Current and Upcoming
Fall patiently, To trust our Heaviness.
There is a tree...an everlasting Banyan tree. Its roots are above in heaven and
its branches are here below. Its leaves are the sacred songs, and the one who
knows them knows the sacred Hindu texts :
Wood Cut printmaking
A banyan tree is a type of parasitic plant that starts its life as a sprout on the trunk of a larger tree, which it may eventually choke off and envelop entirely, leading to the death and decay of the original host. The banyan is often referred to as a "strangler fig," and its hollow core, which forms after the death of the original host, can become a habitat for wild animals.
The choice to use the name "the banyan" for a character may be a form of Gothic "othering," implying that the character is less than human and evoking the connotation of a hollow or strangling figure. The banyan tree can also be interpreted as a useful metaphor for post-colonial readings of texts written during the era of imperial expansion, representing a plural and interconnected system that stands in contrast to the unified trunk system of English trees.
In addition to its literary symbolism, the banyan tree has significant cultural significance in India. It is a gathering place for the transmission of stories in the oral tradition and is described in Hindu texts as both a resting place of the gods and a source of wisdom. The Bhagavat Gita states that one who understands the imperishable banyan tree, with its roots upward and branches down, is a knower of the Vedas, emphasizing the connection between the banyan tree and the acquisition of knowledge in Hinduism.