The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the importance of tulasi which is chapter 23 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the twenty-third chapter of the Uttara-Khanda (Concluding Section) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 23 - The Importance of Tulasī

Mahādeva said:

1-5a. O Nārada, listen. I shall tell you the importance of Tulasī, having heard which a man is free from sin from his birth to his death. Everything of Tulasī including leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, branches, skin, and stem is purifying, so also the clay (where) Tulasī-plant grows. Those whose bodies are burnt with the Tulasī-wood (are free from sins), so also he on whose dead body the Tulasī-wood is placed and who (i.e. whose dead body) is cremated after doing so, is freed from sins. He who at the time has (heard) the narration (of the virtues) or the recollection of Viṣṇu, and who is cremated with the Tulasī-wood is not reborn.

5b-lla. If among hundred (pieces of any other kind of) wood, there is (just) one (piece) of Tulasī-wood (in the funeral pyre), the man would have salvation just at the time of cremation—even if he has committed a crore of sins. By being sprinkled with the water of Gaṅgā, religious merit becomes meritorious. (Pieces of) wood become meritorious (when) mixed with Tulasī-wood. As long as the funeral pyre mixed with Tulasī-wood is burning, all his sins committed during crores of kalpas are burnt. Seeing (the dead body of) a man being burnt with the Tulasī-wood, Viṣṇu’s messengers take him (to Viṣṇus world) and not Yama’s servants. Freed from thousands of crores of existences, he goes to Viṣṇu. On those men seated in aeroplanes, who (i.e. whose dead bodies) are burnt with Tulasī-wood, gods drop handfuls of flowers. All the celestial damsels sing and singers sing songs.

11b-21. Seeing him, Viṣṇu, along with Śiva, is pleased. Taking him by his hand and physically taking him to his house Viṣṇu would clean all his sins in the presence of gods after having celebrated a great festival along with cries of victory. The sin of men is burnt in the fire-chamber or crematory when the fire of Tulasī-wood is burning with clarified butter. Those men who perform a sacrifice with the fire of Tulasī-wood, would obtain the fruit of an Agniṣṭoma sacrifice forevery sesamum-seed that is offered (into the fire). A man who offers the incense of a (piece of) Tulasī-wood to Viṣṇu, obtains the fruit similar to that of a hundred sacrifices (or that of the gift) of a hundred cows. That food which a man cooks as an offering of eatables to the deity with the fire made from Tulasī-wood, is indeed offered to Viṣṇu. O lord, he who offers one lamp (lighted from) the Tulasī-wood to Viṣṇu, obtains the fruit of the religious merit earned by (the offering of) thousands of lakhs of lamps. There is no devotee seen on the earth like him who offers the sandal (-like paste) of Tulasī-wood to Kṛṣṇa. O best brāhmaṇa, he becomes fit for the favour of Viṣṇu. Having devoutly smeared Viṣṇu with the sandal(-like paste) obtained from Tulasī-wood in the Kali-age, he always enjoys in the vicinity of Viṣṇu. He who with his body smeared with the paste from Tulasī-wood, worships Viṣṇu, obtains the fruit of having given a hundred cows in one day—(a fruit) of the worship offered for a hundred days.

22-27. Listen (i.e. note that), the fruit of the religious merit remains as long as the sandal(-like paste) from the Tulasī-wood, used for smearing the image of Viṣṇu, remains in the temple. The same fruit as the religious merit a man would obtain by giving eight prasthas of sesamum-seeds, is obtained by the favour of Viṣṇu. If a man gives (i.e. puts) a Tulasī-leaf on the piṇḍa offered to the manes, then for every leaf (that is thus offered) the manes are contented for a hundred years. A man should especially bathe with (i.e. after applying to his body) the clay at the root of Tulasī. As long as the clay is on the body, he has bathed at a holy place. When a man worships with the shoot of it (i.e. Tulasī), he has performed the worship with many flowers (and it lasts) as long as the moon and the sun (shine in the sky). All that sin like (that due to) the murder of a brāhmaṇa perishes by touching or seeing (the plant) when there is a garden of Tulasī (-plants) in one’s house. Even by seeing it, O Nārada, all that (sin) perishes.

Mahādeva said:

28-33. Now I shall tell you something else. Listen (to it) with a concentrated mind (i.e. attentively). O best of the divine sages, I have not told it to anyone (else). In whichever house, village or grove there would be the Tulasī(-plant), Viṣṇu, the lord of the world, being pleased, would stay there. In that house where there is a Tulasī(-plant) there is no poverty, no (hostile) action due to (i.e. from) the kinsmen, no grief, no fear, and no disease. Everywhere Tulasī(-plant) is auspicious, and especially so in a sacred place. Due to its being planted on the earth, it is always in the vicinity of that god (i.e. Viṣṇu). When Tulasī is planted (by men) they eternally get Viṣṇu’s position. When Tulasī is devoutly worshipped, Viṣṇu pacifies portents, fearful diseases and many ill-omens. Wherever the wind goes (i.e. the breezes blow) after taking the fragrance of Tulasī, (all) the ten quarters are (thereby) purified, so also the aggregate of beings of four kinds.

34-46. O best sage, the deities, Śiva, Viṣṇu always reside in that house in which there is the clay (taken from) the root of the Tulasī(-plant). At its root is Brahma. In the middle is god Viṣṇu. Rudra stays in the sprout. Therefore, Tulasī is purifying. All that sprinkling himself with water which a man does at the time of the sandhyā (prayer) is snatched by demons, and gives (i.e. takes) him (to) hell. He who carries on his head the water dropping from the Tulasī-leaf obtains the fruit of (having bathed in) Gaṅgā and would get the fruit of a gift of a hundred cows. If he especially plants a Tulasī(-plant) in the temple of Śiva, he would stay in heaven for as many yugas as is the number of the seeds (of Tulasī). Formerly goddess Pārvatī had planted a hundred Tulasī-trees (i.e. plants) on the Himālaya for Śaṅkara.

I bow down to Tulasī. A man should plant (a Tulasī-plant) on a parvan day (i.e. the day of the four changes of the moon), on (any other) occasion or in Śrāvaṇa, or on a Saṃkrānti-day. Tulasī gives great religious merit. A poor man who worships Tulasī daily would be rich. The image of Viṣṇu, bringing about every kind of success, gives fame also. Viṣṇu is present there where there is a Śālagrāma stone. Bath and (giving) gifts there is hundred times superior to (doing so) at Vārāṇasī. The religious merit is a crore of times superior to (a visit to) Kurukṣetra, Prayāga, and Naimiṣāraṇya. All that religious merit which can be bad at Vārāṇasī would be (secured) there where the mark of the form of Śālagrāma is present. By means of the worship of a Śālagrāma stone, a man would quickly destroy all that sin due to the killing of a brāhmaṇa etc.

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