Tulsi Vivah: The Sacred Union of Tulsi and Vishnu
Tulsi Vivah is a Hindu festival that celebrates the symbolic marriage of Tulsi, the holy basil plant, and Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. It signifies the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the wedding season in Hinduism. It is performed anytime between Prabodhini Ekadashi and Kartik Purnima, which fall in the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar. The date varies regionally, but usually it is in October or November. In 2023, Tulsi Vivah will be celebrated on November 24.
The Legend of Tulsi Vivah
There are different versions of the legend behind Tulsi Vivah, but the most common one is as follows:
Tulsi was a devoted wife of a demon king named Jalandhar, who was invincible because of her chastity and piety. He challenged Vishnu to a war and threatened to destroy the world. Vishnu tried to defeat him, but failed. He then realized that the only way to kill Jalandhar was to break Tulsi’s fidelity. He disguised himself as Jalandhar and approached Tulsi, who mistook him for her husband and welcomed him. As soon as she touched him, Jalandhar lost his power and was killed by Vishnu.
When Tulsi realized the deception, she cursed Vishnu to become a stone. Vishnu accepted the curse and promised to marry her in his next incarnation as Shaligram, a sacred stone. He also blessed her to become a plant that would be worshipped by all Hindus. Thus, Tulsi became the holy basil plant and Shaligram became a black stone that represents Vishnu. Their marriage is celebrated every year as Tulsi Vivah.
The Celebrations of Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi Vivah is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by Hindus, especially by women. The rituals vary from region to region, but the common elements are as follows:
- A Tulsi plant is planted in a pot and decorated with flowers, vermilion, turmeric, and a red cloth. It is considered as the bride and is called Tulsi Devi or Vrinda.
- A Shaligram stone or an amla branch is placed in another pot and adorned with a yellow cloth. It is considered as the groom and is called Vishnu or Hari.
- The pots are placed on a platform or a mandap and a priest performs the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom are exchanged garlands, sindoor, and mangalsutra. The priest chants mantras and invokes the blessings of the gods and goddesses.
- The devotees offer prayers, songs, and arati to the newly wedded couple. They also offer sweets, fruits, and other delicacies as prasad. They seek the blessings of Tulsi and Vishnu for their own marital happiness, prosperity, and health.
- Some people also perform a procession or a yatra of the bride and groom around the temple or the village. They invite their relatives and friends to join the celebration and share the joy.
The Significance of Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi Vivah is more than just a religious ceremony; it is a celebration of the divine union that upholds the balance of the universe. By participating in this sacred ritual, devotees seek the blessings of Tulsi and Vishnu, hoping to cultivate purity, devotion, and prosperity in their lives. Some of the benefits of observing Tulsi Vivah are:
- Tulsi is a sacred plant that has medicinal and spiritual properties. It purifies the air, cures diseases, and protects from evil. It is also a symbol of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and abundance. By worshipping Tulsi, devotees attract good fortune and happiness.
- Vishnu is the preserver of the universe, who maintains order and harmony. He is also a symbol of Narayana, the supreme soul and the source of all creation. By worshipping Vishnu, devotees attain peace and liberation.
- Tulsi and Vishnu represent the divine feminine and masculine energies that complement each other. Their union signifies a harmonious balance between these two forces. By celebrating Tulsi Vivah, devotees strengthen their marital bonds and promote harmonious relationships.
- Tulsi Vivah marks the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the wedding season in Hinduism. It is considered as an auspicious time to start new ventures and perform marriages. By observing Tulsi Vivah, devotees remove obstacles and bring success in all endeavours.
Tulsi Vivah is a festival that celebrates the love and devotion of Tulsi and Vishnu, who are the ideal couple in Hinduism. It is a festival that inspires the devotees to follow their example and live a life of purity, devotion, and prosperity.
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