Monday, August 17, 2009

Choodi Puja / Chudi Puja / Tulsi Puja

I planned and planted a tulasi early in May this year(2009) with the intention of doing tulasi puja in July. I got a plant from out local farmer's market called Thai Basil as I did not find the Indian Tulsi plant around here.

Every year in the month of Shravan Gowd Saraswat Brahmins have Tulsi puja at home.
In 2010, Shravan Month begins on August 11 and ends on September 8. Married ladies perform this puja and worship both Tulsi Goddess and Sun God on Friday's and Sunday's of the Shravan month. Choodi's or specific flowers tied with dibrankolo or druva grass are offered to tulsi. Nine or more choodi's are prepared for the puja and after offering to the Tulsi Goddess. My mother uses Ratnagandhi or May flower along with Mitka Flower (it has a lovely fragrance and grows in color of yellow or white), Shanka Pushpa (which we grew in our home) and periwrinkle or sadapushpa (which means that it grows everyday). She also clean our doorstep with water and make design with white chalk on the doorstep and offer 2 choodi's to the doorstep.

7-9 Druva grass are tied with 3-5 flowers to make choodi. I did not find any druva grass near my house here in US, so I used the grass available in my lawn. I also used lily flower to make the choodi's. After doing the puja for 2 weeks, I took a photo of my tulsi plant which has grown to 4 times the size than when I had bought it. My mother saw the photo and told me that it is not the tulsi we worship nomally in India. Thai basil is called kamakasturi in India and not considered strictly to be tulsi--thats why the name Thai basil. In such cases, I always remember my Grandmom's saying-- she would always say "something is better than nothing". It is the thought of doing the puja counts rather than having correct flower, grass or plant :).

The remaining choodi's are offered with haldi and kumkum to elder women who give their blessings to younger women. I offer the remaining chudis to my home temple God's or I offer them to the Sunnyvale temple. My mom also posts the choodis and kumkum to many relatives who live in other cities.
My mother would prepare
panchkadayi as prashad to Tulsi Goddess. If there is no time to prepare panchkadai, you can also offer sugar or jaggery as offering to the Goddess.

In the photo: Pova Panchkadayi

There are no mantra's or shlokas to do the puja, just show aarti to Tulsi goddess. Apply haldi kumkum to Tulsi and sprinkle rice grains around her.Then finally offer her a little prashad and water and a choodi. Distribute the remaining prashad to your family and the remaining water as "teerth". Also pray to the Sun God after performing the Tulsi puja.

Update 2010: I found Tulsi at Coconut Hil, an Indian store near my home. Here is my tulsi: