Śrīla Prabhupāda Says - [Regarding the importance of Tulasī worship]

Translation: 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.

Purport: 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.

[SB: 4.8.55]

Śrīla Prabhupāda Says – [Regarding the care and worship of Tulasī Devī]

I am so very glad to learn that Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī has favored you so much. If you can actually grow this Tulasī plant, and I am sure you will do it, then you must know it for certain that your devotion for Kṛṣṇa is testified. I was very much anxious to introduce this worship of Tulasī plant amongst our Society members, but it has not become successful till now, therefore, when I hear that you have got this opportunity, my pleasure does not have any bounds.

Please take care of the Tulasī plants in the following way. This is the best season for growing Tulasī plants. From 15th April to 15th June is the best season for growing this plant. Now I understand that the seedlings are coming out, so the whole spot if possible may be covered by some net because the seedling stage creepers being very delicate are sometimes eaten up by the sparrows, so we have to give a little protection from attack of the sparrows.

All the devotees should pour water at least once in the morning before taking prasādam. The watering should not be very much large in quantity, but it should be poured just to keep the ground soft and moist. Sunlight also should be allowed. When the creepers are grown at least 7 inches high, then you can take them out from the planting soil and transplant them in a row in a different place.

Then go on watering and they will grow like anything. I think this plant cannot grow in cold countries, but if the plants are dispatched from your place and if the devotees take care of the plant with a little care in a flower pot, then it may grow.

Tulasī leaf is very, very dear to Viṣṇu. All Viṣṇu-tattva Deities require profusely Tulasī leaves. Lord Viṣṇu likes garland of Tulasī leaves. Tulsi leaves mixed with sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the topmost worship. But we must be very careful that Tulasī leaves cannot be placed on the feet of anyone else except Lord Viṣṇu and His different forms.

Tulasī leaves cannot be placed even on the lotus feet of Rādhārāṇī or on the lotus feet of the Spiritual Master. It is entirely reserved for being placed on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. We can place, however, Tulasī leaves in the hands of Rādhārāṇī for being placed on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, as you have seen on the Govinda Album.

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

vrindaai tulasī devyai priyaai keśavasya ca

visnubhaktiprade devī satyavatyai namo namaḥ

This is offering obeisances, bowing down (pañcāṅga prāṇam). And when collecting leaves from the plant, the following mantra should be chanted:

tulasyā mṛta janmasi sadā tvam kesavapriya

kesavarthi cinomi tvam barada bhava sobhine

Then the mantra for circumambulating the Tulasī tree.

yāni kani ca pāpāni brahmahatya dikani ca

tāni tāni praṇaśyanti pradakṣiṇaḥ pade pade

So there are three mantras, one for bowing down, one for circumambulating,* and one for collecting the leaves. The collecting of leaves should be done once in the morning for worshiping and for putting on the plates of foodstuff to be offered. On each bowl or plate there should be at lest one leaf. So you follow and practice these Tulasī affairs and you try to distribute your experience to all the other centers, that will be a new chapter in the history of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Movement.

[Letter to Govinda Devī Dāsī: Los Angeles 7 April 1970]

Śrīla Prabhupāda Says – [Regarding the worship of Tulasī Devī]

I am very glad to know that you are seriously taking to Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī worship. Tulasī Devī is a pure devotee of Krishna and she should be treated with the same respect given to all Krishna's pure devotees. Simply by worshiping her faithfully, a devotee can get himself free of from all material miseries. In the Nectar of Devotion I have given two verses from the Skanda Purāṇa, one of which is: "Tulasī 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 the tree, there is always auspiciousness.

Anyone who comes in touch with the Tulasī tree in the above mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuṇṭha world.'' So from this verse we can understand how pure is the service which Tulasī offers to Śrī Krishna. So we should always endeavor after becoming servant of Tulasī Devī.

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.

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.

[Letter to Rādhāvallabha: Bombay 6 Jan 1972]

If it is not possible for Tulasī to survive the winters when planted in the ground, then a suitable house should be provided for her. Even in the Canadian temples which are in a much colder climate are keeping Tulasī nicely. Why should there be so much difficulty in Los Angeles, which has such a nice climate. Just do everything very carefully. Tulasī flourishes where there is love and devotion.

In answer to your questions:

Vidya Dāsī Q1: Is each Tulsi a separate jīva soul or an expansion of one pure devotee?
Prabhupāda A1: Tulasī is one devotee who appears wherever there is devotion to Kṛṣṇa.

Vidya Dāsī Q2: Where does her spirit soul go when she leaves this body?
Prabhupāda A2: Tulasī's body is spiritual.

Vidya Dāsī Q3: May we place jewelry in her soil or just moon stones?
Prabhupāda A3: Yes, jewelry is alright.

Vidya Dāsī Q4: When Tulsi is being cared for by householders in their home must two arotikas still be offered?
Prabhupāda A4: If possible.

Vidya Dāsī Q5: When Tulsi is being care for by householders in their home may they use her leaves and manjaris on their home offerings or should they take them to the temple?
Prabhupāda A5: Tulasī leaves should be offered to the Deity.

Vidya Dāsī Q6: When Tulsi is being offered arotika by the householders must she have ghee lamp?
Prabhupāda A6: If possible.

Vidya Dāsī Q7: Is it offensive to turn baby Tulsis back into the soil when they appear?
Prabhupāda A7: Yes.

Vidya Dāsī Q8: There are even questions concerning Tulsi’s arotikas. We have always offered her incense, ghee lamp and flower. Is this correct?
Prabhupāda A8: Yes.

Vidya Dāsī Q9: In the manual, it states that Tulasī should not be pruned. Does this also mean trimming the branches which no longer have leaves or life fluids flowing through them?
Prabhupāda A9: You may cut the dead branches, but what is the necessity.

Vidya Dāsī Q10: We were told you once spoke the “4 regulative principles of Tulasī care” which will keep her from getting sick:

a) Keep her moist;
b) Keep her clean;
c) Give her morning sunlight (at least);
d) Give her two arotikas a day is this bona fide?

Prabhupāda A10: I never said that.

Vidya Dāsī Q11: May Tulasī be made into a tea after she has been offered?
Prabhupāda A11: No.

Vidya Dāsī Q12: May devotee carve Tulasī wood for Deity paraphernalia?
Prabhupāda A12: Yes.

Vidya Dāsī Q13: When Tulasī leaves her body and the body is too soft for carving beads, how shall she be used? Should small fire sacrifice be performed?
Prabhupāda A13: Use the wood for beads as far as possible, the balance may be placed within the earth.

Vidya Dāsī Q14: We have letter from you requesting that no sprays be used on Tulasī Devī. May we use a spray of buttermilk, whole wheat flour dissolved in water which coats her leaves to keep spider mites from causing Tulasī to leave her body?
Prabhupāda A14: I said no chemical sprays.

Vidya Dāsī Q15: Does Tulasī sleep? Should she be left undisturbed after nightfall?
Prabhupāda A15: Undisturbed means what?

Vidya Dāsī Q16: Is it permissible to use scissors to cut her manjaris and when transplanting, to use knives to loosen her from her pot?
Prabhupāda A16: Use common sense and if you have none then consult with others.

Vidya Dāsī Q17: Is it an offense to step on or cross her shadow (or the shadow of any pure devotee)?
Prabhupāda A17: No.

Vidya Dāsī Q18: For the 2 years we have been waiting permission to use the following 2 prayers plus translations and translation of the already existing prayer. Please tell us if these are bona fide:

(1) Oṁ Govinda vallabham devīṁ
Snapayami jagad-dhatrim

Now I am bathing the mother of the Universe, the bestower of Kṛṣṇa bhakti, the enlivener of the living force of the devotees and the dear one of Govinda.

(2) Cayanod bhava-duhkhan ca
Yad hṛdi tava vartate
Tat ksamasba jagan-matah
Vṛndā Devī namo ‘stu’ te

O mother of the universe, please forgive whatever misery exists in your heart caused by the cutting of your leaves. O Vṛndā Devī, let me offer my obeisances unto you.

(3) Oṁ tulasy amrta-jamasi
Sadā tvam kesave-priya
Kesavartham cinomi tvam
Barada bhava śobhane

O Tulasī, you are borne from nectar and always dear to Lord Keśava. Now, for the service of Keśava I am picking your leaves O one who is shining brightly.

Prabhupāda A18: Don't try to introduce something new. The most important thing is the love and devotion.

[Questions taken from the letter from Vidya Devī Dāsī to Śrīla Prabhupāda: New Dwarka LA 27 Sept 1976]

[Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply letter to Vidya Devī Dāsī: Vṛndāvan 25 Oct 1976]

Page last modified on June 25, 2013, at 12:24 PM