Author: Shivashankar Rao
THE SACRED TULASI
Tulsi is Sacred and dear to Hindus:
In the Padma Purana there are thirty chapters describing Tulasi’s appearance. Her glorious attributes are recounted throughout the Vedic literature.
“Just by looking at Tulasi, all of one’s sins are removed. Just by touching Her, one’s body becomes purified. All diseases are removed by praying to Her. Fear of death is destroyed by watering Her. Just by planting or transplanting Her, one achieves realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If someone offers Her leaves at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, Tulasi will award liberation and devotion to Lord Sri Krishna.” (Stoka Krishna Prabhu)
Asta-Nama-Stava from the Padma Purana The Eight Names of Vrinda-devi:
Vrindavani, vrinda, visvapujita, pushpasara, nandini, Krishna-jivani, visva-pavani, tulasi
■VRINDAVANI – One who first manifested in Vrindavan.
■VRINDA – The goddess of all plant and trees ( even if one Tulasi plant is present in a forest it can be called Vrindavana.)
■VISHVAPUJITA – One whom the whole universe worships.
■PUSHPASARA – The topmost of all flowers, without whom Krishna does not like to look upon other flowers.
■NANDINI – Seeing whom gives unlimited bliss to the devotees.
■KRISHNA-JIVANI – The life of Sri Krishna.
■VISHVA-PAVANI – One who purifies the three worlds.
■TULASI – One who has no comparison.
Anyone while worshiping Tulasi-devi chants these eight names will get the same results as one who performs the Ashvamedha sacrifice. And one who on the full-moon day of Kartika (Tulasi-devi’s appearance day) worships Her with this Mantra will break free from the bonds of this miserable world of birth and death, and very quickly attains Goloka Vrndavan. On the full moon-day of Kartik Lord Sri Krishna Himself worships Srimati Tulasi-devi with this Mantra.
2) Tulsi Plant:
“The Queen of Herbs” – is the most sacred herb of India. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), although also known as Holy Basil, is a different plant from the pesto variety of Basil (Ocimum basilicum). Tulsi has been revered in India for over five thousand years, as a healing balm for body, mind and spirit, and is known to bestow an amazing number of health benefits. There are 3 varieties of Tulsi: Rama Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) and Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissiumum).
3) Tulsi Matha:
Generally, worshipers of Vishnu will envision Tulsi as Lakshmi or Vrinda; devotees of Rama may view Tulsi as Sita; while Krishna bhaktas revere Her as Vrinda, Radha or Rukmani.
The Tulsi is the most sacred. In Sanskrit that which is incomparable is called Tulasi. Impressed by her devotion and adherence to righteousness, Tulasi the wife of a celestial being was blessed by Lord Krishna that she would be worshipped by all, offerings would be incomplete without the offering of Tulsi. She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish a righteous life also worship Tulsi.
4) Tulsi symbolises as:
i) Kalyani – Normally poisonous snakes and mosquitos do not come close to it due to some smell that it emits. That explains why it is a must in every house. The leaves as well roots are a cure for several diseases like malaria, cold, fever, acidity. The wood of this plant is used for japa Mala, a rosary for worship of Lord Vishnu and when worn in the neck it prevents diseases of the throat.
ii) Visnu Priya – Tulsi has been described as the beloved of Lord Vishnu since he is the creator and Tulsi helps the health of human beings and animals, prevents soil erosion.
iii) Moksha prada – By keeping the body healthy, it keeps the mind healthy and free of worries enabling us to concentrate on worship of the Ultimate Reality in comfort.
5) Tulsi Slokas:
(i) Tulsi Vandanam:
“Yenmoole Sarvatheerthaani Yenmadhye Sarvadevatha
Yadagre Sarva Vedaascha Thulaseem-tham Namamyaham”
‘I bow down to the Tulsi at whose base are all the holy places, at whose top reside all deities and on whose middle are all the Vedas.’
(ii) Sacred of Tulsi leaves:
‘pushkaratyathi theerthani gangathyah sarithasthatha
vasudevadayo devah vasanthi tulasi thalae’
‘Sacred waters of all sacred places like Pushkar, River waters of all sacred rivers like Ganges and all Gods starting from Vasudeva are residing in Tulsi leaves.’
(iii) Tulsi Aarti:
‘Tulsi Maharani Namo-Namo, Hari ki Patrani Namo-Nam.
Dhan Tulsi Puran Tap Kino, Shaligram Bani Patrani.
Jake Patra Manjar Komal, Shreepati Kamal Charan Laptani.
Dhoop-Deep-Navaidya Aarti, Pusphpan ki Varsha Barsani.
Chappan Bhog Chatisau Vyanjan, Bin Tulsi Hari Ek na Maani.
Sabhi Sakhi Maiya Tero Yash Gave, Bhaktidaan Deejay Maharani.
Namo-Namo Tulsi Maharani, Namo-Namo Tulsi Maharani.’
(iv) Sri Tulasi Pradaksina Mantra
‘yani kani ca papani
tani tani pranasyanti
pradaksinah pade pade’
By the circumambulation of Srimati Tulasi-devi all the sins that one may have committed are destroyed at every step, even the sin of killing a brahmana.
6) Tulasi Festival:
Uthana Dwadasi (Tulasi festival): This festival falls on Karthika Shudha Dwadasi, in the month of Aipisi (October- November). The Thulasi plant is considered to be a very sacred plant and the leaves of Thulasi is used as garlands in Vishnu temples. It is believed that God can be propitiated by offering a single Thulasi leaf, which is available even to the poorest among the poor. There is a well known Mythological story “Sri Krishna Thulabharam”, of how a single leaf of Thulasi tilted the balance, when the entire wealth of Sathyabhama, could not out weigh Sri Krishna. Thulasi leaves have many medicinal properties and is also used as a herb in many parts of the world.
The Pooja to Thulasi plant in the Brindavan, is usually performed in the evening on that day, in presence of invited ladies. A twig of the Gooseberry tree (Nellikkai or Amla) with a few fruits, which represents Sri Krishna, is set by the side of the Thulasi plant, in the well decorated Brindavan. This is considered to be the wedding of Krishna and Thulasi. Lamps made out of five gooseberries are lit in front of the Brindavan and oil lamps are lit all over the house, and Arathi is performed to Thulasi. The Pooja ends with distribution of betel leaf, nut and fruits to the invitees.