Letter to: Govinda

Los Angeles
7 April, 1970
My Dear Daughter Govinda Dasi,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 2nd April, 1970, and I am very much pleased for the nice sentiments you have expressed therein. But you should always remember that whatever we are doing, it is in the parampara system beginning from Lord Krsna, down to us. Therefore, our loving spirit should be more upon the message than the physical representation. When we love the message and serve Him, automatically our devotional love for the physique is done.
I am so very glad to learn that Srimati Tulasi Devi has favored you so much. If you can actually grow this Tulasi plant, and I am sure you will do it, then you must know it for certain that your devotion for Krsna is testified. I was very much anxious to introduce this worship of Tulasi plant amongst our Society members, but it has not become successful til now, therefore, when I hear that you have got this opportunity, my pleasure does not have any bounds.
Please take care of the Tulasi plants in the following way. This is the best season for growing Tulasi plants. From 15th April to 15th June is the best season for growing this plant. Now I understand that the seedlings are coming out, so the whole spot if possible may be covered by some net because the seedling stage creepers being very delicate are sometimes eaten up by the sparrows, so we have to give a little protection from attack of the sparrows. All the devotees should pour water at least once in the morning before taking prasadam. The watering should not be very much large in quantity, but it should be poured just to keep the ground soft and moist. Sunlight also should be allowed. When the creepers are grown at least 7 inches high, then you can take them out from the planting soil and transplant them in a row in a different place. Then go on watering and they will grow like anything. I think this plant cannot grow in cold countries, but if the plants are dispatched from your place and if the devotees take care of the plant with a little care in a flower pot, then it may grow.
Tulasi leaf is very, very dear to Visnu. All Visnu-tattva Deities require profusely Tulasi leaves. Lord Visnu likes garland of Tulasi leaves. Tulsi leaves mixed with sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the topmost worship. But we must be very careful that Tulasi leaves cannot be placed on the feet of anyone else except Lord Visnu 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 you herewith three mantras for Tulasi Devi as follows:
vrindaai tulasi devyai priyaai kesavasya ca
visnubhaktiprade devi satyavatyai namo namah
This is offering obeisances, bowing down (pancanga pranam). And when collecting leaves from the plant, the following mantra should be chanted:
tulasya mrta janmasi sada tvam kesavapriya
kesavarthi cinomi tvam barada bhava sobhine
Then the mantra for circumambulating the Tulasi tree.
yani kani ca papani brahmahatya dikani ca
tani tani pranasyanti pradaksinah pade pade
So there are three mantras, one for bowing down, one for circumambulating,* and one for collecting the leaves. The collecting of leaves should be done once in the morning for worshiping and for putting on the plates of foodstuff to be offered. On each bowl or plate there should be at lest one leaf. So you follow and practice these Tulasi affairs and you try to distribute your experience to all the other centers, that will be a new chapter in the history of Krsna Consciousness Movement.
Regarding your tape recorder which was lying with me, you will get it very soon back. It is now being carried by Citralekha, wife of Upendra, who is going to Australia via Hawaii, and she will deliver the machine to you. I am very glad you have repaired your dictaphone and you are anxious to work on it. For the time being I can send you tapes of my lectures which you can transcribe either directly or through the dictaphone, as it is convenient. Both yourself and Gaurasundara or any other educated boy or girl can edit the transcriptions for being printed. For the present I hope you will be glad to do this work because you are always anxious to see me speaking something. I am sending the tape by separate mail, so immediately begin work. If you find this work of transcribing from recorded tapes interesting, you will have ample opportunity to work on this. There are many tapes like this in New York, Boston, and maybe in other places also.
Regarding installation of the Deities for which you are preparing, I wish to go there as soon as there are many Tulasi leaves grown. You are trying to grow mango very soon, but it will be better if you can grow soon the Tulasi leaves. This is more important than growing mangos. So you give your best attention for this purpose and as soon as you inform me that there is a regular bush of Tulasi plants, then I shall immediately start for Hawaii and install your Deities. I think this will satisfy you.
In the meantime, I am also inviting you, both husband and wife, to see how this Temple has become very nicebetter looking, better facilitiesthan all other centers. I am sending you herewith one copy of the picture.
Please offer my blessings to Gaurasundara and all boys and girls there, and I hope this will find you all in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
*3 times round the plant both morning and evening.

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