If you practice Hindu rituals, you've seen it before, but what is the reasoning behind always breaking a coconut?
Coconut is known as shree phal, meaning, "an auspicious fruit."
In Hinduism, it is the only fruit that is used to symbolize God.
Common occasions when a coconut is used:
- New Ventures
- New Vehicle
Breaking the coconut removes negativity (represented by the hard shell) and brings out purity (represented by the inside). It is believed that doing so helps keep problems at bay.
How did this practice start?
It all started with the thought: There's gotta be a better way than sacrificing humans and animals!
Adi Shankaracharya, a spiritual guru, is credited for discontinuing the inhuman ritual and replacing it with offering coconuts.
The coconut = a human head
- The coir = Human hair
- Hard shell = Human skull
- Coconut water = Human blood
- White kernel = Human body
The three eye-like marks on the coconut are thought to represent the three-eyed Lord Shiva. The coconut is considered to be the symbol of the trinity: Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
When Lord Vishnu came on the earth, he brought goddess Lakshmi a coconut tree and the Kamdhenu cow for the welfare of mankind.
When Lord Ganesha was a child and playing, he was drawn to his father’s third eye and went to go touch it. To distract him, Lord Shiva gave Ganesh "a special ball" (ie: coconut) to play with instead.
Enjoyed this article?
Modi Toys is a children's brand of toys and books inspired by ancient Hindu culture. We exist to spread joy and to spark curiosity in the next generation through our innovative soft plush toys, illustrated children's books and free learning resources. Our weekly Theology Thursday series covers a wide range of topics rooted in Hinduism to help us better understand the origins of traditions, the symbolic meaning of rituals, and the stories behind Hindu holidays and festivals. The more we can understand "the why" behind this 4,000 year ancient religion, and make sense of it in this modern age, the greater we can appreciate and preserve our rich Hindu culture. While we take great care in thoroughly researching the information presented, we may occasionally get some things wrong. We encourage a healthy and open dialogue so we can learn together. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at email@example.com to address any concerns.