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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tulasi


Bhakta: 'Tulasi is only offered to Kṛṣṇa's feet because Rādhikā does not like Tulasi?"

Advaitadas: 'No. The ācāryas have prescribed that Tulasi is offered to the feet of Viṣṇu tattva only. Although Rādhikā, as Kṛṣṇa's śakti, is non different from Kṛṣṇa [ śakti-śaktimatayor abheda], still She is āśraya tattva (subject of love) That counts even for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as is narrated in Caitanya Caritāmṛta [Madhya 15,7-9]:

ghore āsi prabhu kore nāma sankīrtan;
advaita āsiyā kore prabhura pūjan

sugandhi salile den pādya ācaman;
sarvāṅge lepaye prabhur sugandhi candan

gole mālā dey māthāy tulasī mañjarī

“When Prabhu returned to His abode He performed nām sankIrtan. Advaita then came to offer worship to Him. He offered pādya and ācaman with scented water and anointed Prabhu’s whole body with fragrant sandal paste. He hung a garland around His neck and placed Tulasī-buds on His head.”

Bhakta : 'There is a Vaiṣṇava home guide book which says that Tulasī is offered to the feet of Viṣṇu tattva like Nārāyan, Nṛsiṁha, Kṛṣṇa, Rāma etc. as well as to Gaura, Nityānanda, and Advaita but not to Rādhārāṇī or Gadādhar Pandit."

Advaitadas: "We agree with all of this except for Gaur, Nityānanda and Advaita, on the ground of the above quotation from Caitanya Caritamṛta, and another verse [CC Adi 1.14]

pancatattvātmakam kṛṣṇaṁ bhakta rūpa svarūpakam
bhaktāvatāraṁ bhaktākhyam namāmi bhakti-śaktikam


The Panca Tattva comes in the form of so many different devotee incarnations though they are Kṛṣṇa [panca-tattvātmakam kṛṣṇam]. So though They are ontologically Viṣṇu-tattva, they are approached as devotees."

Bhakta: 'But you can put Tulasī-Mañjarīs on Rādhā's feet instead of Tulasī-leaves?"

Advaitadas: "That does not make any difference. Manjaris should not be separated from the leaves. Śrīman Mahāprabhu instructed Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī: dui-dike dui-patra madhye komala manjari, 'Offer soft manjaris with 2 Tulasi petals on each side of them' (CC Antya 6.297)

Bhakta: "So Tulasī is not so surrendered to Rādhā that she will touch her feet?"

Advaitadas: 'No that is not the point. One cannot just draw a link from the goddess Vṛndā in the spiritual world to the sacred tree in the world of sādhakas, whose leaves are upacāras [ingredients] of pūjā. Just as we are male devotees here in this world but female in the perfected state. It does not mean we should dress like girls in this material male body, right? seva sādhaka rūpena siddha rūpena cātra hi. So the rule of offering Tulasī applies to the sacred tree, not to the goddess above. Also the Tulasī Mañjarī who is identified as Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali has nothing to do with Vṛndā-devi, because Vṛndā-devī is not called Tulasi in Kṛṣṇa līlā but only as she incarnates as the Basilicum species of plants on earth."

Bhakta: "In the Puranas it is said Tulasi is a hair of Lakṣmī-devī and in another Purāṇa she was cursed to come down to the world."

Advaitadas: 'Yes there are so many conceptions, but here we speak just of Tulasī as a pūjopacāra, as a leaf from a small sacred tree."

5 comments:

  1. This is added to my blog of September 30, 2010, which deals with the 4th Canto Bhagavat:

    "4.29.64-65 What was never seen before in real life and is nonetheless perceived in a dream was surely experienced in a previous life by a jiva who identifies
    with a subtle body, for an object which has not been experienced before can never touch the mind."

    Thanks to Malati-manjari [Germany] for the tip on Facebook.

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  2. Where did you get the picture?

    That does not resemble the Tulasi plants I have seen in temples in 3 continents. So do they all have the wrong plants?

    Even in Sadhu Baba's ashram, the Tulasi plants there had pointy tip leaves and with faint purplish tinge leaves, with purplish flowers on tall thin stalks. The stem of the plant itself is woody and as they mature they become like a small shrub.

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  3. Malati, Radhe Radhe
    I can't remember where I got the picture from. I know it is a hassle to identify the true Tulasi sometimes and I am not expert, but I understood that there are two species at least of the divine Tulasi - Rama Tulasi and Krishna Tulasi. Rama Tulasi leaves are purely green and Krishna Tulasi are tinged purple. Possibly the one you saw at Baba's ashram is Krishna Tulasi then.

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  4. Yes, you are right. The purplish variety is Krishna Tulasi and the bright green is Rama Tulasi. I saw a picture of both on the net, just now.

    To me the purplish one is interesting and beautiful.

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