Tulasi: Bhakti Yoga Dictionary II on Vrinda (-devi)
A principal gopi, a direct expansion of Srimati Radharani. She is the presiding deity of Vrindavana forest, and the tulasi plant is her expansion. She and grandmother Paurnamasi make all the behind-the-scenes arrangements for Radha and Krishna’s daily pastimes.[br][br]
Meaning: Virtue and strength[br][br]
Meaning: Cluster of flowers[br][br]
Meaning: Goddess Radha[br][br]
Meaning: Basil; Radha[br][br]
"The word 'vana' means forest. Vrindavana is the name given to the forest where Srimati Vrinda-devi (Tulasi-devi), grows profusely." (CC Madhya 17.l93p.) Another name of Tulasi is Vrinda-devi (one who awards residence in Vrindavana). Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says: krpa kori koro tare vrindavana vasi, "Dear Tulasi, please bestow your mercy upon me, so that I may forever reside in Vrindavana."[br][br]
The Vrindavana forest is named after Vrinda-devi, who performed penances here for 60,000 years. She was born as the daughter of Emperor Kedera, a very pious king that attained Goloka Vrindavana. His daughter Vrinda-devi, after sanctifying the forest by her penance, also attained Goloka. Ever since, the forest has been known as Vrindavana. Pleased by Vrinda-devi's austerities Lord Vishnu granted a boon to the Vrindavana forest: "Any penances performed here will quickly fructify and bear excellent results." Later Tulasi-devi, daughter of King Kusadhvaja, performed penances here and attained perfection. Tulasi's second name is Vrinda.[br][br]
God has specifically said that among plants, He is the Tulasi (DS chap. 7).
In the Padma Purana there are thirty chapters describing Tulasi's appearance. Her glorious attributes are recounted throughout the Vedic literature. "Just by looking at Tulasi, all of one's sins are removed. Just by touching Her, one's body becomes purified. All diseases are removed by praying to Her. Fear of death is destroyed by watering Her. Just by planting or transplanting Her, one achieves realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If someone offers Her leaves at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, Tulasi will award liberation and devotion to Lord Sri Krsna." (SKP)
Tulasi is the life of Krsna and She gives unlimited bliss to the devotees. She is the best of all the flowers and Her presence is required on any garland to be worn by Krsna. She is one who has no comparison. Tulasi purifies the three worlds and is worshiped all over the universe. Tulasi is the goddess of all plants and trees and She first manifested in Vrindavana." (PP)
Vrnda-devi has a beautiful complexion the color of molten gold. She wears blue garments and is decorated with pearls and flowers. Her father is Candrabhanu and Her mother is Phullara-devi. Her husband is Mahipala and Her sister is Manjari-devi. She always remains in Vrindavana, immersed in love for Radha and Krsna and yearning to both arrange for Their meeting and taste the nectar of assisting in Their transcendental pastimes. (Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-ganoddesa-dipika)[br][br]
Srimati Tulasi devi is one of the most exalted devotees of the Sri Krishna. All scriptures stress on the importance of getting the mercy of Tulasi devi if one has to make progress in the path of devotion. In the Skanda Purana it is said: ‘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."[br][br]
Above this material world is the eternal spiritual world comprised of millions of Vaikuntha planets. The topmost planet in Vaikuntha is Goloka which is presided by Sri Krishna in His original form. Here resides Vrinda devi, an intimate associate of and an expansion of Srimati Radharani. Her partial expansion is Tulasi devi in the Vaikuntha planets and they are all considered non-different from her.[br][br]
As the embodiment of the lila-sakti (pastime potency), Vrinda devi is the organizer of all the transcendental pastimes between Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani. In Goloka every thing is animate (cit) and only for the pleasure of Sri Krishna. Vrinda devi makes this happen. She is assisted by many confidential associates (which include two parrots) and with their help she makes sure that every thing is pleasing to Sri Krishna. She controls how the wind blows, when and where it rains, how the trees bend, and so many other things for the pleasure of the Divine Couple.[br][br]
Five thousand years ago when Sri Krishna descended on Earth to do His pastimes, Vrinda devi created the proper environment for His pastimes in Vrindavana. Millions of years before the descent of Sri Krishna, Vrinda devi had appeared as the daughter of the pious Emperor Kedera. Then she performed penances for sixty thousand years. Pleased by her penances, Lord Vishnu gave the benediction that any austerities performed in Vrindavana would be very potent. Thus Vrinda devi sanctified the place and it got the name Vrindavana. Later Vrinda devi once again descended here as Tulasi devi, the daughter of King Kushadvaja to perform penances and attain perfection here. [br][br]
Tulasi devi becomes a plant
Pastimes involving pure devotees are only for the benefit of conditioned souls in the material world. This pastime, given in the Padma purana and in the Brahma-vaivarta purana involvong Tulasi devi reveals this clearly.
[br][br] Once Tulasi devi descended as the daughter of King Kushadvaja. She was married to Jalhandara. It is said that Samudra deva the demigod controlling the nether regions had Lakshmi devi as a daughter (since she appeared from him at time of the churning of the ocean) and Jalandara (one who is born from water).[br][br]
Jalandara was married to Tulasi devi and drew strength from her purity and chastity. So firm was her chastity that even Lord Shiva could not defeat Jalandara in battle and all the demigods went to Lord Vishnu for help.[br][br]
At this time, Lord Vishnu went to Tulasi devi assuming the form of her husband, Jalandara. When Tulasi devi greeted Him, thinking Him to be her husband, her chastity was momentarily broken. Taking advantage of this the demigods killed Jalandara.
[br][br] When Tulasi devi understood what happened, Lord Vishnu revealed His original form. An enraged Tulasi devi cursed Lord Vishnu for His stone hearted behavior to become a stone. Honoring His pure devotee, Lord Vishnu accepted this curse and promised to appear as the Saligrama shila in the Gandika river (now in Nepal). He also gave Tulsai devi the benediction that she will eternally reside with Him as His consort in Vaikuntha. He said that for the benefit of every one she will assume the form of a plant which will be most auspicious for anyone performing devotional service.[br][br]
Thus devotees never offer anything to Krishna without a Tulasi leaf. He always adorns Himself with a Tulasi garland. The goddess of fortune, Laksmi, is sometimes envious of the Tulasi leaves which are placed at the lotus feet of the Lord, for they remain fixed there and do not move, whereas Laksmiji, although stationed by the chest of the Lord, sometimes has to please other devotees who pray for her favor. Laksmiji sometimes has to go to satisfy her numerous devotees, but tulasi leaves never forsake their position, and the Lord therefore appreciates the service of the tulasi more than the service of Laksmi.