ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Maa Tulsi (The Most Sacred of all Plants)
Tulsi Maa is a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Devotees all over the world are seen to worship Maa Tulsi in the form of a sacred plant planted in their houses and wearing a mala of Tulsi beads. According to the Holy Scripture, Devi Bhagavat Puran, Tulsi ji is also the wife of Lord Vishnu. In this Sandesh, we present the story of Maa Tulsi as described by Pujya Bhaishri during his Katha and in the Devi Bhagavat Puran.

Once, there was a demon called Shankhachud (also known as Jalandhar in some scriptures) who performed difficult meditation. As we see in our scriptures, even demons meditate. However, what is important is what people use the powers gained by meditation for. If used to cause harm to others and benefit oneself, then such a person is called a demon.

After the meditation, Shankhachud went to the town called Pushkar on Lord Brahma’s request. Here, he met Tulsi (also known as Vrinda). Tulsi was very pretty and had performed great meditation when young to obtain Lord Vishnu as her husband. In Pushkar, Lord Brahma performed the ceremonial wedding of Shankachud and Vrinda.

Shankhachud became the king of demons and began to misuse his power. He seized all the demi-gods’ possessions. The demi-gods in return took refuge of Lord Brahma who led them to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu revealed that Shankachud had been born as a demon due to a curse in his previous birth. Thereafter, the demigods, with the help of Lord Shiv, embarked on a war with Shankhachud but no one could defeat him as Vrinda was a virtuous and chaste wife. Consequently, Lord Vishnu took the form of Shankachud and entered his house in the evening. Vrinda welcomed him home thinking her husband must be exhausted after a whole day’s battle. Here, Lord Vishnu destroys her chastity. In the battlefield, Shankachud is killed by Lord Shiv.

However, Vrinda recognises from the odd behaviour and different tastes that this is not Shankhachud. She questions angrily, “Who are you?”

Lord Vishnu reveals himself. Vrinda angrily tells Lord Vishnu that he is merciless and has done wrong by destroying her chastity and getting her husband killed. She curses Lord Vishnu, “You are stone-hearted; go turn into a stone.” Lord Vishnu accepted this curse and became a stone we know and worship as Shaligram.

Lord Vishnu took mercy on Vrinda and told her, “You will leave this body, manifest as the sacred plant Tulsi and be greatly worshipped. In addition, it will be my pleasure and I promise to be present with you all the time”. This is why Shaligram should never be left without a Tulsi. The body of Vrinda then became the holy river Gandki, where these Shaligram stones are found, which are the form of Lord Vishnu.

Tulsi ji is worshiped as the holiest of all plants. The shade under a Tulsi tree is also considered very sacred. Tulsi ji has great medicinal value. Tulsi leaf must be offered to Lord Vishnu during His worship. Water mixed with Tulsi leaves, when given to the dying, raises the departing soul to Lord Vishnu’s abode. Tulsi Mata Ki Jai!

Tulasi Devi, Beloved of Krishna
One of Krishna’s most intimate servants comes in a special form to bless us with extraordinary fortune.
Devotees of Krishna worship a little tree. But she’s not an ordinary tree. She’s Tulasi Devi, Krishna’s favorite plant.

Tulasi has delicate purple and green leaves, flower tassels like miniature temple spires, and an arresting, sweet fragrance famous for attracting the minds of yogis to Krishna’s service.

Tulasi’s wood is carved into the japa beads on which devotees chant Krishna’s name. Devotees wear strands of Tulasi beads around their necks. Her leaves and flowers decorate the Deity of Krishna in the temple and are placed on food offered to Him. She has taken the form of a tree so that everyone, even the poorest person, can offer something wonderful to Krishna.

My fascination with Tulasi Devi began very soon after meeting Srila Prabhupada in 1967. I searched Indian stores all over New York City to find a set of Tulasi japa beads. One clever man sold me rosewood beads, assuring me they were Tulasi. When I presented them to Srila Prabhupada, he held them and looked at them with scrutiny, then simply said, “No, not Tulasi.” But he chanted on them anyway.

Later, in 1968, as I was cleaning Srila Prabhupada’s room I found his Tulasi japa beads lying near his bead bag on his cushion. As I carefully put them back into their bag, I was mesmerized by their smooth touch and golden glow. They were large, round beads, shiny from years of use, with a mystical quality that still sticks in my mind.

In 1969, Srila Prabhupada sent me to Honolulu to open a temple. I spent much time at the research library of the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center. I found many ancient texts from India, some by Srila Prabhupada’s guru and other Vaishnava saints. And I found information on Tulasi Devi—her botanical names, her history, and ways to grow her. My desire to grow Tulasi became an obsession, and somehow I got seeds from India.

The first set of seeds did not grow. I daily worshiped a thin green sprout until it became painfully evident that it was a blade of grass. The second batch of seeds proved fruitful, however, and tiny heart-shaped seedlings spread their delicate leaves in our Honolulu home. That was the beginning.

I still didn’t know why growing Tulasi was important to Srila Prabhupada or his mission. But when I later presented two small Tulasiplants to him in Los Angeles, he was delighted. He held one of the small pots in his hand for a long time, gazing at the seven-inch seedling, noting that she was indeed Srimati Tulasi Devi.

Prabhupada talked on and on about the glories of Tulasi Devi, and he was in such joyful spirits! Srila Prabhupada’s servant, Kartikeya Dasa, was astonished. He later told me that he had not seen Srila Prabhupada so light- hearted and happy in over a year.

At one point, Srila Prabhupada told us that Tulasi Devi was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, and that her husband, a demon, was killed by Krishna. Then Prabhupada stopped short and became thoughtful. My intuition was that he had given us as much as we could then understand.

So my understanding became quite basic: somehow, growing Tulasimade Srila Prabhupada very, very pleased. That was enough. I proceeded to cultivate Tulasiplants on a large scale. I wrote a booklet entitled “How to Grow Tulasi Devi,” sent seeds and booklets to every temple, and tried to offer advice and assistance to devotees in their efforts to cultivate Tulasi.

Later, I came across the following purport by Srila Prabhupada in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.8.55):

It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasi leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and devotees should take particular care to have tulasi leaves in every temple and center of worship. In the Western countries, while engaged in propagating the Krishna consciousness movement, we were brought great unhappiness because we could not find tulasi leaves. We are very much obliged, therefore, to our disciple Srimati Govinda Dasi because she has taken much care to grow tulasi plants from seeds, and she has been successful by the grace of Krishna. Now tulasi plants are growing in almost every center of our movement.

Only then did I become truly aware of the importance of cultivating Tulasi plants. I realized that my initial attraction to Tulasiand my obsessive desire to grow Tulasiplants, though not inspired by a direct instruction from Srila Prabhupada, were communicated from within the heart by the Lord to please and assist Srila Prabhupada in his mission. I felt humbled and joyful that even in my ignorance I had been given an opportunity to serve him in this way.

Learning Respect for Tulasi

In 1968, before Tulasi made her appearance in the West, Srila Prabhupada sometimes talked about her. I recall him saying that in India every-one considers Tulasi plants sacred, and no one will cut or uproot them. Even non-Hindus, he said, will not destroy Tulasi to build a house on a spot where she is growing—they’ll look for a place not inhabited by Tulasi. When Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, it was so overgrown with Tulasi that no one had settled there, thinking it to be a sacred place. Even non- Hindus considered that disturbing Tulasi plants would bring ill fortune.

When Prabhupada came to Hawaii in 1971, he admired our lush Tulasi garden in front of the entrance to the temple. Because these Tulasis had grown far larger than we had expected (some nearly seven feet tall and with stalks two inches in diameter), we had a problem. The Tulasi branches were beginning to cover the entrance, and people unavoidably brushed up against her. We pointed this out to Srila Prabhupada and asked his permission to trim some of the branches. He became alarmed and exclaimed, “You cannot cut Tulasi—that is the greatest offense! You must never cut her. But you can tie back the branches obstructing the entrance.”

Even after tying back the branches, Tulasi kept growing, and the problem continued. When we told Srila Prabhupada that people had to bend down when passing through the Tulasi archway on the way into the temple, he was delighted. He smiled, his eyes sparkled, and he said, “That’s good. It is good that they have to bow to Tulasi before entering Krishna’s temple.”

When Srila Prabhupada came for a later visit, he carefully entered the Tulasi archway by going through sideways to avoid brushing against her leaves and branches. And while walking along the walkway to the temple, which was lined with more Tulasi plants, he told his secretary, Syamasundara, “Don’t step on her shadow.” In these ways Srila Prabhupada showed great respect for Tulasi Devi.

In his books, too, Srila Prabhupada called attention to the exalted position of Tulasi Devi. He writes in a purport to the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.16.21):

The goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, is sometimes envious of the tulasi leaves which are placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, for they remain fixed there and do not move, whereas Lakshmiji, although stationed by the chest of the Lord, sometimes has to please other devotees who pray for her favor. Lakshmiji sometimes has to go to satisfy her numerous devotees, but tulasi leaves never forsake their position, and the Lord therefore appreciates the service of tulasi more than the service of Lakshmi.

In TheNectar of Devotion, Srila Prabhupada quotes from the Skanda Purana:

Tulasi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about, or simply by sowing this tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the tulasi tree in the abovementioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world.

Srila Prabhupada taught us never to think of Tulasi as an ordinary plant. She is a great devotee standing before us in the form of a small tree. She appears as a delicate tree in this world to serve the Lord and uplift human society.

Tulasi Devi can be used in many ways to please the Supreme Lord, but never for gratifying one’s senses. To offer Tulasi Devi with a material incentive—to destroy one’s enemies, to remove anxieties, to make medicine—will be the bridge by which one enters the hellish regions.

Tulasi Devi has come to the West to give us the opportunity to serve her for our benefit. If we care for her nicely, she can grant us love for Krishna.

Serving Tulasi’s Home

In November 1989, I met “Vrinda Kunda Baba,” or Madhava Dasa, a renowned scholar and Vaishnava saint, and a great devotee of Srimati Tulasi Devi. He had spent years in Vrindavana working to restore and develop Vrinda Kunda, the eternal home of Vrinda Devi, the cowherd-girl form of Tulasi Devi. Madhava Baba’s knowledge of the scriptures, especially those relating to the glories of Tulasi Devi, was vast. Not surprisingly, I felt an immediate connection.

Because Baba had become old and ill, he wanted to leave his work to reliable people who were also devoted to Tulasi Devi. Somehow, by the divine arrangement of the Lord, he ended up at ISKCON’s Krishna-Balaram temple.

On meeting him, I felt a strong urge to assist him and began by helping with his medical expenses. Later, when he became bedridden in February and March of 1990, I worked with Vidya Devi Dasi, Muralidhara Dasa, and Mohana Dasa to help provide nursing and medical care for him in his final days.

At that time, I was inspired to paint a picture of Vrinda Devi. Madhava Baba knew all the scriptural references to Vrinda Devi, and he carefully supervised the tiniest details of this painting. The scriptures describe Vrinda Devi as having a beautiful complexion like molten gold, a shimmering golden effulgence, and an enchanting pearl on her nose. A gentle smile decorates her lips.

She wears blue garments and is decorated with pearls and flowers. Her right hand is raised in blessing the devotees, and on her left hand she holds her yellow parrot, Daksha, who has thousands of parrot disciples of various colors: red, green, yellow, blue, white. The parrots serve Vrinda Devi by carrying messages to various parts of Vrindavana.

Vrinda Devi is in charge of the Vrindavana lila—the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. She decides which flowers will bloom, which birds will sing, which songs will be sung, which breezes will blow, which food will be served, which games will be played, which musical instruments will be played.

Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani have given Vrinda Devi her role as queen of Vrindavana. Vrinda Devi may be likened to a grand director or choreographer of the Vrindavana lila, and her parrots are her communication service. She always stays in Vrindavana, absorbed in love for Radha and Krishna. Her great yearning is to expertly arrange Their meeting, and by doing this she feels the greatest joy.

When the painting was finished, I would hold it up before Baba daily, and he would chant his prayers to Vrinda Devi, his worshipable deity. Often he would cry when he saw her.

Once he looked up at me and very humbly said, “Thank you, Mataji. You have made just the exact replica of Vrinda Devi.”

I told him, “Baba, because you are now unable to walk and go see your beloved deity, Vrinda Devi has arranged to come to see you.”

We pressed Baba to tell us his life story so we could tape it for future publication. He was reluctant.

“No Mataji, I don’t want name and fame.”

We persisted, imploring him that it would be a necessary part of continuing the development of Vrinda Kunda. We pleaded that name and fame would come after he had left this world. He finally agreed, for the service of Vrinda Devi, and we began documenting his life story and the story of the development of Vrinda Kunda.

Srila Prabhupada had told us that Vrindavana is named after Vrinda Devi. It means “forest of Tulasi.”

Baba explained, “This Vrindavana-dhama belongs to Sri Krishna. It is the shining crest jewel of all the Vaikunthas, and Srimati Radharani, the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, has made Vrinda Devi the ruling monarch of Lord Krishna’s opulent and auspicious abode of Vrindavana.”

Every day Baba talked to us of the glories of Vrinda Devi as described in the Skanda Purana, Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Narada Purana, and other Vedic texts. He carefully translated the Vrinda- devyashtakam by Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and he told us about the mercy of Lord Caitanya. We learned that the Lord would have a Tulasitree carried before him in His sankirtana party.

During this time, I visited Vrinda Kunda. There is a small, simple temple there, and a lovely pond lined with Tulasi trees. The atmosphere was surcharged with a unique spiritual essence. I sat quietly and chanted and meditated beside Tulasi Devi. In my mind I had a fleeting “glimpse” of a beautiful palace, with winding crystal staircases and shimmering decor. I wondered at this, and when I saw Baba I asked him about it. He began to describe such a palace from various scriptural quotations. I was stunned.

In a miraculous way that only Lord Krishna could have designed, this aged saint, who was born in a highly situated brahmana family and who had spent his entire life as a sadhu, was now being cared for by a small crew of American and European disciples of Srila Prabhupada. Witnessing his love and devotion for Vrinda Devi was our greatest gift. It was as if Srila Prabhupada had arranged for us to receive further instruction and opportunity to serve Srimati Tulasi Devi by sending Baba into our midst.

A Divine Soul Departs

Baba’s passing away was glorious. It was early, just after mangala-arati, on March 27, 1990. Vidya and I were in the temple making Tulasigarlands when Baba’s nurse rushed in, telling us to come quickly. On the way to his room I grabbed the painting of Vrinda Devi to take to him.

As I entered the room, I was a bit shaken by the hanging presence of impending death. Death is a powerful, compelling force, hard to describe, yet almost tangible.

I held the painting for Baba to see and said, “Vrinda Devi has come.”

He focused on the beautiful form of Vrinda Devi and tried to say his Sanskrit prayers to her. His last audible words were “Krishna! Krishna!”

We sat beside his bed and chanted Hare Krishna on our beads. Dinabandhu Dasa arrived and began playing the harmonium and singing. It was a soft and gentle kirtana, penetratingly sweet and melodious. The whole room was filled with a golden glow. Baba’s eyes were fixed on Vrinda Devi, and when he could no longer see externally, his eyes were shining in ecstasy and focused on some other world. It was as if he was clearly seeing Krishna and his beloved Vrinda Devi.

A beautiful smile was on his lips. His breath came in tiny gasps, and with each breath his ecstasy increased. His face shone with a remarkable radiance. Then he was gone. It was a moment of incredible awe and ecstasy! We were seeing a divine soul depart for the realm of Goloka, and we cried for joy.

Baba’s departure left on indelible imprint on my mind. I saw the energy of death in action—compelling, relentless, moving forward like a bulldozer, pushing the soul out of the body. It was fierce and final, frightening and overwhelmingly real. This was the essence and inner meaning of time. I tasted the divine words of the Gita: “I come as death.”

Then I saw the devotee’s response to death: full surrender at the Lord’s lotus feet with pure love and trust. And I witnessed the Lord’s divine protection of His devotee. What may be fearful and horrible for others was for Baba a joyous reunion with his beloved Lord. Krishna came and filled the room with His love and radiance, and Baba left with Him to eternally serve Vrinda Devi at her home in Vrinda Kunda.

Baba’s work at Vrinda Kunda was left unfinished. I believe it was his gift to us, Srila Prabhupada’s generations of disciples. Because of Srila Prabhupada’s efforts in spreading the glories of Tulasi Devi all over the world, Vrinda Devi led Baba Madhava Dasa to choose ISKCON to continue her service at Vrinda Kunda.

The small crew of us who cared for Baba all feel deeply committed to carrying on his work at Vrinda Kunda. By Krishna’s grace, the daily worship of Vrinda Devi is still going on. We promised Baba that a compound wall will be built around Vrinda Kunda and other improvements will be made. Through this work, our spiritual strength will be increased and our understanding of krishna-bhakti will become mature. There is great spiritual merit accrued from caring for holy places. And of all holy places, Vrinda Kunda is one of the most auspicious.

Worshiping Tulasi Devi

The following list was compiled from scriptures and from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions.

Tulasi’s body is spiritual. Although Tulasi appears as many individual trees, she is one person, and she comes wherever she sees devotion to Krishna.
Every morning devotees should water and pray to Tulasi Devi and circumambulate her three times.
Worship Tulasi with nice food, flowers, incense, a ghee lamp, and other traditional articles of worship.
Protect the delicate Tulasi seedlings from birds and insects. It is an offense to turn the seedlings back into the soil.
In places where Tulasi cannot survive the winters when planted in the ground, provide a suitable house for her.
Every day provide Tulasi fresh air, water (as needed—be careful not to water too much), and sunshine (or plant lights).
Neglecting to care for or water Tulasi properly is a great offense. Do everything carefully.
When picking Tulasi leaves, chant the following mantra:
tulasy amrita-janmasi
sada tvam keshava-priya
keshavartham cinomi tvam
varada bhava shobhane

“O Tulasi, you were born from nectar. You are always very dear to Lord Keshava. Now, in order to worship Lord Keshava, I am collecting your leaves and manjaris.Please bestow your benediction on me.”

Pick only the leaves that grow next to the manjaris (flowers) and the leaves that are ready to drop—they will turn a pale color—not the new, green ones. Pick the manjaris as soon as they blossom. Avoid letting them go to seed, which takes much energy from the plant that can be used to make more leaves and flowers for Krishna’s service. Pick the leaves one at a time with your fingertips. Don’t shake or stroke the branch and damage healthy leaves. Pick with care and attention. Avoid using cutting tools.

Never cut or prune Tulasi Devi. This is a great offense. Remove dead branches if absolutely necessary. If branches obstruct a passageway, tie them back, but don’t cut them.
Pick Tulasi leaves and flowers in the morning, never at night (from sunset to sunrise).
Never use chemical sprays on Tulasi.
Collect leaves once in the morning for worshiping Krishna and for putting on the plates of food to be offered to Him. Put at least one leaf on each preparation. Never pick Tulasi leaves for any other purpose than to offer to the Lord.
Lord Krishna likes garlands of Tulasi leaves. Tulasi leaves mixed with sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the topmost worship. Do not place Tulasi leaves on the feet of anyone other than Lord Vishnu in His various forms. Srimati Radharani can be given a Tulasi leaf in Her hand for offering to Lord Krishna.
Krishna accepts even dry Tulasi leaves.
Tulasi wood (taken after a plant has fully dried naturally) can be used to carve worship paraphernalia, such as beads. Place leftover Tulasi wood within the earth.
Never use Tulasi leaves or flowers to make teas or juices, even after they’ve been offered to Krishna. It is a great offense to cook or heat Tulasi, or to use her for mundane purposes, such as medicines and ointments.
Never cut down or pull up living Tulasi plants. This is a great offense.
Avoid stepping on Tulasi Devi’s shadow.
Tulasi Devi is very, very dear to the Lord. Therefore, most important is to serve her with love and devotion.
Benefits of Worshiping Tulasi Devi

Although we can never fully describe the glories of Tulasi Devi, an eternal associate of Lord Krishna, the scriptures give us a hint of the value of worshiping her. The following list comes from the Padma Purana.

—Tulasi is the essence of all devotional activities.

—The leaves, flowers, roots, bark, branches, trunk, and shade of Tulasi Devi are all spiritual.

—One who with devotion applies the paste of Tulasi wood to the Deity of Krishna will always live close to Krishna.

—One who puts mud from the base of the Tulasi tree on his body and worships the Deity of Lord Krishna gets the results of one hundred days’ worship each day.

—One who offers a Tulasi manjari to Lord Krishna gets the benefit of offering all other varieties of flowers, and he goes to the abode of Krishna.

—One who sees or comes near a house or garden where the Tulasi plant is present gets rid of all his sinful reactions, including that of killing a brahmana.

—Lord Krishna happily lives in the house, town, or forest where Tulasi Devi is present.

—A house where Tulasi Devi is present never falls on bad times, and it becomes purer than all holy places.

—The fragrance of Tulasi Devi purifies all who smell it.

—Lord Krishna and all the demigods live in a house where mud from the base of the Tulasi tree is found.

—Without Tulasi leaves, Lord Krishna does not like to accept flowers, food, or sandalwood paste.

—One who worships Lord Krishna daily with Tulasi leaves attains the results of all kinds of austerity, charity, and sacrifice. In fact, he has no other duties to perform, and he has realized the essence of the scriptures.

—One who puts into his mouth or on his head Tulasi leaves that have been offered to Lord Krishna attains Lord Krishna’s abode.

—In Kali-yuga, one who worships, remembers, plants, keeps, or performs kirtana before Tulasi burns up all sinful reactions and quickly attains Lord Krishna’s abode.

—One who worships Lord Krishna with Tulasi leaves releases all his ancestors from the realm of birth and death.

—One who remembers the glories of Tulasi or tells others about them will never take birth again.

The Tulasi Arati Prayers

Srila Prabhupada gave his disciples the following prayers for worshiping Tulasi Devi.

Sri Tulasi Pranama

(Recite when bowing to Tulasi.)

vrindayai tulasi-devyai
priyayai keshavasya ca
krishna-bhakti-prade devi
satyavatyai namo namah

“I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vrinda, Srimati Tulasi Devi, who is very dear to Lord Keshava [Krishna]. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Krishna and possess the highest truth.”

Sri Tulasi Kirtana

(Sing during the arati. This song is in Bengali.)

namo namah tulasi! krishna-preyasi
radha-krishna-seva pabo ei abhilashi
je tomara sharana loy, tara vancha purna hoy
kripa kori’ koro tare brindavana- basi
mor ei abhilash, bilas kunje dio vas
nayane heribo sada jugala-rupa- rashi
ei nivedana dharo, sakhir anugata koro
seva-adhikara diye koro nija dasi
dina krishna-dase koy, ei jena mora hoy
shri-radha-govinda-preme sada jena bhasi

“O Tulasi, beloved of Krishna, I bow before you again and again. My desire is to obtain the service of Sri Sri Radha- Krishna.

“Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled. Bestowing your mercy on him, you make him a resident of Vrindavana.

“My desire is that you will also grant me a residence in the pleasure groves of Sri Vrindavana-dhama. Thus, within my vision I will always behold the beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krishna.

“I beg you to make me a follower of the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the privilege of devotional service and make me your own maidservant.

“This very fallen and lowly servant of Krishna prays, ‘May I always swim in the love of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda.’ ”

Sri Tulasi Pradakshina Mantra

(Sing while circumambulating Tulasi.)

yani kani ca papani
brahma-hatyadikani ca
tani tani pranashyanti
pradakshinah pade pade

“By the circumambulation of Srimati Tulasi Devi all the sins one may have committed are destroyed at every step, even the sin of killing a brahmana.”

Eight Names of Vrinda Devi

Vrinda Devi: She has thousands and thousands of sakhis (associate maidservants).

Vrindavani: She never leaves Vrindavana.

Vishvapujita: The whole world worships her.

Vishvapavani: She is the sanctifier of the whole world.

Pushpasara: She is the essence of all flowers.

Nandini: She gives happiness to everyone.

Tulasi Devi: She has an incomparable form.

Krishna-jivani: She is the life and soul of Lord Krishna.

Sri Vrindadevy-ashtaka

(1) gangeya-campeya-tadid-vinindi-
rocih-pravaha-snapitayma- vrinde
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. You are bathed in your own splendor, which defeats the effulgence of lightning and the golden campaka flower. The luster of your transcendental garments is the friend of the leandhilia flower.

(2) bimbadharoditvara-manda-hasya-
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Your face is illuminated by the splendor of the pearl decorating the tip of your nose, and by the extraordinary gentle smile on the two bimba fruits which are your lips. You are enriched by the beauty of the amazing and colorful jewels and ornaments you wear.

(3) samasta-vaikuntha-shiromanau shri-
krishnasya vrindavana-dhanya- dhamni
dattadhikare vrishabhanu-putrya
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Srimati Radharani, the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, has made you the ruling monarch of Lord Krishna’s opulent and auspicious abode of Vrindavana, which is the crest jewel of all the Vaikuntha planets.

(4) tvad-ajnaya pallava-pushpa-bhringa-
mrigadibhir madhava-keli- kunjah
madhv-adibhir bhanti vibhushyamana
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Because of your order, the groves where Lord Madhava performs His pastimes appear very splendid, decorated with blossoming flowers, bumblebees, deer, and other auspicious animals, flowers, and birds.

(5) tvadiya-dutyena nikunja-yunor
atyutkayoh keli-vilasa- siddhih
tvat-saubhagam kena nirucyatam tad
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Who can describe your good fortune? You were the messenger who brought about the perfection of the amorous pastimes of Radha and Krishna, the youthful couple, who enthusiastically sport in the groves of Vrindavana.

(6) rasabhilasho vasatish ca vrinda-
vane tvad-ishanghri-saroja- seva
labhya ca pumsam kripaya tavaiva
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. The living entities who attain the service of the lotus feet of your Lord reside in Vrindavana. And the desire to understand the Lord’s amazing pastimes of the rasa dance is only by your mercy.

(7) tvam kirtyase satvata-tantra- vidbhir
lilabhidhana kila krishna- shaktih
tavaiva murtis tulasi nri-loke
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Those who have studied the Satvata-tantra glorify you. You are Lord Krishna’s potency for performing pastimes, and you are known as Tulasi Devi in the human society.

(8) bhaktya vihina aparadha-lakshaih
kshiptash ca kamadi-taranga- madhye
kripamayi tvam sharanam prapanna
vrinde namas te caranaravindam

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Those who are devoid of devotion to Lord Hari, and who are thrown by their offenses into the waves of lust and other inauspicious qualities, may take shelter of you.

(9) vrindashtakam yah shrinuyat pathed va
vrindavanadhisha-padabja- bhringah
sa prapya vrindavana-nitya-vasam
tat-prema-sevam labhate kritarthah

O Vrinda Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. Let a person who becomes like a bumblebee at the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna, and who reads or hears these eight verses describing the glories of Vrinda Devi, eternally reside at Goloka Vrindavana. He attains devotional service in pure love of Godhead, and all his spiritual aspirations become fulfilled.




Tulsi Vivah
The Hindu calendar’s Kartik month is when the Tulsi plant (holy basil) is ceremonially wed to God Vishnu. In the Padma Puran and other ancient texts, it is mentioned. This ceremony can be done in either October or November, between Prabodhini Ekadashi and Kartik Purnima. The exact Tulsi Vivah day varies depending on the area. The monsoon season, whose impacts on global warming were unknown at the time, comes to a close, and the Hindu wedding season is about to begin.

Tulsi and Jalandhar’s Story – Story of Tulsi Vivah
Tulsi’s first birth was as Vrinda. A girl was born to Mathura’s king, Daityaraj Kalnemi. They gave her the name Vrinda. She grew up worshipping Vishnu and became a devotee. Vrinda married Jalandhar, a demon when she was an adult.

Lastly, a word about Jalandhar. Lord Shiva’s third eye was opened after he became enraged with Indra in a separate situation. Lord Shiva received an apology from Guru Brahaspati and was implored to pardon Indra. Lord Shiva then released the fire from his eye into the water. A boy was born out of it. This kid grew up to be the formidable demon king, Jalandhar. Jalandhar was also the name of his capital.

Jalandhar staked his claim to the jewels that were being churned out of the ocean after emerging from the water. The gods disregarded his assertion. Jalandhar declared war and put the Devas that were being churned out of the ocean after emerging from the water. The gods disregarded his assertion. Jalandhar declared war and put the Devas (Gods) in jeopardy. He received the blessing that death could not touch him while his wife Vrinda was celibate, so no one could kill him.

The violent conflict continued. The Devas enlisted Vishnu’s assistance. Despite wanting to aid them, Vishnu could not kill Jalandhar due to a vow he made to his wife Lakshmi, who regarded Jalandhar as a sibling because he was also created from the ocean like her. As a result of the Asuras’ (demons’) victory against the Devas, Jalandhar rose to power as the ruler of heaven, earth, and pataal (the netherworld).

The Sage Narad was consulted by the Devas. Plan B was developed. As a result, Narad travelled to Jalandhar and purposefully went into great detail during the discourse about how Shiva had the most beautiful bride, Parvati, and the most beautiful place in Kailash as his dwelling. Jalandhar was egotistical and felt compelled to fulfil all of his desires. He acquired Shiva’s wife as well as his home out of passion and ego.

A fierce conflict broke out once more. Jalandhar had mastered the transformation. He went to Parvati to deceive her while the battle was still going on while dressing as Shiva. She recognised him after recognising his disguise. He managed to flee as she attacked. Then, after being upset, Parvati went to Vishnu and asked him to trick Vrinda the same way Jalandhar had tried to trick her.

Vrinda would sit and do pooja (prayer) every time Jalandhar went to war, resolved to remain a suhagan. She didn’t leave the puja until he returned home. She has been occupied once again with her pooja for her husband’s success and long life. Vishnu was invited to step in by the Devas. Vishnu had a problem. He had Vrinda as a follower. He simply was unable to trick her. But the Devas encouraged him once again. He then went to Jalandhar’s palace under the guise of Jalandhar. Vrinda stood up from her puja when she saw him and touched his feet.

As a result, Vrinda’s vow was broken, and her husband died in the conflict. He was slain by Lord Shiva. The head of Jalandhar was hurled into their palace. She was perplexed and asked in a firm voice, “Who is standing before me?” as she turned to face her husband. Have I touched anyone? Vishnu assumed his former form in a bashful manner.

Vrinda realised that he had played a trick on her. She was enraged by this trick. Given that stones have no feelings, she cursed Vishnu to change into a stone, which was appropriate given how he had acted. Lord Vishnu then turned into stone or Shaligram. Everything in creation is tipped out of balance. Lakshmi and all the other gods begged Vrinda to reverse her curse. She retracted her curse for the benefit of her creation. To his credit, Vishnu accepted his punishment without complaining, even after she took it back.

Vrinda burned herself alive in the fire while holding her husband’s head in her lap. From her ashes, a plant emerged. It was given the name Tulsi by Vishnu. He declared that Shaligram, the name of one of his forms (the stony one), would always be worshipped alongside Tulsi. Every home will have a location where Tulsi can be worshipped. Tulsi should be the first offering made to him; otherwise, he won’t accept the others. From then on, it was common to hold a Tulsi vivah in the month of Kartik to honour Tulsi.

Honoring Tulsi Vivah
For the sake of their husbands and other family members, married ladies observe a fast and perform the Tulsi Vivah. To obtain the Punya of Kanyadaan, the daughterless couples pay for the arrangements. Widows are not permitted to attend these festivities. The Vivah is held in residences, temples, and, depending on the time, halls and hotels as well.



The Appearance of Tulsi-devi: The Lords Pure Devotee

It is stated in Our Original Position, Chapter eight that Srimati Radharani cursed Her dear maidservant Vrinda Devi to fall down to material existance and that this is factual evidence that the jiva soul falls from the Lords eternal lila.


There is a reference in Brahma-vaivarta Purana regarding the appearance of Tulsi-devi in this material world due to the “curse” of Radha. However, in the writings of the six Goswamis we do not find mention of this pastime. Those sections of the Puranas which are important for our advancement in pure devotional service have been selected by the Goswamis and they have included those portions in their writings. About this “curse” we do not find any mention by our acharyas.

In most cases the Puranas are written for persons in the lower modes of material nature. The events and stories that we find there are mainly to instruct the fallen souls in a general way or to instill fear and reverence in them for Divinity.

Because this narration of the cursing of Tulsi-devi is there in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana some devotees think that it is a very important pramana, evidence, to support the idea of the jiva falling from Vaikuntha. But in fact the narration makes no reference whatsoever to a jiva falling from Grace. The narration strictly pertains to activities amongst the parsada devotees, eternally liberated souls.

There are certain activities of Krsna and the Vishnu avataras mentioned in the scriptures which may be neglected by the pure devotees due to those activities conflicting with their inner emotions, bhava. For example, there is the disappearance lila of Krsna in which He is shot in the heel with an arrow. This is even mentioned in the Bhagavat Purana yet the pure devotees do not take pleasure in discussing this final lila of the Lord. Rather they neglect it.

There is also a section in the Padma Purana which goes under the name Bhagavata Mahatmyam in which the story of Bhaktidevi and her two dying sons Jnana and Vairagya, is narrated. In that Mahatmyam the process of hearing the Bhagavatam in seven days is also recommended. Because these things have been mentioned in Puranas some devotees have printed this Bhagavata Mahatmyam in a small book and they also attempt to hold the Bhagavatam reading in seven days. But our Guru Maharaja (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) did not care for this Bhagavat Mahatmyam because it was not given any mention by the previous acharyas.

It is a fact that the Puranas and many other “Vedic” literatures present topics other than those of pure devotional service. These topic however, are of no concern to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The acharyas in our Gaudiya tradition are concerned exclusively with pure devotional service and we follow their lead. Not just any kind of pure devotional service but pure devotional service in the line of raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous love following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavana. Where such conclusions are found in the Vedas, Puranas, etc. the Gaudiya Vaishnavas whole heartedly embrace that. Otherwise not.

The Bhagavata Mahatmyam concerns itself mainly with karma-kanda and moksha-kanda­­material benefit and liberation. Therefore, it has not been given any importance by our acharyas ­­despite its seemingly being a “glorification” of the Bhagavatam. The narration regarding the “curse” of Tulsi is also in a similar status. It is not given much importance by our acharyas because the narration does not present the conclusions of pure devotional service. In fact the misconception that Radharani could curse Her most affectionte friend to suffer in material existances is indeed disturbing to one who is awake to the loving affairs of vraja-bhakti. It is also a fact that such narrations may even be bewildering and detrimental to the progresss of one who lacks the sufficient eligibility or adhikari.

However, the incident of the curse of Tulsi is not unintelligible for those devotees who have the grace of Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas. Our first understanding should be that Srimati Radharani so called “cursing” her dear-most servant to take birth in this material world was not actually a curse but a benediction. It was a benediction so that Tulsi would be married to Krsna /Vishnu and also so that the conditioned souls in material existance would get a chance to associate and serve a pure devotee. Furthermore, it must be understood that the drama was carried out under yogamaya not mahamaya. Yogamaya is the energy of Baladeva which, understanding the transcendental desires of the Lord and His devotees, makes all the necessary arrangements for their pastimes. In the case of madhurya-rasa-lila the yogamaya potency is represented by Purnamasi Devi. In any case mahamaya has no jurisdiction in the realm of Divine-lila whatsoever.

Krsna appears in this material world through His many expansions such as the Vishnu avatars and He even comes Himself as Vrajanandana Krsna and as Sri Chaitanya Deva. To serve the Lord in His many incarnations His eternal associates also descend to the material world. Thus is the case of Tulsi-devi. It should not be misunderstood that Tulsi was at anytime under the control of material nature or that She had “fallen” due to having displeased Srimati Radharani in Goloka. According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura Tulsi Devi is an expansion of the internal potency of Krsna known as urja. The internal potency, also known as swarupa-sakti, never comes under the influence of maya.

In Goloka Vrindavana Tulsi-devi is nondifferent from the gopinamed Vrinda who has expanded Herself as Tulsi. This Vrinda Devi is Herself an expansion of Srimati Radharani and She leads the section of sakhis known as dutika-sakhis,or messengers, . In the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Vrinda Devi is just under Visakha-gopiin importance and intimacy. The love and intimacy which exists between Srimati Radharani and Vrinda Devi is like a vast ocean of sweetness.

Actually the forest of Vrindavana is named after Vrinda Devi and it is a fact that She gave this beautiful forest as a gift to Srimati Radharani. In the field of vraja-bhakti it is not possible for the aspiring devotee to enter Vrindavana without first getting the blessings of Vrinda Devi. She is so exhaulted that She is considered as one of the principle Deities of Vrindavana. The feelings of affection that Radharani has for Vrinda Devi are wonderful. It is so wonderful that Radharani once made an arrangement for Krsna and Vrinda to sit together on the same throne during Their pastimes in the forest. At that time Radharani arranged for the wedding ceremony of Krsna and Vrinda to be performed.

Vrindavana is the land of the highest Divinity and the sweetest Reality. There every word is a song, every step is a dance and the flute is the dearmost companion of Krsna. katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priyasakhi. Therefore the “curse” of Srimati Radharani, Vrindavaniswari, the most exhaulted Queen of Vrindavana, must be a benediction not a curse. When we think of a “curse’ ” we naturally think of a hateful exchange between two individuals. However, in the spiritual world no hatefullness or envy exists there.

The Lord and His pastimes with His pure devotees cannot be understood by non-devotees or by those who are offensive to pure devotees. First we must become favorable in accepting the guidance and blessings of pure devotees then we can have a correct understanding of the position of Tulsi Devi and how She has come here. But if we think that Srimati Radharani has hatefully cursed Her dearmost servant then we must ourselves be possessed of a hateful mentality.



Tulasi leaves yield a volatile oil called eugenol possessing anti bacterial properties which are anti- microbial, anti-inflammarory and expectorant promoting maximum respiratory assistance


Tulasyamrita janmaasi sadaa twam Keshava Priyey! Keshavaartha chinomi twaam Varadaa bhava shobhaney/ Twadanga sambhavairnityam pujayaami yathaa Harim, Tatha kuru Pavitrangam Kalou mala vinaashini/


Tulasi! You are born from Amrita and are the beloved of Keshava always. I select excellent leaves from your Tree for the puja of Bhagavan. Do become the provider of boons from this Puja and enable it in a manner that it pleases Bhagavan Keshava. Mother Tulasi! Only you could clean up the mess of Kali Yug and provide a sense of direction to absolve me of my sins.


Origin of Devi Tulasi
The daughter of King Dharmadhwaja and Malati was named Tulasi as both men and women could not weigh the beauty and charm of the Child-Tulanaasmartha- she was named as Tulasi. Being a ‘Jatismara’ with the memory of her previous births, Tulasi performed very strict Tapasya to Brahma Deva who appeared and asked Tulasi to seek a boon.

Tulasi recalled that she was in her earlier birth she was a Gopi by the same name as Tulasi, that she was in Goloka as a close companion of Devi Radha and was fond of a boy called Govinda who was too a Gopa boy in the ‘Raasa Samaaja’ or the Circle of Gopa-Giopikas, that their freindship blossomed into lust, that Devi Radha cursed the lovers to be born into ‘Martyaloka’/ in Bhuloka and assured that on performing Tapasya to Brahma Deva the latter would give the boon of marrying Shri Krishna. Brahma smiled and told Tulasi that the same Gopa was already born with the ‘Amsha’of Shri Krishna as a Danava King called Shankhachooda residing in Samudra, who was invincible to even Parama Shiva and that he would be her husband initially and subsequently wed Vishnu Deva as his very dear wife when Tulasi would become a Tree /Shrub when the whole Universe would worship as Vrindaavani. Devi Tulasi was thrilled at what Brahma revealed about the future course of events, but had a lurking fear of Radha Devi as to whether she would make this dream-like future possible as predicted by Brahma. Brahma again smiled and taught the procedure of pleasing Devi Radha by a Shodashopachara Mantra, Radha Stotra, Kavacha and Puja Vidhana.Tulasi was determined to please Radha and performed incessant ‘Raadho -paasana’ or the contant memorising of Radha Devi.


Devi Tulasi weds Danava King Shankhachooda
In course of time, Tulasi had dreamt of a handsome youth and on the next day a Yogi called Shankhachooda landed at ‘Badarivana’who practised Shri Krishna Mantra and Kavacha, thanks to Jaigeeshva Muni. As Tulasi got his darshan at a common place she was readily got attracted to him and vice versa. They exchanged pleasantries as also serious matters of Vedanta content, especially in the background of both of them being Jatismaras, when Brahma appeared and encouraged their Gandharva Vivaha.

Even as Shankhachooda was enjoying his new marital life, he was simultaneously warring with Devatas, as he was essentially a Danava and tortured Devas and forcibly dislodged them from Indraloka. He acquired three crore ‘Dhanurdhaaris’, three lakh race horses, five lakh top rate elephants, Trishula dhaaris, countless chariots, and highly trained Maharathis and virtually became an unconquerable force in the entire Universe. On top of it he was a staunch Krishna devotee and the latter himself bestowed a talisman which fortified his prowess further. Shri Krishna was no doubt aware that the Danava King was performing all acts of Viciousness, brutality and violence; yet the demon’s staunch devotion to him far outweighed his vices and cruelties to Devas, Maharhis, Sages and Brahmanas.


Shiva who mediated peace and then fought with no result
The alarming situation prompted Bhagavan Shiva to advise the Danava King and mediated peace with Devas. He used all his skills and powers of bringing about rapproachment; he said: ‘Raja! You release the kingdom of Devas and make me and every body happy; you enjoy your own Kingdom and desist from fraternal enemities as Daityas, Danavaas and Devatas are all from the Kashyapa Muni and the own sisters of Diti, Danu and Aditi respectively. Brahma hatya and Jaati droha would be equally despicable etc. He also threatened that besides Indra, Surya, Yama, Varuna, Vayu, Shaneswara, Kubera etc. the illustrious Kumara, Nandi, Bhadra Kaali and he himself too would fight against him and the opponents. But the good advice given by Maha Deva himself fell flat on Shankhachooda’s deaf ears and the great battle of Devas and Daanavas which could have been avoided did take place due to the persistence of one Daitya King Shankhachooda! The Danava King descended to the battle field adorned with the Dhanush and arrows that Bhagavan Vishnu gifted to him once. Skanda intiated the battle by destroying Shankha -chooda’s chariot, Kavacha, the charioteer and his headgear and making the Danava faint. But the latter recovered quickly and took up a Vishnu Shakti and attacked Skanda, by the powerful strike of which Skanda fell down. Devi Kaali took over and assaulted the Danava who was an expert in Maya Shakti and dodged the Devi. Bhagavan Shiva revived Skanda by his Jnaana Shakti in a moment. Maha Deva then declared a fulfledged war in which Indra was pitted against Vrishaparva, Surya Deva against Viprachittha, Chandra against Dambha, Kaala Deva against Kaleswara, Agni against Gokarna, Kubera versus Kalakeya, Vishwakarma against Mayasura , Mrityu Devata against Bhayankara, Yama Raja against Samhara Danava, Varuna against Kalivinka, Vayu versus Chanchalasura, Budha against Ghritaprishtha and Shanaischara versus Raktaksha, Jayanta versus Ratnasaara, Vasugana versus Varchogana, Nalakubara versus Dhumra, Dharma vs.Dhanurdhara, and Mangala vs. Mandukasha. The Adityaganas, Ekadasha Rudras, Rudra ganas headed by Nandeswara, Gandharvas, Yakshas and Kinnaras were all a the battle where the Danava Sena was annihilated mercilessly and there were streams of blood and floating dead bodies of soldiers and animals on the battle front. As there was a climatic moment at the combat, Maha Kali released Brahmastra at the Danava King who retalliated with another Brahmastra with the result was a nought. Then Devi Kaali intiated the Mantra to release ‘Brahmastra’ when a Celesial Voice was heard to say: King Shankhachooda is a ‘Maha Purusha’ (Illustrious Noble Being) and Pashupataastra should not be released against him, since he would not be killed by it. In fact, as long as a ‘Kavacha’(Shield) given by Shri Hari was carried on his body and as along as his wife’s ‘Pativratya’ (High devotion to her husband) would last, the Danava would continue to be indestructible as these were the boons to him by Brahma. Bhadrakali then refrained from attacking the King but concentrated on destroying the rest of the Danavas and their Chiefs and so did the other Devas.Meanwhile, Bhagavan Vishnu took the form of an old Brahmana and approached for a boon. When Danava King replied that he could grant him anything, the Brahmana asked for the ‘Krishna Kavacha’; the Danava King who abided by his word parted with the Kavacha.


Vishnu impersonates as Shankhachooda and took Tulasi into bed
Bhagavan Vishnu then assumed the Form of Shankhachooda and entered Devi Tulasi’s interior room in a delightful mood saying that he won the battle and wished to rest. Devi Tulasi was full of joy and in a celebrating mood of relaxation; the Maya Shankhachooda and Devi Tulasi were happy in their union and thus Tulasi’s pativratya got affected. As both the hurdles of ‘Krishna Kavacha’ being donated by the Danava King to a Brahmana and the ruin of Tulasi’s Pativratya by Vishnu impersonating as Shankha -chooda were removed, it was easy for Mahadeva terminating the Danava King who returned to Devi Radha’s Rasa-leela party at Goloka as Sudama and Bhagavan Krishna and Devi Radha welcomed him back into their fold. From the body bone remains of Shankhachooda emerged several kinds of ‘Shankhaas’ (conchshells) which was not only adorned one of Shri Krishna’s hands but had since then found a permanent place in every Puja of Govinda.


Mutual curses of Tulasi and Vishnu -Tulasi as a tree and Vishnu as rock / Saalagraama
Meanwhile Devi Tulasi suspected the Maya Shankhachooda and as Vishnu revealed himself she was upset that original Danava King was no more, cursed Vishnu to become a ‘Paashaana’(rock piece) since he was unscrupulous and heartless and played the drama and removed her husband from the scene; eversince formal Vishnu Puja had been through the Sacred Form of a Shaaligraama.

Lord Vishnu then gave a reverse curse that Tulasi would become a holy River Gandaki as also as a Sacred Tree / shrub worshipped all over the Universe including Bhuloka, Swargaloka and Pataalalokas.

Vishnu however softened and said that ‘Abhisheka’with Tulasi leaves to Narayana would provide the same effect as ‘Sampurna Snaanas’ or baths in all hallowed places including Sarva Kshetras; performing several Yagnas; satisfying Shri Hari with thousands of Abhishekas of holy waters along with ‘Tulasi Dalaas’; thousnad ‘godaanas’ to equate a Tulasi patra daana; serving tulasi water at the time of a death; any puja with Tulasi to any Deity as good as lakhs of Ashwanmedha Yagnas or death with a tulasi on hand resulting in access to Vaikuntha. If a person swears with a Tulasi on hand, his pledge is considered to be an unquestioned belief and breaking the vow with a Tulasi would attract Kalasutra and Kubhipaaka Narakas.

Bhagavan Shri Hari futher said that in order to make her curse to him true, he would become black ‘Paashaanas’ (Saligramas) on the banks of River Gandaki and several ‘krimi keedas’would bite the imprints of Shri Chakra thus becoming eligible for worship. Those Saligrams which have the colour of Cloud / Shyama Varna would be callled Lakshmi Narayana; those stones which have one door and four chakras are called ‘Vanamaali’; stones of light blue colour are called ‘Lakshmi Janaardana’; those with two doors, four chakras and a cow’s horn are called ‘Raghavendra’; small stones with two chakras of black colour are known as ‘Dadhi Vaamanaas’; very small stones with two chakras and vanamaali are called ‘Shridhara’; round stones with clear chakra and Vanamali sign are ‘Damodaras’; and so on.

Narayana Rishi described the Puja to Devi Tulasi with the ‘Dasaakshara’ (Ten worded) Mula Mantra / Beeja Mantra viz. (OM) SHREEM HREEM KLEEM AIM BRINDAAVINYAI SWAAHAA comprising Lakshmi Beeja Mantra (Shreem), Maya beeja (Hreem), Kaama bija (Kleem) and Vaani beeja (Aim). After reciting the Mantra, formal Puja must be performed, followed by offering ghee soaked Deepa, Dhupa, Sindura, Chandana, Naivedya and flowers followed by the ‘Stuti’ that Vishnu himself recited:


Vrindaa rupascha vrikshaascha yadaiktra bhavanti cha, Vidhurbhudaastena Vrindam matpriyaam taam bhajaamyaham/ Puraa babhuva yaa Devi twaadow vrindaavaney vaney, Tena Vrindaavani khyaataa soybhaagyam taam bhajaamyaham/ Asamkhyeshu cha viseshu pujitaa yaa nirantaram, Tena Vishwapujitaakhyaam Jagat-pujyaam bhajaamyaham/ Asamkhyaani cha Vishwaani pavitraani yayaa sadaa, Taam Vishwapaavaneem Deveem virahena smraanyaham/ Devaa na tushtaah pushpaanaam samuhena yaya vinaa, Taam Pushpa saaraam Shraddhaam cha drashtumicchhaami shokatah/ Vishwey yatpraaptimaatrena bhaktaanando bhaveda dhruvam, Nandini tena vikhyaataa saa preetaa bhavataabhi mey/Yasya Devyaastulaa naast Visweshu nikhileshu cha, Tulasee tena vikhyaataa taam yaami sharanam priyaam/ Krishna jeevana rupaa yaa shaswatpriyatamaa Sati, Tena Krishna jeevaneeti mama rakkshantu jeevanam/


(When Vrinda tree and another kind of tree look alike, then intelligent persons call the group of trees as Vrinda only! It is that Vrinda which is popular that I pray; my greetings to that auspicious Devi who emerged in ancient times in Brindavana and was called as Brindaavani; I implore that unique tree which is worshipped among innumerable other trees and is called as Vishwa pujita; I greet that universally revered tree in veneration; it is the Pushpasaaraa which is held in high esteem among several other flowers and is meditated by all Devas that I yearn to vision with emotion and anxiety; may Tulasi be kind to me as she is known for spreading happiness around and fulfil one’s desires and that is why her epithet is Nandini. I seek shelter from that Devi whose inherent values are impossible to weigh (tulana) and therefore called Tulasi. It is that Vrinda Swarupa who is considered as Krishna jeevani that protects the life of Shri Krishna!).

In short, Tulasi Stotra is: Vrindaa Vrindaavani Vishwapijita Vishwapaavani, Pushpa -saaraa Nandini cha Tulasi Krishna jeevani/ Etannaamaashtakam chaiva Stotram Naamaartha samyutam, yah pathet taam cha sapujya soshwamedha phalam labhet/ After the Stotra as above, the formal Puja comprising the ‘Shodashopachaaraas’ are required to be performed by men and women for prosperity, long and healthy life. This is the version of Brahma Vaivartha Purana.


Worship to Devi Tulasi and Salagramas
Tulsi Mahamya

Traditionally a passionate devotee of Narayana, Deva Savarni’s son Vrishadhvaja turned out to to be a fanatic of Maha Deva to the extent of criticising Narayana. Surya Deva felt hurt not because of Vrishadhvaja’s devotion to Maha Deva but of the remarks against Narayana. Sun God cursed the devotee that he would be poor forthwith. This irritated Maha Deva and wished to punish Surya Deva, but Narayana pacified Maha Deva saying that the Trinity were of the same status after all. Maha Deva no doubt reconciled but desired to punish Vrishadvaja for his foul mouth. But Vrishadvaja died and so did his son Rathadvaja. The latter had two pious sons, Dharmadvaja and Kusadvaja who worshipped Maha Lakshmi and became Kings. Maha Lakshmi blessed Kusadhvaja with a pious daughter Kamala who became a yogini called Vedavati. While at her Tapasya, Ravana confronted Vedavati and made amorous approaches touching her hands. She became furious and cursed him that soon enough he and his family would be destroyed; thus saying she immolated herself in Yoga Fire. Eventually, Maha Vishnu and Lakshmi incarnated as Sri Rama and Sita and were destined to undergo on ‘Vanavasa’( Forest Life), during which period Agni Deva in the form of a Brahmana informed that soon Ravana would plan to kidnap Sita Devi and desired that a fake Sita would be replaced by the original as advised by Devas and that this secret should not be made known even to Lakshmana. Thus the original Sita was protected by Agni and Ravana mistook the fake Devi all along. As Ravana died and Fake Sita was put to ‘Agni Pariksha’( the FireTest), Agni Deva replaced the real Devi instead. Chhaya Sita was asked to practise Tapasya at Pushkara Tirtha and reappear in Dvapara Yuga as Draupadi in Dvapara Yuga. Thus Vedavati was known as Trihayani, the root cause of destroying Evil Doers in three Yugas.

Devi Tulasi was the daughter of Dharmadvaja and she too turned out to be a Tapasvini, performing extremely severe sacrifices like meditation with ‘Panchagni’ or Fires on five sides of her body – on four direcions and on top. Lord Brahma knew her desire of wedding Narayana Himself. He explained to her that she was fully aware that She was a ‘Jatismara’ ( person having knowledge of previous birth), that she was Devi Tulsi Gopi in her previous birth as a maid of Radha desirous to have union with Krishna in a ‘Rasakreeda’( dance performance) which was not liked by Radha who cursed her to quit but Krishna advised her to take a fresh birth as the daughter of Dharmadhvaja as a Tapasvini. Brahma in turn explained to Tulsi that there was a Gopa ( Cow boy) named Sudama who was of Krishna’s ‘Amsa’ ( a part Extension) – also a ‘Jatismara’- as he too was cursed by Devi Radha to become a demon now called Sankhachooda. After marrying him, Lord Brahma said that she would eventually attain union with Krishna as the latter would curse Tulsi to become a Sacred Tree to be prayed to all over the world. Brahma blessed Tulasi to become a Siddha to secure a good husband and also taught to her Radha Mantra, Radha Kavacha, Radha Stora and the method of Radha Worship to conquer her confidence and in the long run she would secure Krishna Himself. At the same time, Sankhachooda too got enamoured of Tulsi and, with the blessings of Lord Brahma, married her in Gandharva style. But as the Demon tormented Devas and drove them away from their seats, they went in a deputation to Brahma and further on to Sankara who approached Maha Vishnu. But the latter explained that in his earlier birth the demon was Krishna’s Rasa Parishad Chief Attendant Sudama who was cursed by Devi Radha to become a Danava and as a Jatismara, he knew he had the Narayana Kavacha to protect himself, but Mahesvara could terminate him by a ‘Sula’weapon that would be provided by Himself ( Vishnu) and that He also would spoil the chastity of the demon’s wife Tulsi, who too was a Gopi and again a Jatismari. Thus planned Maha Vishnu and asked Devas to get ready for the Deva-Danava War. Maheswara pitched His huge tent on the banks of River Chandrabhaga, sent an Emissary, Chitraratha, who was taken aback by the strength of the Danava King’s mammoth army of three koti ( Crore) warriors surrounding the Danava King and another seven crore moving outside. The Emissary cautioned the Demon that besides Devas, Brahma and Maha Deva under the commandership of Skanda would all be on battle and the demon’s army would only be fodder to the killing sprees of the Devas side of the battle, more so since Vishnu Himself gifted a powerful ‘Sula’ to Mahesha to terminate the Danava King.; as such it still would not be too late for the Danavas to withdraw to Patala. But the Demon King invited all the force to fight the next morning itself! In the hundred year long battle that followed, Devas and Danavas fought close- tooth to tooth and nail to nail; Mahendra pitted against Vrishaparva, Bhaskara to Viprachitti, Agni to Gokarna, Kubera to Kalakeya, Visvakarma to Maya, Yama to Samhara, Varuna to Vikumka, Budha to Dhritaprishtha, Sani and Raktaksha, Eleven Rudras to Eleven Bhayankaras and so on. The Danava King utilised a Shakti Arrow which made Kartika senseless and Bhadra Kali made such a roar which frightened thousands Danavas to death. Brahma used Brahmastra which proved ineffective. Siva desired to use ‘Pasupathastra’, but a Brahmana appeared and stopped its usage since that would destroy the whole world. Then the Brahmana ( Maha Vishnu Himself) spread His Vishnu Maya and influenced Sankhachooda to part with his Narayana Kavacha and finally terminated the Danava King by the ‘Sula’ gifted by Narayana to Mahesvara. Meanwhile Vishnu Maya was spread again and Devi Tulasi was made to believe that the Danava King Sankachooda won the battle and Maha Vishnu assuming the form of the King was cheated as Tulsi welcomed him and got her chasitity spoilt simultaneously. But she got suspicious in their union and being afraid of a curse from her, revealed Himself. She was overcome by grief as her beloved husband lost his life and worse still her chastity was affected. Thus Tulsi cursed Vishnu to turn as a stone.

Maha Vishnu consoled her and asked her to assume an extra-terrestrial form as His wife, as the entire drama was enacted by Himself and assured her that she would be His better half in Vaikuntha besides Maha Lakshmi and as a Tulsi Tree would bestow boons to her devotees in the entire Universe. Whatever happiness that He would receive from the ‘Abhisheka’( Mantra filled bathing) of Himself thousand times would be bestowed by offering a single leaf of Tulasi; that the benefit of giving away as offerings of several cows would be equated to an offer of a Tulsi leaf; if a dying person is administered a Tusi leaf , [preferably with Ganges Water], his access to heavens is assured; whoever drinks Tulasi leaf water daily gets the benefit of performing horse sacrifices; Plucked Tulasi leaf kept in the night in a house wards off evil spirits and bad dreams; decorating Tulasi leaves on a Deity is propitious and gifting items along with the leaves is considered as auspicious to the donor and the receiver alike. Contrarily, plucking Tulasi leaves in the nights, particularly on a full Moon or the twelfth day of a month .( Pournami or Dvadasi), or twilight timings, mid-days, while applying oil, during impure days of ‘Asuchi’, or while donning dresses is strictly prohibited as it attracts great sins. Worship to Tulasi ( Holi Basel) done with pure body and heart in a formal manner would certaily bring about excellent peace of mind and spiritual contentment. The every place of Her puja is a Brindavan or a Garden of several plants / trees. She is worshipped by the Eight names as Brinda, Brindavani, Visvapujita, Visvapavani, Tulasi, Pushpasara, Nandani and Krishnajivani. She is worshipped by the ten worded Seed Mantra: Srim Hrim Aim Kleem Brindavanai Svaha.

As regards Tulasi’s curse to Vishnu to turn as a stone, the Lord consented to become a Stone or ‘Salagram’worthy of performing worship as a Symbol of Vishnu and such special Stones are available on the banks of River Gandaki, whose Principal Deity is Tulasi Herself. Such Stones are natural formations of various sizes, forms, convolutions and ‘Chakras’(circular formations) , embodying armoury or ornaments of the Lord and are kept at Puja Mandirs (Worship Places) of individual households for Daily and Regular Pujas or at Public Places of Devotion.But care must be taken that the Salagram, Conchshell and Tulasi leaves are placed and worshipped all together, lest separation of any of the three items is warned is considered as a great blunder, as it might yield negative results. Normally males perform the Salagrama Puja. Further, the Pujas ought to be performed with all purity and devotion with Vedic Mantras by way of milk ‘Abhishekas’, flowers, Tulsi leaves, lighting, Naivedyas and such other ‘Sevas’ (services). Since the Pujas are to be done daily and there should not be failures on that count, and if necessary, the person(s) could be different, but the Puja be performed on a regular basis. This is also detailed in the Purana of Devi Bhagavata.


Effects of Daily Worship of Tulasi
Maharshi Veda Vyasa enlightened a congregation of Sages that Bhagavan Maha Deva described the benefits of Tulasi Tree (Holi Basil) to Kartikeya as it is highly auspicious, desire-fulfilling, very dear to Bhagavan Vishnu and hence called ‘Vaishnavi’; in fact, Vishnu considers Tulasi on par with even Lakshmi and far above the ranking of all other leaves and flowers. Daily worship to Bhagavan Vishnu with Tulasi leaves is considered as effective and propitious than even Daana, Homa, Yagnya and Vratas. Needless to say that Tulasi Puja to Bhagavan Vishnu bestows brightness, happiness, luxury items, fame, Lakshmi, noble ancestry, good wife and children, wealth, health, ‘Gyan’, Vigyan, Veda and Vedanga , Shastra, Purana, Tantra and Samhitas.

Keeping a Tulasi Garden nearby is as effective and easy as keeping Lord Shri Krishna Himself and thus retaining laksh, Brahma and all other Devas.Thus a short-cut method is worshipping Tulasi to be able to keep all the Deities happy. As a corollary, Pretahs, Piscachas, Kushmandas, Brahma rakshasas, Bhutas and Rakshasas are nowhere in the vicinity and so would be far away from sins, fears, diseases and wants. In Kali Yuga, one effective way is to perform Tulasi Puja, Kirtana, Dhyana, Dharana and other means of worship to dry out and burn off all kinds of Sins and consolidate the path of reaching Swarga and Moksha.

Bhagavan Shankara stated:


Pujaney kirtaney dhyaney ropaney dharaney Kalou, Tulasi dahatey paapam Swarga moksham dadaaticha/ Upadesham dadeydasyaah swayamaacharatey punah, sa yaati Paramam Staanam Madhavasya niketanam/


Lord Vishnu said that in all those tasks which were dear to him like Yagnas, Vratas etc. worship with even with one Tulasi leaf enhances the value of such tasks. Further, those who worship Tulasi attain the same fruits of worshipping Gurus, Brahmanas, Devatas and Tirthas.

If one retains a leaf of Tulasi while dying has a path leading upwards to heavens. Those who worship Tulasi regularly and sincerely would not have to take ‘Punarjanma’ (another birth)! Mere ‘Namocchharana’ or taking the name of Tulasi frightens Asuras but pleases Vishnu immensely; blessed are those in Kali Yuga who perform puja of ‘Shaligramas’ or Replicas of Maha Vishnu with Tulasi.What could Yama Raja say to Tulasi :


Tulasyamrita janmaasi sadaa twam Keshava Priyey! Keshavaartha chinomi twaam Varadaa bhava shobhaney/ Twadanga sambhavairnityam pujayaami yathaa Harim, Tatha kuru Pavitrangam Kalou mala vinaashini/


Tulasi! You are born from Amrita and are the beloved of Keshava always. I select excellent leaves from your Tree for the puja of Bhagavan. Do become the provider of boons from this Puja and enable it in a manner that it pleases Bhagavan Keshava. Mother Tulasi! Only you could clean up the mess of Kali Yug and provide a sense of direction to absolve me of my sins). [Tulasi leaves yield a volatile oil called eugenol possessing anti bacterial properties which are anti- microbial, anti-inflammarory and expectorant promoting maximum respiratory assistance].


Tulasi Puja is forbidden in Ganesha Pujas as Devi Tulasi was infatuated with Ganesha who cursed her
It is against background that Tulasi Leaves are forbidden in Ganesha Puja. Though Tulsi is considered s very auspicious but due to involvement of curse it is prohibited to use tulsi leaves at the time of pooja; one might notice in the course of the Eka Vimshati or 21 leaf pujas of Ganesha puja just one tulasi leaf is offered to Ganesha as an exception. Once Lord Ganesha was engaged in deep meditation. As Ganesha was doing pooja, there came Tulsi. The moment she saw Ganesha, she fell in love with him and requested him to take her as his wife.But Lord Ganesha had turned down the offer but on her continued pestering cursed her that she would marry a demon. After the curse Ganesha took pity on Tulasi and blessed her be to be Lord Vishnu’s beloved.

Ganesha Vrata Vidhana, be it on Bhadra pada Chaturthi or Sankata Chatuthi or otherwise, the ‘Eka vimshati Patra Puja’ avoids Tulasi Puja except as of tokenism!


|| Tulasī Devī – Beloved of Kṛṣṇa ||
Tulsi or Tulasī, the holy basil plant (Ocimum Sanctum) as it is know in the west, is considered to be the beloved of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Tulasī means the “incomparable one”. It is the plant of devotion and has spiritually uplifting qualities.

Tulasī is not an ordinary plant, She’s Tulasī-Devī, Kṛṣṇa’s favorite plant and is worshipped by Vaiṣṇava devotees all over the world. Tulasī always occupies a special place in the East as well as in the West. It is highly appreciated in Ayurveda. Even her scientific Latin name is—Ocimum sanctum. Ocimum means she is related to the herb basil, and sanctum means ‘holy’. She is known as Holy Basil and is recognized as uniquely auspicious in all the Vedic scriptures and is revered by all the saints and people of India.

Another name of Tulasī is Vṛndā-devī (one who awards residence in Vṛndāvana). In order to understand who Tulasī-devī is, one must also understand who Vṛndā-devī is. In fact, Tulasī-devī and Vṛndā-devī are one and the same.

Vṛndā-devī is a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa and an expansion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is responsible for setting up the wonderful pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. She exists as Tulasī to benefit the fallen conditioned souls by bestowing devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.

Vṛndā-devī supervises Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with her parrots, who fly past and relay to her what is going on. Therefore she is always seen with parrots. She has a yellow parrot on her left hand. This parrot is said to fly around Vṛndāvana and on returning tells Vṛndā-devī what is happening there. The parrot is named Dakṣa and is said to have one lakh (100,000) disciples.

In Govinda-līlāmṛta, we first meet Vṛndā-devī in the early morning as she engages the birds in singing to awaken the Divine Couple, she makes the mynah and parrots sing verses that she herself has taught them. Even the monkeys are under her command, serving a function to enhance the pleasure of the Divine Couple and their loving pastimes. She arranges for flowers to be delivered in the morning for decorating Rādhā’s bed and bathrooms, and for garlands.

In the pūrvāhna-līlā, when Kṛṣṇa enters the forest with the cows and his friends, Vṛndā-devī precedes him, awakening all the flora and fauna who have been numb in his separation, so that they will be ready to serve. She calls out to the forest, calling her a sakhi:

aṭavi sakhi samāyān mādhavo’sau samantāt
visṛja viraha-ghūrnāṁ tūrṇam ullālasīhi |
sva-guṇa-gaṇa-vikāśaiḥ sveśvarīṁ smārayāmuṁ
saphalaya nija-lakṣmīṁ cānayoḥ sad-vilāsaiḥ ||
“Oh sakhi forest! Madhava has come, so shake off the daze that has come of separation completely and quickly shine with cheer! Remind him of your queen, his beloved Radha (sveśvarī) by showing off your virtuous qualities. When their pure love games take place here that will make all your beauty a success. (GLA 6.10)

Tulasī is mentioned in the vedic scriptures of India. In the Padmapurana (24.2) Lord Śiva tells the sage Nārada about this power: “Oh Nārada, wherever Tulsi grows there is no misery. She is the holiest of the holy. Wherever the breeze blows her fragrance there is purity. Viṣṇu showers blessing on those who worship and grow Tulsi. Tulsi is sacred because Brahmā resides in the roots, Viṣṇu resides in the stems and leaves and Rudra resides in the flowering tops.” Tulasī is glorified throughout the Purāṇas and Pañcarātra. Viṣṇu created Tulasī at the time of the churning of the milk ocean for the spiritual upliftment of the souls in the material world.

(oṁ) vṛndāyai tulasī-devyai / priyāyai keśavasya ca
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-prade devī / satya vatyai namo namaḥ

“I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vṛndā, Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī, who is very dear to Lord Keśava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa and possess the highest truth.”

The Brahma Vaivarta Purana and other Puranas contain many stories about Vrinda-devi and other transcendental associates of Sri Krishna being cursed and descending to the material world. Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not reject these stories because they are in the shastras. However, we do not follow them because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Gosvamis did not present these ideas. The six Gosvamis distilled all the shastras and presented the essential truth for all the Gaudiya Vaisnavas to understand and follow. According to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha Das Gosvami, Vrinda-devi is a nitya sakhi of Shrimati Radharani for the eternal loving service of Radha and Krishna in the spiritual world and in the material world when the Divine Couple descend, Vrinda devi exhibits two forms; one as a sakhi named Vrinda-devi and another form as a beautiful plant named Tulasi-devi replete with beautiful leaves and fragrant flowers called manjaris. Any other conception about Vrinda-devi is not endorsed by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

Devotee: How is it possible that Tulasi-devī is a pure devotee, what we might call a plant?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: That you cannot know in your impure state. You just become pure. You will understand. (laughter) Just like a physician, he can understand another physician, what is his position. The layman, what he can understand? If you say, physician, “Oh, how I can understand this physician?” How you can understand? You are not a physician. You become a physician, then you will understand what kind of physician he is. So when you become devotee, you will understand what kind of devotee is Tulasi. So long you are not devotee, you cannot understand. Don’t expect. Therefore we have to accept the authority. That is beginning. Śāstra says, “Tulasi is the greatest devotee of Kṛṣṇa.” We have to accept, that’s all. Authority. How she is so great devotee, that you will understand when you become a devotee. You come to the platform; then you will understand, not before. Now chant. (February 22,1973, Srimad-Bhagavatam Class,Auckland, New Zealand)

Tulasī Devī never goes back to Godhead, she is always with Godhead. She is a pure devotee and thus she has appeared on this planet to render service to Krishna by being offered in all temples throughout the world by being offered up to the lotus feet of Krishna. Tulasi plants are LIBERATED SOULS who want to serve Krishna in that way. (71-08-31. Letter: Ekayani)

Tulasī plants and their leaves are very important in devotional service, and devotees are encouraged to care for and water the Tulasī tree every day, collecting the leaves for offering to the Lord. Tulasī leaves may be offered with each food preparation.

Lord Kṛṣṇa’s favorite plant is Tulasī. Tulasī garlands are made for Kṛṣṇa, and His lotus feet are decorated with Tulasī leaves and mañjarīs (flower buds). The devotees wear Tulasī neck-beads and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on Tulasī beads.

Tulasī plants and their leaves are very important in devotional service, and devotees are encouraged to care for and water the Tulasī tree every day, collecting the leaves for offering to the Lord. Tulasī leaves may be offered with each food preparation. “The Lord does not care for a single one of fifty-six offerings or thirty-six curries offered without a Tulasī leaf.

The exalted position of Tulasi Devi
The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, is sometimes envious of the tulasī leaves which are placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, for they remain fixed there and do not move, whereas Lakṣmījī, although stationed by the chest of the Lord, sometimes has to please other devotees who pray for her favor. Lakṣmījī sometimes has to go to satisfy her numerous devotees, but tulasī leaves never forsake their position, and the Lord therefore appreciates the service of the tulasī more than the service of Lakṣmī. (SB 3.16.21 pp)

The importance of cultivating Tulasī plants
“One should worship the Lord by offering pure water, pure flower garlands, fruits, flowers and vegetables, which are available in the forest, or by collecting newly grown grasses, small buds of flowers or even the skins of trees, and if possible, by offering tulasī leaves, which are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

“It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasī leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and devotees should take particular care to have tulasī leaves in every temple and center of worship. In the Western countries, while engaged in propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we were brought great unhappiness because we could not find tulasī leaves. We are very much obliged, therefore, to our disciple Śrīmatī Govinda dāsī because she has taken much care to grow tulasī plants from seeds, and she has been successful by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Now tulasī plants are growing in almost every center of our movement… Tulasī leaves are very important in the method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Tulasī leaves are very important for satisfying the Lord, so as far as possible an arrangement should be made for growing tulasī leaves.” (SB 4.8.55 pp)

I am so glad to hear how nicely Tulsi is growing. That is the sign of substantial devotional service. Every center should be encouraged to grow Tulsi. If there is any impediment in growing Tulsi, that means that devotional service is defective. (Letter LA 9 July 1971)

Vṛndā Devī’s parrotLearning Respect for Tulasi
Tulasi Devi is a pure devotee of Krishna and she should be treated with the same respect given to all Krishna’s pure devotees. Simply by worshipping her faithfully, a devotee can get himself free of from all material miseries.
In one of his lectures Srila Prabhupada was saying, that in India every-one considers Tulasi plants sacred, and no one will cut or uproot them. Even non-Hindus, he said, will not destroy Tulasi to build a house on a spot where she is growing—they’ll look for a place not inhabited by Tulasi. When Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, it was so overgrown with Tulasi that no one had settled there, thinking it to be a sacred place. Even non- Hindus considered that disturbing Tulasi plants would bring ill fortune.

When Srila Prabhupada came to Hawaii in 1971, he admired our lush Tulasi garden in front of the entrance to the temple. Because these Tulasi had grown far larger than we had expected (some nearly seven feet tall and with stalks two inches in diameter), we had a problem. The Blast branches were beginning to cover the entrance, and people unavoidably brushed up against her. We pointed this out to Shrila Prabhupada and asked his permission to trim some of the branches. He became alarmed and exclaimed, “You cannot cut Tulasi that is the greatest offense! You must never cut her. But you can tie back the branches obstructing the entrance.” Even after tying back the branches, Tulasi kept growing, and the problem continued. When we told Shrila Prabhupada that people had to bend down when passing through the Tulasi archway on the way into the temple, he was delighted. He smiled, his eyes sparkled, and he said, “That’s good. It is good that they have to bow to Tulasi before entering Krishna’s temple.” (Courtesy Govinda Dasī)

Śrīla Prabhupāda: I do not know who has taught you that part of a Tulasī plant may be cut off and then replanted? From the Tulasī plant you can cut off only leaves for offering them to Krishna, never for cutting and planting. That is an offense. The mañjarīs (seeds) can be offered in water and it makes the water fragrant and tasteful. And the mañjarīs can be planted for growing new Tulasī plants. Yes, the prayer you have enclosed is bona fide.

|| Śrīmati Tulasī Devī – Mantras ||
Tulasī-mantras for worshipping Tulasī-devī

Śrīla Prabhupāda: I am giving you herewith three mantras for Tulasī Devī as follows:

vṛndāyai tulasī-devyai / priyāyai keśavasya ca
viṣṇu-bhakti-prade devī / satya vatyai namo namaḥ

This is offering OBEISANCES, bowing down (pancanga pranam). And when COLLECTING LEAVES from the plant, the following mantra should be chanted:

tulasy amṛta-janmāsi / sadā tvaṁ keśava-priya
keśavārthaṁ cinomi tvāṁ / varadā bhava śobhane

Then the mantra FOR CIRCUMAMBULATING the Tulasi tree:

yāni kāni ca pāpāni / brahma-hatyādikāni ca
tāni tāni praṇaśyanti / pradakṣiṇaḥ pade pade

The worship of Śrīmatī Tulasī in the Temple
Immediately following Maṅgala-āratī, Tulasi-puja is offered. The devotees sing prayers to Tulasī-devī while one devotee offers Her ārati, then all circumambulate Tulasī-devī, offering her water. Preferably, ārati should also be offered to Tulsi in the evening, just before Sandhyā-āratī.

Begin Tulasi-arati by offering obeisances to Tulasīi-devī, chanting the Tulasī-Praṇāma mantra three times.

Śrī Tulasī Praṇāma
vṛndāyai tulasī-devyai / priyāyai keśavasya ca
viṣṇu-bhakti-prade devī / satya vatyai namo namaḥ

vṛndāyai—unto Vṛndā; tulasī-devyai—unto Tulasī Devī priyāyai- who is dear; keśavasya—to Lord Keśava; ca—and; viṣṇu-bhakti- devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu/ Kṛṣṇa; prade—who bestows; devi-O goddess; satyavatyai—unto Satyavatī; namo namaḥ—repeated obeisances.

I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vṛndā, Śrīmatī Tulasī-devī, who is very dear to Lord Keśava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa and you possess the highest truth.

Next, the devotees sing Śrī Tulasī Kīrtana while one devotee offers ārati to Tulasī-devī with incense, a ghee lamp and flowers. While offering the articles, the devotee offering Tulasi-arati should stand on a mat (āsana) and ring a bell with the left hand. Just as when offering other āratis, the hands and paraphernalia should be purified (ācamana) with water from pancha-patra. After offering each item, they may be distributed to the devotees.

Śrī Tulasī-Kīrtana
namo namaḥ tulasī kṛṣṇa-preyasi namo namaḥ
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā pābo ei abilāṣī

ye tomāra śaraṇa loy, tara vāñchā pūrṇa hoy
kṛpā kori’ koro tāre vṛndāvana-vāsi

mora ei abhilāṣa, vilāsa kuñje dio vāsa
nayana heribo sadā yugala-rūpa-rāśi

ei nivedana dhara, sakhīra anugata koro
sevā-adhikāra diye koro nīja dāsī

dīna kṛṣṇa-dāse koy, ei yena mora hoy
śrī-rādhā-govinda-preme sadā yena bhāsi

(1) O Tulasī, beloved of Kṛṣṇa, I bow before you again and again. My desire is to obtain the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

(2) Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled. Bestowing your mercy on him, you make him a resident of Vṛndāvana.

(3) My desire is that you will also give me a residence in the pleasure groves of Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma. Thus within my vision I will always behold the beautiful pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

(4) I beg you to make me a follower of the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the privilege of devotional service and make me your own maidservant.

(5) This very fallen and lowly servant of Kṛṣṇa prays, “May I always swim in the love of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Govinda.

When Tulasī-pūjā Kīrtana song is finished, the devotees circumambulate Śrīmate Tulasī-devī at least four times, offering her water by pouring some at her root. (Water is only offered in the morning, not evening.) Use small spoons to help avoid over watering Her. While circumambulating, chant the Śrī Tulasī Pradakṣiṇa mantra.

Śrī Tulasī Pradakṣiṇa Mantra
(Sing while circumambulating Tulasī)

yāni kāni ca pāpāni / brahma-hatyādikāni ca
tāni tāni praṇaśyanti / pradakṣiṇaḥ pade pade

yāni kāni—whatever; ca—and; pāpāni—sins; brahma-hatya—killing of a brāhmaṇa; ādikāni—and so on; ca—also; tāni tāni—all of them; praṇaśyanti—are destroyed; pradakṣiṇaḥ—(by) the circumambulation (of Tulasī Devī); pade pade—at every step

Those who circumambulate Śrīmatī Tulasī-devī step by step destro whatever sins they have committed, even the killing of a brāhmaṇa.

Have the words to the Tulasī ārati prayers typed and posted so guests can see them. Encourage all guests to participate in Tulasi-arati. With a little encouragement, they will join in and enjoy themselves. The devotees should always bow down when they see Taulasi-devi, and others will follow in showing her respect.

Tulasī-devī should be kept in a special pot, and the pot should sit upon a stand, up off the floor. When carrying a potted Tulasī plant, it is traditional to honor Her by carrying the pot on one’s head. If it’s too heavy, carry the pot out in front. For worship, the stand Tulasī-devī sits on should be high enough so the base of the plant is above the waist of the devotee offering ārati. If it is not possible to keep a live Tulasī plant, one may offer worship to a picture of Tulasī-devī.

For one who is Tulasī’s servant, that responsibility enters into all the different aspects of Her existence. You must see that She is being maintained properly, that Her leaves are always offered in a clean and fresh manner, and that all the devotees are given the opportunity to worship Her. Make Tulasī-devī some skirts to fit around Her pot, particularly when She is being offered ārati. If Tulasī is very close to, or on the altar, make sure that no candles or ghee lamps are placed close enough to burn her leaves. Use incense sparingly as it tends to make Her sick if burned continually. Garlands left for more than a day will mold and attract bugs, so if Tulasī is nearby, she will be affected.

While in Detroit, Śrīla Prabhupāda asked, “Where is Tulasī?”. When She was brought in, Śrīla Prabhupāda put His garland around Her and had Her placed on the altar, saying “Mother Tulasī is so kind. Treat Her as you would any of Kṛṣṇa’s pure devotees.”


One should be clean before touching or plucking Tulasi. The Vayu Purana says that one who picks Tulasi without having bathed and then performs worship is an offender, and all his activities becomes useless.

With your right hand, carefully pick the tulasi leaves or soft tulasi-manjaris, along with their stems-one at a time-while repeatedly chanting the tulasi-cayana-mantra:

tulasy amṛta-janmāsi / sadā tvaṁ keśava-priyā
keśavārthaṁ cinomi tvāṁ varadā bhava śobhane
“O Tulasī of effulgent beauty, you were born from nectar, during the churning of the milk ocean. You are always very dear to Lord Keśava. Now, in order to worship Lord Keśava, I am collecting your leaves and mañjarīs. Please bestow your benediction on me that my worship will obtain success.”

Take special care to avoid causing Śrīmatī Tulasī-devī any pain. If when picking Tulasi leaves one breaks the branches, Visnu feels pain in His heart. Pluck her leaves with your right hand while holding the branch in your left, taking care not to break it. Do not use scissors or a knife to cut the leaves from the plant. When finished, recite the ksama-prarthana-mantra, begging her pardon:

cayanodbhava-duḥkhaṁ ca / yad hṛdi tava vartate
tat kṣamasva jagan-mātaḥ / vṛndā-devī namo ’stu te

O Tulasī-devī, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. Kindly forgive me if I have caused you pain by picking your leaves and manjaris, O mother of the universe.

Do not pluck Tulasī leaves in the morning before daylight or in the evening after dark, nor at any time on Dvadasi-tithi, the day following Ekadasi. Even if the tulasi leaves have become dry because they were cut on the previous day or in the morning, they may still be used in Deity worship.

Tulasi should not be plucked on dvadasi. The Visnu Dharmottara says, Vaisnavas should never pick Tulasi on dvadasi tithi.
samkranty Adau ni Siddho’pi tulasyavacayah smrtau
param zrI viznu bhaktastu dvadazyam eva nesyate

“It is generally forbidden to pluck Tulasi on Sankranti, (Purnima, Amavasya, Dvadashi, Sunday) etc., according to the strict rules of the Smritis, but the most important rule (according to Shrila Sanatana Goswami) which the Vaishnava devotees should certainly follow is to not pluck Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi.” (From Hari Bhakthi Vilasa 7.353)

nac chindat tulasim vipra
dvādaśyaṁ vaiṣṇavaḥ kvacit

“Oh brahmanas, a Vaisnava never picks Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi, (the day after Ekadashi).”

Why should we avoid plucking Tulasi leaves on Dvadasi?
Srimati Tulsi Maharani, the pure devotee of the Lord, keeps fasting on the whole Ekadashi and takes rest on Dwadashi. So the devotee in order to not to disturb or hurt her, don’t pluck leaves on that day.

Then what to do to get the Tulsi leaves for offering on Dwadashi and other purposes?
Follow advance savings. Keep some advance Tulsi leaves for Dwadashi for offering purposes. Or , one may pick the leaves fallen on the ground around the pot and then after thoroughly washing it, can use it for offering.

Mantra when offering Tulasī leaves to Lord Kṛṣṇa
etat tulasī patram klīṁ kṛṣṇāya namaḥ

There are two types of Tulasī:
1. Kṛṣṇa Tulasī: This has purple colouring in the leaves and stems
2. Rāma Tulasī: This has green leaves and stems.
Both of these Tulasī are used in the worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa.


While this song is being sung by all the devotees gathered the offering of the ceremony simultaneously goes on. The paraphernalia [as shown in “Paraphernalia for performing Arati”] should be offered as follows

1) Perform achamana to purify the hands, [that is holding spoon in left hand first, one flick of water into the left hand to purify. Then with left hand put 3 drops of water into the right hand and say “Om Keshavaya Namah” sipping half of the water and the other half thrown on the ground. Repeat this step 2 more times saying “Om Narayanaya Namah” and “Om Madhavaya Namah” respectively.

2) Purify the Blowing Conchshell by pouring water from the Lota on it [there should be a bowl underneath to catch the water or if not that at least a cloth near by for wipe the floor at the end.]. The holding the Conch in either one’s right hand or both hands blow into to it 3 long blows and then rinse the conch again with water from the Lota. Once the conch has been blown the singing begins.

3) There should already be a candle lit separately for lighting the incense and ghee lamp.

Holding the spoon from the Achaman cup in the right hand do one right flick of water [to purify the right hand] then place three drops of water on the bell [bell should be held in one’s left hand and be rung continuously through the offering of paraphernalia] then hold in left hand then with right hand light the incense sticks [either the number 1, 3 or 5] and then place 3 drops of water on the incense sticks. Then in a circular motion moving the hand clockwise one should wave the incense aroundthe picture ofSrila Prabhupada on the Vyasasanaand then the Tulasi plant, after that offer 3 big circles around the audience.

4) Once this is done one should again blow the blowing Conch according to step 2. After this is done one should water the floor near the altar to clean any spilt water in the offering process and then offer full flat prostrated obeisances in front of the altar from left to right while reciting Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantra

5) The arati paraphernalia should be taken to the kitchen for washing and cleaning.

6) Step 3 should be repeated for the remaining 2 items namely the ghee lamp and fragrant flowers [either1, 3 or 5] respectively.

7) There are a few things to be noted: a) Before Tulasi is brought in the temple room for worship the curtain on the Pancha Tattva altar is closed. A table should be place in the middle of the temple room b) As the Tulasi plant is brought into the room and place of the table the audience says “Srimati Tulasi maharani ki jaya” [All Glories to the topmost queen Srimati Tulasi] the devotees all bown down by offering half obeisances with head touching the floor. The devotee who will be leading the Kirtana loudly recites the “Tulasi Pranama Mantra” [as mentioned above] 3 times with the audience responding loudly each time c) After the conch is blown signaling the beginning of the arati the“Tulasi Kirtana” begins, when the pujari[ devotee who offers the ceremony] completes it the lead singer begins to recite the “Tulasi prayer” [as mentioned above] 3 times. While this is going on the devotees in the audience come up to the Tulasi plant and purifying the right hand with a right flick of water into the right proceed to offer 3 drops of water from the achamana cup at the root of the Tulasi plant d) after the “Tulasi Kirtana” has been chant thrice by the lead singer he then breaks into the Hare Krishna mantra at leats 3 time or until all the audience has offer Tulasi 3 drops of water. The lead chanter then finishes of by chanting Jaya Vrnda-devi! Jaya Tulasi Maharani and Jaya Prabhupada! with the audience.



Story of Tulsi
The story of Tulsi, the medicinal plant, begins with Indra, the Lord of the Heavens.

Lord Indra, was the king of the Devas. But he realized that people no longer looked up to him at the main God. This worried him a lot. He knew that people now looked up at Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to guide them. Indra knew that he could not hope to confront Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. They were after all the Gods of Creation and of Preservation. But Indra could not understand, why people liked Lord Shiva. He was after all the God of destruction.

Indra was thinking. I will go and prove to the world that I am better than the Lord of Destruction, then people will look up to me too…However Indra had misunderstood…Lord Shiva was the Lord of Destruction…he destroyed all evil things in the world…he was the destroyer of the ego…the uncontrollable impulses inside us….

Indra went straight to Kailash and there wanted to meet Lord Shiva. However Lord Shiva using the power of his meditation, figured out that Indra was coming to meet him. Lord Shiva transformed himself to look like his gana and stood outside his door as a doorman. He stood there as Indra came.

‘Let me in…doorman,’ Indra said contemptuously at the doorman, without realizing who he was. ‘I want to talk to Lord Shiva….and settle a matter once and for all…’

The doorman looked at Indra with amused eyes, ‘What do you want to settle once and for all, Lord Indra?’

Indra looked loftily at the doorman, ‘I want to prove that I am more powerful than Lord Shiva..’ Indra said brandishing his Vajra angrily.

The doorman if anything looked even more amused. ‘I am supposed to guard Lord Shiva…Why don’t you first show your powers before me…If you win…You can meet Lord Shiva…’

Indra was angry. But then you could refuse to fight when somebody openly challenged you..He accepted.

Indra and the doorman fought. The doorman fought brilliantly. Indra watched as the doorman became more and more angry. The doorman finally pushed him back with a great deal of force…Indra was about to get up when he had a sudden flash. No ordinary doorman could just push him away…This doorman…Indra realized with fear that the doorman could be none other than Lord Shiva himself. The doorman was eying him with sharp eyes, as Indra slowly got up on his feet. Indra realized that he had already tired himself and Lord Shiva looked like he had not even started fighting…Indra knew that he could not hope to match with a power like that. He slowly went towards the doorman and fell at his feet. ‘Lord Shiva! I am sorry! I did not realize how powerful you are…You have destroyed my pride…’

The doorman looked at Indra angrily for some time. The doorman closed his eyes and Indra saw as the doorman curbed his anger with great difficulty. Indra saw something fly out of the doorman – something fierce, red and burning. Once the thing emerged from the doorman, Lord Shiva appeared before Indra in his normal form. Indra looked at the beautiful face of Lord Shiva and once again bowed to him, ‘I am sorry my Lord!’

Lord Shiva smiled at Indra, ‘Indra! You had made me very angry…I was actually tempted to open my third eye and burn you to ashes…’ Indra shivered as he realized how close to death he had come…

‘…But then when you fell at my feet, asking for forgiveness…I could not just hold any grudge against you…’ Lord Shiva said as he shook his head. ‘But my anger was quiet another thing…’

Indra looked at Shiva and asked wonderingly, ‘What was the thing that came out of you, my Lord?’

Lord Shiva looked at Indra wondering whether he would understand, ‘That was a personification of my anger…Because I was not willing to use it against you…my anger was dragged away from me…It is now inside the ocean…’

Lord Indra once again asked Lord Shiva for forgiveness and went back to his palace a wiser man…However that was just the beginning of the problems of Indra…

Lord Shiva being a very powerful person, his anger was very potent, When all his anger was deposited in the ocean waves, the anger immediately transformed into a young baby! The baby wailed and wailed…Lord Brahma the God of creations, heard the cries of the baby and came there. He picked up the baby in his arms. The baby he found was extraordinarily heavy.

As Lord Brahma picked up the baby, he felt the tiny hands of the baby pluck at his beard. The force with which the baby tugged at his beard was great, that Lord Brahma nearly cried out! Wiping the tears from his face, Lord Brahma looked at the child and said, ‘You are very strong…You have brought ‘jala’ [water] in my eyes, by your strength…For this I name you Jalandhara [One who brings water].

As Jalandhara grew up, he became more and more proud of his strength. He realized that he could defeat anyone with his strength. The Gods hoped that Jalandhara would join them and they could make use of his strength. However Jalandhara had other ideas. He wanted to become the leader of the Asuras.

When he came of a marriageable age, Jalandhara went to a very powerful asura by name Kalanemi. Kalanemi was Ravana’s [the nemesis of Rama – the hero of Ramayana] uncle. Kalanemi had a beautiful daughter by name Vrinda. Vrinda was extremely intelligent and she was a very great devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Impressed with Jalandhara’s strength, Vrinda agreed to marry him. So Vrinda and Jalandhara were married a few days later.

Because of her devotion to Lord VIshnu, Vrinda had enormous amount of yogic powers. Vrinda loved her husband with all her heart and because of her, Jalandhara became powerful and invincible.

Shukracharya, the Guru of the Asuras, realized how powerful Jalandhara had become after his marriage to Vrinda. He decided to crown Jalandhara, the king of the Asuras. The Asuras also willingly followed the powerful Jalandhara. Soon Jalandhara ruled over the whole earth. All the kings on earth were defeated by the powerful Jalandhara.

Soon Jalandhara set eyes on Indra’s heaven. Up in the heavens, Indra and the other Devas, were totally unaware of Jalandhara’s plans. With an element of surprise, Jalandhara attacked the Devas. The Devas unable to protect themselves, were routed.

The Devas did not know what to do. Even Indra’s Vajra, which was the most powerful weapon they had…they could not even hurt Jalandhara. All the Devas went to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma looked at Devas and spoke to them. He told them all about the birth of Jalandhara and finished by telling them, ‘Jalandhara was born out of the anger of Lord Shiva, so he can be defeated only by Lord Shiva…’

Indra said, ‘If we go and ask Lord Shiva and talk to Jalandhara…do you think it will work…’

Lord Brahma looked doubtful but he nodded his head, ‘We will have to ask him, but Jalandhara has become so arrogant, I doubt whether Lord Shiva can make him see sense..’

Agreeing to the requests of the Devas, Lord Shiva went to talk to Jalandhara. However Jalandhara was so arrogant that he openly insulted Lord Shiva!

Jalandhara yelled as Lord Shiva, ‘You call yourself an ascetic…How dare you? If you are an ascetic, why do you need a wife…Send Goddess Parvathi away…You don’t need a wife and claim to be yogi at the same time…’

With great difficulty Lord Shiva curbed his anger and tried to talk sense to Jalandhara. However Jalandhara became more and more haughty and turned down Lord Shiva’s offer for peace.

Lord Shiva went back to Kailash and told the Devas all that had happened between him and Jalandhara. Lord Shiva finished by saying, ‘I am afraid, we need to destroy Jalandhara…he had become too arrogant…I will lead you to battle.

The Devas cheered. If Lord Shiva himself lead them to battle, they were assured of victory.

However the next day, Lord Shiva found that Jalandhara was very powerful. He had both physical strength and he also had the power of illusion….Lord Shiva found Jalandhara to be a very strong…

Jalandhara used all his powers and created a powerful illusion to trap Lord Shiva, his gana and the Devas. Not expecting the attack, Lord Shiva and the others were stunned as they were struck inside the illusion.

Seeing Lord Shiva and the others struck inside the illusion, Jalandhara went to Kailash, where he saw Goddess Parvathi….Jalandhara smiled slyly as he used his powers and changed his form like Lord Shiva.

Jalandhara went to meet Goddess Parvathi looking like Lord Shiva, ‘Parvathi! I have come back victorious…I have defeated Jalandhara…’

Goddess Parvathi looked at Lord Shiva and frowned at him. She felt something was wrong….She closed her eyes and used her powers to sense who was before her…

When Parvathi opened her eyes…she was angry…’Jalandhara! You dare come here in my husband’s form…’ She walked up and picked up her sword and pointed it at him.

Jalandhara knew that Goddess Parvathi was a very strong warrior, as good as her husband. He was already weak from his powers of illusion and his fight with Lord Shiva. He knew he could not fight Goddess Parvathi now…He ran from there…

Goddess Parvathi was sitting there furious, when Lord Vishnu came there. ‘Parvathi! What is wrong…?

Goddess Parvathi told Lord Vishnu everything. ‘How can Jalandhara be so powerful…?’

Lord Vishnu said, ‘Jalandhara was already powerful…He has now married Vrindha…She is my greatest devotee…Every time Jalandhara goes to war, she prays to me. She gets a lots of powers by her prayers. It is because of her that Jalandhara is becoming invincible…’

Goddess Parvathi looked at Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu looked at Goddess Parvathi, with troubled eyes. He knew what he had to do…But could he do such a thing to his own devotee….Lord Vishnu unhappily walked out of there and went back to Vaikunta. He knew he had no choice but to do what he had to do….

The next morning, as Vrinda knew that her husband would begin his battle with Lord Shiva, she started her prayers for his welfare. As she was deep in her meditation, she saw someone enter her room. She opened her eyes and was startled to find her husband before her. She blinked as Jalandhara came before her and told her with pride, ‘I have done it….I have defeated Lord Shiva…Now there is no one as strong as me….’ He said with pride as Vrinda thanked Lord Vishnu. She stopped her prayers to prepare for the celebrations for her husband’s victory.

It was at that minute at the battlefield between Lord Shiva and the real Jalandhara that Lord Shiva stabbed Jalandhara straight in the chest with his trishul. Without her wife’s prayer to protect him, the weapon pierced into his body, killing Jalandhara then and there.

Back in Jalandhara’s palace, Vrinda felt something wrong as she looked at her husband…She had felt something bad happen to her husband…But her husband was standing before her…How was that possible….

She looked at the Jalandhara before her and said, ‘Who are you? You are not my husband….Where is he?’ Vrinda looked around her palace with tears, ‘I stopped my prayers…My husband…What happened to him…?’

Jalandhara vanished from there and in his place stood Lord Vishnu…But Lord Vishnu was looking at Vrinda with unhappy eyes and sad face…

Vrinda looked at Lord Vishnu and glared at him and whispered, ‘What have you done? How is my husband….?’

Lord Vishnu spoke quietly, ‘Jalandhara is dead, Vrinda’ Vrinda let out a wail as Lord Vishnu continued, ‘Your husband was becoming invincible because of your prayers, Vrinda…As long as you were praying for him, nothing could defeat him…’

Vrinda shouted at Lord Vishnu, ‘I believed you and you let me down…I loved my husband and you cheated me…You stood like a stone, while my husband was dying in the battle…for this I curse you…’ Vrinda said in an angry voice, ‘I curse you that you will be trapped in a stone…’

Lord Vishnu nodded his head in a melancholy manner. ‘I accept your curse, Vrinda…But remember, it was also your duty to stop your husband, when he did anything wrong…Your husband was behaving arrogantly and hurting others…He went to the extent of going to asking Lord Shiva to give up Goddess Parvathi…’

Vrinda looked at Lord Vishnu with wide fearful eyes as Lord Vishnu continued, ‘…Still nothing happened to him, because your prayers protected him…’

Vrinda looked heartbroken as she fell down. Vrinda breathed her last…Lord Vishnu was beside her looking at the dead face of his greatest devotee…

Lord Shiva and the Devas came and found Lord Vishnu sitting heartbroken beside a dead Vrinda. Lord Shiva came and told Lord Vishnu, ‘Please do not grieve for her. She will be reborn as Tulsi…one of the greatest medicinal plants in the world…None of your prayers shall ever be complete without worshiping you with Tulsi leaves…’

Due to the curse, it is believed that the spirit of Lord Vishnu was captured in the stones near the river Gomti called as ‘Shaligram’. These stones are considered as sacred because they are representations of Lord Vishnu. It is also believed that Vrinda cursed Lord Vishnu to be separated from his wife and it was because of this curse that Rama [Vishnu’s avatar] was separated from Sita when she was kidnapped by Ravana, the King of Lanka.



Tulasi Devi: The Story of a Sacred Plant Goddess
Lyn Kriegler, who contributes the wonderful art and cartoons found in Mother Sathya Sai, explores for us here the sacred tulsi plant.

Certain herbs, flowers, trees and plants have been deemed sacred for many reasons. Their physical symmetry or structure may have reminded someone of a sacred event or divine quality, such as the lotus flower symbolising the unfolding of consciousness in Hindu and Buddhist thought; the markings on a dogwood flower representing the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in Christian. The rose has long inspired scholars, theologians and cathedral architects (the famed “Rose Windows” in stained glass) by her selfless beauty and perfection. Indeed, Swami has often reminded us to, Make your life like a rose, full of fragrance. The humble reed inspired Victorian women because of her ability to bend with the wind, enduring with grace and fortitude all the storms that life brought her way.

The tulsi plant is one such inspiration. Tulsi, or tulasi, is an aromatic member of the basil family (Ocinum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum). She has many venerable titles. Tulasi in Sanskrit means ‘the Incomparable One.’ She has also been deemed the Queen of Herbs.

The story of Tulsi is ancient and fascinating; it appears in the traditional stories of numerous cultures in many parts of the world. Her history is well-known in India, where this sacred herb is found in almost every home, and worshipped every day. Revered as an incarnation of Mahalakshmi, she is also dear to Lord Vishnu. One story relates that Tulsi was originally a gopi (cowherd girl) who fell in love with Lord Krishna, and had a curse laid on her by His female counterpart, Radha.

Another story has it that when Krishna was weighed in gold, not even all the ornaments of His consort, Sathyabhama could outweigh Him. But a single Tulsi leaf from her puja, placed on one side by His first consort, Rukmini, tilted the scale.

Christian tradition holds that Tulsi grew around Calvary, the place of the crucifixion of Jesus. It is also mentioned in Islamic Shiite writings. Tulsi was revered as an efficacious medicine in ancient Greece and Rome, as it is to the present day in India.

Tulsi also has Her place in numerous stories about the early years of Sathya Sai Baba. Elderly devotees remember the young Sathya as being expert in the fashioning of Tulsi garlands; no one, they recall, could make Tulsi garlands as quickly and as beautifully as He. He once materialised an entire grove of tulsi for His devotees’ pleasure; when they went to look for it the following day, it was no longer in the place they had visited with the divine Boy the day before.

Once, when He was running with a group of young village boys over some rough ground, one of the boys complained that the rocky earth hurt his feet. Baba asked the boys to follow in His footsteps. As He ran ahead, a carpet of Tulsi sprang up beneath His feet, giving everyone the most pleasurable romp of their lives!

In later years, Professor Kasturi, Baba’s beloved biographer, never failed to worship his Lord with Tulsi every day. An historic Tulsi shrine may be seen at the back of Sai Kulwant Hall on the women’s side in Prasanthi Nilayam, in front of the jasmine pergola. Women devotees can see the little tree being regularly worshipped from about four a.m. onwards by numerous ladies, just prior to the sounding of Omkar. Softly glowing oil lamps in the velvet darkness, the muffled cracking of tiny coconuts, freshly drawn rangoli, fragrant incense, flower offerings and circumambulation reflect the intense devotion of the women offering their obeisances and prayers to the Holy Basil, praying for Her numerous blessings and protection, and basking in Her auspiciousness.

Certain plants, flowers and trees are also deemed sacred because of the desirable character traits that they are associated with. Tulsi, in particular, represents duty, dedication, love, virtue and the sorrow of all women. She embodies steadfast loyalty; She is a symbol of Hindu femininity.

The Skanda Purana (ancient Indian religious text) declares, “Just by touching Tulsi Devi, one’s body becomes pure. By praying to her, all desires practically become removed. If one waters Her or makes Her wet, the fear of Yama Raja (Death Personified) is destroyed.” Her sacred qualities are acknowledged in that a garland of Tulsi is the first to be offered to the Lord as part of the daily ritual. She is accorded the sixth place among the eight objects of worship in the consecration of Kalasha, the container of Holy Water.

Used for thousands of years in medicine, Tulsi is listed in the Ayurvedic authority Charaka Samhita. Tulsi’s medicinal qualities are sterling. Extracts of Tulsi are efficient for cold, headaches, stomach inflammation, heart disease, poisons and malaria. Recent studies have identified Tulsi as a COX-2 inhibitor, similar to a painkiller. It has also proved effective for diabetes, reducing blood glucose levels, a treatment for radiation poisoning, and cataracts. Also considered an adaptogen, She balances different processes in the body, helping the body adjust to stress. She is regarded as an elixir of life and is believed to promote longevity. In Sri Lanka Tulsi is even used to repel mosquitoes and other pests.

Tulsi also plays a vital role in the Indian lunar calendar. Kaartik (October-November) is loved by Tulsi. During this time the holy plants are decorated with structures of sugar cane, mango leaves and flowers. One day during this period is celebrated as “Tulsi Vivah” or the wedding day of Tulsi and Shaligram (stone form of a sacred lingam). The Tulasi goddess is formally married to Lord Vishnu annually on the eleventh bright day of Kaartik; this inaugurates the marriage season in India.

Nature is the best teacher. A tree gives shade to others and takes nothing for itself. It gives fruits to others but does not itself partake of them. A plant sprouts beautiful flowers and gives joy to others but does not enjoy the beauty by itself. The sun is constantly at work, giving life, light and energy to the world. Does it ask for anything in return? No, it performs Nishkama Karma; that is, action without reward. These are some of the examples of the selflessness of Nature and are perfect lessons to the selfishness of man. If only man watches and studies Nature carefully, he can imbibe a lot of philosophy from which it will help to make him a better person.
~Sathya Sai Baba

What can we learn from Tulsi? She is inspirational to women in so many ways. The many legends associated with Her always point to Her constant and selfless devotion to God. Be it Krishna, Vishnu or other Names and Embodiments of God, in Her incarnations, She always depended on and yearned for Her Lord alone. As a plant, she gives and gives and gives: all parts of Her can be used for the most effective remedies; she gives her gifts freely, and in sweet silence, asking no reward or praise. Her remedies are comforting and highly curative, bringing peace and comfort to all who employ Her. She is fragrant, spreading her sweetness to those who encounter Her. The stories of Her past can inspire those who read about Her selfless services to gods, sages, holy men and women, ordinary mortals — and even threatening, angry goddesses, jealous women in the form of Divine consorts, and furious demons!

Nature is very close to God, closer than man is, for in man there is a veil of ignorance clouding his vision and marring his sight. But Nature is the purest handiwork of God. If you are able to love Nature and feel in tune with it, you are that much closer to God. It is very easy to know God through Nature, for in Nature there is goodness, simplicity, purity and selflessness.



Why Did Tulsi Curse Lord Ganesh?
Tulsi, also known as the Holy Basil, while used for all Hindu traditions, is never offered to Lord Ganesh for puja. It is a known fact that the Tulsi plant houses Goddess Laxmi. The leaves are sacred in the Hindu culture and are offered for many important rituals. Even then, Ganapati puja never included Tulsi. In fact, Ganapati is offered durva (grass) and red Jaswanti flowers, but Tulsi is not a part of the rituals. So why is it that such a holy plant is not offered in a ceremony to ‘Vighnaharta’? There is an interesting story behind it.

Story Behind Tulsi And Lord Ganesha’s Mutual Curse
Tulsi was born as the daughter of Dharmaraj. Dharmaraj was the keeper of righteousness and instilled good values in the lady Tulsi. A young Tulsi grew up to be devoted to Lord Narayan. One day, the beautiful girl was walking past the Ganges and came across an ashram. In the ashram, she saw a young and handsome Ganesh lost deep in meditation. As soon as Tulsi laid eyes upon him, she was captivated by his beauty.

She approached the meditating Lord and asked him to marry her. Ganesh was a Brahmachari then and refused Tulsi’s proposal. This angered Tulsi, and she cursed Ganesh: ‘You will be married against your will to not 1 but 2 wives.’ The handsome lord also got infuriated and, in turn, cursed her, ‘You will be married too but to a conch-demon.’ The anger in both subsided after this harsh exchange, and Tulsi now started crying and begged for mercy to Ganesh. The Lord took pity on her and said, ‘You will be blessed by the Gods and be born as a plant. This plant will have the essence of all fragrances. All the gods will be happy with your presence and will be a part of the rituals.

You will be especially loved by Lord Vishnu, and your leaves will be used in the worship of God. You, however, will never be offered in my puja.’ After this, Ganesha went to Badrikashram, and Tulsi went home.

The curse took effect, and Lord Ganapati married Riddhi and Siddhi. Devi Tulsi, on the other hand, got married to Shankhachuda (Or Jalandhara, the conch demon). She was devoted to her husband, but as he was a demon, he caused much havoc and was finally killed by Lord Shiva. After this, Tulsi was born as a plant, the Holy Basil and became dear to Lord Vishnu. All rituals were only considered complete when Tulsi was offered to the ceremony.

Uses Of Tulsi
Tulsi is an auspicious plant found in Hindu households. It is considered as the Queen of all herbs and has religious and medicinal significance:

It signifies Goddess Lakshmi and is said to bring abundance to the home it is planted in.
It is offered to many Gods and Goddesses, especially to Lord Vishnu, during Narayan puja.
It is offered to dying people with water.
Medicinal Uses of Tulsi
The plant is great at fighting acne and scars on the skin and is considered safe for topical use.
It prevents hair fall and premature greying.
The use of Tulsi helps control metabolism and boost the digestive system.
Tulsi eye-wash relieves strain on the eyes.
It has antiviral and antibacterial properties and is used commonly to cure fever, sore throat and cold.
Things To Be Careful About When Planting Tulsi
Tulsi leaves should never be chewed as they contain mercury, which is bad for the enamel.
Do not subject the leaves to heat cooking.
Do not keep the plant in the vicinity of a garbage bin or broom (any cleaning supplies).
Never offer Tulsi to Shiva-linga.
Place the Tulsi in the North or North-East direction of the house.
Do not pluck Tulsi leaves on Sunday or Ekadashi.
Do not keep thorny bushes around the Tulsi plant.
Avoid keeping dry or dying Tulsi in the house and immerse any dead plants in a river body.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Who is Tulsi married to?
It is believed that Tulsi got married to Lord Vishnu in his shaligrama form. The wedding is celebrated as Tulsi vivah.
2. Is it auspicious to offer tulsi to Lord Ganesha?
No, Tulsi plant leaves are never offered to Lord Ganesha. This is because of the mutual revile between the two.
3. Which planet is associated with Tulsi?
Tulsi is said to be associated with the planet Mercury. Mercury is also said to be associated with Lord Krishna.
4. Which God to offer Tulsi?
Tulsi plant leaves are generally offered to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna. It is believed that Lord Vishnu is highly fond of this sacred plant.
5. Is gifting Tulsi good?
Gifting Tulsi is considered to be highly auspicious. It is one of the most sacred and blessed plants in Hinduism; thus, gifting it is considered auspicious.
6. Which chandan is made using Tulsi?
Using the roots of dried Tulsi, one can make one of the favourite chandan of Lord Krishna. This is known as Hari Chandan. It is made by using the roots of dried Tulsi plant.


Story of Krishna and Tulsi | Background Story, Historical Significance and Symbolism
Tulsi maiya ki puja | Story of Tulsi – A tale of love and faith and how she became the holy plant | Tulsi curse to Krishna
According to the legend, Tulsi was a beautiful and devoted woman who was married to a demon king named Jalandhar.

Jalandhar was powerful because of a boon that he received from Lord Shiva, making him invincible as long as his wife’s chastity remained intact.

Jalandhar was defeated in battle by Lord Vishnu, who disguised himself as Jalandhar and broke Tulsi’s chastity, leading to Jalandhar’s defeat.

Tulsi was heartbroken and cursed Lord Vishnu to turn into a stone.

Lord Vishnu accepted Tulsi’s curse and turned himself into the Saligrama stone, which is used as a representation of Lord Vishnu in Hindu rituals.

Tulsi, filled with remorse for cursing Lord Vishnu, prayed for his forgiveness and was granted the boon of being worshipped alongside him.

As a result, the Tulsi plant became a sacred symbol of purity and devotion in Hindu culture and is often found in temples and homes throughout India.

Tulsi maiya ka vivah | The significance of the Sacred Marriage of Maa tulsi and how it is celebrated in India
Tulsi Vivah is a Hindu festival celebrated in the month of Kartik, which falls between October and November.

The festival marks the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi plant, which is regarded as a symbol of purity and devotion, to Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the preserver and protector of the universe in Hindu tradition.

The festival is celebrated over five days and involves a series of rituals and customs, including the planting of Tulsi seeds, the recitation of Vedic hymns, and the offering of food and sweets to Lord Vishnu and Tulsi.

The wedding ceremony is performed traditionally, with the Tulsi plant being decorated with flowers and vermillion, and tied to a sacred pole known as the Kalash, which is representative of Lord Vishnu.

Tulsi plant inside house | Spiritual symbolism and medicinal benefit of Tulsi Plant | Medicinal value of tulsi plant
The Tulsi plant is associated with various gods and goddesses, including Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna, and Goddess Lakshmi, and is often used as an offering in their worship and devotion.

Tulsi is often grown in Hindu households and temples for its medicinal and spiritual properties.

The leaves of the Tulsi plant are believed to possess healing properties and are often used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments and illnesses.

The plant is believed to ward off negative energy and evil spirits and is often used in Hindu rituals and ceremonies as a means of purification and spiritual cleansing.

The plant is also believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body and is often used in meditation and yoga practices as a means of promoting mental and physical well-being.

The Tulsi plant, also known as Holy Basil, is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its medicinal properties.

The leaves and essential oil of the Tulsi plant are known for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, and are often used to treat various ailments and illnesses like arthritis, joint pain, and other inflammatory conditions.

The plant is believed to have immune-boosting properties and is often used to treat colds, coughs, and other respiratory illnesses.

The plant is also believed to have anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties and is often used to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mental health.

The essential oil of the Tulsi plant is believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is therefore used to treat skin infections, wounds, and other skin conditions.

The plant is also believed to have anti-diabetic properties and is often used to regulate blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.