Today is Pavitraropini Ekadasi. Ekadasi’s ability to bestow fruits is glorified in various places in sastra. Many people are only attracted to her ability to easily grant freedom from sin, health, wealth, and so on. But Ekadasi-devi does not come to give these fruits. She has come to help our souls. We will now hear the Guru-varga’s conclusion on the true glories of Ekadasi’s.
kulam pavitram janani kritartha
vasundhara va vasatis ca dhanya
nrityanti svarge pitaro ‘pi tesham
yesham kule vaishnava-namadheyam
Regardless of which kind of family a person is born in, if he follows vaishnava-dharma and the true interest of the soul — that is, service to Krishna, then he, his ancestors, his immediate family members, and any future members of his dynasty are purified. Ekadasi-devi comes this day to make us pavitra, pure. She comes to make us Vaishnavas.
The elephant bathes in a lake and comes out clean. A moment later however, he covers himself with dust he flings upon himself with his trunk and becomes impure once more. Ekadasi-devi can purify us today, but will this purity last only as long as the elephant’s? Will we soon return to our previous state? No.
By bathing we cleanse only our external self, but there is also a way to be purified internally.
The Garuda Purana states:
apavitrah pavitro va
sarvavastham gato ‘pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksham
[Whether a person is contaminated, pure, or has passed through any kind of condition or stage of life, if he remembers Pundarikaksha—the lotus-eyed Lord Krishna—he becomes pure both externally and internally.]
Vidhunoti suhrit satam. By becoming Krsna-conscious we and everyone around us will be purified. Ekadasi-devi comes and says, “I will purify you. I will make you a Vaishnava.” This help of hers is permanent.
A bhakta that has received Ekadasi devis mercy by following her sincerely, will pray to Krishna as follows:
gopinatha, mama nivedana suno, vishayi durjana,
sada kama-rata, kichu nahi mora guna
[O Gopinatha, please hear my prayer. I am a wicked materialist, always addicted to worldly desires, and no good qualities do I possess.]
Our senses are constantly seeking enjoyment. By following them we become like a person who climbs onto a tree branch and, desiring to collect firewood, cuts the very branch he is sitting on with an axe. The senses are always ready to destroy us. The conditioned souls’ material desires are like the axe that steals our life. We do not know what is good and what is bad.
The sadhaka prays, “Gopinatha, I am the slave of maya. Having taken up the service of my senses, I have lost everything. Although I serve them day and night, they are not satisfied. In return for my service, all they give me is suffering. Soon they will become old and fail me completely. God has given me these senses to engage in the service of God and His associates but I am destroying my life by misdirecting my energy to gross gratification. I have no knowledge of pure science. I am apavitra, completely impure, and have no intelligence. I am like a foolish child who eats more than he can digest and becomes sick.”
Srila Rupa Gosvami writes:
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
shadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
[The following six kinds of faults destroy one’s bhakti: (1) eating or collecting more than necessary; (2) endeavoring for that which is unfavorable to bhakti; (3) speaking about useless mundane subject matters; (4) failing to adopt necessary rules and regulations, or over-zealous adherence to rules and regulations regardless of the principles behind them; (5) associating with worldly-minded people; and (6) being greedy to adopt worthless opinions or to gain mundane achievements.]
Atyahara does not only apply to eating. Ahara means collecting with the senses. Simply refraining from eating and drinking on Ekadasi is not enough. If we are still using our ears, eyes, nose and so on to indulge in their respective sense-objects this is also ahara. When we stop serving the senses we will be pavitra. Srila Rupa Gosvami teaches us this in his Upadesamrita. He says, “Follow this advice of mine. It will serve as the nectar that brings about your eternal benefit.
Speaking about and hearing mundane topics is also atyahara. Mahaprabhu said:
gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe
—Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Antya-lila 6.236
[Do not listen to the mundane talk of common men or engage in discussions about mundane topics. Do not eat palatable foodstuffs or dress yourself nicely.]
Dressing opulently is also atyahara. Atyahara also includes indulging the sense of touch by sleeping on a soft bad and embracing many pillows. Pampering the body with oils, lotions, shampoos, and perfumes is also atyahara. Feeding any of the senses for the purpose of their gratification is atyahara.
Ekadasi-devi comes to help us learn to serve the senses less and less until we can completely put them under our control. She comes to give us the understanding of what is good and what is bad for spiritual life. She is the only person that gives knowledge of this pure science. She is Pavitraropini. Aropa means to tighten or to put under control. If we have Ekadasi-devi’s mercy we will never go onto the wrong path; we will not endeavor to collect wealth and knowledge; and we will not waste time. Now however, we like to waste our time. We do not care when a day goes by uselessly.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays:
kalera sagare dhaya
gelo ye divasa, na asibe ara
ebe krishna ki upaya
[This flickering life is rushing towards the ocean of death and can end at any moment. The days that have passed without performing bhajana can never be reclaimed. Alas, Krishna, now what am I to do?]
Our lives are passing us by and we are not taking up the path of true welfare. Mahaprabhu and the Gosvamis therefore tell us to not engage in prajalpa and to sincerely follow bhakti’s rules and regulations. We must follow the advice that is given in the Gosvamis’ books, and carefully avoid the six things that destroy bhakti.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami told Pariksita Maharaja:
kvemah striyo vana-carir vyabhicara-dushtah
krishne kva caisha paramatmani rudha-bhavah
nanv isvaro ‘nubhajato ‘vidusho ‘pi sakshac
chreyas tanoty agada-raja ivopayuktah
The girls of Vraja-bhumi have husbands and families but they are completely unattached to them. They collect cow dung, wood, fruits, leaves and so on in the forest, but—krishne kva caisha paramatmani rudha-bhavah—their heartfelt absorption is fixed on Krishna all the while. They have one-pointed love for Krishna and do not share their love with anyone else. No matter where they go; no matter who they meet; and no matter what kind situation they find themselves in, they never forget this love.
Those with this kind of love are described with the following example:
Para-vyasanini nari vyagrapi griha-karmasu
Tad evasvadayaty antar nava-sanga-rasayanam
—Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 2.211
A woman who is attached to another man other than her husband will carry out all her household duties perfectly, pleasing all the members of her family so they have no doubt in her. Then when she finds an opportunity she runs to meet her lover, for whom she has prepared sweets and other loving gifts in secret.
The love of Vraja’s maidens is like this. They are very tricky? In their case, who is this other man? Krishna Himself. Those possessed of this type of one-pointed affection to Krishna, and who never waste their energy by acting as the slave of the material senses, are completely pure, or pavitra. There is no trace of impurity in their hearts.
Who can gives us this energy? Who can make us pavitra? Only Ekadasi-devi. She makes us tricky and intelligent. By her mercy we will know how to deceive the mundane people around us—how to feed and serve our family and keep them content while we engage in our eternal service.
Who are these family members? They are the senses. The expert devotee is able to trick the senses and keep them undemanding while he does manasi-seva and serves under the shelter of the Vraja-devis. As he performs bhajana, that devotee prays:
ha modatah kanaka-gauri-padaravinda-
samvahanani sanakais tava kim karishye
[O Devi as fair as gold, Your lotus feet are massaged by Sri Rupa Manjari as You rest with Your head in Krishna’s lap. When will I, on Rupa Manjari signal, take up that service of happily and gently massaging Your lotus feet?]
One by one, these prayers of the Gosvamis come from his heart. He prays to His guru; to Tulsi Manjari, Guna Manjari, ***Banumati, Rasa Manjari, Vilasa Manjari, and Ananga Manjari; and is always greedy for eternal service. He does not stop his learning and studying is strong in his to resolve to always be under the guidance of the kinkaris and the sakhis of Srimati Radhika.
When we can be like this, we will be pavitra; otherwise we remain dirty. No one cleans us. There is no true helper in this world. Only Ekadasi-devi helps us. She comes every fifteen days with a new subject; a new lesson; a new kind of help for the next fifteen days. When Ekadasi-devi comes, clever people join here seminar and take her training.
Today Ekadasi-devi conducts a twenty-four hour long seminar. Anyone who, desiring to become truly pavitra, attends her seminar and follows her advice, will receive the chance to attain pure love for Krishna. Some people are only willing to give ten or twenty minutes of attention to Ekadasi-devi. They are not actually with Ekadasi-devi, and do not receive this benidiction.
Ekadasi-devi comes bringing Madhava with her. When this blessed day comes, be present with Ekadasi-devi for twenty-four hours. This is Mahaprabhu’s instruction.
sri hari-vasare hari-kirtana-vidhana
nritya arambhila prabhu jagatera prana
On Ekadasi day Mahaprabhu, the life and soul of all beings, decreed that everyone should gather for kirtana. Hearing the sound of His own name, He began to dance in ecstasy.
punyavanta srivasa-angane subharambha
uthilo kirtana-dhvani ‘gopala’ ‘govinda’
In Srivasa-angana, Srivasa Thakura’s divine courtyard, He inaugurated the auspicious reverberations of the kirtana in a booming voice: ‘Gopala! Govinda!’
When the day of Ekadasi came, Mahaprabhu would start sankirtana. Within that sankirtana are many types of other kirtana. We must pray for that day—that chance—is which we get the opportunity to do continuous kirtana with the maha-bhagavata Vaishnavas and bhaktas? This would be the success of our lives.
Ekadasi does not only come with Madhava. She comes with millions of others, but whoever they are, I am not willing to greet them. It is as if a school has been opened, and we are students that are even paying tuition but not attending the classes. We want to simply bribe our way into acquiring a certificate of graduation. But bribes don’t work in Ekadasi-devis school. Don’t think that you can bribe Ekadasi-devi with garlands and sweets? You are not attending her classes. You are not meeting with her. Why will she give you the certificate?
For eternal service, you must have ekadasa-bhava. Engage all your senses in devotional service. This will gradually lead you to realization of your eternal spiritual body, mood, and service.
Krishne kva caisha paramatmani rudha-bhavah. Because of ordinary lust people lose their vital energy and destroy their lives and the lives of others. The vraja-gopis, however, control Krishna with their lust. But their lust and ordinary lust are not the same. Ordinary lust, is nonsense and pure lust constitutes the highest form of bhakti-rasa, or the combination of vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava and vyabhicari-bhava.
The vraja-gopis’ is love is resplendent with charming embellishments such as sudurlabhata. When Krishna comes and tries to talk with them, they send him away. They like being with Him but they tell Him they never want to meet with Him. When he comes they say, “Madhava jahi—why have you come here Madhava. Get out! Never come here again,” and they lock the gate to the kunja. If they love Krishna then why do they do this? This is sudurlabhata, or vamyata. This increases the Vraja-devis greed and also Krishna’s greed to taste the highest love. Owed to their immaculate love, Vraja-devis are eternally with Krishna and He is eternally with them.
Mundane lust causes only pain and destruction. Who will purify us of our mundane lust and give us admission into the realm of kinkari-bhava? Who is that helpful person? Is it anyone of this world? Can any ordinary person say he or she can change our nature and establish us in our spiritual nature? Ekadasi-devi is the only one with this ability. Apart from taking her shelter, no method or process can enable us to control our senses.
A person whose heart has become pavitra is not attracted to the senses and their gratification. He does not see a difference between men, women, dogs, and insects because he knows that these bodies are nothing but flush, meat, blood, and so on. Someone who has understood the futility of the material body and the pain felt in remaining the slave of the senses will pray:
gopinatha, ami to’ kamera dasa, vishaya-basana,
jagiche hridoye, phadiche karama phase
[O Gopinatha, I am the faithful servant of lust. So many desires for mundane sense enjoyment are dawning within my heart, and I am being choked by the noose of fruitive actions and reactions.]
When distaste for material existence comes, a person cries like this. He says, “Alas! I have lost millions of lives in ignorance. I have been running toward useless things.” This mood and these prayers awaken in someone who has the great mercy of Ekadasi-devi.
That person prays:
amara jivana sada pape rata,
nahiko punyera lesa
parere udvega diyachi je kato
diyachi jivere klesa
[Throughout my whole life I have been addicted to sin, never performing any pious activities. I have simply been a source of disturbance and suffering for others.]
He weeps, and sings:
gora pahu na bhajiya mainu
prema-ratana-dhana helaya harainu
adhane yatana kari’ dhana teyaginu
apana karama-doshe apani dubinu
[Alas! Failing to worship Sri Gaurasundara, I have neglected that most precious treasure of prema and have thus lost it. I have devoted myself to worthless trifles, throwing away my real wealth and am drowning in my own misdeeds.]
This realization and prayerful mood is given only by Ekadasi-devi. Those with no knowledge wonder, “Who will help me? Everyone is cheating me. What they say will make me happy is nothing but sin and makes me suffer. I cannot be liberated from my pain by directing my lust to another conditioned soul. Such an attempt will bring me down so far into darkness that I will never be able to free myself.”
Misdirection of love and energy—this is the disease of the conditioned souls. Ekadasi-devi gives us the strength to conquer this disease. Because of this, she is called Pavitraropini Ekadasi.
One may clean this body or the rooms of a house, but to clean the mind is not so easy. Therefore our Gosvamis teach us how to pray:
durlabha manava-janma labhiya samsare
krishna na bhajinu-duhkha kahibo kahare?
[Despite receiving this extremely rare and meaningful human birth, I have failed to worship Krishna. Alas! To whom shall I tell my miserable tale?]
gardabher mata ami kori parisram
ka’r lagi’ eto kori, na ghucilo bhram
[I have worked hard like a donkey my whole life, but for whom have I done so, I do not know. I have not been freed from my delusion.]
anadi karama-phale, padi’ bhavarnava jale,
taribare na dekhi upaya
e vishaya-halahale, diva-nisi hiya jvale,
mana kabhu sukha nahi paya
[O supremely merciful Krishna, I am drowning in the bottomless ocean of material existence as a consequence of my fruitive activities, which are without any beginning. I can see no means of crossing this ocean. My heart is being scorched with the deadly poison of sense gratification. My mind is greatly perturbed.]
You must come to the point where, while weeping, you submit these prayers come from the core of your heart. If you understand this, and sincerely try to follow bhakti, then Ekadasi-devi’s help will come to you and you will be freed from your misery. The battle will end; the battle where on one side there is the desire to serve Krishna, and on the other side there is the senses’ will to enjoy the objects of illusion. You will no longer be trapped in the struggle between the two sides, nor defeated time and again by the senses and made their slave. You will gain the power to resist the senses’ onslaught and the temptations of maya.
Now you may not understand the science of reaching the ultimate goal of existence, but if you have the help of Ekadasi-devi your consciousness can cross far beyond the mortal frame and you will be eternally involved in service under the guidance of the kinkaris of Srimat Radharani. You will pray:
tavaivasmi tavaivasmi na jivami tvaya vina
iti vijnaya devi tvam naya mam caranantike
[He Devi! O Srimati Radhika! I am yours! I am yours! I cannot live without You. Knowing this, please give me a place at Your lotus feet.]
You will realize how kind Guru-pada-padma is to us, and you will pray to him as Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to Srila Sanatana Gosvami:
vairagya-yug bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
kripambudhir yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanam tam prabhum asrayami
[I surrender to the lotus feet of my master, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, who is the giver of sambandha-jnana. He is an ocean of mercy and his heart always becomes distressed upon seeing the suffering of others. Although due to the darkness of ignorance I had no desire to taste bhakti-rasa imbued with renunciation, he forced me to taste it and thereby gave me knowledge of my relationship with Krishna.]
The humble disciple thinks, “Guru-pada-padma offers me all necessary guidance and facility to follow pure bhakti, but I am so unfortunate; I reject that help.
vishaya vishama visha satata khainu
gaura-kirtana-rase magana na hainu
“I constantly drink the deadly poison of sense objects rather than partake in the immortal nectar of gaura-kirtana. Oh! I am so foolish.
akrodha paramananda nityananda raya
abhimana sunya nitai nagare bedaya
“Selfless Nityananda Prabhu, who is never angry and ever-blissful, is wandering door to door and offering His mercy. But alas, I do want to accept that mercy. How will I ever be pavitra?”
On this Pavitraropini Ekadasi, the esoteric swing pastimes of Radha and Krishna commence. How can we make a swing—a place of lila—in our heart and bring Radha and Krishna and their associates there? For this we must be pavitra. Our Guru-varga says that if we find that our heart is impure and unfit to be a place for Radha and Krishna then cry and pray. They will clean you. You cannot clean yourself.
Our commitment to be part of Ekadasi-devi’s seminar must strong. We must try to increase that strength year after year, until one day we come to the point where we can dedicate an unbroken 24 hours to Ekadasi-devi. I am praying to Gurudeva and the Vraja-devis that this day will come soon. I await that beautiful kirtana program. When will we, without giving a moment to the senses and the mind, give our full time to Ekadasi-devi and, for her pleasure, engage in sankirtana. When will Krishna arrange that good day? When will He send me such good friends, who will pull my ear and forcibly have me speak, sing, and dance, and follow navadha-bhakti. I pray for that day. Even just one day like that is enough for our eternal welfare, but alas, not everyone has the desire for it.
In Mathura, Srila Gurudeva had all the devotees fully engaged in kirtana and seva on the day of Ekadasi.
May no one but Radha and Krishna swing in our hearts. Today, the Vrajavasis are very happy and a wonderful festival takes place. How can we achieve the perfection of our existence and be part of that festival? This is possible by following Guru-pada-padma’s footsteps.
When Srila Gurudeva opened his center in Vrindavana, he asked my Guru Maharaja, Paramaradhyatama Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, what it should be called. My Gurumaharaja said, “This is not your temple or my temple. This is the temple of Rupa-Sanatana.”
“Yes,” Gurudeva agreed. “Rupa Manjari and Lavanga Manjari will be with us.”
Then they arranged a grand festival in honor of Rupa Gosvami, in which his glories were sung, spoken, and heard; and everyone was given the chance to come and offer pushpanjali to Rupa Gosvami. Srila Gurudeva called everyone to come and become rupanuga and make their lives successful.
Who can understand the Vaishnavas pastimes? Gurudeva is here now; therefore he has called us here. Wherever Srila Gurueva is—that place is the place of Rupa Gosvami. Tomorrow will try to properly follow the occasion of Rupa Gosvami’s Tirobhava festival. If we are purified today, then tomorrow, we will be able to understand Rupa Gosvami’s glories.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]