KATHA & CHUNA

Significance of Paan Leaves in The Hindu Religion

January 20, 2018

 

Paan or Betel leaf plays a significant role in the religious life of Hindus. It is because no propitious Vedic event is complete without a ritual involving Paan. The most critical puja items in Hindu rituals is also known as Tambula in Sanskrit. The word lends its origin to the term Tamra which literally means copper which is red in color. The color red because of the Kaththa.

 

 

Skanda Purana notes that the gods acquired the betel leaf during the churning of the ocean for the ambrosia. Another religious anecdote goes that when Shri Hanuman conveyed Shri Rama’s message to Sita Devi, she ornamented Shri Hanuman with a betel vine as a symbol of her happiness and appreciation. The principal reason that it is mandatory for pujas is that Hindus trust the betel leaf to possess different deities. Specifically,

  • Shukra and Indra reside in the leaf’s top portion.

  • Goddess Saraswati is present in the middle part.

  • Goddess Mahalakshmi occupies the lower tip.

  • The part that bridges the betel leaf to the stem is home to Jyesta Lakshmi.

  • Lord Vishnu lives inside the leaf.

  • Kamdev and Lord Shiva inhabit outside of the leaf.

  • Mangalya Devi and Goddess Parvati live on the left side.

  • Bhoomidevi or Mother Earth lodge in on the right side

  • Lord Suryanarayana is all around the leaf.

     

 

Also, a classic folk marriage song from eastern India distinguishes the Himalayas as the birthplace of Paan. It is said that Lord Shiva and Parvati themselves had sown the Paan seeds in the Himalayan ranges. In the southern part of India, Dakshina to elders and priests is given by placing a coin and betel nut in the betel leaf. All pujas contain betel leaves and betel nuts. It is pertinent to mention that betel leaves that are dry, torn, or with holes in the middle are not fit for pujas.

 

In the Hindu ceremonial occasion, a ritual named Briddhi-Shraddha is observed whereby the bride-groom call forth the parted souls of their ancestors; and in the spiritual presence of them, the bride and the groom accept one another. At this point, 32 betel leaves are compulsorily required.

 

Lastly, according to Rajnirghantha, the tip of the betel leaf signifies longevity, the basal portion is for repute while Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth) resides in the middle part. Therefore, chewing pan’s middle part is a taboo to the Hindus.

 

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