Lord Shiva is offered Bel leaves (also Bilva leaves) or Bel Patra while worshipping because it is considered holy and has a religious significance. As per Hindu religion, all the plants and leaves have some significance and if they are brought into use in the right manner they can impact our lives greatly.
Let’s find out why Lord Shiva is offered bel leaves and in what ways it can be helpful:
- It is said that it is best to offer fresh trifoliate bel leaves to Lord Shiva. The Trifoliate symbolizes the Trideva or Trinity: Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. It also symbolizes the three eyes of Shiva and also the three spokes of Shiva’s divine weapon, Trishul.
- Bilva tree or Lord Shiva’s tree is considered sacred and has a cooling effect. Since Shiva is the destroyer, its leaves and fruits are offered to him to soothe his temper.
- The bel leaves are said to be emitting positive energy and replacing negative energy. The effect of Black magical practices can also be reduced or negated completely if bel leaves are used with proper chants.
- According to Brahma Purana and Padma Purana, it is also believed that Lord Shiva once hid in the bel leaves to manipulate demons.
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- According to Skanda Purana, it is said that various avatars of Goddess Parvati dwell in the different parts of the bel Tree.
- According to another Puranic myth, it is believed that Goddess Luxmi used to pray to Lord Shiva every day with 10,000 lotus buds. One day she fell short of two buds and after remembering Vishnu’s comparison of her breasts with lotus, she cuts one of her breasts and offers to Lord Shiva. While she went on to cut her second breast, already impressed by her devotion Shiva asked her not to do so and the breast she offered got converted to the bel fruit. Since then offering bel fruit is also considered auspicious to Lord Shiva.
- It is also believed that negative karma is destroyed when bel leaves are offered to Lord Shiva.
There are also many medicinal properties of Bel leaves and fruit. It is said to be anti-cancer, radioprotective, cardioprotective, prevents ulcers and many more illnesses. Bel leaves should not be planted in the open area inside your residential boundary because its shade falling is not considered auspicious. It can be planted roadside. Dry Bel leaves or wood are never used as firewood for any religious purpose until it is sacrificial.
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