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Ketaki Flower: Why Ketaki Flower is Not Offered to Lord Shiva

ketaki flower

Updated Date : Friday, 09 Feb, 2024 11:44 AM

When we want to please Lord Shiva and receive his blessings, there are a lot of things we offer to him, such as Bilva Patra, milk, ghee, water, and numerous other items. However, do you know that there are a few other things that might lead to the reverse outcome? Therefore, we should avoid or never offer such things to Lord Shiva. If they are offered, you will not receive his blessings. The flower called Ketaki is one of the offerings that Lord Shiva is not pleased with. But do you know what the Ketaki flower story is or why Ketaki flower is cursed by Lord Shiva? Continue reading to find out the story behind it.

The Ketaki flower is also known as an "umbrella tree." And even though there are numerous benefits of Ketaki flower, it is still not offered to Lord Shiva. Flowers have always been a significant aspect of our history and culture. People use flowers for many different things, including marriage, worship, religious and social gatherings, and decoration. However, Ketaki is a forbidden flower that Lord Shiva cursed because it falsely testified against Lord Brahma. But that's not everything that describes the reason why Ketaki flower is cursed. So let’s dive into the Ketaki flower story to find out the reason behind it.

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Why Is Ketaki Flower Cursed By Lord Shiva?

As per the Shiv Purana, there was a disagreement between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu regarding who is superior to the other. This had to be decided by Mahadev himself. Then there emerged a massive Jyotirlinga. Shiva declared that the person who can identify the start and finish of this Jyotirlinga, out of Brahma and Vishnu, would be deemed the greatest.

Lord Vishnu chose to go upstairs to locate the Jyotirlinga's end, while Brahmaji chose to go downstairs to locate the Jyotirlinga's beginning. As Brahmaji descended the stairs, he noticed that a Ketaki flower was following him. Convincing the Ketaki flower to lie on his side, Brahma approached Mahadev and declared that he had discovered the source of the Jyotirlinga. He pointed to Ketki's flower as evidence of this.

However, upon his return, Lord Vishnu informed Mahadev that he was unable to locate the end of this shivling. Brahma Ji used the Ketki flower to call a lie to his advantage. However, Mahadev has an inner self and is aware of reality. Because of this, he became extremely enraged at Ketaki's flower for lying, chopped off one of Brahma ji's heads, and declared that this flower could never be used in my worship again after today. I am not going to accept this flower.

Shiva then declared, "I am the beginning, and I am the end." I am the universe's creator, cause, and master. You two are descended from me. This Jyotirlinga also represents my form. Brahma Ji then realized his error. Following this, Brahma Ji and Lord Vishnu both worshiped the Jyotirlinga. However, since then, the Ketaki flower has been forbidden in Mahadev's worship. However, Ketaki flower contains numerous benefits, so let's dive into its detailed explanation.

What is the Ketaki Flower?

The name Ketaki means "dhuli pushpika" in Sanskrit. In Hindi, "Kewda" is another ketaki flower name. When we talk about the ketaki flower scientific name, "Pandanus odoratissimus." It is referred to as an umbrella tree, also known as a screw pine in English. Ketaki is a shrub with many branches. It usually grows along the coastlines of India as well as the Andaman Islands, and it is rarely erect. The stem can reach heights of up to six meters.

The tree is regarded as an effective soil consolidator. The leaves are pointed, ensiform, and have a color similar to glacier green. The leaf midriffs and margins are spine-covered. On distinct plants, both female and male ketaki flowers are developed. Male plants were referred to as "ketaki-viphala" or "dhuli pushpika" by the ancient Hindus. "Sawarana ketaki" was the term used to describe the female plants. When male and female plants were found together, they were referred to as "ketaki dvayan" (a pair of ketaki). 

Male flowers have spadices that are 25 to 50 cm long and covered in many spikes. The male flowers have a white color and are fragrant. Female flowers have a single, 5-cm-diameter spadix. The fruit has numerous prism-like structures and reaches a maximum length of about 20 cm. The fruit has a pineapple-like appearance. As fruits mature, their color shifts from green to yellow to bright orange or red. 

The fragrance released by the delicate white spikes that envelop the flowers makes male fluorescence valuable. You can extract valuable attar from them. The flowers can also be used to adorn hair. This plant is primarily used for commercial purposes in the Ganjam district of Orissa, specifically Kollapali, Meghra, and Agrraran. "Kweda attar, kewra water," and "kewda oil" are extracted from flowers.

"Kewda attar" is a popular fragrance that has been extracted and utilized in India for a very long time. It smells good on clothes, in bouquets, lotions, soaps, cosmetics, hair, tobacco, oils, and agarbati. It mixes well with nearly all high-end perfumes. Kewda water is used to flavor soft drinks, sweet syrups, and a variety of foods. In North India, Ketaki water is frequently used for festivals, marriages, and other social gatherings.

Ketaki leaves are tender and can be consumed either uncooked or cooked and served with sauces. To give rice in the Philippines its fresh scent, the leaves are cooked alongside the rice. Ice cream is flavored with its leaves as well. The huts are covered with dried leaves, which are then used to make fancy items like baskets, hats, and matting. The leaves of Ketaki are reportedly a good raw material for papermaking. The trimmed and pounded leaves are frequently utilized to create paintbrushes and whitewashing brushes.

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Benefits of Ketaki Flower

Even though the Ketaki Flower was cursed by Lord Shiva and forbidden to be worshipped, it is nevertheless widely used. Additionally, it contains a whole lot of benefits, so let’s discuss some of them here.

  • Ketaki generally restores health, vigor, and well-being, which is why it is used in tropical climates to promote well-being.
  • Ayurveda suggests using the medicinal properties of essential oils as a liniment for rheumatic symptoms as well as a treatment for headaches and earaches.
  •  Kewda extracts can also be used to treat colic, leprosy, syphilis, hepatitis, smallpox, ulcers, boils, scabies, wounds, leucoderma, scabies, and spasms. They are also used as a preservative in rice-based products.
  • Kewda has anti-allergic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, and anti-cancer properties.
  • Psychological disorders, fever, joint pain, earaches, diabetes, and impending abortion symptoms are all treated by Ketaki. Ketaki is one of the most widely used medicinal plants.
  • The flower juice has significant benefits for rheumatoid arthritis. Kewda oil is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and is regarded as an antispasmodic and stimulant.
  • Additionally, wounds, ulcers, fever, diabetes, sterility, and spontaneous abortions are treated with root juices.
  • Kewda leaves are said to be beneficial for treating scabies, leprosy, and heart and brain disorders. 

When it comes to nutrition, it is crucial. Kewda fruit contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, and amino acids. Carbs and water are present in the outer layer of fruit. The fruit paste contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, thiamin, and beta-carotene in addition to protein. Fruit also contains good amounts of vitamins B and C. Kewda flavor is used in a variety of confections and to make floured beverages. Ketaki flowers are the main ingredient in kewda attar, kewda oil, and kewda water. Almost every part of the tree has a purpose. 

Uses of Ketaki Flowers 

Apart from the various benefits of Ketaki flower, it contains numerous additional uses, which makes this flower truly precious. So let's look at some of the popular uses of the Ketaki flower.

  • The ketaki root is processed to create sesame oil, which is applied externally to treat joint pain and headaches.
  • Flowers of the Pandanus odorotissimus species are used to make oil and use it as nasal drops to treat epileptic convulsions.
  • The ketaki root is prepared with coconut oil, and the resultant oil is applied to the scalp to improve hair shine and treat alopecia.
  • To relieve earaches, Ketaki oil is applied to the ears and slightly heated.
  • For fever and cases of measles, 30 to 40 milliliters of a cold infusion made from the root of Pandanus odorotissimus are used.
  • The root of the ketaki plant is boiled in milk and taken in doses of 25 to 30 ml to promote physical and sexual energy, strengthen uterine muscles, and treat situations where an abortion is imminent.
  • A paste made from the ketaki root is applied to the skin to lighten the complexion and get rid of blackheads.
  • Add two to three grams of root powder to a cup of hot water to treat diabetes and dyspepsia.

Final Takeaway

The Ketaki flower may have numerous beneficial properties, but it is not offered to Lord Shiva in worship due to its cursed nature. The story behind why Ketaki Flower is cursed is an interesting one and highlights the importance of honesty and truthfulness. While we may not be able to offer this flower to Lord Shiva, we can still appreciate its beauty and usefulness in other ways. Let us remember the lesson from this story and strive to be truthful and honest in all our actions.

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