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I've heard that it is not allowed to pick the leaves of a Tulsi plant on certain days such as Dwadasi among others. This is why Acharyas advise against using store-bought Tulsi in offerings.

Which specific days are these, and why is it not allowed to pick Tulsi leaves on them? Could one theoretically pick several leaves on the valid days and use them in Pooja during the days when it cannot be picked?

Also is there a specific protocol to be observed for the act of actually picking the leaves off of the plant?

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    At first glance, all I could find in Hindu scripture is a prohibition on collecting Tulasi leaves on Dwadasi, not about days of the week. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 25 '14 at 3:27
  • @KeshavSrinivasan I'll rephrase my question since I'm not 100% sure that it's days of the week as opposed to days of lunar calendar or something similar. – Akshay Sep 25 '14 at 5:33
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    Logically it seems that not picking tulsi leaves on certain days helps the plant regrow its leaves and thus this medicinal plant is protected – user3115 Jun 10 '15 at 20:08
  • I also heard the prohibition of picking tulsi leaves on purnima. For use in Satyanarayana puja we have to collect the leaves a day before...( It may be a tradition in Bengal only, I am not sure) – Santanu Debnath Jul 6 '17 at 4:43
  • you should not pluck with nails, that is important, and recite Narayana mantra while plucking.. – Prasanna R Dec 28 '18 at 7:07
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This question seemed to be discussed a lot and you can find some citations from Hari Bhakti Vilasa in the link below: http://www.lotusimprints.com/new/blog/2008/12/14/qa-worship-of-tulasi-devi-on-dvadasi-17-other-questions/

The take away from the above link: Tulasi is a devotee of Lord Vishnu (Kesava priya) and she is said to practice vratam/fasting on Ekadasi and so as not to disturb her in potentially weak condition people don't pick her leaves on the following day. In some traditions days besides Ekadasi are also followed for various religious practices and the same rule seems to apply.

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As far as I can tell from my experience, you are not supposed to pick Tulsi leaves on Sundays. Some say you are not even supposed to water the plant or disturb it in any way on Sunday. You can, however, use leaves picked on any other day in puja on Sunday.

There's no specific protocol for picking the leaves; as long as you do not vandalize the plant, or be disrespectful. Also, you must obviously be bathed before you pick leaves or water the plant. I've seen people picking out one leaf at a time, but I'm not sure if that's an actual thing, or just their OCD.

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    Hi Maeve, thanks for posting an answer. However, your answer doesn't appear to explain why exactly you shouldn't pick tulsi leaves on Sunday. Could you elaborate on that? – senshin Oct 31 '14 at 17:46
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Vedic religion is a science based religion and most of our ancient Rishi's could be considered as researchers and scientists. With that said, there is special significance of each day of the week thus aligned to name of the 7 planets which was later adopted by the western calendars. Tulsi leaves are a great source of Mercury that can be consumed to help you keep healthy. I believe not disturbing it on Sunday has to be something related to that only. Exactly what I do not know either but would be curious to find out. I derived the analogy based on my understanding and knowledge. Appreciate further enlightenment by learned members.

  • Additionally found this shlok indicating not to pick the leaves on dwadashi. Hoping to find a similar reference / clarification for Sunday if that is true. DVADASYAM TULASI PATRAM DHATRI PATRAS CA KARTIKE LUNATI SA NARO GACCHET NIRAYAN ATI GARHITAN (Hbv 7/356 from PADMA PURANA conversation between Lord Krsna and Satyabhama) – Girish Sharma Jul 29 '15 at 15:25
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Your question is about the specific days and specific protocols to be observed for the act of picking the Tulsi leaves off the plant?

Yes , there are these things and is described in a book called Nitya Karma Puja Prakash , which is in hindi. The book in its Deva Puja sectio is describing the rules ,mantras and procedure to pluck plant leaves like Tulsi ,Bilva and other flowers . I am translating the content .

Tulsi , Bilva and flowers should be plucked after bathing. Before plucking one should perform Achamana (taking sip of water) and facing the east direction with folding of hands in Namaskar mudra should recite this mantra.

मा नु शोकं कुरुष्व त्वं स्थानत्यागं च मा कुरु |
देवतापुजनर्थाय प्रार्थयामि वनस्पते ||

O plant i am giving you the trouble by removing you from your place please don't grief . I am plucking you for the purpose of worship of gods , I am requesting you to grant me the permission.

Here are mantras to be uttered while plucking first three flowers.

  • While plucking first flower - ॐ वरुणाय नम: |
  • While plucking second flower - ॐ व्योमाय नम: |
  • While plucking Third flower - ॐ पृथिव्यै नम: |

    Procedure of plucking Tulsi leaves

Instead of plucking a single leaf of Tulsi Plant , we should pluck the stem with leaves . The inflorescence (Manjiri मंजिरी) is highest among all the flowers . While plucking this inflorescence some leaves should remain with it. Without Shaking the Tulsi plant pluck the inflorescence . By this way the fruit of Puja or worship increases by many a times.


The mantra to be chanted while plucking Tulsi leaves.

तुलस्यमृतजन्मासि सदा त्वं केशवप्रिया |
चिनोमि केशवस्यार्थे वरदा भव शोभने ||
त्वदङ्गसंभवै: पत्रे : पूजयामि यथा हरिम् |
तथा कुरु पवित्राङ्गी कलौमलविनाशिनि || (अन्हिकसुत्रावली)

O Tulsi you are immortal and always dear to Keshava (Vishnu) , I am plucking you for the Keshava , you will be shine very well. It is because of you the puja of Hari is possible. Please allow me to pluck you o sanctified one ,who is destroyer of the bad of Kali age.

Days forbidden for plucking Tulsi leaves.

  • In Vaidhriti and Vyatipata Yogas ( time of particular planets).
  • On Tuesdays , Fridays and Sundays.
  • On Sankranti , jananaShouchya ,MaranShoucya ( Impure time during birth and deaths).
  • On Amavasya (New moon) and during two sandhyas (twilights) .

But according to author the puja isn't complete without Tulsi leaves , so in forbidden times one should pick up the leaves which are themselves are dropped on the ground , and Tulsi leaves should not be plucked with wearing sandals and without bathing.

The sources of above can be found in the footnotes of Page No. 109

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