Why is the vilva leaf so revered? By common knowledge, we know that the tree has been held sacred for many millennia and offerings made to Shiva are incomplete without vilva leaves. Why is the vilva held so sacred? Sadhguru answers.

Questioner: Pranam Sadhguru. I wanted to know what's so special about the maha bilva (maha vilva?) leaf that we offer to Dhyanalinga?

Sadhguru: We have also been thinking of doing this but in certain parts of the country some people have tried to preserve all those leaves and flowers which are considered sacred. ‘Why are they considered sacred? Why is one flower more sacred than the other, what is this nonsense all about? Is it some kind of a prejudice?’ See, right now there are two trees here - this is punga maram and this (Referring to the vaahai maram next to the temple) is… what? This is one of the common street-side trees, I don't know the… what name they have for it - you must spend time… For all these things, you need to spend time. If you spend time with this tree and this tree, you will see if you become meditative, you will naturally move towards this (Referring to punga maram), not towards that. (Referring to the vaahai maram next to the temple) Why is this so? After all everything comes from the soil. The neem tree… the neem fruit and the mango fruit come from the same soil but they taste very different, isn't it? Same soil, right here they’re going side by side but they taste very different.

So how this particular life processes the same soil and how that life processes the same soil is different or if you want to look at it that way, between a worm and an insect and yourself and one more other human being, what is the difference? All the same stuff but still what we make out of it is different, isn't it? So in every society - it doesn’t matter in how many try… in how many ways you try to level societies and people, people will stick out. People with certain kinds of talents will stick out, people with certain kinds of capability will stick out; you can't put them down, isn't it? Do what you want, some people will stand out, some people become part of the scenery. This is bound to happen. Similarly among other lives also it is true. So with the plant life.

So people who are spiritually oriented, who are constantly looking for support in every possible way because when you are… when you are on a… a long journey and particularly if the terrain is unknown to you, the terrain is absolutely new to you, you would like to use every little support on the way. You will see, if you are going up a mountain - if you’re climbing Mt. Everest - suppose you are carrying one little thread, you don’t want to lose that thread. You want to keep it because you do not know when this little thread will become useful. If you are in a city, you can throw it and go but you are on that kind of terrain which is unknown to you, you don’t want to throw away a single piece of thread because you don't know how it will be useful tomorrow.

So when you are on the spiritual path, the same goes - because it's an unknown terrain. Every little thing that could support you, people identified. So they did not leave even the flowers and fruits and leaf - all the things that can support you. So always it is said vilva is dear to Shiva. What does he care? Okay? It’s not that it is dear to Shiva. When we say, it's dear to Shiva in some way its reverberance is closest to that we refer to as Shiva. It is closer, it is in the direction. Like this we’ve identified many things - not just one particular leaf. We have identified many things, and only those things are offered because they become your means to get in touch. You are not going to leave the leaf with him. (Referring to Dhyanalinga) You put it there and then you take it with you, isn't it? Because this particular leaf has the highest capability to absorb that reverberance and it's for you to pick it up and go. There’re many, many materials like this, which are all recognized sacred tools that people are using. You need to understand this - this is not about gods, this is about you and your ability to access something.

So suppose… You can try this: You experiment like this - go into Dhyanalinga, okay? Let's say with… like this (Referring to his clothes) organic cotton and sit there, see how it feels. Go, sit with raw silk and see how it feels. Go, sit there with some nylon cloth, see how it feels. Wear a plastic wrap around you, go, sit there, see how it feels. Don’t believe anything, just experiment three, three days you wear one kind of clothing and sit there, you will… if you’re little…have little sensitivity, you will know the difference. Then you’ll naturally choose the right thing.

So the important thing is when you go sit there, everything that you have should help you to absorb and nourish yourself - that’s the idea. So the vilva leaf has such a capability - if you place it on the linga and then take it, its ability to retain that reverberation for a long period of time. It stays with you. If you keep it for a few days with you, it makes a difference. You can try this. You… Vilva leaf can be offered and you ta… put it in your chest pocket and walk around, it will make a difference for you in terms of your health, well-being, mental state, everything.

So people identified these things with observation, with meditativeness, not…in all… in this forest, there’re so many trees, so many varieties of trees. This is part of the Western Ghats, this is the second oldest mountain on the planet and it is ‘The oldest’ mountain on the planet in the tropical region on this planet. So in terms of variety of vegetation, there is no match for this Western Ghat. This is only a small finger which has come inland otherwise it runs along the coast. In all this variety of trees and leaves, why they chose one leaf? Somebody recognized it and he stands out. You can't ignore him. You can also try this - you can go and pluck ten different varieties of leaf, place all of them near the linga and take all of them and keep it with you. You will see the difference by yourself. It’ll take a certain level of sensitivity for you to see that but there’s no question - those who are sensitive will feel the difference. With their eyes closed… if their eyes are open, they may be prejudiced. You…You take a bunch of ten different kinds of leaves, tie it up in a cloth like this so that you can't see what leaf it is, place it there, I will recognize the leaf for you. Other things I may not be able to recognize - you keep vilva there, I’ll say ‘This is vilva.’ You don’t have to call me for that; you take your rudraksh and hold it, it will tell you. It's little more intelligent than you, you know.