Tulsi, commonly known as holy basil, is revered not just for its medicinal and purifying qualities, but more so for its spiritual significance.
Here's how the Tulsi mala is used in Vedic practices:
- Worship of Lord Vishnu/Krishna/Rama: The primary use of the Tulsi mala is in the worship of Lord Vishnu and his avatars. Devotees use the mala to chant the names or mantras dedicated to these deities. The act of using Tulsi beads in japa is believed to multiply the benefits of the recitation, bringing the devotee closer to the divine.
- General Japa and Meditation: Beyond specific mantras, Tulsi mala can be used for general meditation and mantra recitation, enhancing the spiritual potency of the practice.
- Attaining Purity and Spiritual Advancement: Tulsi is believed to purify the mind and soul. Using a Tulsi mala during prayer is considered to help cleanse the aura, protect from negative influences, and aid in spiritual growth.
- Daily Worship: Many devout followers wear the Tulsi mala around their neck as a sign of their dedication to Lord Vishnu/Krishna/Rama. It serves as both an act of devotion and a protective talisman.
- Chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra: One of the most notable uses of the Tulsi mala is in the Gaudiya Vaishnavism tradition, where devotees chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra ("Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare") on Tulsi beads. This practice is believed to be especially potent and beneficial for spiritual advancement.
Given the sacredness of the Tulsi mala, it's treated with great reverence. It is generally not allowed to touch the ground, and many devotees ensure it doesn't come in contact with the feet or lower regions of the body, maintaining its sanctity.
In conclusion, the Tulsi mala is a cherished spiritual tool in the Vedic tradition, primarily used in the worship of Lord Vishnu and his avatars. Its use is believed to greatly enhance the potency of prayers and bring the devotee closer to the divine presence.