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The Deity worship process is very mysterious. It is Krishna's mercy for His devotees.

Krishna agrees to appear in a form the devotees can see and serve with their material
senses. A very advanced devotee can see Krishna and Krishna's energy working
everywhere. He sees everything in relation to Krishna. But in the beginning this spiritual
vision is not possible. We can not see Krishna's spiritual form with our material eyes. But
by Krishna's mercy He agrees to take the form of what appears to us to be stone or metal,
but as we serve this form of Krishna we realize it is not at all stone or metal but it is

Anyone who visits a nicely maintained temple where the Deities of Radha and Krishna
are being regularly served by sincere devotees will feel something very special. They will
see Krishna and will appreciate that "Krishna is very beautiful." And this is the beginning
of their spiritual life. And this way, although they do not have the spiritual vision to see
Krishna everywhere, they can see Krishna in the temple and that is Krishna's mercy on

The only way to transfer our attention from the dazzling and distracting allurements of
maya in the material world like the cinemas and television and sex-songs broadcast
everywhere is to engage very seriously in the process of Deity worship:

"Only attention engaged in the service of the Lord, especially in dressing and decorating
the temple, accompanied by musical kirtana and spiritual instructions from scriptures, can
save the common man from the hellish cinema attractions and rubbish sex-songs
broadcast everywhere by radios. If one is unable to maintain a temple at home, he should
go to another's temple where all the above performances are regularly executed. Visiting
the temple of a devotee and looking at the profusely decorated forms of the Lord well
dressed in a well-decorated, sanctified temple naturally infuse the mundane mind with
spiritual inspiration." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.22 Purport Pure Devotional Service: The
Change in Heart)

The whole world has been poisoned with the impersonal concept of the Supreme. So
these days even if someone believes in God it is very unlikely that he realizes that God is
a person.

Krishna is the Supreme Person, so in every way He is unlimited, we are also persons, like
Krishna, however we are limited in every respect. That is the difference between us, the
tiny limited living entities, and Krishna, the unlimited Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The example is sometimes given of the drop of ocean water and the entire ocean.
Although clearly one can not say the drop of ocean water is equal to the ocean, the ocean
is vast and the drop is tiny, still in quality the drop of ocean water is the same as the
entire ocean. If you analyze the drop of the ocean you will find it to be salty. So then is is
correct for you to assume that the entire ocean is also salty. Because even though the drop
is very small, it is made from the same substance as the entire ocean, so it shares the
qualities of the ocean, but it is very limited whereas the ocean is practically unlimited.

Everything we have within ourselves is a limited representation of what Krishna has but
it has been pervertedly reflected in this material world. So as we have individuality and a
personality, Krishna also has individuality and a personality. As we have likes and
dislikes, Krishna also has likes and dislikes. As we have feelings, Krishna also has
feelings. However all these things are manifest in us in a perverted way because we are in
the material world covered by these material bodies made of the three modes of material
nature [goodness, passion and ignorance]. These three modes of material nature distort
and pervert our original spiritual vision and feelings.

Here in the material world our original pure love for Krishna becomes perverted and
instead becomes manifest as lust for sex life. So in the material world this perverted
reflection of pure love for Krishna causes us so much suffering and distress, but its
existence proves that there must be something original and pure in the spiritual world that
this perverted sex desire is a reflection of. That original love is our eternal love for

So the idea of installing the Deity of Krishna and worshiping Him is to gradually
reawaken this dormant love for Krishna which is within our hearts and which is the thing
we are all actually looking for and hankering after.

It is impossible to fall in love with someone if we do not know them first. First the boy
has to meet the girl, then there is some chance that they can fall in love. Similarly with
Krishna, if we are going to fall in love with Krishna we have to meet Him first. And it is
only through Deity worship that we can meet Krishna.

Understanding we have become so conditioned by the material energy that we can not see
the spiritual energy at all by His mercy Krishna has agreed to appear for us in a form that
we can see and serve with our material eyes and material senses. Although Krishna is
everywhere, He is even present within every atom, still, with our materially contaminated
eyes, we can not see Krishna everywhere. So Krishna agrees to appear by the request of
His pure devotee in a form that to us apparently appears to be made of stone or metal or

By the mercy of Krishna and the grace of Krishna's pure devotee, Krishna agrees to enter
into the Deity or murti form and the Deity becomes Krishna. This is a little hard to
understand intellectually. But it can be practically realized by devotees who engage in
service to Krishna in His deity form. As we serve Krishna more and more gradually we
will see that the deity is not a marble statue at all. At some point we will have the
practical realization that "Here is Krishna." Krishna will reciprocate with us. Krishna will
smile when He is happy, and He will frown when He is not happy with is. Krishna will
talk to us. And we will be able to talk to Krishna.

So Krishna appears in the form of the Deity and is very happy to accept service from us
and as we serve Him more and more gradually He reveals His true spiritual form and
nature to us. And gradually our original eternal love for Krishna reawakens.

In this material world almost all of us are completely contaminated by the impersonal
ideas or philosophy. We have no idea or conception of the "Personality of Godhead,"
even though we may consider ourselves very saintly or religious persons, or even very
advanced devotees. However if we seriously take up the process of deity worship under
the direction of the bona fide authorities in the disciplic succession then we will begin to
serve the deity as a person, and gradually we will realize the deity is Krishna, and
Krishna is a person...

As part of the deity worship process we will wake the Lord early in the morning and
bathe Him, dress Him, cook nice food and offer it to Him for His pleasure. As we serve
the Lord in this way, as a person, and perform sankirtan [the congregational chanting of
the holy names of the Lord] in front of the Deities, gradually we will come to realize
practically that Krishna, God, is a person, and it is our business to spend our time and
energy serving Him.

This practical realization that "Krishna is a person" is very difficult to realize by any
process other than Deity worship. That is why Deity worship is so essential for every

"Especially for the householder devotees, the path of Deity worship is strongly
recommended. As far as possible, every householder, by the direction of the spiritual
master, must install the Deity of Visnu, forms like Radha-Krsna, Laksmi-Narayana or
Sita-Rama especially, or any other form of the Lord, like Nrsimha, Varaha, Gaura-Nitai,
Matsya, Kurma, salagrama-sila and many other forms of Visnu, like Trivikrama, Kesava,
Acyuta, Vasudeva, Narayana and Damodara, as recommended in the Vaisnava-tantras or
Puranas, and one's family should worship strictly following the directions and
regulations of arcana-vidhi.

"Any member of the family who is above twelve years of age should be initiated by a
bona fide spiritual master, and all the members of the household should be engaged in the
daily service of the Lord, beginning from morning (4 a.m.) till night (10 p.m.) by
performing mangala-aratrika, niranjana, arcana, puja, kirtana,srngara, bhoga-vaikali,
sandhya-aratrika, patha, bhoga (at night), sayana-aratrika, etc.

"Engagement in such worship of the Deity, under the direction of a bona fide spiritual
master, will greatly help the householders to purify their very existence and make rapid
progress in spiritual knowledge. Simple theoretical book knowledge is not sufficient for a
neophyte devotee. Book knowledge is theoretical, whereas the arcana process is
practical. Spiritual knowledge must be developed by a combination of theoretical and
practical knowledge, and that is the guaranteed way for attainment of spiritual
perfection." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.22 Purport Pure Devotional Service: The Change in

Sometimes devotees are afraid to woship the Deity, thinking that they have so many
material desires and they are not qualified to worship the deity. This is a mistake. Having
material desires does not at all disqualify one from worshipping the Deity.

"It is not a fact that those who have material desires are prohibited from worshiping the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the essential instruction from the life of Dhruva.
He frankly admitted that his heart was full of material desires. He was very much affected
by the cruel words of his stepmother, whereas those who are spiritually advanced do not
care about anyone's condemnation or adoration...

"The question raised here is whether or not a person afflicted by material desires is fit to
worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The answer is that everyone is fit to
worship Him. Even if one has many material desires to fulfill, he should take to Krsna
consciousness and worship the Supreme Lord Krsna, who is so merciful that He fulfills
everyone's desires. No one is barred from worshiping the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, even if one has many material desires." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.8.35 Purport)

So I am encouraging everyone, particularly those who are living with their families, to
install the deity of Krishna in the form of Radha-Krishna or Gaura Nitai [Lord Caitanya
and Lord Nityananda who are Krishna and Balaram in a very merciful and easy to
worship form] and with their family members worship hem and accept them as the lord
and master of the house.

Let one remain what he is; he need only install the Deity of the Supreme Lord in his
house. The Deity may be Radha-Krsna or Laksmi-Narayana (there are many other forms
of the Lord). In this way a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra can worship the Deity with
the results of his honest labor. Regardless of one's occupational duty, one should adopt
the devotional means of hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, offering everything
to the Lord and engaging in His service. In this way one can very easily engage himself
in the service of the Lord. When the Lord is pleased with one's service, one's mission in
life is fulfilled. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.20.9 Purport)

"When the fruits of one's activities are rendered to the service of the Lord, one is actually
practicing karma-yoga. Anyone can practice karma-yoga, but it is especially easy for the
householder, who can install the Deity of the Lord in the home and worship Him
according to the methods of bhakti-yoga. This method includes nine items: hearing,
chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping the Deity, praying, carrying out orders,
serving Krsna as friend and sacrificing everything for Him.

"In one's home or in a temple, the Deity is considered the proprietor of everything, and
everyone is considered the Deity's eternal servant. The Lord is transcendental, for He is
not part of this material creation." (Srimad-Bhagavatam4.22.51 Purport)

Home Worship
In this section you will find all the information needed to worship the Lord in your home,
in line with the standards of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

• Home Worship Preparations

• Waking Deities
• Offering Food to Deities
• Offering Arati at Home
• Bathing & Dressing Deities
• Putting Deities to Sleep

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions pleasee-mail us.

Hare Krishna!

Waking and Preparing for Worship

Getting Ready for Worship
In this chapter we will discuss the activities performed from the time you wake in the
morning up until the point you start worshiping the deity. The chapter is broken into two
sections. In the first section we will look at how to prepare yourself for worship.
Beginning with rising in the morning, cleansing the body, dressing, what type of cloth to
wear, how to applying tilaka and sipping water for purification.

Then in the second section of this chapter

we will describe how to prepare the various items of worship that will be offered to the
deity during your daily worship. Also where necessary we will describe what the
different articles offered represent. This book is for devotees worshiping the deity at
home and as such the procedures are simplified. If you are interested in following more
elaborate procedures then you should refer to the temple worship (Nitya seva) book.

In this section, as throughout the book, we will be quoting from the books of A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, particularly from the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-
lila, chapter 24. This section of the Caitanya-caritamrta was the first deity worship book
in ISKCON and was called, “The Perfection of Deity Worship.”

“You should discuss the qualifications necessary for receiving a mantra, the perfection of
the mantra, the purification of the mantra, initiation, morning duties, remembrance of the
Supreme Lord, cleanliness and washing the mouth and other parts of the body.”

Rising early

In the purport to the above quotation Srila Prabhupada says,

“in the early morning hours (known as brahma-muhurta) one should get up”

The brahma-muhurta is generally accepted as the most auspicious time of the day to perform
spiritual practices. During this time of day the world is peaceful and the influence of the
modes of passion and ignorance are less thus enabling us to focus more on our spiritual
practices. The brahma-muhurta begins approximately one and a half hours before
sunrise. Although this may be difficult for some devotees, due to pressures of work etc.,
rising early and regulation are beneficial for the development of spiritual life. If you
cannot rise this early it is still good to rise as early as possible and at the same time

In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says,

yukta-cestasya karmasu
yogo bhavati duhkha-ha

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can
mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

Leading a regulated life helps us to overcome the influence of the modes of material
nature and thus be situated in a position more conducive to developing transcendental

Chant Hare Krsna or Remembering Krsna

When you waken in the morning you should chant
the name of the Lord. This helps to clear the consciousness of the influences of sleep or
any bad dreams you may have experienced during the night. You can chant the names of
the deities you are worshiping or the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. In the purport to
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 24.331 Srila Prabhupada says,

“Concerning pratah-smrti, remembrance of the Lord in the morning, in the early morning
hours (known as brahma-muhurta) one should get up and immediately chant the Hare
Krsna mantra, or at least ‘Krsna, Krsna, Krsna’. In this way, one should remember Krsna.
Some slokas or prayers should also be chanted. By chanting, one immediately becomes
auspicious and transcendental to the infection of material qualities. Actually one has to
chant and remember Lord Krsna twenty-four hours daily, or as much as possible:

smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit

sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah

Krsna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be remembered and never
forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should
be the servants of these two principles. [Padma Purana, from the portion called Brhat-

Evacuating, Rinsing Mouth, Brushing Teeth and Bathing

“You should describe how in the morning one should regularly brush his teeth, take his
bath, the word pratah-krtya in the present verse of the Caitanya-caritamrta means that
one should evacuate regularly in the morning and then cleanse himself by taking a bath.
One has to gargle (acamana) and brush his teeth (danta-dhavana). He should do this
either with twigs or a toothbrush – whatever is available. This will purify the mouth.
Then one should take his bath. Actually householders and vanaprasthas should bathe two
times a day (pratar-madhyahnayoh snanam vanaprastha-grhasthayoh). A sannyasi
should bathe three times daily, and a brahmacari may take only one bath a day.

Whenever one is not able to bathe in water, he can bathe by chanting the Hare Krsna

After waking, evacuating, and appropriate cleansing, brush your teeth, scrape your
tongue and then take bath. Without taking bath one remains impure and cannot perform
deity worship. Everything you touch before bathing becomes as impure as your body is.
Morning bath is compulsory for all, except those who are ill. In Vedic culture bathing is
considered a sacred act to be accompanied by meditation on the Lord and recitation of

Rules for bathing

• Do not bathe naked. Wear a kaupina. This shows respect to the personality of the
water and shows that one recognizes bathing to be a sacred act. One should be
particularly careful to observe this injunction when bathing in a river or other
public place.
• Grhasthas should bathe wearing two cloths. (Besides a kaupina, they wear a
second cloth (gamcha), usually tied around the waist.) Brahmacaris and
sannyasis should wear at least a kaupina when bathing.
• Do not take unnecessary baths. Three times a day plus after any occasion of
impurity is sufficient.
• Do not bathe in impure water.
• If you must evacuate, do so before bathing. Otherwise you will be like the
elephant who completes his bath by throwing dust on his body.
• After bathing, do not shake your hair to dry it and do not shake water from your
cloth or legs.
• Do not rub oil on your body after bathing. (Oil on the body is considered impure,
and thus if you require it you should apply it before taking a water bath.)
• Wring out your bathing cloth and then dry your body with a separate, dry cloth;
wiping yourself with your bathing cloth will contaminate you again. However, if
you wash and wring out your bathing cloth before drying yourself off with it, you
will not become impure.
• After bathing, dry your body with a clean cloth; do not wipe your body with your
hands, a dirty cloth, or the edge of the damp cloth you are wearing. The cloth used
for drying should be washed after every use.

Dressing as a Vaisnava

While worshiping the deity one should wear appropriate Vaisnava dress. Vaisnava dress
helps us to identify ourselves as a servant of Krsna.

Unclean and Improper Cloth

A devotee should not wear dirty cloth, especially when cooking or worshiping the deity. Used cloth
that has not been washed and dried again is considered unclean. Cloth worn while
sleeping, passing urine or stool, or having sex is unclean. Cloth that touches anything
impure, such as wine, meat, blood, a dead body, or a woman in her menstrual period, is

also contaminated. Cloth washed by a public laundry service and cloth that, though
washed, has become stale are also unclean and therefore unfit to wear during deity

While worshiping the deity, you should not wear the following types of cloth: brightly-
colored cloth (for men), damp cloth, cloth that is too long or too short to be worn
properly, stitched or sewn cloth (for men), torn cloth, oil or dirt stained cloth, soiled
cloth, burnt cloth, or cloth chewed by animals or insects. However, you may wear silk
many times before washing it, provided it has not contacted anything impure or been
worn in impure places.

Unbleached, raw matka (ahimsa) silk is the best for puja. Sheep’s wool is said to be
always pure, but still, you should not wear ordinary woolen cloth when worshiping the
deity, because wool particles may fall on the deity’s paraphernalia. However, you may
wear wool cloth if it is very fine, “nonshedding” wool, in which case you should reserve
these items only for puja. Synthetic cloth should not be worn when worshiping the deity.

Marking the Body With Tilaka and Other Symbols

You should also describe how one should

paint one’s body in twelve places with urdhva-pundra [tilaka].

Place some water in the palm of the left hand, then taking a piece of gopicandana (tilaka)
in the right hand rub it in the water in the left hand until a smooth paste has been formed.

The following prayer from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, quoted in the Caitanya-caritamrta,

Madhya-lila, 20.202, lists the forms of the Lord to meditate on while applying tilaka.

(om) lalate kesavam dhyayen

narayanam athodare
vaksa-sthale madhavam tu
govindam kantha-kupake

visnum ca daksine kuksau

bahau ca madhusudanam

trivikramam kandhare tu
vamanam vama-parsvake

sridharam vama-bahau tu
hrsikesam tu kandhare
prsthe tu padmanabham ca
katyam damodaram nyaset

tat praksalana toyam tu

vasudeveti murdhani

When one marks the forehead with tilaka, he must remember Kesava. When one
marks the lower abdomen, he must remember Narayana. For the chest, one should
remember Madhava, and when marking the hollow of the neck one should
remember Govinda. Lord Visnu should be remembered while marking the right
side of the belly, and Madhusudana should be remembered when marking the right
arm. Trivikrama should be remembered when marking the right shoulder, and
Vamana should be remembered when marking the left side of the belly. Sridhara
should be remembered while marking the left arm, and Hrsikesa should be
remembered when marking the left shoulder. Padmanabha and Damodara should
be remembered when marking the back.

While chanting the following mantras and meditating on the Lord, apply tilaka to the
forehead and upper body with the ring finger of your right hand.

om kesavaya namah – forehead

om narayanaya namah – navel
om madhavaya namah – chest
om govindaya namah – hollow of the neck
om visnave namah – right abdomen
om madhusudanaya namah – right arm
om trivikramaya namah – right shoulder
om vamanaya namah – left abdomen
om sridharaya namah – left arm
om hrsikesaya namah – left shoulder
om padmanabhaya namah – upper back
om damodaraya namah – lower back

Wash the excess tilaka from your hands with water, and then wipe your sikha with the
palm of your right hand while chanting:

om vasudevaya namah - sikha

Applying tilaka is a spiritual activity and therefore tilaka should be applied in a sitting
position after have sipped acamana.

Marking the Body With Other Symbols and the Names of the Lord

Sometimes devotees also like to decorate their bodies with the names of the Lord or
pictures of the Lord’s feet. For this metal stamps that are purchased in India are used.

• as well as how one should stamp one’s body with the holy names of the Lord or
the symbols of the Lord, such as the disc and club.
• After this, you should describe how one should decorate his body with

Sipping Water for Purification (acamana)

Acamana, or sipping water, is a means of purification. As immersing the body in water brings about
physical and subtle cleansing, so taking water infused with mantras into the body by
sipping performs a similar function. Thus where purification is required but it is
inconvenient to bathe, acamana is prescribed.

The general process of acamana is as follows:

While looking into water cupped in your right hand, chant a mantra directed into that
water and then sip the water.

A devotee should perform acamana to achieve physical and mental purity before
performing spiritual activities such as applying tilaka, chanting Gayatri and japa,
performing puja and homa, observing a vrata, taking prasada, reading or reciting sastra
or mantras, and meditating.

The place where a devotee performs acamana should be pure – i.e., free from hair, bones,
ash, or any other impure item.

The water should be cool, fresh, without bubbles or foul odor or taste, and untouched by
fingernails, hair, or any impure item. Rainwater, being in the mode of passion, should not
be used.

Out of respect for a spiritual activity, do not perform acamana with your head or throat
covered; without having your kaupina or cloth tucked in at the back; without first
cleaning your hands and feet; with shoes on; while standing; or while sitting on shoes or
sitting with your knees or feet showing.

Chanting Gayatri

One also has to perform his sandhyadi-vandana – that is, one has to chant his Gayatri
mantra three times daily – morning, noon and evening.

One may chant Gayatri at the three sandhyas, sunrise, noon and sunset. Also it is
acceptable to chant Gayatri in the morning after applying tilaka. See conversation,
January 18, 1976, Mayapur

Gathering Items for worship

In the previous section we described how to get yourself ready for worshiping the Lord,
now in this section we will describe the utensils of worship and how to prepare the
various items of worship that will be used, as well as the means of purifying various

Before starting the worship, gather all the required utensils and items.

If you want to offer more than the basic items of worship to your deities and want
descriptions of how to prepare these items or what they represent, then please refer to the
chapters on temple worship.

Utensils for Worship


The conch (sankha) embodies the qualities of power, purity, and beauty, and it also
represents moksa. Being a constant companion of the Lord, the conch is worshipable. All
tirthas in the world reside in the water within the conch. Just seeing or touching the
conch destroys one’s sins. The Lord is generally bathed with water from a conch. The
conch is normally placed on a three-legged stand.


The sound of a bell embodies all music. If a devotee lacks instruments and kirtana he can
simply ring a bell, for that sound in itself is dear to the Lord. In elaborate worship the bell
is worshiped before worshiping the Lord, as an item of His paraphernalia that is very dear
to Him. Many functions of worship require that one ring a bell with a handle.

The scriptures (sastra) state that one who, while worshiping the Lord, rings a bell with a
symbol of Garuda or the Lord’s cakra on it attains liberation from birth and death.

A bell with a handle is generally held in the left hand while being rung. When not being
used, the bell should always sit on a plate; this is the bell’s seat (asana). When bathing
the deity and offering food (bhoga), you should ring the bell. You may ring the bell also
when offering other items when it is practical (i.e., when both hands are not required to
offer the items, such as clothing and ornaments).

Vessels (patrani)

Containers for items such as sandalwood paste, flowers and tulasi leaves may be made of
various substances and have various colors and shapes (a lotus, for example). One may
use vessels made of copper, gold, silver, bell-metal, stainless steel, clay, stone, wood
(such as coconut shells), or brass. The Varaha Purana states that the best of all vessels
are those made of copper: “[They] are the purest of the pure, the embodiment of all

auspiciousness.” While vessels of gold and silver are certainly pure, a container made of
copper is not only pure but also purifies the water it contains. As the Lord states in the
Varaha Purana (quoted in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa):

I am more pleased by containers made of copper than by those made of gold, silver, or

However, sour substances such as yogurt and lemon should not be kept in copper

The bathing tray should be copper, brass, or bell-metal. The best type of bathing tray
(snana-patra or snana-vedi) has an opening on one side with a long lip, allowing the
caranamrta to drain off into a separate receptacle. If the bathing tray has no such drain,
you can empty the bathing tray into the caranamrta receptacle after bathing and drying
the deity.

Holders for incense and lamps (dhupa and dipa) can be of brass, bell-metal, silver,
copper, and sometimes clay.

The plate upon which food is offered, may be made of gold, silver, copper, bell-metal,
earthenware, or a lotus leaf. Although sastra does not mention it, stainless steel may also
be used. Do not use aluminum.

Ingredients for Worship


In some temples the pujaris offer different oils according to the season. For example, in
Vrndavana pujaris commonly offer ruh khus during summer, kadamba and rose during
the rainy season, jasmine during autumn, and hina (myrtle) during winter. Avoid offering
synthetic oils, which contain impure chemicals such as alcohol.

Bathing Ingredients

The principal element of the bath is pure water, with certain restrictions. Do not collect
the water at night, nor touch it with your fingernails. In descending order of quality, the
best water for bathing the deity is Ganga or Yamuna water, then water from any tirtha,
water from a river that flows directly to the ocean, water from a tributary river, water
from a natural spring, lake, pond, or man-made reservoir, water from a well, and finally
water from a pot. Bring the water to a pleasant temperature for bathing, depending on the
weather – cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather.

One should bathe the Lord with water in which nicely scented flowers have been soaking
for some time.

By adding various ingredients, one may prepare many kinds of water for bathing the
deity. You can also add sandalwood paste to the water. Tulasi should always be in the
bathing water for the Lord.

Tilaka and Lemon Juice

Brass deities require regular polishing. This is generally done with a paste made of tilaka
and fresh lemon juice. However, you may also use a mixture of fresh lemon juice and
“fuller’s earth”, (a very fine potter’s clay). Lemon juice should be from fresh lemons,
(fresh limes are also acceptable). The purity of bottled lemon juice is uncertain therefore
it is better to avoid. You may also polish the deities with a paste made from tamarind
pulp and a little water.

To make the paste, add fresh lemon juice to powdered tilaka, after a few moments the
mixture will bubble. You may apply the tilaka to the body of the deity directly with your
fingers, with a cloth or with cotton wool. Always check the paste before applying to see
that there are no small stones that will scratch the deity.

Towels for Drying

The towels for drying the Lord should be pure, soft cotton. Cotton is better than silk
because it is absorbent and can be washed repeatedly. Do not use synthetics

Cotton flannelette is suitable for this purpose. It remains soft even after washing many
times. It also dries quickly so that if it is washed and rinsed one day it is dry the next day
ready for the worship.

Always wash and dry new cloth before using for your deities.

Dress for the Lord (vastra)

The Lord should be dressed in upper and lower cloth that is durable, soft (not scratchy),
clean, untorn, never worn by others, scented, and of variegated colors. The scriptures
allow for various local styles in dressing the Lord, but traditional dressing, like traditional
cooking, is very dear to Him.

All colors may be utilized just suitable to your scheme.

Synthetic fabric is allowable for deity dresses, although natural fabrics such as silk and
cotton are best.

The deities should be dressed in clothing suitable to the season – warm clothing in the
cold season, light in the hot season. Dressing deities according to season is prominent in
traditional temples in Vrndavana.

Srila Prabhupada was displeased when devotees failed to dress the deities in clothing
suitable to the weather:

“It is not at all good that the deities do not have warm clothing for the cold weather.”

Tulasi Leaves and Buds

If fresh tulasi leaves are unavailable, you may use dry tulasi leaves for offering food and
for placing on the Lord’s lotus feet.

(See instructions on worshiping Tulasi and picking her leaves.)


Since precious metals and precious stones attract thieves, Srila Prabhupada instructed
devotees to decorate deities with synthetic jewellery. However, semi-precious stones and
silver generally may be used, with due consideration for protection of the deities and
Their paraphernalia.

Sandalwood Paste

Sandalwood paste is made by grinding sandalwood on a stone with a little water or rose
water. If you are adding other ingredients to the paste, such as saffron of camphor, add
them after you have made a little paste, then grind them into the paste until they are
completely absorbed into the paste and there are no small pieces left. Sandalwood paste
may be also made by adding a pinch of aguru (aloes), musk, or kunkuma. Finely ground
tulasi wood may also be added.


The Hari-bhakti-vilasa dedicates an entire chapter to the subject of flowers. Flowers are a
very important item in deity worship. Always try to offer the best flowers possible.

If flowers are unavailable, you may offer leaves (especially tulasi, jambu, mango,
amalaki, sami, and tamala leaves) or newly grown grass shoots.

Srila Prabhupada writes:

There is no question of using paper [or] plastic fruits and flowers for worshiping the
deities. If no fresh fruits or flowers are available, then you can decorate with some fresh
leaves. You have seen our temples; nowhere do we use such things… We are not after
decoration; we are after devotional service for pleasing Krishna’s senses. Decoration
must be there, of course, to make the temple as opulent as possible for pleasing Krishna.
Outside the temple, you can use the plastic ornaments. But not for worship. For daily
worship there must be fresh fruit, flowers, and leaves.

Krsna belongs to the village atmosphere of Vrndavana, and He is very fond of flowers.
As far as possible try to increase the quantity of flowers.

Incense (dhupa)

Incense may be of many varieties. It is popular nowadays to offer incense sticks

(agarbatti), since they are convenient to light and offer. Strictly speaking, one can be
reasonably sure that all purchased incense sticks contain impure substances-chemicals
and possibly even animal products. Even “pure sandalwood” incense is likely to be
synthetic. These impurities do not make such products unofferable, any more than
synthetic jewelery is unofferable. As far as possible try to attain pure incense to offer to
the Lord.

Lamps (dipa)

Ghee lamps offered in arati vary widely in shape and size and traditionally have an odd
number of wicks, (more than three). The standard number of wicks for a full arati is five.

The technique for making ghee wicks that burn properly-with just the right amount of
ghee, and tapered to a fine point-must be learned from an expert.

Offering Food

Srila Prabhupada writes:

As far as the eatables are concerned, all items should be first-class preparations. There should be
first-class rice, dal, fruit, sweet rice, vegetables, and a variety of foods to be sucked,
drunk, and chewed. All the eatables offered to the deities should be extraordinarily

Offerable foods

The Hari-bhakti-vilasa lists some of the foods that
may be offered: bilva, amalaki, dates, coconut, jackfruit, grapes, tala fruit, lotus root,
leafy vegetables, cowmilk products, and items made from grains, ghee, and sugar.

Grains, especially rice, should always be offered with ghee. Rice without ghee is
considered asuric. The Lord is pleased when offered items made with ghee, sugar,
yogurt, guda (jaggery), and honey; chickpea preparations, dals, soups (wet sabjis),
varieties of cakes, and other items that can be licked, chewed, sucked, or drunk are all
pleasing as well.

One may also offer drinks such as sugarcane juice, yogurt drinks, sweetened lemon
water, water flavored with cinnamon, camphor, or cardamom, and fruit drinks of various
scents and colors.

Many passages in the Caitanya-caritamrta describe preparations that please Krsna. Here
is a sample, describing what Lord Caitanya’s associates would prepare for Him:

They offered [Him] pungent preparations made with black pepper, sweet-and-sour
preparations, ginger, salty preparations, limes, milk, yogurt, cheese, two or four kinds of
spinach, soup made with bitter melon [sukta], eggplant mixed with nimba flowers, and
fried patola.

In a letter Srila Prabhupada described foods in the mode of goodness and how to present
them to the Lord:

Foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey,
butter, and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be
offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees.

In his Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Prabhupada describes the best type of rice for deity

In India sukla-caval (white rice) is also called atapa-caval, or rice that has not been
boiled before being threshed. Another kind of rice, called siddha-caval (brown rice), is
boiled before being threshed. Generally, first-class fine white rice is required for
offerings to the deity.

A devotee may offer bona fide foods considered delicacies by the local people or
preferred by him or his family. In commenting on a sloka stating that one may offer his
own or local favorites, Sanatana Gosvami writes that this means that even though people
in general may not like a certain food, if a person prefers it he may offer it. But this refers
to foods the scriptures approves, not those they forbid. Thus if one is fond of a forbidden
food, one cannot offer it to the Lord. And thus one cannot eat it. Also, one should not
offer even permissible foods that are tasteless, unpalatable, inedible, impure for any
reason, or eaten by insects, animals, or people.

If nothing else offerable is available, one may offer fruit alone. If even fruit is
unavailable, one may offer pure water while meditating on offering elaborate
preparations. If even water is unavailable, one should at least mentally make an offering
of food.

Forbidden foods

Common forbidden foods include meat, fish, eggs, onions, mushrooms, garlic, masur-dal (red lentils),
burned rice, white eggplant, hemp (marijuana), citron, saps from trees (if not boiled
first), buffalo and goat milk products, and milk with salt in it. Also, one should not offer
canned or frozen foods to the deity, and it is best to avoid offering foods containing
unhealthy substances such as yeast and white sugar.

Srila Prabhupada comments:

“Frozen means nasty. I never take frozen…. All rotten, rather the same vegetable, as we
have got in India practice, we dry it and keep it. That is tasteful.”

“So far the cucumber pickles: As far as possible we should not offer to the deity things
which are prepared by nondevotees. We can accept from them raw fruits, grains, or
similar raw things. So far cooking and preparing, that should be strictly limited to the
initiated devotees. And aside from this, vinegar is not good; it is tamasic, in the darkness,
nasty food.”

“Concerning the use of sour cream in the temple, it should be stopped immediately.
Nothing should be offered to the Deities which is purchased in the stores. Things
produced by the karmis should not be offered to Radha-Krishna. Icecream, if you can
prepare, is O.K., but not otherwise.”

“Unpolished rice which looks like brown can be used… We do not mind polished or
unpolished, but doubly-boiled [siddha rice] mustn’t be used. Doubly-boiled rice is
considered impure. Sunbaked rice (atapa) is all right.”

“Soya beans and lentils are unofferable.”

“Regarding purchasing things in the market, these items are considered as purified when
we pay the price for them. That is the general instruction. But when we know something
is adulterated, we should avoid it. But unknowingly if something is purchased, that is not
our fault. Things which are suspicious, however, should be avoided.”

“No, it is not very good to use yeast in preparing prasadam.”

“Since it is offensive to offer anything to Krsna that He will not accept, one should be
extremely cautious not to offer (or eat) anything questionable.”

Kitchen Standards
Just as we must select pure, excellent foods to offer to Krsna, so we must also prepare them purely.
To prepare food for the Lord, one must meticulously observe the rules for cleanliness and
take the utmost care to prepare the food properly. The consciousness of the cook enters
into the food he prepares, and therefore he should strive to be Krsna conscious while in
the kitchen. The kitchen, where the Lord’s food is prepared, is an extension of the deity
room, where He eats. So the same high standard of cleanliness should be maintained in
both places.

Kitchen Rules

Follow the standards presented here as far as possible.

Kitchen Dress

• If possible cover your hair so as to avoid any hair falling into a preparation.
• Do not wear wool in the kitchen.
• All clothing must be clean-that is, it must not have been worn in the bathroom,
when eating or sleeping, or outside the temple grounds.

Personal Cleanliness

• You should be freshly showered and wearing tilaka and neckbeads.

• Wash your hands when first entering the kitchen, and wash them again if you
touch your face, mouth, or hair, or if you sneeze or cough (having-hopefully-
covered your mouth).

Food Purity

• After assembling the ingredients for cooking, wash all vegetables and fruits and
anything else that can be washed.
• If something washable falls on the floor or in a sink, wash it off; if it is
unwashable, reject it.

• The cook should cover all preparations as soon as they are cooked. If an animal
sees a preparation before it is offered, it must be rejected. No one except the cook
and the pujari should see the unoffered food.
• Cover the ghee used for frying when it is not in use. Old ghee should be replaced
regularly with fresh ghee.
• See to it that all ingredients are properly stored in closed containers.

Kitchen and Utensil Cleanliness

• The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned regularly, including inside the stoves,
ovens, and refrigerators.
• Do not leave unclean saucepans and utensils lying around in the kitchen. Clean
them after they are used (the sooner they are cleaned after use, the easier they are
to clean).
• No one should eat or drink in the kitchen; nor should anyone use the sink for
spitting into or drinking from.
• Remove all garbage from the kitchen at least once a day.
• If you need to store prasada in the refrigerator store it in such a way that
unoffered items will not become contaminated. I.e. store prasada in sealed

Maintaining Proper Consciousness

• As far as possible restrict conversation to topics about Krsna.

• Do not play recordings of popular-style music in the kitchen. Traditional bhajana
and kirtana recordings are appropriate.

Deep-frying should be done in pure ghee, if possible. Ghee used for frying should be
regularly replaced. (Ideally, ghee and other oils should be used only once, since each
reheating reduces their digestibility. An expert cook will use a minimum amount of ghee
for deep-frying and use the remainder for making halava or mixing into rice.) If ghee is
not available or cannot be made, you may use vegetable oil, such as coconut, mustard,
sunflower, or peanut oil.


Every scheduled food offering is followed by an arati. Except for kirtana, offering arati
is the only regular daily function of deity worship performed publicly.

There two basic types of arati offered in ISKCON temples (both described in the section
on how to offer arati) but according to your circumstances and available facility you may
offer whatever is practical.

Arati is performed at 1½ hours before sunrise to awaken the deities. Each offering is
made by moving it in 7 big circles, starting at the Lotus Feet of the Lord, and going
clockwise round. First of all, burning camphor or ghee (5 fires if possible) is offered in

this way, slowly circling them before the Lord. With left hand bell is being rung, and
with right hand the offerings are made by circling. Next burning dhupa is offered. Then
water is offered in a conchshell. Then a nice handkerchief is offered. Then a nice flower,
as a rose. Then the deities are offered a fan, nice peacock feather fan. And the last item is
the blowing of the conch shell three times. Throughout arati there is bell ringing,
cymbals, mrdanga, gong, harmonium, etc.

So far your question regarding deity worship, during arati everything should be offered
first to the Guru.

The cloth offered in arati, should be pure cotton or pure silk.

Waking the Deities

The following procedure assumes the deities are in beds. If they are not sleeping in beds
then skip the part of the procedure that asks you to take the Lord out of bed and while
touching the deity’s lotus feet chant the prayers for waking. You may chant the prayes in
English, or your own language, if you do not want to chant the Sanskrit prayers.

• If you are worshiping Gaura-Nitai deities then first wake your spiritual master
then Gaura-Nitai.
• If you are worshiping Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra as well as Gaura-Nitai
then first wake your spiritual master, then Gaura-Nitai then Jagannatha, Baladeva
and Subhadra.
• If you are worshiping Radha-Krsna and Gaura-Nitai, first wake your spiritual
master, then Gaura-Nitai then Radha-Krsna.
• If you are worshiping all three sets of deities, first wake your spiritual master,
then Gaura-Nitai, then Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra, and then Radha-


You will need the following items:

1. a small bell on a plate

2. an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon
3. a mat (asana) for you to sit on
4. Before beginning perform simple acamana (see description), then
5. Offer obeisances to your spiritual master, reciting his pranama prayer(s), and pray
for his blessings to assist him in the worship of the Lord:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-talesrimate [spiritual master's name] iti


I offer my respectful obeisances unto [spiritual master’s name], who is very dear to
Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

Before entering the room (or the altar area), make a sound, either ringing a bell, clapping
your hands, or knocking on the door.

Open the door (or enter the area), turn on the lights, and, chant the names of the deities in
a festive mood: jaya sri sri guru-gauranga,jagannatha-baladeva-subhadra,radha-krsna-
ki jaya! (If you are worshiping other deities, then chant Their names instead of these
names. If you are worshiping additional deities, chant Their names also.)

If there are ghee or oil lamps on or near the altar you may light them now.

Wash your hands with a few drops of water from the acamana cup.

Waking the Spiritual Master and the Deities

While ringing a small bell with the left hand, approach your spiritual master’s picture,
gently touch his feet with the fingertips of your right hand, and request him to rise from
bed by chanting:

uttisthottistha sri-guro tyaja nidram krpa-maya

O all-merciful spiritual master, please rise from bed.

Meditate that he is rising from bed.

Next approach the bed of Lord Nityananda touch His lotus feet, and request Him to rise:

uttistha jahnavesvara yoga-nidram tyaja prabhonamno hatte divya-namam su-

sraddhartham vitarasi

O Nityananda, Lord of Jahnava, please arise and give up Your divine sleep. At the
marketplace of the holy name You distribute the divine name, asking only for one’s
faith as payment.

Then approach the bed of Lord Caitanya touch His lotus feet, and request Him to rise:

uttisthottistha gauranga jahi nidram mahaprabhosubha-drsti-pradanena trailokya-

mangalam kuru

O Lord Gauranga, please rise from sleep and bless the three worlds with Your
auspicious glance.

Next approach the bed of Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balarama, and Srimati Subhadra, touch
Their lotus feet, first Jagannatha, then Balarama and then Srimati Subhadra, and chant:

tyaja nidram jagan-natha sri-baladevottistha cajagan-matar ca subhadre uttisthottistha

O Lord Jagannatha and Lord Baladeva, please give up your sleep and arise. O
Srimati Subhadra, dear mother of the universe, please arise and bestow good
fortune upon us.

Then approach Radha’s and Krsna’s bed, touch Their lotus feet, first Krsna, and then
Radharani, and chant:

go-gopa-gokulananda yasoda-nanda-vardhanauttistha radhaya sardham pratar asij


O master of the universes, O bliss of Gokula, the cowherds, and the cows, O You
who gladden the hearts of Yasoda and Nanda, please rise from bed with Sri
Radhika, for morning has come.

Place any small deities that are in bed back on the altar. If there are only large deities,
meditate on waking Them and leading Them from Their beds to the altar.

At this time replace any crowns, turbans, or chadars, or veils that are part of the deities’
night dress.

After removing any remaining flowers and garlands from the previous day, clean the
deity room floor and then wash your hands. (Garlands offered the previous evening and
Tulasi leaves offered the previous day may remain on the deities through Mangala Arati
the following morning.)

Now that the deities have been awakened, offer obeisances to Them outside the altar area.

Offering Food
On a plate reserved for the Lord’s use, nicely arrange the preparations to be
offered (Refer to kitchen and preparation rules on this page). Perform acamana and offer
obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to assist him in the worship.
The offering plate is placed in front of the deities, either directly on the altar or on a table
before the altar. Arrange for the Lord to eat in private, perhaps by putting up a curtain
before the altar or leaving the room while He is eating.


You will need the following items:

1. a small bell on a plate

2. an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon

3. some arrangement for the offering plate(s) – preferably low tables
4. cushions or mats (asanas) for your spiritual master and the deities
5. the food offering (bhoga)
6. a mat (asana) for you to sit on

Perform acamana and offer obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to
assist him in the worship.

Before entering the room (or area where the altar is) draw the Lord’s attention by making
a sound, either by ringing a bell, clapping your hands, or knocking on the door. Enter the
room (or area) while chanting the names of the deities.

Clean the offering area, wash your hands, arrange the eating places (tables, cushions,
etc.), and wipe the table surfaces.

Offer your spiritual master a sitting place (asana).

Purifying the Offering

Bring in the plate(s) for the offering (bhoga) and place them on the table(s).

Hold the acamana spoon in your right hand and sprinkle the food items on each plate with
a few drops of water.

Make sure the food items (bhoga) have tulasi on them.

Inviting the Deities to Take Their Meal

Offer seats (asanas) to the deities, in ascending order, inviting Them to take Their meal
with a gesture of the hands motioning Them to Their sitting places.

Offering the Bhoga

While ringing a bell, chant the pranama prayer(s) to your spiritual master three times,
begging permission to assist him in serving the deities:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-talesrimate [your spiritual master's name]

iti namine

I offer my respectful obeisances unto [your spiritual master's name], who is very
dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

Chant the following two prayers to Srila Prabhupada one after the other, three times,
requesting his mercy:

nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-talesrimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti

I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarinenirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati
Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and
delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

Chant the following prayer to Lord Caitanya three times, requesting His mercy:

namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya tekrsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-

tvise namah

O most munificent incarnation! You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna
Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani,
and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna. We offer our respectful
obeisances unto You.

Chant the following prayer three times, offering respect to Lord Krsna:

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya cajagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo


I offer my obeisances again and again to Lord Krsna, who is always worshiped by
qualified brahmanas and is very dear to them. He is always concerned with the
welfare of the cows, the brahmanas, and the whole universe, and He gives pleasure
to the cows, land, and senses.

Leave the area, offer obeisances praying for the Lord to accept the offering then chant the
Gayatri mantras. Meditate on the Lord eating.

After some time (leave long enough for the Lord to eat), return to the altar. Ring the bell
to indicate that the offering has finished and meditate on escorting Their Lordships and
your spiritual master back to the altar, indicating the way with a gesture of your right

Remove the plates. Wipe the tables. Purify your hands with a few drops of water from the
acamana cup.

- - - - - - Offering Arati At Home - - - - - -
Required Paraphernalia

Make sure the following items are present:

For all aratis:

1. a bell on a plate
2. an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon
3. a conch (for blowing) with a water-filled lota for purifying it
4. a receptacle to catch the water from rinsing the conch (just outside the deity room,
in the temple room).

In addition, for full arati:

1. an incense holder with an odd number of incense sticks (usually three)

2. a camphor lamp (for midday arati)
3. a ghee lamp with an odd number of wicks (at least five)
4. a conch for water, with a stand
5. a small container for the water that is offered in the conch
6. a handkerchief
7. flowers on a plate
8. a camara (yak-tail whisk)
9. a peacock fan (only in warm weather).

For dhupa-arati:

1. an incense holder with an odd number of sticks; (usually three)

2. flowers on a plate
3. a camara
4. a peacock fan (only in warm weather).

Preliminary Activities for Arati

After performing acamana (if not already done for previous services), offer obeisances to
your spiritual master, requesting to assist him in the worship.

See to it that there is an acamana cup containing fresh water and a spoon.

After cleaning the place where the arati paraphernalia will be set up (either on a low
table, on the floor, or, if space allows, on the altar itself), bring the tray with
paraphernalia and place them in the order of offering.

You may now light a standing or hanging oil or ghee lamp for lighting incense and arati

Ringing the bell again, open the deity room doors or curtains on the altar. Then, take the
blowing conchshell and lota with water just outside the deity room (without the bell),
blow the conch three times, rinse it off over a receptacle placed outside for that purpose,
and then bring the conch and lota back inside. (You may place the conch horizontally on
top of the lota.) Next wash your hands with water from the acamana cup and open the
curtain while ringing the bell.

During the arati ceremony, it is nice if your family members or other devotees perform
kirtana. If there is no one to chant, the pujari performing arati may either sing or have a
recording of kirtana played.

Purifying the Items (Upacaras)

Before picking up and offering each item, first purify your right hand and then the item
by sprinkling them with water from the acamana cup. You can purify the item by taking
the spoon in your right hand and sprinkle water on the item directly from the spoon.

Offering Procedure

While standing on a mat (asana) and ringing a bell, present the incense first to your
spiritual master by waving it in three or seven graceful circles, and then present it to Srila
Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya in the same manner.

Arati paraphernalia should be offered gracefully, in a meditative mood. But do not be

either too slow or too fast, and do not perform it in a showy manner, but as a humble
servant of your spiritual master and the assembled Vaisnavas. Stand to the left of the altar
(as viewed from the temple room)—not hidden entirely from view but also not distracting
by your presence.

For devotees who are not direct disciples of Srila Prabhupada: Along with the worship of
one’s own spiritual master, devotees in ISKCON worship His Divine Grace A. C.
Bhaktivedänta Swami Prabhupada as both the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON and the siksa-
guru for all devotees of ISKCON. In addition to the worship of Srila Prabhupada in his
guru-puja, one should also honor him when performing arati by presenting the arati items
to Srila Prabhupada after presenting them to one’s own spiritual master.

Then, with the consciousness that you are offering it on behalf of your spiritual master
and with the blessings of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya, offer it with the full
number of circles (listed below) to the main deity.

After offering the incense to the main Deity, offer it as prasada to the Lord’s associates in
descending order, and to the guru-parampara – senior to junior. This may be done with

seven or three circles for each personality, depending on time allowance. (Some manuals
say that when offering items as prasada in arati, one should not offer below the waist.)

Then “distribute it” (with one or three circles) to the assembled Vaisnavas as the prasada
of the Lord and His associates.

Offer the remaining items in a similar way. When offering each item, say softly the name
of the item and the appropriate mula-mantra of the deity being worshiped. Or in
simplified worship, simply say to each personality, “Please accept this offering of
[incense, lamps, etc.].

Offered items should not be mixed with unoffered items. You may place offered items
back on the plate that was used to bring in the paraphernalia, provided no unoffered
paraphernalia remains on it.

How to Offer Each Item

Offer all the items, except the camara and fan, by moving them in seven clockwise circles
around the Lord’s body while ringing a bell with your left hand (above waist level),
fixing your attention on the deities. The flowers should be offered in seven circles around
the feet.

Completing the Arati

Full aratis, including fanning and blowing of the conch before and after the arati, may last
up to twenty-five minutes; the duration of short aratis (in which incense, flowers, and
camara are offered) is from five to eight minutes.

After completing the arati, blow the conch three times outside the deity room, as at the
beginning of the arati. Then distribute the arghya and flower prasada to the assembled

Then with joined palms offer pranama prayers softly to your spiritual master and Their

Next remove the arati paraphernalia from the deity room, clean the area and articles, and
at last offer dandavat-pranamas (prostrated obeisances) outside the deity room.

------ Bathing & Dressing Deities -----

For three-dimensional metal deities, bathe and dress Them daily if possible, while
polishing Them daily is optional. If it is not possible to polish Them daily, then once a
week or once every two weeks, perhaps on the weekends or on Ekadasi. At that time, you
would also offer your regular daily worship with dress, flowers, and so on.


1. An acamana cup (containing water) and a spoon

2. A small bell on plate
3. Small water pot with cover
4. Bowl with tilaka powder mixed with lemon juice, (if polishing metal deities)
5. Scented oil
6. Cotton wool (good handful)
7. Bathing receptacle
8. Three towels: one for each deity, and one for your hands
9. A mirror that can stand on its own (this is only needed if the deities you have
cannot be bathed);
10. Clothing & underclothing for the deities
11. Pins and Blu Tack
12. Jewelery
13. Sandalwood paste (on a small plate)
14. Tulasi (on a small plate)
15. Picture of your spiritual master
16. Picture of Srila Prabhupada


1. Flowers (on a small plate)

2. Incense and ghee lamp
3. Bhoga offering (sweets and fruit, or just fruit)
4. This procedure (if it is needed)

Perform acamana and offer obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to
assist him in the worship.

Gather all the required paraphernalia and arrange it neatly and conveniently for
performing the worship. By having everything all set up, you will not need to interrupt
the worship to find a needed item.

Sit on the mat (asana), and then lightly sprinkle yourself, the area around you and the
paraphernalia with water from the acamana cup, while chanting the Hare Krsna maha-

Offer worship to your spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada as follows: Ringing a bell
with your left hand, offer flowers (if possible, dipped in sandalwood paste) at their lotus
feet. Beg for their blessings to perform the worship of the deities.

The Main Worship

Offer worship to the deities as follows:

• Invite Their Lordships to the bathing receptacle with a gesture of the hands
• Remove Their clothing
• To polish metal deities, use the cotton wool to apply powdered tilaka mixed with
a little lemon juice. Avoid Their eyes and painted areas.
• Clean off the paste with cotton wool (it is important to use plenty of water when
rinsing off the paste, as lemon juice is corrosive).
• Ringing the bell with your left hand, pour water over Their Lordships from the
conch held in your right hand. Do this at least three times.
• The following two prayers are chanted each day in the temple when we greet the
deities. You may repeat these prayers while you are bathing Their Lordships:

cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantamlaksmi-

sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanamgovindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending cows
yielding all desires among abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by
millions of desire trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by
hundreds of thousands of laksmis, or gopis.

venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksambarhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam

kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesa-sobhamgovindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, who has
eyes like the petals of a blooming lotus, whose head is bedecked with a peacock
feather, who has a figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose
unique loveliness is charming millions of Cupids.

Or, you may chant govinda jaya jaya, gopala jaya jaya or Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

• Dry the deities with soft towels.

• Dress the deities, and offer ornaments and garlands.
• Sandalwood paste to Their lotus feet;
• Flowers and tulasi leaves with sandalwood to Their Lordship’s lotus feet
• Optionally you may offer some or all of the following items:

1. Incense, while ringing the bell

2. A ghee or camphor lamp, while ringing the bell
3. Offer some fruit and/or sweets and drinking water while ringing the bell, and
chanting the offering prayers as shown above.

Offer obeisances and beg forgiveness for any offenses you may have committed in the

Clear away, and wash and dry the paraphernalia used in the worship.

Putting the Deities to Bed
Before putting the deities to bed, bathe, put on clean clothing, apply tilaka, and perform

As far as placing the deity in the bed is concerned, if the deity is large and heavy, it is not
possible to move Him daily. It is better that a small deity, which is also worshiped, be
taken to the bed. This mantra should be chanted:

agaccha sayana-sthanam priyabhih saha kesava

O Kesava, kindly come to Your bed along with Srimati Radharani. [Hari-bhakti-
vilasa 11.40]

The deity should be placed in bed Srimati Radharani, and this should be indicated by
bringing the wooden slippers from the altar to the bedside. When the deity is laid down,
His legs should be massaged. Before laying the deity down, a pot of milk and sugar
should be offered to Him. After taking this thick milk, the deity should lie down and
should be offered betel nuts and spices to chew.

You may follow the procedure below in full, chanting the Sanskrit or say the translations.
If this is too complicated, while touching the lotus feet of each deity ask Them to please
go to sleep. Then following the same procedure touch your spiritual master’s lotus feet
(in the picture) and ask him to go to sleep.

If you have Gaura-Nitai then follow the procedure only for Them and the spiritual

If you have Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra as well as Gaura-Nitai then put Them to
bed before Gaura-Nitai.

If you have Radha-Krsna and Gaura-Nitai, put Radha-Krsna to bed before Gaura-Nitai.

If you have all three sets of deities, put Radha-Krsna to bed first, followed by Jagannatha,
Baladeva and Subhadra, and then Gaura-Nitai.

For large deities for whom you have beds, you may assist in the meditation by moving
Their shoes next to the bed. If there are no beds for the deities then touch Their lotus feet
while chanting Their mantras and meditate They are being escorted to bed. Follow the
procedure in meditation.


1. an acamana cup (containing water) and a spoon

2. the deities’ beds

3. the deities’ nightclothes
4. cloths for wiping off tilaka decorations
5. flower petals


Perform acamana and offer obeisances to your spiritual master requesting his blessings to
assist him in the worship.

While ringing a bell, call out, the names of the deities and approach the altar: jaya sri sri
guru-gauranga,jagannatha-baladeva-subhadra,radha-krsna-ki jaya!

If it is possible, dress the deities in nightclothes before They go to bed.

Place each deity’s bed before or beside the altar, either on the floor or on a low table.
Fluff out the bedding, and then you may place flower petals in the bed, either physically
or by meditation. (If there are mosquitoes or flies in the room, put mosquito netting
around the beds.)

Bring Their Lordships’ shoes from the altar to the bed, thinking that you are escorting the
deities to Their beds. Place the shoes next to the bed on a small mat, pillow or table.

Then invite the deities to bed by chanting the appropriate mantra and offering Them your

Offer flowers to Their Lordships’ lotus feet.

Now place Their Lordships in bed and massage Their lotus feet.

Then cover Them with bedding appropriate to the room temperature.

You may chant the following prayers in Sanskrit, or say the translations, or you may
simply ask the deities to please take rest.


agaccha sayana-sthanam priyabhih saha kesava

divya-puspatya-sayyayam sukham vihara madhava

Now come, O Kesava, along with Your beloved Srimati Radharani and Her friends,
to the bed covered with transcendental, aromatic flowers. Now happily enjoy Your
pastimes, O Madhava.

Place Krsna’s flute under His pillow.

Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra

agaccha sayana-sthanam agrajena hy adhoksaja
agaccha nija-sayyam ca subhadre me dayam kuru

O Lord Jagannatha, if You please, You and Your elder brother Balarama may now
come to Your beds. O Mother Subhadra, please come to your resting place and
kindly bestow your mercy upon me.

Lord Caitanya

agaccha visrama-sthanam sva-ganaih saha gauranga

ksanam visramya sukhena lilaya vihara prabho

O Lord Gauranga, please come to Your resting place along with Your associates. O
Lord, rest comfortably for a moment, enjoying Your pastimes.

Lord Nityananda

agaccha sayana-sthanam nityananda jagad-guro

tava rupe maha-visnor anante sayanam kuru

O spiritual master of the universe, Lord Nityananda, please come to Your place of
rest. In Your form of Maha-Visnu, please rest upon the thousand-headed serpent
known as Sesa.

Srila Prabhupada

If you have a deity of Srila Prabhupada, you may follow the same procedure for putting
Srila Prabhupada to bed, if you have a picture then touch his lotus feet in the picture
while chanting the following mantra and meditate that he is going to bed.

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha parama-guro

O grand spiritual master, please come to your resting place, along with all your

Spiritual Master

Follow the same procedure for putting your spiritual master to bed:

agaccha sayana-sthanam sva-ganaih saha sri-guro

O spiritual master, please come to your resting place, along with all your associates.

Turn out the altar lights and close the curtains or altar doors, if the altar has them; if not,
then just quietly leave the room, turning off the lights as you leave.

Offer obeisances to your spiritual master.

If you have removed any jewelry or clothing, then carefully put them in their proper
storage places, respecting them as the Lord’s paraphernalia.

Worshipping Tulasi Devi

In this section you will find all the information needed to cultivate, care for and worship
Tulasi Devi in your home or temple, in line with the standards of the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness.

• Introduction to Tulasi Devi

• Cultivation & Care of Tulasi Devi
• Problems & Treatment
• Prayers & Worship

The information in these pages has been reproduced with the kind permission of Lilavati devi dasi
from her book “The Science of Growing Srimati Tulasi Devi – A Practical Guide.”

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions pleasee-mail us.

Hare Krishna!

Introduction to Tulasi Devi

Serving Trees Such as the Tulasi

In the Skanda Purana there is a statement praising the tulasi tree as follows:

“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the tulasi tree, which can immediately
vanquish volumes of sinful activities. Simply by seeing or touching this tree one can
become relieved from all distresses and diseases. Simply by offering obeisances to and
pouring water on the tulasi tree, one can be free from the fear of being sent to the court of
Yamaraja (the King of death, who punishes the sinful). If someone sows a tulasi tree
somewhere, certainly he become devoted to Lord Krsna. And when the tulasi leaves are
offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Krsna, there is the full development of love of

In India all Hindus, even those not belonging to the Vaisnava group, take special care of
the tulasi tree. Even in great cities where it is very difficult to keep a tulasi tree, people
are to be found very carefully keeping this plant. They water it and offer obeisances to it,
because worship of the tulasi tree is very important in devotional service.

In the Skanda Purana there is another statement about tulasi, as follows:

“Tulasi is auspicious in all aspects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by

remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about,
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”.
(Srila Prabhupada. The Nectar of Devotion, Aspects of Transcendental Service, p 99).

For those who have an interest in the history of the naming of Tulasi-devi by the
scientific community, the information below has been kindly given by Mr M L Grant,
Botanist for The Royal Horticultural Society.

It seems that the plant was named twice by Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist, who
invented our present system for naming plants. In his work of 1753 called Species
Plantarum he named the plant Ocimum tenuiflorum (the latter word meaning “with
slender flowers”). In a later work of 1767 called Mantissa Plantarum, he named what he
thought was a different basil Ocimum sanctum (meaning “holy”). Later botanists have
examined Linnaeus’s specimens and decided that they are actually one and the same
species, so the earliest name is the correct one. The rule of priority in naming is one of
the main principles of botany, so even though the latter name sounds more appropriate,
the scientific community have to use the earlier one.

The main character that distinguishes Ocimum tenuiflorum previously (sanctum) from
other commonly cultivated basils is the cluster of hairs at the base of the upper stamens.
Other basils have no hairs or tooth-like appendages. This character is difficult to see with
a lens but can usually be detected under a low-power binocular microscope.


I offer my most respectful obeisances to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada please accept this book as a token of my sincere
gratitude to you for showing us the way home.

The verses, purports and letters used in this work are all © Copyright BBT International.
All right reserved.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to my son Balarama dasa, for his
patience, computer skills and continued support, working with me day-to-day preparing
this book. Without his help this book could not have been written. I would like to give
special thanks to Lokadristi devi dasi for her guidance with the mantras and letters of
Srila Prabhupada. My special thanks to Anuradha devi dasi and Vrajasundari devi dasi
for their kindness and patience in proof reading this work. To my dear friend Serena
Buchan for the final proof reading at such short notice. To Gadadhara dasa, for the
photographs and support throughout the writing of this book and getting it to print.

Text written by Lilavati devi dasi, illustrations by Lilavati devi dasi and Balarama dasa.
Photographs by Gadadhara dasa

All proceeds from this book go towards maintaining Srimati Tulasi devi at Bhaktivedanta

© Copyright 1999 Lilavati d.d. All rights reserved.

Printed version byVision Printers204 Seven Sisters Road,Finsbury Park, London N4 3NX
Tel: 0207 281 6369Fax: 0207 281 4574

Cultivation & Care of Tulasi Devi

See also:

• Watering Tulasi Devi

• Diseases & Nutrients

Growing Tulasi From Seed

To grow Tulasi from seed can be very rewarding. It is said that Tulasi will grow where
there is devotion. However, the most common problem I hear from devotees of Srimati
Tulasi devi is, “Why will Tulasi devi not come to me?” – “What am I doing wrong?” –
“Is it me?” – “Am I just not devotional enough?” – and so it goes! If you have the same
anxieties, then lets stop for a moment and consider just how merciful Tulasi is and from
this state of grace how we can receive new insights. Instead of confusion, let’s look at
some of the practical sides as to why it can be difficult to grow her from seed.

Tulasi seeds will germinate quite nicely if they have been stored in an air tight container
and kept in a cool dry place. The life expectancy of seeds can vary depending on how
they are stored. I have successfully grown seeds over four years old. Seeds will
deteriorate if left out in the open or in a greenhouse as they would be subjected to both
unfavourable temperature and humidity levels. Other factors are due to seeds becoming
damaged in transit – sown too deeply, imbalance in moisture, light or heat or the wrong
choice of soil.

If the seed is good and the correct growing conditions are established, add a dash of love
and Tulasi will flourish. Ask yourself these questions when sowing seeds do you have
enough space, height/width for Tulasi to grow on to a mature plant? Will she receive
enough sunlight and humidity? For home worship it is best to sow only one or two,
unless you have adequate space to grow her.

Development Of A Manjari From Flower To Seed

A Tulasi manjari first starts to develop from a small bud with two small leaves, one either
side of the bud. Once this bud starts to grow up into a point of about 2cm the individual
clusters, or whorls which will develop from buds into sets of six flowers, can be seen
more clearly as the manjari grows. As Tulasi devi’s flowers contain both male and female
parts, she does not need a pollinator as they self-fertilise. Once the flowers have reached
full bloom the petals fall away leaving a green coloured pod called a “calyx”. This pod
will eventually swell slightly and become harder. It is at this time that the ovary inside
the flower pod is developing into four tiny yellow nutlets, which will in time mature into
brown seeds.

If you wish to collect seeds, wait for the whole process to complete before taking the
manjari off the Tulasi. If you look down into the pod (calyx) and observe you will see the
tiny yellow nutlets. Allow them to turn brown. If the manjari is taken off before the
process is complete, it will not have had time to ripen the seeds to full maturity. When
it’s time, carefully take the manjari off and store whole in an air-tight container in a cool
dark place.


There are many brands and soil types available on the market today. For healthy plants it
is important to have the correct pH level. The pH levels in soil range from pH7 which
indicates “Neutral”. Above pH7 level indicates “Alkaline” (sweet). Below pH7 indicates
“Acid” (sour). As Tulasi is related to the basil family, her requirements are for pH5.5 –

The best soil recommended for growing Tulasi on the commercial market in England has
the brand name “J. Arthur Bower’s John Innes No 2 Compost”, which is sterilized, has
good drainage, a good pH level and is also completely free of animal by-products. Tulasi
will grow strong and healthy and also grows from seed in this brand type.

Soils to avoid are those which contain sawmill by-products (poor drainage), sludge (a by-
product of sewage treatment) and any which contain bone-meal, fish blood and bone or
hoof and horn. Soil straight from the garden may contain disease spreading organisms.

For those who wish to make their own soil:

2 parts potting soil

1 part compost
1 part mason’s sand – to improve drainage
1 tablespoon of pulverized phosphate rock
1 tablespoon of potash
Mix all ingredients well

Planting The Seed

Always use clean containers as there is no point in using sterilized soil if it is going to be
put into a container which isn’t itself free of possible sources of plant disease. A small
propagator is really worth the money as they come with their own lids and air ventilators.

Whether using a propagator, seed tray, plastic bag or peat moss cups (which have been
soaked first in water) place in seed compost and press down gently to firm in. Water the
soil using a watering can with a fine rose cap and leave to drain through. Soil needs to be
moist but not soggy. Next place the seed on top of the soil and cover lightly with very
fine soil which has been passed through a sieve. The seed needs to be just barely covered
so that it does not get lost under too much soil. Using a very fine mist spray, gently spray
the top soil once or twice. Then, if using a seed tray or peat pots cover with glass or clean
polythene bag. Place in a warm position with some sunlight; avoid really strong sun as it
could burn the germinating seedlings. Wipe condensation from the underside of the glass
daily and leave a small gap for air to circulate.

Once germination has taken place, which can take as little as 4-5 days or as long as 3-4
weeks depending on time of year sown, remove the glass or bag and place the Tulasi in a
warm position where she will receive gentle sun. Once Tulasi has grown three sets of
leaves, she will be strong enough to transplant on to her own little terracotta pot. (See
illustration on page 11)

To Prune Or Not To Prune

When growing any shrub, bush or small tree, it is common practice to cut them back for a
number of reasons. These can range from strengthening or thickening them out, or if
overgrown, to reduce height and width. In cases of disease, cut down the foliage almost
completely. In ornamental gardening the natural shape and beauty of the bush, hedge, or
tree is lost altogether to make way for whatever design suits the fashion of the day.
However, when growing Srimati Tulasi devi this practice is not used.

Once the Tulasi has germinated, she will continue to grow in an upward direction
developing two new sets of leaves every 2cm or so, until she forms her first manjari. As
this upward motion is continuing, smaller buds will develop at the stem next to the two
sets of leaves which will form side branches. On removal of this first manjari the side
shoots down the main stem, and also at the top of the stem, will develop into the new
branches. This can make the main base stem quite tall, resulting in further growth of the
top side shoots. If she receives the right growing conditions and providing there’s no
problems with disease or pests, the end result will be a beautiful tall Tulasi tree, with a
life expectancy between five to fifteen years. This is why it is important to plan ahead.

Do you have a big enough space to support this growth? If not but you still wish to grow
her, then perhaps consider whether you have enough width for a low bushy Tulasi.

The only form of shaping which is allowed on Tulasi devi, without causing any offence,
is to pinch out the apical growing point at the top of the stem. This will reduce her growth
upwards. The small shoots at the side of the stem will grow into two separate branches.

Once these branches have produced 3 or 4 sets of leaves, you can pinch out the apical
growing points again and this will result in two more branches. Tulasi devi will then
grow to become quite bushy. Tulasis which are very tall with a single stem measuring
two or three feet in height, with foliage at the top, can be the results of not pinching out
the apical growing point at the beginning stages.

If the Tulasi shows signs of disease on one side of the branch and the wood is dead, as in
“Die-back”, then it is appropriate to remove the affected branch to save the rest of the
foliage. (Die-back is the result of disease in the root system, which causes the leaves to
suddenly go limp and wilt, starting from the top of the foliage and working its way down
the branch).

• Watering Tulasi Devi

• Diseases & Nutrients

Watering Tulasi Devi

During seasonal changes, Tulasi devi will require careful monitoring as her need to
absorb water will vary according to the time of year. Watering is best done early
morning, before 8am, to meet the demands of photosynthesis. Some will dry out quicker
than others. Check for: pot size, soil type, size of foliage, temperature and humidity. This
will give indications as to how quickly she will absorb water. The following guidelines
are recommended.

Check the topsoil by hand, carefully feeling with your fingers to see if the soil is dry, you
can go down 2-3 inches in large pots. Water thoroughly so that the water runs out of the
hole in the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the root ball system is completely soaked
through. Then leave soil to dry again. It can be difficult to estimate how long this will
take, as weather, season and environment will dictate conditions. To prevent Tulasi from
sucking water up from her root system at the base of the pot, place the pot on blocks to
allow the water to run through freely. Good drainage is crucial to Tulasi’s health, (see
illustration on page 22). Never let her sit in water.

Always ensure water is left to stand overnight before use. This allows any chlorine and
other chemicals to dissipate and also allows water to reach room temperature. If the water
is very cold t will cause problems to the roots, and this in turn will show on the foliage.


If the soil is over-watered there will be too much moisture. The hair roots which take in
the nutrients will not be able to breathe. This is because the water has filled all the air
spaces. This in turn damages the root system causing root-rot. Tulasi devi will show no
immediate signs but within a week some of the lower leaves will go yellow and she will
look miserable as she is in stress. The leaves will become pale and turn brown on the
edges. Once root-rot sets in, it can take a long time for her to regain her strengths. In

some cases, if over-watering has gone on unchecked for too long, the root system will
become diseased and there will be little hope of salvage. All that can be done at this point
is to take her out of the pot, remove what you can, change the soil, lightly water and wait.


If the soil is left too dry, Tulasi leaves will appear limp and dropping. Then upon
receiving water within 48 hours she will drop healthy green leaves. This is caused by her
roots shrinking due to lack of moisture and then going into shock when eventually
watered. If this goes on unchecked for too long, she will leave her body as this condition
causes too much stress to the root system. Another form of under-watering is when not
enough water is given. The Tulasi leaves will droop, the top soil will show moisture but
the bottom half of the soil still remains dry. This is very stressful to Tulasi and also to the
one who is watering her, as you will be reading two different signals.

Seasonal Changes


During the early part of spring Tulasi will begin to awaken from her dormant winter
condition in which she takes rest. New growth will appear slowly and the soil will start to
show signs of drying out more as Tulsa’s fibrous root system absorbs more moisture.
This can take between 4-5 days on average depending on the pot and size of foliage. As
the season moves into late spring Tulasi starts to grow more quickly as the climate warms
towards summer. The soil will then dry out on average between 3-4 days.


During summer months when the sun is at its hottest, temperatures can reach over 110° F
under glass in the greenhouse. As an average guide, in the height of the summer expect
the soil to dry within 2-3 days. This is not only due to the heat but also because most of
Tulasi’s energy goes into producing Manjaris at an incredibly fast rate. It is therefore
essential to monitor each Tulasi individually and on a daily basis as she will dry out very


During the cooling autumn months, Tulasi gradually begins to slow down her rate of
growth and produces less Manjaris. As the weather cools she will absorb less water and
the soil will stay moist longer. An average guide at this time of year for watering is
generally every 3-4 days especially as the season moves towards late autumn.


It is during the winter months that Tulasi takes her rest and becomes dormant. Her need
to absorb water is greatly reduced. An average guide at this time of year for watering can

vary between 5-6, even 7 days, depending on the individual Tulasi and pot size. Great
care needs to be taken at this time as over watering can cause serious problems to her root

One last word on watering: The above are guidelines only. As you get to know your Tulasi you will
develop an inner response to her needs. As time goes by you will be shown by her
appearance if she looks happy and healthy then you’re in touch with that response. If she
looks sad and in stress then you’re missing something. Go through the list of possible
causes and make any adjustments needed.

Humidity And Spraying

Whether you are growing Tulasi at home on a window ledge, patio, or greenhouse it is
very important to maintain humidity levels.

As Tulasi is growing in an artificial environment it is essential to replicate Mother Nature

to our best ability. Indoors or under glass, Tulasi’s foliage needs to be sprayed every day
with water using a fine mist spray as this substitutes the morning dew. Tulasi absorbs
water sprayed directly onto her leaves, this also helps raise the humidity level and helps
prevent her leaves from curling or dying out. It is also beneficial to raise the pot on
blocks and place in a large tray or saucer, which has been covered with perlite “sponge
rock” or gravel. This will make it easier to water, with the excess water being allowed to
run freely and collect in the tray, which will also increase the humidity levels. Check
occasionally to make sure that Tulasi’s roots are not protruding out from the bottom of
the hole in the pot and trailing in the water. If this occurs and goes on unchecked she will
absorb too much water and go brown on the leaf tips, causing damage to the root system.

Iron and Feed can be added to the Tulasi spray bottle twice a month on alternate weeks
during spring and summer and once a month during autumn. No Iron or Feed is given
during the winter months as Tulasi becomes dormant at this time.



During the growing season Tulasi devi appears to grow best with the temperature at
around 75-80° F in the day and 60° F at night. Whether sitting on a window ledge or in a
greenhouse, some windows can be opened during the daytime for ventilation but be sure
to close them at night. There may still be signs of ground frost in the early part of spring.
Avoid too much draft.


During the summer months Tulasi grows strong and healthy producing many manjaris. It
would be quite a refreshing change for Tulasi if she is placed outside in her pot during the
best part of summer. She will be fine left out over night. Care and consideration would
need to be taken during any sudden freak storms. A Tulasi which has been grown under

glass may not be as robust as a Tulasi grown wild in India. Also avoid any rough
handling or heavy bangs to the pot as this can cause shock to the root system. However, if
this is not practical due to the area in which you live, she will grow just as well indoors.

In the height of the summer during mid-day the temperature in a greenhouse can increase
to over 110° F. This in turn can cause Tulasi some stress. To reduce this partially shade
the outside of the greenhouse glass on the roof. This is done with “Cool-Glass” or
“White-Out”, which s a powdered substance that is mixed with water and sprayed or
painted directly on the outside of the glass roof (top panes only). This allows Tulasi to
still receive sunlight, but not enough to singe her leaves or scorch her roots. Alternately,
sun screens can be fitted on the inside of the glass roof and operated when needed by
hand. Temperatures at night on the inside are comfortable of Tulasi at 55° F to 60° F but
only during summer conditions. No heating is required at night during the summer


Autumn temperature requirements are 75-80° F during the day and 60° F at night. If
Tulasi is next to a window open during the day and close at night as the season moves
closer to winter.


During winter months it is crucial that the temperature does not fall below 55° F. Day
time temperature needs to be 75-80° F and night-time 60° F to be safe. Tulasi is
extremely sensitive to the cold. Whether grown at home or in a greenhouse she will
require a heater. Check that all windows are closed at night as the winter draft can kill her

Diseases & Nutrients

Examining For Root Problems and Sickness

To help prevent Tulasi wilting or getting stressed, never re-pot in full sun or during the
heat of the day. The best time is on a cool day, or when the sun has dissipated, around

Tulasi grows best in unglazed clay pots, as they allow for air movement through the sides
of the pot. Avoid glazed or plastic pots because the air cannot penetrate.

Tulasi devi will let you know if she is “pot-bound” (in need of re-potting), by one of the
following signs.

1. When her roots are coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
2. Shows signs of slight wilt hours after she has received water. (This indicates it is
past the correct time for re-potting). Tulasi will then need to go into a pot much
bigger than the normal potting on size, which is one size up.
3. Lower leaves get sickly yellow. (A plant shares what nutrients and water it can
absorb with its growing tips first so the older leaves suffer).
4. Leaf size gets smaller.

To Check If Tulasi Requires Re-Potting

1. Water first and allow to drain completely.

2. If the Tulasi to be re-potted is small, take the pot in one hand under the bottom
and place the open fingers and palm of the other hand on the dirt at the base of the
stem. Turn upside down. Place a stick or your finger in the hole at the bottom of
the pot (it should rest against the crock inside) then push. Tulasi and soil should
come out in one action.
3. If she does not drop out into your hands bring the pot upright again and run a
pallet knife carefully around the sides to release any little roots which may have
stuck into the pot. If the roots have not filled the pot then just put her back in the
same pot. If the roots completely fill the soil area so the root ball is in the shape of
the pot it is time to re-pot. If the root ball looks solid and you can see those strong
white roots, Tulasi is healthy and you can move to the next step.

When examining a sick Tulasi, if roots look black and soft and the root ball smells sour,
then root-rot is indicated. Remove what you can and re-pot but be prepared as there may
be little hope of salvage.

To Re-Pot

1. Soak the new clay pot in water until the bubbles stop. (New pots are porous and
will draw water from the soil and the plant if not soaked first.)
2. Prepare new pot by putting “crock” (broken pottery) in the bottom of the pot
making a small bridge over the drainage hole. This keeps the soil from running
out and allows water to drain out.
3. Place enough fresh soil in the bottom of the pot over the crock to allow Tulasi to
sit in pot at the right height.
4. Take Tulasi from old pot using above method. Gently loosen soil, removing any
old crock and carefully separate and straighten any roots that have circulated in
the old pot. Place Tulasi in new pot.
5. Keeping the Tulasi central and straight, add more soil up to the same marking on
the stem as before. Water in and add feed to the soil to help her recover from the
shock of transplanting. Place her in the shade for a few days to help her settle.
Then place her back in the sun.

If the Tulasi to be re-potted is far too big to be taken out by previous method and it is
quite evident that she is in need of re-potting, then use following instructions; Prepare
new pot as above. Water the Tulasi first and allow to drain.

Lay plastic sheeting on the floor. Lay the Tulasi on it taking care not to damage her
branches. First try pushing her out firmly with a stick as above. If this is too difficult you
will have to break the pot. Using a hammer and a folded up cloth to absorb the shock of
impact, hit the side of the pot and remove. Follow steps 1-6.

Depending on how Tulasi grows, at some point you may need to use support sticks. It can
be quite damaging to Tulasi’s roots to push any support stick in the soil next to her stem.
The best method to use in to place either bamboo cane or plastic coated steel rods in the
soil at the edge of the pot and then secure the stem to the support stick with fine string, or
if you prefer, thin ribbon.


All plants need vital nutrients if they are to grow healthily. The three major plant foods
which are essential to plant growth are:

Nitrogen (N) derived from nitrates or ammonia.

Function: To give plants their dark green colour and helps the growth of leaves and

Phosphorus (P) derived from ground rock.

Function: Root development – encourages blooming and seed formation.

Potash (K) derived from seaweed and wood ash.

Function: Strengthens resistance to disease and poor conditions. Stimulates flowering.

Tulasi will need the additional supplemental nutrients to be added to the soil to help
replenish the nutrients as she uses them. Feed and Iron are essential to her health and

Avoid fertilizers containing ingredients from sewage treatments or slaughter houses.

Bone Meal, Dried Blood, Hoof and Horn, Fish Compound. You may find the list below
helpful when making your choice.

Maxicrop Complete Garden Feed.

This general all-purpose fertilizer has a natural, organic seaweed extract base to which
have been added Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash. The source of nitrogen is urea derived

from heating ammonia and carbon dioxide by very high pressure. Apply when watering
as a root drench during spring and summer fortnightly.

Miracle Grow

The nutrients from this product are also derived from ground rock and natural
ingredients. Follow instructions on the label.

Multi Tonic

This is an all round tonic, good for the soil after the winter, which is applied in early
spring. One application will normally last all season. This adds vital trace elements to the
soil. Ingredients are: Sequestered Iron � which cannot be chemically locked up or
washed out of the soil and is therefore steadily released to the plants over a long period.
Ingredients: Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Molybdenum Copper, and Sulphur.

Maxicrop Sequestered Iron

This is for Tulasi’s Iron intake and for the prevention of yellowing (chlorosis). Again,
this product has a natural organic seaweed extract base with the addition of Ferrous
Sulphate and Trisodium Citrate. The former is a by-product from steel production and the
latter is obtained from glucose and molasses. This is added to the soil when watering and
also use das a foliage spray. Again, like the feed, give fortnightly.

Maxicrop Plant Growth Stimulant

This product is a pure seaweed extract and is totally natural and organic and has the
approval of the Soil Association.

Maxicrop products do not contain derivatives from slaughterhouses or sewage treatment


Cow Manure

If using cow manure, only use if it has aged for a year as when fresh it burns the roots.

Use 1 part dry manure to 3 parts water – let it stand overnight, then dilute to a weak tea
colour. Use fortnightly. Cow manure may not always be enough because Tulasi will still
require other nutrients. The fertilizer brands above come complete and are easier to use.

Natural Liquid Fertilisers

Going back to nature, the old traditional ways, long before chemicals were introduced,
fertilizers were made from plants like nettles and comfrey. They are quite effective
because the nutrients are released into the soil very quickly. Liquid feeds are quite easy to

make. All sorts of plants and herbs can be used. There are several ways of making your
own liquid fertilizer.

1. Soak plants in water for a few weeks and keep covered. During this time
fermentation takes place as foam gathers on top.
2. Soak plants in cold water for 24 hours, then bring to the boil and simmer on a low
heat for 20-30 minutes. Allow to stand overnight.
3. Another method is to soak plants in cold water for a few days then strain before it

As Tulasi is a perennial plant and grows outdoors naturally in the warmer regions of
Asia, she will only survive our colder climates in green house conditions. Here she
continues to stay green rather than completely losing all her leaves. Tulasi will have her
fall like most tress and bushes mostly during the winter months. It is at this time she will
reduce the rate of producing Manjaris.

During the late autumn decrease her feed and iron intake by half the quantity and apply
only once a month. During the winter months stop altogether as she is receiving her rest.
Begin again in spring.


Tulasi devi is at her best in natural sunlight. The required amounts are between 4-5 hours
of direct sunlight daily. Plants that do not receive sufficient sunlight grow spindly as they
are trying to reach areas where there is more light, rather than the shade they are growing

Symptoms: Thin weak stems and branches with long tem lengths between the pairs of
leaves, and large pale green leaves. If the plant suffers with severe sunlight deprivation, it
will be under so much stress that the leaves will drop off and the branches will abort. It is
essential to use artificial light on overcast days where there is little or no natural sunlight.

So! Which lighting does Tulasi need?

First let’s take a look at light rays. Fluorescent tubes give off red and blue rays, whereas
incandescent light gives off red and far-red. For plants this means that the blue rays excite
the foliage action and the red rays work on flower growth. So when you combine natural
light with artificial, the rays increase and the plants or flowers receive what they need.

Plant growth lamps are easily available with names like “Gro-lux” or “Plant Light”.
Daylight tubes and Grow-lux are a good combination. Fluorescent tubes can come in a
variety of different lengths, intensities and quality of light. Plants like Tulasi grow well
with a cool-white fluorescent because the foliage can be as close as 3-4 inches without
burning from the high intensity. However incandescent house light (which is not very
effective) would need to be 12-18 inches above the plant or they will burn.

So to recap:

If Tulasi is not receiving up to 4-5 hours of natural direct sunlight daily, she will need
assistance from cool white fluorescent tubes and daylight tubes or grow-lux tubes with
day light tubes which will provide the wavelengths needed for her growth. These lights
are suspended over the foliage but need to be close to her approx. 4 inches, but not
touching as this will burn her leaves. 12 hours of artificial lighting is equivalent to 4
hours of sunlight. Check frequently to ensure that the Tulasi branches and leaves are not
touching the light tubes.

Problems & Treatment

Problems can occur for several reasons. These range from too much or too little of some
vital growth factors which are: an imbalance of light, water, humidity, temperature, soil,
feeding, infiltration of insects and fungus. It helps to have some knowledge on caring for
plants. A balanced combination of sensitivity and a desire to nurture puts us in deeper
contact with nature and increases sensitivity to the environment where Tulasi is b being

All these things aside, when sickness strikes, what is required is a methodical approach to
find the cause and to take effective measures to remove or reduce the problem.

This can be done by working with the section of identification of pests and the check-list
of possible problems and their cause. Also by comparing a sample of a sick or diseased
Tulasi against the information given.

To the inexperienced Tulasi grower in time, confidence, sensitivity and skill will
increase. To the experienced gardener, I hope you enjoy this booklet.

Check List
Nitrogen deficiency?

Symptoms: Stunted growth, pale leaves, occasional red discoloration.

Treatment: Apply feed containing nitrogen. (Maxicrop Complete Garden Feed, or

Miracle Grow). Use also as a foliage spray every two weeks until conditions improve.

Trace Element deficiency?


Symptoms: Poor resistance to disease, marginal leaf scorch.


Symptoms: Discoloration (yellowing) begins on lower leaves and moves upwards until
all foliage is affected.


Symptoms: Yellowing of leaves, starts on young leaves as well as old leaves and leaf
edges inwards and appear scorched.

Treatment: Apply a Multi-Tonic Once a season which contains all the trace elements:
Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Boron and Molybdenum. Spray with a foliar spray
containing the above trace elements.


Symptoms: Leaf tips or Manjaris brown, leaf colour pale and yellowing. Are leaves

Treatment: Check the root ball. Are there signs of sogginess? Root rot comes when water
fills all the air spaces and the plant suffocates. Take away the present soil and change for
fresh. Do not let pot sit in water.


Symptoms: first sign is a dull leaf colour, followed by the leaves wilting becoming brittle
and unyielding. Has the pot been allowed to dry out for too long? Is the atmosphere too

Treatment: see section on Watering.

Green leaves falling off?

Possible cause: left to dry out, then upon watering Tulasi’s roots go in to shock. Too
much fertilizer, fumes or drafts?

Treatment: regulate watering and feed. Check position.

Light starvation?

Symptoms: leaves too far apart, stems leggy? Growth thin and weak, new leaves small.

Treatment: place in direct sunlight or window sill. If very sickly, leave lights on longer to
give a boost.

Edge of leaf brown or reddish?

Possible cause: too much sun and heat through glass, not enough shade? Too much
fertilizer, toxic to roots?

Treatment: wash the soil through with plenty fresh water at room temperature. Check
correct measure of feed.

Yellowing of leaves?

Possible cause: not enough light (especially if the stems are spindly). Temperature too
high at night? Overfeeding or too little feed? The soil is tired. In need of re-potting?

Treatment: first check the root system to se if she needs re-potting. Then check the
temperature for the time of year. Check the last time she received feed against the time of
year or season. Summer Feeding – every two weeks. Winter – no feed at all. If in the
spring season, apply Trace Elements. Give Iron every two weeks, alternating each week
with the feed.

Curling leaves?

Possible cause: humidity too low, temperature too cold.

Treatment: Spray with water every morning. Check temperature.

Is the whole plant sagging?

Possible cause: in need of re-potting? Has Tulasi gone into shock due to cold weather and
drafts? Left to go too dry over a long period? Needs support sticks? Too much fertilizer?

Treatment: check the above and adjust as necessary.


Possible cause: check for Die-Back. Is the pot standing in water or does she need water?
Has the Tulasi stood in the sun too long or near the heat radiator? Was cold water used?
(Remember it should be room temperature). Too much fertilizer?

Treatment: check above and adjust as necessary.

Moss on top of the soil?

This is not a common complaint for Tulasi as her needs are for much dryer soil, but if it
does occur scrape it away, check to see if the soil is compacted and apply a light dressing
of new soil. Check to see if there is too much humidity. Dry white areas may indicate

hard water residue or an accumulation of salts from the fertilizer which the Tulasi can’t


Possible cause: too much moisture? Humidity? Yellowing and round brown spots appear
on the leaves? Pick off affected leaves and burn. Dust lightly with sulphur, which can be
purchased at plant nurseries. Reduce moisture and increase air circulation.


Possible cause: Several fungal diseases can effect the root system, also poor drainage.
With root-rot, the tap root turns black and the Tulasi leaves suddenly go limp and wilt
(this is known as Die-Back). This wilting starts from the top of the foliage working its
way down the branch.

Treatment: Cut back the diseased, dead branch to save the rest of the bush. Re-pot using
fresh soil. Take away as much of the diseased root as you can. Keep the pot warm.
Prevention is to avoid over watering.

Biological Pest Control

General information

Biological control is the use of predatory and parasitic insects species (natural enemies)
against insect pests on crops. It aims to establish natural enemies, on initial low pest
infestations so as to prevent the pest developing to levels where economic damage
occurs. The pest is maintained at that low level or even eradicated. In this way risk of any
over wintering pest population, which may be a source of reinfestation the following
year, is minimized. Application techniques should be directed at achieving this aim.

Note: Aphids, Capsid Bug, Leaf hopper and Mealy Bug are all Sap Feeders.


Capsid Bug, Capsidae

Whitish or greenish insects, rather like largish aphids. There are several types. Plants
become weakened and leaves are distorted.

Leaf hoppers, Cicadellidae

Pale green or yellow insects 2-3mm long which resemble aphids and capsid bugs. When
disturbed they will leap from leaf to leaf or nearby plants. Leaf hoppers suck the juice
from the leaf, causing white mottling on the top of the leaves.

Mealy bugs, Pseudococcus

Troublesome greenhouse pests. They are pinkish, grey-white oval shapes usually bundled
up in a woolly white jacket which defies water. They hide in joints and against stems,
sucking the juice from the leaves and stems, rapidly multiplying 600 eggs at a time.
Watch for yellow specks and a general yellowing plus a deforming of the Tulasi. Mealy
bugs also produce copious amounts of honeydew which allows sooty mould to grow,
together with waxy threads, making the plants unsightly. Cryptoleamus Australian
ladybird feed on mealybugs.


There are two main types of greenhouse scale insects. Soft scale and armoured scale. The
soft scale is oval, flattened and green brown in colour. The fully grown insects is 3-5mm
long and can infest a wide range of plant types. The insets produce large amounts of
honeydew leaving the infested plants sticky and invariably covered in a black sooty
mould. The biological control of soft scale can be achieved by introducing the small
parasitic wasp, Metaphycus, which lays its egg into the scales. Glasshouse use only. As
yet no biological solution to armoured scale is available.


Aphids float in on the breeze from outside and head for the choicest young leaf. Watch
for leaf curl and check under the foliage. These wingless insects are about an eighth of an
inch long, pear-shaped and may come in several colours. Sticky stems and leaves (caused
by the aphids sucking action) attract ants, who in turn carry the aphids from plant to
plant. Sooty black fungus is also attracted to the sticky parts.

Introduce the small black parasite, Aphidius, which kills young aphids.

Thrips, Thysanoptera

These are chewers an eighth of an inch long which will strip a leaf to a skeleton. Small,
narrow insects from pale yellow to black in colour.

Red spider mite (tetranychus urticae)

Red Spider Mite is a small greenish coloured mite with a dark blotch on each side of its
body. Each adult female lays up to 120 round translucent eggs over a period of three
weeks. At summer greenhouse temperatures, these hatch and develop into adults within
14 days, resulting in rapid population increase. Mite colonies feed on the underside of
leaves, sucking out the green cell contents and leaving a speckled appearance. In the
autumn, female mites seek hibernation sites in the green house structure and fittings. At
this time their colour changes to a deep red. Re-invasion occurs in the spring when
warmer weather temperatures and increasing daylight induce their emergence from the
winter quarters.

Tarsonemid mites

These mites are minute, whitish-brown. They infest the developing leaves at the shoot
tips, distorting the manjari buds which then go brown and stunted. They can be seen only
under a microscope.

White Fly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum

A small, moth-like insect, considered one of the most serious and difficult pests to control
under glass. Eggs are laid on the underside of young leaves which, after a week, hatch
into small, motile scales (crawlers). These soon settle down to develop through several
stages, and emerges as adults some 28-30 days after eggs were laid. The adults settle onto
new growth and feed for three days before the female commence egg-laying. Both the
adults and the scales are potential virus carriers and as a result of feeding, they produce
“honeydew” on which sooty mould grows. The “honeydew” is often the first sign
indicating the presence of whitefly.]

Wood Louse

Wood louse feed on dead wood and can be found underneath the pot. If they get on top of
the soil they will cause damage to seedlings.

Hover Flies

Black and yellow stripped abdomen, they are friendly as they feed on Green-fly and

Whitefly Parasite, Encarsia Formosa

Encarsia is used to combat whitefly. It is a small chalcid wasp (1.5mm long), easily
recognized by its black thorax and bright yellow abdomen. Each female can lay more
than 60 eggs in 10-14 days, inserting them individually into whitefly scales before the
scales reach the waxy, pupal stage. Development takes place inside the scale which turns
black when the whitefly has been consumed and the parasite pupates. When fully
developed the adult “Encarsia” emerges by cutting a hole in the top of the scale. Parasite
activity and development is dependent on the temperature being 21 days at 21° Celsius,
and will be much slower as the temperature decreases. The adult wasp can also kill the
young “crawler” stage of the whitefly by probing it with its ovipositor.

Spider Mite Predator, Phytoseiulus persimilis

A small mite, a little larger than its prey, with a rounded shiny orange body. Each female
adult is very active in searching for its prey, and will lay 50 or more eggs over a periond
of three weeks. At 22 degrees Celsius these develop into adults in only 7-8 days, twice as
fast as its prey at a similar temperature. These predators need humidity, so they work well
in the Tualsi greenhouse.

To clear soft brown Scale-Aphids-Bugs and Mites using Horticultural Soap, Savona.

Use Savona liquid soap and distilled water or rain water (for the correct dosage follow
label on the bottle). If water goes a milky cloudy colour, empty it out and start again as it
will not be very effective. Bathe leaves and stems with cotton wool and Savona solution.
Gently wipe off scale, taking care not to damage wood. Spraying with savona, which is a
fatty acid, once a week serves as a preventative as scale are unable to breed. Mites are
unable to stick their egg sacks under the leaves.

Ready prepared “Pest Pistol” is 100 percent natural and comes in a spray bottle. Use like

Natural Alternatives

Natural sprays are available today for the organic gardener. These natural chemicals are
gathered from certain plants as an alternative to the highly toxic, damaging chemicals

Savona soap

This is a concentrated soap (containing natural fatty acids) diluted with rain water or
distilled water. Used as a preventative to spider mite, white fly and aphids.

Pest Off

Ready made solution, in a spray bottle, works the same as Savona. Very effective.


This is made from pulverized Chrysanthemum flowers and comes in a spray bottle.
Effective against aphids, whitefly and leafhoppers. Apply in late afternoon or evening.
Not recommended to use with Savona.


This is from the root of the Derris plant and although it sounds unpleasant, it works as a
stomach poison on aphids, spider mites and ants.

Rubbing alcohol

Can be found in a chemist. Mixed 3:1 or applied full strength, then washed off with
water. It is effective against some soft bodied insects and fungi.

Talcum powder

Ants do not like to cross over talcum powder. To prevent them getting into the pots, just
sprinkle on the floor around the outside of the pots. It will need to be done regularly.

Hot Chilli peppers

Mixed with water, will discourage chewing insects.


The juice of crushed lupin, painted around the base of the Tulasi stem, will ward off ants,
preventing them from climbing into her branches.

Penny Royal

Also a great ant repellent. Grow next to ant nests and watch them pack their bags.

African Marigold (cracker Jack)

The aroma makes a repellent for white fly. Grow one or two small pots near Tulasi.

Bach Flower, Rescue Remedy

Add to spray bottle or watering for any sign of shock.

Conscious Thought!

Comes in prayer form. Take a tip from the Findhorn Society. All living creatures have
consciousness. Talk to the presiding pest, ask it to please locate to another area. It works!

Prayers & Worship of Tulasi Devi


The Eight Names Of Tulasi Devi

vrndavani, vrnda, visvapujita, puspasara, nandini, krsna-jivani, visva-pavani, tulasi.

Vrndavani – One who first manifested in vrindavan.

Vrnda – The goddess of all plants.

Visvapujita – One who the whole universe worships.

Puspasara – The topmost of all flowers, without whom Krsna does not like to look upon
other flowers.

Nandini – She gives happiness to everyone.

Krsna-Jivani – The life and soul of Lord Krsna.

Visva-Pavani – One who purifies the three worlds.

Tulasi – One who has no comparison.

Any one while worshipping Tulasi Devi chants these eight names will get the same result
as one who performs the Asvameda Yagna and one who on the full moon-day of Kartik
(Tulasi Devi’s appearance day) worships Her with this mantra will break free from the
bonds of this miserable world of birth and death, and very quickly attain Goloka
Vrindavan. On the full moon-day of Kartik Lord Krsna Himself worships Tulasi Devi
with this mantra.

One who remembers this mantra will very quickly attain devotion to Lord Krsna’s Lotus
Feet. [Gita-Mahatmya and Tulasi devi Mahatmya of Padma Purana.]

Quotes from Srila Prabhupada on Srimati Tulasi Devi and picking leaves.

“Tulasi leaf is very, very dear to Vishnu. All Vishnu-tattva Deities require profusely
Tulasi leaves. Lord Vishnu likes garlands of Tulasi leaves. Tulasi leaves mixed with
sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the top most worship. But we
must be very careful that Tulasi leaves cannot be placed on the feet of anyone except
Lord Vishnu and His different forms. Tulasi leaves cannot be placed even on the lotus
feet of Radharani or on the lotus feet of the Spiritual Master. It is entirely reserved for
being placed on the lotus feet of Krsna. We can place, however, Tulasi leaves in the
hands of Radharani for being placed on the lotus feet of Krsna, as you have seen on the
Govinda album.”

I am giving herewith three mantras for Tulasi devi as follows:

Vrndayai tulasi devyai, priyayai kesavasya ca

Krsna-bhakti-prade devi, satyavatyai namo namah

I offer my repeated obeisances unto Vrnda, Srimati Tulasi Devi, who is very dear to
Lord Kesava [Krsna]. O goddess, you bestow devotional service to Krsna and
possess the highest truth.

This is offering obeisances, bowing down (pancanga pranam). And when collecting
leaves from the plant, the following mantras should be chanted for picking leaves and

Tulasi amrta-janmasi, sada tvam kesava-priya
Kesavartham cinomi tvam, varada bhava sobhane

O Tulasi devi, you are born from nectar, and you are always very dear to Lord
Kesava. Now in order to worship Lord Kesava I am collecting your leaves and
manjaris. Please bestow your mercy upon me.

Then the mantra for circumambulating the Tulasi tree:

Yani kani ca papani, brahma-hatyadikani ca

Tani tani pranasyanti, pradaksinah pade pade

“So there are three mantras, one for bowing down, one for collecting the leaves. The
collecting of leaves should be done once in the morning for worshipping and for putting
on the plates of foodstuffs to be offered. On each bowl or plate there should be at least
one leaf. So you follow and practice these Tulasi affairs and you try to distribute your
experience to all the other centre’s, that will be a new chapter in the history of the Krsna
consciousness movement.”

(Srila Prabhupada to Govinda dasi, 7th April, 1970)

Srimati Tulasi Devi is Srimati Vrnda Devi’s beautiful and graceful, partial expansion in
this material world.

There are two types of Tulasi Krsna Tulasi, which has:

Purple colouring in the leaves and stems and Rama Tulasi with green leaves and stems.
Both of these Tulasi are used in the worship of Lord Krsna.

Service to Srimati Tualsi devi is performed with the same high level standard that is used to serve the
Deities on the altar. Srimati Tualsi devi is a pure devotee of Lord Krsna. Pujaris are
requested to shower and wear clean clothes when performing any service for Tulasi in
the temple, greenhouse or grown at home.