Tulsi Vivah is the ceremonial wedding of the Tulsi plant to Lord Vishnu in fulfilment of a boon, to Vrinda, an ardent devotee of Vishnu.
Every living creation is venerated in the mystic religion of Hinduism. There are 33 Million Gods in Hindu mythology, each representing a significant aspect of life. Plants are especially sacred and are worshipped akin to Mother Nature herself. Of these flora, the most powerful is the Tulsi or Basil plant.
If you dig a little into the numerous festivals and rituals of Hinduism, you will always find a nugget of science underneath them, along with a beautifully woven story. One such is the story behind the sacred Tulsi plant and its wedding ceremony called as Tulsi Vivah.
Story behind Tulsi Vivah:
The story of Tulsi Vivah can be found in the Padma Purana. Tulsi is considered as the consort of Lord Vishnu, called Vishnu Priya, the Beloved of Vishnu. The Tulsi plant was once a human woman named Vrinda, or Brinda. She was an incarnation of Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. In that birth she was married to the Asura King Jalandhar. She was extremely pious and devoted to Lord Vishnu and performed many penances and acts of charity in his name. The power of her penances was imbued by her husband Jalandhar, making him invincible. He became so powerful that not even the Devas could defeat him, despite their collective strength. The Devas went to Lord Vishnu to seek a solution to this problem. Vishnu agreed to help them and told them to begin preparations for war.
Vrinda solemnly prepared to send Jalandhar off to the battle. She promised to do Sankalp for his victory, till he returned home. After a few days Jalandhar returned home, and she left her Sankalp to touch his feet in respect. However it was Lord Vishnu in disguise as Jalandhar, and thus her vow was broken.
Lord Shiva who had also gone into battle with Jalandhar was able to defeat him. He beheaded him, and the force of the blow sent his head flying to the palace, to fall on Vrinda’s lap. Vrinda, shocked by the death of her husband, realised that Vishnu had tricked her. She cursed him that he would turn to stone and be separated from his wife, Lakshmi.
Her curses came to be fulfilled when Vishnu turned into the Shaligram. Later her second curse that he would be separated from his wife, came true in the Rama Avatar. His Wife Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, and even after saving her, she was forced to leave him. Vrinda drowned herself in the ocean. Vishnu who took pity on his devotee manifested her soul into a plant, which was the Tulsi plant. She was also blessed by Vishnu that he would marry her in her next birth. So when her soul transformed into the Tusli plant, he married her in the form of the Shaligram on the Prabodhini Ekadashi. This day is honoured and celebrated every year as the Tulsi Vivah.
Tulsi Vivah rituals:
Like every Hindu festival, the tulsi Vivah also comes with a specific set of rituals to be performed. A day before the Tulsi vivah, the Tulsi Virindavan, the structure in which the Tulsi is grown is cleaned and decorated. This structure is called Tulsi Maadam in South India.
On the day of Tulsi Vivah, offerings like Sugar cane, Tamarind, Amla and yellow Marigold flowers are made to the Maadam, by placing them at its base. A temporary mandapam, usually a cloth enclosure, is constructed over the Tulsi Vrindavan.
The Bride, who is the Tulsi plant is decorated with a bridal saree, bangles, necklaces and earrings. A face made of paper is attached to the plant and adorned with Bindhi and a nose ring. The Groom is Lord Vishnu in the form of a Brass figurine or Picture. People from different states, place Vishnu in the form of Krishna or Balarama, and some place him in the form of the Shaligram. He is clothed with a clean white Dhoti. Garlands of flowers, usually marigold are placed around the bride and groom. They are married by linking them with a cotton thread during the ceremony.
In Maharashtra, during the rituals, a white cloth is held between Vishnu and Tulsi such that the bride and groom cannot see each other before the wedding. The priests recite the Mangal Ashtaka Mantras. At the end of the chanting, rice mixed with turmeric and vermillion is showered by the devotees, who bless the divine couple with a long and happy married life.
The Groom is presented with Sandalwood paste, a set of clothes and a sacred thread. The Bride is presented with sarees, ornaments, Sindhoor, Turmeric and a Mangal Sutra.
An actual wedding feast is prepared for the Tulsi Vivah. The wedding expenses are usually borne by a childless couple, and they give away the Tulsi plant during the Kanyadhaan, in the stance of her parents. This act of charity is said to be blessed by Lord Vishnu in the form of a child.
The marriage ceremony itself is performed in the evening. Priests are invited to perform the wedding and the Puja is performed facing the west. The Puja ends with offerings of food to the priests. The entire surroundings of the Tulsi plant, including the home where it is grown are said to be purified or made Sattvik after the ceremonies.
In some places, the entire village comes together to celebrate the divine wedding. It is a three day celebration, like any traditional Indian wedding. Fifty Six types of Prasad are prepared and served to everyone, called as Chapan Bhog. Invitations are sent to the temple of the groom, from the bride’s temple. The Groom and Bride are taken on processions before the wedding. It is an elaborate celebration that brings together all castes and communities in unity.
Benefits of having Tulsi Maadam at home:
For performing the Tulsi Vivah ceremony, a Tulsi Maadam or Tulsi Vrindavan must be placed at home. Tulsi plant is grown in most Hindu households, especially in the homes of Brahmin families of the Vaishnavite sect. The Tulsi plant is placed in the mud within a Cuboid brick or cement structure, called the Tulsi Maadam. Daily worship of the Tulsi plant is said to bring Moksha through the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Traditionally the Tulsi plant is entrusted to the care of the women in the family. Every morning, after a ritualistic bath, the women draw simple kolams at the base of the Maadam, place offerings of fruits and flowers and circumambulate it, while chanting mantras. A lamp is lit at the base of the Maadam or in a small recess on the side of the structure, facing east.
- Besides the deep spiritual significance of the Tulsi plant, it has plenty of health benefits like,
- The presence of the Tulsi plant keeps away mosquitoes and other insects.
- The Tulsi plant absorbs harmful gases and toxins and gives out rich oxygen for 20 hours.
- The fresh aroma of the Tulsi plant is refreshing and invigorating, especially when inhaled in the morning.
- The Tulsi leaves when consumed are useful in fighting off the symptoms of Common cold, can purify the blood and control cholesterol.
- Tulsi leaves are also capable of preventing the formation of Kidney stones.
There are so many benefits to having a Tulsi Plant at home. It even helps clear the aura surrounding the home.
They are also an important element of Vasthu. Besides the living Tulsi plant, even a figurine or Yantra representing the Tulsi plant in the home, can clear any negative energy. At Mantra Gold Coatings we have beautifully handcrafted Tulsi plant figurines in Brass. The Tulsi figurines are plated in Copper, Silver and 24kt Gold to enhance their divine energy. Browse them in the Mantra Gold coatings Ethnic collection .