Tulsi Vivah is a Hindu festival that marks the ceremonial marriage of the holy basil plant (Tulsi) with Lord Vishnu. It is observed on the Dwadashi (12th day) of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Kartik, which falls on November 24 this year. The festival is considered auspicious for married couples and those who wish to get married. It also signifies the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the wedding season in India.
The legend behind Tulsi Vivah
According to Hindu mythology, Tulsi was a woman named Vrinda, who was the devoted wife of a demon king named Jalandhar. She performed severe penance to protect her husband from the gods, who wanted to kill him for his evil deeds. Lord Vishnu, who wanted to end Jalandhar’s tyranny, disguised himself as Jalandhar and tricked Vrinda into breaking her chastity. As a result, Jalandhar lost his power and was killed by Lord Shiva.
Vrinda, who realized the deception, cursed Lord Vishnu to become a stone (Shaligram) and immolated herself in a pyre. Lord Vishnu, who felt sorry for Vrinda, transferred her soul to a plant, which came to be known as Tulsi. He also promised to marry her in her next birth as Tulsi. Hence, every year, Tulsi is married to Lord Vishnu in the form of Shaligram, a black stone that represents him.
The rituals of Tulsi Vivah
The rituals of Tulsi Vivah vary from region to region, but the basic steps are as follows:
- The Tulsi plant is cleaned and decorated with flowers, sandalwood paste, and a red cloth. It is also adorned with jewellery and a bindi. The plant is considered as the bride and is called Tulsi Devi.
- The Shaligram stone is cleaned and decorated with flowers, sandalwood paste, and a yellow cloth. It is also adorned with a tilak and a garland. The stone is considered as the groom and is called Vishnu Bhagwan.
- The plant and the stone are placed on a wooden platform or a clay pot and are worshipped with incense, lamps, and offerings. The priest or the eldest member of the family recites the marriage vows and the mantras.
- The plant and the stone are tied with a cotton thread or a mangalsutra and are circumambulated around a fire. The bride and the groom are then offered sweets, fruits, and betel leaves.
- The married women of the family sing songs and bless the newly wedded couple. They also apply turmeric and vermilion to the plant and the stone and exchange gifts with each other.
- The plant and the stone are then taken to a temple or a river and are immersed in water. This marks the completion of the marriage ceremony and the departure of the bride to the groom’s house.
The significance of Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi Vivah is a festival that celebrates the love and devotion of Tulsi and Vishnu. It also symbolizes the harmony between nature and divinity. Tulsi is revered as a sacred plant that has medicinal and spiritual benefits. It is believed that worshipping Tulsi can cure diseases, purify the environment, and bring prosperity and happiness. Vishnu is revered as the supreme god who sustains and protects the universe. It is believed that worshipping Vishnu can grant salvation, peace, and protection from evil.
Tulsi Vivah is also a festival that celebrates the sanctity and fidelity of marriage. It is believed that performing Tulsi Vivah can ensure a happy and long-lasting marriage for couples. It can also remove the obstacles and delays in getting married for those who are single. It can also bless the unmarried girls with good husbands and the married women with good sons.
Tulsi Vivah is a festival that brings joy and auspiciousness to the Hindu community. It marks the end of the Chaturmas, the four-month period of austerity and penance, and the beginning of the Utsavas, the festive season of celebration and gratitude. It also coincides with the Dev Uthani Ekadashi, the day when Lord Vishnu wakes up from his four-month sleep and grants the wishes of his devotees.