Why Tulsi is worshipped?
"I bow to the Tulsi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose top reside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas."
The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a Sanskrit: "Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi" that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri which can be washed and reused.
Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a last single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.
The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Tulsi seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts. It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.
Tulsi also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulsi. Tulsi is ‘married’ to Lord Vishnu with pomp and show like any other wedding. This ‘marriage’ is solemnised because according to a legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh and Kartik. Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.15.19 explains the special position of the Tulasi plant: “Although there are numerous flowering plants full of transcendental fragrance in the spiritual realm, they are aware that Tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with Tulasi leaves.”
In her form as a plant, Tulasi always stays at the Lord’s feet and around His neck. (Her leaves and flowers decorate His feet and are strung into garlands to be worn around His neck.) The Vedic scriptures say, “Krishna gives Himself to a devotee who offers Him merely a Tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.”
The wood of dead Tulasi plants is used to carve sacred beads devotees wear around their necks and use for chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
Tulasi is always grown at Krishna temples. Like the deity, she is offered arati. Many devotees of Krishna keep and worship Tulasi at home.
About The Holi basil Plant
It is known as Holy Basil in English and Tulasi in Sanskrit. Other names used for the Tulsi are Manjari, Krishna Tulsi, Trittavu, Tulshi and Thulsi.
Tulsi is one of roughly 60 species of the genus Ocimum, the basil genus. Within the Tulsi family, there are several kinds grown in India. Most varieties are native to India, including the foothills of the Himalayas; they are also found throughout the Middle East.
Tulsi is grown as an annual herb in temperate climates that may grow to a height of three feet. The root grows as a branched taproot. The stem has a square or quadrangular shape characteristic to Lamiaceae plants, and is branched, green to red in color with a fine layer of pubescence. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, serrate and petiolate.
The flowers grow in a verticillaster inflorescence and are complete with a blue to purple color.
There are four types of tulsi mentioned in ayurvedic texts
- Rama (Green Leaf) Tulsi, Sri or Lakshmi tulasi, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Ocimum sanctum.
- Krishna (Purple Leaf) Tulsi, Shyama Tulsi
- Vana (Wild Leaf) Tulsi
- Kapoor Tulsi (Heavy Flowered)
Although, all three types of Tulsi have their uses in ayurveda, the Rama and Krishna are the most widely used.
Purple Leaf Tulsi
Also known as 'Krishna or Shyama Tulsi', the Purple leaf tulsi is famous for its peppery, crisp taste. It comprises purple colored leaves and dark stems. Although, it is grown in many regions in India, it is relatively more difficult to find than the green vaiietals. Purple leaf Tulsi is known to be beneficial to treat throat infections, respirtory system, nasal lesions, earache and skin diseases.
Green Leaf Tulsi
Also known as 'Rama Tulsi',Sri or Lakshmi tulasi, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Ocimum sanctum, the Green Leaf Tulsi is known for its cooling, mellower taste. his variety of Tulsi is found in China, Brazil, Eastern Nepal, as well as in Bengal, Bihar, Chatgaon and the southern states of India. All the parts of the plant emit a strong aroma. Ram Tulsi has a characteristic fragrance. Crushing its leaves between the palms releases a stronger fragrance than other varieties of Tulsi.
Wild Type 'Vana' Tulsi
Vana Tulsi is found in the Himalayas as well as the plains of India, where it grows as naturalized plant. Vana Tulsi is also cultivated and grows wild throughout Asia and Africa.
Kapoor is the short, annual, heavily flowered plant that was originally introduced to the US as "Holy Basil" and it is the most common type found in cultivation here in the US. It is the easiest to grow--give standard basil culture. Big attractor of bees.
- Tulsi seeds germinate easily.
- The seeds are mainly sown in the spring season.
- They are watered from time to time and germinated in one to two weeks.
- Tulsi prefers rich soil for its growth.
- It requires full sunlight.
- It is mainly grown in the temperate climate.
- Tulsi is taken as the herbal tea.
- The oil extracted from the Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used in the herbal toiletry. Its oil is also used against the insects and bacteria.
- The Rama Tulsi is the effective remedy for the Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome. Juice of its leaves gives relief in cold, fever, bronchitis and cough.
- Tulsi oil is also used as the ear drop.
- Tulsi helps in curing malaria.
- It si very effective against indigestion, headache, hysteria, insomnia and cholera.
- The fresh leaves of Tulsi are taken by the million of people everyday.
Tulsi has got the great medicinal value. For over the centuries Tulsi (the queen of herbs) has been known for its remarkable healing properties.
Many people wears the Tulsi beads, which is said to have certain physical and medicinal properties. Its wood is considered as more powerful than any other gem that helps in protecting one from the negative influences. One can also buy several handicraft jewellery items made of Tulsi wood.
Cultural Importance :
Tulsi is the sacred plant dearer to the Lord Vishnu. Tulsi symbolises purity. It is considered as the holy plant in the Indian Subcontinent. Tulsi got its name from Tulasi Devi, who was one of Lord Krishna's eternal consorts. In India people grow Tulsi as the religious plant and worship it. Its leaves are used in temples for the worship purposes and also on the several occasions such as marriage.
A Hindu house is considered incomplete without the Tulsi plant in the courtyard. Tulsi is belived to promote longevity and life long happiness. Hindus perform special Tulsi puja in the Kartik month which starts after Sharad Poornima. It is the time of the Tulsi vivah (marriage). On this day Tulsi is decorated and coloured as a bride.
Even today people in India maintain a potted Tulsi plant. The womens water the plant, light up the diya near it and worships it daily. The stems, leaves, seeds and even the soil is considered as holy. According to the ancient texts Tulsi is glorified as the one who helps in bringing people closer to the divine.