If you inquire about the Vedic philosophy behind ritualistic offerings to the gods, the known reason would be that a particular offering is dear to a deity or a particular item offered to the concerned deity is auspicious. Everything original found in nature is perfect and auspicious. For instance, Tulasi is dear to Lord Krishna for She is His highest devotee who loves to remain at His lotus feet. Similarly, Bel patra is dear to Shiv with many legends behind this.
The most popular story is of a hunter who while wandering in the forest was frightened by the presence of tigers and other wild animals. In order to be safe, he climbed up a Bel tree and spent the while night there. To stay awake, he plucked out the leaves and dropped them down. There was a Shiva linga below the tree. All the leaves fell onto that Linga. While dropping the leaves, the hunter remembered Shiva and chanted His mantras. This was the highest untainted form of devotion to Mahadeva (shiva). His body was afraid of wild animals but his ever-joyful soul took to surrendering to Shiva. It was out of his fear, he remembered all-auspicious Shiva. This event points to the level of mercy that Shiva bestows upon His devotees. What a hunter who remembered Shiva out of fear of wild animals can be blessed, why not a devotee who completely devotes himself to Shiva out of love be blessed?
Bel leaves have the trifoliate shape denoting Lord Shiva's three divine eyes as well as the Trident. The Lord is always angry with the miscreants who attempt to harm the saints, devotees and sages. Devotees, divine and merciful by nature, offer Bel leaves that have cooling effect on the body in order to pacify the Rudra elements in Shiva. Rudra means anger, passion or intensity. Devotees always want the Lord Shiva to calm down and forgive those who offend them knowingly or unknowingly.
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About Pashupatinath Temple and Lord Pashupatinath Shiva The Pashupatinat