'In the Hindu religion, Peepal tree has a lot of reverence and significance for people. People worship the tree and perform puja.There are also some interesting legends associated with the Peepal tree. The tree is known for its heart shaped leaves that have long narrowing tips. The origin of peepal tree can be traced back to the times of Indus Valley Civilisation (3000 BC - 1700 BC) in the Mohenjodaro city. Excavations are suggestive of the fact that even in those times; the peepal tree was worshipped by Hindus.
During the Vedic period, the wood obtained by cutting Peepal tree was used to produce fire. In the ancient Puranas, an incident has been described in which the demons defeated the deities and Lord Vishnu hid in the Peepal tree. Since, the Lord resided in the tree for some time; the tree holds great importance for people. Thus, people began worshipping the tree, considering it to be a means of offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. There are a few legends, which suggest that Lord Vishnu was born under the peepal tree. There are a couple of stories, which say that the tree is home to the trinity of Gods, the root being Brahma, the trunk is Vishnu and leaves represent Lord Shiva. Another popular belief is that Lord Krishna died under the Peepal tree.
Upanishads have also made a mention about the Peepal tree. To clearly define the difference between the body and soul, the fruit of peepal is used as a classic example. According to the Skanda purana, a person who does not have a son should consider the peepal tree as his own child. It says that the family will prosper and have a good name, till the peepal tree survives. Cutting a peepal tree is regarded as a big sin, which is almost equivalent to murdering a Brahmin. Skanda Puranas say that a person who cuts the tree surely goes to hell.
It is preferred to touch the peepal tree only on Saturdays. It is said that once upon a time, there were two demons, namely Ashvattha and Peepala, who used to torture and harass people. Ashvattha took the form of peepal and the Peepala disguised as Brahmin. The Brahmin used to recommend people to touch the peepal tree and as soon as they did so, they were killed by the demon Ashvattha. Both the demons were killed by Shani devta. It is due to the strong influence of Shani Maharaj that it is considered safe to touch the peepal tree on Saturdays. People are of the belief that even Goddess Lakshmi dwells in the tree on Saturdays. Women who are not blessed with a son tie a red thread around the trunk or on its branches asking the deities to bless her and fulfill her desire."
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