tulasyā priyayā prabhum
It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasī leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and devotees should take particular care to have tulasī leaves in every temple and center of worship. In the Western countries, while engaged in propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we were brought great unhappiness because we could not find tulasī leaves. Therefore we are very much obliged to our disciple Śrīmatī Govinda dāsī because she has taken much care to grow tulasī plants from seeds, and she has been successful by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Now tulasī plants are growing in almost every center of our movement.
Tulasī leaves are very important in the method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the word salilaiḥ means “by the water.” Of course, Dhruva Mahārāja was worshiping on the bank of the Yamunā. The Yamunā and the Ganges are sacred, and sometimes devotees in India insist that the Deity must be worshiped with water of the Ganges or Yamunā. But here we understand deśa-kāla to mean “according to time and country.” In the Western countries there is no river Yamunā or Ganges — water from such sacred rivers is not available. Does this mean that the arcā worship should for that reason be stopped? No. Salilaiḥ 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. Tulasī leaves are very important for satisfying the Lord, so as far as possible an arrangement should be made for growing tulasī leaves. Dhruva Mahārāja was advised to worship the Lord with the fruits and flowers available in the forest. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa frankly says that He accepts vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. One should not offer Lord Vāsudeva anything other than what is prescribed herein by the great authority Nārada 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.