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Cluster Fig Tree In Hinduism

Cluster fig tree is known as gular or ambar in Hindi, atthi in Tamil and Udumbara in Sanskrit. There are many legends in Hinduism associated with the tree. There is a belief among Hindus that the tree has no flowers because on Diwali night the demigods or devas gather on the tree and pluck all its blossoms.

Atharva Veda (XIX.31.1-4) states that the wood of the tree was used to make poles in yagyashala (temporary sacrificial hut) and yajna ladle. It is praised and regarded as a amulet in Atharva Veda (XIX.31)

The tree is a constituent of the sacred panchavata and is also a wish-fulfilling tree or kalpa vriksha. The wood of the tree is used in yajnas. The entire tree is believed to be a manifestation of Vishnu Bhagavan and one of the names of Bhagavan Vishnu is Udumbara.

In some regions, there is a belief that Brahma resides in the root of the plant, Vishnu on its trunk and Shiva on its branches. The tree is also sacred to Bhagwan Dattatreya.

The throne of Vivaswan, the deity worshipped at the end of Vedic Somayagam (soma sacrifice), is made from the wood of cluster fig tree.

The staff used by Vaishya community during upanayana is made from the wood of the tree.

The Bhojpuri community considers the tree as inauspicious and never plants it near the house. It is believed that three represents gloom and sorrow. Religious people of the community avoid the tree stating that even a mere shadow of the tree will deprive a person of all his piety and virtues.

Some Hindu communities, who are unable to retrieve the body of the dead, make an effigy of the dead person from the wood of the tree and then cremate it.

Kurma Purana (2.20.46) prohibits eating any part of the tree including fruits, flowers and leaves.

In some regions, a stem of the tree is kept in the room in which pregnant woman stays during her delivery. Some Hindu communities put gular flower in granary or in cooked food – the belief is that there will be no shortage of food if this is done.

 The tree is known as atti in Kannada, umaraa in Gujarati, jagna dimaru in Assamese, dimbiri in Odia, aththi in Malayalam, medi pandu in Telugu, malaiyin munivan in Tamil, umbar or audumbar in Marathi and jobdumur in Bengali.