Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Use of Tulsi (Holy Basil) in Hindu Worship

Tulsi is a sacred plant. It has been mentioned in Skandapuran that some of the drops of nectar fell on the earth during the process of Samudramanthan (churning of ocean). Tulsi was formed out of them. It was handed over to Shrīvishṇu by Deity Bramhā. Tulsi is liked by Shrīvishṇu and hence it is specially offered to Shrīvishṇu. While citing the importance of Tulsi it has been mentioned in Padmapuran that offering flowers made of gold, stones and pearls do not have even one sixteenth of the importance of Tulsi! Sins of even many eras are destroyed by sight, touch, meditation, obeisance, planting and use of Tulsi. All Deities reside in the plant of Tulsi from its roots to the tip. It constantly emits the principles of Deities and purifies the surrounding atmosphere. It is even said that whoever has a garden of Tulsi in the front yard of his house makes the surrounding nine miles area (yojan) as pure as river Ganga. Let us understand this further in subtle dimension.
  • The unmanifest and subtle most Shrīvishṇu principle is absorbed through the stem of Tulsi leaf and is then converted into Shrīkrushna principle and goes on flowing through the stem.
  • Chaitanya is activated at the base of the Tulsi leaf and is projected into atmosphere in the form of circles. This Chaitanya simultaneously flows through the vessels of Tulsi leaf.
  • The particles of Shakti (Divine energy) are also present in the leaves of Tulsi.
  • The particles of Chaitanya and Krushna principle are transmitted into atmosphere through the inflorescence.
Now our readers must have realized the spiritual benefit of offering Tulsi leaves to a Deity during pujā ritual. The effect of plucking such sacred Tulsi leaves has been described thus in Skandapuran, तुलसीं ये विचिन्‍वन्‍ति धन्‍यास्‍ते करपल्‍लवा: ।- Tulsi ye vichinvanti dhanyaste karapallavaaha’ means blessed are those hands who pluck tulsi leaves for the pujā. Thus by knowing the importance of gathering the tulsi leaves for pujā our faith in tulsi must have been enhanced to a great extent.
So let us now see some useful precautions to be taken while gathering Tulsi leaves.
  • Do not pluck the leaves singly, pluck them in pairs
  • Pluck the tip of tulsi consisting of leaves without shaking the plant.
  • When a manjiri (inflorescence ) is plucked then it should contain leaves.
If we pluck the tulsi leaves while simultaneously chanting the name of our favourite Deity and with utmost respect and with proper method, the benefit received through the pujā ritual multiplies a million times.

Why are women prohibited from gathering tulsi leaves?

Women have a high proportion of Raja component when compared to men. There is generation of heat energy in the dormant and serene sāttvikfrequencies present in the tulsi plant by the touch of women which leads to decrease in its sāttvikta (Sattva quality). Hence they are prohibited from gathering or plucking the tulsi leaves.

Why are tulsi leaves used while offering naivēdya (food offering) to a Deity?

Thus we have learnt about the gathering of tulsi leaves which imparts spiritual benefits. We often see that while offering naivēdya (food offering) to a Deity it is offered with the help of two leaves of tulsi. One of them is kept on the naivēdya while other is offered to the Deity. Let us now understand as to why tulsi leaves are used while offering naivēdya to a Deity.
Tulsi has the greater capacity to absorb and emit sāttvik and Shrīkrushnatattva frquencies present in the universe. Therefore use of tulsi while offering naivēdya imparts two benefits.
  • The tulsi leaf used while offering naivēdya absorbs the subtle frequencies emitted from the food. When this tulsi leaf is offered to the Deity, the Deity principle rapidly absorbs the frequencies present in the leaf.
  • There is subtle covering of Raja-Tama present in the atmosphere around the food to be offered to the Deity as naivēdya. When a tulsi leaf is kept on the food, the sāttvik frequencies emitted from the tulsi leaf reduces this covering. Besides the atmosphere around the plate or banana leaf meant for serving the naivēdya gets purified. This retains the sāttvikta of naivēdya for a long period.
Thus the tulsi leaf is used for offering naivēdya for receiving the grace of the Deity by pleasing Him/Her. Therefore there is a rich tradition of offering prayerful obeisance to tulsi plant loved by Shrīvishṇu every morning and evening as mark of gratitude because it is a destroyer of negative energies and a purifier of the atmosphere.
Ref: Skandapurana, Padmapuran, Sanathan Sanstha, Spiritual Research Foundation

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