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Tulsi vrat is also called Tulsi Puja or Utwan Dwadashi and it is a festival that is widely celebrated in the southern part of India. It is observed on the 12th day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Karthik. This year, in 2019, the Tulsi Vivah will be performed on 09 November. Here are some details on why Tulsi Vrat is observed.
Considered a sacred plant in Hinduism, Tulsi plant is situated in the front yard of almost every house. It is said that a Tulsi plant ward off evil and is also believed to represent Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. It is the holiest of plants and is considered to be the point where the heaven and the earth meet.
The Legends Behind Tulsi Puja
According to a legend, Lord Vishnu had three wives, namely Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganga. Out of jealousy, Saraswati cursed Lakshmi to be born as a plant. She was then born on earth as a Tulsi plant. From that day on, Tulsi started being worshipped as a form of Goddess Lakshmi.
Another legend has it that there was once a woman named Vrinda who was married to the Demon-King Jalandhar. King Jalandhar was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and had impressed the God to gain invincible powers.
Lord Vishnu knew the secret of defeating the king. In the guise of battle, Lord Vishnu sent a message to Vrinda saying that her husband died in the battle. He later took the form of King Jalandhar. Seeing her husband alive, she immediately embraced him, thus breaking her chastity.
Her chastity was the secret of King Jalandhar's invincible powers and he was immediately defeated. When Vrinda came to know the truth, she cursed Lord Vishnu saying that his wife would one day be separated from him. However, Lord Vishnu then transformed her into a sacred plant and promised to marry her every year.
That is why on this day, the Tulsi plant is worshipped. It is bathed in water and Kumkum is applied on its leaves. A red cloth is wrapped around the stem.
Fruits are offered and clay lamps are lit. Then, the aarti is performed. After that, people place one leaf inside their mouths as a ritual practised in some cultures of India.
Details On Tulsi Vivah
The main tradition of this day is the mock marriage of Tulsi and Lord Vishnu. A black stone known as Shaligram is placed next to the tulsi plant. This represents Lord Vishnu. It is said that on this day, whoever observes the fast as per rituals, gets the benefits of performing Kanyadan.
The women of the house purify themselves by taking a dip in holy water. They wear a new dress and offer prayers, water, milk, kumkum, haldi, etc. Holy hymns are sung in praise of Tulsi.
On this day, the gooseberry plant is also worshipped. When the black stone or the Shaligram is not available, then a part of the Amla tree is worshipped, as it is said to be a representation of Lord Vishnu. The Tulsi and Amla plants are worshipped and the arti is performed.
It is said that Tulsi was the dearest plant of Lord Vishnu. That is why this plant holds a special place in the Puranas. It is said that worshipping Lord Vishnu with a paste of tulsi leaves will surely please him. It is also believed that Tulsi leaf water should be given to a dying man to ensure that his soul departs to heaven.
The day of Uttana Dwadashi is said to be very auspicious. Whoever worships Tulsi and Lord Vishnu on this day with utmost devotion will seek their blessings of love and prosperity for their entire family. The festival of Uttana Dwadashi falls on 19th November this year.