Friday Fact- Amaltas Tree- An Inauspicious Source of Family Discord?
TRIBE OF TREES
You would have often noticed those big yellow blossoms on a gorgeous tree, making their presence felt with their distinct vibrance during dry arid days of summer. They sure do add an aura of instant happiness to our homes and premises, the cheerful yellows making us forget the harshness of the scorching sun. Alas, such a beautiful tree and it is looked down upon with suspicion and disdain. This is because bringing home any part of the Amaltas tree is said stir up family fights and discords, says traditional belief. Such a bane for such a beautiful tree isn’t it? Well, let us decipher whether the tree and its belief are truly a bane or a boon!
The Amaltas or the Cassia Fistula is a medium sized tree about 10-20 meters high. It stands in all its glory, donning the “golden shower” look with elan. Also known as Aragvadha in Sanskrit, which means “to kill diseases”. Amaltas is amongst the most popular herbal plants in Ayurvedic medicine. With outstanding detoxifying properties, its leaves, stem and bark, pulp, seeds and almost all parts are used to ward off disease. It finds application in a number of treatments- cancer, constipation, convulsions, delirium, diarrhea, epilepsy, gravel, hematuria, pimples and many more. Its wood is very hard and durable and hence preferred in making cabinets, wooden bunks, wheels etc. One would expect such a useful tree to be rapidly cut down. Such are the virtues of this gift to mankind! Isn’t it then surprising that we humans with our customs and beliefs tend to allocate such vicious qualities to such a gem of a tree!
But hey, every cloud has a silver lining, and maybe there is something positive about this customary belief that the Amaltas is a “jhagdalu”? Did this belief prevent people from felling this tree for its fantastic wood and other parts? Most likely so, since they were afraid to touch it and bring upon discord in their families! Maybe saying that the tree would create a “jhagda” or a “fight” was the locals’ way of protecting the tree, and therein indirectly conserve the native species as a whole! Whatever be the logic, the customary belief such did its deed- we today are able to enjoy the many number of trees that dot the Indian landscape. J
This case of “customs and trees” proves that our ancestors had their own very effective ways of conserving the best of flora and fauna. A tradition with a twist it is!