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The Hindu Goddess Tulasi (Tulsi)

Read more about: The Hindu goddess Tulasi...

Tulasi (Tulsi), the Hindu goddess of loyalty...

Tulasi (often spelled Tulsi) is the Hindu goddess of loyalty.

Tulasi was once a woman named Vrinda, who was married to a man of low caste called Jalandhar.  Vrinda was so devoted to her husband that he became enormously strong, and invincible in battle. 

One day, the God Vishnu took the form of Vrinda’s husband and tricked her into sleeping with him. Because of this, Jalandhar lost his great strength and was subsequently killed. Vrinda was so loyal to him - and so ashamed at having unwittingly betrayed him -  that she threw herself on to his funeral pyre. 

Vishnu was sorry for what he had done, and turned Vrinda into the tulasi plant - a type of basil - and she became the Goddess Tulasi. 

Her name means “the incomparable one.” She has over one hundred other names, including Padmini (little lotus), Sugandhini (little fragrant one) and Vrindavani.

Tulasi is regarded as an avatar of Laxmi, and a consort of Vishnu.

The aromatic Tulasi plant (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. 

There are two main types cultivated in India - green-leaved (Sri or Laxmi tulasi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulasi).

It is known across southern Asia as a medicinal plant, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving Tulasi plants or leaves.  The plant is considered to be very sacred, and there are certain rituals that must be used to take leaves from it.

Tulasi is also the name of a brand of incense, made by the Sarathi Perfumery Works of Bangalore in India.
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