To describe the beauty of the forest of Tulsi from which Vrindavan got its name, it is only necessary to say that this beauty was appreciated and enhanced by Radha Krishna Themselves.
French tourist Jack Mont, who visited in the 18th century, remarked that, Vrindavan is notable for being a place of abundance of trees in the sand fields. These days, the patch of trees has shrunk to the walled areas of Nidhivan and Seva Kunj but the culture of worshiping the Devis of nature – Vrinda Devi and Yamuna Maharani still continues.
The importance of worshiping Vrinda Devi is found in teachings of 16th century saints of Braj including Harivansh Mahaprabhu; Swami Haridas; Sant Praveer Hariram Vyas; the Six Goswamis (Sanatan, Rupa, Jiva, Raghunath Bhatta, Raghunath Das and Gopal Bhatta). These saints agree that not only should Vrinda Devi (Tulsi) be worshipped, her worship should be done before the Deity.
Vrinda Devi is in charge of arranging nice pastimes for the Beloveds. The great Radhavallabh devotee, Shri Hit Dhruvdas ji, has described Vrinda Devi’s role in Vrindavansat (1629)
छिन-छिन वन की छवि नई,
नवल युगल के हेत।
समुझि बात सब हिय की,
सखि वृन्दा सुख देत।।
Vrinda changes the atmosphere of the forest every moment for the pleasure of the young beloveds. Understanding the desires of the heart of the lovers’ , she brings them happiness.
Jiva Goswami’s “Govindamandir Ashtak” describes the original form of Govinda Dev temple. The temple was built over many years during the 16th century by Amer Naresh Mansingh and included a separate shrine for Vrinda Devi.
Vrindavan history indicates that there were previously several Vrinda Devi temples in Vrindavan. A travel journal from describes a Vrinda Devi temple near Vamshivat and a poem by 19th century poet Gopal Rai describes Bhudar Baba’s Vrinda Devi temple in Chhipi Gali.
The place of Vrinda and the other Devis of Braj in the hearts and minds of the people has also been described by local poets. The 1757 work “Harikala Bela” by Vrindavan Das of the Radhavallabh Sampradaya describes the Devi that protects Braj. The poem was written during the time when devotees were being disturbed by the attacks of Abduli:
वन-देवी वृन्दा का स्मरण करते दिखते है।
एहो वृन्दा मंसा संकेत की निवासी,
देवी मथुरा की पालक ब्रज पर सुदृष्टि जोवनी।
वृन्दावन हित रूप मंगल विस्तारौ सुविधि।
भांति-भांति संतन द्रोही असुर सोवनी।।
साधकों के भजन से निसृत वृन्दा-वन की ख्याति
People are remembering Vrinda Devi, Goddess of the forest who stays near Mansi Devi. She is the benefactor of Mathura. She makes the place beautiful and makes everything auspicious for our benefit. That demon is disturbing but the sons of Braj are in the forest doing Bhajan.
Source: Dr. Rajesh Sharma, Vrindavan Research Institute