Friday, October 30, 2009

The Importance of Worshiping Tulasi-devi ....

All the famous acaryas in our disciplic succession emphasize the importance of worshiping Tulasi. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of our Srila Prabhupada, commented that "Srimati Tulasi Maharani is our spiritual master. She is the queen of Sri Vrindavana Dhama. It is only by Her mercy that one can be qualified to enter in Sri Vrindavana Dhama. We wear Tulasi Maharani around our neck, knowing that She is very dear to Lord Krishna. By our allegiance to Her, we chant the name of Lord Hari."

In his poem titled Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma,
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has prayed:

vrindavana-sthira-caran paripalayitri
vande tayo rasikayor ati-saubhagena
adhyasi tat kuru krpam ganana yathaiva
sri-radhika-parijanesu mamapi siddhet

O Vrinda-devi, O protectress of the moving and non-moving living entities in Vrindavana, you are wealthy in the mercy of the Divine Couple who enjoy pastimes in Vraja. Please be merciful to me. Please place me among Sri Radha’s associates.

he sri-tulasy uru-krpa-dyu-tarangini tvam
yan murdhni me carana-pankajam adadhasvam
yac caham apy apibam ambu manak tadiyam
tan me manasy udayam eti manoratho’yam

O Srimati Tulasi-devi, O celestial Ganges river of mercy, it is because I once placed my head at your lotus feet and drank some drops of water that washed your lotus feet, that these desires have risen in my heart.

kvaham parah sata-nikaty-anuviddha-cetah
sankalpa esa sahasa kva su-durlabhe’rthe
eka kalpaiva tava mam ajahaty upadhi-
sunyeva mantum adadhaty agater gatir me

O Srimati Tulasi-devi, how low I am, my heart pierced by hundreds of offenses! How exalted and difficult to attain is my aspiration! Your causeless mercy is my only hope. It is by Your mercy that I, who am so fallen, can have these desires in my thoughts.

The Caitanya Bhagavata states that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's disciples would keep a Tulasi tree beside Him. The Lord would sit, taking darshan of Srimati Tulasi Maharani and chant His prescribed number of rounds. "Just as a fish cannot live when taken out of water, so I cannot remain alive in separation of Tulasi Maharani," Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to say.

In his Sri Sri Radha-Krishna-Ganoddesha-Dipika, Srila Rupa Gosvami describes Vrinda-devi as the best of Krishna's gopi messengers. The gopi messengers expertly know the geography of Vrindavana and they intimately know each grove and garden there. They are also learned in the science of gardening.

All the gopi messengers are filled with great love for Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, but among them, Vrinda-devi is the best. She has a beautiful complexion, like molten gold, wears blue garments, and is decorated with pearls and flowers. Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami has explained in VRAJA VILASA STAVA that "Vrinda-devi is the transcendental orchestrator of Radha-Krishna's pastimes. She decorates the pastime groves and creates a festive atmosphere to enhance the divine couple's pleasure." She is expert at arranging the meeting of Radha and Krishna, and She knows the best places for the Divine Couple’s rendez-vous. Flowers, creepers, vines and trees are under Her supervision, and all the birds and animals in Vrindavana carry out Her orders. Her chief disciple, the yellow parrot Daksa, resides upon Her left hand. From there he sends the other one hundred thousand parrot disciples flying all over Vraja to deliver Vrinda-devi's messages or warnings of unforeseen events.

Nandagram, the eternal residence of Nanda Maharaja, is built on Nandisvara Hill. Vrinda-devi's place, Vrinda-kunda, is at the foot of Nandisvara Hill, near Pavana Sarovara, where Srimati Radharani comes every morning to cook Krishna's breakfast. Meanwhile, Krishna and Balarama milk the cows, and Paurnamasi, the guru of Vraja, meets Vrinda-devi at Her place to plan the Divine Couple's pleasure pastimes for that day. For each of the eight-fold daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna Vrinda-devi makes elaborate arrangements for an appropriate forest spot and specific trees, creepers, fruits, flowers, birds and other animals. She personally selects the various color combinations, fragrances, songs and musical instruments to be offered for the pleasure of Radha and Krishna; and She decides who, among the unlimited number of gopis and manjaris, will assist Lalita and Visakha offer sandalwood pulp, serve refreshments, play musical instruments, fan the Divine Couple with camaras, and offer pan, betel nuts and spices on a jeweled tray. Every single detail of each and every one of Radha and Krishna's eight fold daily pastimes--which peacocks will dance, which bumble bees will hum, which parrots and kokilas will sing, which breezes will blow--is engineered by Vrinda-devi.

After Krishna and Balarama finish Their morning meal, They go to to the forests of Vrindavana to tend Their cows with Their cowherd boyfriends, while Srimati Radharani and Her associates walk back to Her home in Yavat. On the way Srimati Radhika stops at Vrinda-kunda and secretly meets Krishna there, at the spot named Gupta-kunda. (Gupta means secret.) Since Gupta-kunda is the first daily meeting place of Radha and Krishna, the residents of Vrindavana refer to that place as a "Yoga-pitha," or a center of eternal pastimes.

From dawn to sunrise, Vrinda-devi lovingly engages in the service of the Divine Couple. It is She who prepares Their bed of flowers at night, She who wakes Them up and sends Them to Their respective homes before sunrise. Her love for Them is unlimited.

Another famous and respected gopi messenger in Vraja is Vira-devi. She can be very bold and arrogant, but She can also speak sweet and flattering words, as Vrinda-devi does. Her complexion is dark and She wears splendid white garments and various jewels and flower garlands. Vira-devi resides at the corner of Gupta-kunda behind Vrinda-kunda. By the mercy of Her follower Sri Madhava dasa Baba, Vrinda-kunda and Gupta-kunda were rediscovered less than fifty years ago and subsequently handed over to the care of ISKCON.

Quotation: Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila chapter 24 Verse 261

tulasi-parikrama kara, tulasi-sevana
nirantara krsna-nama kariha kirtana

tulasi-parikrama kara-circumambulate the Tulasi plant; tulasi-sevana-just supply water to the root of Tulasi-devi; nirantara-continuously; krsna-nama-the holy name of Krsna; kariha-just perform; kirtana-chanting.

After planting the Tulasi tree before your house, you should daily circumambulate that Tulasi plant, serve Her by giving Her water and other things, and continuously chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

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