“One should worship the Lord by offering pure water, pure flower garlands, fruits, flowers and vegetables, which are available in the forest, or by collecting newly grown grasses, small buds of flowers or even the skins of trees, and if possible, by offering tulasi leaves, which are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Purport by Srila Prabhupada.
It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasi leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and devotees should take particular care to have tulasi leaves in every temple and center of worship.
In the Western countries, while engaged in propagating the Krishna consciousness movement, we were brought great unhappiness because we could not find tulasi leaves. We are very much obliged, therefore, to our disciple Srimati Govinda dasi because she has taken much care to grow tulasi plants from seeds, and she has been successful by the grace of Krishna. Now tulasi plants are growing in almost every center of our movement.
Tulasi leaves are very important in the method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the word salilaih means “by the water.” Of course, Dhruva Maharaja was worshiping on the bank of the Yamuna. The Yamuna and the Ganges are sacred, and sometimes devotees in India insist that the Deity must be worshiped with water of the Ganges or Yamuna.
“But here we understand desa-kala to mean “according to time and country.”
In the Western countries there is no River Yamuna or Ganges—water from such sacred rivers is not available. Does this mean that the arca worship should for that reason be stopped? No.
Salilaih refers to any water—whatever is available—but it must be very clear and collected purely. That water can be used.
The other paraphernalia, such as flower garlands, fruits and vegetables, should be collected according to the country and according to their availability.
Tulasi leaves are very important for satisfying the Lord, so as far as possible an arrangement should be made for growing tulasi leaves. Dhruva Maharaja was advised to worship the Lord with the fruits and flowers available in the forest.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna frankly says that He accepts vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. He should not hanker to satisfy the tongue with a particular kind of foodstuff. He should be satisfied to eat whatever prasada is available by the grace of the Lord. One should not offer Lord Vasudeva anything other than what is prescribed herein by the great authority Narada Muni. One cannot offer to the Deity according to one’s whims; since these fruits and vegetables are available anywhere in the universe, we should observe this small point very attentively.
“It is possible to worship a form of the Lord made of physical elements such as earth, water, pulp, wood and metal. In the forest one can make a form with no more than earth and water and worship Him according to the above principles. A devotee who has full control over his self should be very sober and peaceful and must be satisfied simply with eating whatever fruits and vegetables are available in the forest.”
Purport by Srila Prabhupada.
It is essential for a devotee to worship the form of the Lord and not only meditate upon the form of the Lord within his mind with the chanting of the mantra given by the spiritual master. The worship of the form must be present.
The impersonalist takes unnecessary trouble to meditate upon or worship something impersonal, and the path is very precarious. We are not advised to follow the impersonalist way of meditating on or worshiping the Lord. Dhruva Maharaja was advised to worship a form made of earth and water because in the jungle, if it is not possible to have a form made of metal, wood or stone, the best process is to take earth mixed with water and make a form of the Lord and worship Him.
The devotee should not be anxious about cooking food; whatever is available in the forest or in the city among the fruit and vegetable groups should be offered to the Deity, and the devotee should be satisfied eating that. He should not be anxious to have very palatable dishes. Of course, wherever it is possible, one should offer the Deities the best foodstuffs, prepared within the category of fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked. The important factor is that the devotee should be regulated (mita-bhuk); that is one of the good qualifications of a devotee.