Indira Ekadasi

Today is Indira Ekadasi. What is the specialty of each Ekadasi? Visnu is one, but He has many names like Madhava, Govinda, Hari, Mukunda, and so forth. The different months are named after these different names of Visnu. This is not by chance. There are twelve Devatas for the twelve months. In Harinamamrta vyakarana, Jiva Gosvami discusses this. Sometimes there are twenty-six Ekadasis in year, and sometimes there are even twenty-seven. Generally there are twenty-four. There are eight maha-dvadasis – Jaya, Vijaya, Vyanjali, Trisvarsa, Paksavardhini, Vamana dvadasi, Varaha dvadasi. These eight maha-dvadasis do not come every year. In that year when all of these eight maha-dvadasis come, there will be visnu-srnkala yoga. Sometimes, there are twenty-four or twenty-six Ekadasis respectively, and when maha-dvadasi comes, Ekadasi goes behind Bhagavan. On Maha-dvadasi, Bhagavan Madhava Himself comes. Then, Ekadasi-devi follows Him peacefully. Ekadasi goes and prepares for Madhava. This is Madhava-tithi.

Ekadasi is so powerful. If we do vrata, japa, or niyama, there is no guaranty when we will get the fruit. But, Ekadasi herself gives us the fruit of following her, and there is no need to wait for a long time. If one properly follows Ekadasi, then simply by remembering the name of Ekadasi-devi, Madhava becomes pleased. Today, the name of the Ekadasi is Indira Ekadasi.

The area of the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were formerly called Gurja Pradesh. Earlier, there were five states – Anga, Banga, Kulinga, Haun, and Andhra. Andhra is called Hun. In Gurja Desa, which is now Gujarat, people were suffering from poverty and depression. It is said that Bhakti-devi left Gurja Desa. Her two sons Jnana and Vairagya were old and sick. Seeing her sons in this condition, Bhakti-devi took them, left Gurja Desa and came to Vrndavana. There in Vrndavana, people do not follow akarma or asat-karma. Karma is only for Bhagavan, and Bhagavan’s service is our only karma or action. Tattva-jnana, Bhagavat-jnana is the process of serving Bhagavan. When Bhakti-devi came to Vrndavana with her two sons, Narada Rsi told her, “Give them Bhagavat-katha. Then both your sons will again become healthy. This is told in the Bhagavat Mahatmya.”

Hearing Narada’s advice, Bhakti-devi searched for a place where the Bhagavatam is being sung. She asked Narada Rsi, who answered, “Go where the go, gopas, gopis, Gokula, and Gopala are present. Go where they are served and respected. There, Bhagavat-katha is continuously going on. They are Bhagavats and whatever they are doing is the Bhagavat. Go there, and then your sons will become healthy.” When Bhakti-devi was entering Vraja-mandala, she saw that nitya-Bhagavat was being served. Bhagavat serves Bhagavan, and Bhagavan stays with the Bhagavat. Hearing this katha, her two sons become very pleased and rejuvenated.

When they left Gurja Desa, the whole country side became dry and filled with sorrow and poverty. The brahmanas, prthvi devas, sadhus, santas, and mahatmas leave a place where there is no Bhagavat-katha, bhakti, and Bhagavat bhajana, and where the gopas, gopis, cows, and Gokula are not respected. When Bhakti-devi left, everyone was very sad, and began to pray to Bhagavan. Bhagavan hears the prayers of the bhaktas. He does not listen to everyone. Other prayers do not reach His ears. The brahmanas engaged in worship of yajnesvara Hari though the medium of Indira who is Mahalaksmi. Mahalaksmi is Bhagavan’s nearest and dearest. She in on His chest as omkara. Any place where Laksmi-devi has left becomes impoverished and filled with diseases, sufferings, and fear.

One should worship the ones who are dear to Bhagavan. Who is she?

jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drisyatam dikshu tavakas
tvayi dhritasavas tvam vicinvate
— Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.31.1

The gopis sing, “O Prabhu, when You took birth in Vraja, then Vraja became green and full of joy, because all the Laksmis came and began to serve there. Laksmi entered Vraja and all the trees, by the mercy of Laksmi, became youthful and beautiful. The cows, animals and people in Vraja were very healthy, effulgent, and beautiful. O Lord, please do not leave us. Even if all opulence is present here, without You we are suffering.”

Acaryas have given different commentaries on this verse of the Gopi-gita.

Bhagavan is present where the cows, Gopala, gopis, gopas, and the vedas are worshiped. Indira, who is Maha Laksmi, becomes pleased by seeing such worship and automatically comes to that place. Then, there is no poverty in that place. The brahmana-devatas instructed everyone in Gurja Desa, “If you want to be healthy, and have good sons and families, then worship Bhagavan who is Sarvesvaresvara. He is Gopala and His beloveds are the cows, the Gita, and the Vedas, Srutis, Smrti, Upanisads, and Nyaya. You should serve Govardhana, Gopala, the gopas and gopis, and Gokula. Then, Laksmi-devi will be pleased with you, and will come to you. Then, you will have no poverty.”

With great difficulty, everyone did a caurasi-kosa yatra. This worship that is performed after Radhastami is called vijnana. Caurasi-kosa yatra means the pilgrimage of the eighty-four kosa Vraja begins. People who are not present in Vraja make maps of Vraja, and then daily circumambulate this map. And they do parikrama in their minds, and in every place, they serve cows, gopas, and gopis. Then, they become very happy. Bhagavan will be pleased if one does worship for one day, and the fruit for this service will come. But, if one wants to receive this fruit eternally, one has to serve eternally. What is beloved to Gopala? Tulasi and Bhagavati-Ekadasi are most dear to Gopala.

In Gujarat Pradesa, tulasi is respected greatly, and Ekadasi as well. When everyone began to follow Ekadasi, Laksmi-devi herself told Ekadasi, “You should take me to this Gurja Pradesa, and make a place for me. I will go there, and bless those who respect and worship you. You came to this world by the Lord’s instruction. On the day of Ekadasi, I will come and give wealth, sons and daughters, health, good families and businesses to everyone. You will be known by my name Indira.” The Lord gave every Ekadasi a different name and potency. Sri Laksmi continued, “On this Ekadasi, I will myself come and serve and help everyone. No one will be poor, sad, or unhealthy. Everyone will be strong, and they will have sufficient wealth. They will have no shortage of anything.”

The brahmanas then began worshiping Gopala at their homes with great affection. They followed Janmastami. If you want to see the festivals of dahi-handi mahotsava and Krsna’s birthday performed very nicely, then you should go to Maharashtra and Gujarat. In every house, regardless of whether the people are poor or rich, they worship Govinda and Govardhana.

Indira Maha-Laksmi said, “I am eternally present in that place where my Gopala, Govardhana, and the gopas and gopis are respected and worshiped; I am eternally present there. Go there and tell everyone this news.” On this day of Indira Ekadasi, the brahmanas and sajjanas come and sing Narayana sahasra nama, Gopala sahasra nama, and the Gita for the pleasure of Ekadasi-devi. When one pleases the Lord, then the whole universe is pleased; tasmin tuste jagat tustah.

During the time when Krsna resided in Dvaraka Puri, in Gurja Pradesa, Sudama stayed nearby the city. He stayed with his wife named Susila. They were very poor. They did not have sufficient food to eat, or cloth to cover both of their bodies. The wife asked everyone, “If everyone in Dvaraka is happy, then why are my husband and me suffering and depressed? I have no nice cloth on my body and no food in my stomach. I am suffering so much. How much longer can I tolerate this? Please tell me a method to go out of this poverty. Who do you worship?”

Everyone answered, “We worship Gopala, the cows, and the gopas and gopis. We don’t know any devi or devata. We have plenty of wealth. Ganesa himself and Laksmi-devi came and offered to grant us whatever benediction we desire. Why? It is because we worship Gopala and Gokula.”

Even at the present day, we can yearly see ten or twenty thousand people from Gujarat coming to perform Vraja-mandala parikarama. They come throughout the year as well. In Mathura, they come to Visrama-ghata and offer gold to the brahmanas according to their own weight. They worship the Vrajavasis with so much respect. And they all have wealth.

Susila was advised to worship Gopala Krsna and Gokula. She then asked her husband Sudama, “Who do you worship? Why don’t you worship Gopala, and the gopas and gopis? I have a friend. You should go and meet Him once, respect and worship Him.”

Sudama said, “Will He accept my worship? Why shouldn’t He?” He said, “I am His friend also.”

She said, “No, He is Bhagavan and the gopas and gopis are His beloveds. And Ekadasi is His beloved. If you respect Ekadasi, then Bhagavan Gopala Krsna will be very happy. Whichever place Tulasi is present is like Vraja-bhumi, and Gopala would be very happy with that place. Therefore, worship Gopala.”

Sudama went and saw everyone doing caurasi-kosa yatra and offering their worship in different places. He made a map of this. If you were to go now, you would still see this there. Then, Sudama and his wife would daily do parikrama of this map.

Sudama was told again and again by his wife to go to Dvaraka Puri. “Just go once,” she said.

“No, I won’t go.”

“Why not?”

“My friend Dvarakadisa has so much opulence. Why should I go? I have nothing to give. I am a beggar. Friendship is only possible among equals. But, I am not equal to Him. I’m a beggar and He is extremely wealthy.” His wife would insist again and again.

On the day of Indira Ekadasi, Susila prayed to Ekadasi-devi in great distress, “Oh, you seem to be pleased with everyone but me. My husband and I cannot serve you properly. If we go for bhiksa, we do not receive anything at all. Sudama just plays kartalas and sings kirtana, but being so absorbed in kirtana, he is unaware of where he is going and what he is doing. Because of our poverty his body is only skin and bones.”

They had only a small hut. Somehow they made a shelter with branches and leaves from the jungle. Even for days, they would sometimes not have any water to drink. In this area, there was no sweet water or any good food to eat.

While Sudama was out for bhiksa, a person came to their hut, and said, “O babi, open the door.” Susila thought, “Oh, somebody is calling me babi.” Babi is an intimate term used to call the wife of one’s brother. No person or animal, not even an ant or rat would usually come to their house because they had no food. No one asks for anything from a person who is very poor. A wealthy person has so many friends and family members that ask about him, but nobody thinks about a person who has nothing.

Susila was afraid to open the door, but the person was speaking so sweetly that she said, “How can I come out, brother? I don’t have proper cloth to cover myself, and no strength in my body to come forward and open the door.”

“O babi, I brought cloth for you. Dress yourself with this cloth and then come. You have cried so much and called Me again and again. Therefore, I have come to see you.” She slightly opened the door that consisted only of some branches. Krsna gave her His yellow shawl, and she covered herself with this. Then, she began crying and became like a madwomen. She was filled with so much sakti. When she came back to her senses, she stepped outside the hut and said, “Sudama is outside.”

“I am Sudama’s little brother. My big brother sent Me far away, and he never invites Me here. O babi, you remembered Me, and therefore I came.”

“Really?” she said. “My husband has a little brother?”

“Yes. Why not? No one is alone in this world. Everyone has some relative.”

The Upanisads state that every soul has a friend that constantly accompanies the soul. This friend is the supreme soul, Paramatma.

Krsna says, “I am close to every living entity as Paramatma. But, Sudama only sends Me away. What can I do? You called, and therefore I came. Now, I have come. Will you give Me something?”

Then, she began to cry. She said, “I don’t know. You have come, but I have nothing. What can I give?”

Krsna said, “O babi, you have one thing that I don’t have. Would you give that to me?”

“What are you speaking of? What do I have? I have nothing worthy of giving you. I have no cloth, wealth, or nice foodstuff. I have nothing.”

Krsna said, “O babi, you have something very nice.”

She said, “Tell me what it is.”

Krsna said, “First, you have to vow that you are going to give it to Me.”

Susila said, “You should ask, and if I have it, I will give.”

Krsna said, “You have it. Don’t worry. Will you give it?”

“Yes, I will give it,” she said.

Bhagavan said, “The thing you have is poverty. Give this to me. I have everything, but poverty. I have Laksmi. Then, how can I be poor?”

If He would give away Laksmi, would He be poor? No.

He said, “I have come to take this from you, and then Laksmi-devi will again come to make a place here. As long as you hold on to this poverty, Laksmi-devi will not come to you.”

Poverty is a curse. If someone has a curse placed upon him as a result of disobeying and disrespecting Guru, Vaisnavas, elders, or Bhagavan, then wherever he stays, poverty, sickness, sadness, fear, and illusion will come and acquire that person.

Krsna said, “O babi, Sudama and I studied together in gurukula. Sometime, we would speak to each other. I am his friend. We would study together, and sometimes Gurudeva would send us for bhiksa.”

If brahmacaris do not do bhiksa, then they should not eat the food of their Guru. They should serve the cows, do seva in the asrama, and do bhiksa. Then, whatever guru gives them they can eat.

Then, Krsna told Sudhama’s wife the following story of how He one day went with Baladeva and Sudama to the houses of the brahmanas in Ujjain, and asked for bhiksa. If Krsna Himself goes for bhiksa, then what would Laksmi-devi do?

Krsna and Baladeva were carrying all their bhiksa in a bag, and Sudama had a separate bag with the bhiksa he collected. On the way back to the asrama of Sandipani muni, Sudama said, “I am very hungry. I cannot go further. I first need to eat something.” Brahmanas cannot tolerate their hunger. Their appetite is very strong. Baladeva and Krsna said, “Staying in guru’s ashrama, you should give the bhiksha to guru, but if instead of giving it to him, you eat it first, then a great curse will come upon you.”

But, Sudama said, “I’m so hungry that I cannot move forward even one step. I will eat half and save half for guruji.”

He saw nice ghee pakoras, puris, halava, khira, and so many nice preparations. Krsna and Baladeva were sitting waiting, and Sudama was eating. He ate half of the items he collected, and because he could not control himself, he also ate the other half, which he had saved for their guru. When they came back to the asrama, Krsna and Baladeva gave everything to gurumata. Their guru’s wife asked Sudama, “Did you not receive any bhiksa?” Sudama did not speak.

When their guruji came, his wife said, “Sudama didn’t come to eat today. He didn’t even come to see us.”

Sandipani Muni came to Sudama and said, “O son, what happened. You didn’t get any bhiksa? Don’t worry. Come and eat something.”

He asked Krsna what happened. Krsna wouldn’t speak a lie to His guru, and therefore He said, “He ate all the bhiksa he got.”

Stealing and enjoying guru’s wealth, or collecting bhiksa and eating everything before giving it to guru is a huge sin. After Sudama left the asrama of his guru, he became completely impoverished. He had no food or cloth. Wherever he went, the land became dry and futile, and everyone became poverty-stricken. His gurudeva did not give him any curse like this. It was Laksmi-devi who was upset.

Krsna said to Sudama’s wife, “O babi, don’t tell him that because of that curse, he is suffering so much. But, I have come to take away that curse and the poverty from you. Then, you will have no problem. Then, Sudama can come to meet me in My palace.”

Sudama used to think, “If Krsna who is Laksmi-pati, comes to my home once, then I will go to His palace. Without Him first coming and inviting me, everyone will think that I would come to Dvaraka to beg from Krsna.” Therefore, he never went there. But, he always remembered Krsna and never forgot him.

That person who always remembers Krsna and helps others to remember Krsna can stay in Vraja. Otherwise, one cannot remain in Vraja, and become a Vrajavasi.

Sudama was remembering Krsna, but did not understand his own mistake. This is the pride of brahmanas. It becomes very difficult for them because of this.

When Sudama came home on this particular day of Indira Ekadasi, he saw that his wife was wearing a very nice cloth. He said, “This looks like the cloth my friend would wear in gurukula. Did someone come?”

“Your brother came,” Susila said. “He called Himself your friend and brother.”

Sudama asked, “What did He say to you?”

“He called you to Dvaraka.”

“Okay, then I will go.” Then, the following day, which was a Dvadasi, Sudama went to Dvaraka Puri. He thought, “How can I go empty-handed? I must take something as a gift for my friend. He went to other houses and begged some broken rice and put it in a packet. When people clean rice, they take out all the broken pieces and put it aside for beggars. He collected a little bit of this rice and put the packet in his armpit that was sunken in just like skin and bones. He went walking to Dvaraka on this Dvadasi day, and on the way he was praying to Bhagavan. He wondered, “Will the Lord meet with me? How big will Dvaraka be? How many gates will there be? Will the gatekeeper let me pass? Will I be able to go inside? Will Laksmi-pati meet with me?” Thinking of this he went forward. On the day of Ekadasi, he had not received any bhiksa, so he fasted nirjala the whole day, without taking any water, and in the morning of Dvadasi, he went to meet Dvarakadisa.

He called out, “O Kanaiya, O Murari.” He remembered the different names of Krsna.

In Dvaraka, Krsna decorated everything. He told the queens to make the simhasana ready, and the gate-keepers to not stop His friend. He told all the citizens to perform arati of Sudama and welcome him with flowers, nice fragrances, puffed rice, durva grass, garlands, sandal paste, aguru, kastori, and kesara. Krsna engaged all the 56 crore Yadu-vamsis to serve His friend who was coming. Dvaraka was decorated so beautifully, as it has never been done before. Everyone was ready to see Krsna’s friend, but they did not know what type of friend he was. They thought, “Until today Krsna never invited anyone like this to Dvaraka.” Baladeva understood. Everyone arranged for the arrival of Krsna’s friend.

As Sudama came towards Dvaraka, the brahmanas began reciting Veda mantras and scriptures, and the citizens showered flowers. Sudama thought, “Who is Krsna? And who am I? Will Krsna speak to me? Yesterday, He came to my home, so definitely He will speak to me.”

When he came to the gate, the gatekeepers sent news to Krsna, “A person came. He is only skin and bones, and he barely wears any clothes. He is just like a skeleton. He is crying out to You, Krsna. He is singing ‘Kanaiya, Kanaiya’.” When Krsna heard this, he went running to meet His friend. He embraced him, and took him into the inner palace. He sat him on the king’s throne, and then had the queens fan him. Krsna washed Sudama’s feet, and gave him a full abhiseka. Then, He distributed the caranamrta to everyone in Dvaraka. With His own hands, Krsna sat him on a nice seat and fed him so many types of food – more than fifty-six items.

Then, Krsna said, “O friend, babi has definitely sent something for Me. You must have brought something. Your love for Me would not allow you to come empty-handed.” Then, Krsna searched for what Sudama had brought. He took the packet of broken rice out of Sudama’s armpit and took a mouth full. Then, He took a second mouth full, and Rukmini said, “With this bite, You have given Yourself to him. If You take another bite, will You give us away as well? Please don’t do that.” Then, she stopped Him from taking another bite. Sudama was given a nice room and bed, and he was served there. He thought, “Does Krsna know me?”

“Krsna is the master of Laksmi, and who am I? I am not even a brahmana. I am only a brahmana bandu – not worthy of the title of a brahmana. Now Krsna is respecting and worshiping me. He embraced me and brought me into His palace like His dear friend. And He massaged my feet.”

Krsna said, “O friend, do you remember the cold day our guru-mother told us to go to bring wood. Then, we and Dau bhaiya went. There was so much rain at this day so that, in order not to get wet, we held the wood on top of our heads for so long. Then, Gurudeva came and found us. But, you did not come before Gurudeva. You were hiding. And the day we went for bhiksa, and you ate all your bhiksa before giving it to Gurudeva. O friend, no matter what happened in the past; brahmanas are always filled with all good qualities.” If Brahmanas have a small durguna, or bad quality coming within them, then Bhagavan feels great pain and laments that they have done that. If good disciples did something bad, the guru feels much pain. Krsna continued, “O friend, I am sad remembering this incident.”

Sudama remembered and thought, “I truly did a very bad thing.”

When someone regrets his faulty actions, he immediately gets atonement. When Bhagavan gave Sudama remembrance of his previous misdeeds, Sudama began to cry, and said, “O Krsna, You are so merciful. I am a brahmana bandhu.”

Again and again, Sudama told this to Krsna. Krsna said, “Don’t worry.”

Sudama stayed awake the entire night, and in the morning, he left Dvaraka. Krsna accompanied him to the gate of the city. Then Sudama walked away. He thought, “Krsna is my greatest friend. We stayed together in the guru-kula. When Krsna came to the gurukula, I offered Him my bed. I began helping Him, and taught Him how to serve Gurudeva. We three stayed together. I was always so greedy for food that I ate Krsna’s meal. Krsna was so merciful. I would get Krsna’s portion and mine.”

Sometimes, when brahmacaris get extra rasagullas, chenna, or pakori, then he gives his portion to another brahmacari. I saw this in my own life. If there is khira given to one person, then another says, “Don’t take this khira. It is not good for you.” Then he would take it away.

In the same way, Sudama would take what was Krsna’s portion. He remembered everything, and lamented. It is the greatest time, when we remember our mistakes, and accept them. This is our path of atonement.

Sudama came to the area of his kuti. There he saw beautiful maidens coming towards Him as soon as he entered his district of residence. They brought sweets and garlands. Everything was decorated just as it was in Dvaraka Puri. The maidens came with kirtana and performed arati of Sudama. Sudama thought, “How are these girls present in this forest area?” He went off the street, and went into the fields. He tried to get out of the way of the girls and their procession, but then they followed him into the fields.

He asked the leading girl, “Where are you going?”

She said, “I am coming to you.” One beautiful kisori came forward and placed a very big flower garland around Sudama’s neck. Sudama became embarrassed and said, “What have you done? A maiden should never touch another man or present a garland to him. You have fallen from dharma today, and also stained my dharma.” Then, she began to smile.

“I am your Susila,” she said.

“You are Susila? How is this possible? You are someone else. You must be an apsara who has come to cheat me. You have come to make me fall from my dharma.”

Susila said, “O Prabhu, the Lord kept you as you were. Otherwise I would not recognize my husband. Overnight, the Lord transformed me and made such a huge palace here, with so many maidservants and cows. All opulence is present here. I was crying and praying so much. Then, Laksmi herself came and arranged everything.”

When Susila gave the mala to Sudama, then Sudama became a beautiful youthful man. He began to cry, “O Lord, now that I am wealthy, I will forget you. Please, protect me from forgetting you.”

When we get opulence, wealth, and health, we should to pray the Lord for protection. The gopis say, “He natha! He katha! He ramana! What have You done? I had not asked for this.”

Bhagavan took away Sudama’s poverty. How could Sudama then remain poor? Indira Maha-Laksmi herself came. She vowed to do this. Wherever Ekadasi is worshiped and respected, the people will receive gold in place of clay. They will get siddhi in this world.

Sudama began to weep upon seeing the prosperity of his land. Everyone asked, “Why are you sad?” Sudama said, “Before there was no dukha but now I am dukhi. Why? By giving this wealth to me, Krsna is cheating me,” Sudama thought. “Now, I will be cheated of Krsna’s bhakti. He has given me up.”

Sudama began to cry so much in separation from Krsna. Then, a voice appeared from the sky. The Lord said, “O Sudama, I cannot give you up, and you cannot give Me up. Wherever you are I am there. Maya will not attack you. When you eat, it is I who eats, and My eating is your eating. When I am resting, it is your resting. I am not separate from you. Dvaraka Puri may become annihilated, but Sudama Puri will remain forever. This is non-different from Dvaraka Puri now. I am always present there.” Hearing, this Sudama came to his previous home. There, he made a place for Gokula caurasi-kosa Vraja-mandala. There, he kept Bhagavan Gopala in the middle, and then he worshiped Gopala, gopi, gopa, Govardhana, and the cow. There will be no shortage in that place where these five personalities are worshiped. There is no one as unfortunate as one who has not worshiped these five personalities. In this world he will receive nothing, and in the next world he will receive nothing. And he has no relationship with nitya-lila.

By the mercy of Ekadasi, Gurja desa became very powerful and prosperous. Even today Gujarata is one of the happiest places in the world. They are all engaged in following bhakti, giving in charity, following Ekadasi, worshiping Tulasi etc.

These are the glories of Indira Ekadasi. Every Ekadasi has her specialty. They are not all the same. Speakers have not simply given these glories to make people greedy. Sudama caritra is briefly described in the Bhagavatam. In Hari Vamsa Purana and in other Puranas it is described more elaborately. It is also present in the Bhagavat Mahatmya. If in this world we do something wrong – disrespect guru, the gopis or gopas, or think that Vaisnavas are material – then the sastras state as follows.

acaryam mam vijaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruh
Srimad Bhagavatham 11.17.27

If we think of Guru as a mundane person, of the water of a holy tirtha to be ordinary, and if we do not respect Bhagavan, then we are only like a sudra, lamenting and stuck in a material body that is just a bag of flesh and bones. We cannot cross over these three modes of nature. We should not disrespect guru and his wealth, and we should not have an enjoying attitude towards this. If something is kept for the Vaisnavas, and we think that nobody saw anything, and then we take it and eat it, then what will happen to us? This is much greater than the bhoga saved for Devatas. The Vaisnavas are very dear to Bhagavan. Without asking we should not take anything from them.

There is an example of how this happened in the Mathura Matha. Gurudeva had a sevaka. Every day, many fruits and sweets came to Gurudeva’s room. This sevaka took everything. One day, Gurudeva said, “I don’t know what comes. I don’t even look.” Later on the sevaka was very sick and always sad and suffering. He went to many different doctors day after day. The sevaka told them, “Why am I always sick? What should I do?” It was known that if anyone would directly confront him with his misdeeds, he would not like it.

Therefore, some devotees told the doctors, “Whatever comes under Gurudeva’s bed, he would take it all and eat it. He steals the wealth of his guru, and eats it. Then, where will this sin go?” People come and offer something to Bhagavan and guru with great respect, but if you take this first, then you take the right of Gurudeva’s wealth.

Devotees requested the doctors, “Tell this brahmacari to never touch these gifts.”

After some days, he became very healthy and big. Maharaja asked, “Oh, you don’t take anything from my room these days?”

He said, “No, I cannot touch it. This is all yours.”

Gurudeva said, “Before you would take it.”

The sevaka said, “I used to eat it and then become sick. Now, I don’t take it and I am healthy.” It is not easy to enjoy, and eat and digest everything. Look what happenend to Sudama. Therefore, be very careful. Jivah vega and udaropasta vega are therefore taught in Upadesamrta. If you cannot follow jivah vega, then follow uddhara and upastha vega. Where there is vaco vega, there will be udaropasta vega. These are the strict rules and regulation. These things are connected – vaco vega, manasa vega, and krodha vega, jivah vega, uddhara vega, and upastha vega.

Yama Maharaja told the Yamadutas, “That person who does not chant the Lord’s names; who does not offer pranama to the Lord; who does not listen to hari-katha of Bhagavan; and who does not understand his own faults, bring that person to me. Otherwise, never bring Vaisnavas or Visnu-bhaktas to me.”

By following Ekadasi, the eleven senses are offered to Bhagavan. If there is any problem in our bhajana and sadhana, then Ekadasi-devi will mercifully help us to fix it and teach us how to follow bhakti properly. If we are careful, we can be forgiven. Since so many lifetimes we have done so many mistakes, and we are suffering from their results. We cannot remember anything. We are not enthusiastic to follow bhakti, and we don’t know what is Vraja and Bhagavan. We hear, but we think, “I myself am God. I don’t need anyone.”

On that day when all the tattva will manifest in our heart, we will understand the meaning of ceto darpara marjanam. Then naturally bhava maha davagni nirvapanam will happen, and then sreya kairava candrika vitaranam will follow. These moon rays will come and make us see vidya vadhu jivanam. What shortage do we have in our lives? Then at the end, param vijayate sri krsna sankirtanam will be realized. Why is this not happening? Why are we not cleansed?

Therefore, the specialty of this Ekadasi is very important. On one side, Maha-Laksmi comes, and on the other side Bhagavan Himself comes and purifies all our shortages and accepts us at His lotus feet.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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The Heart is a Flower

1. Happiness can only be attained by surrendering at the lotus feet of sri guru. 3. My heart is a flower which sri guru offers at the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. 4. We pray that we can attain the association and service of pure devotees.

Appearance of Param Gurudeva

Param Gurudeva was very strong, like a thunderbolt, to preserve all rules and regulations of bhakti, but his heart was softer and sweeter than a rose. He went to school from college. Śrīla Gurudeva told many times. When Param Gurudeva went to college he argued with the professors who lectured on Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The professor gave māyāvādī purports and Param Gurudeva would cut his argument. Param Gurudeva would give class and all the students would follow Param Gurudeva. They did not listen to the professor. They said, “Vinoda should give class, the professor has no intelligence.” Param Gurudeva organized a committee where all the members vowed to remain celibate for life and use all their energy in the service of humanity. Param Gurudeva was only fourteen or fifteen at that time, but he was very strong. He wrote down the rules of his committee and the names of the members. They started charities and went house to house helping the poor and sick everywhere. Śrīla Gurudeva told this story many times. One day, at nine p.m. Param Gurudeva had not yet returned and his mother took a stick and stood outside the gate of her house to punish her son who was staying out late. She was very strict. Like Yaśodā Mātā was very soft and full of love for Kṛṣṇa, but sometimes she could be very strong and hard as well. Bhuvana Mohinī was ready to beat her son when he arrived. By that time, Param Gurudeva was tall and healthy. He came and touched the feet of his mother. She shouted, “Stop! First answer me and then you can go inside.” “What happened?” he asked with a humble mood. “Where have you been all evening? The college finishes at five p.m. Where did you go after that?” “Mother, I heard that there was a poor lady in a nearby village who is homeless and without any family. She had cholera.” In those days in India, if anyone had cholera, it was like their last days. They did not have good medicine for it. “I went there and arranged medicine for her. We bathed her and gave fresh cloth and treatment. Only when she was a little relieved could I return now.” “Who gave you money to help her?” “You give money everyday for me to use at college for snacks. I never use that money. I save it to help the poor.” Then the stick fell from Bhuvana Mohinī’s hand and she began to weep, saying, “I now understand.” From that day she never reprimanded or spoke harshly to her son. How will people be strong? From that day, Param Gurudeva started many programs. He joined the underground revolution movement of Subhasa Candra Bose against the British. But one time, Vinoda Bihārī’s aunt, Sarojavāsinī, told him, “Don’t go in this direction. It is wrong. Come with me. I will show you an exalted sādhu in Māyāpura thousands of times superior to Subhasa Candra Bose.” She used to go to Māyāpura and had taken harināma and dīkṣā from Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Paramānanda Prabhu and Narahari Sevā Vigraha Prabhu were the only two sevakas with Prabhupāda at the time. Sarojavāsinī was very qualified. She took notes onPrabhupāda’s lectures and would then write prose, poetry and songs and distribute them. She was a first class preacher who traveled to the big towns in Bangladesh. She did not follow their kula-guru. She took Vinoda Bihārī, “Come to Māyāpura with me.” Seeing him, Prabhupāda said, “Oh! My Vinoda has come!” Meaning, ‘Vinoda, happiness, has finally come to me. Just as Rāmacandra waited a long time for Hanumān, Prabhupāda was waiting for Vinoda. Sarojavāsinī asked, “Why were you waiting for him?” “He is mine. He has been far away from me for a long time. This is not good.” Vinoda smiled and offered praṇāma, and he addressed Prabhupāda as Gurudeva. He said, “Gurudeva, what is my service?” “Your service is everything.” Then Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said to Sarojavāsinī, “I desire to open nine temples in the nine islands of Navadvīpa. These nine islands are the nine limbs of Bhakti-devī, and the kuñjas of Rādhārānī and the eight sakhīs. Vraja-pathana will be here in Caitanya Maṭha, along with Girirāja Govardhana, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Śyāma-kuṇḍa and so forth, and I will open branch offices of Rādhārānī on all these islands. From here, I will distribute this nectar of vraja-prema all over the world.” “You have no sevakas and no money, no one even to ring the bell in ārati. Who will do all this?” “Vinoda will do everything.” “Vinoda will do everything? He is tied up with his family. His mother will not give him to you.” “Who will take my property? This is not possible. Ask Vinoda.” Vinoda Bihārī was surprised. No one had told him, “You are mine, how can you stay without me? Everything here is your responsibility.” He was surprised. From that day, he could not forget Prabhupāda. He returned once to his parents, but told them, “Now, I cannot stay here longer.” “I know,” his mother said. “I offered you to Nṛsiṁhadeva. I remember that day. You were flying in the sky. Do you remember? You were like Kṛṣṇa flying with Tṛṇāvarta in the sky. I knew you were gone. I offered you to God then, but you came back. Now, your aunt took you and offered you to Prabhupāda, no problem. But there is one condition. Please give me darśana before I leave this world.” Like Śrīla Gurudeva’s parents also begged him to give them darśana before they left this world. Bhuvana Mohinī had heartfelt attachment to her son. She knew he was very exalted and respected. She knew she had done great austerity to attain the fortune to have such a son. She also knew that a sādhu or mahā-bhāgavata would not stay long with his blood family, the whole world was his family. Vinoda Bihārī’s younger brother was Pulina Bihārī. He was a great poet and writer. He wrote about the early life of Param Gurudeva, how he was born and of his activities up to when he was nineteen. Śrīla Gurudeva collected many stories from Param Gurudeva’s brother and showed them to us. When Param Gurudeva came and took shelter of Prabhupāda in Māyāpura, Prabhupāda said, “Vinoda, now you know how to develop Māyāpura and do everything. You should take all responsibility. Care for those who come. Everything will be by your arrangement.” Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would be absorbed in his own harināma, hari-kathā and internal service. He was very busy and had no time. But Param Gurudeva served incessantly. He did not think, “When to eat, when to sleep, where to stay.” He would be busy from day’s start to end, going to court, printing books, overseeing the three hundred acres of land in Māyāpura and so forth.

HOW DO WE MEET GURUDEVA IN TRANSCENDENTAL VRAJA?

One who stays in Vṛndāvana engaged in bhajana under the guidance of sad-guru and Vaiṣṇavas will in time, upon becoming fully immersed in rasamayī-bhakti, have realization of this storehouse of divine nectar. When this nectar enters the heart, one can achieve svarūpa-siddhi and become qualified for direct kṛṣṇa-sevā. Kṛṣṇa will not accept us into His service until we have realization of vraja-rasa and vraja-bhakti and follow the footsteps of the Vraja-devīs. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda drank the nectar of vraja-rasa that was given to him by Mahāprabhu, and then reserved it for us in this book. Śrīla Gurudeva came to distribute the same unnata-ujjvala-rasa-sva-bhakti-śrīyam. He therefore called everyone to Vṛndāvana. He took his followers on Vraja-maṇḍala Parikramā and instructed them how to enter vraja-bhakti. We now begin our study of Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi to please Śrīla Gurudeva and to understand how to meet him in transcendental Vraja. This book teaches us how to become qualified for eternal vraja-sevā in our perfected spiritual forms. It is necessary for us to strive to understand and follow this. If we can do so, then we can realize all spiritual truths and achieve the supreme perfection of existence—direct service of the Divine Couple— Sri Sri Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. This is the best way to please Śrīla Gurudeva. Guru-pāda-padma is the distributor of rasamayī-bhakti. If we follow this rasamayī-bhakti and the path and teachings of the Gosvāmīs, Śrīla Gurudeva will be extremely pleased with us. The book starts with the author’s invocative utterance: Sri Sri Radha-raman Jayati. Sri Sri Radha-raman is the worshipful Deity Sri Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmi. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda would daily go from his bhajana-kuṭīra at Kāliya-hrada for darśana of Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa. He would meet with Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and also instruct Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī’s disciples from Vṛndāvana and Mathurā on the subject of Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati taught us how to follow the footsteps of Srimati Radharani and always remember Her. One who remembers Srimati Radharani and follows Her footsteps will always be in Vraja-bhūmi, and related to Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs. Uddhava shared a profound friendship with Kṛṣṇa and on account of their relationship, Kṛṣṇa sent him from Mathurā to meet with the Vrajavāsīs. Uddhava traveled to Vṛndāvana and met with Nanda Bābā, Yaśodā Mātā, and others. He tried to inspire Nanda Bābā and make him banish his sadness, but Nanda Bābā said, “Truly, Uddhava, you still have the intelligence of a child. I thought you were a wise scholar. You say that we should be happy because we have the fortune of loving Kṛṣṇa who is, in your opinion, God Himself. If you are correct and Kṛṣṇa is God, then not only have we lost a son, but we have lost God Himself. In what way are we fortunate?” Uddhava was greatly humbled in his meeting with Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā Mātā. “I am truly very foolish,” he thought. Uddhava then thought about the Vraja-devīs and considered how to meet with them. When he came nearby Uddhava-kyārī, he meditated on Kṛṣṇa and prayed to Him for darśana of His beloveds. He then met with Paurṇamāsī-devī. She approached him and asked, “What do you want?” “I want to meet with the Vraja-devīs,” he replied. “You have not yet touched the dust of Vraja. You appear to be in Vraja, but are not here in truth. You are still connected to the opulence of Dvārakā, by wearing so much fine clothing, gold, and various ornaments. Dressed like this, you are riding about on your shining chariot. This is not the proper etiquette that will grant you audience with the Vraja-devīs who are deeply absorbed in separation from Kṛṣṇa.” If we want to have relationship with the Vrajavāsīs, we must first be in the proper veśa, outer dress, and pariveśa, environment. Then we can have āveśa, full absorption in our desired goal and meditation. Hearing Paurnamāsī-devī’s instruction, Uddhava changed his opulent attire for simple cloth, and smeared the dust of Vraja on his body. He then prayed to the Vraja-devīs for their mercy and darśana. Now properly attired, he moved forward into the forest. He reached Uddhava-kyari on the bank of Govardhana. There, he saw once lush groves now dry and withered. Affected deeply by the feeling of lamentation in that place, he continued further inside the groves by Girirāja. From a distance he caught sight of the maidservants of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī serving their Svāminī as She lay on a bed of flower petals. His heart melted and his nature completely changed. He was now in a state of āveśa. He was absorbed in the Vraja-devīs’ love and exalted moods. With his mood and heart now changed, he could understand some of the specialty and glory of the Vraja-devīs. When Uddhava went back to Kṛṣṇa, after meeting with the Vraja-devīs, he said, “Now I realize that I have no pure love for You and that You are not really here with me and the mathurāvāsīs; You are with the Vraja-devīs in Vraja. I am so fortunate to have met the abodes of the highest form of bhakti to You.” When Kṛṣṇa later returned to His eternal abode with all His associates, He had Uddhava remain behind, saying, “Stay in this world for some time. Go to Vraja-dhāma and perform sādhana there.” Uddhava resided at Uddhava-kyari and practiced sādhana to follow the Vraja-devīs’ footsteps and thereby understand that by their mercy, association, and guidance, he could truly meet Kṛṣṇa and serve Him properly. This pastime teaches us how to enter Vraja and approach Kṛṣṇa.

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