BY: SUN STAFF
Aug 20, CANADA (SUN) Instructions for the gathering of wood for crafting of Deity forms, from Brhat Samhita, Chapter LIX.
[This chapter is a continuation of the topic discussed in Chapter XLIII, "The Crafting of Idols". Here the author deals with the trees recommended for making images of Gods. For, images are made of wood, stone, metals, clay and gems.]
The maker of the image should enter a forest on an auspicious day that is presided over by a planet conducing to prosperity and which has an unhurt asterism, when good auguries are discovered by the astrologer and when there are auspicious omens prescribed for a journey.
The following trees are to be rejected: Those that grow in cemeteries, roads, temples, ant hills, gardens, penance-groves, sacred spots, near the confluence of rivers, those that are reared being watered, those that are stunted, those that are joined with others, those that are infested with creepers, that have been struck down by lightning and storm, those that have fallen by themselves, that have been broken by elephants, that have withered, are burnt by fire and that contain bee hives.
Those trees which have glossy leaves, flowers and fruits will be beneficial.
One should go to the desired (selected) tree and offer worship to its with food and flowers.
The deodar (Cedrus deodara), sandalwood (Santalum album), Sami (Prosopis spicigeraCynometra ramiflora) are good for images to be installed by Brahmanas; Arista (Xanthium strumarium), Asvattha (Ficus religiosa), Khadira (Acacia calechu) and Bilva (Aegle marmelos) bestown prosperity on the Ksatriyas; Jivaka, Khadira, Sindhuka and Syandana (Rathadru) are auspicious for Vaisyas; and Tinduka, Kesara, Sarja, Arjuna, mango and Sala are good for Sudras.
Since an Emblem of Siva or any image should be installed according to the directions of the tree, the different directions as well as the upper and lower parts should be marked on the tree.
[The different directions and tip and bottom of the tree should be marked, so that the idol may have the eastern part for its face, and western one for its back, the lower part for its feet and the upper one for its head. If the image is made contrary to the directions of the tree, it will prove harmful to the maker as well as to the worshipper.]
After worshipping at night the tree with milk porridge, sweets, rice, curds, semi-ground sesamum seeds, eatables of various kinds, …flowers, incenses and perfumes, Gods, manes, goblins, demons, serpents, Asuras, Siva's hosts, Ganesa and others should be worshipped. Thereafter, touching the tree, one should recite the following hymn:
'Oh Tree, thou has been selected for the worship (through an image) of the particular Deity, Salutation to thee! This worship offered by me in accordance with the scriptural rules may kindly be accepted by thee. May all those beings that dwell in this tree accept the offerings made according to rules, and then depart to another tree for residing. May they pardon us now! We bow to them.
In the morning the tree should be watered, and then cut on the north-eastern side with an axe whose blade has been smeared with honey and ghee. The remaining parts should be cut in a clockwise manner.
Should the tree fall on the east, north-east or north, it would bring prosperity. On the other hand, if it should fall on the south-east, south, south-west, west and north-west, there would be outbreak of fires, disease, disease, disease and destruction of horses respectively (according to Sage Garga).
Whatever has not been mentioned here in connection with the topic of 'Entering forest' viz. the fall of trees the cutting XLIII 19-20) and interior of trees has already been explained by me in connection with 'Indra's Banner' and 'House-building' (LII 122-123). All these ideas have to be applied here too.
The third and final segment of this series will present the "Installation of Images"