“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the tulasi tree, which can immediately vanquish volumes of sinful activities. Simply by seeing or touching this tree one can become relieved from all distresses and diseases. Simply by offering obeisances to and pouring water on the tulasi tree, one can become freed from the fear of being sent to the court of Yamaraj [the King of death, who punishes the sinful]. If someone sows a tulasi tree somewhere, certainly he becomes devoted to Lord Krishna. And when the tulasi leaves are offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Krishna, there is the full development of love of Godhead.” (The Nectar Of Devotion quoting the Skanda Purana)
1. Freed of distresses and diseases
It is a familiar sight in the home of a Vaishnava. Someone who worships the personal God, the one who can be seen. The formless is based on the form, after all. The individual is the anchor, the frame of reference. He is a person, and He extends throughout the entire universe in the avyakta-murtina, which can be translated as “impersonal form.”
The individual speaks. He gives recommendations. He provides a location for His fixed residence. He reveals ways that He can be pleased, though He begins with a neutral disposition towards everyone. This means that no one automatically incurs the wrath of God.
समो ऽहं सर्व-भूतेषु
न मे द्वेष्यो ऽस्ति न प्रियः
ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या
मयि ते तेषु चाप्य् अहम्
samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)
See or touch a special tree. Known as tulasi, it is actually a devi, which is a goddess. She is dear to Vishnu, and so she is dear to those who worship Vishnu. A person may be fully engaged with the illusory energy known as maya. They may forget God for ninety-nine percent of the day.
Yet just by seeing tulasi, which they keep in their home, there is relief from distresses and disease. Notice the tree for a moment and remember just how dear the devotees are to Vishnu. Touch the tree and release the amazing benefits of association with those connected to the Divine.
2. Freed from the fear of being sent to Yamaraja’s court
Something like the grim reaper or presiding officer at judgment day, Yamaraja is the god of justice. His position is described in Vedic literature. Ironically, he is also known as Dharmaraja. Follow the ways of ideal life and there is no worry.
But slip up to a certain extent and there is guaranteed punishment. Just exactly how severe will be determined in the court. This is only fair. If I have done something wrong to someone else, I may be able to slip past the watchful eye of the government. They are flawed to an extent. Sometimes the guilty get away with crimes.
Yamaraja ensures that the proper rewards and punishments arrive in due course. The spirit soul lives on. There will be a next life. The deeds from this experience influence the type of existence moving forward.
By offering water to the tulasi plant, a person can rest assured that Yamaraja will not bother them. There will be no judgment day since the devotional act carries the protection of Vishnu.
The story to illustrate this concept is Ajamila. He accidentally called the name of Vishnu at the moment of death. The attendants of Yamaraja were ready to carry him away, but they were intercepted by the Vishnuduttas. They came to the scene since they heard the devotional plea, even if it wasn’t intentional.
3. Becomes a devotee of Krishna
There is something superior to escaping punishment from Yamaraja. When I am healthy again, freed from disease and fear, I still need something to do. There has to be an engagement, and it must not carry any risk of future punishment.
This highest engagement is Krishna-consciousness. Worship of the personal God, Vishnu, in His all-attractive form of Shri Krishna. There are many ways to become a devotee, and one of the easiest is to sow a tulasi plant. Set one up in a specific location and give the chance for so many to benefit.
4. Full development of love of Godhead
This is the highest achievement of an existence. Once there is full love for God, there is no concern over life and death, heaven and hell, rich or poor, or healthy or sick. This is because the devotee knows that wherever they are, the Supreme Lord is with them. There is always the chance to at least chant the holy names and connect: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Through offering tulasi leaves at the lotus feet of Shri Krishna this love can easily develop. In these ways and more that sacred plant is so beneficial. Bhagavan has made devotional life very simple and straightforward. It is available to every person to take up.
If through bad habits straying,
Fixed through simply praying.
If from dharma’s standards to depart,
Devotional life easy to start.
A tulasi plant just sow,
Nourishment allowing to grow.
So that to Vishnu and devotees connected,
From Yamaraja’s attendants protected.
Categories: the four