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Why isn't Tulsi Offered to Lord Ganesha During Worship?
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Why isn't Tulsi Offered to Lord Ganesha During Worship?

In Hinduism, the practice of offering various items to deities during worship, known as puja or archana, is deeply symbolic and carries significant meaning. One of the common offerings made to deities is Tulsi, or holy basil, which holds immense reverence in Hindu culture. However, it is interesting to note that Tulsi is not offered to Lord Ganesha, the beloved elephant-headed deity, during worship rituals. This unique aspect of Hindu worship raises questions about the reasons behind this tradition. Let's explore the significance behind this practice.

Symbolism of Tulsi

Tulsi is considered a sacred plant in Hinduism and is believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi. It is revered for its medicinal properties and is often grown in households for its spiritual significance. The leaves of the Tulsi plant are used in various rituals and offerings to deities, symbolizing purity, devotion, and auspiciousness.

Symbolism of Lord Ganesha

Symbolism of Tulsi

Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is one of the most worshipped deities in Hinduism. He is known as the remover of obstacles and the god of wisdom and intellect. Lord Ganesha is often worshipped at the beginning of any new endeavor or ceremony to seek his blessings for success and prosperity. You’d often find him depicted as a deity with a big elephant head, a pot-shaped belly, and four arms, with three holding, a noose, lotus flower, modak (a sweet), and one resting in abhaya mudra to grant blessing to all his devotees.

Also Read - Lord Ganesha's Favorite Flowers: Significance and Symbolism

Reasons Behind the Tradition

While Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is considered a significant part of many Hindu rituals and rites, it's never offered to Lord Ganesha. And the story behind this is quite interesting to learn about.

In ancient times, there was a goddess named Tulsi who was known for her devotion and beauty. Her charm and aura grabbed the attention of both gods and mortals. 

On one fine day, she came across Lord Ganesha, who was meditating peacefully on his jeweled throne. Tulsi was highly captivated by his aura and expressed her desire to marry him. She was moved by his wisdom and kindness and wished to spend all her life with him, as his consort.

However, Lord Ganesha, who had chosen a life of celibacy, politely declined her proposal. He furthermore explained his purpose which was that of a guardian and protector who is deemed to be devoid of all worldly affairs.

Tulsi felt disappointed and was filled with anger listening to Ganesha’s response. And in the heat of the moment, he cursed Lord Ganesha that he’ll have not one, but two marriages, which was something he had never intended to do.

In response, Lord Ganesha, in a just manner, cursed Tulsi that she would be married to a demon (Asura). 

Realizing her mistake and regretting her course of action, Tulsi immediately asked Ganesha for forgiveness. Lord Ganesha, being the ever-compassionate and merciful deity, forgave her and granted her a special boon. He revealed that as foretold in his curse, she would be married to a demon named Shankha Churna. However, in the age of Kaliyuga, she would be considered the one to grant life and salvation to individuals on the earth. More so, she would always have a special place in the hearts of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.

Nonetheless, despite their reconciliation, Lord Ganesha advised against offering Tulsi leaves to him during worship. This is why, even today, offering Tulsi leaves to Lord Ganesha is considered unauspicious, as it's believed to be linked to this ancient mythological tale.

Also Read - Understanding the Significance of Lord Ganesha's Trunk Position: Left, Right, and Straight

Takeaway 

The practice of not offering Tulsi to Lord Ganesha in worship is a unique aspect of Hindu tradition that reflects both the diversity and complexity of Hindu rituals and customs. While there may not be a definitive explanation for this practice, it highlights the importance of understanding the symbolism and significance behind each ritual in Hinduism. However, what’s important to note here is that the practice of not offering Tulsi to Lord Ganesha does not diminish its significance. Tulsi is and will be revered as the most auspicious plant in the Hindu culture. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. Why is Tulsi kept outside the house?
A.
In Hindu mythology, a healthy and blooming Tulsi plant is believed to bring happiness and harmony to homes. Hence, in order to ensure that the plant gets all the right resources to promote its growth, Tulsi is usually kept outdoors.
Q. Why is Tulsi offered to God?
A.
Tulsi is highly revered as pure and auspicious in the Hindu mythology. Hence, it is used for many religious purposes and is specially offered to Lord Vishnu during his worship.
Q. Which god loves Tulsi?
A.
Tulsi is especially considered sacred in the worship of Lord Vishnu and his other avatars like Krishna and Vithoba.
Q. Who was the husband of Tulsi?
A.
Shaligrama (a form of Lord Vishnu) was the husband of Tulsi.

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