Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred?
From ancient times, Hindu have worshiped plants and trees and regarded all flora and fauna as sacred. This is not an old-fashioned or uncivilized practice.
It reveals the sensitivity, foresight, and refinement of Hindu culture. While modern man often works to “conquer” Mother Nature, ancient Hindu worshipped” her. The Lord the life in us, pervades all living beings, be they plants or animals hence, they are all regarded as sacred.
Human life on earth depends on plants and trees. They give us the vital factors that make life possible on earth: food, oxygen, clothing, shelter, medicines etc. They lend beauty to our surroundings. They serve man without expectation and sacrifice themselves to sustain us. They epitomize sacrifice if a stone is thrown on a fruit-laden tree; the tree in turn gives fruit.
In fact, the flora and fauna owned the earth before man appeared on it. Presently, the world is seriously threatened by the destruction of forestlands and the extinction of many species of vegetation due to man’s callous attitude toward them. We protect only what we value.
Hence, we are taught to regard trees and plants as sacred. Naturally we will then protect them.
Indian scriptures tell us to plant trees if, for any reason, we have to cut one. We are advised to use parts of trees and plants only as much as is needed for food, fuel, shelter etc. We are also urged to apologise to a plant or tree before cutting it to avoid incurring a specific sin named soona.
Certain trees and plants like tulasi, peepal etc., which have tremendous beneficial qualities, are worshipped till today. It is believed that divine beings manifest as trees and plants, and many people worship them to fulfill their desires or to please the Lord.