How Vrinda Became the Tulsi Plant

One day, Lord Indra, the King of Devas, realized that people were not giving him due importance and worshipped Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. In a fit of rage, he tried to enter Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and challenge Lord Shiva to a duel. Sensing Indra’s intentions, Lord Shiva transformed Himself into a Gana and stood at the door of Kailash. He stopped Indra who did not realize who the Gana was. An angry Indra got into a fight with the Gana but soon realized that He was not a regular Gana. A humbled Indra fell at the feet of the Gana and asked Him to reveal Himself. Lord Shiva soon appeared before Indra and forgave him. However, a spark of light (the personification of Shiva’s anger) flew out of Lord Shiva’s body and fell in the oceans.

The anger of Lord Shiva soon transformed into a baby. Hearing the wails of the baby, Lord Brahma tried to lift him but found him to be very heavy. The baby pulled Brahmadev’s beard thereby brining tears to His eyes. Lord Brahma duly named the baby Jalandhara.

Jalandhara became the King of Asuras and married a woman by name Vrinda who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Blinded by his ego, Jalandhara invaded Swargalok and defeated Indra. Indra and the other Devas approached Lord Shiva and asked Him to help them. An enraged Shiva engaged Jalandhara in battle but was not able to defeat him as he was protected by Vrinda’s prayers to Lord Vishnu. Realizing this, Lord Vishnu transformed Himself as Jalandhara and met Vrinda. He told her that he defeated Lord Shiva. When Vrinda stopped her prayers, Lord Shiva pierced Jalandhara with His trishul. An unprotected Jalandhara breathed his last. Vrinda soon sensed that something was amiss and asked the person in front her to reveal himself. Lord Vishnu soon revealed Himself to Vrinda and told her about the fate of her husband. An angry Vrinda cursed Lord Vishnu that He would turn into stone and also lose His wife. After pronouncing her curse, Vrinda passed away.

Lord Shiva and other Gods and Goddesses appeared before Sri Maha Vishnu and blessed Vrinda to be born as Tulsi, the greatest medicinal plant. The Gods also said that prayers to Lord Vishnu would be incomplete if the rituals did not include Tulsi leaves. As a result of the curse, Lord Vishnu turned into a stone near the Gomti River and lost His wife when He was born as Lord Rama. The stone is known as “Saligram”.

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