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Book - Plants of Religious Significance: The Hindu Perspective

Plants of Religious Significance: The Hindu Perspective is written by Rabindranath Lackhan from Trinidad and Tobago. The book aims to provide information about the plants and flowers used in Hindu rituals and pujas. Sri Lackhan wrote the first edition of the book while he was an undergraduate student in 1985. Now he has published a revised edition of the book. The book is currently available in stores in Trinidad and the author is planning to make it available on Amazon.com
Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday writes
Rabindranath Lackhan wrote the first edition of the book while he was an undergraduate student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus.
Lackhan told Sunday Newsday that he and his good friend Ramnarine Ramkissoon became involved with a community project and helped in the construction of a Hindu temple in California. They decided to spruce up the surroundings with plants used in religious rituals.
“I got involved in building of the temple and when we were finished we decided to landscape the area. That is when my interest in plants began and I began the research process to find suitable plants.”
He conducted intensive research in an era that did not include the internet. He referred to scientific literature by Professor Purseglove and used information gathered from the Caribbean Agricultural and Research Development Institute (CARDI) at UWI.
Lackhan was intrigued by the meaning attached to specific plants associated with specific Hindu deities. He also wanted to unearth knowledge about how and why certain leaves and flowers were used in pujas. So he spoke to an expert in that area, pundit and psychologist Samsundar Parasram and reviewed Hindu texts like the Bhagavad Gita and Ramayan.
“I wanted to know why the paan leaves are placed on the bedi and then the mango leaves are used to pour water or milk.”
In 1985, nearly 2,000 black and white copies of the first edition of the book were printed and sold.
Some 25 years later people began requesting copies of the book, so Lackhan began gathering his materials to publish a revised edition. The content is similar to the original book, but now includes the addition of a few non-indigenous plants that are now grown here such as the Ashoka plant.
He explained that the thrust of the book remains the same with the emphasis being on the religious purpose of the plants used in puja, “The book focuses on the significance of the plants used in religious ceremony like Tulsi, bamboo, bail and ficus and plants used for each Hindu god and goddess.”
A small, innovative company called Revolution Publishing has produced 3,000 soft copies and 100 special edition hard cover books. The books cost TT $100 and are available at RIK, Nigel R Khan, Ishmael Khan, Charran’s Book Store, The Little Store, Prem Singhs, Satanandan Enterprises and the Medicine Stop in Lange Park. The book will soon be available on Amazon.com.