Daily Practice

— { Tulasi Worship and Care } —

 

vrndayai tulasi-devyai priyayai kesavasya cha
krsna-bhakti-prade devi satyavatyai namo namah
"Again and again I offer my obeisance unto Vrnda Devi, who is known as Tulasi Devi and Satyavati, who is most dear to Krishna, and who bestows devotion to Krishna upon us."

 

 

"We do not have so much time, but still we can chant some kirtan, we can plant Tulasi, offer some flowers, some water, we can pay our obeisance. We can do all this every day. This is actually our daily programme, and we should continue in this way, every day."


"'I have been suffering so much, please free me! I do not want to stay in this womb, I want to come out,' prays the soul.

"'All right. You want to come out, you will come out, no problem; but when you come out you will forget Me, so I am giving you eyes so that you can see My form everywhere (like, Gaura Nitai, for example); I am giving you hands, with these hands you will serve Me; I am giving you legs so that you can do parikrama of holy places.' You may not always be able to come to the holy dham like Sri Nabadwip, Vrindavan, Mathura, because you may be busy, have no money, or because of a lack of fortune, but the Lord says, 'If you cannot come to the holy place, I am giving you an instruction. You can plant Tulasi in your house and with your legs you can do parikrama around her every day four times. And I am giving you a mouth—this mouth is not for eating, I am giving you this mouth so that you can chant the Holy Name with it.'"


"Who will give you devotion? Every day we do Tulasi parikrama and we ask Tulasi in the pranam mantra, 'Please give me some devotion!' Tulasi Devi has so much devotion and every day we pray to her—to Bhakti Devi, Tulasi Devi—only for devotion.

"In every house, we must keep Tulasi. She is the proprietor of your house. When you go to work, first ask her for some mercy, ask her for the permission to go, 'Please, allow me to go to work'; when you come back, again pay dandavat to her, give some bhog, and take rest."


"Tulasi Devi is the proprietor of Vrindavan. Also, Tulasi is always installed—it is not necessary to install Tulasi. When you buy a Deity, you must install the Deity, but it is not necessary to make the installation of Tulasi—if you see a Tulasi tree in the street even, you can pay dandavat to her."


"'Tulasi dekhi' judaya prana madhava-tosani jani': seeing Tulasi Devi soothes my soul, for I know she pleases Madhava.' Tulasi always makes Lord Krishna happy, so if we can make her happy, Krishna will be happy. We also sing every day, 'Chhappanna bhoga, chhatrisa vyanjana...': even if we cook fifty-six kinds of preparations but do not keep a Tulasi leaf there, Krishna will not eat it. 'Yako darase parase agha-nasa hoi'": seeing her always removes all sins.

"You may not be able to go for the Vrindavan parikrama, but if you do Tulasi parikrama in your own house four times in the morning and four times in the evening, you will get the same result as when doing the Vrindavan parikrama, Nabadwip Dham parikrama."


"If you do not have Tulasi, then what can you do? Then, you can offer remembering Tulasi... If you go to India, you can bring Tulasi leaves and offer with dry leaves.

"Also, remember that we do not put Tulasi on Gurudev's feet—always on his chest. You can put Tulasi on Krishna's lotus feet, but not on Gurudev's lotus feet."


"Tulasi is very sensitive... Once, I went preaching in Bengal to one house. There was a lady who came to me and cried so much. She said, 'Maharaj, I have planted Tulasi so many times, but every time I put the Tulasi plant into the soil, she immediately dries... I have been trying to plant Tulasi for seven-eight years, but still there is no Tulasi...' I asked her, 'Tell me what offence did you make?' and she told me that when she was cleaning her front yard, she cut a Tulasi plant once. Anyhow, I told to bring a pot, I put a Tulasi plant there, and from that pot there is now a big Tulasi garden at her house."


"Even if you do not have time to cook—you work the whole day—you must bring the restaurant food for the Deity, offer it with Tulasi leaves, and take prasadam. That is practising life—but if you go and enjoy in a restaurant and when you come home your Deity or Gurudev fasts the whole day, that is not practising."


"Everybody should wear Tulasi mala. 'Tulasi dekhi' judaya prana, madhava-tosani jani' ('Seeing Tulasi Devi soothes my soul, for I know she pleases Madhava'). If somebody serves Tulasi, Krishna is always happy with them. If you wear Tulasi on your neck, Yamaduts cannot touch you.

"You cannot always carry your japa mala with you, but you must always wear Tulasi neck beads. Everybody can wear Tulasi mala—those who are initiated or not initiated. The science says that it is good for health also (people take the juice of Tulasi leaves for cough or some throat problems), but devotees always wear Tulasi beads. 'Yako darase parase agha-nasa hoi: if you touch or if you see Tulasi, all your sins will be removed.' We cannot always touch Tulasi leaves, but if we wear Tulasi, it is even better.

"Also, when you bring a Deity, you have to install the Deity, but it is not necessary to install Tulasi. Tulasi and Vaishnavs are self-manifest, they are always automatically installed."


"Where are your neck beads? You must always wear the neck beads. If you wear Tulasi neck beads, Yamaduts cannot touch you. In India also some are afraid to wear Tulasi beads, and they do not wear it. I tell them forcefully,

'Who is telling you not to wear Tulasi beads?'

'Oh, my friends are teasing me, they are telling some bad things to me...'

'Who is feeding you?! Tulasi or your friend? Tell me.'

They are silent.

'Tulasi feeds you, the Lord feeds you!'

In India some also make Tulasi very long, and they wear it hidingly. They button up their shirt's collar so that nobody can see their Tulasi beads. It is very offensive. They are wearing Tulasi in a wrong way. They do not know Tulasi feeds us—why are we afraid to wear Tulasi beads? She protects us in our devotional activities..."


"Do you know what the devotees do here in India? I have seen it many times—when they do Tulasi parikrama they put a clay pot with Tulasi in the centre and put some books there. Maybe fifteen years ago, when I went to some house and saw it, I asked them, 'Why do you put the books there?' (I knew why, but I wanted to see what their conception was.) They told me, 'Maharaj, in the books there is a photo of the Nabadwip temple, so every day we do the parikrama of Nabadwip Dham.' What a good conception! What a good heart! They cannot take Govinda Kunda to their house, but the photo is there, the temple photo is there in the books, and every day they do the parikrama."


"You must be careful. Sometimes the pujari takes Tulasi leaves on the dvadasi day or even at night time, and disturbs Tulasi so much—Tulasi is the dearmost devotee, so some offence is coming through that."


"Always take prasadam. Cook and offer what you cook to the Lord. It is very cold there and I know it is a very bad situation to arrange Tulasi, but try to have Tulasi plants, try to serve Tulasi. Offer what you cook with Tulasi leaves and take prasad, it will be even more glorious for you."


"What are our legs for? We have legs to go to holy places, to go to the place of Krishna's pastimes, Gurudev's pastimes, to do Tulasi parikrama—for that."


"The Lord says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 'When a devotee serves Me and offers Me some water and a Tulasi leaf, I free them from all their debts.' Do you need money, a house, or a car to serve the Lord? Even if you have nothing, you can offer Ganges water and Tulasi to the Lord..."


"Wake up, have morning arati, cook something and give an offering to Gurudev with Tulasi leaves. Always avoid outside food—cook yourself or your wife can cook. Make an altar in your house, or have a shelf with a photo of the Deities, the Guru-parampara, and offer the food you cook to them."


matha mandira dalana badira na kara prayasa
artha thake kara bhai yemana abhilasa
artha nai tabe matra sattvika seva kara
jala-tulasi diya giridharike vakse dhara
"Do not endeavour to make monasteries, temples, or big houses, but if you have wealth, brother, then you can make them, as you desire. If you do not have wealth, then simply perform pure worship. Offer water and Tulasi to Giridhari and hold Him to your chest."

(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta, 9.29-30)


"If you have no money, what is the problem? You can give water and Tulasi and keep the Lord close to your heart. Everyone can get some Ganges water, and even if they cannot, they can always use the mantra and transform any water into the Ganges water; Tulasi grows in all houses—so you can always worship the Lord with some water and a Tulasi leaf and keep the Lord in your heart. If, however, we do not practise what is advised in the scriptures, we will not get anything..."


"So, I am requesting you all: you must try to come every weekend for the festival program. Try to come, OK? Bring some flower, bring some fruit—whatever you have. You must give something to Gaura Nitai. Some devotees can bring some cloth, some devotees can bring some fruit, some devotees can bring some flowers, even if you have nothing you can bring Ganges water and Tulasi for Gaura Nitai, and if you do not have even that, that is not a problem—give yourself to the Lord, to Gurudev."


"Tulasi seva is important. We cannot make Vrindavan parikrama every day, we do not have that kind of fortune, but if you make Tulasi parikrama every day, you will get the same result."


"Kamala sraddha is little faith. For example, somebody asks you, 'Why do you wear tilak?' and you wipe it off; or somebody asks you, 'Why do you wear the Tulasi beads?' and you become shy of Tulasi beads and take them off. You do have a strong answer, tell them, 'What is your problem? This is my religion. You are not giving me food—Tulasi does. She gives me property, she gives me wealth, happiness, joy. She gives me everything, why do you need to tell me what to do? It is not your business.'"


"Artha na thake bhai: if you have no money, what is the problem? You can keep the Lord in your heart and offer Him Tulasi and water. That is sufficient if you have no money. Serve Vaishnavs with prasad, but if you have no prasad, you can give them some sweet and humble talk, with folded hands, and give a Tulasi leaf, 'Prabhu, this is all I have, please take it.' That is Vaishnav etiquette."


"Actually, vegetarian food is also not the remedy—you must take prasad. Offer what you cook to the Lord with a Tulasi leaf, then take prasad."


"We cannot take things at all places. Sometimes I take only the Tulasi leaves. If you take something from the hands of someone who is not a devotee—karmi, jnani, yogi—that reaction will come to you. This is why we do not take things from outside without discrimination. If you stay alone, you can cook in your room, offer it to the Lord, to your Guru, and take that prasadam—you will be happy, and your devotion will be all right."

 



 

"Generally, we know that Tulasi is very dear to Vishnu-tattva, that is Krishna and all Vishnu incarnation are very happy with Tulasi Devi. There is some history about Tulasi, and if we can avoid that historical matter, it is good for us. We must know that all incarnations of Vishnu as well as Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, always like Tulasi Devi to stay with Him, and without a Tulasi leaf no worship of Lord Krishna, Lord Vishnu or any incarnation of Lord (Vishnu-tattva) is complete.

"I feel that if we search the previous position of everything, it is not good for maintaining our faith. For example, if we research Prahlad Maharaj's previous life, what he was before, what he had done before, if we look at some of Lord Siva's pastimes, Narad's previous life and birth, if we try to understand these things, then some things can shake our faith; not always, but it can happen. We should not disturb our faith in this way. It is good to understand that Krishna likes Tulasi, Krishna has love for Tulasi, so Tulasi is worshippable by everyone."

(Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)


"If you dissect a body, what will you get there? Will you get love, affection, beauty? Nothing. So, we do not do that kind of dissection. The same with Chandra (Moon)—from far we give so many examples about the beauty of the Moon, but if you do its dissection, what will you get there? So, we do not search such things, we do not do dissection.

"Tulasi took the form of a tree, plant, and we can get so much benefit through Tulasi leaf, materially and spiritually. Materially, everyone knows that Tulasi takes the best position among plants, but this is material, we do not think in this way—we not only do not think in this way, we avoid this also. Ayurdevic medicine says many things about Tulasi leaves' benefits (that they remove mucus problems, cure influenza, fever, etc.) but Guru Maharaj did not accept it. He said that it is not necessary to use Tulasi in this way (this is not the way how we will get relief), and we do not use her.

"We honour Tulasi as being very dear to Krishna. Krishna has tasted Tulasi leaf, and this is her glory. We take remnants of what Krishna has tasted, so we can take Tulasi, but not to remove our disease or anything like this. Guru Maharaj is very strict and he strictly advised us not to let our lifestyle go in this way."

(Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)


"I see it is a miracle that in our culture, in every house you will see there is Tulasi. In every house they plant Tulasi, they give some Ganges water (or regular water if the Ganges water is not available), offer some dhup (incense), and in the evening offer some dhip (lamp). Now it is becoming naistik (atheistic), and I do not know if they still do it or not..."

(Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)


"We put the Tulasi leaf on the lotus feet of Krishna, but we put Tulasi leaf in the hand of Gurudev, not in his lotus feet (we can then understand that Tulasi's position is supreme)."

"On dvadasi day, we will not take Tulasi leaves from the Tulasi plant. We can pick Tulasi leaves every day except dvadasi. You can pick some leaves on the ekadasi day or dasami day [the day before ekadasi] and worship Krishna with those Tulasi leaves. Other than this, Tulasi is worshippable every day, all day."

"At night time, we must not take leaves not only from Tulasi but from any plant in general."

"Another thing is that Krishna likes kamala-manjari—it is soft manjari that do not have seeds yet. Krishna has ten times more affection to such manjaris."

"If somebody does not have any Tulasi plant, they can collect the leaves from outside. Without Tulasi, Krishna is not satisfied with His bhoga—without Tulasi it is not possible to offer anything to Krishna."

"You can use scissors to cut manjaris, that is not a problem. You can come to Tulasi and pray, 'O Tulasi Devi, you are so dear to Krishna! For the satisfaction and service of Krishna I am taking your leaf, please be merciful to me.' And Tulasi must merciful to you."

(Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj)

"Whether we may prune the leaves of Tulasi, no, there is no question of pruning. But you can take leaves from the Tulasi for worshiping Krishna. First utilize the dead leaves or leaves which have fallen down, and if more leaves are required for worshiping Krsna, you may take them from Tulasi plant in this way: First approach Tulasi Devi and offer your obeisances, requesting her that for worshiping Krsna you want to take some leaves. Then if she allows you may take. There is no question of pruning in the manner of gardeners just to make nice beautiful plant for ornamental purposes."

(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad)

"You cannot cut Tulasi—that is the greatest offense! You must never cut her. But you can tie back the branches obstructing the entrance."

(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad)

"You may cut the dead branches, but what is the necessity?"

(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad)



"In madhurya rasa, and all rasas also, the relation to Tulasi will be that of respect, reverence, but in another way, in madhurya rasa that relation is also very intimate.

"We can receive general help from Tulasi Devi—this an expansive relation, Tulasi is there with Narayan, Gaura, Krishna, Nrisingha, and others; and we can also get some particular help from Tulasi Devi in Vrindavan, madhurya rasa.

"Tulasi Devi is naturally connected with Narayan, and the relation with her was established in the nature of Krishna—Krishna within Narayan accepted Her. Tulasi had her husband, but she was accepted by Narayan in her intimate service, and that is possible only in Krishna, parakiya, so within there is this subtle connection with Krishna, and externally there is acceptance of Narayan and His boon towards her, "Your grace will spread My devotion to anywhere and everywhere. Anyone who has respect for you, must get passport in My domain."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj)


Question: Is Tulasi a plenary portion of Laksmi devi?

"It may be Laksmi Devi and in some respect even more than that. Laksmi Devi could not enter Vraja-lila proper, but Tulasi Devi could do so.

"It is mentioned in some Purana also that when Radharani was questioned by someone, 'How did you get so much attraction for Krishna?' Radharani Herself said, 'I have served Tulasi Devi for a long time, in this life and in other lives as well, so by her grace I have come in connection with Krishna.' That is spoken by Radharani Herself. Tulasi is given that respect by Radharani also."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj )


"Tulasi Devi—a creeper, a plant—can help us, a creeper, a plant. By Tulasi Devi we do not mean a particular shrub, or a particular plant. Just as divine presence can be found in a salagram sila, in Sri Murti, in the Ganges water, so it can be found in her. It is not a particular tree, plant, some physical representation that will help us—we need the spirit behind it. That spirit holds a superior position than that of our mind, and we appeal to Tulasi as to a devotee—we do not use that shrub thinking, 'If I eat leaves of the Tulasi plant, I will attain Krishna-bhakti!' That will be an offence to Tulasi.

"We do not even use Tulasi as a medicine. Tulasi leaves are considered medicine by the ordinary people, but we do not go there, we do not utilise Tulasi for our bodily health. We want Tulasi for spiritual health, she is not an ordinary plant—there is existence of the grace of Krishna within her. So, spirit can help our spirit; no matter can help our spirit. The awakening of our soul must come from the soul's region, and never from any material plane. It is a plain thing."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj )

"Mala should be kept in a respectable position, and then you can give obeisance. Do not pay obeisance with one hand, holding your mala in the other hand. Tulasi should be always revered. You must keep your mala in a proper place, then you will do obeisance."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj )


"Tulasi is given to the feet of Narayan, not to the feet of Gurudev. Tulasi is revered by Gurudev's hand, so Tulasi should be put in the hand of Gurudev at the time of archan (worship) and Gurudev will put this Tulasi on the foot of Narayana, Krishna. There is an understanding between Hari and Tulasi, the Lord says, 'Wherever you may be, I must be nearby.' So, wherever there is Tulasi, Hari must be nearby."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj )


"It is said that once someone asked Radharani, 'Where did you get so much love for Krishna from?' She said, "In My previous life I rendered service to Tulasi, and by her grace I have attained the position that you may think I have got.' This is part of lila. Although Radharani is the highest amongst all servitors, still She says in some kalpa She might have done such lila. Anyhow, this shows the dignified position of Tulasi."

(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj )

 

 

 

 

 

OBSERVING FESTIVALS FOUR REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES

 

Introduction
Setting up the altar
Arati
Daily kirtans
Bhog, cooking, offering
Observing Ekadasi
Observing Festivals
Tulasi Devi
Four regulative principles
Scriptural regulations

 


Do Not Fear Service
Some may be afraid they can be given service that they cannot do, but is there anything to be afraid of?

Atma, the soul, is covered by Maya with the illusory environment, but through good
association the soul can become open, can become clean, nirmal.

"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"