Tulsi is considered one of the most sacred plants in Hinduism. It is highly auspicious during the worship of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. It is believed that if Tulsi is planted in a house, it ensures the continuous flow of peace and prosperity. Along with its auspiciousness, Tulsi is also known for its health benefits.
However, there is one God, in the worship of whom, Tulsi is abandoned. And this God is Lord Ganesha, who is worshiped before every other deity. Read on to know the real reasons behind these facts.
Lord Ganesha was once meditating besides the river Yamuna. Goddess Tulsi, the personification of the Basil or the Tulsi plants, was passing from there. When she saw Lord Ganesha , she expressed the desire to marry him. Lord Ganesha denied the offer, though very humbly. However, enraged by this, Goddess Tulsi cursed Lord Ganesha that he will have to marry twice. In return, Lord Ganesha cursed her back that she will have to marry a demon. And that she would be never be invited during the worship of Lord Ganesha. ( Why Lord Ganesha Likes Modaka)
Goddess Tulsi soon felt bad about it and asked Lord Ganesha to forgive her. Ganesha's heart soon melted and he blessed her that despite being married to a demon, she would be considered highly necessary for the worship of Lord Vishnu ad Lord Krishna and would be highly dear to these deities.
This is the reason why Tulsi is worshiped in association to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. However, the Tulsi plant can not be used during the worship of Lord Ganesha.
Now, the question arises what happened after the curse? Well, here is the answer.
There was a demon named Dambha. He got a son as a blessing from Lord Vishnu. This boy was named Shankhchoorh. Shankhchoorh took deep penance and worshiped Lord Brahma. When pleased by his devotion, Lord Brahma appeared before him, he asked the Lord to grant him the blessing that no body, not even the Gods, should be able to defeat him. Lord Brahma told him to go to the Badrivan, and marry Tulsi, who was meditating there.
It is believed that when Shankhchoorh went there, he fell in love with Goddess Tulsi. Lord Brahma, then himself, went there and conducted their Gandharva Vivaah. Upon becoming the husband of Tulsi, this demon became even more powerful.
However, as is the nature of a demon, pride started coming his way. And there was one day, that out of pride, he started fighting battles with Gods and defeating them. Tired by his attitude, all the Gods, appeared before Lord Vishnu, in Baikuntha and asked him for help. Lord Vishnu told them that the only way to kill the demon was with the trident of Lord Shiva. But to their surprise, the moment Lord Shiva tried to attack him, they heard a divine voice proclaiming that the demon can not be killed until the Kavach given to him by Lord Vishnu is not taken back, and till the time Goddess Tulsi is a Sati.
Lord Vishnu then took the form of an old Brahmin and went to Shankhchoorh. He asked Shankhachoorh for his Kavach. Shankchoorh, not wanting the Brahmin to go empty handed from his house, handed him the Kavach. Now, Lord Vishnu disguised as Shankchvhoorh went to Goddess Tulsi. She at first thought that he was her husband, the real Shankhchoorh, but the moment she touched him she came to know that he was someone else in his form. She cursed Lord Vishnu that he would be transformed into a stone.
However, her chastity had been destroyed merely by the touch. Since she had been a devotee of Lord Vishnu and had been meditating just to attain the Supreme Lord, Lord Vishnu told her that the time had come when she should achieve the Supreme Power whom she had worshiped all her life. Therefore, he transformed her into a river. He named the river Gandaki, which now flows in Nepal.