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Tulasi Arati

"In the Skanda Purana there is a statement praising the tulasi tree as follows: "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 Yamaraja [the King of death, who punishes the sinful]. If someone sows a tulasi tree somewhere, certainly he becomes devoted to Lord Krsna. And when the tulasi leaves are offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Krsna, there is the full development of love of Godhead."
In India all Hindus, even those not belonging to the Vaisnava group, take special care of the tulasi tree. Even in great cities where it is very difficult to keep a tulasi tree, people are to be found very carefully keeping this plant. They water it and offer obeisances to it, because worship of the tulasi tree is very important in devotional service.
In the Skanda Purana there is another statement about tulasi, as follows: "Tulasi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about or simply by sowing this tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the tulasi tree in the above-mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world."
- Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 11
Immediately following Mangala-arati, Tulasi-puja is offered. The devotees sing prayers to Tulasi-devi while one devotee offers Her arati, then all circumambulate Tulasi-devi, offering her water. Preferably, arati should also be offered to Tulsi in the evening, just before Sandhya-arati.
Begin Tulasi-arati by offering obeisances to Tulsai-devi, chanting the Tulasi-Pranama mantra three times.
Sri Tulasi Pranama
vrindayai tulasi-devyai
priyayai keshavasya cha
krishna-bhakti-prade devi
satyavatyai namo namaha
vrndayai--unto Vrnda; tulasi-devyai--unto Tulasl Devi; priyayai-- who is dear; kesavasya--to Lord Kesava; ca-and; krsna-bhakti-- devotional service to Lord Krsna, prade--who bestows; devi--O goddess; satya-vatyai--unto Satyavati; namah namah--repeated obeisances.
TRANSLATION
I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vrnda, Srimati Tulasi Devi, who is very dear to Lord Kesava. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Lord Krsna and possess the highest truth.
Next, the devotees sing Sri Tulasi Kirtana while one devotee offers arati to Tulasi-devi with incense, a ghee lamp and flowers. While offering the articles, the devotee offering Tulasi-arati should stand on a mat (asana) and ring a bell with the left hand. Just as when offering other aratis, the hands and paraphernalia should be purified (acamana) with water from pancha-patra. After offering each item, they may be distributed to the devotees.
Sri Tulasi Kirtana
namo namaha tulasi! krishna-preyasi
radha-krishna-seva pabo ei abhilashi
je tomara sharana loy, tara vanchha purna hoy
kripa kori' koro tare brindavana-basi

mor ei abhilash, bilas kunje dio vas
nayane heribo sada jugala-rupa-rashi

ei nivedana dharo, sakhir anugata koro
seva-adhikara diye koro nija dasi

dina krishna-dase koy, ei jena mora hoy
sri-radha-govinda-preme sada jena bhasi
TRANSLATION
O Tulasi, beloved of Krsna, I bow before you again and again. My desire is to obtain the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled. Bestowing your mercy on him, you make him a resident of Vrndavana.
My desire is that you will also grant me a residence in the pleasure groves of Sri Vrndavana-dhama. Thus, within my vision I will always behold the beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krsna.
I beg you to make me a follower of the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the privilege of devotional service and make me your own maidservant.
This very fallen and lowly servant of Krsna prays, ''May I always swim in the love of Sri Radha and Govinda.
When Tulasi-puja Kirtana song is finished, the devotees circumambulate Srimate Tulasi-devi at least four times, offering her water by pouring some at her root. (Water is only offered in the morning, not evening.) Use small spoons to help avoid over watering Her. While circumambulating, chant the Sri Tulasi Pradaksina mantra.
Sri Tulasi Pradaksina Mantra
yani kani cha papani
brahma-hatyadikani cha
tani tani pranashyanti
pradakshinaha pade pade
yani kani--whatever; ca--and; papani--sins; brahma-hatya--killing of a brahmana; adikani--and so on; ca--also, tani tani--all of them; pranasyanti--are destroyed; pradaksinah--(by) the circumambulation (of Tulasi Devi); pade pade--at every step.
TRANSLATION
By the circumambulation of Srimati Tulasi Devi all the sins that one may have committed are destroyed at every step, even the sin of killing a brahmana.
Vrnda devi is a pure devotee of Lord Krsna and is responsible for setting up the wonderful pastimes of Radha and Krsna in Vrndavana. She exists as Tulasi to benefit the fallen conditioned souls by bestowing devotional service to Krsna.
Have the words to the Tulasi arati prayers typed and posted so guests can see them. Encourage all guests to participate in Tulasi-arati. With a little encouragement, they will join in and enjoy themselves. The devotees should always bow down when they see Tulasi-devi, and others will follow in showing her respect.
Tulasi-devi should be kept in a special pot, and the pot should sit upon a stand, up off the floor. When carrying a potted Tulasi plant, it is traditional to honor Her by carrying the pot on one's head. If it's too heavy, carry the pot out in front. For worship, the stand Tulasi-devi sits on should be high enough so the base of the plant is above the waist of the devotee offering arati. If it is not possible to keep a live Tulasi plant, one may offer worship to a picture of Tulasi-devi.
For one who is Tulasi's servant, that responsibility enters into all the different aspects of Her existence. You must see that She is being maintained properly, that Her leaves are always offered in a clean and fresh manner, and that all the devotees are given the opportunity to worship Her. Make Tulasi-devi some skirts to fit around Her pot, particularly when She is being offered arati. If Tulasi is very close to, or on the altar, make sure that no candles or ghee lamps are placed close enough to burn her leaves. Use incense sparingly as it tends to make Her sick if burned continually. Garlands left for more than a day will mold and attract bugs, so if Tulasi is nearby, she will be affected.
While in Detroit, Srila Prabhupada asked, "Where is Tulasi?". When She was brought in, Srila Prabhupada put His garland around Her and had Her placed on the altar, saying "Mother Tulasi is so kind. Treat Her as you would any of Krsna's pure devotees."

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