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Title: Tulasi Shaligrama Marriage
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2005-02-05 01:30:29
On the fifteenth day of the bright half of the month of Kartika (the end of Chaturmasya) this auspicious festival is celebrated by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, followers of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Jalandhar was a famous warrior. By defeating the demigods he had made his fellow demons happy. Vrinda was his faithful wife. Because of her virtue and chastity, Jalandhar had become invincible in the three worlds. The gods tried to find a stratagem to defeat him. They deceived Vrinda with the false news that her husband had been killed in battle. The severed head and body of two monkeys were put in front of her, and she believing it to be her husband‚??s dead body was plunged in grief. Then a sadhu came and by reciting some mantras he joined again the head and the body, and Lord Vishnu looking exactly like Jalandhar stood in front of her. Thinking in her excitement that it was her resuscitated husband she embraced him. But then realizing her mistake, she lost her material virtue for having touched the body of someone other than her husband even though Lord Vishnu is the only actual husband of all souls in creation. All souls are prakriti (enjoyed) and the Lord is Purusha (enjoyer). The souls gets the supreme enjoyment is giving enjoyment to Lord Gauranga-Krishna, the source of all Vishnu forms.
After Vrinda had apparently lost her holiness (she had gained the ultimate holiness by touching the most auspicious body of the Supreme Lord), Jalandhar was really killed in war.
When Vrinda came to know the truth, understanding that these are the pastimes and desire of the Lord Himself, she cursed Lord Vishnu to assist Him is His pastimes as Lord Ramachandra by stating, ‚??Your wife will be taken away from you and you will have to ask help from monkeys to recover her.‚?? This curse was literally realized when the Lord incarnated as Lord Rama. After this Vrinda prepared the pyre for her husband and jumped into the fire.
Lord Vishnu continuing to enact His pastime appeared very sorry and merciful seeing the suicide of the poor widow. He remained sitting at the side of the pyre. He was more worried about the welfare of His pure devotee Vrindadevi Tulasidevi than His own welfare as He was not at all perturbed because of the curse. He had already accepted the curse due to His merciful nature of protecting His devotees, the demigods. To remove His grief, the demigods planted three trees in the cremation ground, a "Tulasi" (holy basil) an ‚??Avala‚?? (Phyllantus emblica), and a ‚??Malati‚?? (jasmine). Of these three trees the ‚??Tulasi‚?? became very dear to Lord Vishnu because like Vrinda she is endowed with all wonderful qualities.
Even though by mistake, Vrinda had for an instant believed Lord Vishnu to be her husband. It is said in the Bhagavad Gita that even a drop of devotional service does not go in vain but is to our eternal credit. Bali's sister has thought of Lord Vamanadeva as a mother but with envy, so she took birth as the demoness Putana who got the chance to feed breast milk to the Lord like a mother and then go back to Godhead and become a nurse assitant of Yashoda. Similarly when the Lord personally advented as Lord Krishna, Vrindadevi (Tulasidevi) incarnated as Shrimati Rukmini, and on this Kartika Purnima, They got married. This festive day marks the auspicious union of the Supremely Energetic Lord with His Energy and Consort.
On this day the special place where the Tulasi plant is kept, known as ‚??Vrindavan‚??, is smeared with cow dung. Sugarcane is buried in it, and ‚??avala‚?? (fruits of the avali‚?? tree) and wet ‚??chinch‚?? (fruits of the tamarind tree) are put on it. Round the Vrindavana a pandol is raised with sugarcanes. Then while reciting stanzas, the most Holy and Auspicious marriage between the Shrimati Tulasi devi and Lord Shaligrama Vishnu is performed, and ‚??lahya‚??, ‚??kurmure‚?? (parched rice) and pieces of sugarcane are distributed to those present.