The Appearance of Tulsi-devi: The Lords Pure Devotee

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It is stated in Our Original Position, Chapter eight that Srimati Radharani cursed Her dear maidservant Vrinda Devi to fall down to material existance and that this is factual evidence that the jiva soul falls from the Lords eternal lila.


There is a reference in Brahma-vaivarta Purana regarding the appearance of Tulsi-devi in this material world due to the "curse" of Radha. However, in the writings of the six Goswamis we do not find mention of this pastime. Those sections of the Puranas which are important for our advancement in pure devotional service have been selected by the Goswamis and they have included those portions in their writings. About this "curse" we do not find any mention by our acharyas.

In most cases the Puranas are written for persons in the lower modes of material nature. The events and stories that we find there are mainly to instruct the fallen souls in a general way or to instill fear and reverence in them for Divinity.

Because this narration of the cursing of Tulsi-devi is there in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana some devotees think that it is a very important pramana, evidence, to support the idea of the jiva falling from Vaikuntha. But in fact the narration makes no reference whatsoever to a jiva falling from Grace. The narration strictly pertains to activities amongst the parsada devotees, eternally liberated souls.

There are certain activities of Krsna and the Vishnu avataras mentioned in the scriptures which may be neglected by the pure devotees due to those activities conflicting with their inner emotions, bhava. For example, there is the disappearance lila of Krsna in which He is shot in the heel with an arrow. This is even mentioned in the Bhagavat Purana yet the pure devotees do not take pleasure in discussing this final lila of the Lord. Rather they neglect it.

There is also a section in the Padma Purana which goes under the name Bhagavata Mahatmyam in which the story of Bhaktidevi and her two dying sons Jnana and Vairagya, is narrated. In that Mahatmyam the process of hearing the Bhagavatam in seven days is also recommended. Because these things have been mentioned in Puranas some devotees have printed this Bhagavata Mahatmyam in a small book and they also attempt to hold the Bhagavatam reading in seven days. But our Guru Maharaja (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) did not care for this Bhagavat Mahatmyam because it was not given any mention by the previous acharyas.

It is a fact that the Puranas and many other "Vedic" literatures present topics other than those of pure devotional service. These topic however, are of no concern to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The acharyas in our Gaudiya tradition are concerned exclusively with pure devotional service and we follow their lead. Not just any kind of pure devotional service but pure devotional service in the line of raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous love following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavana. Where such conclusions are found in the Vedas, Puranas, etc. the Gaudiya Vaishnavas whole heartedly embrace that. Otherwise not.

The Bhagavata Mahatmyam concerns itself mainly with karma-kanda and moksha-kanda­­material benefit and liberation. Therefore, it has not been given any importance by our acharyas ­­despite its seemingly being a "glorification" of the Bhagavatam. The narration regarding the "curse" of Tulsi is also in a similar status. It is not given much importance by our acharyas because the narration does not present the conclusions of pure devotional service. In fact the misconception that Radharani could curse Her most affectionte friend to suffer in material existances is indeed disturbing to one who is awake to the loving affairs of vraja-bhakti. It is also a fact that such narrations may even be bewildering and detrimental to the progresss of one who lacks the sufficient eligibility or adhikari.

However, the incident of the curse of Tulsi is not unintelligible for those devotees who have the grace of Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas. Our first understanding should be that Srimati Radharani so called "cursing" her dear-most servant to take birth in this material world was not actually a curse but a benediction. It was a benediction so that Tulsi would be married to Krsna /Vishnu and also so that the conditioned souls in material existance would get a chance to associate and serve a pure devotee. Furthermore, it must be understood that the drama was carried out under yogamaya not mahamaya. Yogamaya is the energy of Baladeva which, understanding the transcendental desires of the Lord and His devotees, makes all the necessary arrangements for their pastimes. In the case of madhurya-rasa-lila the yogamaya potency is represented by Purnamasi Devi. In any case mahamaya has no jurisdiction in the realm of Divine-lila whatsoever.

Krsna appears in this material world through His many expansions such as the Vishnu avatars and He even comes Himself as Vrajanandana Krsna and as Sri Chaitanya Deva. To serve the Lord in His many incarnations His eternal associates also descend to the material world. Thus is the case of Tulsi-devi. It should not be misunderstood that Tulsi was at anytime under the control of material nature or that She had "fallen" due to having displeased Srimati Radharani in Goloka. According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura Tulsi Devi is an expansion of the internal potency of Krsna known as urja. The internal potency, also known as swarupa-sakti, never comes under the influence of maya.

In Goloka Vrindavana Tulsi-devi is nondifferent from the gopinamed Vrinda who has expanded Herself as Tulsi. This Vrinda Devi is Herself an expansion of Srimati Radharani and She leads the section of sakhis known as dutika-sakhis,or messengers, . In the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Vrinda Devi is just under Visakha-gopiin importance and intimacy. The love and intimacy which exists between Srimati Radharani and Vrinda Devi is like a vast ocean of sweetness.

Actually the forest of Vrindavana is named after Vrinda Devi and it is a fact that She gave this beautiful forest as a gift to Srimati Radharani. In the field of vraja-bhakti it is not possible for the aspiring devotee to enter Vrindavana without first getting the blessings of Vrinda Devi. She is so exhaulted that She is considered as one of the principle Deities of Vrindavana. The feelings of affection that Radharani has for Vrinda Devi are wonderful. It is so wonderful that Radharani once made an arrangement for Krsna and Vrinda to sit together on the same throne during Their pastimes in the forest. At that time Radharani arranged for the wedding ceremony of Krsna and Vrinda to be performed.

Vrindavana is the land of the highest Divinity and the sweetest Reality. There every word is a song, every step is a dance and the flute is the dearmost companion of Krsna. katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priyasakhi. Therefore the "curse" of Srimati Radharani, Vrindavaniswari, the most exhaulted Queen of Vrindavana, must be a benediction not a curse. When we think of a "curse' " we naturally think of a hateful exchange between two individuals. However, in the spiritual world no hatefullness or envy exists there.

The Lord and His pastimes with His pure devotees cannot be understood by non-devotees or by those who are offensive to pure devotees. First we must become favorable in accepting the guidance and blessings of pure devotees then we can have a correct understanding of the position of Tulsi Devi and how She has come here. But if we think that Srimati Radharani has hatefully cursed Her dearmost servant then we must ourselves be possessed of a hateful mentality.