Tulsi Vivah is the mythical ceremonial marriage of the Holy Basil(Tulsi) plant(Considered to be a form of Goddess Lakshmi) to Lord Vishnu, (In the form of a ‘Shaligram’), on the ‘Dwadashi’, which is the twelfth day of the ‘Shukla Paksha' (bright fortnight) during the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’.
It can also be celebrated any time between the ’Prabodhini Ekadashi’, which is the eleventh Lunar day, to ‘Kartik Poornima’.
This year,2017, Tulsi Vivah falls on November 1.
- While married women celebrate Tulsi Vivah for the well-being of their husband and family, unmarried women pray for a good husband. Childless couples perform this ceremony to be blessed with children. Couples who do not have daughter’s, bear the expense of the ceremony, acting as Tulsi’s parents and give away their daughter ‘Tulsi’ to Vishnu. (Called ‘Kanyadaan’, which Hindus consider as the highest form of donation).
- It marks the start of the Hindu wedding season.
- It is believed that Lord Vishnu will stay in a house that worships ‘Tulsi’.
Rituals and Traditions
The women of the house normally conduct this ceremony. They rise early in the morning and after a bath, observe a fast till the evening when it is time to perform the ‘Vivah’.
The marriage ceremony can be performed in temples or at home and resembles a typical Hindu wedding. The area around the Tulsi is decorated beautifully with flowers and ‘rangoli’.
The Tulsi plant is bathed and draped in a red cloth. A paper face is attached to the plant and she is adorned with ornaments like a bride would be.
Lord Vishnu is depicted in the form of an idol or the ‘Shaligram Stone’. The ido is bathed, clothed and decorated with flowers.
The two are linked together with a yellow sacred thread. Mantras are chanted. Once the marriage ceremony is over, devotees shower rice mixed with vermilion, on the newlyweds.
A sumptuous vegetarian meal is prepared, which is distributed among people after it is offered to the newly married couple.
The rituals vary from place to place. In Saurashtra, the ceremony is more elaborate, with wedding cards being sent to the groom’s temple from the bride’s temple.
In some villages, the ceremony extends into a three-day festival.
Legend associated with Tulsi Vivah
According to the Hindu scripture, Padma Purana; a demon King named Jalandhar, had a very devoted wife named, Vrinda (Brinda: A synonym of Tulsi). Because of her immense power of faithfulness and devoutness to her husband, Jalandhar had become invincible. So much so that even the Destroyer in the Hindu Trinity, Shiva, was unable to defeat him.
He was perpetually at war with the Gods and finally fed up of his immortality, the Gods approached Lord Vishnu, who is the Preserver in the Trinity, and asked for His help. The only way out was to somehow destroy Vrinda’s chastity.
Lord Vishnu transformed Himself as Jalandhar and tricked Vrinda into submission. The moment her purity was destroyed, Shiva was able to kill Jalandhar.
Vrinda was furious and cursed Vishnu to turn into a black stone and just as she was separated from her husband; so would He be. Realising her pain, Vishnu promised her that He would marry her in her next birth. Vrinda drowned herself in the ocean and her soul was transferred by Vishnu into a plant which was named Tulsi. Vrinda’s curse turned Vishnu into a black stone called ‘Shaligram’ and in His seventh ‘avatar’ as Rama, He was separated from His wife, Sita.
Keeping His promise, Lord Vishnu, in the form of ‘Shaligram’ married Vrinda; now Tulsi; in her next birth on ‘Prabodhini Ekadashi’. Thus, on this day, devotees perform the Tulsi Vivah.