“Tulasi 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 the tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the Tulasi tree in the above mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha [spiritual] world." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu / Skanda Purana - 3000BC)
In India, one plant is universally appreciated by yogis, mystics and saints of the many and varied spiritual traditions. The botanical name, Ocimum sanctum, (sanctum meaning holy), is used out of respect for an ancient tradition that has a written history of over 5000 years. There are numerous references to this sacred plant throughout the Vedas, verified as the oldest texts in existence.
The flowers, leaves and wood are an integral part of Indian life and worship. No temple offering is considered complete without Tulasi leaves or flowers, and the wood is carefully carved for wearing and as neck beads and japa mala, meditation beads used for counting mantras and prayers.
Tulasi is understood to be the plant incarnation of Vrindadevi, the archetypal "forest goddess". She beautifies the flora and fauna of the ultimate spiritual forest, Sri Vrindavana. She appears in this world so that her leaves may be used in the worship of Krishna, the God of love.
"The Supreme Lord, the embodiment of truth, consciousness and joy is known as Krishna or Govinda. He has no beginning, is the origin of everything, and the cause of all causes." Brahma-samhita 5.1