Tulasi - the very name has sanctity about it. One doesn’t call it just ‘basil’ but Holy Basil. Ocimum Sanctum. It is a symbol of purity, divinity and health. Tulasi is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore incomparable. It is so much a part and parcel of Indian life and culture.
Visualize this scene. First rays of morning sun filtering through the trees around. A lady wearing damp clothes after bath stands in front of the tulasi plant in her house. It could be in the front, or in the nadumuttam (inner courtyard). Droplets of water drip down intermittently from her hair. She waters the plant, stands in front of it in prayer with folded hands and does pradishana (circling around).
That is the routine of many an Indian woman before she gets immersed in the daily chores, pure in body and mind. Apart from the veneration part of it, spending time before tulasi is a healthy practice. Emissions from the plant are said to purify the air around it.
Skanda Purana says, "Just by touching Tulsidevi one's body becomes pure. By praying to her, all diseases practically become removed. If one waters her or makes her wet, the fear of Yamaraja (death personified) is destroyed.” (See http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Ocimum-tenuiflorum and similar sites.)
The medicinal values of Tulasi have been known and used in
I was surprised to learn that tulasi has religious significance in Christianity as well. It is said to have been found at
Christians have two saints, father and son, named Basil. Tulasi has a prominent place in the Saint Basil’s Day celebrations.
The homeland of the tulasi is
Before concluding I must say this. My sister-in-law Rema (Mrs. Antony Tharakan) makes a delicious tulasi tea. It is a great drink first thing in the morning or just before bed time.
Photos by me from Olavipe. Copyright reserved. Click on them to enlarge.