Tulsi Puja! Hindus Gearing Up to Celebrate Lord Vishnu’s Marriage to Tulsi
Mangaluru: Once again flower vendors from out of town are making a brisk business selling varieties of flowers, Tulsi (basil) leaves es, etc for the TULSI PUJA, which is tomorrow (5 November). The Wide footpaths near the Clock Tower are occupied by flower vendors, and devotees are flocking to the area to buy all the essentials needed for the Pooja. Tulsi Vivah/Tulsi Puja is the mythical marriage of Sri Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the tulsi plant (holy basil). In Hindu mythology, tulsi is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, and therefore unison of Gods and Goddesses is observed with great pomp and show all over the country.
Sources reveal that the feast is celebrated on the Dwadashi (12th day) of the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) during the month of Kartik, as per the Hindu calendar. Even though this ceremony can be observed any time between the Prabodhini Ekadashi (11th day) to Kartik Poornima. In some places it is celebrated for five days, ending on the full moon day of the Kartik month. The feast marks the end of the monsoon season and the start of the Hindu wedding season.
The Tulsi Vivah Puja is observed by married women all over India for the well-being of their husbands and family members. The Tulsi plant is considered by the Hindus and Tulsi herself is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi, who was earlier born as ‘Vrinda’. Young women pray to Goddess Lakshmi with full devotion to seeking marital bliss. Tulsi Vivah rituals are also observed by young, unmarried women to get good husbands.
The marriage ceremony of Lord Krishna with Tulsi resembles much like any traditional Hindu wedding. The rituals are observed in various temples; however one can easily perform the Tulsi Vivah at their home. The observer of the Tulsi Vivah must keep the fast till the evening when the actual ceremonies begin. An attractive mandap is made around the tulsi plant using sugarcane stalks and is decorated with colourful rangoli. The Tulsi plant is then beautifully adorned with bright sari, earrings and other ornaments just like an Indian bride. Vermillion powder and turmeric are also applied to the tulsi plant.
A face drawn on paper is put on the Tulsi plant to which, a nose ring and a bindi are also attached. The groom is depicted either as a brass idol or a picture of Lord Vishnu. Sometimes even the ‘Shaligram Stone’, symbolic of Lord Vishnu is used for the puja. The image of Lord Krishna/Vishnu is then covered in a dhoti. A special vegetarian lunch is prepared for this grand occasion. In most households, puris, rice and dal, red pumpkin vegetable and a delicious sweet potato kheer are prepared. The prepared food is then kept aside for ‘blog’ after the completion of the marriage rituals. The actual ceremony starts in the evening. As a part of the Vivaah ceremony, both Lord Vishnu and Tulsi are given a bath and adorned with flowers, before the wedding. A yellow thread is used to link the couple together for the ceremony.
The Tulsi Vivah ceremony can either be performed by a priest or women in the house collectively perform the puja. The ritual can be performed by women of all age groups, but only widows are not allowed to participate in the Tulsi Vivah ceremony. The mantras are chanted throughout the wedding ceremony. After the marriage rites, the devotees shower rice mixed with vermillion on the newlyweds. After the puja, a tulsi aarti is sung. Once the aarti is finished, the cooked food is offered as ‘Bhog’ together with fruits. The prasad is then eaten together with family members and other guests. A person who observes the Tulsi Vivah should also eat a Tulsi leaf that is symbolic of Goddess Tulsi entering the devotee’s body. Prasad in the form of sweets is then distributed among all.
Normally the expenses of the Tulsi Vivah are borne by couples without daughters. They act as parents of Tulsi and perform the ‘Kanyadaan’, a ceremony of giving away their daughter’s tulsi to Lord Vishnu. In the Tulsi Vivah ceremony, all the bridal offerings are then given away to a Brahmin priest. Just like any Hindu marriage ceremony, Tulsi Vivah is also commemorated with full enthusiasm and fervour. By performing this auspicious marriage ceremony, women desire to bring happiness, prosperity and wealth into their life.
Tulsi Vivah celebrations are held in various temples all over India with great grandeur. A suitable wedding invitation is sent from the bride’s temple to the groom’s temple. A grand Barat accompanied by dancing and singing devotees is received by the bride’s side. It is a popular belief that childless couples, who perform Tulsi’s Kanyadaan, will soon be blessed with kids. Bhajans are sung throughout the day and night and the ceremonies come to an end when Lord Vishnu along with his bride Tulsi comes back home. The Tulsi Vivah is an ideal example of an Indian marriage.