𝐃𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨 𝐄𝐤𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐦𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐫𝐚 𝐩𝐮𝐣𝐚?
We were all told that Ganesha loves leaves and we should do puja with a variety of leaves on Ganesha Chaturthi.
Patri puja, as the Telugu folks call it, is on the verge of losing its significance.
Why do we do puja with leaves?
What could be the real reason?
Does Ganesha really like being prayed with leaves or is there a hidden scientific reason?
Just like most of you who did the puja, I also did Patri puja today. But, without a good(thorough) knowledge about it.
I am a firm believer that the rituals we blindly follow have some meaning/significance to them. Some of the rituals might have lost their relevance/significance due to our evolution/changes in our lifestyle/habits. But, I am always interested in questioning why we do the stuff and make a sincere attempt to understand the reasons behind these rituals. I can only follow rituals if they still hold scientific/contextual significance.
For me, this festival is a wonderfully integrated learning experience (most festivals are). Particularly, Ganesha Chathurthi is nothing less than a 𝐁𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝟏𝟎𝟏 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞.
Ekavimsati puja/Patri puja lists 21 leaves. If we and our children learn about the 21 leaves that we need to offer on this day, isn't it bringing us closer to nature?
How many of these 21 leaves can we, the adults, identify? I can only identify a few of them, not all.
I did puja not knowing which leaves I was offering as I was reciting each leaf's name during the puja.
So, I decided to explore more and learn the names of the plants/leaves associated with this Patri puja.
We are supposed to procure these leaves for puja by knowing about these plants and getting the leaves. Probably our ancestors hoped that we would grow these plants because we will need them for this puja. They might have assumed that the knowledge about these leaves is passed down to our next generations.
Imagine if we were to involve our children to procure these leaves, do we really need to come up with terminology like "forest schools" and try to make them popular?
Think about the social interactions we would have had with our neighbors as we try to exchange the leaves and collect the ones that we don't have.
Isn't getting these leaves from some of the trees, a wonderful problem-solving exercise, not to mention the physical fitness it has to offer.
Alas! All of this opportunity is lost because we now live in concrete jungles with no time to grow nor procure these leaves the way it is originally intended to. So, we choose to procure them from the stores to perform the ritual.
Unfortunately, since we can't identify the leaves ourselves, we just buy any leaves sold by the street vendors in the name of Patri. We feel satisfied that we have done amazing puja arrangements and finished the Puja.
𝐁𝐮𝐭, 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭! 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬. Do you know that each and every leaf offered has significant medicinal benefits as per Ayurveda? There is a huge list of health benefits each of these plants offers and our ancestors wanted us to treasure these and pass them to our children.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭?
I really wish that our children know about these plants and the great benefits they have to offer.
Otherwise, someone from the western world may patent the benefits of these plants as their discovery (just like an attempt to patent turmeric)
I hope that this post motivates at least one person to explore at least one leaf from this list.
The music teacher, Mrs.Sirisha, was kind enough to share her hand-written notes about the medicinal benefits of these 21 leaves. This can serve as your starting point.
Google is our best friend to learn. There are a lot more blogs that talk about the medicinal benefits.
Happy Ganesha Chaturthi!