Today is Amalaki Ekadasi. Another name for Amalaki is Dhatri and she is like a mother. One’s mother is a true friend. She has a heart to heart relationship with her children.
Krsna is Yasomati-nandana but all the elder Vrajavasis think that He is their son. Everything they have is for Gopala and if they don’t see Him for a day they suffer so much. Therefore, Krsna goes everywhere and gives all the Vraja-vasis His darsana.
In order to satisfy all the mothers in Vraja, including the cows, Krsna called Brahma, who stole all the calves and sakhas of Krsna. Now Krsna took their places. Before all the mothers only felt that Krsna was theirs, but now it was directly true. Now where was Krsna? He was in the shed with the cows, sleeping and eating grass with them. This is called Vairagya-vidya.
śikṣārtham ekaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ
kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye
Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who has descended in the form of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service and detachment from whatever does not foster Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me surrender unto His lotus feet.
Mahaprabhu came to give vairagya. Vairagya means visesa-anuraga. Conditioned souls tend to collect so many things that they have no room for anuraga. This Amalaki Ekadasi helps us by giving us vairagya-siksa.
Bhakti has two sides. There must be the acceptance of that which is anukula, or favorable to bhakti, and rejection of what is unfavorable to bhakti, pratikula. If you do not have vairagya then it is impossible to have bhakti. Who removes our mundane attachments?
Just as Amalaki the fruit is extremely helpful in curing the bodies diseases, Amalaki Ekadasi cures us of the disease of material attachment.
We collect many things in this world and have no time to give anything to God. Sometimes, we give whatever we have that is extra, and that is no better than our remnants.
Once, a guru sent his disciple to buy 4 rasagullas. On the way back from purchasing the sweets, the disciple thought, “If there is something wrong with these rasagullas then it would be an aparadha to offer them. I better taste one to see if they are alright.” He ate one of the rasagullas and continued walking. A little later, he ate another rasagulla, saying, “Gurudeva surely would have given me at least one of these rasagullas. I am just taking my portion now. A short while later, he thought, “It is going to be a long journey. I must make sure that I stay energized, otherwise how can I complete this seva?’ Then he ate the third rasagulla, after loudly chanting, “Etat sarvam gurave samarpayami! My gurudeva lives inside my heart. So I offer him this rassagulla. Svaha!” When he reached his gurudeva with only one rasagulla, the guru asked, “How did 3 rasagullas disappear?
The disciple held out the 4th rasagulla and said, “Like this Gurudeva.” then popped it into his mouth.
Mahaprabhu desires to give vairagya-vidya and raga-mayi bhakti. He says, “Don’t ran after mundane tastes, I will give you spiritual rasa and when you taste that you will realize that jada rasa is useless.”
Indra was once cursed to be a pig. Hoping to bring the king of Heaven back to his post, Brahmaji approached Indra the pig and said, “Devendra, why are you here? You are the lord of the demigods. Give up this body and come with me.”
“Are! You don’t how sweet this life is. I am very happy hear. There is fresh dung to eat and I have many sweet wives an children.”
“You must come back to Svarga.”
“No. This is my home. I love it here.”
“You wont come with me?”
“No I have everything I want.”
Then Brahma killed all his children.
“No problem” Indra said, “I have many wives and each of them can give birth to 10-20 children at once.
So Brahma killied His wives also. “Now will you come?” he asked.
“No. Also, I am not worried that you killed my wives. I shall marry again.”
Then Brahmaji threw water from his kamandalu on Indra’s head. Suddenly Indra stood, covered in mud and stool, in his normal form as the king of Heaven. By Lord Brahma’s mercy, knowledge returned to Indra. He stood there covered in mud and stool and was surprised. “What am I doing here? Living as a pig, he had moha and did not want to accept instruction on vairagya. “I could not see before?” he thought. “Now I understand how merciful Lord Brahma is.”
Some people follow Ekadasi and demand the fruits of doing so. “Look,” they say, “Ekadasi-devi, I am here. I am following you.” But they are still materially attached . How can anuraga come to someone who externally follows everything but internally has not discarded mundane attachments?
Prabhupada tells a story. There was once a boatman who promised a group of passengers that their destination would be reached early next morning. They just had to sleep for the night and the journey would be complete. That night the boatman and his assistants road tirelessly till morning time. One of the elderly passengers woke a bit before everyone else and noticed that something was wrong. He said to the boatman, “Isn’t that the same tree that was on the bank where we started our journey? Did we not even leave?”
The boatman said, “What are you saying? My men and I have been rowing all night.” The truth was that they had not moved at all because the rope that was tied to a tree on the riverbank was not untied.
Similarly, if we do not have a mood of renunciation toward this material world, we will not be able obtain knowledge of our svarupa. Indra was eating stool in the form of pig. This is what Prahlada Maharaja was referring to when he said, “Carvita carvananam:
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
Materialistic persons are simply mulling over that which has already been mulled and chewing that which has already been chewed. Because their senses are not controlled they are proceeding towards the dreadful hell of this material existence, repeatedly trying to enjoy that which has already been consumed. The intelligence of such materially attached persons cannot be turned towards Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa either by their own endeavor, by the instruction of others or by the association of similar materialistic persons.
Therefore, humbly pray to Ekadasi-devi and to those who have anuraga for Krsna, “Please save me. Without your causeless mercy I will not have the srength and taste to do bhakti. Please give me this strength and taste, otherwise I will never be able te give up my taste for jada-rasa.
Where did Pariksit Maharaja’s thirst go as he heard Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Gosvami? Like this, Ekadasi-devi says, “I want to give you rasam alayam, just come to me.” But do we come? Do we pray to Ekadasi devi for her help? We fasting today then early tomorrow morning we will drink many beverages and eat 2-3 days worth of food. This is not detachment. This is not the way to get Ekadasi-devi’s mercy and aprakrta rasa.
Amalaki Ekadasi comes in this time just before Holi Purnima.
After the incident where Hiranya-kasipu’s sister Hollika, who had the boon that fire could not harm her, tried to cheat Prahlada and burn him alive but instead was burnt to ashes herself—along with many other demons—the demigods came to the place where Prahlada sat still chanting the Lord’s names, totally unharmed, on a pile of ashes.
They honored those ashes and placed them on their heads, saying, “These ashes represent Prahlada’s impeccable bhakti, which is so strong that the Supreme Lord is bound to protect Him in times of danger, although he never asks for that. Prahlada this dust is not just worshipabable to the demigods but to everyone in the three worlds.”
To this day, intelligent persons honor the dust from the feet of the bhaktas with special emphasis during the time of Holi. On Holi Purnima, we offer beautifully colorful flower pollen at the feet of the Guru-varga and honor that on our heads, praying, “O Gurudeva, when will I have vairagya? Please give me anuraga (which is represented by the colorful pollen).
Krsna went to Varsana to obtain this special dust.
It is our great good fortune that Mahaprabhu came to teach us this visesa-anuraga, or vairagya. If we do not follow the sadhus and maintain anuraga only for family and friends we are no better than donkeys carrying the result of our attachment, which is, in fact, more and more attachment. Thus, we cannot leave that situation for even a moment. Ekadasi-devi teaches us how to have vairagya.
Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura said:
tomāra kanaka, bhogera janaka
kanakera dvāre sevaha mādhava
kāminīra kāma, nahe tava dhāma
tāhāra mālika kevala yādava
Money is a source of sense enjoyment. Just use your wealth to serve Madhava. Desiring to charm women is not your business; Krsna is their only true enjoyer.
Rupa Gosvami said:
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
One who is not attached to satisfying his senses yet accepts everything in relation to and in the service of Kṛṣṇa, is rightly situated above possessiveness. However, if those desiring liberation renounce the things of this world, thinking them to be material, and fail to realize that everything is related to Śrī Hari, such renunciation is considered superficial, false renunciation.
Where there is mundane attachment there is no anuraga.
We can become sincere followers of Sri Guru by Ekadasi-devi’s mercy. She removes our illusion and attachment. Throughout the year, Ekadasi-devi—who is in fact one personality—regularly comes with different gifts or specialties. We here her glories but we do not pray, beg, and cry for her mercy. If we do not followr her properly then how can our lives become successful?
In order to follow bhakti’s limbsj-to have thedes …we must pray to ek devi bh janani…and pray to her followers…then pos kalam naiyed akhilam…then rupa’s instr pos following.
Another story told by Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is as follows:
Once a sadhu was caught in a intense storm. He thought, “I am sadhu. Why should I go to the house of a materialist for shelter?” He stayed in the courtyard of a large house but did not go in, thinking. “A tyagi like me should not enter the house of a bhogi.” But the storm caused him such a great deal of trouble that he went up to the door of the house and knocked. The wealthy resident of that house answered the door and, surprised to see the sadhu, said, “You are a tyagi; how can you come into the house of a bhogi like me?
“I am not taygi,” the sadhu said. “I am a bhogi, and you, dear sir, are a tyagi.”
This of course did not make sense to the house-holder. The sadhu explained, “I am at the feet of Bhagavan. I have everything. You have no relationship with God. Thus you have neglected wealth. Therefore I am a bhogi and you are a tyagi. Your happiness is temporary and mine everlasting.’’
In this way, the sadhu gave that man cit-jnana. The owner of the house said, “Amazing! You have opened my eyes. I have been thinking that this house is part of my grand collection of wealth, but really whatever I collect is useless if I do not collect anything spiritual.
This Ekadasi, Amalaki Ekadasi, comes to give this cit-jnana and understanding of vastava vastu, the essential spiritual reality. In the absence of this knowledge there is only mayara vaibhava, Maya-devi’s powerful influence.
Conditioned souls go to school and study many subjects but because they do not collect spiritual knowledge they are just like hard working asses. life useless. By the mercy of the bhaktas one can quickly receive cit-jnana then understand who Sri Guru is and what bhakti is. Before getting such knowledge one simply thinks about how to enjoy and cheat people.
Pray to Ekadasi-devi for pure intelligence; not mundane intelligence. Then we will see everything and everyone in relation to Bhagavan.
sthāvara-jaṅgama dekhe, nā dekhe tāra mūrti
sarvatra haya nija iṣṭa-deva-sphūrti
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.274
Those possessed of the highest form of knowledge see everything, both moving and non-moving, but they do not see trees, rocks, animals, men, women, and so on. They sees their own ista-deva everywhere and within everyone.
Everything will be krsna-maya for you if you receive spiritual knowledge from Ekadasi-devi. We do not value her help enough. We think, “I’ll fast today and it will be good for my health. I will be able to digest better.” This is our mentality, but Ekadasi-devi removes this mentality and gives svarupa-jnana. This is the specialty of this Ekadasi.
How much can I speak in glorification of Ekadasi-devi? She has unlimited glories.
We can fully realize her glories by taking shelter and praying to those who properly follow Her—the sadhus. All of the limbs of bhakti must be executed in sadhu-sanga. Only by the mercy of sadhus is it possible to understand bhakti. Pray like this today, “May jada-jnana not touch me. I want only divya-jnana.”
caksu dana dila jei janme janme prabhu sei,
divya-jnana hrde prakasita…
If we don’t pray to Guru, Vaisnavas, and Ekadasi-devi for divya-jnana then how will we get it? There is no one else who can give it.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]