Culture & Litrature

Why do we consider Tulsi sacred?

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September 13: In the ancient scriptures, Tulsi holds the supreme place among the various medicinal herbs. The Padma purana and the Tulsi Kavacham describe Tulsi as a protector of life, accompanying the human being from birth up till death. The Pauranic mythology calls Tulsi Vishnu Priya , “Beloved of Lord Vishnu” . In the Bhagavata and Mahabharata (ancient holy epics and scriptures), it is described how Tulsi, a goddess and devotee of Lord Vishnu, was ultimately re-incarnated as the plant Tulsi. It is said that in order to express her devotion to her beloved Lord, she took this form as a herb which would be offered in worship and service to Him .
The ancient rishis insured the integration of Tulsi into daily life by incorporating it in religious rituals. Hindus perform pujas (religious rituals) several times a month on auspicious occasions. The rishis included leaves of the primary three varieties of Tulsi (Rama, Krishna and Vana Tulsi) in the Charanamrita of the puja . In this way people at all levels of society routinely consumed Tulsi to their health benefit during worship in their temples and households. As a sacred plant and goddess, Tulsi is worshipped and venerated daily by traditional Hindus, and is part of all such households today. It is typically grown in an earthen pot in the family home or garden.
Various passages of the Padmapurana reveal the importance of Tulsi in Indian mythology. Lord Shiva described the power of Tulsi to the rishi Narada (the omnipresent and eternal rishi and devotee of Lord Vishnu) , saying:
” Oh, Narada! Every house, every village, every forest, wherever the plant of Tulsi is grown, their misery, fear, disease and poverty do not exist. Tulsi in all aspects and places is holier than holy. Where the breeze blows through Tulsi plants, it spreads Tulsi’s fragrance making the surrounding area pious and pure. Lord Vishnu and other gods shower their blessings on the people who worship and grow Tulsi. Through the worship of Tulsi, the souls of all our ancestors are pleased and our path to the heavens is opened. Oh Narada! The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra reside in the roots, middle parts of the plant and in the flowering tops respectively. This is why the plant of Tulsi is the most holy plant of the earth. Those who plant and nurture Tulsi in the Shiva temple or in any other place of worship, such as Naimisharayana and Prayag, are twice blessed by the gods. The offering of Tulsi leaves to Lord Vishnu/ Krishna should be considered the best way of worshipping Him. “

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