The Lodha of West Bengal eat the dried seeds of

this plant in order to induce hallucinations. In

Southeast Asia, the seeds are known for their narcotic

properties. They are used in traditional

Chinese medicine as an anthelmintic agent, in

Kerala to treat asthma, and in Nepal as a laxative

(Ott 1993,420*). In India, the tree (known as vibhitika)

is associated with the goddess Kali and is used

in black magic to kill enemies (Gupta 1991, 94*).

Bellerian myrobalan is closely related to black

myrobalan (Terminalia chebula [Gaertn.] Retz.),

which is venerated as a sacred tree in Nepal and

India. It is said that the god Indra, inebriated on

soma, was imbibing the drink of immortality

(amrita, ambrosia) and let fall a drop from heaven

to earth; from this drop the myrobalan tree arose.

In Tantra, eating myrobalan is said to summon the

goddess Shri, the erotic consort of Vishnu

(Majupuria and Joshi 1988, 109*).

Myrobalan (Sanskrit haritaki) is an attribute of

the Tibetan Medicine Buddha (Bhaisajya-guru)

and symbolizes the "elixir of long life." The second

attribute of the Medicine Buddha is the begging bowl, carved out of lapis lazuli, that is filled with

amrita (= ambrosia), the "divine nectar of enlightenment"

(cf. soma) (Birnbaum 1982, 123 ff.).
Literature

Birnbaum, Raoul. 1982. Der Heilende Buddha. Bern:

O. W. Barth/Scherz.

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