Nakshatravanam: the link between man, nature, and the great cosmos
Astrology is a unique science. Here human beings and nature are not two distinct subjects. They are part of the whole. In Vedic astrology, the Janma Nakshatra or birth star is very important. It determines the fate of the person. Accordingly, there exists one tree for every nakshatra. Traditionally, it has been a common practice in village households to plan 27 nakshatras trees for each of their family members on the premises. A nakshatra vanam or a star forest is a place where all the 27 nakshatras trees related to each of the 27 stars are planted.A Nakshatra or constellation is the position of the moon in the sky at the time of birth of a person. For example, if a person is born in Ashwini nakshatra the Moon was seen among the Aswini group of stars in the Aries sign. There are 27 such stars, starting from Aswini to Revathy. The Moon completes one rotation around the Earth in 27 days and 8 hours. So, the Moon is stationed at one Nakshatra for roughly one day. This position of the Moon as per the Nakshatras is called ‘thithi‘.
List of 27 Nakshatras Tress
The majority of the nakshatras tress mentioned above have medicinal value. If a person is able to enjoy the proximity of the tree corresponding to his Janma Nakshatra, it can do good physically and spiritually. For example, nakshatra tress with Bharani as their birth star can be prone to diseases connected with the eyes and brain. There are chances for night blindness besides vulnerability towards cold and fever. The tree corresponding to Bharani is Amalika. Also known as Amla, it is known for strengthening the immunity of the body. It is also very good for the eyes and is a good revitalizer.Trees are more genetically evolved than human beings. They understand nature better. They absorb various energies from nature and dissipate them to their surroundings. It is good for a person to spend time with their respective star-trees on their birthdays. Enlightened souls like Buddha, Adi Shankaracharya, and Thirumoolar had spent a long time meditating under a specific tree as part of attaining ultimate knowledge. They were able to identify various locations and trees that would heal all the layers of the human body of a person born at a particular time.Back when the joint family system was prevalent in society, people used to plant their star trees in their land. Trees were planted when a baby was born as per the zodiac or star. Nakshatras trees are planted in a particular direction as per the nakshatra it is related to according to the principles of Vastu Shastra. This ensured a rich diversity of habitat around the households.
Besides giving fruits, these trees also served to meet the medicinal requirements of the family members while providing clean air and pure water. The nakshatras tress includes four types of Ficus trees also. The Ficus trees provide Oxygen, improve water retention in soil, and are also excellent medicine for skin problems. It also gives protection from lightning. Rapid urbanization and nuclear families have made this a thing of the past. However, the nakshatras tree of star forest is a practical way of ensuring species diversity in an urban landscape. It will also help the new generation maintain their link with nature. Some of the trees like Jamun, Karaskara (Strychnos), Kath, Ficus species, Spondias, Bilwa( Aegle manelos), Arjuna, Kadamba, Mahua, etc. are lesser-known to the new generation. It is calculated that 20 trees are required to meet the Oxygen requirements of a human being. One day’s oxygen from a parlor costs more than Rs500 today. Thus, maintaining the nakshatras tress makes sense not just ecologically, but financially as well. As per Vedic knowledge, everything dead and living is made up of the five elements or the Pancha Bhootas. They are soil, water, fire, air, and ether. Trees and human beings are also made out of the Pancha bhootas. It means that humans are not separated from plants, birds, or animals. We all have to live together in this universe. As per astrology, a person keeping proximity to his astral tree will experience a positive atmosphere, spiritual solace, meditation, rejuvenation, tranquillity, mental peace, and relaxation. This makes the person healthy and calm. Nakshathra vanam will provide people with at least one fruit. It also ensures fresh air and conservation of water. Establishing a nakshatra vanam will bring the species diversity that existed once in the villages. Mr. S. Unnikrishnan is an astrologer and a former DFO. He has taken the initiative to reclaim ecological parity by raising Nakshatra Vanam in schools, colleges, panchayath-owned places, churches, mosques, and temples. Altogether, more than 1200 nakshatra vanam have been established between 2010 to 2015 with his involvement.