The leaves of the tulsi plant are important in worship. They are superior even to fragrant flowers. Flowers are fragrant only when they bloom. But every part of the tulsi plant has fragrance, said Kamala Murthy, in a discourse. Its seeds, it leaves, its stem, its roots- all have fragrance. Even the soil in which it is planted acquires the fragrant smell of the plant. All we need to do is to use a single tulsi leaf in worship. Nothing will please Lord Narayana more. Using tulsi leaves in worship will bring prosperity.
One day, Tulsi went to the Lord with a complaint. She had a grievance, she said. Like Goddess Mahalakshmi, Tulsi too came from the milky ocean. But while Lakshmi adorned His chest, which was Her permanent abode, what honour had she (Tulsi) been given? Tulsi had come from the scattered drops of nectar. Why was it that she was not honoured, while Lakshmi was, Tulsi wondered.
The Lord said that Lakshmi had done penance and had thus reached Him. Lakshmi, however, was going to appear on the Earth, as the daughter of Sage Markandeya. Tulsi should go to the Earth too, and there spread herself as a bush, that would shelter Lakshmi, who would appear under the bush. Lakshmi would be brought up by Sage Markandeya. The Lord would come down too, and would marry Lakshmi later on.
As per the Lord's instructions, Tulsi appeared on the bank of the Cauvery river. She appeared in such profusion, that the whole place resembled a tulsi forest. So dense was the vegetation. Sage Markandeya, who was on a pilgrimage, reached the place where Tulsi had taken root. He bathed in the river, and began to meditate. In his mind's eye, the sage could see the Lord. And as long as the image of the Lord filled the sage's mind, he was oblivious to everything else around him. He did not even notice the child who was under the tulsi bush.
This child was none other than Goddess Mahalakshmi. In order that the sage should open his eyes and see Her, the Lord caused His image to disappear from the sage's mind. Only then did the sage open his eyes, and upon seeing the child, he picked her up, brought her up, and later got Her married to the Lord.