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Nov 11

Written by: Jayanthi
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

tulasi by anonymous

Tulasi Puja – Utthaana Dvaadashi

Tulasi is a holy plant in many parts of India. In this annual ritual, the Tulasi plant is worshipped for the goddess among the many communities in India, including the Kannadigas - or those who lives in Karnataka state- in South Central India (1).

The next festival after Bali Paadyami(2) of Deepaavali is Utthaana Dvaadashi. The twelfth day of Kaarteeka month is the day on which this would be celebrated. It is still auspicious to have Revathi nakshatra (star) on that day.

Roughly translated, Utthaana Dvaadashi means rising (utthaana) after the twelfth day. It is believed that on that day Shree Naaraayana is coming out of sleeping stage and visits his devotees.  The creator, who would be sleeping in the sea of milk, would be awakened by chanting of the Suprabhaata (morning chant to wake the god)
(3). This is also called as ksheeraabdhi vrata (ksheera = milk; vrata = course during which one would fast, worship god, think only about god etc.). On the 11th day (Ekaadashi) of kaartheeka month, in the early morning it is good to donate the tulasi pot(4) and observe fast. If it is Monday and /or Uttaraashaadha Nakshatra (star) it would be still best. Lord Vishnu would be woken up on the same day, in the evening.

While waking up the following verse of veda would be chanted:
idaM viShNurvicakramE trEdhA nidadhE padam|
samUDhamasya pAg^MsurE
(Vishnu has stridden here. He has placed three pure steps on this earth )

During the four months of monsoon, the rain would be heavy and the life would be haywire. During this period the sages (sanyaasi) would travel around the country and observe chaaturmaasya vrata, or four (chaatur) months (maasya) of fasting and prayers (vrata).

During this period Shree NaaraayaNa (i.e., Vishnu) would be in sleeping stage, and at the end of this period Suprabhaata would be chanted to wake him.
The chanting shlokaas are as below:
OM brahmEMdra rudrAgni kubEra sUrya sOmAdiBirvaMdita vaMdanIya|
budyasva dEvESa jagannivAsa maMtrapraBAvENa suKEna dEva||
iyaM tu dvAdaSI dEva prabOdhArthaM vinirmitA|
tvayaiva sarvalOkAnAM hitArthaM SEShaSAyinA||
uttiShthOttiShTha gOviMda tyaja nidrAM jagatpatE|
tvayi suptE jagannAtha jagatsuptaM BavEdidaM||
utthitE cEShTatE sarvaM uttiShThOttiShTha mAdhava|
uttiShThOttiShTha gOviMda uttiShTha garuDadhvaja|
uttiShTha kamalAkAMta trailOkyaM maMgalaMkuru||
gatA mEGA viyaccaiva nirmalaM nirmalA diSaH|
SAradAni ca puShPANi gRuhANa mama kESava||

photo: "God Fish" by Dr. JD @ flickr. Used under creative commons. "God fish" is known in this article as Matsyaavataara.
God Fish by dr.jd
During the end of chaaturmaasya, on the evening of 11th day (Ekaadashi), a small (weight of green gram grain) golden idol of fish called Matsyaavataara(5) would be worshipped (pooja). Sleepless night would be observed and on the morning of dvaadashi (12th day), again the pooja would be offered and the idol would be donated to Brahmin with dakshina. Dakshina is the holy offering of money given with beetel nut and beetel leaves. On that day dhaatri devi, the Divine earth (dhaatri), also referred as the “mother” of all herbs and is known to be a protective medicine for all disorders, the daughter of Vishnu and Lakshmi – would be worshipped in the form of aamla plant (Amla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis). She would be worshipped by worshiping the amla plant in the name of dhaatrI, shaanti, mEdhaa, prakRuti, viShNupatnI, mahaalakShmI, ramyaa, kamalaa, indiraa, lOkamaataa, kalyaaNee, kamaneeyaa, saavitree, jagaddhaatree, gaayatree, sudhRutee, avyaktaa, viSvaroopaa, suroopaa matu abdhibhaavaa.

The marriage ceremony of Tulasee and Shree Vishnu would also be performed during the evening. Shree Vishnu would be worshipped with purusha sookta and shree tulasee with shree sookta. Shree krushnaa’s
(6) idol would be placed in front of tuLasee plant. Aamla or aamlaki has got power of majority of stomach related problems. It also has the strength to purify the blood. Shree Naaraayana and TuLasee would be adorned with a garland of aamla fruit.

JananivasaPrabhu-by-Tulasi by Mayapur
Tulasi Puja done in a Temple somewhere in India.
By Mayapur, used under creative commons

JananivasaPrabhu-by-Tulasi by Mayapur
See how the tree is decorated. The 'tree skirt'
reminds me of Christmas Tree skirts.
By Mayapur, used under creative commons.

(1)Kannadiga is a name for the people living in Karnataka state, south India.
It was bought to my attention by an observant and knowledgeable reader that the "Tulasi Puja" is part of other traditions across India, and not specifically Kannadiga.Follow these links for more information:
Tulasi Vivah 2009
Tulasi - Shaligram Vivaha
Tulasi Vivah
(2) Bali Paadyami is the day of Diwali when Vishnu asks for three steps, one taken on the earth, one taken over the universe, and one on King Bali’s head, where’s he’s banished to the nether world. Ironically, this story is used both to celebrate Diwali in some parts of India, and also to celebrate Onam in Kerala, as stated in this article.
(3) Suprabhatam is a prayer famous in Thirupathi Temple. Listen/watch the song sung by the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi.
(4) This pot is given as a token of generosity. Scriptures say to donate a pot with gold and silver. However, as this out of reach of average people, most devotees donate the pot with the tulasi plant in it or another pot with some grains inside. As a cultural tip, among many Indians empty pots are considered inauspicious. If you leave a vessel/container of food at an Indian friend’s house, they may not return it for a long, long time. It’s not because they are keeping it, but because they are finding a good time to return it to you with some food inside. It’s considered an insult in most cases if a person is returned an empty vessel, even if it may have been given empty.
(5) Matsyaavataara is one of the dashaavataara (ten reincarnations) of Shree Vishnu ( matsya = fish, dasha = 10, avataara = incarnation)
(6) It is also told that Shree krushna had a lover by name Tulasee (gopike). (Shree Krushna is same as Shri Krishna or Lord Krishna.)

* There are two types of tulasee. One is slight black in colour and the other one is green in colour. It has medicinal value. In South India, One would find a plant of tulasee in front of each house.


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Copyright ©2009 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


1 comments so far...

Re: Tulasi Puja – Utthaana Dvaadashi in Kannadiga Tradition

It was bought to my attention by an observant and knowledgeable reader that the "Tulasi Puja" is part of other traditions across India, and not specifically Kannadiga.
Follow these links for more information

By admin on   Thursday, November 12, 2009

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