Śami

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sami, Zami, shami


Śami literally means ‘that which brings peace’.

The śami[1] has been considered a holy tree since ages. The Taittiriya Āraṇyaka[2] contains a prayer addressed to the śamī tree for the removal of sins and enmities. The plant or even a branch is supposed to have the power to appease the terrible and angry aspects of the deities[3] like Agni.

When a kṣattriya king intends to go on a victory expedition to subdue or destroy sinners and evil persons, he is expected to worship the śamī tree before starting. This is performed as a ritual also on the Vijayadaśami day[4] by kṣattriya kings even today. Its leaves are sent to friends and relatives as a sign of goodwill on the Vijayadaśamī day. The upper araṇi is usually prepared out of śamī wood.


References

  1. It's scientific name is Acacia suma.
  2. Taittiriya Āraṇyaka 6.9.2
  3. Taittiriya Brāhmana 1.1.3.11
  4. It falls on Aśvayuja-śukla- daśamī, generally during October.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore