Seeds are closely connected with culture. Traditional agriculture in India is an advanced form of food production which came into being by an understanding of nature. Farmers chose crop varieties depending on soil and water availability. Traditional agriculture ensured food security and preserved genetic diversity.

Women play a major role in conserving seeds locally. They decide on the amount and variety of seeds to be preserved, and preservation methods; when change is required and when the seed has to be borrowed or exchanged; and conservation and propagation of the seeds. On the day of sowing, women keep all the seeds meant for sowing before the house deity and worship them. (This is not done for modern High Yielding Varieties).  Before sowing begins, women worship the draft animals, the plough and other equipments used in sowing.

Seeds play an important role in many Indian rituals, ceremonies and festivals which celebrate the cycle of birth, life and death. The traditional practice of seed storage has been a basis for Indian farming that itself is a way of life. Seeds are the symbol of fertility, eternity and sustenance in India and a key to safeguarding India’s biodiversity.

In India, seeds in general and navdanya (nine seeds) in particular, symbolize the protection of biological and cultural diversity. Conserving seeds is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, and conserving culture and sustainability

Sacred Seeds of India:

S.NoSacred SeedFact about the Sacredness


Associated with the Sun (Aditya)

Bengal gram

Associated with Jupiter

Green gram

Associated with Budha (Mercury) and which stimulates intelligence


Associated with Mangal (Mars)

White bean

Associated with Shukra (Venus)

Black sesame

Associated with Shani (Saturn)

Black Gram

Associated with Rahu

Horse Gram

Associated with Ketu


Associated with Goddess Annapoorani and Goddess Lakshmi


Associated with God Shiva