How to see Vrindavan?


दिव्यद्वृन्दारण्य कल्पद्रुमाधः
श्रीमदरत्नागार सिंहासनस्थौ |
श्रीमद् राधा श्रीलगोविन्ददेवौ
प्रेष्ठालीभिः सेव्यमानौ स्मरामि || 

preṣṭālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi

“In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them.”

So description of Vrindavan, Vrindavan and Radhā and Krishna situated there. The  Vrindavan … Vana means forest, and vṛnda means tulasī. Mostly there are tulasī plants and other trees also, but all the trees are living desire trees, spiritual. They can serve Krishna in any way, desire. They have become trees by their voluntary desire. They’re all spiritual beings—there is no force—but everyone has got a particular tendency to serve  Krishna in a different way.

So these trees and plants, they are also living beings. They are not ordinary living beings, but they have decided to serve  Krishna by supplying fruits and flowers. They want that service. Everyone has got his particular propensity. So someone is serving as the land there, someone is serving as the throne, someone is serving as the supplying agent of fruits and flowers, someone is engaged in His service as the gopis, confidential servitors. The cows, calves, everything—they are all different living entities. They are not made of these material things, material body. 

Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir yaeva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ [Bs. 5.37]. They are all also expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. In one sense they are also  Krishna; they are not different from  Krishna. Śakti-śaktimatayor abheda: “The power and the powerful, they are not different, identical.” Just like the sun and the sunshine. So in the sun globe there is heat and light, and the sunshine, there is heat and light. So, so far heat and light is concerned, they are one. Similarly,  Krishna and Krishna’s pleasure potency, ānanda-cinmaya, ahlādinī… It is already described, rādhākṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmāt.

So whatever description is there of Vrindavan, that is expansion of Krishna’s pleasure potency. They are not different. Therefore in the beginning it is said, dīvyad, “shining,” or “divine,” “transcendental.” So we should not consider Vrindavan ordinary forest. Here we have got Vrindavan on this planet. That is also not ordinary forest. The exactly the same Vrindavan as it is Goloka  Vrindavan … There is no difference. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says that

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo, śrī-vṛndāvana

Viṣaya chāḍiyā. Our present position is that we are materially diseased, so we have to become free from the material disease. Material disease means sense gratification, and the most formidable disease is sex. This is called material disease. So viṣaya chāḍiyā. We have to be, become free from the contamination of viṣaya, material enjoyment. This is the statement of Narottama dasa Thakura.

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-vṛndāvana

When my mind will be cleansed of all material desires, then I shall be able to see what is  Vrindavan.” It is very difficult to see  Vrindavan with material desires. Bhakti means the first qualification is to become free from all material desires. (Then we will be able to see Vrindavan)

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 9th April, 1975, Mayapur)

Why has Krishna allowed His dham to deteriorate, Srila Prabhupada?” Gurudas asks.
“It has not deteriorated,” he replies.
“Well, you just said that the Goswami temples were neglected.”
“That’s a fact. But Vrindavan has not deteriorated.”
“Most Americans would be shocked to see what I saw this morning,” I say.
“How’s that?” Prabhupada asks.
“Well, for one, they’d consider it unhygienic.”
“Just see. For a materialist, everything is topsy-turvy because his vision is perverted. Beauty and ugliness are in the eye of the seer.”
“But what’s this veneer covering the holy dham?”
The ugliness that you see here is yoga-maya,” Prabhupada says. “It’s Krishna’s covering. Vrindavan appears this way to drive away the atheists and impersonalists, just as New York attracts them. For a devotee, this Vrindavan is as good as Krishna’s transcendental abode in the spiritual sky-Goloka Vrindavan. But you must have the eyes to see.”

(Vrindavan Days, Chapter 5)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Tulasi Care

Hare Krishna.

28th November, 2016. Gurgaon

Back to Godhead - Volume 10, Number 01 - 1975


We can understand how pure is the service which Tulasi offers to Sri Krsna. So we should always endeavor after becoming the servant of Tulasi devi. I do not know who has taught you that part of a Tulasi plant may be cut off and then replanted? From the Tulasi plant you can cut off only leaves for offering them to Krsna, never for cutting and planting. That is an offence. The manjaris (seeds) can be offered in water and it makes the water fragrant and tasteful. And the manjaris can be planted for growing new Tulasi plants. Yes, the prayer you have enclosed is bona fide. Tulasi devi never goes back to Godhead, she is always with Godhead. She is a pure devotee and thus she has appeared on this planet to render service to Krsna by being offered in all temples throughout the world by being offered up to the lotus feet of Krsna.”

(SPL to Radhaballabha dasa, January 6th, 1972)

There are few things as heart breaking as when a devotee’s Tulasi plant dries up. As the winter approaches in India, we should be more careful in our service towards Tulasi. We can take some basic precautions

  1. Making sure that she is not left out in the hard winter of North India. Try keep her under some shade, so she does not get too cold dew falling on her, or build a temporary shade for winter.
  2. We can bring her inside the house in the night, if making a shade is not practical for some of us. In that case please bring her outside during day time to get some sunlight.
  3. Please water her carefully, not too much (leaves turn black) or too less. Please keep a sharp eye on the soil and water accordingly,
  4. It is a good practice to give her a mild bath on a sunny afternoon. We can mix a little natural soap (free from animal fat) in water and spray on her leaves. After an hour or so we can spray normal water and we will immediately see the difference on her leaves. This also prevents breeding of insects on her leaves.
  5.  In case we see insects breed under her leaves then we can mix pure neem oil (8-10 drops in 500ml water) with the soap, as described above,  Spray fresh water after 1-2 hours.
  6. Besides daily singing her pranam mantra and arti, it might be a good practice to pray to her daily to remain healthy, seeking forgiveness for all the offenses we might be committing in her daily service and still requesting her to kindly inspire in our heart how to serve her best.

I’m copying some questions a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada on Tulasi and his answers via letter in 1965.

  • Q: Is each Tulasi a separate jiva soul or an expansion of one pure devotee?
  • A: Tulasi is one devotee who appears wherever there is devotion to Kåñëa.
  • Q: Where does her spirit soul go when she leaves this body?
  • A: Tulasi’s body is spiritual.
  • Q: When tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, must two aratis still be offered?
  • A: If possible
  • Q: When tulasi is being cared for by householders in their homes, may they use her leaves and manjaris on their home offerings or should they take them to the temple?
  • A: Tulasi leaves should be offered to the Deity.
  • Q: When tulasi is being offered arati by the householders, must she have a ghee lamp?
  • A: If possible
  • Q: Is it offensive to turn the baby tulasis back into the soil when they appear?
  • A: Yes
  • Q: There are even questions concerning tulasi’s aratis. We have always offered her incense, ghee lamp, and a flower. Is this correct?
  • A: Yes
  • Q: In the manual, it states that tulasi should not be pruned. Does this mean trimming the branches which no longer have leaves or life fluids flowing through them?
  • A: You may cut the dead branches, but what is the necessity?
  • Q: We were told you once spoke the “four regulative principles of tulasi care” which will keep her from getting sick: (a) keep her moist; (b) keep her clean; (c) give her morning sunlight (at least); (d) give her two aratis a day. Is this bona fide?
  • A: I never said that
  • Q: May tulasi be made into a tea after she has been offered?
  • A: No
  • Q: May devotees carve tulasi wood for Deity paraphernalia?
  • A: Yes
  • Q: When tulasi leaves her body and the body is too soft for carving beads, how should she be used? Should a small fire sacrifice be performed?
  • A: Use the wood for beads as far as possible, the balance may be placed within the earth.
  • Q: We have a letter from you requesting that no sprays be used on Tulasi-devé . May we use a spray of buttermilk and whole wheat flour dissolved in water which coats her leaves to keep spider mites from causing tulasi to leave her body?
  • A: I said no chemical sprays
  • Q: Does tulasi sleep? Should she be left undisturbed after nightfall?
  • A: Undisturbed means what?
  • Q: Is it permissible to use scissors to cut her manjaris, and when transplanting, to use knives to loosen her from her pot?
  • A: Use common sense and if you have none then consult with others
  • Q: Is it an offense to step on or across her shadow (or the shadow of any pure devotee)?
  • A: No
  • Q: For two years we have been waiting permission to use the following two prayers plus translations and a translation of the already existing prayer. Please tell us if these are bona fide. (I haven’t copied them here)
  • A: Don’t try to introduce something new. The most important thing is the love and devotion.

 HH Satsvarupa Maharaj commented as below on the above Q & A in his book Srila Prabhupada Nectar.

Devotees will probably always continue to inquire how they may increase or improve the performance of Deity worship and their other service activities. Prabhupäda gives some important guidelines here when he writes, “Don’t try to introduce something new. The most important thing is the love and devotion.” Not simply by adding more mantras and more paraphernalia do we increase the standard of devotion. At the same time, Prabhupäda gradually introduced more of the temple activities as time went by and he saw that the devotees were able to do it. As far as possible, we should try to gather Prabhupäda’s authoritative instructions and follow them, such as this valuable collection of advice about tulasé worship.

Vidyä-devé däsé was impelled by her devotion to tulasé to ask Prabhupäda many questions about her worship, but Prabhupäda, by his short replies, reminds us that even on a practical basis, tulasé is kept alive and well by the love and devotion of her worshipers. That is the main ingredient.

Pundarika: I remember one time I was in Mayapur in 1976 and was serving as a pujari. One day I was collecting tulasi manjaris from the tulasi plants that grew around the temple. All of a sudden Prabhupada’s servant yelled down, “Pundarika, come upstairs. Srila Prabhupada wants to talk to you. Come right now.” When I got there Prabhupada told me, “Never touch tulasi with a knife.” I had been cutting the tulasi manjaris with scissors and Prabhupada said, “Never touch tulasi with a knife.” So I learned to pick by hand the tulasi manjaris and not a knife.

( Srila Prabhupada rememberances- Sidhanta dasa)

I am copying links to some websites which might help those devotees who may wish to know in more detail on how to serve Tulasi properly. As climate and soil varies from each location, my strong advice will be to first cross check, whatever we may read and feel inspired to apply, with the local temple/ devotees.

Below is a link to various seminar and glorification of Tulasi by senior devotees.

Seminars on Tulasi and other pastimes



We should be clear in our consciousness that Tulasi is not merely a Holy plant but that she is personality and as an aspiring devotee it is in our best interest to build a relationship with her, serving her with Love and Devotion is first step in that direction. Tulasi devi has manifested in this world to render service to Krishna, and not to us, and as aspiring servant of the servants, it will do us much good to serve her in best possible manner.

So I am very glad that you are seriously interested, and Kåñëa is pleased upon you. And that you are sincerely trying, I can understand from these tulasé plants. Yes. This is the practical demonstration. Unless there is bhakti, this tulasé plant will not grow. We must be very much thankful to our Govinda däsé. She first of all cultivated the tulasé plant in Hawaii. And now our tulasé plants are distributed. So she has done a great service. I think I gave her the seeds, and she very nicely done it. Now everywhere we see tulasé plant. It is very pleasing. So the same thing—Deity worship and watering the tulasé plants, chanting sixteen rounds at least, and observing the rules and regulation, regulative principle… Then your life is successful. Don’t neglect. Very seriously continue. And in this one life you are going back to home, back to Godhead. It is sure. I am not flattering you. Kåñëa says, man-manä bhava mad-bhakto mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru, mäm evaiñyasi asaàçayaù [Bg. 18.68]. Asaàçayaù, “Without any doubt, simply following these rules and regulation,” mäm evaiñyasi, “you come back to Me.”

( SPL 1st August, 1975, New Orleans Farm)


All glories to Tulasi Maharani.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Krishna appreciates service of Tulasi more than that of Lakṣmī! 

Hare Krishna

29th March, 2015. Gurgaon.



Q: Whose service Krishna appreciates more, Laxmiji or  Tulasi Devi and why ?

Ans:  Srila Prabhupada explains it in his purport of SB 3.16.21

It is said in the Brahma-saṁhitā that the Lord is always served by many hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune in His Vaikuṇṭha planet, yet because of His attitude of renunciation of all opulences, He is not attached to any one of them. The Lord has six opulences — unlimited wealth, unlimited fame, unlimited strength, unlimited beauty, unlimited knowledge and unlimited renunciation. All the demigods and other living entities worship Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, just to get her favor, yet the Lord is never attached to her because He can create an unlimited number of such goddesses for His transcendental service. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, is sometimes envious of the tulasī leaves which are placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, for they remain fixed there and do not move, whereas Lakṣmījī, although stationed by the chest of the Lord, sometimes has to please other devotees who pray for her favor. Lakṣmījī sometimes has to go to satisfy her numerous devotees, but tulasī leaves never forsake their position, and the Lord therefore appreciates the service of the tulasī more than the service of Lakṣmī. …we can understand that Lakṣmījī is attracted by the opulence of the Lord.

Q: What is the destination of different types of yogis ?

Ans : Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to SB 3.16.19

There are many kinds of mystics, such as the karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī, dhyāna-yogī and bhakti-yogī. The karmīs particularly search after the favor of the demigods, the jñānīs want to become one with the Supreme Absolute Truth, and the yogīs are satisfied simply by partial vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Paramātmā, and ultimately by oneness with Him. But the bhaktas, the devotees, want to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead eternally and serve Him. It has already been admitted that the Lord is eternal, and those who want the favor of the Supreme Lord perpetually are also eternal.

Q: How should we look at a devotee who is practicing Krishna consciousness but still has faults in him. 

Ans. He is to be considered purified!

Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport of SB 3.16.6

Anyone who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness in all sincerity, even if he is not very advanced in good behavior, is purified. A devotee can be recruited from any section of human society, although it is not expected that everyone in all segments of society is well behaved. As stated in this verse and in many places in Bhagavad-gītā, even if one is not born in a brāhmaṇa family, or even if he is born in a family of caṇḍālas, if he simply takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness he is immediately purified.

In Bhagavad-gītā, Ninth Chapter, verses 30-32, it is clearly stated that even though a man is not well behaved, if he simply takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness he is understood to be a saintly person. As long as a person is in this material world he has two different relationships in his dealings with others — one relationship pertains to the body, and the other pertains to the spirit. As far as bodily affairs or social activities are concerned, although a person is purified on the spiritual platform, it is sometimes seen that he acts in terms of his bodily relationships.

If a devotee born in the family of a caṇḍāla (the lowest caste) is sometimes found engaged in his habitual activities, he is not to be considered a caṇḍāla. In other words, a Vaiṣṇava should not be evaluated in terms of his body…..because anyone who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is understood to be fully purified. He is at least engaged in the process of purification, and if he sticks to the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness he will very soon be fully purified. The conclusion is that if one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness with all seriousness, he is to be understood as already purified, and Kṛṣṇa is ready to give him protection by all means.

Q: Why it is said that one who becomes a Vaishnava is already a Brahmana ?

Ans: Srila Prabhupada explains it in his purport of SB 3.16.4

One who has become a devotee of the Lord is also a brāhmaṇa. The formula is brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. A brāhmaṇa is one who has understood Brahman, and a Vaiṣṇava is one who has understood the personality of Godhead. Brahman realization is the beginning of realization of the Personality of Godhead. One who understands the Personality of Godhead also knows the impersonal feature of the Supreme, which is Brahman. Therefore one who becomes a Vaiṣṇava is already a brāhmaṇa.

Q: Does Krishna help His devotees who have difficulty in seeing Krishna as a person ? Give two examples. 

Ans: Yes, examples are four Kumaras and Haridas Thakura

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of 3.16.2

The Lord’s presence on the spot was very pleasing to the hearts of the devotees. The Lord understood that the trouble was due to His lotus feet not being seen by the sages, and therefore He wanted to please them by personally going there. The Lord is so merciful that even if there is some impediment for the devotee, He Himself manages matters in such a way that the devotee is not bereft of having audience at His lotus feet.

There is a very good example in the life of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was residing at Jagannātha purī, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, who happened to be Muhammadan by birth, was with Him. In Hindu temples, especially in those days, no one but a Hindu was allowed to enter. Although Haridāsa Ṭhākura was the greatest of all Hindus in his behavior, he considered himself a Muhammadan and did not enter the temple. Lord Caitanya could understand his humility, and since he did not go to see the temple, Lord Caitanya Himself, who is nondifferent from Jagannātha, used to come and sit with Haridāsa Ṭhākura daily. Here in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we also find this same behavior of the Lord. His devotees were prevented from seeing His lotus feet, but the Lord Himself came to see them on the same lotus feet for which they aspired.


All glories to the amazing purports of Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.