Biographies | Women
See also Shankhchood
According to Devee Bhaagvat Vishnu had three wives: Lakshmee, Saraswatee and Gangaa. Once Lakshmee and Saraswatee quarreled and cursed each other. Saraswatee cursed Lakshmee to live on earth as Tulasee. As such the curse was so powerful that Vishnu had said that what was predetermined was to take its own course. Accordingly, Lakshmee was born as Tulasee on Earth, and in due course was married to Shankhchood the demon, to help Devtaa to vanquish him. Because of a boon from Brahmaa Jee, Shankhchood could only be defeated if his wife was unfaithful to him, because Tulasee was very faithful to him.
Shankhchood by his boon became arrogant and began tormenting people. They prayed to Vishnu for help, and Vishnu sent Shiv to kill Shankhchood. Meanwhile Vishnu assumed the form of Shankhchood and seduced Tulasee, to make her unfaithful and therefore nullify the effect of the boon.
This would allow Shiv to kill the demon. When Tulasee discovered the deceit, she began to curse the impostor. Before she could complete the curse however, the imposter revealed himself to be Vishnu. He pacified Tulasee, and reminded her that she was, in fact, Lakshmee, who could now return to Heaven with him since her curse was over. To mark the event, Lakshmee's hair became the Tulasee plants, which remained on the Earth and was worshipped thereafter as her image, and her body was transformed into the river Gandakee.
Thus Tulasee is considered sacred and is frequently invoked in prayers and preaching as the manifestation of purity. The Tulasee or basil plant is a member of the mint family of plants and is noted for its aromatic flavor. The Tulasee is also revered for its medicinal properties as well as its spiritual value.
The Tulasee or Basil plant, sacred to Vishnu is revered by all Hindu in India. The origins for the Tulasee plant’s sacredness is mentioned in the Hindu holy book “The Padm Puraan” as a story narrated by Naarad (the messenger of the Gods) to King Prithuraaj.
The demon King Jalandhar born out of the union of the lightning from Shiv’s third eye and the Ocean, and was the King of Earth. Jalandhar married Vrindaa, the daughter of the demon Kaalnemi. The demons who were released from exile from hell urged their King, Jalandhar to wage war on the Gods.
The Gods were ultimately defeated by Jalandhar and they approached Vishnu. Seeing the Gods' plight Vishnu later waged a battle with Jalandhar. The battle was fierce fought, but by the boons granted to Jalandhar by Brahmaa Jee, Jalandhar emerged victorious. Vishnu was defeated by Jalandhar and was asked to live along with his wife Lakshmee with Jalandhar and Vrindaa on Earth.
The reign of Jalandhar, as the undisputed Lord of the three worlds (Tri-Lok), was
welcomed by both the Gods and the Demons. But as time went by Jalandhar’s pride
reached an extent that once he challenged Shiv Jee for a fight. The Demon King,
powerful by the boons granted by Brahmaa, couldn’t be defeated by Shiv Jee too.
The only way to defeat him to make his wife Vrindaa unchaste. As long as his wife
Vrindaa remained chaste to him he could not be defeated, so upon Shiva’s request
Vishnu plotted Jalandhar’s downfall. One day Vrindaa was very sad in Jalandhar’s
absence, so she went for a walk in the forest where she was being pursued by two
Demons. Vrindaa got frightened and ran to a Rishi meditating in the forest. She fell
at his feet asked for shelter. The Rishi burnt up the demons into thin ash. She later
asked the Rishi for news about her husband. At once two apes laid before her Jalandhar’s
head, feet and hands. Thinking that her husband was dead, Vrindaa requested the Rishi
to bring her husband back to life. The Rishi with his power, made the body parts
disappear and Jalandhar appeared before her.
One day Vrindaa was very sad in Jalandhar’s absence, so she went for a walk in the forest where she was being pursued by two Demons. Vrindaa got frightened and ran to a Rishi meditating in the forest. She fell at his feet asked for shelter. The Rishi burnt up the demons into thin ash. She later asked the Rishi for news about her husband. At once two apes laid before her Jalandhar’s head, feet and hands. Thinking that her husband was dead, Vrindaa requested the Rishi to bring her husband back to life. The Rishi with his power, made the body parts disappear and Jalandhar appeared before her.
Vrindaa got very happy that her husband was brought back to life. She embraced him and stayed with him. Later she was shocked that the person claiming to be Jalandhar was not Jalandhar but was Vishnu himself on a mission to defeat Jalandhar by making her unchaste. At this she got very angry and cursed Vishnu and foretold that in an Avatar He would be robbed of his wife by the two demons who had pursued her to believe that her husband was alive and to recover by the apes (because the apes had brought Jalandhar’s body parts to her). Vishnu’s 7th incarnation as Raam had this curse in effect.
Vrindaa was very sad at having deceived by Vishnu, she threw herself into a burning pit. Jalandhar got weakened by Vrindaa's unchastity and thus jalandhar fell prey to Shiv’s weapons. Devtaa got very happy at Shiv's victory. They garlanded him and drove the Demons back to Hell. But they were later shocked to find Vishnu mad for grief, rolling in Vrindaa’s ashes.
To break the charm of Vrindaa’s beauty, Paarvatee, Shiv’s wife, planted in Vrindaa’s ashes, three seeds which grew into three plants, of the Tulasee (Holy Basil), of the Avalee (Aamalaa or Indian Gooseberry) and of the Maalatee flower. By the growth of these three seeds Vishnu was released from Vrindaa’s charm.
In Vishnu’s 8th incarnation as Krishn, the Tulasee plant took the form of Raadhaa. Krishn married Raadhaa and the curse had come to an end which compensated the wrong doing by Vishnu with the Demon Queen - Vrindaa.
To this day the worship of Vishnu by the Hindu is incomplete unless the Tulasee leaves are offered to Vishnu. The Tulasee plant symbolizes purity and brings Good luck to the houses which waters it.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 03/30/13