Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tree worship in Madhya Pradesh

The tribal festival at Singinawa jungle lodge started with the Gond ancient tradition of tree worship and forest animal worship around a beautiful old Pipal tree.

What drew me to that gigantic Pipal tree as the sound of music, people singing and the drums. There were wonderful little tribal statues of a tiger, leopard, rhino and elephant around the tree. A cloth offering was made to the tree in the form of thread being wrapped around it, all to the rhythmic beating of the drums and the chant like singing. All this progressed sanctimoniously while a flock of white cranes flew by that gorgeous tree. 
All of a sudden one of the members singing, started shaking violently as if possessed by an animal spirit. He moved on all fours towards the tree...stopping first at a little shrine with a trident, coconuts and a lamp. A fire was being made near by with twigs from the surrounding trees and charcoal ash was brought from that to calm the spirit. When the spirit was appeased, he moved to the tree, eventually kneeling and spreading his arms wide open and his clothes were stripped off. Bare chested he continued his frenzy until more ash was brought from the fire which calmed him down and he payed his respect to the Goddess. This is called Mata Van Devi Puja. A fascinating vire into their spiritual connection with nature.

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