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The Glories Of Worshipping Tulasi Devi (Pancartra-Pradeep)

In The Nectar of Devotion we find the following passage glorifying Tulasé-devé:


'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the tulasé tree, which can immediately vanquish volumes of sinful activities. Simply by seeing or touching this tree, one can become relieved from all distresses and diseases. Simply by offering obeisances to and pouring water on the tulasé tree, one can become freed from the fear of being sent to the court of Yamaräja (the king of death, who punishes the sinful). If someone sows a tulasé tree somewhere, certainly he becomes devoted to Lord Kåñëa. And when the tulasé leaves are offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Kåñëa, there is the full development of love of Godhead.' [Skanda Puräëa, quoted in The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 11]


Tulasé is glorified throughout the Puräëas and Païcarätra: It was for the spiritual upliftment of the souls in the material world that Lord Viñëu created tulasé as the ocean of milk was being churned. Tulasé is more dear to the Lord than Lakñmé, for Tulasé-devé undertook extreme austerities and worshiped the Lord with love in order to have Him as her husband, and the Lord fulfilled her wish.


There is no better recipient of charity than a vipra, no better gift than cows, no better tértha than the Gaìgä, and no better leaf than a tulasé leaf. Whatever one can obtain by offering the Lord all types of flowers and leaves may be attained by simply offering Him one tulasé leaf. An offering of flowers made of gold, jewels, and pearls is not equal to an offering of tulasé leaves.


By offering the Lord tulasé leaves, a devotee is released from sins accumulated for one koöi (ten million) lifetimes. When a devotee offers tulasé to the Lord's head, all the devotee's unmentionable and undetected sins are destroyed. By sprinkling the Lord's house with water using a tulasé leaf, one is freed from all great sins. A person who has ämalaké fruit or tulasé leaves in his mouth or on his head or body when he dies is guaranteed not to suffer in hell.


Tulasé Worship


In the morning, after maìgala-äraté (and preferably also in the evening, before sandhyä-äraté), all the assembled devotees should attend tulasé worship and circumambulate Çrématé Tulasé-devé. First we offer obeisances to Tulasé-devé with the tulasé-praëäma-mantra, chanted three times:


(oà) våndäyai tulasé-devyai priyäyai keçavasya ca

kåñëa-bhakti-prade devi satyavatyai namo namaù


I offer my repeated obeisances unto Våndä, Çrématé Tulasé-devé, who is very dear to Lord Keçava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Kåñëa and you possess the highest truth.


Then we sing the tulasé-püjä-kértana while one devotee offers äraté  to Tulasé-devi with incense, a ghee lamp and flowers. While offering the articles, the devotee offering tulasé-äraté should stand on a mat and ring a bell with his left hand. Each of the items may be distributed to the assembled devotees after they have been offered to Tulasé-devé. (See the text of the tulasé-püjä-kértana.)


When the song is finished, the assembled Vaiñëavas should circumambulate Tulasé-devé at least four times and offer her water by pouring some drops at her root (only during morning worship, not in the evening). While circumambulating, we chant,


yäni käni ca päpäni brahma-hatyädikäni ca

täni täni praëaçyanti pradakñiëaù pade pade


When a person circumambulates Çrématé Tulasé-devé, all the sins he may have committed are destroyed at every step, even the sin of killing a brähmaëa.


Notes: When carrying a potted tulasé plant, it is best to honor her by carrying her on the head. If the plant is too large, hold her in front. Also, it is best if the stand is high enough so the base of the tulasé plant is above the waist of the devotee offering äraté. Furthermore, it is best if the devotee offering tulasé äraté is dressed as for doing service in the Deity room. It is best to worship actual tulasé plants, but if keeping them is not possible one may substitute a picture of a tulasé plant for worship by obeisances, kértana, äraté and circumambulation. Finally, it is traditional to honor Tulasé-devé by having a tulasé plant on a table next to the Bhägavatam speaker during the lecture.


Additional Tulasé-püjä


You may perform the following worship of Tulasé-devé after the other Deities' morning worship is completed. If that is not possible, then worship her later in the morning. (You should be as clean as you are for service in the Deity room.)


Make sure the following are present for tulasé worship:


• a païca-pätra with water

• arghya (that has been offered to Kåñëa) in a conch or other container

• flower(s)

• candana

• Deity caraëämåta

• prasäda garland or prasäda flowers

• a container for collecting tulasé leaves.


The procedure is as follows:


1. First recite the following prayer:


nirmitä tvaà purä devair arcitä tvaà suräsuraiù

tulasi hara me 'vidyäà püjäà gåhëa namo 'stu te


O Çrématé Tulasé-devé, you were previously created by the demigods and worshiped by both them and the demons. O Çrématé Tulasé-devé, kindly take away my ignorance and accept my worship. I offer you my humble obeisances again and again.


2. Then, while sprinkling water on Çrématé Tulasé-devé with your right hand from a païca-pätra held in your left hand, chant the following mantra:


(oà) govinda-vallabhäà devéà bhakta-caitanya-käriëém

snäpayämi jagad-dhätréà kåñëa-bhakti-pradäyiném


I am bathing goddess Tulasé-devé, who is very dear to Govinda, who is the mother of the universe, who gives life to all the devotees, and who bestows devotion to Lord Kåñëa.


3. While pouring some arghya from a conch or other container on her soil, chant:


çriyaù çriye çriyäväse nityaà çrédharaà sat-kåte

bhaktyä dattaà mayä devi arghyaà gåhëa namo 'stu te


O goddess Tulasé, I offer my obeisances unto you, the shelter and residence of all beauty and opulence. You are even worshiped by the Supreme Lord. O Tulasé, please accept this arghya I am offering with devotion.


4. Then offer the following items with the appropriate mantras:


idaà sagandha-puñpam oà tulasyai namaù


Offer Tulasé-devé a flower with sandalwood pulp.


idaà çré-kåñëa-caraëämåtam oà tulasyai namaù


Offer Tulasé-devé the Lord's bath water.


idaà mahä-prasäda-nirmälyädikaà sarvaà oà tulasyai namaù


Offer Tulasé-devé the Lord's prasäda garlands and flowers.*


idaà äcamanéyam oà tulasyai namaù


Offer Tulasé-devé äcamana.


5. Then sing Çrématé Tulasé-devé's praises as follows:


mahä-prasäda-janané sarva-saubhägya-vardhiné

ädhi-vyädhi-hare nityaà tulasi tvaà namo 'stu te


O Çrématé Tulasé-devé, I offer my repeated obeisances unto you, the mother of mahä-prasäda. You increase everyone's good fortune and remove all diseases and anxieties.


6. Now offer obeisances to Tulasé-devé, chanting the tulasé-praëäma-mantra:


(oà) våndäyai tulasé-devyai priyäyai keçavasya ca

kåñëa-bhakti-prade devi satyavatyai namo namaù


I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vånda, Çrématé Tulasé-devé, who is very dear to Lord Keçava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Kåñëa and possess the highest truth.


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


(oà) tulasy amåta-janmäsi sadä tvaà keçava-priyä

keçavärthaà cinomi tväà vara-dä bhava çobhane


O Tulasé, you are born from nectar. You are always very dear to Lord Keçava. Now, to worship Lord Keçava, I am collecting your leaves and maïjarés. Please bless me.


Take special care to avoid causing Çrématé Tulasé-devé any pain. 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 kñamä-prärthanä-mantra, begging her pardon:


cayanodbhava-duùkhaà ca yad hådi tava vartate

tat kñamasva jagan-mätaù våndä-devi namo 'stu te


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


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


PP 5.4: Service to Scriptures (çästra-sevä)




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