Holy Days Ekadashi Articles Sri Apara Ekadasi

Sri Apara Ekadasi

[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]

Today is Ekadasi. Ekadasi-devi’s name on this day is Apara Ekadasi. Now, I remember many of Ekadasi-devi’s pastimes, glories, and specialties. All the Ekadasis are the same, but for the jivas, she appears bearing different names to bestow her mercy and grace. She blesses and benefits the jivas with her unconditional mercy. Otherwise, the conditioned souls are not eligible to receive anything. Acting of their own choice and desire, they fail in their many endeavors. Why? The jivas have insufficient intelligence, their brains are small. Their ideas and conceptions are bad and useless. Their memory is unreliable. Their memory is the repository of the mundane features of this world; it is not a container of devotion. English words have good meanings, but nobody thinks about them. In India, the culture readies them for a life of devotion. But, Western culture readies them in no such way. From one’s childhood or infancy, a person only concerns himself with the mundane things of this world. He is happy if he obtains what he wants and is sad when he unable to obtain what he wants.

We will now hear some of Ekadasi-devi’s pastimes. We will hear how she gives the souls her blessings, mercy, and grace. She empowers her followers with devotion for her worshipable Lord. In the Srimad Bhagavatham, the life of Kardama Rsi is described. He engaged in many austerities. Practicing excruciating forms of tapa, japa, and dhyana, he would enter Samadhi. Seeing his sons wander, Brahma cleverly had them bound and arrested. How did he have them bound? Brahma had many daughters and granddaughters; indeed, his family was large. He would arrange for the sages to marry his daughters and granddaughters. Brahma would give the sages many gifts. Each sage didn’t marry only one lady. Rather, Brahma arranged for them to marry four, five, or even twenty brides.

Kardama Rsi was seriously engaged in his tapa and japa. Brahma called for Devahuti. He said, “Devahuti, you must come with me.”

“Yes.”

Brahma told Devahuti, “Now, you must serve Kardama Rsi.”

Hence, while Kardama Rsi entered samadhi for ten thousand years, she duly stood by her husband’s side and protected him from any form of unseen harm. She served and helped him in many ways. After ten thousand years, Kardama returned from antar dasha to ardha-bahya dasha; he returned from his internal meditation to a state characterized by cognizance of the internal and external reality. From ardha-bahya dasha, he came to the state of bahya dasha-external consciousness.

Being conscious of his external conditions, Kardama said, “Devahuti, have you been here since a long time?”

“Yes. I was serving and helping you.”

Satisfied by her service, Kardama Rsi asked Devahuti, “Do you have any desires that want to be fulfilled? Do you wish to receive boons?”

“Yes, I have a boon to ask from you.”

“What do you need?”

Devahuti shyly replied, “You know what I need. You know everything. Hence, what need is for me to relate my desire?”

Despite serving for many thousands of years and engaging in sadhu-sanga and bhakti’s programs for thousands of years, Devahuti still had unfulfilled desires at the culmination of her service to her husband.

Kardama Rsi asked her, “What do you need, Devahuti?”

She said, “I need a son.”

Greatly surprised Kardama Rsi told her, “You haven’t changed despite undergoing austerities for thousands of years? Okay, don’t be worried. I will beget a son from you; but on one condition. As soon as the son is born from your womb, I will retire to the forest. I will have no relation with you. Do you agree?”

Despite losing her husband’s association, from whom she derived the benefit of being in sadhu-sanga, Devahuti didn’t change. Unrelenting, she said, “No. I need a son. You give me a son, and then you can enter the forest. No problem.”

Did Devahuti have love for sadhu-sanga, bhakti, and bhajan? No. All she needed was a son. “Son,” means so-on. Society is on, tradition is on, and movement is on; the upbringing of the son will then be the mother’s focus. This is the tradition between a mother and her child.

Hence, there was a big problem. Kardama Rsi thought, “Alas! I engaged in austerities for ten thousand years. But, she is coercing me to enjoy with her now. How can I enjoy with her and beget a son?” Kardama Rsi was greatly tensed by his wife’s proposal. He then about the Lord and said, “Oh God, please save me! Please protect me. Otherwise, how can I protect my yoga? I will then be a bhogi, an enjoyer. Consequently, I will lose everything. What can I do?”

Kardama Rsi then thought with great determination, “If I love God, I will pray and call Him to descend in my heart. He will definitely help me. He will surely come. Why? Despite being with me for ten thousand years, Devahuti’s nature and character didn’t change. She doesn’t follow good etiquette and principles; she doesn’t follow bhakti’s rules and regulations. She is of an enjoying nature.”

Everyone loves to have children. “Children,” means chilli-drain; they will burn you and be a cause of great suffering. But, people need to have children. They are like a hot drain, but people want to enter that drain. What can be done? The Rsi thought about his predicament. He engaged in bhajana for thousands of years, hence, his love was only directed to God. By talking with Devahuti, Kardama Rsi feared of becoming distant to God? Talking, looking, thinking, and touching represent problems. Affection for another person will divide your love to the Lord and make you distant from Him. You will not love God anymore. Devahuti had no love for God; she only had love for her own enjoyment. She didn’t think about the appropriate course of action.

Kardama Rsi then intently prayed to the Lord.

krsna kahe,—‘ama bhaje, mage visaya-sukha
amrta chadi’ visa mage,—ei bada murkha
ami—vijna, ei murkhe ‘visaya’ kene diba?
sva-caranamrta diya ‘visaya’ bhulaiba
–Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 22.37-38

[“Krsna says, ‘If one engages in My transcendental loving service but at the same time wants the opulence of material enjoyment, he is very, very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up ambrosia to drink poison. Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.’]

Krsna is very clever. He tells a devotee who is inclined to material enjoyment, “You engage in My bhajan. You stay with My devotees, but you maintain desires for visaya-sukha, material enjoyment. Why should I give you this material enjoyment? Although you are foolish and ignorant, I will not cheat you by giving you any form of material enjoyment. I will give you My sva-caranamrta, the nectar of My lotus feet. Hence, I will change you.”

But, one may question, “Sadhu-sanga is unable to change him, will You Yourself change him?”

Krsna will resoundingly say, “Yes! I will change him.”

Krsna told the Rsi, “Kardama Rsi, don’t be worried. I am coming. You have promised to leave to the forest once you beget a son from your wife. Although I will be alone when you leave to the forest, I will be the object of your wife’s love. Your wife has no love for you, but she will have love for Me. I will then give her strong advice and through My words, I will perform a surgery on her and clean her heart. I will purify her of all desires. I will make her a paramahamsa. But, she doesn’t follow your advice; she only begs to enjoy with you. When I become her son, she will be free of all mundane desires. I will flood her heart with nectar.”

On being reassured by the Lord, Kardama Rsi thought about Him day and night. Praying on the behalf of Devahuti, he beseeched the Lord, “You must please help Devahuti. It is not possible for me to help her. She cannot be changed by me. But in Your presence, it is possible for her to be changed.” When Guru and Vaisnavas pray on the behalf of someone to the Lord, He will bless the soul who Guru and Vaisnavas are praying for. Then Guru and Vaisnavas will also be merciful to the soul. Otherwise, Guru and Vaisnavas are not independent. They will not accept or reject anybody independent of the Lord’s desire.

Along with his wife and maidservants, Kardama Rsi went everywhere on a celestial airplane. They travelled to many places for a period of ten thousand years. They went to hill stations, water falls, Gandharvaloka, and heaven. Visiting many scenic places, they would enjoy as much as Devahuti wanted. But, they were not happy and pleased. They were never satisfied. Their desires and wants would only increase. One’s desire to enjoy will not be cooled even up to his last days.

Greatly anxious, Kardama Rsi thought, “What can I do?”

There are two forms of prakriti—jada prakriti and mula prakriti. They are apara and para-superior and inferior forms of energy.

bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
–Sri Bhagavad Gita 7.4

[Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.]

This material nature is called jada prakriti and para prakriti. Material elements like fire, air, water, ether, sky, earth, mind, intelligence, and ego constitute jada prakriti. They have no relation with mula prakriti, transcendental nature. Being accustomed to the material nature, people become attached to mundane things. Can they do bhajan in this state? They will only be preoccupied with fulfilling their wants. They will desire a nice house, buildings, food, cloth, servants, garden, followers, and friends. They will have a desire to acquire everything? Why? Jada prakriti is asat-sanga.

Ekadasi-devi says, “How can the conditioned souls follow and have faith in me?”

Staying with mundane things for the complete day and night, the conditioned souls are completely bewildered. On seeing a sadhu, they think, “He will help further my enjoyment.”

The conditioned souls are of the mentality, “This body is only meant for my bhoga. I have a nice King-Kong like body. My body is like that of famous personalities. Indeed, I have a very nice body. This body is like a rasagulla that I can enjoy.” Why are the jivas bound by this degraded nature? They do bhajan and chant many of the Lord’s names.

They chant, “Rama, Rama. Radhe-Syama. Haribol. Krsna Krsna.” Despite chanting the Lord’s names, where is their nature attached to? They think, “My body is very strong. I will use it for my enjoyment.” Their natures cannot change.

Kardama Rsi told Devahuti, “You like para prakriti, the inferior energy. It is not possible for me to do bhajan while being surrounded by mundane things. Being bound to them, I only think about them. Now I will pray to the Lord; I will arrange for his advent.”

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat
–Sri Bhagavad Gita 7.5

[Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.]

Apareyam itas tv anyam, these are Krsna’s statements from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. There are three aspects of Krsna’s sakti—jiva sakti, jada prakriti, and aprakrita-cit sakti. How can a jiva cross jada prakriti and jiva sakti and enter the realm of mula prakriti? How can a jiva be connected to the internal potency of the Lord? In this world, everything is jada, mundane. The conditioned souls have no idea of what lies in their best self-interest. They are definitely not above maya. They don’t try to do bhajan and gain entrance into the aprakrita realm of Goloka Vrndavan and Vaikunta. They think the material world is everything.

Kardama Rsi told Devahuti, “If you need a son, then you must also follow another condition. You must follow Apara Ekadasi. Will you follow?”

Devahuti replied, “Why not? I will follow anything you have to say. But, I need a son. I will do as you instruct me to do. Indeed, I will hear everything you have to say. I respect and like you. Therefore, please be gracious and fulfil my need of having a son.”

Devahuti spoke being controlled by Brahma’s instruction and inspiration. A cow must be milked by any means; it is necessary. Devahuti said, “Yes. I will follow Ekadasi.” Hence, Devahuti followed Apara Ekadasi. Kardama Rsi only engaged in Krsna-kirtana from morning to evening.

Gana-narttana parau, he told his wife, “Today, there is no need of any other engagements. We will go to the Himalayas, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and the bank of the Ganga and indeed, to various other places by our vimana, our celestial airplane. In these secluded places, we will begin our worship of the Lord from the early morning. We will also hear His glories. For the complete day, we must follow Apara Ekadasi. Ekadasi-devi will give you a good son.”

But, Devahuti didn’t know of who would come as her son. Today, on Apara Ekadasi, Kardama Rsi pleased the Lord. He spoke on many of the Lord’s glories to his wife. But Devahuti paid no attention to her husband’s words; she was completely absorbed in the thought of having a baby.

Devahuti fondly thought, “When will I take the baby on my lap? When will I kiss the baby to my heart’s content? My life will be successful when I hold the baby in my arms!” But she didn’t know what was to happen. The Rsi distributed Hari’s lila from the morning, but Devahuti’s mood didn’t change. Why? Her love was reserved for her children, for her son.

Devahuti was adamant; she wanted her wish to be fulfilled immediately. She told her husband, “I would love to have a son. Bless me with one right away!”

Pacifying his wife, Kardama Rsi said, “Yes, you will be blessed with a son. But, I will not give you a son; Apara Ekadasi will.”

The name of this Ekadasi is not Para Ekadasi, Ekadasi is in no way related to this mundane world. Ekadasi-devi will give you aprakrita, transcendental treasures. After following Ekadasi for the complete day and night, Devahuti rested during the early morning of the next day. For the entire night and day, the couple engaged themselves in kirtana. Kardama Rsi did not give a chance for his wife’s mind to wander for even a minute. As Devahuti rested during the early morning, she found to her great surprise, a baby in her womb. She was very happy.

She thought, “I must bathe in the Ganga! I must bathe in the Yamuna! My happiness knows no limit! I have a baby now.”

She told her husband of the baby’s arrival. He said, “Indeed, it is a sublime occasion. But, after ten months, I will renounce and give you up. I will not be with you and you will not be with me. I will not look at you and you will not look at me.”

After ten months, a baby of sublime beauty was born to Devahuti. But Kardama Rsi ran happily away. He exclaimed, “Today, I have been liberated. I have no relation with my wife anymore.”

Bathing in the Ganga, he retired to the forest. He proclaimed, “Oh Brahma, I have finished my prayascitta, atonement. I will now engage in bhajan.”

But who was born to Devahuti? Kapiladeva, the founder of Sankhya yoga was born to her. In Srimad Bhagavatham, Kapiladeva’s advice to his mother is vividly described. He explained to his mother of how the body consisting of meat and bones comes into existence and encages the soul. He told his mother of the twenty eight primordial elements comprising the material nature. He delineated the elements one by one; he impressed many transcendental truths in his mother’s heart. Indeed, they left an indelible impression on her heart. Why did she intently listen to what her son had to say? She had immense love for her son. She did not have the same love with others. Their advice didn’t make a mark on Devahuti’s heart. If someone with whom you have a loving relationship tells you anything, then regardless of what he intends to say, you will find his words to be very sweet and powerful. Your loved one’s words will always be remembered by you. Was Kardama Rsi not knowledgeable? Indeed he was highly knowledgeable, but Devahuti paid no heed to what he said. She didn’t accept his advice; she rejected it. She only heard what her son what had to say. She didn’t spare a moment of her attention to what others had to say.

After her son was born to her, he gradually came of age. He would smile, talk, and tell her many features of the material and spiritual realm. She would eagerly listen to all that her son had to say. After continuously listening to her son, Devahuti forgot the world around her and transcended her bodily existence. She was unaware if she was properly clothed. Her hair was not braided and she didn’t know where her place of residence was. She only thought about the Lord; she forgot Kapila and Kardama Rsi. She forgot her own nature; indeed, she forgot everything about her. She was now on the brahma-bhuta prasannatma stage.

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
–Sri Bhagavad Gita 18.54

[One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.]

She had obtained para bhakti, the highest form of devotion. Hence, Ekadasi-devi empowers her followers with transcendental potency. You must realize that by your independent endeavors, you will not know what is good and bad for you. You will not understand what is to be accepted and what it is to be rejected; you will never know what is helpful for you. You must be under the guidance of transcendental authorities. Otherwise, you will not cross maya.

Ordinary people follow bhakti and Ekadasi. Why do they do so? They only beg for mundane things. But Ekadasi-devi, Bhakti-devi will not give them these mundane things.

Instead, she says, “I will only give aprakrita, transcendental help.”

krsna yadi chute bhakte bhukti mukti diya
kabhu prema-bhakti na dena rakhena lukaiya
–Sri Caitanya-caritamrita Adi 8.18

[If a devotee wants material sense gratification or liberation from the Lord, Krsna immediately delivers it, but pure devotional service He keeps hidden.]

Krsna tells, “I give bhukti and mukti to the undeserving. I then run away from them; I don’t give them Bhakti.”

But, Krsna also says, “I only give Bhakti to the sincere. I don’t cheat them by giving them anything else.”

An instance may arise where despite being under the guidance of guru and sadhus, you find yourself to have not advanced in your devotion. You may have followed all the rules and regulations of bhakti; you may have also followed Ekadasi. But, just like an eagle flying in the sky looks for dead bodies, you find yourself susceptible for engaging yourself in sense enjoyment. Although you followed all the limbs of bhakti, you find yourself to have not changed even a little. Your nature still hovers on the platform of maya. You only look for objects of your enjoyment.

Looking at these objects, you think, “These objects are sweet and helpful for me. They are favourable for me. God, Guru and Vaisnavas are not as favourable. They are not my relatives. They don’t accept me; they don’t take care of me.”

On seeing a babaji or a mathaji, one thinks, “He or she will take care of me. Both of us will engage in yugala-bhajana.”

mane vane kone, bhajana hoite sthane

Hiding in a corner, or a secret center, one engages in ‘solitary bhajan.’ Day and night, you will think of Lalu or Lali. You will then think, “I am in samadhi now. Indeed, I am engaged in my services twenty four hours a day. I have no time for anything else.”

Then, why is this person hiding in a corner? Thinking about his lover’s face, sweet talks, and bewitching smile, one thinks, “This is very tasteful and nice.” As a result, one loses his memory and has all his love divided. Consequently, he will feel much pain.

mane vane kone, bhajana hoite sthane

This is called, ‘deep bhajana.’ But, Apara Ekadasi tells her followers, “I will do an operation and surgery. I will not give anyone the chance to go the wrong way. I provide them with the support, by which they will return to the right path. I will give them much energy and enthusiasm. They will never lose sight of me; they will never lose their bhajan and bhakti.”

Therefore, those who are intelligent will not cheat their own selves. They will always be surrendered.

ami tava nitya das, jani no e bhara, amara palana bhara ekhona tumhara
bada dukha payaci svatantra jivane, sab dukha dure gelo apada bharane
–Ekhona Bhujinu Prabhu Tomara Carana [Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]

[At last I know myself to be Your eternal servant. Now the burden of my maintenance is exclusively Yours. In my life of independence from You, I have experienced nothing but misery. But now, upon accepting those feet of Yours, all my miseries have been cast far away.]

atma nivedana, tuya pade kari,
hainu parama sukhi
duhkha dure gela, cinta na rahila,
caudike ananda dekhi
–Atma-nivedana 1 [Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]

[I have become supremely joyful by surrendering myself at Your holy feet. Unhappiness has gone away, and there are no more anxieties. I see joy in all directions.]

asoka-abhoya, amrta-adhara,
tomara carana-dwaya
tahate ekhona, visrama labhiya
chadinu bhavera bhoya
–Atma-nivedana 2

[Your two lotus feet are reservoirs of immortal nectar where one may live free from sorrow and fear. I have found peace there now and have given up the fear of worldly existence.]

What will a clever person do? He will say, “O Prabhu, I offer myself to You. You can treat me as You so desire. I don’t know what lies in my best self-interest. Anything I do by own choice points to my erring nature. I am guilty of many faults. My collection of undesirable things is immense. Not only do I suffer, many others suffer alongside me. How can my collection be good? My idea is very bad. Anything I look, touch, and take is a source of great pain for me!”

gora pahun na bhajiya mainu
prema-ratana-dhana helaya harainu
–Srila Narottama das Thakura

[I did not consider worshiping Lord Gauranga, but instead brought about my spiritual ruin by neglecting that treasure trove of pure of God.]

adhane jatana kori dhana teyaginu
apana karama-dose apani dubinu
[I gave up the association of the saintly devotees to enjoy myself in the company of the ungodly. Therefore I am bound up by the snare of karma.]

visaya-visama-visa satata khainu
gaura-kirtana-rase magana na hainu
[I am always drinking the dangerous poison of sense gratification, thus I can never absorb myself in the blissful nectar of chanting the glories of Lord Caitanya.]

You should pray, “I am in such an unfortunate position.”

hara baliya, galaya parili (mana), samana kinkara-sapa
–Avatara-sara 4 [Srila Locana das Thakura]

[O my mind, death is like snake, which you put around your neck, thinking it to be a garland.]

You tie a snake around your neck or body and embrace it. But, you don’t know how a poisonous a snake is. Baba! You play with many dangerous things although you consider them to be very sweet. How can you possibly feel well by having a snake coiled around your neck with an upraised hood? Samana kinkara sapa—you will have your death confirmed by such recklessness. The soldiers of death will take you away from your mortal body. This is sure to happen if you continue being careless. But, you like to be reckless.

Therefore, pray to the lotus feet of Apara Ekadasi. Beseech her for her mercy and say, “He Devi! Duttamana, you are an expansion of God. You give the highest opportunity and the greatest of chances to engage in the service of the Lord. Previously, I didn’t know of a way to seek you out and beg for your grace. But you are very kind. Now, I realize who you are. You are ready to bestow Vraja-vasa, Vraja-bhakti, and Vraja-seva on me. But, I don’t need these benedictions. I only need a relationship with the Vraja-devis; I desire nothing else.”

kabe gaura-vane, suradhuni-tate,
‘ha radhe ha krsna’ bole’
kandiya beda’bo, deho-sukha chadi’,
nana lata-taru-tale

swa-paca-grhete, magiya khaibo,
pibo saraswati-jala
puline puline, gada-gadi dibo,
kori’ krsna-kolahala

dhama-basi jane, pranati koriyä,
magibo krpara lesa
vaisnava-carana- renu gaya makhi’,
dhori’ avadhuta-vesa

gauda-braja-jane, bheda na dekhibo,
hoibo baraja-basi
dhamera swarupa, sphuribe nayane,
hoibo radhara dasi
–Kabe Gaura-vane [Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]

[1) When, oh when will I wander here and there, weeping under the shade of the trees and creepers along the banks of the celestial Ganges River in Navadvipa? I will cry out “Oh Radhe! Oh Krsna!”, and I will completely forget about all the so-called pleasures of this material body.

2) When will I be able to live so simply by begging some food from the homes of the untouchables who live here and there? I will drink the water of the Sarasvati, and in ecstasy I will roll to and fro on the banks of the river, raising a loud uproar of “Krsna! Krsna!”

3) When will I bow down to all the inhabitants of the holy land of Navadvipa and receive a bit of their causeless mercy? I will smear the dust of the Vaisnavas’ lotus feet all over my body, and I will wear the dress of a mad wandering mendicant.

4) When I factually observe that the transcendental lane of Navadvipa is not different from Sri Vraja-bhumi, then I shall be transformed into a Vrajabasi also. Then I will see the true form of the transcendental realm opening up before my very eyes, and I will thus become one of the maidservants of Srimati Radharani.]

How can we be the maidservants of Srimati Radharani?

chodata dhana-jana, kalatra-suta-mita
chodata karama geyana
radha-pada-pankaja-madhurata sevana,
bhakativinoda paramana
–Radhika-carana-padma 6 [Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]

[Abandoning wealth, followers, wife, sons and friends, and giving up materialistic activities and speculative knowledge, one should become absorbed in the sweetness of service to Shrimati Radharani’s lotus feet. This is Bhaktivinoda’s solemn declaration.]

We should pray to our Guruvarga. There is no need of anything else. We should pray and tell, “Please don’t give me anything. Except obtaining a relationship with you, I don’t like anything else. I pray that no one steals me away from your lotus feet. Please protect me from the tricks of the unscrupulous. I hope our relationship is never broken.”

sei se parama bandhu, sei pita-mata
sri-krsna-carane yei prema-bhakti-data
sakala janme pita-mata sabe paya
krishna guru nahi mile, bhajaha hiyaya
–Sri Caitanya-mangala Madhya-kanda

[Under ordinary circumstances one’s own father and mother are worshipable, but in every species one gets a father and mother. Far rarer is to get guru and Krishna. The spiritual master can bestow prema-bhakti to the those who have attained his mercy, therefore he is the topmost father, mother, and friend of everyone.]

Since innumerable lives, you have been surrounded by innumerable parents, siblings, children, and friends. But, you will not obtain Guru and Krsna in every life. In this life you have received the knowledge of the scriptures; you also have good intelligence to practice the instructions therein. But you may also lose this chance.

Hence, pray, “He Ekadasi-devi! Please give me good intelligence, by which I will never return to my old ways. I wish to never lose this opportunity. I don’t desire to see any relatives. God’s family is my family. His devotees are my only relatives. Or else, cheaters will come and steal me away from Your family. Then I will lose everything.”

Therefore, Ekadasi-devi descends to bestow sat-sanga, sadhu-sanga on the sincere. The names of all Ekadasis have sublime meanings to them. They bestow nice opportunities and blessings on the conditioned souls to advance in their devotion. Apara Ekadasi blesses the jivas with sadhu-sanga. By her grace, God’s blessings will be on us and we will have a relationship with His family. Being empowered, we will follow in the footsteps of the Vraja-devis.

One should not think, “Everyone is Vraja-devis and manjaris. All are Goopis and gopis. I am a gopa. Then what is the problem?”

By following the Vraja-devis, your love will be very clean and pure. Then your life will never be affected by any form of tension, desire, and depression. That form of separation is not very painful; indeed, it is very sweet. Now, most people’s hearts are broken; their minds are restless. They suffer greatly.

People think, “If I leave everything and run away, I will be happy.” But, this is not possible. Therefore, people have no idea of what is real and artificial. By respectfully following Ekadasi-devi, the reality will be shown to us. She manages for us to stay continuously connected to the reality. She empowers her followers with strong energy and enthusiasm; such is the nature of her causeless help. Utsahat, niscayat, and dhairyat will be provided to her dependents. The qualities of utsahad-enthusiasm, niscayat-fixed faith, and dhairyat-tolerance will be duly imbibed by the recipients of her grace. Tat-tat-karma-pravartanat doesn’t refer to only God. It also includes His followers; God’s family. The service of tat-tat-karma-pravartanat will be obtained. Sango-tyagat refers to giving up association that is not conducive for devotion. Bad association must be rejected at once. How can it possibly be sweet? It is most bitter! You must spit at it. Sato-vrtteh—one must adopt the good behavior and character of the devotees. Honesty is the best policy; by following in the footsteps of the devotees, the desire to be honest will always increase. The sky of your heart will be clean; it will not be cloudy anymore.

Then, sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati—the perfection of bhakti by these six practices will be obtained. Bhakti will be very pleasing to your heart and your happiness will increase at every moment. These moods of devotion are the essence of our lives. Ekadasi-devi gives us the treasures of these moods. Otherwise, artificially following Ekadasi will not do. Pakoda ekadasi, halava ekadasi, malpua ekadasi, rabadi ekadasi, and fruit cream ekadasi are the various kinds of ekadasi characterised by many kinds of preparations, but if you pray for these foodstuffs, then what is the benefit of following Ekadasi?

One will say, “Today is Ekadasi, make a fruit salad preparation. Today is also rabadi ekadasi. Mango shakes, lassi, and other preparations must be made.”

But, one doesn’t pray to Ekadasi-devi to advance in his devotion.

utsahan niscayad dhairyat
tat-tat-karma-pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
–Sri Upadesamrta 3

[“Progress in bhakti may be obtained by the following six practices: (1) enthusiasm to carry out the rules which enhance bhakti, (2) firm faith in the statements of the sastra and the guru whose words are fully in line with the sastra, (3) fortitude in the practice of bhakti, even in the midst of obstacles, or patience during the practice stage of bhakti, even when there is delay in attaining one’s desired goal, (4) following the limbs of bhakti such as hearing (sravana) and chanting (kirtana) and giving up one’s material sense enjoyment for the pleasure of Sri Krishna, (5) giving up illicit connection with women, the association of those who are overly attached to women and the association of mayavadis, atheists and pseudo-religionists, and (6) adopting the good behaviour and character of pure devotees.”]

anukulyasya sankalpah
pratikulyasya vivarjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso
goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa-karpanye
sad-vidha saranagatih
–Vayu Purana

[The six types of surrender are: 1. Acceptance of that which is favourable for bhakti. 2. Rejection of that which is unfavourable. 3. Faith in Krsna’s protection. 4. Acceptance of the Lord as one’s only maintainer. 5. Submission of the self. 6. Humility.

Do you ask, “Ekadasi-devi, please give me the moods of saranagati.” You don’t pray as such. Then how are you practicing bhakti? What you practice is bogus. Your heart is harder than a stone. If you play on your guitar and vina near a buffalo, it will not hear. Why? Its ears are not accustomed to these pleasant sounds. Instead, it is preoccupied with only filling its belly. Despite you continuously playing on your many different musical instruments near a buffalo, the plethora of different rhythms and sounds produced by these instruments will not enter its ear and touch its heart. Why? Certain receptacles are greasy; water will not go inside. Rather, all the water will drop out.

Therefore, Kapiladeva told Devahuti, “You love me because I am your son. Now, you have faith in me. I will give you advice that you must definitely follow. Do follow me.”

Devahuti replied, “Yes. My beloved son, I will follow everything you have to say.”

Hence, Devahuti sincerely followed her son’s advice. As a result, she achieved liberation without having to come across any problems. How can one have deep faith for Guru and Vaisnavas? To help the souls achieve this purpose, Ekadasi-devi appears and helps the sincere souls obtain the goal of their devotional practices. By praying to her, you will understand the transcendental reality. Hence, your life will be successful. Otherwise, your time, life, and the many appearance days of Ekadasi-devi will fly past you and you will realize that nothing has happened. Your devotion would have been checked.

To properly observe Ekadasi lies in our best self-interest. Hare Krsna. Now, kirtana must start.

Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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