Today is Mohini Ekadasi. On the various days of her appearance, Ekadasi-devi has different names and glories. All transcendental qualities are embodied in her as she appears bearing different names; each of her names has its own distinctive feature. Mohini has two svarupas—a cheating svarupa and a transcendental svarupa. In her transcendental feature, she offers various forms of help. But why is she also of a cheating nature? Is this her real nature? No. She doesn’t try to cheat anyone; but she cheats those jivas who try cheating God, Guru and Vaisnavas. Thus, the jivas cheat their own selves. She will thus distance the jivas from God and herself by supplying them with mundane things.
According to sastra, the name of today’s Ekadasi is Mohini. I will explain one svarupa now and I will explain the other, later. There is a history behind the appearance of Mohini’s cheating svarupa. In ancient times, there was a saintly king called Rukmangad Maharaja. He would strictly follow dharma. For the benefit of his citizens, he would always seek the advice of his superior authorities. With the well-being of his citizens in mind, he asked Brahma, “What form of dharma should the jivas follow by which they will quickly attain the fruit of their sadhana and make their lives successful? How will they continuously be helped in all ways?”
The jivas follow many forms of dharma. On receiving the fruits and results of their endeavors, the jivas are quick to taste them and they run away. But who will always protect and help the jivas? Who will look after them with love and affection that transcends even that of their mothers’ and thus help them stay always connected? Youngsters disregard even the help of their mothers. They live separate from their parents, they don’t care for them. Hence, Rukmangad Maharaja asked Brahma on who they could depend on to be helped.
Brahma replied, “I created this world, but only God Himself can help the jivas. For this purpose, He manifested the deity of Bhakti-janani, the mother of bhakti. Anyone who takes the shelter of the lotus feet of the mother of bhakti will be duly helped by her. She will make her dependents qualified to follow bhakti. Therefore, you must follow Ekadasi, Visnu’s murti. She is God’s svarupa; she appears with the Lord’s eleven senses to help the jivas. Her help far exceeds that of an affectionate mother.
On the day preceding Ekadasi, on the day of Dasami, you must be very strong. You must follow certain rules and regulations. You must not talk to or address anyone. You must avoid useless, bogus people. Don’t engage yourself in joking and bogus dramas. You must be careful to not be entangled in any form of sense gratification. You must only be absorbed in hari-smarana. During the night of this day, you must make a sankalpa with a mantra.”
Uttering the mantra in the king’s ear, Brahma arranged for the king to make a sankalpa.
On Dasami, a sadhaka should think, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. How can I follow this auspicious day? I must always pray to be helped by the Guruvarga, Ekadasi-devi, and God.”
Rukmangad Maharaja offered his prayers from the night of Dasami up until the morning of Ekadasi. On the day of Dasami, an announcement was made all over the kingdom. It was announced, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. Everyone must follow this day.”
Rukmangad Maharaja would patrol his vast kingdom on the day of Dasami and have his sentries broadcast the order of following Ekadasi, which also read, “The citizens of my country whose age is between eight and eighty must follow Ekadasi. Those who don’t follow Ekadasi will have themselves kicked out of the kingdom. Or I will have them killed. I consider those who don’t follow the rules and regulations to be my enemies. There is no need for them to live anymore.”
Therefore, all of the citizens were very scared. Regardless of their desire, they diligently followed Ekadasi. By following Ekadasi, they found themselves to be infused with transcendental strength. Indeed, energy from a sublime source permeated their bodies. Hence, they found themselves to be very qualified.
Seeing Citragupta inactive, Yama Maharaja asked him, “Citragupta, why are you not working?”
Citragupta replied, “Maharaja, what need is there for me to work? I haven’t used the pen and paper. I make a note of all the conditioned souls’ actions on an hourly basis and note the name of the culprits down. But presently, they haven’t performed any action contrary to the injunctions of the scriptures; they haven’t done any wrong. They have followed Ekadasi with their strengthened eleven senses. They haven’t been weak and haven’t been led the wrong way. They have not been entangled by any form of misunderstandings and misconceptions. They possess good intelligence. By the mother of devotion-Ekadasi-devi’s mercy, they sincerely practice the limbs of bhakti and follow God. So, how can they enter our abode?”
Yama Maharaja and Citragupta then went to Brahma’s abode to consult with the Grandsire. Yama Maharaja told Brahma, “You have given me service; but now I find myself to be deprived of my service. Now there is no more work to be done, hell is empty. Nobody is coming to hell.”
Ordinary people drag one to hell along with themselves. They tell an unfortunate person, “Hello! Come near me.” They then give him bad advice and have him go to hell as well. But the citizens of Rukmangad Maharaja didn’t practice such inappropriate behavior. Their relationship was only with God. Being completely absorbed in the service of God, they had no time to engage themselves in any harmful acts. Hence, how could they go to hell?
Listening to Yama Maharaja’s dilemma, Brahma thought for a while. Then he himself made a deity. On being brought to life, the deity asked Brahma, “What is my duty?”
Brahma said, “Go to a particular hill station I will direct you to. Once there, reside near a waterfall. You must sing enchantingly. When Rukmangad Maharaja comes near you, you must cheat him.”
On being told to act as such, the deity went on her way. Brahma named her Mohini. Rukmangad Maharaja was now an aged king. He gave his son Dharmangad all responsibility for the kingdom.
He told his son, “I am above sixty years of age; it is time for me to engage in bhajan.” Thus, the king retired to the forest. He went past the asramas of many Rsis and rested in the asrama of Bamadev***. He started a discussion with Bamadeva.
The Rsi told the king, “Ekadasi is the highest vrata. This vrata is topmost; the other vratas pale in comparison. You are very lucky to have followed the vrata your entire life.”
Enchanted by some songs, the king went to the hill station where Mohini resided. He was captured by the picturesque beauty of the water falls and surrounding garden. The sight of a young lady then became the focus of his attention. She was worshiping Siva.
The king asked the lady, “Who are you?”
The lady replied, “I am waiting for Maharaja Rukmangad. I am very happy to see you, O king. Siva has arranged for your association. Indeed, I am very lucky. If you like, you can marry me.”
“Indeed, I like you. You are very nice.”
The king returned to his kingdom with his new bride. His son Dharmangad told him, “I am yuvaraja, the prince, but you are the king. I will do as you like.”
The king would follow all vratas like Kartika vrata and the other vratas. The lady made the king promise to follow her orders. She sternly told him, “If you don’t follow my order, I will leave you at once. I will reject you.”
When Kartika vrata came, the king as always decided to follow the vrata. But, Mohini told the king, “No. There is no need for you to follow the vrata; your previous wife can follow the vrata instead.” The king relented. As Ekadasi drew near, Dharmangad had the servants announce the appearance of Ekadasi-devi on the day of Dasami. But, Mohini told Rukmangad and his son, “You should not follow Ekadasi. You should eat grains.”
Rukmangad said, “No. This is not possible.”
“How can you not follow my words? You have promised to do so. If you break your promise and do not follow my order, you will go to hell.”
“No problem. I will follow Ekadasi if it means that I will have to go to hell.”
“If this is your decision, I will leave you.” As soon as she spoke these words, Mohini started to run away. But Dharmangad intervened and said, “Dear mother, why are you leaving us?”
“The king promised to do as I would tell him to. But he has broken his promise, he chooses to not follow me.”
The king’s first wife then requested Mohini to stay. She said, “In exchange for Maharaja following Ekadasi, you may ask anything else.”
Mohini said, “Yes, I will ask for something else. The king must cut the head of his son Dharmangad, and then I will understand that he is really my follower. He must immediately sever his son’s head from his body.”
Dharmangad then brought a sword and told his father, “Maharaja, it is good that you follow dharma. Your devotion to dharma must be unhindered, even if means that you have to cut my head. Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow; one day, I must leave this body. It is much better that I leave my body for dharma’s sake.”
Supporting her son, the king’s first wife said, “Okay. There is no harm in our son dying a righteous death.”
Mohini was very happy. The king was old and would die anytime soon. Dharmangad was young, so if he would die, everyone in the kingdom would stop following Ekadasi. If one person sets an example and strongly follows all the rules and regulations, then following in his footsteps, everyone will also follow all rules and regulations. Everyone will act under his guidance. But if a strong person departs, everyone will be free to act of their own accord. They will eventually become weak and fall prey to sense enjoyment.
On listening to Mohini’s words, Maharaja Rukmangad thought with great anguish, “Should I follow Ekadasi or cut the head of Dharmangad?”
At that moment, seated on Garuda, Lord Visnu came and took the sword away from Rukmangad’s hands. An earthquake occurred and Mohini fell senseless to the ground. She was terrified. What could she do? She was very shy. Falling at the feet of Rukmangad, she said, “I did wrong. Please forgive me.”
Bitterly weeping, Mohini told the Lord, “Brahma created me. I came to check and test the king’s devotion to Ekadasi. I wanted to determine if the citizens and the king really followed Ekadasi, or if they were using this holy day as an excuse for enjoying sense gratification. I wanted to see if the king’s followers and the king himself had nista, firm belief in Ekadasi. But now that I have been proven wrong, where can I possibly go? Please tell me where I can seek refuge.”
Brahma said, “You may go near those who being in the smarta-marga, follow Ekadasi on the day that coincides with Dasami. You should reside in grains during the day of Ekadasi. You must make people who eat grains on Ekadasi lose all their pious merits.”
You must follow Ekadasi on the day that coincides with Dvadasi. Otherwise, you must not follow Ekadasi on any other day except the designated day. On having her true nature revealed, Mohini was very shy. Except for the places that Brahma told her to reside in, where could she stay? Earlier, Mohini told Rukmangad Maharaja, “You must call all the Brahmins and act according to their instructions. You must follow their orders.”
The king said, “Then they must all be called.”
After having bribed the greedy Brahmins, Mohini told them, “You must tell the king to not follow Ekadasi. You must tell him that married people need not follow Ekadasi. You must tell the king, ‘If the king follows Ekadasi, he will become weak. How can he then protect the kingdom? Married ladies should also not follow Ekadasi. If they do so, how can they serve their husbands? Only widows and old people should follow Ekadasi.’”
On being told to speak as such, the Brahmins assembled before the king and said, “Maharaja, you should not follow Ekadasi.”
Infuriated, the king said, “Are you really Brahmins? You yourselves don’t follow Ekadasi and you dare tell me to do the same! Because of your deceitful nature, you will lose all your power and mantra-sakti.”
After Mohini had bribed the Brahmins, Lord Visnu said, “These Brahmins are enjoyers and against Ekadasi-devi. Hence, they will never get bhakti. They will be smartas, they will only cheat people. They have no nista.”
After Rukmangad, Dharmangad became the king and he made sure that everyone in his kingdom followed the holy day of Ekadasi. Where did Mohini go? She went to the Smarta-Brahmins. The smartas persuade those who have been following Ekadasi for their complete lives, and who are ready to follow Ekadasi even to the last moment of their lives to break their Ekadasi-vrata. They tell them, “You should stop following the Ekadasi-vrata. You need not follow anymore. You may take grains. Otherwise, you will hang yourself and leave your body. Ekadasi-vrata will go with you, and then you will suffer.***” Never give Ekadasi-devi up. You must also follow Urja-vrata.
Therefore, the smartas give instructions contrary to the conclusions of the scriptures; this is Mohini’s program. You must never stop following Ekadasi; you must follow Ekadasi up to the last moment of your lives. These are the rules. Ekadasi-devi is bhakti-janani.
On one side, Mohini cheats the jivas and on another, she feeds the jivas. How?
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’
krsnera ‘tatastha-sakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasa’
Svarupe sabara hoya golokera stiti.
Where have all the jivas come from? They are the eternal servants of Krsna, nitya Krsna dasa. They have come from Krsna. By attaining svarupa-siddhi, the devotees will go to Vraja-mandala and stay there eternally. Now, Mohini cheats the jivas. She tells them, “You are not a Goloka-vasi. You are not nitya Krsna das. You are now an American das; you are an African das; you are a Russian das; you are a European das.”
Krsna gives all the souls permission to follow Ekadasi on a particular day. But depending on their laptops, the conditioned souls tell each other, “Today is not Ekadasi.” They speculate as such even on Ekadasi-devi’s appearance day. Mohini cheats them and they announce, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi; American Ekadasi is tomorrow. The Russian Ekadasi is the day before Ekadasi. Italian Ekadasi is at midnight.” Now, there is a difference of opinion everywhere regarding Ekadasi-devi’s appearance. The computer calculates and determines the appearance day of Ekadasi-devi. Now most people are computer das, or a laptop das. They rather depend on their computers than the scriptures and sadhus.
’krsna-nitya-dasa’—jiva taha bhuli’ gela
ei dose maya tara galaya bandhila
Rather than being Krsna das, the jivas prefer being Maya das and Mohini das. Controlled by Mohini, they tell each other, “Yes, you are American das. Why do you want to be Mayapura das, Gauranga das, or Krsna das?”
Gauranga Mahaprabhu follows Ekadasi today at Mayapura, but you are American das and not Gauranga das. Therefore, you follow Ekadasi tomorrow. If it is Sunday, 1st January, then it will be Sunday, 1st January at all places. But, during Ekadasi, Mohini-devi cheats and bewilders the intelligence of certain devotees. Hence, they speculate and based on their mundane calculations, they say, “No, no. How can it be Sunday, 1st January at all places?” If Ekadasi-devi comes to you on a particular day, how can it be possible for her to appear at different times in different places? Is this calculation logical? This is Mohini-devi’s bogus program. The laptops and computers contain Mohini-devi’s program. But, does Mahaprabhu have no intelligence? Does Ekadasi-devi have no intelligence? It is the duty of the residents of different countries to properly observe Ekadasi. Over the span of fifteen days, she moves all over the world. She appears in not only this brahmanda, she appears in many brahmandas. Which calendar to follow—the sun calendar or the moon calendar? The sun calendar never changes; it is always fixed. The moon calendar is subject to change, but the sun calendar never changes.
Fourteenth January is Sankranti. The month ends on this day. At all places, this day marks the end of the month. This date has been provided by the sun calendar. Any program you can think of runs according to the sun calendar. But, Mohini cheats us now. Her tricks claim not only victims from the overseas; even India is not spared. In India, some people follow Ekadasi tomorrow, while others follow Ekadasi tomorrow. The smartas follow Ekadasi a day before her appearance. There are many rules and regulations. But, this is not good. Realize, “I am Krsna das; I am not Maya das. I am Gauranga das. My svarupa-stiti is in Goloka Vrindavan and Mayapura. I will follow any form of vrata, tapa, japa, and niyam only according to the Mayapura calendar. Otherwise, by following the calendars of Russian das and American das, will I be helped?”
Will they tell you, “Ekadasi is best and good for you?”
Ekadasi-devi announces her appearance day. Krsna and Mahaprabhu always tell us to follow Ekadasi.
Now, I will relate some glories of transcendental Mohini. When the ocean was churned, Mohini-devi appeared to distribute the pot of nectar. She distributed the nectar to only the demigods. She didn’t spare even a drop for the demons. But, Rahu and Ketu took some of this nectar by hiding between the sun and the moon. Although Cakra Sudarsana separated their heads from their bodies, they didn’t die for they had already drunk the nectar. Despite drinking nectar, the fire of anger and jealousy scorched their hearts. Driven by feelings of enviousness, they are always attracted to the proposition of consuming the sun and the moon. They ominously tell the sun and the moon, “Why did you complain against us?”
Mohini gives good things to good people. Once, Siva Thakura asked the Lord, “Oh Prabhu, will You give me darsana of Your Mohini svarupa?”
The Lord said, “No.”
“By looking at Me in My Mohini form, you will be cheated.”
“No, no. I assure You that I will have no problem. I am Siva, bearing the different names of Sankara, Bholanatha, and Ashutosh. I am beyond the control of the senses and mind. I am not bound to Your illusory potency; I am a liberated soul.
But the Lord was adamant. He told Siva, “No, no. You cannot tolerate the form of Mohini.”
Siva was relentless. He repeatedly requested so the Lord was bound to accede to his request. When the Lord displayed His Mohini-svarupa, Siva became pagal, mad. After seeing Mohini, Siva’s cloth of tiger skin fell from his body. The many snakes encircling his neck also fell to the ground. He forgot where he was. Hence, this Mohini-svarupa is very dangerous. But, she always helps the followers of bhakti and the bhaktas. She doesn’t cheat them; but she cheats the deserving.
On this Ekadasi day, she appears and promises to aid the sincere devotees. She states, “Anyone who follows pure Ekadasi will have me descend from Goloka Vrndavan to help them.” How will she help? By following vratas, many demigods from the heavenly realms like Tapaloka, Janarloka, and Maharloka will come to bestow the fruits of your vratas. In exchange for the performance of vratas, they promise enjoyment in Svarga-loka. The demigods will tell you, “We will give you health and wealth. We will make you enjoy. I will steal all your diseases away. I will give you many things.” Then what will you do? Mohini-devi will protect you from the advancing demigods. She bewilders many by her illusion.
Siva Thakura blessed Bhasmasura with a boon. Bhasmasura told Lord Siva, “I want a boon where anyone’s head on which I put my hand on will be burnt to ashes.”
Siva Thakura said, “Yes. So be it.”
The demon then approached Siva and said, “I want to place my hand on your head first.” Siva became afraid and ran from the demon.
Lord Siva thought, “Who can protect me?”
He ran to Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu asked, “What is the problem?”
“A demon is trying to kill me!”
“I gave him a boon.”
“What kind of boon?”
“I gave him a boon by which anyone’s head on which he places his hand on will be burnt to ashes. Hence, he says, ‘I will test to see if your boon is true. So, I will place my hand on your head.’”
Lord Visnu said, “Do you know why he wants to kill you?”
Lord Siva replied, “I don’t know.”
“He wants to kill you, just so he can have Parvati for himself.”
“Oh I never knew of his real intentions. How did You know? Please fight with this demon.”
Lord Visnu then assumed His Mohini-svarupa and approached the demon. She danced enchantingly and caught the attention of Bhasmasura.
Bhasmasura told Mohini, “I like you.”
“I like you too.”
Bhasmasura was completely bewildered by Mohini-devi’s dance. He told her, “I like your dancing.”
She said, “Yes. I will teach you how to dance. Then you can also dance alongside me.”
“Yes, please teach me.”
“But why are you running around disturbed?”
The demon replied, “Siva Thakura, Bholanatha gave me a certain boon. By his boon, anyone’s head on which I put my hand on will be burnt to ashes.”
Mohini said beguilingly, “Siva Thakura is crazy. But are you crazy as well? Do you not have a head yourself? Yes? Then why don’t you test to see if Siva’s boon is true by touching your own head?”
“Yes, I do have a head. I will act accordingly.”
Saying thus, the demon touched his head and his bead burnt to ashes. Therefore, Mohini places those who are against God and His devotees in illusion. She helps those who tread the transcendental path of devotion. In another form, she steals, cheats, and kills the wicked. Therefore, she is called Mohini.
On this Ekadasi-day, if a person desiring to serve God follows bhakti’s rules, then it will not be possible for anyone to come near him and cheat him. Mohini Maya protects the devotees. She cheats others, but she will not cheat the followers of Ekadasi; this is her promise to God.
Visnu’s external potency, Bahiranga sakti, bribes the jivas and cheats them by offering them her gifts. She steals their good fortune away. But, Mohini-devi says, “I will not cheat the devotees; I will always protect them. I will cheat others, but I will never cheat Ekadasi-devi’s followers. I will never cheat the Lorld’s bhaktas. I will protect His dependents from the influence of His external potency.” An instance of her able protection is when she protected Lord Siva from Bhasmasura.
Siva Thakura follows Ekadasi, Parvati follows Ekadasi. Nanda Baba and Yasoda mata also follow Ekadasi. The Vraja-devis follow Ekadasi. Indeed, everyone inclined to the service of the Lord follow Ekadasi. Hence, Ekadasi-devi cheats the smartas in her Mohini-svarupa. She cheats the pandits, but she never cheats the bhaktas. Hence, Ekadasi-devi always protects us. In her Mohini-svarupa, she never cheats or steals us away from the service of the Lord. You must know that this life is very valuable; you must be very serious. It is not possible to follow this vrata for many lives.
We will hear more in the evening.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]