Tulsi Vivah-A Ceremonial Marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu
Tulsi Vivah is a Hindu festival. In particular, it is a prominent festival among those who live in the northern part of India. According to the Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated on the eleventh day of Shukla Paksha (waxing Moon period) every year in the month of Kartik.
Tulsi (holy Basil) is a fragrant and medicinal plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Its scientific name is Ocimum sanctum (sanctum means holy place). Goddess Tulsi is worshipped in almost every Hindu household.
According to Hindu scriptures, Tulsi is an earthly manifestation of the goddess Tulsi. She is regarded as the avatar of goddess Lakshmi, and thus the consort of the god Vishnu. In Golok Vrindavan, Tulsi (Gopika Vrinda Devi) is the nurse of Radha-Krishna and the main director of performing their (Radha-Krishna) various leelas (divine plays). She is the messenger of Lord Krishna, experienced in kunja (grove) reform and a scholar in Ayurvedic scriptures. She is known as Tulsi because she is the holiest of all the goddesses. (Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Prakritikhand, 22, 24, 42). She is also called Bhakti Devi or Bhakti Janani as she is the giver of devotion.
On the auspicious day of Tulsi Vivah, Lord Vishnu or his incarnation Sri Krishna tied the knot with Tulsi. There is a myth behind this festival celebration. As per the Padma Purana, Lord Vishnu used a strategy to defeat the demon, Jalandhar. His strategy eventually led the demon to death. Vrinda, the wife of Jalandhar, was a devotee of Vishnu. She became angry at this action of Vishnu and cursed him, due to which Lord Vishnu turned to stone. This stone form of Lord Vishnu came to be known as Shaligram. Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, requested Vrinda to retract her words (curse).
Accordingly, Vrinda withdrew her curse and said that the curse would end after her marriage to Lord Vishnu in the form of Shaligram. After that, Vrinda became Sati.
It is said that after the body of Vrinda was completely burnt, a Tulsi plant was born from that ash. Then, Lord Shaligram (Vishnu) was married to Tulsi.
This festival is also known as Dev Uthani festival. It is very significant. It is said that after fighting the demons, Lord Vishnu became very tired and after the battle he fell asleep. Lord Vishnu slept for four months after defeating the demons as the war continued for a long time. However, on the eleventh day he woke up and then all the deities expressed their worship and gratitude to Lord Vishnu.
Couples who are going through difficult times in their married life should worship goddess Tulsi. Also, people who are having trouble getting married should also perform this puja. It is said that this festival (Tulsi Vivah) solves all the problems related to marriage.
While performing the Tulsi Puja, you should follow some rituals. These are Tulsi Aarti, Tulsi Pranama, Tulsi Kirtana, Tulsi Pradakshina etc. These are given below for the devotees.
Sri Tulsi Aarti
by Chandrasekhara Kavi
namo namaḥ tulasī mahārāṇī,
vṛnde mahārāṇī namo namaḥ
namo re namo re maiyā namo nārāyaṇi
[O Tulsi Maharani! O Vrinda! O mother of devotion! O Narayani! I worship you again and again.]
jāko daraśe, paraśe agha-nāśai
mahimā beda-purāṇe bākhāni
[Seeing you, even touching you, all sins are destroyed. Your glory is described in the Vedas and Puranas.]
jāko patra, mañjarī komala
dhanya tulasī maiyā, purāṇa tapa kiye,
[Your leaves and manjaris are entwined at the feet of Narayana, the lord of Lakshmi. O Mother Tulsi, you have successfully completed your austerities and thus have become the chief consort and queen of Sri Shalgram Shila.]
dhūpa, dīpa, naivedya, ārati,
phulanā kiye varakhā varakhāni
chappanna bhoga, chatriśa byañjana,
binā tulasī prabhu eka nāhi māni
[You gladden and shower your mercy upon one who gives you incense, lamps, offerings and aarti. The Lord does not care for even one of fifty-six varieties of cooked food or thirty-six different curries offered without Tulsi.]
śiva-śuka-nārada, āur brahmādi ko,
ḍhūrata phirata mahā-muni jñānī
candraśekhara maiyā, terā jaśa gāwe
bhakati-dāna dījiye mahārāṇī
[Lord Shiva, Shukadev Goswami, Devarshi Narad, and all the jnanis (wise men) and great munis (sages) are circumambulating you under the leadership of Brahma. O mother! O Maharani, Chandrashekhara thus sings your glories. Please bestow upon him the gift of pure devotion.]
Sri Tulsi Pranama Mantra
(Chant three times)
vṛndāyai tulasī-devyai / priyāyai keśavasya ca
viṣṇu-bhakti-prade devī / satya vatyai namo namaḥ
[I am worshipping Vrinda, Srimati Tulsi Devi, who is very dear to Lord Keshava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Krishna and you possess the highest truth.]
Sri Tulsi Kirtana
namo namaḥ tulasī kṛṣṇa-preyasi namo namaḥ
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā pābo ei abilāṣī
[O Tulsi, beloved of Lord Krishna, I bow before you again and again. I desire to obtain the service of Radha-Krishna.]
ye tomāra śaraṇa loy, tara vāñchā pūrṇa hoy
kṛpā kori’ koro tāre vṛndāvana-vāsi
[All the wishes of the one who takes refuge in you are fulfilled. Have mercy on him and make him a resident of Vrindavan.]
mora ei abhilāṣa, vilāsa kuñje dio vāsa
nayana heribo sadā yugala-rūpa-rāśi
[My wish is that you make me a resident of the pleasure abode in Sri Vrindavandham. In this way I can always witness the divine pastimes of Radha-Krishna.]
ei nivedana dhara, sakhīra anugata koro
sevā-adhikāra diye koro nīja dāsī
[I beg you, that I may follow the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the opportunity of that service and make me your maid.]
dīna kṛṣṇa-dāse koy, ei yena mora hoy
śrī-rādhā-govinda-preme sadā yena bhāsi
[This fallen and lowly servant of Krishna is praying to you, “May I always swim in the love of Radha-Govinda.”]
Sri Tulsi Pradakṣhiṇa Mantra
(Sing while circumambulating Tulasī)
yāni kāni ca pāpāni / brahma-hatyādikāni ca
tāni tāni praṇaśyanti / pradakṣiṇaḥ pade pade
[All the sins of those who circumambulate Srimati Tulsi Devi step by step, even the sin like killing of a Brahmana are removed.]