Today is the international day of forests. In Hinduism there seems to be the most wonderful deities for all parts of Human existence. I was so surprised upon my research to find about we have a ‘forest goddess’. Did you know we actually have our own forest goddesses? What a perfect way to introduce the beautiful goddess Arayani, the goddess of the forests, on international forest day.
In Hinduism, Aranyani is a goddess of the forests and the animals that dwell within them. She is believed to be the mother of them all. Her name comes from the word, Aranya, which means forest in Sanskrit. Goddess Aranyani protects the forest, and provides food for humankind. She has been worshipped in India as the chief expression of life and fertility. Aranyani has been described as elusive, preferring quiet glades deep in the jungle. She has no fear of remote places, and keeps to the fringes of civilization without becoming lonely. Although she is rarely seen, she wears anklets with little bells, and you can hear her moving through the forest. She also enjoys dancing amongst the trees. Goddess Aranyani has the distinction of having one of the most descriptive hymns in the Rigveda dedicated to her.
One day, the goddess Parvati was standing with Lord Shiva at the foot of a Kalpavriksha tree, a divine wish-fulfilling tree in Hindu mythology. Parvati was enchanted with the beauty of the trees, and wanted to know if one was more special than the others. So Shiva told her to offer a wish to the tree they were standing before. So Parvati meditated for a few moments and then said, “Oh Divine Mother! You, who is present everywhere, you who is the embodiment of power and Energy! I Bow to You! Please bless us with a most beautiful girl with nine divine gifts of peace purity knowledge energy patience respect prosperity success and happiness.” At once, Parvati’s wish was fulfilled with a touch of breath from Lord Shiva. Immediately, the most beautiful young girl emerged from the Kalpavriksha tree. Surprised and filled with joy, Parvati recited the hymn, Rig Veda No 146 of tenth Mandala, and addressed her as Aranyani, the forest goddess.
Aranyani appeared with a snow-white body clothed with roses. On her head was a wreath of flowers falling from golden hair. Her face radiated like the sun. She wore anklets with bells producing musical sounds that tinkled when she moved. She was stunningly beautiful and full of vitality and charm. (Ref: Goddess Garden)