Glory of Srimati Tulasi Devi

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Dum Dum Park, Kolkata
29 May 2019, translated from Bengali

 

Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Visva-varenya Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay
Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Jay saparikara Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govinda Sundarjiu ki jay
Jay Om Vishnupad Bhagavan Sri Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur Prabhupad ki jay
Rupanuga-guru-varga ki jay
Namacharya Haridas Thakur ki jay
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math ki jay
All the branches of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math ki jay
All the assembled devotees ki jay
All the worldwide devotees ki jay
Harinam sankirtan ki jay
Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol

I will tell you today about the glories of Tulasi.

Even those who have not taken Vaishnav initiation can have Tulasi at their home—if they serve Tulasi, do parikrama of Tulasi every day, they too will get benefit. Tulasi is Adhisvari (presiding Deity) in Vrindavan—she does not leave anyone without food in Vrindavan. If you do parikrama of Tulasi, if you worship Tulasi, offer arati to Tulasi, serve Tulasi, the Lord becomes pleased as she is very dear to Him. We also sing in the kirtan: "Yako darase parase agha-nasa hoi—if anyone sees her or touches her, their sins are destroyed." So, it is the duty of every one of us to serve Tulasi. No money is required to serve Tulasi; there is no question that you must first make a temple for Tulasi—if you cannot make a Tulasi mandir, just plant Tulasi in some soil in a pot and try to care for her—offer incense every morning and evening, offer obeisance to Tulasi before you leave home, offer obeisances when you come home and before you enter the house—the Lord will be pleased with you, and He will take care of your life. If you serve Tulasi in this way, you can get devotion to Krishna.

"Chhappanna bhoga, chhatrisa vyanjana vina tulasi prabhu eka nahi mani—the Lord does not accept even one of fifty-six grain offerings or thirty-six vegetable offerings without Tulasi leaves." The Lord does not care even for fifty-six and thirty-six preparations if there is no Tulasi. Even if you cook fifty-six items, none of it will be accepted without Tulasi. Why? There is a story behind it, and you should know it. You should know where Tulasi came from, how Tulasi appeared. It is written about this very beautifully in Brahma-vivarta Purana and Padma Purana. You may not find these books, so I am going to try to summarise it for you so that you can know about it.

To bestow His unlimited mercy to all the inhabitants of the universe, to allow others to serve Him and to make others happy, performing one of His variegated pastimes, Playful Supreme Lord Sri Krishna manifests Himself as salagram sila and a partial expansion of Sri Radha, asraya-vigraha, takes the Deity form of Tulasi tree. (You know that salagram silas are worshipped as the Lord—for example, Giriraj Govardhan sila, salagram sila, and so on. You know also that Gopal Bhatta Goswami worshipped salagram silas, and Radha Raman appeared from one of them.)

It is written in Brahma-vivarta Purana that there is a gopi named Tulasi in Goloka Vrindavan who is dear to Krishna and an associate of Srimati Radharani. One time, seeing Tulasi play with Krishna, Sri Radha cursed her, "You will be born as a human!" Hearing this curse, Tulasi was very hurt and sad. She came and sought shelter of Krishna, and Krishna assured her, "Tulasi, do not worry, accept a human birth. After that, engage in penance for Me, and you will enter My pious family [become My pious wife]."

Following the wish of Krishna, Tulasi came to this world. What form did she come in? There was a king named Dharmadvaj. His wife's name was Madhavi Devi. Tulasi appeared in this world from her womb in the month of Kartika on the full-moon (purnima) day. She was so incomparably beautiful that her parents named her Tulasi. After some time, Tulasi went to a forest and engaged there in severe penances.

We often see Tulasi in forests, jungles, we also make Tulasi gardens, but Tulasi is not an ordinary tree growing there. Wherever there is Tulasi, Tulasi is engaged in penance and meditation (tapasya).

Then, being pleased with her penance, Brahma appeared before her and wanted to give her a boon. Tulasi said, "My name is Tulasi Gopi. I used to live in Goloka, but one day, seeing me play with Govinda, Sri Radha cursed me, that is why I have taken this human birth. When Radharani cursed me, I surrendered to Sri Krishna and He said that I could attain His four-armed opulent expansion as Sri Narayan through penance. If you are satisfied with my tapasya, please give me the boon that I may unite with Narayan."

Brahma said, "Krishna's forms are truly wondrous. There is a cowherd named Sudama who was also cursed by Sri Radhika. He took birth as a demon named Sankachur. He had seen you in Goloka and was attracted to you, so first accept this Sankachur as your husband, and after that you will get Sri Narayan, the opulent form of Lord Sri Krishna. After the curse has finished, you will become a tree and, among all flowers, you will be the dearest to Narayan. You are extremely pure, therefore you will become the saviour of the universe—without you, no worship will be successful."

Hearing Brahma's words, Tulasi replied, "As you say, so be it."

Then, Brahma taught Tulasi the sixteen-syllable Radha mantra and blessed her, "May you be as fortunate as Radha."

After that, Tulasi married demon Sankachur. Sankachur also had a boon that he would be immortal for as long as his wife was chaste—if his wife ever mixed with another man, he would die. So, through his immense power, Sankachur conquered heaven (Svarga), and as a result all the demigods had to leave heaven. When they realised that there was no way they could defeat Sankachur, demigods surrendered to Brahma—they came to Brahma and prayed, "We cannot defeat Sankachur by any means, we had to leave heaven. We seek your shelter." Then, Brahma went to Siva, and Siva in turn went to Vishnu in Vaikuntha. Having heard everything, Vishnu reassured the demigods, "Do not fear. I will take the form of Sankachur and fulfil the desire of Tulasi, then you will also be able to defeat Sankachur."

Then, Narayan took the form of Sankachur. He came to Tulasi and fulfilled her desire. When Tulasi realised that it was not her husband, that it was Narayan Himself, she cursed Narayan, "How could You have done this to me?! I curse You to become a stone!" Then, Tulasi received the news that her husband had died. She fell at the feet of Narayan and began to cry. Narayan blessed her, "Give up this body, become My dear—you will be as dear to Me as Laksmi. Your body will become Gandaki River and your hair will become Tulasi trees." Following Narayan's words, Tulasi left her body, and her body became the Gandaki River and her hair became Tulasi trees. Ever since, Narayan stays at the Gandaki River as salagram sila, and He is always inseparable from Tulasi—without Tulasi, no worship of Narayan can ever be successful.

Therefore, no worship can be done without Tulasi. These are some of the glories of Tulasi, there is also much more. Later, if I get time, I will tell more.

Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad-Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Visva-varenya Srila Guru Maharaj ki jay
Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol

 

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