Shiva the destroyer (the leaves).

In the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita, the holy fig tree represents the many branches of consciousness that are all connected to the same eternal source.

In yoga asana practice, the holy fig tree pose is a beginner balancing posture with three limbs reaching in different directions. One arm reaches for the sky, one leg reaches back and one arm reaches to the side at shoulder height.

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