(The Glory of the Tulasi)

By Sitaramdas Omkarnath

नारद उवाच
साम्प्रतं श्रोतुमिच्छामि तुलस्या:
परमाद्भुतम् ।
माहात्म्यमपि संक्षेपादु रुद्राक्षस्य शिवस्य वै ॥
महादेव संक्षेपादनुशाधि मे ।।

Preceptor. - My son ! I am delighted to find you increasingly inquisitive about the spiritual potency of Tulasi. Let me now relate the account of Tulasi's spiritual efficacy in Sri Maha Bhagavat.

Narada said 'O Mahadev ! I am now eager to know about Tulasi's spiritual efficacy and be told in a nut shell, about the spiritual value of rudraksha, Siva and worship. Do please enlighten me.'

श्रीमहादेव उवाच
तुलस्याः शृणु माहात्म्यं संक्षेपेण महामते ।
यच्छ्र त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो नरो मुक्तिमवाप्नुयात् ॥
तुलसीद्रुमरूपस्तु भगवान् पुरुषोत्तमः ।।
सर्वलोक परित्राता विश्वात्मा विश्वपालकः ॥

Said Lord Mahadev, 'O you of mighty mind ! Listen in brief, to Tulasi's spiritual merit : to hear of it is enough for a man to be rid of every sin. God Himself who is the Supreme Being. the soul of the universe, its protector, saviour of every creature-he verily, has assumed the form of the Tulasi plant.

दर्शनातू स्पर्शनान्नामकीर्तनाद्धारणादपि ।
प्रदानात् पापसंही नराणां तुलसी सदा ।।
प्रातरुत्थाय सुनातो यः पश्येत् तुलसीद्रुमम् ।
स सव्वतीर्थ संदृष्टि फलमाप्नोत्य संशयम ।।
दृष्टा गदाधरं देवं क्षेत्रे श्रीपुरुषोत्तमे।
यत् पुण्यं समवाप्नोति तुलसीदर्शनाच्च तत् ।। "

To see Tulasi, to touch it, to sing its Name, to wear it, to offer it at God's feet chastens man of every sin.

He who sees a Tulasi plant after a decent bath in the morning is sure to obtain the fruit of visiting every place of pilgrimage.

The spiritual merit that comes from a visit to Lord Jagannath in that sacred place which is called Sri Purushottam Keshetra (shrine of the Supreme ) can be obtained by just a sight of Tulasi

दिनं तच्च शुभं प्रोक्त तुलसी यत्र दृश्यते ।
न तत्र जायते तस्य विपत्तिः कुत्र चिन्न ने ॥
अपि जन्मान्तरे कृतं पापमत्यन्तगर्हितम् ।
विनश्तति मुनिश्रेष्ठ तुलसीवृक्षदर्शनात् ॥
अशुचिर्वा शुचिर्वापि यः स्पृशेत् तुलसीदलम् ।
सर्वपाप विनिमुक्तस्तत्क्षणात् शुद्धतामियात् ॥
प्रयाति च पदं विष्णो रन्ते देव सुदुर्लभम् ।
तुलसीस्पर्शनं स्नानं तुलसीस्पर्शणां तपः ।
तुलसीस्पर्शणां मुक्तिः तुलसीस्पर्शणां ब्रतम् ॥
प्रदक्षिणी कृता येन तुलसी मुनिसत्तम ।
कृतप्रदक्षिण स्तेन विष्णुः साक्षान्न संशयः ॥

"The day one sees Tulasi is reputed to be a sacred day. Even the most abominable of sins committed in the previous existence is destroyed at the sight of a Tulasi plant.

He who touches Tulasi leaves, no matter whether he is pure or impure is at once purged of every sin and is instantly rendered pure. Finally, he passes on to the abode of Vishnu which is so hard to attain. Touching Tulasi is ablution; touching Tulasi is tapasya ; touching Tulasi is mukti ; touching Tulasi is brata.

O Great Sage! He who circumambulates Tulasi, circumambulates God Himself. There can be no doubt about it.

Disciple. - Yes, sir. To touch Tulasi is to acquire sattva guna by virtue of which one is made pure.

Preceptor.- Thus by constant sight and touch one can reside permanently in sattva guna; otherwise he who serves Tulasi acquires sattva guna for the time being

तुलसी प्रणमेद् यस्तु भक्त्या मानवसत्तमः ।
स याति विष्णोः सायुज्यं न पुनः प्रपतेक्षितौ ॥

That great man who bows before Tulasi with reverence attains intimate association with Vishnu; he has not to be reborn on earth.

तुलसोकाननं यत्र तत्र साताजनाहनः ।
लक्ष्मीसरस्वती युक्तो मोदते मुनिसत्तम ।।
यत्रविष्णुजगन्नाथः सर्वदेवमयः प्रभुः ।
तत्राहं सह रुद्राण्या सांवित्र्या च प्रजापतिः ।।
तस्मात्तत् परमं स्थानं देवानामपि दुर्लभम् ।
यो गच्छेत् स बजेद् विष्णोवैकुण्ठ नगरं मुने ॥
स्नात्वा प्रमाज्जयेत् यस्तु तत् क्षेत्रं पापनाशनम् ।
सोऽपि पाप विनिर्मक्तः स्वर्ग लोकमवाप्नुयात् ।।

O Great Sage! Where there is a Tulasi grove, Vishnu dwells with joy along with Luxmi and Saraswati ; where Vishnu, Lord of the Universe and embodiment of all Gods dwells, I too abide with Rudrani and Brahma remains with Savitri. So that supremely holy spot is hard of access even for Gods. O Sage ! He who goes there goes to the city of Vaikuntha rid of sin and passes on to Heaven.

यः कुर्यात्तुलसीमूलमृदा तिलकमुत्तमम् ।
कपाले कण्ठदेशे च कर्णयोः कवचद्वयः ॥
ब्रह्मरन्ध्रे हृदि पृष्ठे पार्श्व योर्नाभिदेशके।
स पुण्यात्मा मुनिश्रेष्ठ विज्ञेयो वैष्णवोत्तमः ॥
तुलसी पुष्पवृन्दन पूजयेद् यो जनाईनम् ।
सोऽप्युक्तो वैष्णव श्रेष्ठः सर्व पाप विवर्जितः ॥
वैशाखे कार्तिके माघे प्रातः स्नात्वा विधानतः ।
यो ददाति सुरेशाय विष्णवे परमात्मने।

O Greatest of Sages! That sacred soul is indeed the Vaishnava of Vaishnavas who paints well with marks of tilak his forehead, throat, ears. navel, the centre of the head, heart, the two sides and the navel region with the earth that is the root of a Tulasi plant. He too is described as a Vaishnava of vaishnavas purged of every sin who worships Vishnu with flowers of Tulasi. Unending is the spiritual merit obtained by a man who in the month of Vaisakh, Kartik and Magh baths in the early hours of the morning and offers Tulasi leaves to Vishnu, the Lord of Gods and the Supreme soul.

गवामयुतदानस्य वाजपेय शतस्य च।
यत् फलं तत् समाप्नोति कार्तिके पूजयन हरिम् ।।
तुलसी पत्रकस्तद्वत्तुलसी पुष्पकैरपि ।
तुलसीकानने यस्तु जगन्नाथं समच्चयेत् ।।
महाक्षेत्र कृतायाश्च पूजायाः फलमाप्लुयात् ।।

-Worship of Hari in the month of Kartik yields the fruit of offering ten thousand cows as gifts and of performing a hundred vajpeya sacrifices. He who worships the Lord with Tulasi leaves or with Tulasi flowers in a grove of Tulasi plants receives the fruit of worship performed in the holiest of all holy places.

तुलसीरहितं नैव कम्म कुर्याद् विचक्षणः।
कुर्वन्न कम्मणस्तस्य सम्यक् फलमवाप्नुयात् ।।
तुलसी रहिता सन्ध्या कालातीतेव निष्फला ।।

- The wise man should perform no pious work without Tulasi ; in case he does, he wont have the full benefit of the performance. Sandhya without Tulasi is as fruitless as Sandhya performed after the proper hour,

तुलसी वृन्दमध्ये तु निर्माय हरिमन्दिरम्।
तृणे नेष्टकवृन्दैव्वा तत्र यः स्थापयेद्ध रिम् ।।
नियतं सेवनासक्तः स हरेः साम्यतामियात् ।
यस्तु तुलमीवृक्षं विष्णुरूपं विभाव्य च ।
त्रिधैवं प्रणमेन्मच्यः स तस्य समतां व्रजेत् ॥ ,br> नमस्ते देव देवेश सुरासुर जगद्गुरो।
त्राहि मां घोरसंसारान्नमस्तेऽस्तु सदा मम ।।
यस्तु श्रीतुलसी मर्त्यः प्रणमेत्तारिणी धिया।
त्रिधा प्रदक्षिणीकृय सप्तधारा महामते ।
मन्नानेन सद्भत्त्या स तरेद् घोर संसारात् ।।

-He who installs Hari in a temple built with stones or bricks in the midst of Tulasi plants is a man devoted exclusively to Hari: he attains equality with Hari. That man who to special degree, looks upon a Tulasi plant as the embodiment of Hari and bows with body, mind and speech attains equality with Him, O God of Gods! O Preceptor of Gods and Asuras alike, and of the universe itself, I bow to you; rescue me from dreadful material attachment; I bow always to Thee'- he who circumambulates Tulasi three or seven times, with this mantra, knowing the sacred Tulasi as the Saviour Herself escapes material attachment.

त्रैलोक्य निस्तार परायणे शिवे
यथव गङ्गा सरितां वरा स्वयम् ।।
तथैव लोकत्रय पावनार्थम् ।
द्रुमेषु साक्षात्तुलसी स्वरूपिनी ॥
त्वं ब्रह्माविष्णु प्रमुखैः सुरोत्तमैः
पुरार्चिता विश्वपवित्र हेतवे।
जाता धरण्यां जगदेक वन्धै
नमामि भक्त्या तुलसी प्रसीद ।।

- O Benign Goddess engaged in delivering the three worlds ! Just as the Ganga that purifies the three worlds is the foremost among rivers, so art Thou among trees and plants, for Thou too maketh the three worlds pure. Thou hadst formerly been adored by the greatest Gods headed by Brahma and Vishnu. O Thou that alone art adorable in the world ! Thou hast been born on earth to render the universe pure; I bow to Thee with reverence; be pleased unto me.

एवं ये प्रणमन्त्येनं प्रत्यहं मुनिसत्तम ।
तस्य सर्व्वोर्थदा देवी यत्र कुत्रापि तिष्ठतः ।।
तुलसी सर्व्व देवानां परमप्रीति वर्द्धिनी।
सर्व्व देवाधिसंस्थानं यत्रास्ते तुलसीवनम् ।।
पितरोऽपि परं प्रोत्या वसन्ते तुलसीवने।
अवश्यं तुलसी देया पितृदेवार्चनादिषु ।।
अदत्वा मनुजैः सम्यङन कर्मफलमाप्यते।
विष्णोस्त्रैलोक्यनाथम्य पितृणाञ्च विशेषतः ।।
सर्व्वषामेव देवानां देवीनाञ्च महामते ।
परम प्रीतिदाज्ञेया तुलसी लोकमुक्तिदा।।
तस्माद्धि तुलसी देया देवे पैत्र्ये च कर्मणि।
यत्रास्ति तुलसीवृक्षस्तत्र भागीरथी स्वयम् ।।
तीर्थैः समस्तैः सहिता वसतिं कुरुते सदा॥
तस्मात्तत्र मुनिश्रेष्ठ देहं सत्यजतां नृणाम् ।
गङ्गायां मरणे यादृक् फलं स्यात्ताटगेव हि ।।

- ‘O Greatest of Sages! Thou who bow to Tulasi in this way receive whatever they may care for from Goddess Tulasi, no matter where they live. Tulasi adds supremely to the delight of all Gods. Where there is a Tulasi grove is the abode of all Gods. The departed fathers too dwell with great joy in a grove of 'Tulasi plants. Tulasi must be offered to the fathers when they are worshipped. A deed does not bear ample fruit unless tulasi is offered in course of it. O great of intellect! Tulasi that grant deliverance to the universe is the source of supreme delight, you know of Vishnu who is the Lord of the three worlds, of the departed fathers in particular and of all Gods and Goddesses. That's why tulasi bas to be offered in every ceremony pertaining to the Gods and to the departed fathers.

Where stands a Tulasi plant, the Bhagirathi (i.e. Ganges) too abides for ever there along with every place of pilgrimage. That's why, o greatest of sages! Persons who die there receive the benefit that accrues from death in (or by ) the Ganges.

धात्री वृक्षश्च चेत्तत्र वर्तते बहुभाग्यतः।
तदाधिकतरं ज्ञेयं स्थलं तद् बहु पुण्यदम् ॥
तत्र देहभृतां देह परित्यागानहामुने।
अज्ञानतोऽपि मुक्ति: स्यात् सत्यं सत्यं न संशयः॥
एतयोः सन्निधौ यत्र विल्ववृक्षोऽपि विद्यते ।
ततस्थानं हि महातीर्थ सक्षाद वाराणसी समम् ।।
तत्र सम्पूजयेच्छेम्भोर्देव्या विष्णोश्च भावतः ।
वहु पुण्यप्रदं ज्ञेयं महापातक नाशनम ॥
तत्रैकं विल्वपत्रं यो महेशाय निवेदयेत् ।।
तथा विष्णुं सुसम्पूज्य तुलस्यामलकीदलैः ।।
प्रयाति विष्णु साखुज्यं सत्यमेव महामते ।
न पुनर्जन्म चाप्नोति तत् क्षेत्रस्य प्रभावतः ।।
इत्युक्तं ते मुनिश्रेष्ठ माहात्म्यं वै समासतः ।
य इदं शृणुयान्नित्यं सोऽपि स्वर्गमवाप्नुयात् ।।

- If in that place by great good fortune there happens to be a Dhatri tree, that holy place comes to be holier still. O great sage! Even if men die there in an unconscious state, they meet with salvation. It is true, true, true. There is no doubt about it. Where beside these two trees stand too the Bael tree, is a grand place of pilgrimage, comparable to Varanasi itself. Devout worship there of Sambhu, Devi and Vishnu destroys the deadly sins and results in manifold spiritual merit. He who offers there a single Bael leaf to Siva and similarly worships Vishnu with Tulasi and Amloki leaves, does in fact attain association with Vishnu; O great of intellect ! thanks to the spiritual virtue of that sacred spot, he is not born again. O Greatest of Sages ! Briefly I speak of Tulası's sanctity. Even he who listens to it goes to Heaven. Have you listened, my son, to the spiritual glory of Tulasi?

Disciple. I am gratified.