The Detailed Story of Maa Tulsi
One of the highly exalted devotees of Lord Krishna is the Tulsi Devi. All the scriptures give emphasis on the need of getting mercy from Maa Tulsi if one wants to make progress in devotion. She is highly worshipped in Hindu households, by both young and old.
Tulsi Maa is the organizer of all transcendental activities between Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna. She is assisted by few confidential associates, and with their help, she ensures everything is pleasing to Lord Krishna. She controls how the wind blows, where and when it rains, how trees bend, etc.
Five thousand years ago when Lord Krishna descended on the plant to carry out his pastimes, proper environment for him was created by Vrinda Devi. Billions of years before the descent of Sri Krishna, the Devi had appeared as the daughter of Emperor Kedera. She then performed penances for over sixty thousand years. And pleased by this, Lord Vishnu sanctified Vrindavan as a holy place. Later she descended here as Tulsi Devi, daughter of Kushadvaja King to perform penances.
Benefits of Worshiping Tulsi-devi
Although one can never fully talk of the glories of her, she is a close associate of Krishna. Tulsi is the main essence of devotional activities. The flowers, leaves, roots, branches, bark, trunk and even shade of Maa Tulsi are all spiritual. If you apply a paste of the Tulasi wood on the deity of Lord Krishna, then you will always remain close to him. One who sees a house where the Tulsi plant is present will get rid of all his sins.
Lord Krishna resides happily in the house where Tulasi-devi is present. Without the Tulsi leaves, Krishna does not accept food, flowers or sandalwood paste. If you worship Lord Krishna with Tulasi leaves daily, you will attain the results of every kind of austerity, sacrifice, and charity.
How to worship her
Srimati Tulsi Devi is always worshiped in the morning, then after the mangala-aarti. First, the obeisance is offered to Tulsi-Devi reciting the Tulsi pranama mantra. Later, the Tulsi-puja-kirtan bhajan is sung when Tulsi-Devi is given incense, flowers, and a ghee lamp. When the song is finally finished, all the assembled people circumambulate the Tulsi-Devi for four times, giving her water. And during circumambulation, you need to chant this mantra:
“yanikani ca papani brahma-hatyadikani ca / tanitanipranasyantipradaksinahpadepade.”
To conclude, obeisance is again offered with Tulsi Pranama mantra.
A ceremony called the Tulsi Vivah takes place between the Prabodhini Ekadashi to Kartrik Purnima usually on 11th or 12th lunar day. This is the wedding of Tulsi plant with Vishnu, by placing the images of both of the two. Both the groom and bride are worshipped with all the rituals and married as per the traditional Hindu marriage rituals. This also signifies the ending of the Chhaturmas period that corresponds to monsoons and beginning of the auspicious period for weddings.
Maa Tulasi is omnipresent in every Hindu household, especially the Brahmin houses. And she can heal anything you ask for. Some worship her as a plant, and some get a deity made.