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Tulsi Vivah is another of the numerous Hindu festivals. Tulsi Puja is carried out by the worshippers of Tulsi/basil plant. Tulsi Puja is considered to be one of the important parts of the daily prayers in a Hindu household. Irrespective of who your family deity or the deity of the clan is, people, view Tulsi as a sacred plant common in all the traditions of Hinduism. This year, in 2019, the festival will be celebrated on 9 November.
Every pious Hindu household has a Tulsi Vrindavan in their courtyard. Apart from one's daily worship of Tulsi, Tulsi Vivah, a festival dedicated to the sacred plant is also observed annually. Tulsi Puja or the Tulsi Vivah festival, falls in the month of October-November, in the Hindu month of Karthika, observed on three different dates.
The festival is observed usually on Ekadashi, on the day after Diwali, or on the day after Ekadashi, which is, the Dwadashi. However, some people also observe it on Karthik Purnima (full moon day in the month of Karthika). Let us now explore and know why and how is the festival of Tulsi Vivah observed.
Legend states that Tulsi, named Vrinda (Brinda), was the wife of Jalandhar who sought a boon from the Gods, according to which he could never be defeated as long as his wife practised chastity. Vrinda was a devout wife, who upheld chastity. Jalandhar, owing to the boon that he acquired, began to traumatise people such that it became a difficult task for Gods to handle.
Gods approached Lord Vishnu for help, who came to their rescue, by disguising himself as Jalandhar and living with Vrinda to break her chastity. Vrinda who thus lost her chastity, on discovering the truth cursed Lord Vishnu to become a stone. She further cursed that one day, he would also have to face separation from his consort; thus Vrinda immolated herself.
Lord Vishnu, acknowledging Vrinda's purity, transformed her into a Tulsi plant, to be worshipped in all homes. He then became a stone (which is today known as Shaligrama). Lord Vishnu, as a result of the curse, suffered separation from his consort, Goddess Sita when he had incarnated as Lord Ram.
Tulsi Vivah or the Tulsi Puja is thus observed in all households as a mark of the reminder of the divine relationship between the Lord and Tulsi.
Tulsi is also said to be a form of Mahalakshmi. It is also referred to as Vishnupriya, the beloved of Lord Vishnu.
Performing Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi Vivah is observed during the evening, ideally at the time of dusk in homes. The place is cleaned up and rangolis are drawn in front of Tulsi Vrindavan (the area where the plant is grown). Tulsi plant, being treated as the bride is smeared with turmeric and vermilion. Small bangles are hung on the tender branches.
A small piece of red cloth is then used as a saree to cover the plant. A Shaligrama is placed next to the Tulsi as the symbol of Mahavishnu, the groom. A priest is summoned and all rites, involved in a formal wedding are conducted.
In some places, a cloth is held in front of the plant, which acts as a screen, while mantras are chanted. At the end of the mantra recitation, the cloth is removed as a mark of the culmination of the wedding.
The performance of this puja bestows prosperity, a cordial relationship between partners and all other material boons. When done with a proper understanding of its essence, it bestows self-realisation, the end of all spiritual pursuits.
Spiritual Significance Of Tulsi Vivah
Vrinda was a pure soul. The merging of Vrinda with the Lord symbolically represents the merging of the individual souls with the divine. It symbolically reveals the oneness of the soul and the divine, as one indivisible whole. Tulsi in one's household is a reminder of purity which helps one realise the ultimate goal of one's life. Hence, we perform the festival of Tulsi Vivah every year.