A tale of Tulsi
Tulsi or the holy basil among the Hindus is regarded as the holiest plant. It is considered as a threshold point between heaven and earth. Believed as a reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, it is the consort of Lord Vishnu. Which is the reason why the leaves of tulsi are used without fail in the worship of Lord Vishnu and his avatars like Krishna and Rama.
Tracing back to the Vedas one can see that Tulsi is addressed by various names like Vaishnavi, Vishnu Vallaba, Haripriya, Shri Tulsi, Rama Tulsi (the bright-colored one) and Shyama Tulsi (The dark-colored one), all of these names signifying Lakshmi, the beloved of Lord Vishnu.
The one who nurtures and waters tulsi is known to attain salvation even if not worshiped. It is called women’s deity which symbolizes ideal wifehood and motherhood. The women hence water and worship it daily in a rectangular area called the Vrindavan.
A Vrindavan is a raised cuboid structure in the courtyard of the house made out of bricks or stones. The women regularly clean up this space and decorate it with flowers and Rangoli as a long followed tradition. The famously celebrated festival of Tulsi is Tulsi Vivah. The festival falls right after the November Ekadashi date and it marks the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the wedding season. This year, Tulsi Vivah 2020 falls on November 26. It is observed by married women in India for blessings.
The Tulsi plant is known to bring about peace in the family and also prosperity and good health to the family members. Tulsi leaves are showered on the deities or made into a garland and used for the decorations. Another prominent use of this would be as tulsi mala or Japa mala, which is a chain made out of the tulsi stem and used popularly by the Vaishnavas. They are either worn around the neck as a necklace and garland or used as a rosary to chant mantras.
Tulsi also has various medicinal benefits and hence is used for treating headaches, cold, stomach problems and heart problems too. It can also be applied in the form of a paste on cuts and bruises. Tulsi is often consumed with green tea which is good for digestion and curing stomach ulcers. Tulsi contains a chemical composition, which produces a peculiar odor and this wards off mosquitoes and flies.