Also known by the name of Basil tree, The Tulsi worship is performed by the devotees of Lord Krishna or Vishnu, called as Vaishnavas. The Latin name of Tulsi is Ocimum sanctum. Ocimum means she is related to the basil herb, and sanctum means “holy”.
The Tulsi tree shouldn’t be considered as any other ordinary plant or tree for such conclusions based on an imperfect speculation is very offensive.
Originally, known as goddess Vrinda, she is one of the pure devotees of Lord who is always engaged in Krishna’s selfless devotional service in the spiritual world. Always desiring to serve the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, she manifests in the form of a delicate small tree known as Tulsi only for the benefit of the conditioned souls. In India, even the non-devotees respect the Tulsi tree by not choosing to construct any building where Tulsi shrubs reside. Almost, every house maintains and grows a Tulsi plant in their homes and worship her. It is not that when a Tulsi plant dies, so does the original goddess Tulasi die. Goddess Tulsi never dies and such logic is also mundane for she, unlike the conditioned soul is an eternal servant of Krishna.
Being always engaged in Krishna’s service, Lord Krishna is very pleased by her and by those who please her offering her service their loving service. The Vaishnavas therefore always offer food to Krishna with Tulsi leaves on it or offer a garland of Tulsi to Krishna. In fact, even if one offers water along with a Tulsi leaf, with love and devotion, Krishna accepts it.
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchat
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a ﬂower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.” (BG 9.26)
Hence making it easier for even poor people to approach Krishna and as a result emerge more satisfied and fulfilled than the richer class of men, despite their possessing various material opulence, for the greatest treasure to be obtained in human birth is love of Godhead which completely satisfies every devotee of Krishna irrespective of material conditions.
Someone may ask, why should one worship someone lower than God Himself as concluded from BG 9.23 quoted in the previous articles? Krishna considers His eternal servants higher than Himself. There is no problem in approaching Krishna’s devotee to strengthen ones relation with Krishna, but people in general tend to worship different demigods or leaders for their personal benefit without knowing the correct science to obtain Krishna and this is pointed out in The Bhagavad Gita.
In fact Krishna clearly recommends in Bhagavad Gita and throughout the Vedas to approach His representative, the bonafide spiritual master and please him. Similarly, goddess Tulsi (or Vrinda) is worshipped as one of the topmost devotee of Krishna. Of infinite glories of Srimati Tulsi Devi, one from The Skanda Purana states:
“Tulsi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about, or simply by sowing this tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the Tulsi tree in the abovementioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world.”
The Vaishnava tradition hence includes Tulsi worship twice a day while worshiping the Supreme Lord, Krishna, by offering her leaves to Him, by circumbulating her, by watering her, by wearing neck beads made of Tulsi plant’s dried woods, by chanting on Tulsi beads, by garlanding her, by offering her lamp and prayers, etc. One of the prayer offerings made by Vaishnavas, unto Tulsi Devi, is:
yāni kāni ca pāpāni brahma-hatyādikāni ca
tāni tāni praṇaśyanti pradakṣiṇaḥ pade pade
“By the circumambulation of Srimati Tulsi Devi all the sins one may have committed are destroyed at every step, even the sin of killing a brahmana.”
Therefore, this easy process is recommended for all Vaishnavas and aspiring, who aim to quickly attain pure devotional service unto Krishna’s lotus feet.