Significance of Supari (Betel Nut) In Puja
Whenever we plan a Pooja, Havan, any Mangal Karya (auspicious event), or any ancestry rituals, the next important item in the pooja material list after Haldi-Kumkum is the humble Supari.
Have you ever wondered, “Why Supari has gained such importance in the Hindu rituals?” Let’s get to know about the properties, origin, and use of Supari.
Supari, also known as Pugifal in the Sanskrit language and Betel or Areca Nut in English, is an important item used in ritualistic Pooja and everyday life. Supari is the fruit of the Areca Palm tree which is either rounded or conical in shape, white in colour and woody in texture, astringent in taste, and hard to break.
The properties of Supari have given it a higher rank amongst all fruits. The Supari tree is one of the Kalpavruksha groups — every part of the tree is useful and nothing goes waste.
The hardness of the fruit is a result of the tight bonding of its particles; the adhesive power of the bonding agent in the Supari fruit is very strong. Supari is called Varshaayu fal, meaning, ‘the fruit which takes one year to ripe’. Hence, all the 3 seasons have given their sanskar (quality) to the fruit. It is also considered that the fruit survives all the seasons as it has high energy content, which indicates loyalty, commitment, strong bond, complete usefulness.
The time of origin and usage of Supari in religious ceremonies is unclear but some references can be found in Ayurveda. It is mentioned, in Ayurveda, that the astringent taste is Kapha naashak (Cough destroyer) however, it can also increase Vaat dosh when consumed excessively. Supari has high fiber content, which helps reduce cholesterol and maintain calcium content. Supari is also used as Mukh Shudhi – chewing a small piece of Supari helps in digestion and reduces excess saliva.
Supari is given such significance that it can represent an idol of Lord Ganesha in pooja and can also represent a wife’s presence at a religious ritual. It is believed that the small and conical-shaped (Shikhar) Supari is considered auspicious for the rituals/pooja as its conical shape attracts positive energy. The one used for consumption is usually big and round in shape. Due to its perfect nature, Supari is used as a representative of gods in a ritual. This is seen as a form of attendance or blessing of the gods required for the pooja. It also saves space, even though coconuts are given a sacred position in a pooja, supari is used in places to mimic the function of an idol, and hence give the pooja an arranged look.
Hence, we can consider that, it could be due to these beneficial properties of Supari, it holds a symbolic representation in rituals and takes the form of deities. The number of the Supari required for the Pooja will vary according to the type of the pooja or ritual but the importance of the Supari remains unchanged.
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