Today is Papamocani Ekadasi. Ekadasi-devi is one but her names are many. She makes arrangements according to what we need in spiritual life. Her business is to help us become self-realized and detached from this world and attached to the spiritual world—this is her help.
Guru and sastra repeatedly remind us:
āyur harati vai puṁsām udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā
As the sun carries out his business of rising and setting, he observes our activities and how much time we waste. He is the witness.
We do karma and when the fruit finally comes to us we suffer. At the time of acting we do not worry and we are careless. But no action is fruitless. We must suffer bondage by our karma. When materially exhausted, if the jiva turns to Ekadasi-devi and prays for salvation then she goes to Krsna and asks, “How can I help this person? The conditioned souls are proud, misled, and mad. They even go as far as to criticize Your devotees along with their own family members, superiors and so on. How can I change these jivas’ mood?”
Krsna instructed Ekadasi-devi, “The Sun-god is witness and the giver of energy to the jivas, but the jivas misuse the power he gives them by utilizing it in pursuance of their material desires and sinful activity.”
“The Sun has a son and a daughter named Yama and Yami. They are twins. One is Dharma-raja and one is Yamuna-devi. Have those who come to you go to the bank of the Yamuna and, staying there from morning to evening, chant the holy name and try to follow bhakti. Give such a person the tendency and mood necessary for this.”
Nanda Maharaja did this. He came with the Vrajavasis to the bank of the Yamuna on the day of Ekadasi and together they did kirtana and followed vrata. Ambarisa Maharaja did the same. He went with sadhus and brahmanas and engaged all his senses in service to Krsna.
sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu
ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe
śrīmat-tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite
pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā
Ambarīṣa Mahārāja engaged continously in the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by fixing his mind in remembering His lotus feet, by engaging his tongue in describing the name, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Bhagavān, his ears in hearing the topics of Bhagavān, his eyes in seeing His beautiful Deity form, his sense of touch in experiencing the happiness of serving the feet of the bhaktas of Bhagavān, his nostrils in smelling the fragrant objects such as tulasī and candana which had been offered at the lotus feet of Bhagavān, his feet in circumambulating His abode, and his head in paying obeisances to Bhagavān and His bhaktas. In this way, he controlled all his senses, and engaged them in the service of Bhagavān.
Bhagavan told Ekadasi devi, “It is the order of the Sun-god that if someone takes shelter of Yamuna, Yama cannot take them.”
Washermen need soap powder to make cloth clean, but Yamuna does not need anything to purify us. If Yamuna is not near to you then you can write down her names and recite them. Chant Yamunastakam, meditate on her, and then start your Ekadasi-vrata. In your mind, offer Yamuna-devi a seat and all the articles of arcana. Also make a seat in front of her for her beloved and another beside her for Ekadasi devi and one also for Sri Guru. Offer bhoga and glorify them with selected kirtans.
How can we become pure and how can our behavior be pleasing to Syamasundara and not just a drama? Our eternal svarupa does not change, but our temporary nature and principles are always changing. We follow the mind, whose business is to accept and reject ideas constantly, and we do asat-sanga. Therefore, Ekadasi-devi requests us today to take shelter of Yamuna-devi—then we will be purified. Thus Ekadasi-devi is called Papamocani.
Sin can be washed away, but more difficult then that is to eradicate the papa-bija, the seed or tendency to sin. For those whom Ekadasi-devi has freed from sin, there is no question of collecting further sin and becoming impure again. We must understand that it is the will of Ekadasi-devi that we take complete shelter of Yamuna-devi. Yamuna-devi will purify us on the request of Ekadasi-devi.
By our own efforts we can try to cleanse our hearts and offer our senses in the service of God, but actually this is only possible by the mercy of Ekadasi-devi and Yamuna-devi. Simply washing is not everything. How can what is washed stay clean? How can our nature change and stay good always. This is only possible by the power of God’s close associates. Ekadasi-devi desires that our anarthas be removed by associating with such personalities.
In days of yore, many great rsis came to Prayaga in this Spring season or, vasanta-rtu all risis and prayed to Veni Madhava. There, where the three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati meet, they started kirtana and vrata. By the power of this practice, they became completely in control of their senses and fixed in transcendence.
Our senses are our good friends. They are God’s gift, but if we give them bad education from childhood they become a great problem. The senses will not be our enemies if we engage them in seva, but if we teach them to lie and be duplicitous then they will be against us and cause us so much harm by collecting anarthas.
Therefore, come under Ekadasi-devi’s shelter. She is expert in saving lost souls. She will bring us to Yamuna, from under whose shelter even Yamaraja cannot remove us and punish us.
Krsna cannot stay distant from someone who takes shelter of Yamuna. There is no other way to be rid of sinful reaction and the sinful tendency. Chant the holy name under the guidance of someone who is dear to Krsna.
Srila Rupa Gosvami says:
vināśam āyāti vinā na bhogaiḥ
apaiti nāma! sphuraṇena tat te,
prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥ
O Nāma! The Vedas loudly declare that even without a devotee undergoing any suffering, his prārabdha-karma, which cannot be eliminated even by resolute meditation on impersonal Brahman, is at once mitigated by Your appearance on the tongue.
Only if they see that you are continuously chanting harinama in the guidance of God’s family will anarthas run away in fear. If you distance yourself from that family for even one second you will be smashed. So how can we always be with that family? This is possible by Yamuna’s mercy and Ekadasi-devi’s arrangement.
Ekadasi-devi gives one relationship with God’s family—the Vrajavasis. How can anarthas come to be with you if you are chanting and doing seva? If you hide like a bedbug or mosquito under a mere show of sadhana and good qualities and intend only to drink the blood of the devotees, if you are like that, then you will be smashed by anarthas.
Therefore, Ekadasi-devi teaches everyone to take shelter of Yamuna-devi.
cidānanda-bhānoḥ sadā nanda-sūnoḥ
aghānāṁ lavitrī jagat-kṣema-dhātrī
pavitrī-kriyān no vapur mitra-putrī
I repeatedly offer prayers to Śrī Yamunā, the daughter of the Sungod, who is the bestower of unnatojjvala prema for cidānanda-sūrya-svarūpa Nandanandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She embodies transcendental bliss and directly personifies the melted form of Parabrahma. Simply remembering her destroys all types of wickedness and great sins, thus render-ing the heart pure. She bestows all auspiciousness upon the world, and can even infuse braja-rasa into dry, desert-like hearts. May she purify us.
Bathing in Ganga can purify you, but just by touching one drop of Yamuna’s you can have even more benefit. If you are just touched by the same air that touched Yamuna you will get so much benefit, but if you don’t glorify her or take shelter of her then how foolish you are!
Especially on this day, there is no need of any other business. Just be with Thakuraji or Salagrama on the bank of the Yamuna in the association of sadhus and engage in kirtana and katha. This is our soul’s business.
Therefore this Papamocani Ekadasi is very special. If you follow you will understand. If you continuously think of Yamuna-devi’s glories, she will give you everything needed for your spiritual journey to your eternal home.
A word of warning: Do not be like the monkeys on the bank of the Yamuna who live there but have no knowledge of her glories. Only go to her with the devotees. Do not do anything independently from the devotees.
Today pray to Ekadasi, “O most magnanimous Ekadasi-devi, please help me. I am plagued by the anarthas that I have collected for millions of lifetimes and that I am still presently collecting. Please help me. My collection grows day by day and I cannot find relief from the burning that this causes me. Please save me.”
The process of following Ekadasi-devi is very simple. We do not follow smarta-ekadasi, but paramarthika-Ekadasi. There are many kinds of Ekadasi, there is Ekadasi conceptualized to be helpful for health, Ekadasi who helps with material enjoyment, Ekadasi who offers many opulent results, and so on—but we follow paramarthika Ekadasi for the growth of the soul into ekadasa-bhava.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]