Today is Yogini Ekadasi. All the Ekadasis have different glories. Their names, glories, and power are different. Now we will hear the glories of Yogini Ekadasi.
Sati-devi was the consort of Siva Thakura. Being his consort, their relationship was very intimate. But, intimacy makes loss of respect a possibility. A person may take his worshipable superior for granted. The person may think, “I am not less or short in any way.” Then what will result by this mentality? A person will disobey and neglect his superiors. He will ask for an answer to his question, but on being given the answer, he will not follow what has been told. This is an offensive mentality marked by defiance and neglect. This carelessness is unacceptable. Vaisnavism or bhakti is characterized by full-fledged respect, gaurava-mayi buddhi. First is vaidhi-bhakti, and maryada – this creates a platform for raganuga-bhakti. When maryada, the aspect of reverence is crossed, prema-bhakti is obtained.
One should be of the conviction, “The Guru-varga are my most worshipable instructors. All the Vaisnavas are worthy of my highest respect.”
Instead, you think, “I have many followers. My glories are widely broadcast. I have a lot of power. Hence, I can neglect Guru and Vaisnavas.”
This mentality is very ruinous. Siva Thakura is “Vaisnavanam-yata-sambuh;” he is the greatest of Vaisnavas. He is devadi-deva; he is mahadeva. Sati-devi would sometimes sit on the lap of Siva Thakura and listen to harikatha and kirtana. She engaged in many devotional services with him. He also gave his consort all facilities and opportunities, but Sati-devi became proud. She became famous for being Siva Thakura’s consort. She even cursed Citraketu Maharaja. After some time, she even tested Ramacandra, Laksmana, and Sita. She wanted to see if Ramacandra was really God. Although Siva Thakura offered pranama and did parikrama of Ramacandra, a doubt persisted in Sati-devi’s heart.
A devotee may newly join a temple and be unknown to wider circles. But in time, he becomes famous. By the blessings and power of Vaisnavas, he attains a senior post. Soon after, he becomes careless. He doesn’t respect anybody; he neglects everyone.
Siva Thakura followed Vaisnavism and not vice. He followed the rules of bhakti. Therefore, what happened? He started to perform an ‘operation’ on his consort. He didn’t give any chance for her to develop a relationship with him that is independent of devotion. He had no relation with those who didn’t perform bhakti. He didn’t forgive his wife for her offense.
He told her, “You can choose to act the way you wish. You are independent. If you would have followed bhakti, I would have made you differentiate between right and wrong. But why should I instruct you when you don’t follow what I tell you? You disobey me and act as you wish. If I give you further instructions, you will only neglect the instructions all the more. The more offenses you will make.” Therefore, the Guru-varga never tell anything much. They are neutral. They are not the servants or slaves of anyone. The Guru-varga will help you when you come to perform bhakti and bhajan. When you follow bhakti’s rules and regulations, their help will be easily accessible.
But, if you don’t follow bhakti’s rules and regulations, and think, “I am this devotee’s wife; I am this devotee’s friend; I am this devotee’s father; I am this devotee’s mother; I am this devotee’s brother,” then you may also think, “I am the disciple of this guru,” or “I am the guru of this disciple.’” But, bhakti is maryādā-uluṅghana vākya-daṇḍa kari’ – Mahaprabhu was very strong; He would strictly chastise anyone who would be guilty of any breach of Vaisnava etiquette. Mahaprabhu would not forgive those who would deliberately disobey the rules and regulations of devotion. Similarly, Siva Thakura was also very strong. Although Sati-devi was his wife, he didn’t make a compromise with her.
He gravely told her, “You no longer have any position or adhikara. Although I said Rama was the Supreme Lord, you didn’t believe me. You doubted me and went to test the Lord. Okay, you are highly intelligent. You also cursed Citraketu Maharaja. I told you to not go to your father’s house, but you went anyway.”
This is called prakrti-buddhi, mundane intelligence. A great problem persists by not crossing maya. By neglecting or disobeying Gurudeva and Vaisnavas, all your sukrti will gradually diminish and you will ultimately be bereft of even a trace of sukrti. Consequently, your heart will become like a hard rock. Softness and sweetness will be absent in you. You will be devoid of love and affection. Then everything will turn bad. You will consider everybody to be bad, dirty, and full of faults.
You will think, “Everybody is guilty of many wrongs. Only I am faultless.” This mood will enter your heart and you will be unprotected. You will not consider the advice and classes of devotees to be sweet; everything will be bitter to you. You will think, “There are no Vaisnavas in this world anymore. I am the only Vaisnava, the only devotee. My followers are also the only devotees. Those who don’t follow me are not guru’s followers. Those who worship and follow me are doing factual guru-puja. I represent guru; any other person who also claims to do so is useless.”
Although another person follows bhakti’s rules and regulations, you will say, “If you don’t follow me, you are bogus.” Why does this nature come? Why is the heart not filled with softness and sweetness? Why can’t you respect everyone and be humble? The reason for this shortcoming is that you disobey and neglect the orders and instructions of Vaisnavas. You are careless and fearless. You consider everyone to be insignificant; this mentality stems from false pride and ego.
You think, “I am senior. I have many followers.”
Siva Thakura told Sati-devi, “I have many followers like ghosts, witches, and goblins. But how do I protect myself? I always respect everyone. I always chant the holy name of the Lord and I always engage in His service. I never distance myself from Him and His devotees. Therefore, I have no problems.”
But, he rejected Sati-devi because she didn’t follow Vaisnava etiquette. He cut all relations and rejected her. Unable to tolerate her separation from Siva Thakura, Sati-devi burnt herself. Everybody knows this history. She wasn’t happy even after burning herself. She then appeared as Himalaya’s daughter, Parvati. From her childhood, Parvati suffered greatly. She was always disturbed. She didn’t love anyone, not even her parents. Her heart was dry and devoid of any love.
Narada Rsi then came and spoke with Parvati-devi. He is guru; not just guru, he is jagad-guru. He is God’s expansion. He has love and affection for all living entities. He doesn’t neglect or disobey anybody. Narada Rsi came and said, “Uma, Parvati, you are Himalaya’s daughter. Being his daughter, don’t become proud and consider yourself to be exalted. If your pride becomes as high as your father’s peak, you will not realize anything. Therefore, you must now engage in doing bhajana.”
Narada Rsi then related Parvati’s past life to her. This is guru’s duty. He always protects the disciples and concerns himself on how he can engage everyone in the service of the Lord. Therefore, the Guru-varga and the Vaisnavas perform an operation on the conditioned souls; [they help to remove stubborn diseases like pride]. This surgery and treatment is necessary.
Narada Rsi told Parvati, “Although you follow bhakti, you are not really engaged in the full-fledged devotional service of the Lord. Why? Bhakti is present in the heart of the bhaktas. By neglecting and disobeying the bhaktas, you neglect and disobey bhakti. Previously, you didn’t follow the advice and orders of the bhaktas. Hence, you distanced yourself from bhakti.”
Parvati asked Narada Rsi, “Gurudeva! Please tell me how I can continuously follow bhakti, bhakta, and my Guru-varga. Siva Thakura is my Gurudeva; he is not an ordinary personality. Losing my intelligence, I committed an offense at his lotus feet.”
Narada Rsi told Parvati, “You will be appointed in the service of Siva Thakura. You will not have a relationship with anyone else. Offer your respects to Visnu and the others; but you will only be a follower of Siva and not others. Siva Thakura is a Maha-bhagavat Vaisnava; Vaisnavanam yatha sambhu. He is your husband.”
Parvati-devi asked, “How can I be a yogini? How can I be yoga-yukta? How can I stop myself from going any other way? How will I not follow my mind and senses anymore? How can I not be independent? O great one, please instruct me.”
Narada Rsi replied, “There is only one way to protect yourself. Bhakti devi’s mother is Ekadasi-devi.”
Madhava-tithi-bhakti-janani — in Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami have stated that Bhakti’s mother is Ekadasi-devi. She makes everyone’s senses qualified and resilient. She provides treatment for the conditioned souls. She makes them strong and engages them in the service of the Lord. She arranges many facilities for Madhava-seva. Hence, Parvati was told to be a yogini.
Maha-yogini-adhisvari is Srimati Radharani. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Paurnamasi Yogamaya-devi said, “Katyayani maha-maya, maha-yogini-adhisvari.” Maha-yogini-adhisvari gives one the association of Nanda-gopa-sutam, Sri Krsna. Nanda-gopa-sutam is related to Maha-yogini-adhisvari.
Hence, Narada Rsi told Parvati, “If you become the follower of that Maha-yogini, you will become a yogini. Yogini Ekadasi gives one the chance to become a yogini and not a bhogini. If you have no relation with Svarupa-sakti, Srimati Radharani, then all your austerities are useless. Everything you do will be a representation of Bahiranga-maya’s power. Chaya-sakti and jiva-sakti are not useful; they are useless. Only Svarupa-sakti is useful. Hence, how can you be connected to Svarupa-sakti? Only Bhakti’s mother, Ekadasi-devi, gives this opportunity and arranges many programs for a personality such as you to become a yogini.”
If one becomes a bhogini, she will only engage in sense gratification. You must always think, “How can I use my senses in the service of Madhava?” Only the Vraja-devis and the manjaris have this mood. Srimati’s Radharani’s footstep followers have this power; not only are they authorized, they are selected and related to the Supreme Goddess. Anyone who follows the Vraja-devis will have a permanent relation with the Vaisnavas. They will never cross proper etiquette and their hearts will never be dry.
After listening to Narada Rsi, Parvati-devi thought, “Yes, Siva Thakura told me the glories of Srimati Radharani and the Vraja-devis many times.
He would always pray to Her with verses like:
makhesvari! kriyesvari svadhesvari suresvari
ramesvari! ksamesvari pramoda-kananesvari
vrajesvari vrajadhipe sri radhike namo ’stu te
[“You are the mistress of all kinds of sacrifices (especially of the topmost yugala-milana-yajna); of all actions (since You are the root of all potencies – mula-sakti-tattva); of the mantras uttered at yajnas and of the sacrificial offering presented to the demigods; of all the demigods; of the words of the three Vedas; of the enforcement of all scriptural principles; of Sri Rama-devi (the goddess of fortune); of Sri Ksama-devi (the goddess of forgiveness); and especially of the delightful kunjas in Vrndavana. When will You mercifully make me Your dasi and grant me the qualification to render service in Your amorous pastimes with the prince of Vraja? O Srimati Radhika, owner and maintainer of Vraja! I offer pranama unto You time and again.”]
He would always pray to Srimati Radharani from morning to evening, but I had no faith. But now, I understand the glories of his Goddess. I promise to always consider him as my guru. I am solely dependent on his protection. Now, I have also been given the chance to glorify Srimati Radharani.
Vrajesvari vrajadhipe sri radhike namo ’stu te — I offer pranama to the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani. Except for Her lotus feet, I will not offer pranama to anyone else. Most souls follow the orders of their senses and mind; they are the disciples of their mind and senses.”
It is useless to be an artificial disciple of one’s guru. One may call out and say, “O Guru Maharaja! You are my all-in-all.” Although he calls out as such, he doesn’t follow any order of his Guru Maharaja. He doesn’t follow any Vaisnavas. How pitiable the condition of such a person is!
Therefore, praying to Narada Rsi, Parvati-devi said, “Vrajesvari vrajadhipe sri radhike namo ’stu te
— Gurudeva, please give me the strength and taste to continuously offer pranama to Srimati Radharani. I do not wish to offer pranama to others. I don’t desire to surrender to anyone else. Except for Srimati Radharani, I have no guardian; I am alone. She always protects me. I thought, ‘I am great and scholarly.’ But you mercifully freed me of this conception. You have now bestowed upon me pure knowledge. This is the mercy of the Guru.”
But, why did Parvati become angry and disturbed with Siva Thakura in her previous life? Why did she curse Citraketu Maharaja?
Now, some devotees think, “I am great.” Thinking as such, they hate and disrespect other Vaisnavas. They are not afraid of even insulting other devotees. God cannot tolerate the criticism of Vaisnavas. The bhaktas also cannot tolerate other devotees being insulted. They immediately distance themselves from these perpetrators. You must avoid those who insult, taunt, hate, and torture the devotees. The first nama-aparadha is sadhu-ninda, criticizing the sadhus.
On seeing a sadhu engaged in bhajan, you should think, “I am not a guardian or a judge to pass a judgment and correct the sadhu. I cannot tell him, ‘You are wrong. Hence, I will purify and change you.’” Who gives you the authority to announce everywhere that a sadhu is wrong? Who gave you the qualification to pass this judgment? Where did you receive this authority? God Himself changes, purifies, and punishes His devotees. He is Gadadhara, the wielder of the plough. He has this power. But the intelligence of the living entities is meagre. They only collect what is fit to be rejected.
Hence, Parvati-devi understood her faults. She became serious and careful. She engaged in sadhana completely and didn’t allow herself to be absorbed in other activities. For the complete day and night, she was absorbed in remembering Srimati Radharani — Vrajesvari Vrajadipe Sri Radhike namo’stu te. She would chant the Radha-Gayatri and intently remember her ista-devi.
We were in Navadvipa-dhama during the previous Ekadasi, which was Nirjala Ekadasi. Will Ekadasi-devi be happy and pleased by only abstaining from water and fruits on her appearance day? Many people fast on Ekadasi. The patients in a hospital fast; people stop taking food and drinking water when they fight among themselves. Will they attain any benefit by such involuntary fasting? They will receive nothing. Their impurities will not be washed away. Will Ekadasi-devi be satisfied by completely fasting? When Yudhistira Maharaja asked Krsna this question, Krsna said, “No.”
When Sukadeva Gosvami distributed this rasa to Pariksit Maharaja, the king didn’t feel hungry or thirsty. He fasted completely for seven days and nights. By drinking this pure nectar, this nectar of bhakti-rasa, there was no need for him to drink water or to eat food. He followed a Nirjala Ekadasi-vrata for seven continuous days. By drinking this Vraja-rasa, you will be qualified. Otherwise, if you spend your entire time feeding your senses, when will you drink bhakti-rasa? Sitting with the Pandavas, Krsna spoke on the glories of Vraja-bhumi for the entire day and night. He extolled the Vrajavasis and their service.
The Pandavas became greedy on hearing Krsna speak and they said, “Oh we want to immediately go to Vraja-mandala. We want to become absorbed in sadhana.” But how did they do sadhana? They became trees on the bank of Syama-kunda. Nalakuvera and Manigriva became Yamalarjuna trees in Gokula. By becoming trees, they didn’t run here and there. They tolerated everything and didn’t leave Vraja-mandala to go anywhere else. They didn’t address or look at anybody. They were not scorched by the fire of anger or other impurities. They patiently tolerated everything. As a result, they attained Krsna’s eternal service. Similarly, the Panca-Pandavas took birth as trees on the banks of Syama-kunda and performed sadhana. Srila Raghunatha Das Gosvami thought of making Syama-kunda in the form of a square, and he thought of having the trees cut down.
But the trees told him, “Please don’t cut us down. After a long time, we have managed to come here. By Krsna’s desire, we always followed Nirjala Ekadasi. For the entire day, we would only drink the glory of the Vraja-devis and the Vrajavasis. Now we have come to Vraja-mandala to have a permanent relationship with the Vrajavasis. We have secured ourselves residence in Vraja-mandala.”
Therefore, without the mercy of the Vrajavasis, you will not get svarupa-siddhi. Your pride will not go and your nature will never leave. You will then lose everything.
Ekadasi-tithi bhakti janani, jatane palana kori, krsna basoti-basoti boli, parama adare bori. She is Madhava-tithi, a manifestation of Krsna’s own body. These eleven senses are God’s gift. But they are always ready for their own gratification. Ekadasi-devi controls these eleven senses. She changes them and gives them a chance to engage in bhakti. The soul will then always have a deep friendship and relationship with the bhaktas. Therefore, she arranges everything.
Hence, today is Yogini Ekadasi. All the Vrajavasis follow Ekadasi. All the Vraja-devis, Maha-bhagavats, and Vaisnavas follow Ekadasi. They never neglect Ekadasi. Mahaprabhu Himself followed Ekadasi. He prayed to His mother, Saci Mata, and told her to follow Ekadasi. He strongly instructed all His associates to do the same. By serving Tulasi-devi and Ganga, you will gain entrance into the realm of devotion. Then you will gradually advance by engaging yourself in Dhama-seva, Vaisnava-seva, and Nama-seva.
But when someone would confess to Mahaprabhu about not being qualified, then Mahaprabhu would say, “Your senses and mind being useless, run the wrong way. You try to follow bhakti, but they wander away. Hence, you must take shelter of Ekadasi-devi’s lotus feet and follow her appearance day. She is the mother of bhakti. She takes care of the souls in the same way a mother takes care of her babies.”
Previously, we heard the different glories of the different Ekadasis. All should try to remember these glories and explain them to one another. But you will only have Ekadasi-devi’s glories enter your heart on one condition. Those who are proud will not have harikatha enter their hearts; they will not be helped. Harikatha is present in His pristine form at all times, but harikatha will have no room and chance to enter the heart of a person filled with vanity. If you have no love and attraction for harikatha, how will the Lord enter your heart? Guru-Vaisnavas speak profuse harikatha up to the present day. The harikatha of Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura, Rupa-Raghunatha, and our Guruv-arga is present in His immaculate form to the present day. The wealth of the devotion of the Guru-varga is present to this day. But the hearts of all are not fit receptacles for this harikatha. How can the heart accommodate this harikatha? This harikatha is transcendental, but why doesn’t harikatha enter your heart? You don’t accept and make a platform for harikatha. So, who will clean your heart and make a platform for harikatha? You may like bhakti and bhakta, but you have no room or place for bhakti in your heart. Ekadasi-devi provides treatment to the conditioned souls, by which they can correct themselves. In what manner does she initiate this treatment? Her help is explained by this sloka:
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
– Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17
[Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.]
The sadhus are within harikatha, Krsna-katha. They are present wherever harikatha is being spoken. They will go to anyone who has respect and love for harikatha. The sadhus especially help those who are weak, sick, and tired.
On behalf of the conditioned souls, the sadhus request Ekadasi-devi. They tell her, “O mother of Bhakti-devi, Ekadasi-devi, please help these conditioned souls.”
But, the conditioned souls have no desire to be helped. They don’t worship and respect Ekadasi-devi. Although they reside in the temple, they think, “When will mango shake come? When will juice come? When will cashews and almonds come? When will I delight my senses by seeing many preparations? By the presence of these preparations, I will consider today’s Ekadasi to be a very good Ekadasi. Indeed, many puris and pakoras have been made. Today’s Ekadasi is very glorious. It will be better if I follow Ekadasi every day.”
Although you may give everything to your senses, know that without Hari-rasa, Vraja-rasa, and Bhakti-rasa, they will never be happy and content. If you don’t go near sadhus, your heart will not be cleansed. Hence, you will never be showered by this nectar and soon after, your heart would have turned into a dry desert or a hard rock that will never melt. Humility will not enter your heart and you will never be respectful to anyone. False ego will make you proud and you will lose everything. Therefore, Krsna-katha must be eagerly heard. How can Krsna-bhakti be followed? By offering yourself to Ekadasi-devi, you will follow Krsna-bhakti. Pray to her and remember her glories. How would Mahaprabhu follow Ekadasi?
sri hari vasera hari kirtana vidhan
nrtya arambhilo prabhu jagatera prana
punyavanta srivasa-angan subha arambha
uthilo kirtana dvani ‘gopala-govinda’
Mahaprabhu would start kirtan from the early morning at Srivasa-angana. He would close the door and tell His associates, “Except for kirtana, there is nothing needed. We need only engage ourselves in kirtan for the complete day and night. Bathe in the Ganga and come here. We will continuously do kirtan.”
Gopala-Govinda, Gopala-Govinda — everyone would chant the holy names of the Lord and dance ecstatically. By being showered by Mahaprabhu’s love, everyone felt empowered. When Krsna’s svarupa-sakti melted in compassion, the love-filled deity of Ekadasi-devi manifested. A mother can only take care of her own children, but Ekadasi-devi takes care of all of God’s children, who are the part and parcels of the Lord. But, in Kali-yuga, motherly affection is largely absent. If you have no relationship with anyone belonging to the realm of devotion, who will take care of you? Mahaprabhu gave this opportunity to follow bhakti’s rules and regulations. From the early morning to the next, you must take part in kirtan.
What would Gurudeva do in Mathura during Ekadasi? Dividing the ladies into many groups, he would tell them, “You must do kirtan in the temple. Your group must do kirtan in these houses. Indeed, all of you must do kirtan everywhere. You must not waste your time.”
sankhya purvaka nama-gana natirbhih kalavasani krtau
nidrahara viharakadi vijitau catyantau dinau ca yau
radha krsna guna smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa sanatanau raghu yugau sri jiva gopalakau
— Sri Sad-gosvamyastakam 6
[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvamis, namely Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who were engaged in chanting the holy names of the Lord and bowing down in a scheduled measurement. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and in executing these devotional activities they conquered over eating and sleeping and were always meek and humble enchanted by remembering the transcendental qualities of the Lord.]
If you don’t follow Rupa-Raghunatha and the Guru-varga, then who will help you? Rather, you think, “Now I am qualified, there is no need for me to follow this process. I am bona fide.”
This is a bogus idea. A tree having many fruits will have its branches bowed. Similarly, those who have goodness and other devotional qualities in them will be humble and sweet. They think, “I am foolish; I have no intelligence. How can I learn the different stages of devotion?”
Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave all the bhaktas one of their primary duties. He told them, “Go to your mother. Then Ekadasi-devi will give you treatment and all training. You will then know how to properly follow Janmastami and other festivals.”
God will think, “How can I help this soul? How can I always stay with this soul?”
God will then be greedy for your association. Hence, all are very lucky to be observing this day. But, you must be serious in your observance.
bhakata-seva, parama-siddhi, prema-latikara-mula
madhava-tithi, bhakti-janani, jatane palana kori,
krsna-basoti, basoti boli’, parama adare bori
The footdust of a suddha-bhakta is the essence of our lives. Prema-latikara-mula — service rendered to a bhakta is the root of prema. But presently, just by looking at devotees, one gets allergic to them.
He then says, “There are no suddha-bhaktas in this world.”
This is our idea now. The mother tells her child, “You should go to school and learn this lesson. You should learn arts and other things.”
A child has no idea on what to eat. The child thinks, “By eating pure ghee and rabadi, I will be healthy.”
But the mother says, “No. I will give you neem juice.”
The child then says, “Mother, you don’t like me. You like my younger brother instead. You give him many laddus, burfis, and cashews from the early morning. But you only give me a glass of neem juice. To add to my misery, you later give me tamarind juice and methi water. Oh my God! You are a cheater! You feed me many bitter juices!”
The child then fights with his mother.
Unrelenting, the mother says, “No. You have to drink these bitter juices. You have many worms in your stomach and you are afflicted by various illnesses. This medicine is necessary.”
“No, you must give me a laddu!”
“No. I will not give you poison.”
“Then why do you feed my brother?”
“He has a strong stomach. If he doesn’t eat laddus, he will be weak.”
Hence, Ekadasi-devi knows what lies in the best interest of the conditioned souls. She directs them to sadhu-sanga and the path of pure bhakti. She will make the souls follow all the limbs of bhakti and make them serious in attaining the goal of life — Krsna-prema. A mother has an idea of what is best for her child; others are not as capable as one’s own mother.
You must be of the conviction, “I will only hear what the Guru-varga and the sastras have to say.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has provided many instructions. Previous to him, the book Hari-bhakti-vilasa provided many instructions. This book has many quotations from the sastras. Therefore, the four sampradayas, karmis, jnanis, and even mayavadis follow Ekadasi. But they don’t have the required intelligence to properly follow Ekadasi. They don’t know the real glories of Ekadasi-devi. They only mention her ordinary glories.
How can a devotee be a yogini? How can the devotee make the mind fixed in devotional service and not let it get disturbed or divided? You must not share your mind and senses with anyone. Many souls who were your enemies from your previous lives, and many souls who you were indebted to and who you disturbed, will return to torment you. You may have disturbed and killed animals like goats and fish to enjoy your senses. Millions of souls will in turn, disturb you. They will reside in your bodies. As a result of their torment, one will suffer from boils, brain cancer, holes in the heart, and from many afflictions. Virus or bacteria don’t cause such harm. The souls, who you have disturbed, return and afflict you with various afflictions. They cause leprosy, ulcer, kidney stones, and many illnesses.
They say, “You ate me. Now I will eat you.”
Therefore, this body is called a yatana-maya sarira. The body is a source of hellish misery. Although you are present in this body, by supplying it with Bhakti-rasa, Vraja-rasa, Mahaprasada, remnants of the bhaktas, caranamrta, and the footdust of the Vaisnavas, then the souls present in your body will also be nourished. They will also eat Mahaprasada and listen to harikatha. They will also drink caranamrta and be purified. They will then become your friends and will no longer disturb you.
You must become firmly determined and think, “On the day of Ekadasi, I will continuously perform kirtan.”
Mahaprabhu told Jagai and Madhai, “You must engage yourselves in kirtan.”
They replied, “Yes. But Prabhu, while engaging in kirtan, our heart burns because of our past misdeeds and we greatly suffer.”
“That is because you disobeyed the dhama and the bhaktas. Now will both of you serve the dhama and the Vaisnavas with all your love and affection?”
By continuously serving everyone, the souls who the two brothers had disturbed became their friends. Jagai and Madhai received great spiritual strength. When everyone dances in sankirtan, your body will not be weak and you will also dance ecstatically.
The second verse of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s rendition of Siksastakam states:
tu’ daya sagara taraite prani
nama aneka tuwa sikhailoani
sakala sakati dehi nama tomhara
nama grahane rakhile kala vicara
tuwa da aisena parama uddhara
ati so haya manda haite bhagya amara
In another kirtan called, “Krpa koro Vaisnava Thakura,” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states:
Amani manada, hoile kirtane, adhikara dibe tumi
Amani manada — you must respect everyone without expecting any respect for yourself. Then you can easily chant the maha-mantra and engage in kirtan. The glories of the nama, rupa, guna, and lila of the Lord will spontaneously manifest in your heart. The Lord has invested all His potencies in His holy names.
‘Namnam akari bahuda nija sarva sakti, tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah.
The power of Svarupa-sakti Srimati Radharani, Lalita-devi, Visaka-devi, the asta-sakhis, and the manjaris is present in the holy name of the Lord. But why will nama manifest on your tongue when you cannot respect Vrajesvari Srimati Radharani and the gopis? Will the name dance on your tongue and help you?
Therefore, the devotee must become a yogini, just like the Vraja-devis are yoginis. Who will give this power? Only Ekadasi-devi, the embodiment of Krsna’s mercy gives this power. Never consider Ekadasi to be as the karmis and jnanis consider her to be. Their conception is bogus. Our sampradaya has the greatest respect for Ekadasi-devi.
In my life, I saw how Pujyapad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja followed Ekadasi, despite his advanced age. He would follow Nirjala Ekadasi. He would stay awake the entire night and read Srimad-Bhagavatam. Many of Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura’s disciples like Krsna das Babaji Maharaja would stay awake for the entire night and engage in kirtan. During the day they would chant harinama and pray to Krsna with many stava-stutis. Babaji Maharaja would recite slokas from Krsna-karnamrta, Brahma-samhita, and the Bhagavatam. He would continuously chant and pray. So, Ekadasi-devi provides good classes and good places for the conditioned souls. She helps the society stay united by making Krsna the focal point of society’s activities.
This is her duty. Why? She is the mother of devotion. Krsna and Svarupa-sakti, Srimati Radharani told Ekadasi-devi, “You must take care of everybody. You must consider everyone to be your children.”
But nowadays, children are chilli-drains; they are very liable to becoming angry. Burning themselves, their anger fire also scorches and disturbs others. What can be done? Despite following Ekadasi, their anger fire persists. They don’t pray and are not composed of a sweet nature. They don’t read the Gita and Bhagavatam. They don’t read sastra.
Rather than thinking, “I cannot lose my bhakti. Therefore, I must respect and offer pranam to all Vaisnavas. I should beg for mercy at their lotus feet,” one thinks, “Look at my face on Facebook! Who am I? I am a demon, a raksasa. Now look at my face.”
Showing his face, he collects many faults and guilt. He announces, “This is my svarupa-siddha bhakti. This is my nature.” Now, one can understand one’s nature very easily by the medium of Facebook. By looking at the picture of someone, one can understand if the person is a demon or a devotee. How is it possible for you to act in this way? Who gave you this chance? Why can’t you take shelter of Ekadasi-devi? Therefore, seriously follow Ekadasi. Be careful to never disobey anybody. Otherwise, my Srimati Radharani and Krsna will be displeased and unhappy. Our lives will be then useless; it will only be a drama.
eo ta’ eka kalira cela
matha neda, kaupin para, tilaka nake, galaya mala.
dekhte vaisnavera mata, asala sakta kajera bela
sahaja-bhajana karchena mamu, sange la’ye parera bala
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has disclosed the real identity of a pretender through this song. One may have a shaved head and a tilak adorning his forehead, but his nature may resemble that of an eagle or a crow. These birds only look towards dead bodies. These crow-like unfortunate people don’t think about how their bhakti and bhajan can progress. They only announce their make-believe glories.
“Everybody, please come and chant harinama. Follow bhakti and engage in guru-seva,” are announcements like these made? No. Rather than being a devotee, you would like to be Kali Maharaja’s disciple. You announce his glories. This is against bhakti. You will really start performing bhakti when you understand your own faults and act accordingly.
“I am guilty of many offenses. I have done many wrongs,” when this realization will enter your heart, you will sincerely pray and beg for Bhakti-devi’s mercy. But, if someone who does not have this realization were rightly told, “You are wrong,” he will reply, “How am I wrong? Why are you insulting me?”
Then a larger than life court case will be fought and the litigants will go to the slaughter house. They will behave like Putana. Putana likes babies; hence, she thought, “I will also drink Krsna’s blood.” She thought of killing Krsna; this was her nature. Your nature is also similar. But by following Bhakti-devi and begging for her mercy, the mood of a mother will enter your heart. Bhakti-devi’s mood will enter your heart and no other mood will find a place in your heart. Then you will indeed be a yogini for you would have factually followed Yogini Ekadasi. Otherwise, you will be of a bogus nature and you will waste your time. What will be the result? It will be zero; you would have achieved nothing. Is nothing better than something? Why doesn’t your devotion progress? Why isn’t taste arising for your devotional practices? It is because of your mundane nature. Who tells us these things?
tato duhsangam utsrjya
satsu sajjeta buddhiman
santa evasya chindanti
– Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.26.26
[“One should therefore avoid bad company and associate only with devotees. With their realized instructions, such saints can cut the knot connecting one with activities unfavorable to devotional service.”]
By taking shelter of the sadhus, you will be operated upon; your misgivings will be removed. They will clean and sweep your heart. Otherwise, your heart will always be polluted. When you pass stool, you cannot bear the stench if no one cleans it. So, who will clean your stool-like tendencies? Sadhus clean your heart of all accumulated and misdirected affection. Your collection of anarthas will be gradually removed by them. Your bad desires, moods, and ideas will be removed by them —
tato duḥsaṅgam utsṛjya
satsu sajjeta buddhimān
santa evasya chindanti
“An intelligent person should therefore reject all bad association and instead take up the association of saintly devotees, whose words cut off the excessive attachment of one’s mind.”
Sadhus are our eternal guardians. They clean our hearts and make them spotlessly clean. People have taste for dusanga, so how can this desire be checked?
Sadhus say, “Tato duḥsaṅgam utsṛjya.” They strongly tell us, “Hey! Give everything up and renounce. Abandon asat-sanga,”
But, you will reply, “It is not possible for me; I am weak. On the contrary, I like asat-sanga.”
Bhakti-devi tells us, “Tato duḥsaṅgam utsṛjya satsu sajjeta buddhimān Engage yourself in sadhu-sanga. Go to where the sadhus are present.”
Unfortunately, you have no desire to go. But if you do go there, the sadhus will cut asunder all your false attachments and affection. They will clean your heart by the power of their realizations. They will make your heart very nice and soft. You will be of a sweet nature. The seed of devotion will be planted in your heart. Bhakti-devi thinks about the souls how a mother thinks about her children. But, if I don’t take shelter of her, how will I receive the grace of the Lord? Gayatri is the mother and Acarya is the father. At the time of diksa, Gurudeva is the father and Gayatri is the mother of the devotee. When a child does many wrongs, his mother will correct him and say, “Dear son, this is right. This is wrong.”
A widowed lady had a son who was a notorious dacoit. The police caught him and put him in jail. The British government told him, “Tomorrow, you will be hung. If you have any last wish, you may speak.”
The dacoit said, “My last wish is to meet my mother.”
The mother was called. She entered the jail and started crying bitterly. She said, “O my son! O my dear son! You will die tomorrow.” The son then came and embraced his mother.
He told her, “Mother, I have loved you very much. I am your only son. But can you please show your tongue?”
When the mother did so, the son caught hold of his mother’s tongue by his teeth and bit her tongue off. While his mother profusely bled and wept, the police and judge ran to the jail. Seeing the dacoit’s mother senseless, they asked him, “Why did you commit this heinous act?”
He replied, “What can I do? From my childhood, I would steal many things. In school, I would steal pens, pencils, watches, and books. But, my mother never corrected me. Consequently, my acts went unchecked and I became a notorious dacoit. I would waylay many people and give the loot to my mother. Being very greedy, my mother would take everything. But she never thought about the safety of my life. Today I am a dacoit; hence, tomorrow I am going to be hung. My death is because of my mother’s fault. She never chastised and punished me. Therefore, I am in this disgraceful position today.”
Our Guru-varga always tells us, “You have to be straight, strong, and right. You must correct or punish those who do wrong. You should try to purify and help them. If they follow your instructions, it is good. But if they are unable to do so, you should pray to God on their behalf. But you must maintain your distance and not be entangled by asat-sanga.”
Taking pity on the dacoit, the judge remarked, “The mother’s greed almost caused the death of her son. My decision is that the dacoit should not be hung. He should be rehabilitated and purified. All should help him.”
God gave the responsibility of the most loving mother to Ekadasi-devi. She never gives any chances to bhakti’s followers to go the wrong way. She sends them to sadhus, bhaktas, sastras, and the holy dhama. She tells her dependents, “Go and bathe in the Ganga. Go to this pilgrimage place. Go and take the caranamrita and mahaprasada of Vaisnavas. Otherwise, you will suffer.” She gives so much advice, instruction, and inspiration to the conditioned souls. But what can be done if people choose to remain foolish? They never respect Ekadasi-devi. They never offer her obeisance. Everyone’s heart is as hard as a stone. Therefore, don’t lose your faith. Guru Maharaja, Guru-varga, sastra, dhama, Vaisnava, and bhakta are part of God’s family. How then can you be related to them? Therefore, everyone must be very strong. All of you must not be in involved in asat-sanga. If you have a desire for sat-sanga, Ekadasi-devi will be very happy. You must also have a desire to read sastra. If you have no time, you must serve and chant. And if enough time is available, you must make use of it by reading sastra. If it is not possible to engage yourself in sat-sanga, then offer pranama like how my Gosvamis and Guru-varga offer pranama.
Don’t think, “ISKCON is bad, the Gaudiya Math is good or, Gaudiya Math is bad, ISKCON is good, and the babajis are bad.”
jei bhaje sei boda bhakta hincara
krsna bhajane nahi jati kuladi vicara
Anyone who does bhajan is great. You must not be swayed by what other people tell you. You only need to pray to your mother, Ekadasi-devi. She will give you good guidance, treatment, and inspiration. Other people are cruel. Being Kali Maharaja’s followers, they are cheaters. Go to any place that is blessed by the presence of the bhaktas. Offer your respects and prayers there. Then Bhakti-devi will be happy. But, don’t act independently. Pray to Guru Maharaja; pray to Ekadasi-devi and Bhakti-devi; pray to the bhaktas; pray to the holy dhama. You must especially pray to the footdust of the bhaktas. By these prayers, our lives will definitely be successful.
Ekadasi-devi Ki Jaya! Madhava-tithi Ki Jaya! Hari-vasera Ki Jaya! Yogini Ekadasi Ki Jaya! Guru Maharaja Ki Jaya! Guru Parampara Ki Jaya! Ananta-koti Vaisnava-vrnda Ki Jaya! Ksetra-dhama Ki Jaya! Chakra Tirtha Ki Jaya! Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, Sudarsana-jiu Ki Jaya! Sva-parsada Gaurahari Ki Jaya! Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]