Ancient Hindu sages saw the importance of nature, vegetation and life in general. They revered not only life but also saw it in rivers, oceans, stones, trees, mountains, star constellations and everything in the universe.

The sages also personified natural elements through parables. They even documented their characteristics in their relationship with us through Dharma, or our moral responsibilities.

For instance, trees are generally revered and prayed on during particular festivities. In some rituals, we offer particular flowers and leaves.

In fire rituals, we burn sticks of different trees. We also have many scriptures that talk about the mythical origin of trees.

Goddess Bhudevi is an earth goddess, the personification of Mother Earth, who lives in Pipal and Banyan trees. Some gods have their favorite leaves or flowers.

Overall, Hinduism teaches that we all coexist, interdependent and part of a homogeneous creation that includes the natural world. The universe is at peace when everything within it is at peace — and so goes our Shanti Mantra (Hindu prayers for peace).

I pray, let there be peace in all creation, on Earth, in plants, stars, constellations and in the creative force within my heart.

It is blessing that we understand our relationship with nature. It is our blessing that we could use it, and it is our Dharma that we do not abuse it.

So I pray to Goddess Bhanshankari for her blessings of good, healthy, fields and especially that our vegetation, crops and trees grow to their full life and strength without any diseases. May they offer us healthy fruits, flowers and medicines.

— Shaila Shroff, local Hindu Temple