Tulsi Vivah is a very important festival in the Hindu religion. It is the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi (Vrinda) plant (holy basil) to the Hindu god Vishnu in the guise of Shaligram or Lord Krishna. Tulsi Vivah is also called Devuthani Ekadashi. This is a very important festival as from this day onwards the auspicious marriage muhurat starts. According to Hindu beliefs and scriptures, this day is auspicious as Lord Vishnu woke up after sleeping for four months. Tulsi is believed to be a form of Goddess Lakshmi and is also called ‘Vishnupriya’, “the beloved of Vishnu”. The legend and the story behind the Tusi Vivah are told in the Padma Purana. Tulsi Vivah is celebrated in the month of Kartik and this year it falls on November 1, 2017. It follows the Hariprabodhini Ekadashi which is being celebrated today on October 31, 2017. Here we have outlined the date, muhurat, and story behind the Tulsi Vivah.
Tulsi Vivah can be performed anytime between the eleventh lunar day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik to the full moon of the month (Purnima) but is usually performed on the eleventh or twelfth lunar day, the date of the festival also varies from region to region. Tulsi holds a very prominent place in the Hindu household and women worship the plant daily. However, on Tulsi Vivah the plant is ceremonially married to Shaligram signifying the return of Lord Vishnu to Vaikuntha after his four-month rest from the kingdom of Bali. The wedding season starts after Tulsi Vivah on Prabodhini Ekadashi.
Story behind Tulsi Vivah
According to Hindu scriptures, Tulsi plant was a woman named Vrinda who was married to demon king Jalandhar. Jalandhar became invincible because of Vrinda’s piety and devotion towards Lord Vishnu. Even Lord Shiva could not destroy Jalandhara so he requested Lord Vishnu to intervene and find a solution to the ongoing battle. Lord Vishnu disguised himself as Jalandhara and tricked Vrinda in believing that he was her husband, in order to break her chastity. As a result of this Jalandhara lost his powers and was killed by Lord Shiva. Vrinda cursed Lord Vishnu that he will become black in colour and will get separated from his wife, Lakshmi. This later comes to fruition when he is transformed into the black Shaligram stone and gets separated from his wife in his Rama avatar from Sita. In the Ramayana, Sita gets abducted by Ravana and hence Rama and Sita get separated. Vrinda drowns herself and the gods transfer her soul into a plant which is given the name of tulsi. However, Lord Vishnu blesses Vrinda that in her next birth she will get to marry him, so to commemorate this event the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed.
The marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu is same as of a Hindu wedding. The ceremony is conducted in temples as well as at homes. A mandap is made for the wedding around where the tulsi plant is planted in the courtyard which is usually at the center because Tulsi is planted in the middle of the courtyard. The Tulsi plant is decked up as a bride with red dupatta, sari, nose ring and bindi. The groom is generally a brass image of Lord Vishnu or a picture and more often a black stone. The image is clothed in a dhoti. Both Vishnu and Tulsi are bathed and decked up with flowers and incense and garlands. The couple is linked together with a cotton thread (varmala) in the ceremony thus signifying the two getting betrothed.