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The Tulasī plant (Ocimum sanctum) is viewed within the purview of Hinduism as a form of the goddess Lakṣmī, or a consort of the god Viṣṇu. This designation seems to originate within the corpus of Purāṇic texts composed in the Sanskrit language from approximately the 5th to 15th centuries CE. The sanctity of the plant, and other forms of vegetation, resembles even earlier cults of Yakṣa and Yakṣī, or nature spirit, worship. The adoration of the plant continues into modernity in various ways. This paper examines the Tulasī plant through the various myths describing her sanctity, as well as how these myths are interpreted by modern devotees of the plant.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Religion in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Kathleen M. Erndl, Professor Directing Thesis; Bryan Cuevas, Committee Member; Adam Gaiser, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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