Why we must not Pluck Tulasi Leaves on Dvadashi Day ?

Why we must not Pluck Tulasi Leaves on Dvadashi Day ?
Tulasi Maa

Srimati Tulasi Maharani, the pure devotee of the Lord, fasts on Ekadashis and since she is weak, takes rest, on Dvadashi. Therefore, we should not disturb or hurt her, and thus we must refrain from plucking her leaves.

We must follow the principle of advance savings i.e. reserve some Tulasi leaves for Dvadashi for offering purposes. Alternatively, we may pick the leaves fallen on the ground around the pot and then after thoroughly washing it, we can use it for the offering.

Following are Vedic Scriptural Injunctions that strictly prohibit us from disturbing Tulasi-Devi on Dvadashi:

(1) Hari Bhakti Vilasa (7.353):
samkranty adau ni siddho'pi
tulasyavacayah smrtau param
srI visnu bhaktastu
dvadasyam eva nesyate
"It is generally forbidden to pluck Tulasi on Sankranti, Purnima, Amavasya, Dvadashi, Sunday, according to the strict rules of the Smritis, but the most important rule according to Shrila Sanatana Goswami which the Vaishnava devotees should certainly follow is to not pluck Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi.

(2) Hari Bhakti Vilasa (7.354) enjoins the following:

na chindyat tulasim vipra
dvadasyam vaisnavah kvacit
"Oh Brahmanas, a Vaisnava never picks Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi, (the day after Ekadashi)."

(3) Garuda Purana instructs the following also stated in Hari Bhaktha Vilasa (7.355):

bhanuvaram vina durvam
tulasim dvadasim vina
jivitasya avinasaya
na vicinvata dharma vit
"A scripturally learned and religious person, if he does not want to destroy his balance duration of life, he should not pick Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi days and Durva grass on Sundays."

Consequences if Tulasi leaves are plucked on Dvadashi:

Hari Bhaktha Vilasa (7.353) elaborates on the conversation between Lord Krishna and Shrimati Satyabhama as elucidated in the Padma Purana as:

dvadasyam tulasi patram
dhatri patras ca kartike
lunati sa naro gacchet
nirayan ati garhitan
"Any person, who picks Tulasi leaves on Dvadashi or Amalaki leaves...falls into a grievously hellish planet to suffer."


Following mantras should be recited while plucking the leaves of Sri Tulasi:

tulasy amrta janmäsi
sadä tvam kesava-priyä
kesavärthe vicinvämi *
varadä bhava sobhane
*(can also say-kesavartham chinomi tvam)
“O Tulasi of effulgent beauty, you have been produced from nectar during the churning of the milky ocean. You are always dear to Lord Kesava. I pick your leaves only for the worship of Sri Krsna. May you bestow upon me the benediction that my worship of Krsna will obtain success.”

To Beg Forgiveness after picking leaves/manjaris:

cayanod-bhava dhukham
cha yad hrdi tava vartate
tat ksamasva jagan maatha
vrnda devi namo stu te
"O Tulasi-Devi, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. Kindly forgive me if I have caused you pain by picking your leaves and manjaris, O mother of the universe.”

Some key points to remember while plucking and offering Tulasi Leaves for offering to Lord Krishna:
  1. The leaves should be washed 3 times before offering and kept in a bowl of fresh water inside of a refrigerator. If they are not kept like this They turn limp and pale. If they are kept in water, but not in a refrigerator They will turn brown.
  2. Be sure to change the water in the bowl everyday, and clean the sides of the bowl so that no film grows.
  3. Estimate the required amount of leaves needed a day and try to pick about the same amount each day and in that way, we will always have a supply and She will feel regular. (Sometimes in the case of manjaris, there will be an extra amount of mercy.
  4. Don' t pick Her leaves sporadically but aim at the same time, same amount, every day. It depends on how healthy and bushy the plant is. If there are hundreds of leaves on Her, it won't hurt to take a few. However, if there are only 13 or 14 leaves, don' t take any at all unless they are about to drop off. It depends on the size and health of the plant. Use your discretion in the matter.
  5. Srila Prabhupada has stated that dried leaves are just as offerable as fresh green ones. So rather than strip a weak Tulasi of Her few greatly needed leaves, the devotees can use dried leaves in case of non-availability.
Planting, watering, protecting, maintaining, circumambulating, seeing, bowing down to, praying to, and glorifying are all ways of serving and worshiping Shrimati Tulasi-devi.

By: Grace Anderson

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