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See also Tulasee-2; Medical benefits of Tulasee; Tulasee Leaves;
Holy Basil - Botanical name is Ocimum sanctum. It is known as Tulasee in Hindee in UP, Gujaraat, Mahaaraashtra, Bangaal, Tamilnaadu states of India and Arab country. It is known as Haripriyaa, Maadhavee and Vrindaa also. It has some 60 species, but four species are known very well - (1) Raamaa Tulasee, (2) Shyaamaa Tulasee, (3) Van Tulasee (Katherak), and (4) Maar Babard.
Hindu believe that Tulasee is a sacred and Divine plant. Its leaves have medicinal value. In fact not only its leaves, but its all parts have medicinal value, that is why it has a special place in our Hindu lives. Most Hindu families try to maintain at least one Tulasee plant in their homes. It contains a kind of volatile oil which has a medicinal value. If this oil is kept for sometime it is solidified and is known as Tulasee Kapoor (Tulasee camphor).
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 too as she was once annoyed during her love sport with Vishnu, when Vishnu's attention got diverted towards Tulasee.
Where most herbs are
considered to be forms of the Goddess, Tulasee is a considered to be a Goddess
herself. One legend is that a Goddess incarnated as Vrindaa and, after spending
a lifetime as a very close devotee of Krishn, serves to this day as the herb
Tulasee, which leads to one of Tulasee's many names, Vishnupriyaa, the beloved
one of Vishnu. Her other names are
The Padm Puraan and
Tulasee Kavach describe Tulasee as a protector of life of the human being form
birth till death.
(1) One legend relates that Lord Vishnu spawned Tulasee from the turbulent seas in order to help all mankind. Krishn loves Tulasee.
(2) Hindu mythological Tales narrate 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. Lord Vishnu said - "By not abandoning her devotion to me, despite all odds, Tulasee has become my beloved, "Vishnupriyaa". 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 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, although she resides in the home whereas Tulasee remains in the courtyard.
(3) According to one story, Tulasee was a Gopee (who was actually an incarnation of a Goddess) who fell in love with Krishn and so had a curse laid on her by his consort Raadhaa.
(4) Another story goes that Tulasee was the paramour of Lord Vishnu. Out of jealousy, Lakshmee cursed her into becoming a plant and the Lord transformed himself into the sacred Shaaligraam Stone to keep her company. The Shaaligraam is a small stone, an ammonite, a fossil genus of marine cephalopod, considered to be a natural representation of Lord Vishnu. Shaaligraam are found in the Gandakee River of Nepal. They are usually black or dark green colored, round or oval in shape, striated with tree-like markings. The curves of the striations signify the various forms / reincarnations of Vishnu. The worship of Shaaligraam doesn't involve elaborate prayer rituals. It is kept wrapped in a cloth, often bathed and perfumed. Its very presence in a home bestows health, wealth and happiness on its inhabitants.
(5) How much Tulasee is dear to Vishnu - Read A Parable About Satyabhaamaa-Tulaa Bhaar
(6) Story of Vrindaa
(7) Padm Puraan, 2/15 (p 324), says that four women came out from the sea at the time of Saagar Manthan - Lakshmee, Vaarunee, Kaamodaa, and Jyeshthaa. Lakshmee went with Vishnu as His consort. Vaarunee was the daughter of Varun Dev. Kaamodaa appeared from the wave of Amrit. She assumed the form of a tree to please Vishnu Bhagavaan and would always give pleasure to Vishnu. In this form she became known as Tulasee. Jagannaath always enjoys with her. Whoever will offer Him even one leaf of Tulasee, He will think about giving him "What can I give to him?" and He will be very pleased with him.
(8) Tulasee is mentioned in the stories of Meeraa and Raadhaa also and is immortalized in Jayadev's Geet Govind.
A Story About Tulasee
One day, Tulasee went to
Vishnu and complained that she was not given the same status as Lakshmee.
Both came out of Samudra (read the
Now there was a child lying under the bushes of Tulasee. This child was none other than Lakshmee. In order that Maarkandeya Muni could see that child Vishnu removed His figure from Muni's mind. As Vishnu's figure disappeared from Muni's mind he opened his eyes and saw a beautiful girl lying under the shade of a Tulasee bush. He picked Her up, brought Her up like his own child and married Her to Vishnu later.
Yet Another Story
Quotes About Tulasee
--"Just by touching
Tulasee one's body becomes pure. By praying to her, all diseases practically
become removed. If one waters her or makes her wet, the fear of Yam Raaj (death
personified) is destroyed."
"Tulasi is most beloved
of Lord Krishn and thus her leaves and flowers are also most dear to Him."
"Tulasi leaf is very,
very dear to Vishnu."
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 04/10/13