Jananivas: Prabhupada asked me one time, “How are you all worshipping the deity?” I gave a step-by-step explanation. I said, “We are undressing the deities, we bathe the deities with tilaka and some lemon juice, we polish Them and then we bathe Them.
He then asked, “What mantras are you using?” I said, “We chant chintamani prayers, Prabhupada.” “Oh.” I said, “Also we always chant Brahma Gayatri as the first thing.” Prabhupada said, “Brahma Gayatri, Vedic Om is there, very good. [laughs] I said, “Then we dry the deity.” Prabhupada said, “Yes, then at that time you should offer Tulsi leaves to Krishna's feet”, which you don't find in other archana-paddhatis.
The offering of the Tulsi generally comes up after the bathing, the dressing, the ornamentation, offering scents and things like that. Then you offer flowers and Tulsi at that time. But Prabhupada said to offer Tulsi leaves after bathing and have dried Krishna.” If we offer Tulsi then Krishna is very satisfied.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura exemplified the importance of offering Tulsi devi when he was installing some deities in one of his Gaudiya Maths. His disciples were doing all the preparations, bathed the deities and got everything ready. Then they called in their Guru Maharaj to come and do the prana-pratistha that is the official calling of the Lord. The acharya comes and he calls the Lord of his heart who is usually the deity of the sampradaya.
He calls the deity from his heart into the deity. This is called the prana-pratistha, the official installation, the calling of the Lord. They said, “Guru Maharaj, you can come and do the prana- pratistha.” He came in to perform the prana-pratistha and he looked and saw the Tulsi leaves on Krishna's feet. He said, “Oh, now I have nothing to do”, which indicated that he thought that Tulsi was the prime offering for Krishna, even more important than the prana-pratistha.
(Compiled by Mahavishnu Dasa)