Health and Holy Tulsi (Tulasi)
Tulsi is a very quite familiar plant. Tulsi can grow in all places and under variety of conditions. It holds a position of sanctity and importance in our religion and generally in Indian culture as well. Nearly all of our scriptures have sung its praises.
Various sagas of Tulsi are found in numerous legends, tales relating to religious observances and rituals, as well as in many anecdotes narrated in the Puranas, our religious scriptures. It is depicted as Vrinda, the wife of Jalandhara in the Padma Purana. The incomparably beauteous Tulsi, the daughter of King Dharmadhwaja, was the incarnation of a Gopi, who had been laid under a curse by Radha because she had dared to aspire to favours from Lord Krishna in Golok.
Women used to sanctify their houses by scattering tulsi leaves which had been previously offered in churches, inviting the saint’s blessings to bestow good fortune on the family in the new year.
Tulsi is of great importance in another field called medicine, apart from the religious significance. Charaka, Dhanvantari, Sushrut and other great physicians and pharmacologists have unanimously accorded it an eminent position as a therapeutic agent.
Tulsi is Surasa, which contains beneficent fluids. Moderate amount of Tulsi juice can enhance the physical beauty of a person. Tulsi is known to be the most effective destroyer of kapha (phlegm) and pitta (bile), benefits the heart, removes toxins, increases the secretion and quality of semen, and strengthens memory. Diarrhoea, piles, kidney stones, anorexia (loss of appetite), skin diseases, worms, acne, eczema, body odours, foetal diseases, infertility, sterility, labour pains, constipation, colic, toothache, earache, dysuria, urethritis, vomiting, asthma, hiccups, fevers, diseases of the mouth, ailments of the eyes, anaemia, leprosy, excessive thirst, gonorrhoea, abnormalities of vayu (wind) leading to neuritis, colour blindness, tetanus, fainting, allergy are among the many Conditions that can be successfully treated with Tulsi.
From anicient times our Indian culture has given a position of great importance to trees, herbs and other components of the natural environment for thousands of years. Our Vedic literature too also has recognized the importance of plants for the wealth, prosperity and health of human life. In our rural areas trees and plants had become an integral part of social life. Most of our religious festivals included worship of trees. Neem, peepul, banyan, asopalav and other trees became indispensable in our lives. Among all of these, Tulsi occupies the most respected and sanctified position, a position of importance whether considered from the point of view of health, or religion, or metaphysics, or even decorative value.
The location of the Tulsi plant in front of the residence of every respectable Hindu householder can be used to show the symbol of Hindu culture augmenting the spiritual beauty and promoting the material prosperity and well-being of the household. The Tulsi plant in the courtyard of every Hindu house is a unique symbol of the aesthetic sense, the culture, the sanctity and religious inclinations of the family. Every Hindu housewife in her daily routine, after her morning ablutions, carries out pooja or dedicatory worship. The Tulsi plant is again worshipped in the evening, and a deepak, a small lamp burning pure ghee, is lighted before it. No act of worship, no pooja ritual of God Vishnu or Lord Krishna, is considered complete without the presence of ’Tulsipatra’, which are the leaves of the Tulsi plant. Nor is any ‘prasad’, the offerings to a deity which are sanctified and returned to the worshipper as the symbol of the benediction of the deity, acceptable as ‘prasad’ unless the offering includes Tulsi leaves.
The Tulsi plant is so familiar and so easily obtainable everywhere that people tend to take it for granted. We have forgotten its invaluable qualities, and by taking costly foreign allopathic medicines for disorders that can be cured easily and without any expenditure by utilizing the curative properties of the Tulsi plant.
The Tulsi plant can be used for prevention as well as cure of illnesses. A Tulsi plant at the doorstep of a house keeps the atmosphere pure, keeps mosquitoes away, supplies oxygen when we need greater supplies of oxygen and even study is benefited if carried on in the proximity of a Tulsi plant.
If we rear a Tulsi plant in front of our houses, or at the back of the houses, in galleries, windows or other places where it is exposed regularly to sunlight, we are sure to be granted long and healthy life and everlasting beauty.