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Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Tulasi Devi: The Sacred Tree

Namaste,Just as we had discovered the sacredness of the Rudraksha beads and the significance of its different shapes few weeks ago, in this posting we will uncover why the Tulasi tree is so sacred, and the legends in connection with her. To best view this posting, spread your viewing screen and the article will appear more appropriately formatted. To view it in html, you can also find this, with a special section on taking care of the Tulasi plant along with photos of her and the Deity of Vrinda Devi at: _www.stephen-knapp.com/tulasi_devi_the_sacred_tree.htm_ (http://www.stephen-knapp.com/tulasi_devi_the_sacred_tree.htm) . Hari om and Hari bol,Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa)Tulasi Devi: The Sacred TreeCompiled by Stephen KnappThe Tulasi tree is a most important plant, and is often seen at numerous Hindu temples,especially those dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. At such temples you are likely to find one ormore in the courtyard wherein pilgrims circumambulate it, water it, or even offer prayers to it.Some temples will even have Tulasi groves, wherein you will see numerous Tulasi plantsgrowing in a garden. Some temples will even have a special greenhouse just for taking care ofTulasi plants. At such temples, they may even prepare large garlands of Tulasi leaves andmanjaris (the ends of the branches) for the deity of Lord Krishna to wear. It is said that Tulasiwill not grow well where there is no devotion to the Lord. In fact, how well Tulasi grows is saidto be like a barometer that indicates how high the devotional attitude is of the devoteecommunity around the temple. Vaishnava devotees also use the wood to make neck beads and wear two or three strands ofthem around their necks signifying their devotion to the Lord. They also make their japa mala orchanting beads from wood of the Tulasi tree as well. Tulasi is considered to be a pure devotee ofthe Lord who has taken the form of a tree. Therefore she is given the utmost respect. This is alsowhy many devotees and Hindus in general also grow Tulasi in their homes. In this way, theTulasi plant plays an important part in the spiritual life of many devotees. So what is thesignificance, history and legends behind this little tree? To begin with, the Basil plant (Ocimum sanctum) is commonly called Tulasi (pronouncedtulsi). In some accounts of the Puranic story of the Churning of the Ocean (samudramathana), theTulasi is added to the list of articles which emerged from it, and is sacred to Krishna (accordingto Wilson's Vishnu Purana p, 67. n.8). It is also sacred to his Lord Vishnu's consort Laksmi, andhence it is itself an object of worship.The Tulasi plant also possesses curative properties and is said to be an antidote tosnake-venom. It destroys mosquitoes and other pests and purifies the air. It even is said to wardoff the messengers of Yama, the ruler of the dead, who will not enter a house containing a sprigof Tulasi. This is also one of the reasons why devotees wear the Tulasi as neck beads. Whendeath occurs, the funeral pyre should be constructed of Tulasi, palasha, and sandal-wood. There is further Puranic background for Tulasi attaining this spiritualistic importance. In factit is Mahalaksmi, wife of Visnu, who had herself taken the form of Tulasi. There is a story aboutit in the Devi Bhagavata. The Puranic Encyclopedia summarizes these legends. 1) The curse of Sarasvati. Sarasvati, Ganga and Laksmi were all, in the beginning, wives ofMahaVishnu. The Lord loved all the three equally. One day all the four were sitting togetherwhen Ganga sent lustful glances at Vishnu which was immediately noticed by both Sarasvati andLaksmi. Sarasvaii got angry and rising up caught hold of the hair of Ganga and dragged her to theground. Laksmi then caught hold of Sarasvati to prevent farther assault but Sarasvati then pouredall her rage on Laksmi and cursed her to be born as a plant on earth. Gangadevi could not bearthis and she cursed Sarasvati to be born as a river on earth. Sarasvati retorted with a curse thatGanga also would be born as a river. When the whole tumult was over Vishnu called Laksmi tohis side and said, "Oh Devi, do not worry. Things have happened as predestined. You go and beborn as the daughter of Dharma-dhvaja and grow up there. From there by divine grace you willbe transformed into a plant sacred enough to make all the three worlds pure. That plant will benamed Tulasi. When you will be thus living as Tulasi, a demon named Sankhacuda with part ofmy virile strength will be born and he will marry you. Then you can come back to me. The holyriver Padmavati will also be another form of your spirit."2) The story of Dharmadhvaja. Who was this Dharma-dhvaja to whom was born Mahalaksmias a daughter? In times of old there was a Manu called Daksasavarni who was extremely virtuousand a part of Vishnu. Descending from Daksasavarni wereBrahmasavarni-Dharmasavarni-Rudrasavarni-Devasavarni-Indrasavarni Vrsadhvaja. This lastnamed was a great devotee of Shiva and because of his great affection for this devotee Shivalived a whole period of a devayuga in the ashrama of Vrsadhvaja. King Vrsadhvaja by an edictprohibited the worship of any other deity than Shiva in his country. Even the worship ofMahalaksmi ordained by the Vedas during the month of Bhadra (September) became extinct. AllYagyas and worship of Vishnu came to a stop. Surya (Sun-god) got angry al this belittling ofother gods than Shiva and cursed the King Vrsadhvaja that he would cease to be prosperous.Shiva did not like it and he went to punish Surya holding his trident in his hand. Surya wasfrightened and he approached his father Kasyapa. Kasyapa and Surya went to Brahma andacquainted him with all details. Brahma also was helpless in the matter and so all the three ofthem went to Mahavishnu. They prostrated before Vishnu and told him all. At that time Shivaalso came there. Addressing all of them, Vishnu said "Oh. Devas, wilhin this half an hourtwenty-one yugas have passed by on the earth. He about whom you have come to speak to me isdead and gone. Even his son Rathadhvaja is dead. The latter has two sons named Dharmadhvajaand Kusadhvaja. They are dull and splendorless now because of the curse of Surya and are nowworshipping Laksmi." Saying thus Vishnu disappeared.3} Birth of Tulasi. Dharmadhvaja and Kusadhvaja did penance to propitiate Mahalaksmi.Kusadhvaja had a wife named Malavati. She bore a daughter named Vedavati. Sita, wife of SriRama, was a rebirth of this Vedavati.King Dharmadhvaja had a wife named Madhavi. Mahalaksmi entered her womb as anembryo and after a hundred years Madhavi gave birth to a daughter. Even at the time of birth thechild looked like a matured girl and was extremely pretty. She was therefore, called Tulasi,meaning matchless. (Tula= match). This Tulasi, abandoning all worldly pleasures, went toBadarikashrama and started doing penance there with the prayer that MahaVishnu shouldbecome her husband. She did penance for twenty-four thousand years sitting amidst fire in thehot season and sitting in water in the cold season and taking only fruits and water as food. Thenshe did penance for another thirty thousand years eating leaves only, another forty thousand yearstaking air only as food and another ten thousand years without any food. At this stage Brahmaappeared and asked her the object of her penance. She replied she wanted MahaVishnu to be herhusband. Hearing this Brahma said thus: "Devi, you know the cowboy Sudama born of a part ofSri Krishna. That brilliant cowboy has now been born on earth, due to a curse of Radha, as ademon named Sankhachuda. He is matchlessly eminent and has once fallen in love with youseeing you at Goloka. You will become his wife and later you can become the wife of Narayana.At that time a part of your divine body will remain on earth as a plant named Tulasi. Tulasi willbecome the most sacred of all plants, dear to Vishnu, and all worship without using Tulasi leaveswould be ineffective."4) Marriage of Tulasi. Due to a curse of Radha, Sudama, the cowboy, was born on earth as ademon named Sankhachuda. He did penance sitting at Badarikashrama and obtainedVishnukavaca. Another object of his was to marry Tulasi. He obtained a boon from Brahma thathis death would occur only when the Vishnu Kavaca was removed from his body and the chastityof his wife was lost. At that time Sankhachuda and Tulasi met each other in the forests and weremarried. Sankhachuda, brilliant and majestic, went about with Tulasi in amorous sports creatingjealousy even among the devas. His arrogance gave innumerable troubles to the devas and theyalong with Brahma and Shiva approached MahaVishnu for a remedy. Vishnu then sent Shivawith his spike to kill Sankhachuda and he himself started to molest the chastity of his wifeTulasi. Sankhachuda took leave of Tulasi to go and fight with Shiva. When Tulasi was thus leftalone, MahaVisnu in the form of Sankhachuda approached Tulasi and after some preliminarytalks entered into sexual acts. Tulasi found some difference in the usual affairs and suspectingfoul play jumped up to curse the impostor. At once MahaVishnu appeared in his true form andsaid "You have been doing penance for a lone time to get me as your husband. Your husbandSankhachuda was the chief of my Parsadas, Sudarna. It is time for him to go back to [the spiritualabode of] Goloka getting himself released from the curse. By this time Shiva would have killedhim and he would have gone to Goloka as Sudama. You can now abandon your body and comewith me to Vaikuntha to enjoy life as my wife.Your body will decay and become a holy river named Gandaki; your hair will become theTulasi plant, the leaves of which will be held sacred in all the three worlds."Tulasi then changed herself into the form of Laksmi and went to Vaikuntha withMahaVishnu. (9th Skandha, Devi Bhagavata).5) The greatness of Tulasi. Everything of the Tulasi plant, leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, twigs,skin and even the soil around is holy. The soul of a dead one whose dead body is cremated usingTulasi twigs for firewood would attain a permanent place in Vishnuloha [the spiritual abode].Even great sinners would be absolved of their sins if their dead bodies are cremated with Tulasitwigs [or are wearing Tulasi beads]. If at the time of death one thinks of God and mutters Hisname and if his dead body is later cremated with Tulasi twigs, he would have no rebirths. Evenhe who has done a crore of sins would attain moksha [liberation] if at the time of cremating hisdead body a piece of Tulasi twig is placed at the bottom of the funeral pyre. Just as all watersbecome pure by the union with Ganga water, all firewood is made pure by the addition of a smallpiece of Tulasi twig. If the dead body of one is cremated using Tulasi twigs alone, one's sins for acrore of Kalpa years [1 kalpa is 4,800,000 years] would be washed away. Yamadutas [thesoldiers of Lord Yama, the king of death] would keep away from one whose dead body iscremated with Tulasi twigs and servants of Vishnu would come near. If a light is burnt forVishnu with a Tulasi stick it would be equal to burning several lakhs of lights for Vishnu. If onemakes the Tulasi leaves into a paste and smears it on one's body and then worships Vishnu forone day, one would be getting the benefit of a hundred ordinary worships and also the benefit ofdoing a hundred godanas (gifts of cows). (Chapter 24, Padma Purana)It is also accepted that if ever a person leaves his or her body while wearing Tulasi beads,either around the neck or elsewhere, it creates the same affect as described above as having one'scremation fire burnt using Tulasi. The Marriage of TulasiAnd Significance of Shalagrama-shilas[As Elaborated from Brahma-Vaivarta Purana, Prakriti-Khanda, Chapters 21 & 22]This explains the marriage between Lord Vishnu and Tulasi, how Tulasi became both theGandaki River and the sacred Tulasi tree, and how Lord Vishnu accepted the form of the sacredstones found in the Gandaki River known as shalagram-shilas. CHAPTER 21Narada said: "O Lord, please narrate how You (Lord Narayana) impregnated Tulasi".Narayana answered: "Hari, in order to accomplish the design of the gods, took the formof Sankhachuda and cohabited with Tulasi. He took the amulet of the demon and approached thehouse of Tulasi. At the threshold he played upon a drum and through a spy announcing thesewords, 'May victory crown the King,' he convinced Tulasi of the success of her husband. Tulasi,through a window, gladly looked at the royal road. She made gifts to the Brahmins, the bards andthe mendicants and caused the performance of many auspicious deeds. Lord Hari subsequentlydescended from his car and entered into the lovely house of Tulasi constructed with invaluablegems. When Tulasi saw her tranquil husband (whose form Hari had assumed), she wept with joy,washed his feet with water and bowed low to him. She entertained him with betel-leavesrendered fragrant with camphor and considered herself truly blessed, inasmuch as she saw herlord returned victorious from the battle. The licentious Tulasi, filled with joy cast arch glancesupon him and sweetly or gently asked him thus: 'My gracious king, how could you conquerShiva who destroys numberless worlds? Reveal to me the matter.' Hari in disguise smiled andconcocted a lie thus: 'O my lady, O my love, this fight lasted for a year and all the demons havebeen destroyed. Brahma himself came to the scene of fight and reconciled us both. By hiscommand, I returned to the gods their jurisdiction and came home. Shiva likewise returned to hisdomain.' So saying, Lord Hari slept. O Narada, Hari cohabited with Tulasi but owing to thetransgression of the former method of sexual intercourse she became suspicious and said, 'OLord of dissemblers, who are you? You have violated my chastity. I must, therefore, curse you,whoever you are.' Afraid of a curse, Hari assumed a very lovely form. Tulasi beheld in herpresence the Eternal Lord, the god of gods, dark like a new cloud. His eyes were like autumnallotuses. His face was beaming with smiles. He was decked with gems and yellow garments. Hisgrace was like that of ten millions of Cupids."The woman at His sight was excited with lust and fainted, but immediately recoveringsaid to Hari, 'Lord, you are unkind to me and possess a heart of stone. You have fraudulentlyviolated me and killed my husband. As you are hard-hearted like a stone, you will be worshipedin the world in the form of a stone (shila). Those who call you merciful are deluded. Tell me whyYou killed an innocent votary of Yours for the sake of others. You are the soul of all and, thoughall-knowing, You do not realize the pain of others. Therefore, when You will assume a certainincarnation, You will forget Yourself.' So saying, the chaste Tulasi fell at his feet and weptbitterly in sorrow. The merciful Hari consoled her, using words fraught with counsel thus: 'Ochaste lady, you prayed for me for a long time in Bharata-varsha (India). The lustfulSankhachuda had prayed for you and thereby obtained you as his spouse, and thus he enjoyedyour society for a long time. I should now give you the fruits of your devotion. "'You should now quit your body, take a celestial form and travel with Me like Rama.You will now be converted into a sacred river called Gandaki. Let the clusters of your hair beconverted into a plant called Tulasi or the holy basil. Fair one, the flowers and the leaves of thisplant will be consecrated to the worship of the gods. In the course of my worship, Tulasi flowerswill be held superior to other flowers in the three worlds and even in Vaikuntha. This sanctifyingplant will grow in Goloka on the coast of the Viraja River, on the site occupied by the sphere ofthe Rasa, in Vrindavana, in the forest of the holy fig tree, the wood of the sandal tree, or theChampak flower, or in the groves of the jasmine, and the screw-pine tree, or in the grove of theclimbing plants called Madhavi. All the shrines of the world will converge at the root of Tulasi.'"'Fair one, all the gods will preside there to secure the fallen leaves of the holy basil.Anyone who will be anointed or moistened with the waters of the holy basil will reap the benefitsof ablutions in all sacred rivers and the performance of all sorts of yagnas or sacrifices. Hari willnot be so much pleased with the gift of a thousand jars full of honey as with the offer of a Tulasileaf. The gift of one such leaf will bring the reward secured by the gift of millions of cows.Anyone who, dying, will get the water of the Tulasi leaf will be redeemed from all his sins andproceed to Vaikuntha. Whoever constantly drinks such water will be redeemed in his lifetime andget the fruits of a dip in the Ganges. Anyone worshiping Me with this leaf every day will reap thebenefits of a hundred thousand horse sacrifices. Anyone dying with the Tulasi leaf in his hands[or also in one's mouth, as is commonly practiced] will be redeemed. Anyone putting on a wreathof the wild Tulasi will get at every step the fruit of a horse sacrifice. However, whoever with theholy basil in his hand will break his vow and perjure himself will go to hell. But anyone who, atthe time of his death, will get a drop of the water of the holy basil will proceed to Vaikuntha.Hari will cut off the head of that person who, on the lunar day of the dark night (Amavasya) orthe full moon, or on the twelfth or last day of the lunar month, or being anointed with oil justbefore bath, or in the noon, night, or at day break or sun down, or in a state of impurity, or in hisnocturnal dress [sleep clothes] will cull or pluck the Tulasi leaf. "'O chaste one, if such a leaf is stale for three nights, it can still be used on the occasionof funeral ceremonies, in connection with vows, gifts, consecration of temples and the worship ofgods. Tulasi leaves dedicated to Vishnu, even if they drop to the ground or water, if properlywashed may still be used for other holy purposes. The presiding deity of the Tulasi plant willalways sport in solitude with Krishna in Goloka which is free from diseases. The presiding deityof the Gandaki River will be the wife of the salt ocean, born of my digits. And personally, Ochaste goddess, you will ever remain by My side and enjoy My company like Goddess Lakshmi.I, too, by your curse, will turn into a stone on the coast of the Gandaki. At that place the wormscalled Vajra-kita will construct [carve] my wheel within the stone. That stone, dark like a newcloud, which contains at one gate four wheels and which is decorated with a wreath of wildflowers will be known as Lakshmi-Narayana. But the stone of the like nature without beingdecked with a wreath will be called Lakshmi-Janardana. A stone without a wreath but impressedwith marks of cow feet will be called Raghunatha. A stone of two wheels, auspicious to thehouseholders, will be called Dudhi-bamana. Such a stone, if decked with garlands, will be calledSridhara and give grace to the householders. A stone without a wreath, but thick and circular andcontaining two wheels will be called Damodara. A stone, fairly round, assailed by arrows, havingquivers and two wheels will be called Rana-rama. A stone of moderate size having seven wheelsassociated with quivers will be called the king of kings and give royal prosperity to the people. Astone, thick, dark like a new cloud and associated with fourteen wheels will be called Ananta andgive four kinds of redemption. "'A stone which looks like a cloud and contains two wheels, which is spherical, gracefuland moderate in size will be called Madhu-Sudana. A stone which will bear the mark of theSudarshana on one of its wheels and whose other wheel will remain concealed will be calledGadadhara. The two-wheeled stone with the face of a horse will be called Hayagriva. Thetwo-wheeled stone whose face is expansive and hideous will be called Narasimha. Thetwo-wheeled broad-faced stone, decked with wreaths and pleasing to the people will be calledLakshmi-Narasimha. The stone whose gate is conspicuous by two graceful wheels of equal sizewill be called Vasudeva fulfilling all desire. The stone having a slender wheel and many holes atthe threshold, dark like a new cloud, will be called Pradyumna, and the worship of this stone willgive happiness to people. The stone whose wheels are united and whose back is excellent, whichbrings joy to the householders, will be called Sankarshana. The yellow, beautiful, circular stonedelightful to the house-holders, will be styled Aniruddha by the Savants. Fair one, the placewhere this stone will be discovered will be the resort of Hari and Lakshmi with her attendantshrines and holy places. Nay, Brahmin-slaughter and all other sins of the world are expiated bythe worship of this stone. This stone, if it is in the shape of an umbrella, bestows a kingdom; ifround, it gives prosperity; if like a cart, it causes pain; if like the front of a spear, it brings aboutdeath. If deformed, it causes poverty; if tawny in color, it destroys happiness; if its wheels arejoined, it causes disease; if broken or split into fragments, it causes death. All holy deeds,consecration of a temple, performance of a funeral ceremony, worship of gods, etc., can beperformed through this Holy stone. Deeds of charity, circumambulation around the world, bath inthe sacred rivers, all can be attained by a person by ablution in the waters [the have bathed orwashed] of this stone. The touch of such a person will be desired even by the streams. He will beconsecrated and redeemed in his lifetime. The worship of the stone will give the same fruit as thestudy of the Vedas or asceticism. "'Whoever will drink the immortalizing water of this stone will sanctify by his touchresorts for pilgrims and be redeemed in his life. He will be the slave of Hari and witnesscountless dissolutions of the world. Sins as heinous as the murder of a Brahmin will fly at hissight like snakes at the sight of Garuda. The earth will be consecrated by the dust of his feet. Byhis birth, he will redeem millions of his ancestors. Anyone who, while dying, will drink thiswater will be emancipated and go to the Vaikuntha. He will be free from the influences of karmaand, being redeemed, will merge into the feet of Vishnu. Whoever, by laying hands on the stone,perjures himself or breaks his vow will remain in hell for millions of years. My beloved, whoeverwill separate the holy basil leaves from this holy stone, will suffer the pangs of separation fromhis wife from birth to birth. Whoever will dissociate the conches from the Tulasi will be deprivedof his wife and health for seven births in succession. A wise person who will maintain the Tulasi,the conches and the stone at one and the same place will be dear to Hari. It is painful for a personto part from his beloved whose society he once enjoyed. You were the favorite of Sankhachudafor one Manvantara. Therefore separation from him has been a source of trouble to you.'" "As Hari affectionately said so, Tulasi quit her body and went to Vaikuntha in a celestialform. Tulasi frequented the heart of Narayana like Kamala. O Narada, thus Hari happened tohave four wives viz., Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganga and Tulasi. When Tulasi died, her body wasimmediately turned into a river called Gandaki; and on the coast of this stream, a sanctifying hillout of the digits of Hari came into existence. The worms on the hill are constructing stones ofvarious sorts. A stone that drops down into the river from the hill assumes the hue of clouds. Astone that drops from the rock on the dry land becomes tawny-colored through the heat of thesun. Now I told you everything. Please let me know what you want to hear."CHAPTER 22Narada said, "Lord, I gather how Tulasi became the favorite of Hari, how she becameholy and was adored throughout the world. Now I want to hear the account relating to her form ofworship and her hymn. In olden times, who worshiped her and recited her ode? How did shebecome adorable in the world? Kindly narrate these matters to me."Suta said, Naryana smiled at these words and said, "Hari sported with Tulasi as soon asHe got her and made her as blessed and glorious as Rama. Ganga and Lakshmi bore this newacquisition to their society patiently. But it was intolerable to Saraswati. Once the dignifiedSaraswati in vain quarreled with Tulasi in Hari's presence and hurt her. Tulasi in shame anddisgrace disappeared. That accomplished, wise and adept Tulasi became invisible to Hari also outof anger. Hari thereupon took permission of Saraswati and went to the forest of Tulasi plants.There he bathed and with holy basil leaves reverentially adored Tulasi with the mystic formula often letters containing seeds of germinating principles of Lakshmi, Maya, Kama and Vani."O Narada, that mantra prepared by Hari ends thus: 'Swaha to Vrindavani.' After havinguttered this mantra which is efficacious like the Kalpa tree, whoever will worship Tulasi with thelight of the ghee lamp, frankincense, sandal flowers and sacrificial offerings will attain allperfection. Tulasi, pleased with the worship, emanated from the plant and took refuge in the lotusfeet of Hari. Hari blessed her saying, 'You will be adored throughout the world', and said,'Beloved, I shall hold you on my head and in my heart. All the gods, therefore, will wield you ontheir heads.' So saying, Hari took her home."Narada said, "Now tell me about the Dhyana or meditation appropriate to Tulasi, her ode,and her plan of worship." Narayana answered, "When Tulasi disappeared, the afflicted Hari wentto Tulasi-vana (the forest of holy Tulasi), worshiped her and adored her with the hymn, "I adoremy beloved Vrinda who in one place grows in the form of plants. I adore the blessed nymph whosprang at first from the forest of Vrindavana and is hence styled Vrinda-vani."I worship that goddess, all adorable in the universe, who is so-called as she is adoredthroughout the world. Being afflicted by Cupid I adore the all-sanctifying goddess so-called asshe is always adored in the three worlds. I want to see Pushpa-sara, the goddess, the essence offlowers, without whom the gods are not satisfied with the offer of any number of flowers. I cravethe favor of that goddess, also called Nandini, as attainment of Tulasi brings faith and joy. I seekthe protection of this goddess called Tulasi, as she is incomparable in the world. May shepreserve my life, the goddess who is also called the life of Krishna. Krishna having worshipedher thus manifested Himself to Tulasi who was lying prostrate at His feet. When He saw that thedignified Tulasi was weeping on account of her susceptibilities being wounded by Saraswati, heclasped her to his breast, took her to Saraswati and reconciled them both. He blessed her saying,"You will be adored throughout the world and sustained (carried) by every one on the head. Youwill be adored and honored by Me as well."When Tulasi was propitiated, Saraswati embraced her and seated her by her side.Lakshmi and Ganga also embraced her smiling and took her home. Whoever will adore Tulasi bythe above eight names, pregnant with meaning, viz., Vrinda [one who has thousands of sakhis,associates], Vrinda-vani [one who never leaves Vrindavana], Vishwa-Pavani [sanctifier of thewhole world], Vishwa-Pujita [whole world worships her], Pushpa-sara [essence of all theflowers], Nandini [gives happiness to everyone], Krishna-Jivani [the life and soul of LordKrishna] and Tulasi [one with an incomparable form] will reap the fruits of a horse sacrifice. Thebenefactress Tulasi was born on the lunar day of the full moon in the month of Kartika, henceHari has prescribed this day for her worship. Whosoever will worship her on this day will beredeemed from all sins and go to Vaikuntha. Whoever gives Tulasi leaves cut in reverence toVishnu in the month of Kartika will reap the fruits secured by the gift of ten millions of cows.Nay, the recollection of her hymn gives a son to the sonless, a wife to the wifeless, health to thediseased, liberty to the prisoner, sanctity to the sinner, courage to the frightened and a friend tothe friendless. "O Narada, I told you about her hymn, now listen to the subject relating to her meditationand form of worship. You know the meditation (Dhyana) as mentioned by Kanwa-sakha.Without invoking the goddess, reverentially meditate on her and adore her with sixteeningredients. Now listen to her Dhyana or meditation which destroys sins. 'The chaste Tulasi, thebest of flowers, adorable and lovely, destroys the fuel of sins like a flame of fire, O Muni, she ismost sacred of all the goddesses. Being incomparable she is called Tulasi. I adore the goddesswho is solicited by all; who crowns the head of all; who is known as the consecrator of the world;who gives emancipation and the bondage of Hari; and who has been herself redeemed in herlifetime.' Wise men, after this meditation and worship, should read her eulogies and bow to her."

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