Hindu culture has many traditions, rituals, and customs. Also, the rituals that are performed are backed with spiritual and scientific backing. The customs that were practiced ages ago are still practiced in a similar fashion and zeal even today. These customs are not just performed because our ancestors performed them back then but because these practices have a deep meaning and significance attached to them. One such significant practice or custom that all Hindu families have been performing is the worship of the Tulsi Plant at their house.
Has the question that ‘Why do we worship the Tulsi plant’ ever crossed your mind? Has your mind ever pondered over the thought that what is so special about the Tulsi Plant? If yes, then you must read this article to find the importance and also the history of Tulsi.
About Tulsi Plant
Tulsi is a divine plant that is highly revered in Hinduism. It is also addressed as Vrinda or Basil and spelled as Tulasi by some. This pious plant is planted by many people who belong to the Hindu sect outside the house in an open space. Since ancient times, this miraculous plant holds tremendous importance during yagnas, pujas, and also while performing various rituals. The Tulsi is one of the oldest plants known to mankind and holds a lot of medicinal value, spiritual value, and religious importance. Goddess Tulsi is associated with the Tulsi plant and it is believed that this plant is the manifestation of the divine Maa Tulsi.
A very renowned phrase in Sanskrit: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” literally means that the qualities that the Tulsi possesses are incomparable to any other plant. Also, the Tulsi leaves are the only samagri in the puja rituals that can be cleansed by washing with plain fresh water and reused.
Story of Satyabhama and Krishna
Once Satyabhama told Lord Krishna to sit on the weighing scale and tried to weigh him against all the humongous wealth She had. She kept on adding jewels and precious stones but the side on which Lord Krishna was seated remained heavier. Surprised and shocked She didn’t know what to do. This is when Rukmini placed a Tulsi leaf on the other side of the scale with pure devotion and the scale weighed equal only then. This is the power of a single leaf of Tulsi. Let us learn about the story of Tulsi Vivah.
Tulsi Vivah Story
A long time ago there lived a King named Daityaraj Kalnemi. He had a daughter named Vrinda. Since childhood, Vrinda worshipped Lord Vishnu. Vrinda grew up to be a beautiful maiden who was very pious and who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Her father got Her married to Jalandhar who was a demon.
Let us understand the background of Jalandhar to understand the entire history. A long time ago, a particular act of Lord Indra had made Lord Shiva very angry. Lord Shiva was so angered that His third Eye opened. Witnessing this all the Gods got worried. Lord Brahaspati expressed regret and said sorry to Lord Shiva and also asked Him to forgive Lord Indra. This is when Lord Shiva aimed the fire that was burning in His third Eye due to anger in the ocean. From this fire, a small lad came into being and this child was none other than Jalandhar who grew up to be a powerful demon king.
Since Jalandhar had no clue of how he was born he assumed that because he came out of the ocean and hence he had the right to seek an equal share in the treasure that emerged during the churning of the Milky Ocean. All the Gods rejected His claim. This is when Jalandhar got furious and declared a war against all the Gods. Jalandhar was strong and no one could kill him as he had a boon that till the time Vrinda his wife was untouched and chaste no one could defeat him.
Soon a deadly battle began between the Gods and Jalandhar. Jalandhar started defeating all the Gods one by one. The remaining Gods were now worried and ran to Lord Vishnu to seek His help. Lord Vishnu could not kill Jalandhar as His consort Goddess Lakshmi considered Jalandhar Her brother as they both emerged out of the Ocean. Goddess Lakshmi had requested Lord Vishnu not to kill Jalandhar. Soon the battle between Asuras and devas came to an end as Jalandhar had successfully defeated all the Gods. Shamed by the loss all the devas went to LordNarad to seek help and this is when Narad came up with an idea He went to Jalandhar and spoke highly of how beautiful Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva was and how huge and serene Lord Shiva’s house was in Kailash. Triggered by listening to Narad, Jalandhar now wanted to acquire Goddess Parvati and also the abode of Lord Shiva. Jalandhar was a demon who could easily change forms. He immediately announced war with Lord Shiva and while the war was going on Jalandhar disguised himself as Lord Shiva and went to Kailash to trick Parvati. Goddess Parvati being AdiShakti quickly recognized him and tried to harm him but Jalandhar escaped. Goddess Parvati was angered and shared this experience with Lord Vishnu and asked Him to trick Vrinda similarly that Jalandhar had tried to trick Her.
On the other hand, Vrinda who was a very holy woman would always engross Herself in offering prayers to Lord Vishnu asking for the longevity of Her husband and that He came home safely from the battlefield. Whenever Jalandhar went on the battle, Vrinda would sit and do prayers continuously without eating or consuming water until he (Jalandhar) returned. Lord Vishnu is the master of disguise, took the form of Jalandhar and visited Vrinda. Looking at her pure devotion Lord Vishnu felt sad to trick her but Dharma always came first to the Lord and hence He tricked Her by disguising her as Jalandhar. Vrinda unaware that it was not her husband but Lord Vishnu disguised as Jalandhar got up from the puja and went to attend Him as soon as Lord Vishnu touched her, Her chastity was broken and Jalandhar lost all his powers on the battlefield as all his powers were only until his wife Vrinda remained chaste. On the other side as soon as Lord Vishnu touched Vrinda She realized that it was not Jalandhar and she broke into tears. Shivering with grief she asked ‘Who are you? Show me your real form’ as soon as she said this Lord Vishnu came in His original form. Looking at Lord Vishnu, Vrinda became furious, She thought to herself that the God that I worshipped all my life Himself tricked me, and hence She cursed Lord Vishnu to turn into a rock. Just the way a rock does not have any emotions in the same way Lord Vishnu had broken Her trust. As soon as She cursed Lord Vishnu, He accepted the curse and turned it into a stone.
The absence of Lord Vishnu created disorder in the functioning of the entire universe. All the Gods including Goddess Lakshmi tried to convince Vrinda to take back the curse for the smooth functioning of the universe and other beings and hence Vrinda took back the curse. Lord Vishnu soon came back to His normal form. On the other hand, Vrinda took the beheaded head of Her husband and placed it on Her lap, and immolated Herself. When Her body was burned completely into ashes it gave birth to a plant and this is when Lord Vishnu announced that the stone that he had turned into would be considered as Shaligram and the plant that took birth from the ashes of the righteous and Holy Vrinda would be called as Tulsi. Lord Vishnu further stated that His Shaligram form would always be worshipped alongside Tulsi and Tulsi will be planted by all the humans and would be worshipped too. He also said that while offering prayers to Lord Vishnu the first offering would be that of Tulsi, failing to do so He would not accept the remaining offerings. From this day onwards the event of performing Tulsi Vivah came into practice. This tradition is done to honor and revere Goddess Tulsi.
Tulsi Vivah is an auspicious ceremony where the Tulsi plant is married to the idol or photograph of Lord Vishnu. The rituals of performing the Tulsi Vivah are mentioned in the Padma Purana. These rituals are also mentioned in other Holy ancient texts. The ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed between Prbodhini Ekadashi and Kartik Purnima which according to the Gregorian calendar falls somewhere between October or November. This event marks the beginning of the wedding season and the end of the rainy season.
Why worship Tulsi?
According to Sanatana Dharma, many Gods reside in various parts of Tulsi. One of the ancient prayers states that Lord Brahma resides in the branches of the Tulsi, the Vedas in the branches which grow in the lower part. While all the other gods reside in the stem and Goddess Ganga runs in Her roots thus signifying the purity and divinity of this plant. On the other hand, the Tulsi plant is known to be a medicinal plant and also wards off negativity and attracts positivity.
How to Worship the Tulsi
If you have an open space in front of your house, you can plant the Tulsi in this open space. Make sure there is no garbage or dirt in the area near the plant.
If you live in a flat you can plant the Tulsi on your balcony. Now let us see how to worship the Tulsi plant.
- Make sure the surrounding where the Tulsi is planted is clean and dust-free
- Light a ghee lamp.
- Offer water to the Tulsi plant by holding the Kalash filled with freshwater with both hands.
- Now offer Kumkum and Haldi to the plant
- Offer flowers and light aromatic incense
- Now if you have planted it in an open space, perform pradakshina (an act of moving around the specific space in circles) and chant the shloka given below:
Tulasi kananam yatra yatra padmavanaani cha
Vasanti vaishnava yatra thathra sannihitho hari
Pushkaraadhyaani theerthani Gagadhya sarithas thatha
Vaasudeva dayo devaa vasanthi thulasivane
Praseetha tulasi devi praseetha hari vallabe
Ksheerotha mathanoth boothe tulasithvam namamyaham
Conclude the puja by chanting the Tulasi Vandanam
Tulasi sri sukhe subhe paapa haarini punyathe
namasthe naradha nuthe namo narayana priye
- If you have planted the Tulsi on your balcony then simply close your eyes join your hands and offer the prayers mentioned above
- Make sure to plant or place the Tulsi in a space where it gets proper sunlight
- Water it regularly
- Place or plant the Tulsi facing the north or north-east direction
- Make sure that you place plants that blossom next to the Tulsi plant.
- It also helps in removing the Dosha of the Vastu
- Make sure you plant the Tulsi in odd numbers for instance 3 or 5 or 7 and like
- To enjoy the positive benefits make sure you keep the surrounding of the plant hygienic and clean and offer water and perform puja daily.
This is how important the plant of Tulsi is. It does not only offer medicinal benefits but also offers great spiritual gifts. According to an ancient belief, if an individual seeks abundance and wealth, he can offer prayers to the Tulsi plant with pure heart and sincerity. Tulsi is said to be associated with Goddess Laksmi and offering prayers to Her is equivalent to praying to Goddess Lakshmi. Also, if a person is suffering from a cold and cough, Tulsi can help cure a cold and offer relief.
Thus, this heavenly plant is a gateway to bliss and a healthy life. Planting it and worshipping it daily while maintaining it accurately in the house is like inviting abundance, good health, harmony in married life, and positivity.