From Devee Bhaagvat,
A Parable About Satyabhaamaa;
[A similar story goes for Jalandhar
and his wife Vrindaa. Since in this story Tulasee becomes Gandakee River, it
does not seem to be very relevant to Tulasee plant, so read Jalandhar's story
for more information on Tulasee plant]
There are many stories about Tulasee. All are diverse at some point as
well as are intermingled too; still there is no one story can be written
about her; that is why one has to read several stories about her to know
her. Here are some other stories about Tulasee.
(1) The Curse of Saraswatee
In the beginning, Saraswatee, Gangaa and Lakshmee were all wives of
Vishnu. TVishnu loved all the three equally. One day all the four were
sitting together that Gangaa sent lustful glances at Vishnu. Both
Saraswatee and Lakshmee immediately noticed it. Saraswatee got angry, rose
up from her seat and caught hold of the hair of Gangaa and dragged her to
the ground. Lakshmee then caught hold of Saraswatee to prevent further
assault by Saraswatee on Gangaa; but Saraswatee then poured all her rage
on Lakshmee and cursed her to be born as a plant on Earth. Gangaa could
not bear this and she cursed Saraswatee to be born as a river on Earth.
Saraswatee retorted with a curse on Gangaa that Gangaa would also be born
as a river. When the whole tumult was over Vishnu called Lakshmee to his
side and said, "O Devee, do not worry. Things have happened as
predestined. You go and be born as the daughter of Dharmdhwaj and grow up
there. From there by divine grace you will be transformed into a plant
sacred enough to make all the three worlds holy. That plant will be named
Tulasee. When you will be thus living as Tulasee, a demon named Sankhchood
with part of my virile strength will be born and he will marry you. Then
you can come back to me. The holy river Padmaavatee will also be another
form of your spirit."
(2) The Curse of Lakshmee
According to another legend Tulasee did severe penance to obtain Vishnu as
her husband. Lakshmee knowing her purpose of penance cursed her to become
a plant which bears her name, however, Vishnu comforted her saying that
she would always be dear to her. That is why Tulasee is held so sacred and
grown into temples and houses and is always offered to Vishnu with His
Naivedya and while worshipping Him . A Tulasee plant is very carefully
tended as Lord's representative.
(2) Vishnu's Kindness to Tulasee
Hindu Mythological Tales narrates that Tulasee, a destitute woman, was
accused of infidelity and shunned by all. Finding no shelter in the world,
she turned to Vishnu for help. But the gates of Vaikunth (Vishnu's Abode)
were also shut on her as Vishnu's Consort Lakshmee refused to let her in.
Tulasee stood in the courtyard of Vishnu's abode, under the open sky,
helpless and humiliated. Her feet turned into roots, her arms sprouted
leaves, and she turned into a delicate yet wild plant, her fragrance
spreading all around. Vishnu said - "By not abandoning her devotion
to me, despite all odds, Tulasee has become my beloved, "Vishnupriya".
She should be treated with dignity at all times - not as an unchaste woman,
but as a venerable housewife, a "Sumangalee". No worship of Vishnu
is complete without an offering of Tulasee sprigs.
And so the Tulasee plant is nurtured only in the courtyard of every house,
and is identified as Vishnu's Vrindaa or Krishn's Raadhaa, women whose
devotion for the Lord, though unrequited, never waned. Thus, Tulasee is
seen as Lakshmee's co-wife for her unconditional devotion to Vishnu, but
as Lakshmee is very jealous of her, she resides in the home whereas Tulasee
remains in the courtyard.
By convention, the Tulasee leaf is not offered to Shiv, just as Bel
leaves, dear to Shiv, are not offered to Vishnu. Tulasee leaves are also
not offered to Lakshmee Jee as she was once annoyed by her during her
loves port with Vishnu, when Vishnu's attention got diverted towards
(3) Ganesh and Tulasee
Ganesha is offered all sorts of sacred flowers, fruits and sweets in
worship but not the Tulasee leaves. That is also because of a curse. A
story says that once Ganesh was engaged in deep meditation on Vishnu on
the banks of Gangaa. Ganesh resplendent in yellow robes looked very
attractive. His body was besmeared with fragrant sandal paste and
ointments. Costly jewels decorated his effulgent body. As Ganesh was thus
engaged in prayers, there came Tulasee. As soon as she saw Ganesh, she
fell in love with him and requested him to take her as his wife. She said
to him that she was the daughter of Dharmaatmajaa and was engaged in Tapas
in order to obtain a suitable husband. Ganesh then replied her humbly, "O
Lady, marriage is a great source of all kinds of troubles. It disturbs the
peace of mind and destroys Tapas, therefore I cannot marry you. I have
vowed to remain celibate ever engaged in prayer and penance. Kindly choose
some one else as your spouse."
Tulasee got annoyed hearing this from Ganesh. She took it as her insult
and got angry. In her anger she cursed Ganesh saying, You will definitely
get married against your wishes. Ganesh, the best of the gods cursed her
in retaliation saying - "You would be possessed by a demon in marriage,
and then under a curse from the saints become a plant."
On hearing this curse, Tulasee repented and praised and prayed Ganesh.
This softened and pleased Ganesh, he said - "O Tulasee, You will be
regarded supreme among the plants. All the gods will love you, but you
will be specially dear to Krishn. Whosoever will worship Krishn with your
leaves as offering would achieve liberation in Heaven, but you will always
be unacceptable by me." With these words Ganesh again engaged himself in
meditation. Meanwhile Tulasee retired to Pushkar, the holy lake, and began
severe Tapas. Later under Ganapati's curse she became the wife of the
demon king called Shankhchood. She
lived with him as his beloved wife, but then her husband was killed by
Shankar and she turned into a plant of holy basil, so dear to Hari.