The annual Tulsi Vivah ceremony that takes place between the oldest temple of New Zealand, Bharatiya Mandir and Radha Krishna Mandir, Eden Terrace every year was celebrated at Bharatiya Mandir on Friday 24 November with lots of fanfare. The annual celebration between two Mandirs was started in year 2000, and each year one Mandir hosts the
barat (wedding procession). This year Bharatiya Mandir played the host to barat procession from Radha Krishan Mandir. As per the arrangement between two Mandirs, next year Bhartiya Mandir will take barat to Radha Krishna Mandir.
This year more than 400 devotees took part in the wedding ceremony that lasted over two hours. All the traditional and customary rituals and ceremonies of an actual marriage are followed in this marriage of God Shaligram (Lord Vishnu) and Goddess Tulsi including Mehandi ceremony and Saat Pheras (seven vows around the Fire God) and Kanyaadan (giving away the bride). Every year one married couple plays the parents of each side, and they conduct all the rituals and ceremonies as they would do for their own son or daughter. After completion of the ceremonies, a grand feast was served to all the devotees present at Mandir. The bride (Tulsi ji) was farewelled from Bharatiya Mandir around 11 in the night amid chanting of holy mantras and singing the glory of the lord.
Tulsi Vivah festival is performed on the eleventh or twelfth lunar day of Hindu month of Kartik, any day between Prabodhini Ekadashi and Kartika Purnima (full moon of the month). Hindu texts such as Skanda Purana, Padma Purana and Shiva Purana feature Tulsi in the tale of asuras, Vrinda and her husband Jalandhara. In variation of legends, Vrinda immolates herself in her husband’s funeral pyre, but Lord Vishnu ensures that she is incarnated in the form of Tulsi plant upon earth. She gains the status of Goddess named Tulsi, while her earthly form is the Tulsi plant. In popular tradition, in accordance with a blessing by Vishnu to marry Vrinda in her next birth. Lord Vishnu-in form of Shaligram-marries Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. to commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed.
Tulsi Vivah ceremony is celebrated by all Hindus at homes and in temples in traditional Vedic ways. People celebrating Tulsi Vivah observe fast on that day until the ceremony is completed and Goddess Tulsi is farewelled with Shaligram. It is believed that soul of Vrinda resides in the Tulsi plant in the night and leaves in morning.
Bharatiya Mandir Management Committee made elaborate arrangements on this auspicious occasion for the devotees coming to take part in the holy wedding ceremony. -TIN Bureau