Tulasi Vivah is the ceremonial marriage between the Tulsi plant, known as basil and the Hindu God Sri Krishna.
It is a mythical marriage and a ritual observed on the ekadashi of the shukla paksha of Kartick as per traditional Hindu calendar.
As per Gregorian calendar, the marriage is solemnized on the waxing phase of the moon during the month of November. In 2019, this will be observed on the 9th of November, Saturday.
- Legend behind Tulasi Vivah
- Tale of Jalandhar and Vrinda
The legend behind the Tulasi Vivah is found mention in the Hindu scripture called Padma Purana. According to the Padma Purana, long ago there was a demon king called Jalandhara. Jalandhara had a beautiful wife called Vrinda who due to her piety and dedication to Lord Vishnu was invincible. With her power, Jalandhar too became invincible and nobody could control his tyranny. Finally Lord Shiva approached Lord Vishnu to address the issue. Lord Vishnu, after thinking long decided to trick Vrinda into believing that her husband was dead. He sent the dead head and trunk of a monkey dressed as the King. Vishnu himself took the form of a sage and pretended to help bring back Vrinda’s husband back to life. He himself took the form of Jalandhar and stood in front of Vrinda. Vrinda was relieved to see her husband and embraced him with passion and happiness, soon realizing it was not her husband but Vishnu.
Unfortunately Vrinda lost her piety and her power and Jalandhar was killed in a battle. Vrinda however, deeply enraged cursed Vishnu that he too will lose his wife and will have to take the help of monkeys to bring her back. Lord Vishnu did suffer from the curse when he was born as Rama and had lost Sita as his wife and had to take help of the Banar sena to get her back. However, Vrinda chose saha maran or she died in the pyre with her husband. Lord Vishnu was deeply disturbed by this turn of incidents as it was really his deceit which caused this death and the loss of a powerful woman.
Vishnu transferred the soul of Vrinda to a Tulsi plant. Because for a while Vrinda had believed Vishnu t be her husband, Vishnu in the form of a Shaligram Shila married Tulsi on the day of the Prabodhini Ekadashi.
- Tale of Rukmini and Krishna
Satybhama and Rukmini, the earthly wives of Krishna were deeply sorrowed by their husband’s departure to Heaven and requested Narada to bring him back. Narada asked them that what can they offer which will be equivalent to Lord Krishna. Satyabhama, befitting a queen and egocentric too, gave away all her ornaments on one side of the weighing scale. Still it was not equivalent to Krishna. Depressed she asked the other wife Rukmini to see if she could do anything. Rukmini took away all the ornaments and placed a few tulsi leaves on one side of the scale with all her love and devotion. The scale tilted in favor of the Tulsi leaves and Krishna returned on earth to be with his wives. Since that time onwards Tulsi leaves are added to all auspicious things.
- Rituals of Tulsi Vivah
The wedding rituals are exactly that of a Hindu marriage as done according to traditions and rituals. This ceremony is conducted at temples as well as homes. From the morning the devotee keeps a fast till evening when the marriage takes place. A mandap or a pandal is built around the place where the tulsi plant is kept. The Tulsi plant is kept in a pot painted white as white attracts divinity. A rangoli around the Tulsi plant is drawn. The Tulsi is decorated as a wife with sari and jewelry. Marigold flowers and sugarcane are offered and tamarind and amla are kept at the base of the pot holding the Tulsi. The groom is an image pf Sri Krishna or the Shaligram stone, which is the symbol of Vishnu. Both the Tulsi and the Shaligram are bathed and then worshipped. The wedding is solemnized after the worship and is linked with a mala or a garland.
In Maharashtra, a white cloth is held atop the Tulsi and the Shaligram and the priest recites the Mangal Ashtaka mantras to wed them. Vermillion or sindur mixed with rice is showered on the devotees on this auspicious occasion. Sweets and other food items are cooked for this symbolic wedding too and offered to the Gods and the devotees. Mostly women perform this ritual. The bride is given away by childless couple and fruits, coconut, ground nuts, sugarcane etc are offered as prasads.
In saurashtra this ritual is more elaborate and performed with much pomp. An invitation card reaches from the bride’s temple to the groom’s temple. On the Prabodhini Ekadashi , Lalji or a procession with the idol or image of Vishnu sets out for the bride’s temple. Childless couple desirous of giving away a daughter in marriage gives away Tulsi in marriage to Vishnu. Bhajan and kirtans are sung throughout the night and in the morning like a normal marriage the Barati, or the Groom’s side returns to their temple along with the bride, Tulsi.
- Significance of Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi is a symbol of purity and the marriage or union between Tulsi and Krishna indicates that God uphold piety and purity. Krishna always wears a Vaijaanti bead garland in his neck. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi herself appears as Tulsi on this day to earth. Thus welcoming Lakshmi and giving her away in a marriage is considered to be extremely auspicious.