|Tulsi or Tulasi or Holy basil plant found in Karnataka, India. en.wikipedia.org|
|Tulsi (Basil) plants, India www.theweek.in|
|Tulsi Maadam. ykantiques.com|
There are a few legends about the origin of Tulsi, one being related to the Samudra Manthana, the massive churning of the cosmic ocean by the Devas (Celestials) on one side and asuras (demons on the other. Towards the completion of churning Dhanvantari appeared from from the ocean with a pot containing the elixir of immortality - Amrita . Both demons and devas vied with one another to get it. Realizing the danger that might befall if the demons got the pot of Amrita, Vishnu himself secured it for Devas and in doing so he shed happy tears. It is believed that the first tear of fell in Amrita and formed the Tulsi.
The plant is considered as the woman's deity and a symbol of womanhood. Traditionally in all households only womenfolks worship Tulsi plant. The auspicious days for Tulsi worship are Tuesdays and Fridays, scriptures say daily worship is good for the welfare of the family. Whoever takes care of Tulsi plant will not only gain divine grace but also will attain Moksha (heavenly abode). Part of worship of Tulsi includes cleaning the surrounding areas as well with water almost daily and offering of food, etc. The Tulsi plant is often worshiped twice in a day: in the morning and in the evening. Commonly an oil lamp is lit near the plant or in the niche provided for it in the Maadam or platform.
In daily worship of Vishnu, Krishna, Vithoba, Rama and other Vishnu - related deities. Tulsi is considered holy. In all Vaishnavite temples one can see the Tulsi Maalas- Tulsi garland on the deities in the sanctum. It is common to see Tulsi garlands being offered in veneration to Vishnu or Krishna deities. Vaishnavite Pandits wear Tulsi Malas made of beads taken from stems.
|Tulsi worship. rashmiprabhanjan.wordpress.com|
Some interesting facts:
01. Every part of the Tulsi plant- leaves, stems, roots, etc is considered sacred.
02. A person cremated with Tulsi twigs in his funeral pyre will gain moksha and a place to repose in Vishnu's abode - Vaikudam, according to The Padma Purana.
03. If a Tulsi stick is used to burn a lamp for Vishnu, it equivalent to burning innumerable oil lamps before the deity.
04. It is believed that water mixed with Tulsi leaves is given to the dying person, his soul will get Mosksha - heaven. There will be no rebirth for him.
05. It is a taboo to litter around the Tulsi plant and make the surrounding place dirty. Attending nature's call, spitting etc.will invite serious trouble.
06. In the state of Kerala the Nayars keep Tulsi plants to pacify or ward off evil spirits. In Tamil Nadu, in particular, Brahmins keep the plant to have peace of mind, success in education, trouble free wedding, etc.
07. Though there are no constraints about Tulsi leaves being offered to Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of Destroyer, Pundits - Shivacharyas normally avoid Tulsi leaves or take them with hesitation.
08. Tulsi Malas are worn by devout people and is considered to be good for the wearer, supposedly giving him protection of the deity Rama or Vishnu. People wearing such malas should not consume non-vegetarian food, liquor and other beverages
09. Tulsi Japa malas (a string of Hindu prayer beads) made from Tulsi stems are commonly used by elderly people in the evening of their lives to chant mantras while meditating on God. They wear it around their neck or use it as rosary when doing prayer by holding it in their hands.