Tulasi Glorification – Sri Naradiya Purana
Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya of the Sri Naradiya Purana, Chapter 18
Translation from the Tulasyamrta by HH B.V. Madhava Swami
Swāmī, Bhakti Viśrambha Mādhava. Tulasyamṛta, The Nectar of Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī. Vrindāvan: Author, 2012. Print.
The Glories of Tulasī Devī From The Śrī Nāradīya Purāṇa
A little boy who is a devotee of the Supreme Lord is superior to a man who has lived a very long but useless life. No other tree even of great importance can be compared to Srimati Tulasi Devi. Lord Hari rejects a garland of parijata flowers, but he happily accepts Srimati Tulasi Devi, who is very dear to him. How is it that she could be counted among creepers? Please hear an old story in connection with the importance of Srimati Tulasi Devi.
There was a certain foolish, twice-born who supported himself by farming and disrespected spiritual practice. Once he, who was desirous of collecting rice and liked to eat boiled rice that was left overnight, set forth from his home taking a sickle and rope with him. At dawn that physically strong man, having gone to the forest, collected rice-crop from the ground. Roaming there in search of green vegetables he saw the immensely auspicious forest of Srimati Tulasi Devi. It resembled an emerald adorned in gold and due to the tenderness of the plants it was very pleasing to the mind. He greedily thought: “If this Srimati Tulasi Devi proves edible for either men or cows then I shall be lucky. I will collect it. Nevertheless, after having collected a little, today I shall give it to my neighbor who desires it. He may want to use it for some purpose.”
By divine arrangement, this was the moment when his predestined duration of life was to come to an end. Invisible to him, the servants of the Lord of Death approached a snake situated nearby and spoke as follows, “O black snake! Bite him quickly. This lowest amongst the twice-born deserves to be bitten by you. He should not touch Srimati Tulasi Devi, for if he does then we shall have no power over him.” Thus quickly instructed, the snake approached the twice-born farmer. By divine influence, although not knowing what was going on, the farmer touched Srimati Tulasi Devi just a short moment before the snake approached him.
Because of having touched Srimati Tulasi Devi, Sudarshana Chakra, the disk weapon of Lord Vishnu, appeared for the protection arranged by the Lord and, remaining invisible, it followed the twice-born, protecting him in all respects. Just before this moment, the snake quickly hid inside the heavy bundle of grass that the twice-born was to carry. He firmly tied the bundle of grass and prepared to leave the forest. In order to kill the twice-born as soon as he releases Srimati Tulasi Devi, the spying servants of Yamaraja followed him. Not knowing what had happened, the twice-born, lifting the bundle of grass along with the snake, went home surrounded afar by Yamaraja’s servants who were afraid of the dazzling disk.
This wonder was beheld at the gate of the house by a worshiper of Lord Krishna who possessed divine vision. He was amazed, “Why Srimati Tulasi Devi is there?” Out of curiosity he asked the followers of Yamaraja about the meaning of all that he saw. They offered obeisances to him and explained what happened and the reason for sudarsana disk’s protection of the twice-born.
The Yamadutas informed the Vaisnava Brahmana, “After the vipra puts down the grass bundle and if he perchance moves far away from Srimati Tulasi Devi, the snake may be able to bite him bringing about his death. And then we shall bring him to the abde of Yamaraja.” Then out of compassion towards him (the twice-born farmer) this Brahman began considering the ways of serving him. This sage thus addressed the followers of the intendant of death as if he were ignorant,
“O great souls, O merciful messengers of the Lord of Death who punishes the sinful, please tell me of the means to save this twice-born. Truly, Sudarshana Chakra the disk of Lord Vishnu, will not protect him if perchance he releases Srimati Tulasi Devi. You generous persons, out of kindness to me, told me about the danger of the snake. Srimati Tulasi Devi was brought for the sake of successful performance of my personal worship of the Lord. So I beg you to protect him.”
Then the messengers of the Lord of Death said, “O Lord, what is the use of our mercy? Just out of respect towards you, we the servants of death, would run away. Within an hour and a half from now, his destined duration of life will be complete and he will die of a snake bite. But your worshipable Lord, the all pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, who longs for receiving an offering of Srimati Tulasi Devi, can protect that foolish twice-born. Lord Vishnu constantly remains in the forest of Srimati Tulasi Devi, eagerly thinking, ‘Will any fortunate person offer me just one leaf?’ If, staying there in the forest of Srimati Tulasi Devi, he would offer a leaf of Srimati Tulasi Devi to the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, Lord Vishnu, then the Lord’s personal weapon at that very moment would undoubtedly burn us into ashes. We have no power over anyone, pious or sinful, who worships Lord Hari with Srimati Tulasi Devi. At the time of death he is carried away by the messenger of Lord Vishnu. We do not know for what reason Lord Hari, who is so dear to Srimati Tulasi Devi, protects anyone who carries Tulasi Devi in his hands. If you intend this twice-born to be always protected then you should at once perform worship of Srimati Tulasi Devi for expanding the duration of his life.”
Thus addressed he happily did as was explained, and by that he protected the twice-born. Then two of them could see both the servants of Yamaraja and the snake leaving the place. Then this Vaisnava informed that foolish twice-born of what happened, went together with him to a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Vishnu and worshiped Him for the pleasure of Srimati Tulasi Devi. Having worshiped Him these two Vaishnavas attained supreme perfection.