Tulsi beads are made from the Ocimum sanctum plant, commonly known as the holy basil plant, or Tulsi plant. This article discusses the mythology behind the spiritual importance of the Tulsi plant. Tulsi beads, when worn in the form of a necklace or a bracelet, provides multiple physical and spiritual benefits to the wearer especially by devotees of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna. Read on to learn more!
TULSI BEADS BACKGROUND
Tulsi beads are made by drying the roots, stem and branches of the Tulsi plant. The dried wood is cut into small spheres or in the form of narrow cylindrical shapes either by a machine or manually. These beads are then drilled in their centre and woven together by a silk thread. Each bead is about 8 mm with the entire length of the mala being 22 inches. In India, several retailers have specialized in the business of making tulsi beads. The number of tulsi beads in a Tulsi “mala” or rosary is 108 plus an extra bead. The tulsi mala is either worn as a necklace or as a bracelet, or it is used as a “japamala” or a “rosary” to chant sacred hymns popularly known as “mantras”. Alternatively, you can chant “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” while wearing the tulsi bead rosary. To check the purity of tulsi beads, the mala is kept soaked in water for about 30 minutes. If its color does not change, it is pure in quality. In India, “vaishnavis” or devotees of Lord Vishnu as a custom wear tulsi bead necklace or bracelet. By wearing tulsi beads, one becomes close to Lord Krishna, and it signifies their surrender to the Lord. The first bead, which is slightly bigger in size than the rest of the beads, is the starting point of the chants. The vibration of the mantras helps in healing the energy bodies. Chanting mantras, using the tulsi beads while keeping the eyes closed also helps to calm oneself down and promotes concentration. If a tulsi bead mala is made up of 54 beads, to complete the 108 chants, one does not cross over the starting bead, rather a reverse count is taken, from the 54th bead, a reverse cycle is followed. Thus, two cycles of 54 beads sum up to the magical number 108. There is an exciting logic behind the number 108. Though there are many theories around the speciality of this number, we will discuss a few reasons below.
- There are 9 planets transiting through 12 zodiac signs, so “12 x 9” is 108, which is said to cover all the positions.
- If we add the digits of 108, we get the number 9, which symbolizes spiritual awakening and love.
- There are 12 constellations and 9 arc segments.
BENEFITS OF WEARING TULSI BEADS
The seemingly humble tulsi beads give the wearer a variety of benefits as per the Hindu scriptures.
- The Tulsi beads generate a positive aura about the wearer. It is an antioxidant. Thus, it removes any negativity that one has accumulated in the aura, and increases the overall positivity in that person.
- Similar to tulsi leaves, the tulsi beads also help the wearer overcome cough and digestion issues. The issues that cause chronic cough and digestion issues are Kapha dosha and Pitta dosha. Kapha signifies the water element in the body, and Pitta represents the fire element in the body. An unbalanced Kapha and Pitta needs to be corrected for anybody to get permanent relief from cold and digestive issues.
- Wearing a tulsi mala can improve skin conditions and keep the skin healthy.
- Tulsi mala protects one from bad dreams and psychic attacks.
- The wearer of Tulsi mala is said to progress spiritually at ease.
- Tulsi beads help one to focus well. Because of its calming effects on the mind, the concentration of a person increases.
- Though karma has its own way of dealing with sins, it is said that wearing tulsi beads can relieve one from sins.
- Tulsi beads are said to purify the mind and the soul.
- Wearing a tulsi mala also brings good luck to the wearer.
- Wearing a tulsi bead necklace or mala can cure one of throat related diseases.
- It is also said that wearing a tulsi mala, will protect one from accidents or untimely deaths, and keep “yama raja” away from an individual.
- The wearer of a “tulsi bead mala” is apparently said to have no enemies.
- Wearing a tulsi mala can help the wearer get sore relief from the ill effects of badly placed Mercury and Jupiter in the birth chart.
detail of a wooden zen sculpture in a zen garden
PRE-REQUISITES OF WEARING TULSI BEADS
As per the Bhagvad Gita, anybody can wear tulsi beads mala. There are no restrictions to who can wear it and who cannot. However, as with everything that helps us to reap benefits, care should be taken while wearing tulsi beads too. When a doctor prescribes medicine for an ailment, doesn’t he advise the patient to abstain from certain indulgences? In the same way, while wearing a tulsi mala or rosary, to reap maximum benefits, one has to keep in mind certain aspects of their lives.
A person wearing tulsi beads must:
- Abstain from multiple partners or having a close physical relationship with someone other than his or her spouse.
- Abstain from eating meat, fish or other non-vegetarian foods. These foods are “rajasic” or “materialistic” in nature, whereas tulsi beads are “sattvic” or spiritual in nature.
- Eat vegetarian food that is freshly cooked and is “sattvic” in nature.
- Abstain from Tamsik foods including drinks such as alcohol and drugs. These are strict no while wearing the tulsi beads.
- A person wearing tulsi beads must not be malicious and choose to have a loving and pure outlook towards life.
- Wear a tulsi mala on either a Thursday or a Friday, as these two days are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakhsmi.
Tulsi beads are considered spiritual because the tulsi plant is worshipped in India.
The reason why Tulsi is considered sacred by Hindus can be gauged by a mythological story. As per the Hindu scriptures, Tulsi was initially known as Vrinda and was a pious lady and an earnest worshipper of Lord Vishnu. She was married to the king of demons, named Jalandar. Wars between devtas (holy beings) and daanavs (devils) were mentioned in the holy scriptures. Because of her devotion, her husband, Jalandar acquired great powers and was undefeatable, so much so that, even Lord Shiva could not defeat him. A part of his strength came from the untainted character of Vrinda and her righteousness. It is said that Lord Shiva approached Lord Vishnu to defeat Jalandar. A different strategy was applied by Lord Vishnu. He tricked Vrinda into believing that he was Jalandar. Coming in close contact with a man other than her husband, destroyed the chastity of Vrinda. Hence, Jalandar lost his powers and got defeated and ultimately killed. This instilled wrath in Vrinda, and she cursed Lord Vishnu, that he would get separated from his wife in the same way as she was separated from Jalandar. She also cursed that Lord Vishnu would take the form of a black stone called Shaligram. She, in turn, took the form of the Tulsi tree. Lord Vishnu upon realizing his mistake, assured Tulsi that he would get married to her. Thus, Tulsi became a Goddess after getting married to Lord Vishnu. An interesting point to be noted here is, Lord Krishna is said to be an “avatar” or form of Lord Vishnu. Hence while chanting mantras, one can chant “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” as discussed earlier. In India, in houses where that have a front courtyard house, a Tulsi plant is placed near the main entrance of the house in the eastern direction. In flats, it is kept in a pot either in the window or in the balcony. Every morning, Indian women, usually the married lady of the house, offer water to the Tulsi plant, which is kept in a decorated pot or a structure especially made for growing the tulsi plant. The tulsi tree is supposed to protect the house from negative energies. People ensure that the tulsi plant does not get dried up due to lack of proper care.
Thus, Tulsi beads hold a significant spiritual value in them and are very beneficial to those who are seeking spiritual progress in life. They have a plethora of benefits about them, and the wearer is blessed immensely. The price of a tulsi mala varies from Rs 10 to Rs 700 in India.
Thus though not a very expensive piece of jewellery, the positive effects it can provide the wearer are priceless, to say the least.