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Why Do We Worship Tulasī Devī?

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Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, Utkalikā-vyallarī, Text 4
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpadrumaḥ, Text 89
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpadrumaḥ, Text 90
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Śrī Vṛndādevy-aṣṭakam, Text 6

Our ācāryas explain that is by her mercy that we may be able to enter into Vṛndāvan, that it is by her mercy that we can desire to desire to serve the Divine Young Couple and their servants. Our ācāryas pray thus:

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī’s Utkalikā-vyallarī Text 4

hṛdi cira-vasad-āśā-maṇḍalālambi-pādau
guṇavati tava nāthau nāthituṁ jantur eṣaḥ sapadi
bhavad-anujñāṁ yācate devi vṛnde
mayi kira karuṇārdrāṁ dṛṣṭim atra prasīda

“O merciful qualified Vṛnda, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are your Mistress and Lord. I have carried the desire to see Them in my heart for so long, and only by your grace, this desire can be fulfilled. Please cast a merciful glance upon me. Be kind upon me.”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpadrumaḥ Text 89

he śrī-tulasy-uru-kṛpā-dyu-taraṅginī tvaṁ
yan-mūrdhni me caraṇa-paṅkajam ādadhāḥ svam
yac cāham apy apibam ambu manāk tadīyaṁ
tan me manasy udayam eti manoratho ’yam

“O Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī, O celestial river of mercy, it is because I once placed my head at your lotus feet and drank some drops of water that washed your lotus feet, that these desires (to serve Rādhā Kṛṣṇa and their devotees) have risen in my heart.”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpadrumaḥ Text 90

kvāhaṁ paraḥ śata-nikṛty-anuviddha-cetāḥ
saṅkalpa eṣa sahasā kva sudurlabhārthe
ekā kṛpaiva tava mām ajahāty upādhi-
śūnyaivam antum adadhāty agater gatir me

“O Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī, how low I am, my heart pierced by hundreds of offences! How exalted and difficult to attain is my aspiration! Your causeless mercy is my only hope. It is by Your mercy that I, who am so fallen, can have these desires and thoughts.”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s Śrī Vṛndādevy-aṣṭakam Text 6

rāsābhilāṣo vasatiś ca vṛndā vane tvad-īśāṅghri-saroja-sevā
labhyā ca puṁsāṁ kṛpayā tavaiva vṛnde namas te caraṇāravindam

“O Vṛnda Devī, I offer my respectful obeisances to your lotus feet. The living entities who attain the service of the lotus feet of your Lord reside in Vṛndāvana. And the desire to understand the Lord’s amazing pastimes of the rasa dance is only by your mercy.”

The mood in which Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava’s worship Tulasī Devī is not one of exploiting her for benedictions, to become freed from our sins, out of sentiment, or worship out of awe and reverence. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas worship Tulasī Devī begging for service to the servants of the servants of the Divine Young Couple. Tulasī Devī bestows service and devotion to anyone who comes in contact with her, all of her children, whether they want it or not. She gives her special favor to those who serve her and take shelter of her, she opens her own heart to those who open their heart to her. It is said that service to Tulasī Devī is 50% perspiration and 50% āśraya (dependency). Anyone who has worked hard for her and taken shelter of her can tell you that She is a person, a divine, pure person, who loves you and cares for you

Our lives are imbued with Tulasī Devī’s mercy, let us together open our eyes and really try to see how she is helping us, and in return, let’s try to do some service for her. In future articles these topics will be covered in greater detail, such as why she comes in the form of a plant, how does she give her mercy, who is she gives her mercy to, more about her mood, etc.