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3.THE CURSE OF TULASI-DEVI
Devotee: It is stated in a book, Our Original Position, Chapter eight, that Srimati Radharanl cursed Her dear maidservant Vrnda-devi (Tulasl-devi) to fall down from Goloka Vrndavana to this material world and that this is factual evidence that the jiva soul falls from the Lords eternal Ilia. Is this correct?Narasingha Maharaja: There is a reference in Brahma-vaivarta Purana regarding the appearance of Tulasl-devi in this material world due to the curse of Srimati Radharanl. However, in the writings of the six Gosvamls we do not find mention of this pastime. Those sections of the Puranas that are important for our advancement in pure devotional service have been selected by the Gosvamis and they have included those portions in their writings. But we do not find anv mention of this so-called curse by our acaryas.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 Tulasi-devi is there in the Brahma-vaivarta Purdna some devotees think that it is a very important pramdna (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 krishna and the Visnu'avatdras mentioned in the scriptures that may be neglected by the pure devotees due to those activities conflicting with their inner emotions, bhdva. For example, there is the disappearance lila of krishna in which He is shot in the heel with an arrow. This is even mentioned in the Bhdgavata Purdna, 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 Purdna which is called Bhagavata'tnahatmyam wherein the story of Bhakti-devi and her two dying sons Jfiana and Vairagya, is narrated. In that Mdhdtmyam the process of hearing the Bhdgavatam in seven days is also recommended (Bhdgavata'saptah).
Because these things have been mentioned in Puranas some devotees have printed this Bhdgavata'mahdtmyam in a small book and they also attempt to hold the Bhdgavatam reading in seven days. But our Guru Maharaja (A. C. Bhaktivedanta SvamI Prabhupada) did not care for this Bhdgavata-mdhdtrrryam because it was not given any mention by the previous dcdryas.It is a fact that the Puranas and many other Vedic literatures present topics other than those of pure devotional service. These topics however, are of no concern to the Gaudlya Vaisnavas. The dcdryas in our Gaudlya tradition are concerned exclusively with pure devotional service and we follow their lead. We are not interested in just any kind of pure devotional service, but pure devotional service in the line of rdgdnugds, spontaneous love following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrndavana. Where such conclusions are found in the Vedas, Puranas, etc. the Gaudlya Vaisnavas whole-heartedly embrace that. Otherwise not.The Bhagavata-mahatmyam concerns itself mainly with karma' kdnda and moksa-kdnda, material benefit and liberation respectively. Therefore, it has not been given any importance by our dcdryas despite its seemingly being a glorification of the Bhdgavatam. The narration regarding the so-called curse of Tulasi-devi is also in a similar category. It is not given much importance by our dcdryas because the narration does not present the conclusions of pure devotional service. In fact the misconception that Srimati RadharanI could curse Her most affectionate friend to suffer in material existence 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 progress of one who lacks the sufficient eligibility or adhikdra to understand them.However, the incident of the curse of Tulasi-devi is not unintelligible for those devotees who have the grace of Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas. Our first understanding should be that Srimati Radharanl's so-called cursing of Her dear-most servant to take birth in this material world was not actually a curse but a benediction.Thus,Tulasi-devi would be married to krishna Visnu and also the conditioned souls in material existence would get a chance to associate and serve a pure devotee.
Furthermore, it must be understood that the drama was carried out under yogamdyd not mahamdya. Yogamdyd is the energy of the Supreme Lord that, understanding the transcendental desires of the Lord and His devotees, makes all tie necessary arrangements for their pastimes. In the case of madhtrya'Tasa-llld the yogamdyd potency is represented by PaurnamasI.In any case mahamaya has no jurisdiction in the realm of divine 'lid.krishna appears in this material world through His many expansions such as the Visnu-avatdras and He even comes Himself as Vrajendra-nandana krishna and as Sri Caitanyadeva. And to serve the Lord in His many incarnations His eternal associates also descend to the material world. Such is the case of Tulasl-devi. It should not be misunderstood that FulasI-devI 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, Tulasl-devi is an expansion of the internal potency of krishna known as urja. The internal potency urja, also known as svarupa-Sakti, never comes under the influence of may a.In Goloka Vrndavana Tulasl-devi is ion-different from the gopi named Vrnda who has expanded herself as Tulasl. This Vrnda-devi is herself an expansion of Srlmstl Radharani and she leads the section of sakhis known as dutika-.akhis, or messengers. In the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, Vrnda-devi is as dear to SrimatI Radharani as Her 3wn self. Vrnda-devi is just under Visakha-devI in importance and intimacy. The love and intimacy that exists between SrimatI Radharani and Vrnda-devi is like a vast ocean of sweetness.
Actually the forest of Vrndavana is named after Vrnda-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 Vrndavana without first getting the blessings of Vrnda-devi. She is so exalted that she is considered one of the principle Deities of Vrndavana. The feelings of affection that Radharani has for Vrnda-devi are wonderful. It is so wonderful that Radharani once even made an arrangement for krishna and Vrnda-devi to sit together on the same throne during Their pastimes in the forest. At that time SrimatI Radharani arranged for the wedding ceremony of krishna and Vrnda-devi to be performed.Vrndavana 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 dear-most companion of krishna. Kathdgdnam ndtyam gamanam-api vamii priya-sakhi. Therefore, the so-called 'curse' of SrimatI Radharani, the most exalted Queen of Vrndavana, 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 hateful dealings, or envy exists there.Radha and krishna's pastimes of love with Their pure devotees cannot be understood by non-devotees, or by persons 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 Tulasl-devi and how she has come here. But if we think that SrimatI Radharani has hatefully cursed Her dear-most servant then we must ourselves be possessed of a hateful mentality.