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About Bonsai in India

One theory about the beginning of Bonsai is that it actually originated in India. Ancient ayurvedic physicians carried back shoots from medicinal trees from the Himalayas and grew them in miniature forms in pots by trimming and cutting back the roots, the tulsi being a good example of this. In the 12th century Bonsai in India was known as Vamanatanu Vrikshadi Vidya which translates as the science of dwarfing trees. The art travelled to China, known as punsai, the art of growing single specimen trees in pots. Various specimens of trees were grown with thick, gnarled trunks, in pots. With its introduction in Japan, the art got refined to a great extent. Over the times, it took a different shape. Bonsai artists gradually introduced other materials like rocks, supplementary and accent plants created miniature landscapes in nature - known as saikei. Finally, in the mid-19th Century, Japan opened the doors to the rest of the world. It reached Europe through exhibitions. After about hundred years, it came back in its present form to India.

The Indian Bonsai Society was formed in 1972 and there is an indication that people all across India are showing interest in the art of growing Bonsai. Bonsai is more popular with women in India and therefore small sized Bonsai are more common. Tray landscapes "Saikei" are grown by many and planting different varieties in the one tray is common. There is also a quarterly Bonsai magazine called Nichin Bonsai distributed throughout India.
This article and pictures were taken from the BCI "Bonsai Magazine" August 1998 and reprinted with the permission of them and authors Nikunj & Jyoti Parekh


Wabi, Sabi, Kami, Goa and Me - By Heta Pandit
Attaining complete peace and tranquillity through the horticultural art of Bonsai.

Bonsai is inspired by the Zen doctrine of Wabi, Sabi and Kami working as a triad or a trinity. While the concept of a trinity is comprehensible to all Christians, the concept of a trinity working in harmony is also familiar to most Hindus. Wabi, is inner harmony, well-being and gratification. It is also the notion of smallness, humility and acceptance of natural calamities. Sabi is the pleasure of possessing and tending to something which is old, transformed by man, nature or the vagaries of time. It is also the notion of extreme simplicity, single-minded simplicity, absolute, singular simplicity. Kami is the spirit, the interior of things, human artefacts, the vital energies that lie inside plants.

The basis of Hindu philosophy lies in parallel convictions, on the concept of prana or vital energies that are present in the universe. It is believed that these energies have their primary sources in the sun, the earth and the atmosphere and their secondary sources in water, wind and trees like the banyan tree. It is the harmony of these energies that give you a healthy mind and a healthy body. It is the harmony of these energies that mould your personality and your behaviour in the society you live in. It would be logical to assume that the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink and bathe in are responsible for the you inside you. So it is with the tree you are tending into a bonsai.
This was part of an article in Goa Today unfortunately the whole article is no longer available.

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