“Just by looking at Tulasi, all of one’s sins are removed. Just by touching Her, one’s body becomes purified. All diseases are removed by praying to Her. Fear of death is destroyed by watering Her. Just by planting or transplanting Her, one achieves realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If someone offers Her leaves at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, Tulasi will award liberation and devotion to Lord Sri Krsna.” ~ Hari Bhakti Vilasa
Today, November 8, 2019 is Tulsi Vivah – Celebrating the union of Tulsi (Vrinda Devi, Holy Basil) with Krishna. This date changes annually. An offering of Tulsi to Krishna is considered the highest honor!
Vrinda Devi is the Goddess of Devotion and also Tulasi Devi, the personification of Tulsi (Tulasi), the Holy Basil plant. The Vrindavana Forest (considered to be an earthly Eden) is names for Vrinda Devi and it is said that she performed penances there for 60,000 years.
In acknowledgement of the devotion that was undertaken by Vrinda Devi, Lord Vishnu proclaimed any penances that were performed in the forest would “fructify and bear excellent results”. It was also the location of tremendous groves of Holy Basil; two smaller groves still exist today. The forest is also the location where Krishna was said to have spent much time during his earthly incarnation, also called the center of eternal past times.
“The word ‘vana’ means forest. Vrindavana is the name given to the forest where Srimati Vrinda-devi (Tulasi-devi), grows profusely.” (CC Madhya 17.l93p.) Another name of Tulasi is Vrinda-devi (one who awards residence in Vrindavana). Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says: krpa kori koro tare vrindavana vasi, “Dear Tulasi, please bestow your mercy upon me, so that I may forever reside in Vrindavana.”Sri Swami Vishwananda
Vrinda Devi is considered to be an emanation of Radharani, Sri Radha, and also in service to Radha and Krishna. Her abode outside of the forest is at the foot of Krishna, a place of holy devotion, and the Vayu Purana states: “The Supreme Lord Hari (Krishna) does not accept anyone’s worship without Tulasi.” Offering a tulsi leaf and a palmful of water is considered one of the highest offerings.
TULSI TEA RITUAL
Wherever the aroma of Tulasi is carried by the wind, it purifies the atmosphere and frees all animals from all baser tendencies.” ~ Padmapurana, Uttarakhanda
Considering the sacredness of Tulsi, Holy Basil, and that it is a personification of Goddess, creating a tea ritual is an amazing practice.
Begin your morning (or anytime) by playing the above mantra. Set your water to boil and have your tea ready to brew. You may use loose tea or bags – see below for some of my favorites.
As the leaves are steeping, close your eyes and inhale the fragrance and steam. How does it smell? Breathe deeply and inhale Goddess into your lungs. Feel Tulsi moving through your body with each inhale. Activate your chakras using the steam from the tea.
Take sips of your tea. Savor each sip and confirm that you are taking the energy of Vrinda Devi directly into all of your bodies.
Perhaps have a journal ready to make some notes or record your experience.
Move into your day carrying the living energy of Goddess within you!
Some Tulsi Teas that I like: