Tulsi Saligrama Vivah : 24th November 2012
By Ritu Shukla
Among the numerous Hindu festivals, Tulsi Vivah or Tulsi Puja, is carried out by the worshippers of Tulsi/basil/Ocimum Sanctum plant once in a Year. The ceremonial Marriage of Tulsi with Saligrama takes place during Hindu Kartik Maas between Prabodhini Ekadashi- the eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of to the full moon of the month (Kartik Purnima).
Normally the marriage is performed on the eleventh or the twelfth lunar day depending on the availability of auspicious Constellation for performance of Marriage. The Tulsi plant is considered as a most sacred plant by the Hindus as it is regarded to be an incarnation of Mahalakshmi who was born as Vrinda. Saligrama is an anionic representation of Lord Vishnu, in the form of a spherical, usually black-colored stone found in the sacred river Gandaki.
The Tulsi wedding also signifies the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the Hindu wedding season.
Legend associated with Tulsi Vivah
As per legend, the daughter of Kushdhvaj, Vrinda was married the son of ocean, Jalandhar. Jalandhar sought a boon with the Gods, of invincibility as long as his wife is chaste. Vrinda was very beautiful, virtuous wife (pativrata). Vrinda was a devout wife, who upheld chastity. Jalandhar, owing to the boon that he acquired, began to traumatize people that it became a difficult task for Gods to handle.
He also challenged Lord Shiva to engage in a fight with him. Lord Shiva unable to attain victory, pleaded Lord Vishnu to do something. Lord Vishnu came to resort, by disguising Himself as Jalandhar and living with Vrinda to break her chastity.
So Lord Vishnu took the form and Jalandhar and stayed with her. In this way, she broke her Pativrata dharma, and on the other hand Jalandhar was killed by Lord Shiva. On discovering truth Vrinda in her wrath cruses and turns Lord Vishnu into a Black stone (Saligrama) for his deceit.
She further cursed that at one point in time, He would also suffer the pangs of separation of His consort; as the result of the curse, suffered separation from His consort, Sita.
Vishnu too retaliates but in admiration of her impeachable chastity and piety, he transfers her into the sacred Tulsi plant and promises to marry her annually on this day of Karthik.
On Tulsi Vivah day, the place is cleaned up and rangolis are drawn in front of Tulsi. Tulsi plant, being treated as the bride is smeared with turmeric and vermilion.
Bangles are hanged on the tender branches. Red cloth is wrapped around the plant. Shaligrama is placed next to the Tulsi as the symbol of Mahavishnu, the groom.
A priest is summoned and all rites, involved in a formal wedding are conducted.
The belief is that one, who performs this ceremony of giving away Tulsi considering them to be one's own daughters, gets the credit as making a Kanyadan which is regarded as an extremely meritorious act in pure religion.
This sacred ceremonial day marks the auspicious opening of the annual marriage season of the Hindus.