The Banyan that is growing in the grove has a significant sanctity of its own. In April of 1959, while talking one evening on the sands of the Chitravathi River to a gathering of devotees, Bhagawan Baba spoke of Buddha and the Bodhi tree, the “Tree of Wisdom,” and of the Sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) seeking some specially favorable spots for their austerities. Even as He was speaking thus, He “took” out from the sands a thick copper plate about fifteen inches by ten inches in size which contained mystic markings and letters of many known and unknown alphabets! Swami announced that He would be placing the copper plate under a Banyan tree that He proposed to plant in the grove.
The planting of the tree was actually done on 29th June, 1959, and Bhagawan Baba declared that Yogis, who have reached a certain stage of spiritual progress will automatically come to know of this tree and this mystic plate, and they will be drawn by the mysterious force of these toward the meditation grove which will then fully justify its name!
The tiny sapling that earned the mystic touch of Bhagawan Baba has grown gigantically over the past five decades, with its aerial roots, boughs and branches, standing majestically conferring subtle blessings to earnest seekers of spiritual ascension. Over the years, this Meditation Grove or the Penance Grove, as is referred elsewhere, has been the ‘Solitude Spot’ for many a sincere seeker.
To commemorate the 56th anniversary of this Holy tree, this morning, at 10 00 AM, Bhajans were offered, after Veda Chanting and Sri Sathya Sai Astothram. Mangala Arathi to the Meditation Tree and Bhagawan marked the end of the Special prayer, on this occasion. The programme culminated with the distribution of Prasadam to all.
The Vata Vriksha in Prasanthi Niayam is a symbol of spiritual austerity…sign of supreme tranquility…and is the path to spiritual ascension, as it has earned the supreme benediction, being empowered by Bhagawan Baba himself. In fact the 97th Name in the Sri Sathya Sai Ashtotharam is referred to this attribute of Bhagawan, “Aum Sri Sai Sadhakanugraha Vata Vriksha Pratishtapakaya Namah:”