In Praise of Goddess Tul’si

A Poem

Sri Krishna

Find God by worshiping a plant? Strangest idea you’ve ever heard, right?

But Tulasi (often pronounced Tul’si) is not your everyday houseplant. The thousands of Tulasis throughout the world, mostly in India and Hare Krishna temples everywhere, are said by the scriptures to be incarnations of the goddess Vrinda, who presides over Krishna’s eternal abode, Vrindaban (vrin-DAH-ben). In fact, the very name Vrindaban means Vrinda’s Forest.

Radha is Krishna’s eternal consort. Radha and Krishna together are often simply called Radha-Krishna, as in the Bengali prayer that inspired this poem.

Yamuna is the river that runs through Vrindaban.

Note: On a mobile phone, this poem is best viewed by holding the phone sideways.


Tul’si on the altar next to the figurine of a cow at the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia, U.S.A. Standing in back are Krishna (left) and Radha. photo: Umapati Swami

O Goddess Tul’si

O Goddess Tul’si, dearest of the Lord,
I bow before you many times complete,
Beseeching you to grant me this reward,
That I may serve at Radha-Krishna’s feet.

You grant the wish of one who seeks your grace,
O you, whose mercy reaches far and wide,
Please take me to Lord Krishna’s holy place,
Where I may live forever by your side.

And in the pleasure groves of that sweet land,
I’ll feast my eyes on Radha-Krishna’s love,
And watch Them dance upon Yamuna’s sand,
While stars and moon shine happily above.

O Tul’si let me be your serving maid
And follower of all those damsels dear
Who serve the Lord in every wood and glade
While Krishna plays his flute to call them near.

O Tul’si, let your servant find the sea
Of Radha-Krishna’s ever-flowing love
Whose waters call and beckon out to me,
“Come swim and find the truth you’re dreaming of.”

Circumambulating Tulasi

I circle you, a step with every breath,
And all the sins I’ve done in times gone past,
If even I have caused a brahman’s death,
Will be erased down to the very last.

Eternally touching my head to the floor at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada,

⁓Umapati Swami, February 12, 2019

Photo top: Naughty Krishna holding a piece of candy (Jishnu Das)>

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© Umapati Swami 2019

Srila Prabhupada

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the teacher who brought Krishna Consciousness from India to the West and then to the rest of the world. He is the founder of  the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement as well as the author and compiler of many works of Vedic knowledge. He left this world in 1977.

Umapati Swami

One of the first American devotees of the Hare Krishna Movement, he became Srila Prabhupada’s disciple in 1966. Since then, he has preached Krishna Consciousness in many countries and is the author of “My Days with Prabhupada,” available from Amazon. Now 84 years old, he has started this blog to share what he has learned.

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