Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is a widely grown, sacred plant of India. It belong to the labiateae family. It is also called by names like Manjari/Krishna tulsi (Sanskrit), Trittavu (Malayalam), Tulshi (Marathi) and Thulsi (Tamil & Telegu). It is called Holy Basil in English.
The ‘tulsi’ plant is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition. The name ‘tulsi’ connotes “the incomparable one”. Tulsi is a venerated plant and Hindus worship it in the morning and evening. Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. Dark or Shyama tulsi and light or Rama tulsi are the two main varieties of basil, the former possessing greater medicinal value. Of the many varieties, the Krishna or Shyama tulsi is commonly used for worship.
Tulsi As A Deity:
The presence of tulsi plant symbolizes the religious bent of a Hindu family. A Hindu household is considered incomplete if it doesn’t have a tulsi plant in the courtyard. Many families have the tulsi planted in a specially built structure, which has images of deities installed on all four sides, and an alcove for a small earthen oil lamp. Some households can even have up to a dozen tulsi plants on the verandah or in the garden forming a “tulsi-van” or “tulsivrindavan” – a miniature basil forest.
8 names of Tulasidevi
Vrindavani: One who first manifested in Vraja.
Once Tulasi devi descended as the daughter of King Kushadvaja. She was married to Jalhandara. It is said that Samudra deva the demigod controlling the nether regions had Lakshmi devi as a daughter (since she appeared from him at time of the churning of the ocean) and Jalandara (one who is born from water).
Thus devotees never offer anything to Krishna without a Tulasi leaf. He always adorns Himself with a Tulasi garland. The goddess of fortune, Laksmi, is sometimes envious of the Tulasi leaves which are placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, for they remain fixed there and do not move, whereas Laksmiji, although stationed by the chest of the Lord, sometimes has to please other devotees who pray for her favor. Laksmiji sometimes has to go to satisfy her numerous devotees, but tulasi leaves never forsake their position, and the Lord therefore appreciates the service of the tulasi more than the service of Laksmi.Tulsi Vivah or Marriage: This is perhaps the most sentimental but not the least important festival which falls on the 11th day of the bright half of Kartik. As story goes, Tulasi was the devoted wife of Shankhachuda, a celestial being. She believed that Lord Krishna tricked her into sinning. So she cursed Him to become a stone (shaaligraama). Seeing her devotion and adhered to righteousness, the Lord blessed her saying that she would become the worshipped plant, tulasi that would adorn His head. Tulsi plant and promises to marry her annually on this day of Kartik. The origin of the ammonite black stone or Salagram found on the bed of the river Gandaki may be attributed to their legend.
Lord Siva said; “My dear Narada Muni, kindly listen, now I will recite to you the wonderful glories of Tulasi Devi.
One who hears Tulasi Devi’s glories will have all his sinful reactions, stored from many births, destroyed and very quickly attain the Lotus-Feet of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
The leaves, flowers, roots, bark, branches, trunk and the shade of Tulasi Devi are all spiritual.
One whose dead body is burnt in a fire, which has Tulasi wood as fuel, will attain the spiritual world, even if he is the most sinful of sinful persons, and that person who lights up that fire will be freed from all sinful reactions.
One, who at the time of death, takes the name of Lord Krsna and is touching the wood of Tulasi Devi, will attain the spiritual world.
When the dead body is being burned, even if one small piece of tulasi wood is put in the fire, then that person will attain the spiritual world; by the touch of Tulasi all other wood is purified. When the messengers of Lord Vishnu see a fire which has Tulasi wood burning in it, they immediately come and take that person, whose body has been burned, to the spiritual world. The messengers of Yamaraj will not come to that place when Tulasi wood is burning. That person’s body which has been burned by Tulasi wood, goes to the spiritual world, and on his way, all the demigods shower flowers on him. When Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva see that person on his way to the spiritual world, They become happy and bless him and Lord Krsna comes before him and taking his hand, He takes him to His own abode.
One who happens to go to a place where Tulasi wood has been burned will become purified of all sinful reactions. That brahmin who is performing a fire sacrifice and places amongst the other wood Tulasi wood will get the results of one agnihotra yajna (fire sacrifice) for each grain offered in that fire.
One who offers Lord Krsna incense made of Tulasi wood will get the result of one hundred fire sacrifices and of giving one hundred cows in charity.
One who cooks an offering for Lord Krsna on a fire which has Tulasi wood in it, will attain the same benefit as one who gives in charity a hill of grains as large as Mount Meru, for each grain of such an offering to Lord Krsna.
One who lights up a lamp to be offered to Lord Krsna with a piece of Tulasi wood will attain the same benefit as one who offers ten million lamps to Lord Krsna. There is no-one more dear to Lord Krsna than that person.
One who applies the paste of Tulasi wood to the body of the Deity of Lord Krsna with devotion will always live close to Lord Krsna.
That person who puts the mud from the base of Tulasi Devi on his body and worships the Deity of Lord Krsna gets the result of one hundred days worship for each day.
One who offers a Tulasi Manjari to Lord Krsna gets the benefit of offering all the varieties of flowers, after which, he goes to the abode of Lord Krsna.
One who sees, or comes near, a house or garden where the Tulasi plant is present, gets rid of all his previous sinful reactions, including that of killing a brahmin.
Lord Krsna happily resides in that house, town, or forest, where Tulasi Devi is present.
That house, where Tulasi Devi is present, never falls on bad times, and due to Tulasi Devi’s presence, that place becomes more pure than all the holy places.
One who plants a Tulasi tree near the temple of Lord (Krsna, goes to) Krsna’s abode. NB: bracketed section not actually in my copy and because the statement makes no sense without it, I made an assumption as to the missing content. (Ed.)
Wherever the smell of Tulasi Devi is taken by the wind, it purifies everyone who comes in contact with it.
In that house where the mud from the base of Tulasi Devi is kept, all the demigods along with Lord Krsna will always reside.
Wherever the shade of Tulasi Devi falls is purified and is the best place for offering fire sacrifices.NOTE_One must only use Tulasi wood which has been attained after Tulasi Devi has dried up. One must never take Tulasi wood from a tree which has not dried up.
From the Padma Purana – Glorifications of Tulasi Devi – Sristrikand
Kartikeya inquired, “My dear Father (Lord Siva), which tree or plant is capable of giving love of God?”
Lord Siva replied, “My dear son, of all trees and plants, Tulasi Devi is the topmost, She is all auspicious, the fulfiller of all desires, completely pure, most dear to Lord Krsna, and the topmost devotee.
Long ago, Lord Krsna, for the welfare of all conditioned souls, brought Vrindadevi in the form of a plant (Tulasi) and planted Her in this material world. Tulasi is the essence of all devotional activities. Without Tulasi leaves, Lord Krsna does not like to accept flowers, food stuffs, sandalwood paste; in fact, anything without Tulasi leaves is not looked upon by Lord Krsna.
One who worships Lord Krsna daily with Tulasi leaves, attains the results of all kinds of austerities, charities, fire sacrifices. In fact, he does not have any other duties to perform and he has realised the essence of all scriptures.
Just as the Ganges river is purifying all who bathe in her, so Tulasi Devi is purifying the three worlds.
It is not possible to describe the full benefit of offering Tulasi Manjaris (flowers) to Lord Krsna. Lord Krsna, along with all the demigods, lives wherever there is Tulasi Devi. For this reason, one should plant Tulasi Devi at one’s home and offer worship daily. One who sits near Tulasi Devi and chants or recites prayers will attain the results much faster.
All forms of ghosts and demons run away from that place where Tulasi Devi is planted and all kinds of sinful reactions are destroyed when one comes close to Tulasi Devi. One who makes a garden of Tulasi Devi gets the results of all charities and of one hundred fire sacrifices.
One who puts into his mouth or on his head the Tulasi leaves, after they have been offered to Lord Krsna, attains the abode of Lord Krsna. In Kali-yuga, one who worships, performs kirtan in front of, remembers, plants, or keeps Tulasi, burns up all his sinful reactions and attains Lord Krsna’s abode very quickly.
One who preaches the glories of Tulasi Devi and also practices what he preaches, becomes very dear to Lord Krsna.
One who worships Tulasi Devi has already satisfied his guru, the brahmins, demigods, and all the holy places.
One who offers a Tulasi leaf to Lord Krsna becomes a Vaisnava very quickly. What is the need of all the scriptures for one who has offered the wood or leaves of Tulasi Devi to Lord Krsna, for he will never have to taste the milk from the breast of a mother again (he will never take birth again).
One who has worshipped Lord Krsna with the leaves of Tulasi Devi has already released all his ancestors from this realm of birth and death.
My dear Kartikeya, I have told you many of the glories of Tulasi Devi. If I was to describe Her glories for eternity, I still would not be able to reach their conclusion.
One who remembers or tells others these glorifications of Tulasi Devi will never take birth again.”
Translation: “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.”
Shri Tulasi Pranama
Translation: “I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vrnda, Srimati Tulasi Devi, who is very dear to Lord Kesava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Krishna and possess the highest truth.”
Health Benefits of Tulsi (Sciance)
– It works as a powerful antioxidant thereby helps in preventing early aging signs and makes the skin young.
Wearing Tulsi Beads Around The Neck
Tulsi is thought to be the most sacred of woods in India and Indian worship, and the plant of Tulsi is believed to be the incarnation of the Divine itself. The Tulsi Mala is made of the wood or the seeds of Tulsi and is used for name chanting and worship.
Moreover, the Tulsi Mala is said to have incredible spiritual and physical healing powers apart from helping the mind to focus during prayers. Like the Sphatik Mala and the Rudraksh Mala.
The Tulsi Mala is made of Tulsi wood and consists of 108 beads wound around a strong string, with a 109th bead called the Sumeru bead of some other material like a metal or crystal, or a bigger Tulsi bead itself. One starts counting the beads from the bead adjacent to the Sumeru bead of the Tulsi Mala and completes one full round. On second round the Tulsi Mala needs to be counted in the reverse direction again as the Sumeru bead should not be crossed while praying. Depending on the type of the Tulsi plant, the Tulsi Mala is available in various colors like black, brown or sandalwood color.
The Tulsi Mala can be worn on the neck or tied around the fist. The benefits of the leaves of Tulsi is well proven, and owing to its spiritual and physical healing powers, the touch of the Tulsi wood acts as a rejuvenator for the stressed mind and brings the spiritual self of a person closer to God. On top of that, wearing the Tulsi Mala is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the devoted wearer. It is said to balance the kapha and the vata dosha. Tulsi clears the aura, and its subtle smell fills the heart with sensation of the divine. The Tulsi Mala is used to worship Lord Ram and Krishna, different incarnations of Lord Vishnu who is believed to be the creator and the beloved of the Tulsi.
The Lord says that one who wears the beads made out of the wood of Tulsi in one’s neck, even if he is untidy and ill- charactered, will undoubtedly attain Me only. Sri Krishna will grant the fruit of being the resident of Dvarka immediately to those who wear Tulsi beads around the neck. The sins of the person who wears neck beads made of Tulsi with devotion after offering to Sri Vishnu will get vanquished and Devakinandan Sri Krishna will always remain pleased with him, he does not need to undergo further atonement, no more sins remain in his body. In Kaliyuga, one, who is bedecked with the beads made of Tulsi, performs ritual activities and activities pertaining to ancestors and demigods, obtains crores times more results. The messengers of Yama will flee away by the sight of the Tulsi beads just as leaves are blown off by wind.
In Skanda-puran it is stated :- Those who wear neck beads made of Tulsi after offering it to Sri Hari are definitely foremost among the devotees of Lord. After presenting the mala, it should be purified with panca-gavya; after that the mula -mantra should be recited followed by the recitation of the gayatri mantra for eight times. Touching with incense, worship with this
Om sadyojatah prapadyami sadyojataya vai namo namah.
Bhave tave nadi bhave bhajeswamam bhavod-bhavaya namah After that, this prayer should be made, “Oh! Mala ! You are made of Tulsi and are dear to Vaisnavas . I wear you around my neck; you make me dear to Sri Krishna. ‘Ma’ means ‘me’, ‘La’ means ‘to give’. Oh Hari-Vallabhe ! You have given me to Vaisnava devotees, hence you are known as mala . Those Vaisnavas who pray in accordance with rituals in this manner and first offer the mala in the neck of Sri Krishna and then puts it to themselves attain the Lotus feet of Sri Vishnu.” It is stated in Padma Purana : either during morning ablutions or bathing or eating or at any state which is clean or unclean, Tulsi mala has to be worn always; that means mala should not be removed under any circumstance.