SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 17

THE NINTH BOOK

Chapter XVII

The story about Tulasī

1-19. Śrī Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! The wife of Dharmadhvaja was Mādhavi. Going to the Gandhamādan mountain, She began to enjoy, with great gladness, the pleasures with the king Dharmadhvaja.

The bed was prepared, strewn with flowers and scented with sandal-paste. She smeared all over her body with sandal-paste. The flowers and cool breeze in contact with the sweet scent of sandal-paste began to cool the bodies.

Mādhavi was the jewel amongst women. Her whole body was very elegant. Besides it was adorned all over with jewel ornaments.

As she was humorous, so the king was very expert in that respect. It seemed as if the Creator created especially for Dharmadhvaja, the humorous lady Mādhavi expert in amorous affairs.

Both of them were skilled in amorous sports. So no one did like to desist from amorous enjoyments. One hundred divine years passed in this way, day and night passed unnoticed.

The king then got back his consciousness and desisted from his amorous embraces. But the lustful woman did not find herself satisfied.

However, by the Deva’s influence, she became pregnant and conceived for one hundred years. In the womb there was the incarnation of Lakṣmī; and the body’s lustre increased day by day.

Then, on an auspicious day, on an auspicious moment, auspicious Yoga, auspicious Lagna, auspicious Amsa, and on an auspicious combination of planetary rulers and their houses, she delivered on the full moon night of the month of Kārtik one beautiful daughter, the incarnation of part of Lakṣmī.

The face of the baby looked like the autumnal moon; Her two eyes resembled autumnal lotuses and her upper and lower lips looked beautiful like ripe Bimba fruits.

The daughter began, no sooner it was born, to look on all sides of the lying-in-room. The palm and lower part of feet were red. The navel was deep and below that there were three wrinkles.

Her loins were circular. Her body was hot in the winter and cold in the summer and pleasant to touch. Her hairs on the head were hanging like the roots of the fig tree.

Her colour was bright like Champaka; She was a jewel amongst women. Men and women cannot compare her beauty. The holy wise men named Her Tulasī.

As soon as she was born, she looked of the female sex, full in every way. Though prevented repeatedly by all, She went to the forest of Badari for practising Tapasyā.

There she practised hard Tapasyā for one lakh divine years. Her main object was to get Nārāyaṇa for her husband.

In summer she practise Panchatapā (surrounded by fire on four sides and on the top); in the winter she remained in water and in the rainy season she remained in the open air and endured the showers of the rain, twenty thousand years.

She passed away thus in eating fruits and water. For thirty thousand years she subsisted only on the leaves of trees. When the forty thousandth year came, she subsisted only on air and her body became thinner and thinner day by day.

Then for ten thousand years afterwards she left eating anything whatsoever and without any aim, stood on only one leg.

At this time the lotus-born Brahmā, seeing this, appeared there to grant her boons. On seeing Him, Tulasī immediately bowed down to Brahmā, the Four-faced One riding on His vehicle, the Swan.

20. He then addressed her and said:

“O Tulasī! Ask a boon that you like. Whether it be devotion to Hari, servantship to Hari, freedom from old age or freedom from death, I will grant that to you.”

21-27. Tulasī said:

“Father! I now say you my mind. Hear. What is the use of hiding away my views out of fear or shame to One who knows everything reigning in One’s Heart.

I am Tulasī Gopī (cowherdess); I used to dwell before in the Goloka. I was a dear she- servant of Rādhikā, the beloved of Kṛṣṇa. I was also born of Her in part, Her Sakhis (female attendants) used to love me.

Once in Rāsa Maṇḍalam I was enjoyed by Govinda; but I was not satiated and while I was lying down in an unconscious state, Rādhā, the Governess-in-chief of the Rāsa circle, came there and saw me in that state.

She rebuked Govinda and, out of anger, cursed me:

‘Go at once and be born as a human being.’

At this Govinda spoke to me:

‘If you go and practise Tapas in Bhārata, Brahmā will get pleased and He will grant you boon. When you will get Nārāyaṇa, the Four-armed, born of Me in part as your husband.’

O Father! Thus speaking, Śrī Kṛṣṇa disappeared out of sight. Out of Rādha’s fear, I quitted my body and am now born in this world. Now grant me this boon that I get the peaceful, lovely, beautiful Nara for my husband.”

28-37. Brahmā said:

“O Child Tulasī! The Gopa (cowherd) Sudāmā was born of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s body. At the present time he is very energetic, He too, under the curse of Rādhā, has come and taken his birth amongst the Dānavas.

He is named Śankha Chūḍa. No one is equal to him in strength. In Goloka, when he saw you before, he was overpowered with passion for you. Only out of Rādha’s influence, he did not embraced you.

That Sudāmā is Jātismarā (knows all about his previous births); and you too are Jātismarā. There is nothing unknown to you.

O Beautiful One! You will now be his wife. Afterwards you will get Nārāyaṇa, the Beautiful and Lovely for your husband.

Thus under the curse of Nārāyaṇa, you will be transformed into the world purifying Tulasī tree. You will be the foremost amongst the flowers and will be dearer to Nārāyaṇa than His life.

No one’s worship will be complete without Thee as leaf. You will remain as a tree in Vrindāvan and you will be widely known as Vrindāvanī. The Gopas and Gopis will worship Mādhava with Your leaves.

Being the Presiding Deity of the Tulasī tree, you will always enjoy the company of Kṛṣṇa, the best of the Gopas.”

O Nārada! Thus hearing Brahmā’s words, the Devī Tulasī became very glad. Smile appeared in her face. She then bowed down to the Creator and said:

38-40. “O Father! I speak now truly to Thee that I am not as devoted to the four-armed Nārāyaṇa as I am devoted to Śyāma Sundara, the two-armed.

For my intercourse with Govinda Śrī Kṛṣṇa was suddenly interrupted and my desire was not gratified. It is because of Śrī Govinda’s words that I prayed for the four-armed.

Now it appears certain that by Thy grace I will get again my Govinda, very hard to be attained. But, O Father! Do this that I be not afraid of Rādhā.”

41-48. Brahmā said:

“O Child! I now give you the sixteen lettered Rādhā mantra to you. By Her Grace you will be dear to Rādhā as Her life. Rādhikā will not be able to know anything of your secret dealings. O Fortunate! You will be dear to Govinda like Rādhā.”

Thus saying, Brahmā, the Creator of the world, gave her the sixteen lettered Rādhā mantra, stotra, Kavācha and mode of worship and Puraścharaṇa and He blessed her.

Tulasī, then, engaged herself in worshipping Rādhā, as directed.

By the boon of Brahmā, Tulasī attained Siddhi (success) like Lakṣmī. Out of the power of the Siddha mantra, She got her desired boon. She became fortunate in getting various pleasures, hard to be attained in this world.

Her mind became quiet. All the toils of Tapasyā disappeared. When one gets the fruit of one’s labour, all the troubles then transform to happiness. She then finished her food and drink and slept on a beautiful bed strewn with flowers and scented with sandal paste.

Here ends the Seventeenth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the story of Tulasī in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.