Śami

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By Swami Harshananda

Śami literally means ‘that which brings peace’.

The śami[1] has been considered a holy tree since ages. The Taittiriya Āraṇyaka[2] contains a prayer addressed to the śamī tree for the removal of sins and enmities. The plant or even a branch is supposed to have the power to appease the terrible and angry aspects of the deities[3] like Agni.

When a kṣattriya king intends to go on a victory expedition to subdue or destroy sinners and evil persons, he is expected to worship the śamī tree before starting. This is performed as a ritual also on the Vijayadaśami day[4] by kṣattriya kings even today. Its leaves are sent to friends and relatives as a sign of goodwill on the Vijayadaśamī day. The upper araṇi is usually prepared out of śamī wood.


References[edit]

  1. It's scientific name is Acacia suma.
  2. Taittiriya Āraṇyaka 6.9.2
  3. Taittiriya Brāhmana 1.1.3.11
  4. It falls on Aśvayuja-śukla- daśamī, generally during October.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore