By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Sami, Zami, shami
śami (‘that which brings peace’)
The śami (Acacia suma) has been considered a holy tree since ages. The Taittiriya Āranyaka (6.9.2) 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 (Vide Taittiriya Brāhmana 184.108.40.206) 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 (Aśvayuja-śukla-daśamī, generally during October) 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 (See ARANI.) is usually prepared out of śamī wood.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore