What are the spiritual reasons for using banana in religious functions especially in Southern parts of India?.
Many do not have any idea about this question.
Banana in SANATANA DHARMA is called '' KADALI PHALAM''
Who is this KADALI?
KADALI IS THE WIFE OF MAHARSHI DOORVAASA ( A sage noted for His immediate ANGER).
Once Doorvaasa Maharshi was sleeping in his cottage. Then after some time, the time ran, and the SUN SET TIME WAS NEARING.
The Maharshi has to do Sandhyavandanaadi kaaryams.
He was in deep sleep. Our Dharma says not to wake up any person who is sleeping, UNLESS THERE IS A VALID DHARMIC REASON.
But KADALI was wavering in mind whether to wake the Doorvasa from sleep or wait.The reason is quite valid and Dharmic.
So finally she woke HIM up.
Doorvaasa after getting up suddenly from sleep, without even thinking a moment gave a CURSE TO HIS WIFE "MAY YOU BECOME A KADALI PLANT AND BE ON GROUND (EARTH) FOR EVER".
The wife asked politely after making namaskarams, 'Oh Nathaa (Husband), I ask pardon, but oh maharshi please "BLESS ME TO BE ALWAYS NEAR TO BE GOD AND LET MY ALL FRUITS LEAVES ETC BE USED IN THE SERVICE OF GOD.''
Maharshi said,''Be it so.''
So the Banana , is the VERY SACRED WIFE OF DOORVAASA MUNI.
As per her request and Doorvasa Muni Vaakku, we are using the banana in all religious functions, festivals and in temples as Naiveydyam to GOD.
That is the Greatness of Banana.
The Tamala paaku (leaf ) is called Naagavalli .
it is a plant that gives ONLY LEAVES BUT NO FLOWERS AND FRUITS.It is spiritually very auspicious.
Similarly Betel nuts have divine vibrations like Rudraksha.
So we use these in THE SERVICE OF THE GOD, IN RELIGIOUS FUNCTIONS AND POOJAS AND VRATAMS ETC.
"Patram Pushpam phalam toyam,
yo mey bhaktya prayachchati
Tadaham bhakt yupahrutam
asnaami prayataatmanaha "
I accept a leaf, flower, fruit or water Or whatever is offered with devotion
Banana Tree :
Though banana is not a tree, but it is considered a tree because of its structure and size. It is a very sacred tree and all parts of the tree are used for some purpose or the other. For example, the trunk of banana is used to erect welcoming gates. The leaves are used to make the ceremonial pavilion. In some pooja, the leaves are used to serve "prashad". Just as leaves of bel tree are customarily offered to Lord Siva, it is believed that offering of the leaves of banana pleases Lord Ganesa. Banana as a fruit is offered to Lord Vishnu and Laksmi. Infact, the eleventh day of the bright half of Pausa (December-January) is considered to be very auspicious to offer banana to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi and sixth day of the bright fortnight of Kartika (October-November) is considered auspicious to offer banana to the Sun god.
In some regions, banana tree is worshipped while performing Kadali Vrata or fast. According to tradition, during Vaisakha, Magha or Kartika sukla caturdasi, a banana tree is planted and nurtured till it bears fruit. It is said that worshiping the tree with flowers, fruit, etc. will help in the welfare of one's family.