By Sage Pundareeka
[This prayer is addressed to Thulasi (ocimum sanctum) called in English as the sacred Basil. She is also called Vrinda. This plant is considered to be an incarnation of the consort of Lord Vishnu. Devotees believe that if the leaves of Thulasi are offered to Lord Vishnu, he would bless us with all that we want. There are many mythological tales associated with Thulasi. There is more than one mythological version relating to the origin of the Thulasi plant. One is that Sri Lakshmi was born to Dharmadhwaja's wife Madhavi. Her parents named her Tulasi. Being beautiful and virtuous, she was married to Vishnu. Vishnu desired her to cast off her body and stay with him in spirit. Her body then became the river Gandaki. Vishnu's body become the Saaligrama stone and resided in the river. Sri Lakshmi's hair grew into a plant, become the famous Tulasi, an object of worship.* There is also another version. Tulasi was the wife of Jalandhara, a water demon, who caused great suffering to people. Lord Vishnu had to abduct her to kill Jalandhara. Lord Vishnu then lifted the plant to higher level by placing her leaves on His head. It is also said that Vishnu abducted Tulasi to help Shiva kill the demon. Yet another version recites that Sarasvati's curse once turned Lakshmi into a Tulasi plant and forced her to live on the earth causing Vishnu to come down from Heaven and stay near her as the Salagrama. That is why the Salagrama is to be found under the river Gandaki on the bank of which the Sal tree grows and also in the Narmada river from which many Brahmin communities migrated to South India later on. Salagrama being Bhagavan Vishnu's counterpart for Sri Lakshmi's Tulasi, this sacred stone, now considered to be an ammonite fossil, which is also eulogized in the Puranas. There is also a story in Uthara Ramayana about a lady who was doing prayers to become the wife of Vishnu. It seems Ravana tried to molest her. The lady cursed him and jumped in the fire and became Thulasi. This prayer is written by Sage Pundareeka who lived in Thirukdalmallai in Tamil Nadu. It seems he used to worship the Lord with lotus flowers. One day the Lord himself appeared before him in the form of a poor hungry old man. When the sage went to bring food, the old man turned in to the idol of Vishnu and all the lotus flowers he worshipped earlier was on the body of Lord Vishnu’s idol.]
Jagad dhathri namasthubhyam,
Vishoncha Priya vallabhe,
Yathro Brahmadayo deva,
Srushti sthithyantha karina. 1
Salutations to mother of the universe,
Who is the darling wife of Lord Vishnu,
And due to you only, Brahma and others,
Are engaged in creation, upkeep and destruction.
Namas thulasi Kalyani,
Namo Vishnu priye Shubhe,
Namo moksha pradhe devi,
Nama sampath pradhayike. 2
Salutations to the benevolent Thulasi,
Salutations to the holy darling of Vishnu
Salutations to goddess giving salvation,
Salutations to her who grants wealth.
Thulasi pathu maam nithyam,
SArva aapthbhyobhi sarvadha,
Pavithrayathi manavam. 3
Oh Thulasi, daily protect me,
Always from all dangers,
For you make than one holy,
Who sings or thinks about you.
Namami sirasa devim,
Thulasim vilasa thanum,
Yaam drushtwa papinor marthya,
Muchyanthe sarva kil bhishath. 4
I prostrate with my head before the Goddess,
Who gives brightness to our body,
And seeing her, the sinful humans,
Would get rid of all sort of sins.
Thulasya rakshtham sarvam,
Ya vinihanthi paapaani,
Drushtwa ya papibhir narai. 5
Thulasi protects all,
The universe with its movable and immovable,
And when a man who is a sinner,
Sees it, it destroys all his sins,
Nama thulasyathi tharam,
Yasyai bhadwa balim kalou,
Kalayanthi sukham sarvam,
Sthriyo Vaisya thadapare. 6
Salutations to Thulasi the great,
Who removes the bondage of Kali age,
And it blesses with a pleasant life,
To women and the merchant class.
Thulasya naparam kinchith,
Daivatham jagathi thale,
Yaya pavithratho loko,
Vishnu sangena Vaishnava. 7
There is nothing in this world,
As divine as Thulasi,
For it makes the world pure,
And blesses Vaishnavas,
With company of Lord Vishnu.
Thulasya pallavam Vishno,
Seshayamsi vara masthake. 8
In the kali age, If thulasi lea,
Is offered to the head of Vishnu,
It is same thing as receiving,
The blessings of Vishnu on your head.
Thulasyam sakala deva,
Vasanthi sathatham yatha,
Atha stham archaye loke,
Sarvan devan samarchayeth. 9
Always in the Thulasi plant,
All gods live forever,
And so worshipping Thulasi,
Is same as worshipping all devas.
Pahi maam srava paapebhyo,
Sarva sampath pradhayige, 10
Salutations to all knowing Thulasi,
Who is the consort of Lord Vishnu,
Save me from all the sins.
Oh bestower of all sort of wealth.
Ithi stotram pura geetham,
Vishnu marchayatha nithyam,
Shobhanai thulai dalai. 11.
This prayer was composed,
By Pundareeka the able one,
Who worshipped lord Vishnu daily,
By the divine leaf of Thulasi.
Thulasi, sri mahalakshmi,
Vidhya avidhya, yasaswini,
Dharmya dharmanana Devi,
Deva deva mana Priya. 12
Oh Thulasi, Oh Mahalakshmi,
Oh wisdom, Oh ignorance, Oh famous one,
Oh Charity, oh Goddess, Oh she Who makes us give,
The daring of the mind of Lord Vishnu.
Lakshmi, Priya sakhi devi,
Dhyou bhoomir chala achala,
Thulasya keerthayan nara. 13
Oh Mahalakshmi, Oh goddess who is a dear friend,
Oh Goddess, she who is in the mind,
Oh earth, oh movable one, Oh immovable one,
If these sixteen names are sung by men
Labhathe sutharaam bhakthim,
Anthe Vishnu padam Labeth,
Thulasi, bhhor maha Lakshmi,
Padmini, sri hari Priya. 14
They get incomparable devotion.
And at the end reach the place of Vishnu,
Oh Thulasi, Oh earth, Oh Maha Lakshmi,
Oh goddess of lotus, oh Darling of Vishnu
Thulasi, Sri Sakhi, Shubhe,
Papa Harini, punyadhe,
Narayana mana priye. 15
Oh Thulasi, Oh friend of Lakshmi, Oh holy one.
Oh remover of sins, Oh one who blesses with divinity,
Salutations to you who was sung by sage Narada,
Oh darling of the mind of Lord Vishnu.
Ithi Pundareeka krutham Thulasi stotram sampoornam
Thus the Tulasi Stotram composed by Sri Pundarika.