By the end of 2017, Rujuta had developed a trust and rapport with me, as Bioconcepts, to plan and execute novel eco-conservation projects. During a discussion with her, I suggested we go for 'Nakshatra Wan' plantation at Sonave.
Nakshatra Wan is an ancient concept which is mentioned in our scriptures like Narad Sanhita, Sharada Tilak Granth, Narad Puran and others. I would like to highlight the details of this concept in the following points:
1. Nakshatra means a constellation, which is a group of stars in a particular formation. According to our texts, there are 27 such Nakshatra or constellations.
2. Each constellation includes stars in certain formations, which are known as the Zodiac signs. There are 12 zodiac signs across the 27 Nakshatras.
3. Our ancient sages believed that just as we humans are born under a certain Nakshatra, each tree also has an influence of a particular Nakshatra. Accordingly, which tree belongs to which Nakshatra, is a knowledge passed on through ancient texts.
4. A forest/plantation and conservation of trees belonging to various Nakshatra is known as a Nakshatra Wan.
5. A Nakshatra Wan has multifold advantages like conservation of rare indigenous types of trees which have medicinal properties, preserving and generating Biodiversity around these trees and maintaining the ecological balance.
According to the Hindu astrology, each Nakshatra or constellation is associated with a tree. Therefore, in a Nakshatra wan, such trees are systematically planted according to the position of the Nakshatra. In doing so, the tree is said to imbibe the energies released by the associated Nakshatra. So astrologically, a Nakshatra Wan in an area, becomes a trap for all the positive energies emitted by the various Nakshatras and in turn helps in the spiritual well-being and prosperity of the people living in the vicinity. Of course, I do understand that this particular aspect of this plantation will not be acceptable to some people, who may completely focus on the ecological and conservational aspect of a Nakshatra Wan.
Nakshatra Wan plantation at Sonave
With so many advantages and importance of a Nakshatra Wan in mind, we took up the task of it's plantation in Sonave, in 2018. Rujuta made available, around half acre space around the Sai Baba Temple, at Sonave. Deciding the types of trees was a done in accordance to our ancient scriptures and the type of land near the temple. Amongst the many trees that we chose, this image names some:
The various deciduous and evergreen trees planted in the Nakshatra Wan, have great ecological and conservational value. As shown in the graphic here, we selected trees from the Nakshatra Wan tree list, which had medicinal properties and their individual components like roots, leaves or fruits contribute in medicines. Ecologically, the trees of the Nakshatra Wan, act as a host to innumerable insects, birds and small animals as their habitat.
The Nakshatra Wan at Sonave, currently shows a 3-to-5-year growth of trees. Since these are slow growing native trees, it will take around 10 to 12 years for it to take a form of a forest-like plantation. Rujuta does highlight this Nakshatra Wan in all the community farming programmes conducted by her at Sonave.
I am thankful to Rujuta Diwekar, for going ahead with my suggestion of a Nakshatra Wan, and backing it with complete faith in its ecological, conservational and medicinal value. She has set an example for many land owners and people with passion for the environment, to go for planting such conservation zones.