KANTHI MALA (TULASI MALA) – PROCEDURE & RULES TO WEAR THEM!
Qn. In Detail:
Where can I take thulasi mala? Iskcon temple or any other store? Is there any procedure or pooja to be followed before wearing thulasi maala…. Please reply me .. Thanking u. (hide name).
Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) is usually worn by initiated devotees. However, those un-initiated devotees (i) who are chanting Maha Manthra and (ii) have been following four regulative principles and avoid Onion/ Garlic for a certain period, say atleast for about 6 months and also resolve to strictly follow the rules, may also wear Kanthi mala (tulasi mala) around neck.
Since tulasi is absolutely Pure, our physical and mental purity is must while wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala).
Wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) indicates our surrender level to Lord Krishna and our following the devotional rules.
(TULASI DEVI (VRINDA) – GLORIES AND HER ROLE IN RADHA KRISHNA LILAS AND OUR DEVOTION! READ HERE!)
After wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala), one should –
(1) Follow four regulative principles such as No meat, No gambling, No intoxication, and no illicit sex.
(2) not drink tea, coffee.
(3) not use onion and garlic and honour Only prasadam (Food offered to Krishna)
(4) not remove Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) for any reason and it should be worn even during using toilets, bath, sex with spouse, and in a house where death happened.
(5) It is believed that if you follow all these rules and die wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala), Yama’s servants will not come near you and you will be taken by Vishnu’s servants to vaikunta lokas.
(6) If a person wears Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) simply to imitate a Vaisnava but is not seriously trying to surrender to the lord and is not following regulative principles, he is an offender and he will not improve in spiritual service. So, it is advisable not to wear Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) if one is not following four regulative principles.
How many strands of Kanthi Mala should be worn?
Tulasi mala is worn in one, two or three strands. If you are comfortable, you may wear three strands that shows your full surrender level. Even un-initiated devotees can wear three strands, no issues. (Some have doubt whether un-initiated devotees can wear three strands. But, anyone can wear three strands if he is following all the disciplinary rules mentioned above and chanting. Krishna sees surrender level only.)
Some devotees think that they can single strand though they are not following all rules. But, if you are serious in devotion, if not following the rules, do not wear even a single strand.
(HOW TO GROW, MAINTAIN AND PLUCK THE TULASI PLANT? READ HERE!)
How to wear Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala)?
First offer that Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) in front of Lord Krishna keeping it in front of Lord’s picture and chant hare Krishna Maha Manthra atleast a few rounds in front of it. Then, wear it.
While wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala), though chanting hare Krishna and / or Guru Pranama Manthra is enough, you may chant the following manthra also:
(1) First, if possible and if available, the Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) may be purified with Panca-gavya (a preparation that contains cow urine) and after that hare Krishna maha manthra should be recited . If you do not get Pancha gavya, just reciting Hare Krishna Maha Manthra is enough.
(2) After that, the Gayatri mantra eight times.
(3) Skanta Purana states the following:
Touching the mala with incense, worship with this “Sadyojata-mantra” with utmost devotion:
“Om sadyojatah prapadyami sadyojataya vai namo namah Bhave tave nadi bhave bhajeswamam bhavod-bhavaya namah”
(4) After that, this prayer should be made, “Oh! Mala ! You are made of Tulsi and are dear to Vaisnavas . I wear you around my neck; you make me dear to Sri Krishna.”
(Krishna Rings, dollars, Tulasi mala, etc. – Necessary or Not? READ HERE!)
‘Ma’ means ‘me’, ‘La’ means ‘to give’. Oh Hari-Vallabhe ! You have given me to the Vaisnava devotees, hence you are known as mala .
Those Vaisnavas who pray in this manner and first offer the Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) to Sri Krishna should then put them around one’s neck and will attain the Lotus feet of Sri Vishnu.”
(5) Even wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) with just chanting of Hare Krishna Maha Manthra itself is enough because Hare Krishna maha Manthra is the Kaliyuga manthra that can uplift one to Krishna;s abode.
Padma Purana states: Either during morning ablutions, bathing, eating or at any state which is clean or unclean, Tulsi must be worn; this means mala should not be removed under any circumstance.
Scriptures say: Tulsi mala should always be worn as yajna-sutra or like the sacred thread. Those who remove Tulsi mala even for a moment are considered to be Vishnu-drohi.
Therefore, think and evaluate your current level of purity before starting to wear Kanthi mala. If you are satisfied that you will follow all rules consistently for ever, wear mala and get the absolute mercy of Lord Krishna.
(Can we use the food, medicines and other products containing tulasi? READ HERE!)
Should I quit Onion, Garlic, Coffee & Tea before wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala)?
(1) A girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
Hare Krishna prabhu Ji . I want to quit onion garlic tea coffee but many times I have it coz I don’t have control on my self. But I want to be krishna devotee so if I wear tulsi Mala first then quit everything on same day . Coz when I will wear Tulsi Mala I will not have it any cost. Bina Pehne discipline NHi aata Khane pine me. But I know I can if some restrictions will be on me . Kindly suggest. I will chant 4 rounds also regularly. I do it now but not regular basis.
(2) Another Girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare krishna!! Kindly resolve my query regarding tulsi mala. I will be grateful to you. In one of your post, you mentioned about tulsi mala (3 rounds) that one should not wear tulsi mala if he or she eats onion/garlic . Can I wear tulsi mala of one round only but i cant skip onion/garlic as family is not supportive for skipping onion garlic in daily routine. I dont like having onion/garlic but cant help it as they want to have… so for the sake of them i have to. Kindly resolve my query. I will be grateful to you. Thank you. Hare Krishna.”
Wear Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) THOUGH IT IS ONE MALA or THREE MALAS, only after you successfully quit the Onion and garlic atleast for six months and resolve to follow the rules for ever.
Many devotees develop eagerness to wear Vaishnava symbols seeing other devotees. But, wearing the Vaishnava symbols is the indication that you are following the Vaishnava rules.
Seeing your Vaishnava appearance, the people will think that you are strictly following the Vaishnava etiquittes.
Therefore, one should SHOW HIMSELF OUTSIDE AS VAISHNAVA only if he is following the Vaishnava rules INSIDE.
Particularly, wearing the Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) is not a casual thing. It is a protection from committing offences. It is a show of your purity both inside and outside.
The devotees who have got initiation is expected to wear Kanthi mala because they have resolved that they are following all the regulative principles while taking diksha.
Therefore wearing Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) is made compulsory for initiated devotees.
Others too can wear Kanthi mala. No barriers in that. But, they should follow Chanting Lord’s Names, the four regulative principles – No meat, No gambling, No intoxication and No illicit sex – and also No onion and garlic, Coffee & Tea and honouring only Prasadam.
As you asked, in case you first wear the Kanthi mala (Tulasi mala) to get the caution to avoid onion and garlic, there may be chances for violation in future.
In case you happen to eat them any day, it may become an offence against Tulasi Devi.
Though Tulasi devi, being a merciful devotee of Krishna, will not punish for such deviations, on our part, it may be an offence against Tulasi maharani.
(How to Perform Tulasi Puja and Worship at home? READ HERE!)
A devotee should be very careful in avoiding the offences against the devotees and Krishna.
Why should you rush now to wear Kanthi mala?
Like we take diksha only after following the rules for atleast six months, we can wear Kanthi mala too after following the rules for atleast six months.
If you violate from the rules after wearing Tulasi mala habitually, you will have to remove them. Unavoidable violations beyond your care will however be forgiven. It should not be habitual.
So, do not rush to wear Kanthi mala until you start to follow the rules and Don’t be emotional in this matter.
In devotion, inner purity is very important rather than external symptoms.
(PURITY OR LOVE – WHICH IS IMPORTANT FOR DEVOTIONAL GROWTH? READ HERE!)
This is my humble advice.
Hope you are clear.