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.
Purifying to the mind, emotions and body, Tulasi beads are seen around the necks of nearly all yogis and mystics in India.
Dispelling the unwanted influences of others, gross and subtle, is one of the many benefits bestowed by this most sacred of plants.
Tulasi plants are prized in Ayurveda, where they are an integral part of that sophisticated healing system. Western chemists also recognize the considerable healing potential of Tulasi, which belongs to the same family as basil, and have isolated eugenol, carvacrol, methyl eugenol and caryophyllene from the leaves alone.
In practically every temple in India, there is a special place reserved for this sacred plant. Mystics, yogis and pilgrims consider it a great privilege even to water her. Her qualities and amazing powers are found throughout the oldest writings on earth, the Sanskrit Vedas of ancient India, where it states that simply touching the wood is purifying at many levels.
Anything which has stood the test of time for over 5000 years, should not be easily dismissed.
Tulasi Devi Quotes
8 Names of Tulasi Devi
One who first manifested in Vraja.
The goddess of all plants and trees.
Worshiped by the whole universe.
The topmost of all flowers.
Seeing whom gives bliss to the saints.
The life of Sri Krishna.
One who purifies the three worlds.
One who has no comparison.
"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 in Skanda Purana (3000BC)
"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
"Oh Tulasi, just by touching you, one's body becomes pure. Any person who makes beautiful japamala [meditation beads] or neck beads out of Tulasi wood, and uses them, even if they do not perform any worship of Sri Vishnu, all of their activities become unlimitedly fruitful." - Skanda Purana (3000BC)