Aranyani: Goddess of the Forest

Aranyani is a rarely seen deity who is acknowledged in the movement of the trees, especially at dusk.

The forests have always been vital to Indian civilization, and represent the feminine principle known as Shakti. They are the main source of life and fertility. As a community they have been respected as an ideal for evolution in India, on both a societal and civilization level.

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Hiking above Karuna Farm, near Kodai Kanal, South India

“Aranya” means forest. She is the goddess of the forests and the animals that live there.

Goddess Aranyani has been worshipped in India for centuries as a depiction of the chief expression of life and fertility. She governs the forests and is the protectress and the guardian of animals. She is believed to be the mother of them all. Aranyani has been defined as elusive and fond of quiet glades in the jungle. She is fearless of remote places.

The Aranyakas make up the third part of the ancient 10,000-year-old yogic scriptures known the Vedas. They were established by hermits (rishis and seers) living in the forests. They reveal a clear evolution in the philosophy of the life of man.

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Silence of the Souls Meditation Centre, Uttarakhand, North India

The culture of the forest known as ‘Aranya Samskriti’ was not a circumstance of primitiveness, but one of conscious choice.

Indian culture values the forest as the highest form of cultural evolution. Esteemed as a source of life, nature was honoured as sacred, and human evolution was determined in terms of man’s ability to unify with her rhythms and patterns intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. The forest cultivated an ecological civilization in the utmost sense of harmony with nature.


This article was originally published for Salt Spring Malas.

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