Sugarcanes, Flowers, Sweets, Fireworks Galore as Hindus Get Ready for ‘Tulasi Puja Tonight
Mangaluru: It’s that time of the year, “Tulasi Habba”, also known as “Tulasi Pooja”, is held on Uthwana Dwadashi in Mangaluru and other parts of Karnataka. A rich tradition of honouring nature, Tulasi Puja is observed on Ksheerabdi Dwadashi, which comes in the month of Kartika. This year Tulasi Puja will be performed tonight, Tuesday 16 November around 7 pm onwards. Markets and roads are adorned with flowers, sugarcanes and other needed stuff for the Tulasi Puja, and even crackers shops are busy with devotees buying fireworks for the fest.
Tulsi puja is performed on Tulasi plant (also known as Holy Basil), which is found in the courtyards of almost all Tulunadu houses. The people of Tulunadu perform Tulsi puja by painting its platform, performing Arati, singing Bhajans, and distributing Prasadam in the form of a sweet made of beaten rice (Bajil in Tulu). The Tulasi plant is decorated like a bride and is then married to the idol of Lord Krishna of the gooseberry plant. Tulsi Puja is celebrated with grand fervour across all homes and temples in the Tulunadu region on this auspicious occasion. It is common to burst firecrackers around the time of final aarti as a mark of gaiety and to add to the fun for children.
According to the Puranas, Lord Vishnu wakes up from his cosmic sleep of four months on Uthwana Ekadashi or Kartika Pournami. During these four months, the Chaturmaasya Vrita is observed. It commences on Ashada Shukla Ekadashi (Shayana Ekadashi) and ends on Uthwana Ekadashi. Uthwana Dwadashi marks the end of the Chaturmaasya Vrita. Devotees break their Ekadashi fast on this day and perform Vishnu Puja. Tulasi Puja is the day on which Lord Vishnu gets married to Goddess Tulasi. During the Ksheera Sagara Manthana (churning of the ocean), the Tulasi plant emerged from the ocean of milk and got married to Lord Vishnu, owing to which the wedding of Tulasi and Vishnu is performed on this day.
Tulasi Vivaha (wedding of Tulasi) is also called Tulasi Damodara Vivaha or Tulasi Salagrama Vivaha. Since Uthwana Dwadashi also marks the beginning of the churning of the ocean, it is also known as Ksheerabdi Dwadashi, Chilku Dwadasi, Yogishwari Dwadashi, or Yogini Dwadashi in different parts of India. Today people will paint the Tulasi Katte, perform aarti, sing bhajans, and distribute Prasadam of sweet beaten rice. People observe fast on the previous day and eat sweet dosa or surnali on the morning of Dwadashi. The Tulasi plant is decorated like a bride and married to Lord Vishnu, who is in the form of a gooseberry plant. The holy basil (Tulasi) is compulsorily planted in the courtyard of all Hindu homes in Mangaluru.
Mythological tales say that Tulasi was the wife of a demon called Jalandhar and owing to her austerities and devotion, her husband becomes immensely powerful and could not be destroyed even by the gods, who want to get rid of him because of his evil deeds. Lord Vishnu, therefore, approaches Tulasi in the form of Jalandhar. When she touches Lord Vishnu believing him to be her husband, her loyalty naturally gets diluted and her husband gets killed in the war. A furious Tulasi curses Lord Vishnu that he will suffer separation from his wife, a curse that comes true in the Ramayana.
The Puranas also say that Lord Vishnu took the form of a gooseberry plant and married Tulasi, who had taken the form of the holy basil according to the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Later, Tulasi was reborn as Rukmini, who married Lord Vishnu who was born as Shri Krishna. Since the wedding took place on the twelfth day of the waxing moon part of the month of Kartik, devotees perform the wedding of Tulasi with Krishna on Uthwana Dwadashi. Puranas say that Lord Vishnu went to sleep after taking a hot bath on Naraka Chaturdashi day and woke up on the day of Uthwana Dwadashi.
Irrespective of the stories, the actual significance of Tulasi Puja is to honour a plant, which benefits people in innumerable ways. The twigs of the Tulasi are used on religious occasions, as a cure for most ailments, to drive away mosquitoes, and as a beauty treatment.