In celebration of the World Environment Day, Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi planted a Kadam tree in 7RCR garden. It is heartening to see the Indian Prime Minister link a day of global significance with Indian cultural ethos.
Kadam tree or Neolamarckia cadamba has had a special cultural and religious significance to India. The tree has round shaped flowers which have a beautiful fragrance radiating from its golden globed flowers.
The tree was immortalized in the Indian minds by the lovely poem “यह कदंब का पेड़” by Subadhrakumari Chauhan:
यह कदंब का पेड़ अगर माँ होता यमुना तीरे।
मैं भी उस पर बैठ कन्हैया बनता धीरे-धीरे।।
In fact, PM Modi recalled this poem as well, while planting the sapling.
In Theravada Buddhism, the 14th Buddha Sumedha achieved enlightenment under a Kadam tree. And is mostly associated with meditation and enlightenment.
The kind and gentle soul which had guided us to this serene spot told us that many centuries before a great sage had settled here and became absorbed in meditation. In India it is believed that nature blesses that place where meditation is being done and so, in this case, a grove of Kadam trees began to grow up around his hermitage. They became so thick that it created a canopy of foliage above the place where he was sitting.
Here is a kadam tree just outside Meenakshi temple, Madurai.
The tree has been talked about even in the scriptures. For example in Ramayana, Sita would bathe in a well surrounded by Kadam trees.
A beautiful grouping of old and gnarled trees surrounded a stone lined well and the elderly farmer told us that this was a sacred place where Sita use to do her daily ablutions when she and Rama stayed here on their way to Ayodhya from Sri Lanka.
Even in Krishna’s life, this has been referred to.
This is the Kadamba tree popularly associated with Krishna. Krishna dancing with Radha and his favorite gopis under this tree is a favorite theme of the Krishna-Radha legend and is often represented in miniature paintings. The tree is held sacred by the followers of Krishna and its flowers are offered at the temples dedicated to him in memory of his swinging from the branches and dancing under the tree with the milk-maids of Vrindivana. Krishna stole the clothes of the milk-maids while they were bathing in the river Yamuna and took them on the Kadamba tree.
The tree’s wood is used in India for carving out the most exquisite and intricate sculptures. Here are some examples.
Featured Image source: Flickr