Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why do we worship the tulasi?





Thus the tulasi played the vital role of demonstrating to the world that even a small object offered with devotion means more to the Lord than all the wealth in the world.

Yanmule sarvatirhaani

Yannagre sarvadevataa

Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha

Tulasi taam namaamyaham

I bow down to the tulasi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose top reside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas.

Let us now know about the various medicinal uses of the tulasi plant:

1. Healing Power: The tulasi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube. The leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.

2. Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against theses diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulasi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulasi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.

3. Coughs: Tulasi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulasi leaves relieves cold and flu.

4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.

5. Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left and add then taken.

We will see more uses of the tulasi in our next post.

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post, let us know about the plant called as Sem, also known as Beans in English and Phaseouls Multiflorus in Latin.

1. It is a well known vegetable with lot of protein

2. Leaves of the plant crushed and applied to arm pits removes body odour

That concludes our post for the fortnight. Till the next post on 7th April, Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Why do we worship the tulasi?





Radhekrishna to our readers!

We are amidst a very interesting story of Lord Krishna. Taking the story ahead from where we stopped in our previous post, let us know what happened later.

Krishna said, “Look Satyabhama, because of your stupid vow, I have to be a slave to this rishi. Oh how I hate this”, he complained. Satyabhama was at a loss for words when Krishna continued, “Why don’t you ask Rukmini. She must be able to get us out of this predicament”, he suggested coyly. Satyabhama was in such a state that all her ill will towards Rukmini flew out of the window. Rushing to Rukmini’s private chambers she poured out the dire state of matters. Rukmini, ever calm, didn’t panic and came along with Satyabhama. On the way she passed the sacred Tulasi and plucking a single leaf of Tulasi [Sacred Basil], she continued her way to the hall. She very quietly walked towards the balance and praying to Krishna, placed the single tulasi leaf on all the piled up wealth. Lo and Behold! The pan containing Krishna flew up and remained under balanced. Shocked at this, Satyabhama looked to Krishna for explanation. “Try removing your riches, Bhama,” Krishna told her, all smiles.

With a very skeptical expression on her face she removed all her riches until nothing but the single tulasi leaf sat on the pan. And yet, it weighed more than Krishna. She was stunned and humbled. Krishna jumped down from his high hanging pan and came to her, “Bhama, you gave all your riches to me, but there was no devotion in that offering; just the feeling of possessiveness. When you made your offerings with such a thought in your mind, they lost their value and became mundane things. On the other hand Rukmini offered just a single tulasi leaf. But her intentions were noble. She made the offering with utmost love and devotion towards me. And that single leaf was sufficient to please me beyond expectations. Remember it is not the offering that matters, but the love and devotion with which you do it, that does.” Then leaving Satyabhama standing stunned in the court, Krishna returned to his chambers with his other wives. Turning to Narada, her eyes now shining bright with tears, Bhama said, “Devarishi, thank you for teaching me this hard learnt lesson today. I will never ever underestimate the power of devotion and love towards the lord.” Narada nodded and with his characteristic Narayana-Narayana, he was gone.

And thus ends the leela of Bhama’s lesson and thus begins the new custom of offering Tulabharam to the Lord in his temples. But let us all remember, that it is not so much the value of the offerings that matter, as the love with which you offer it to the god almighty. After all, Love ‘IS’ God.

This tradition started in the Dwapara Yuga is still practiced today.

Of the various sevas and offerings made to Shri Guruvayoorappan (Lord Shri Krishna), none is as famous or widely spoken about as the Tulabharam. In this divine offering, the person who has made the vow sits on the pan of a large weighing scale (Tula) and is weighed against a particular item of choice like paddy, sugar, bananas etc. The person then gives the item equivalent to his weight to the temple for use in the worship of the lord.

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post, let us know about Khariya, also called as Chalk.

1. It is used in rural areas in place of lime

2. It is a cleansing agent

3. It is used as a dentifrice

4. It cleans the teeth

5. Purified chalk helps stop bilious diarrhea

That concludes our post for the fortnight. Till the next post on 22nd March, Radhekrishna! Also wishing all our readers a very happy Holi pournima!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam


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