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Re: Tulasi

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 13:40:04 PDT

As Sri Sadagopan has pointed out, there are several slokas
that one may recite while picking the tuLasi leaves (leaf
is "daLa" or "patram" in Sanskrit).  Sri Manavaala Maamunigal
recommends we pick fresh, young, tuLasi leaves ("tiruttuzhAy
kozhundaigaL") in sets of four ("caturdaLam").  Furthermore, the
leaves should be plucked without the use of fingernails or any 
undue force.

The Slokas in vogue in most sampradAyas are three and are as 
follows. They are given as found in the Ahnika of Sri Gopala
Desika, with my loose translation:

  tuLasy amRta-janmAsi sadA tvam kESava-priyE |
  kESavArtham lunAmi tvAm, varadA bhava shobhanE ||

  O Tulasi! You are the born(?) of immortality and are
  the eternal beloved of Kesava. I am plucking you for
  the His sake; be gracious, O Resplendent Devi!

  mOkshaikahEtOr dharaNi-prasUtE 
    vishNOH samastasya gurOH priyE tE |
  ArAdhanArtham kESavasya 
    lunAmi patram tuLasi! kshamasva! ||

  O Daughter of the Earth! You are the beloved
  of Vishnu, the sole giver of moksha and the
  guru of all.  Forgive me, O Tulasi! I pluck
  you only for the worship of Kesava.

  prasIda mama dEvEshi, prasIda harivallabhE |
  kshIrodamathanOdbhUte, tuLasi tvam prasIda mE ||

  Be gracious to me, O Divine Queen!
  Be gracious, beloved of Hari!
  Be gracious, O Tulasi, you who arose 
    from the churning of the milk ocean!

TuLasi leaves should only be plucked on certain days,
and on those days, only before afternoon (before the 
"ijyA-kAla" or "sacrifice/worship" period).
Almost everyone knows not to pick tuLasi on Fridays,
but the orthodox have also observed the following
restrictions.  TuLasi should not be plucked on 
Sunday, Tuesday, or Friday, on dvAdaSI, paurNamI,
or amAvAsyA, or on a day on which one is observing
a SRAddham. From a practical standpoint, this gives
the tuLasi plant a degree of rest between pluckings
as well.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani





     




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