Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅgau Jayataḥ Mādhava-tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī) Collected from the instructions, lectures and books of our Guru-pāda-padma Tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja and other important Ācāryas Śrī Bhakti-prajñāna Gauḍīya Vedānta University Publication 2 • Our preaching centers in South India Publisher -Tridaṇḍi-svāmī Bhaktivedānta Daṇḍī Mahārāja Our preaching centers in South India (1) Śrī Ranganātha Gauḍīya Maṭha, Hesarghatta, Bangalore. (Karnāṭaka). Pin: 560088. Telephone: (080) 28466760 Mobile: 9379447895, 7829378386. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com (2) Śrī Bālājī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Śrī Gajānana Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana Mandira, Satyanārāyaṇa Pūram Circle, Tirupati. (A.P.) Pin: 517501 Mobile: 801943668 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (3) Śrī Gaura-nārāyaṇa Gauḍīya Maṭha, R. C. Colony-3, Sindhanur, District: Raichur. Pin:584143 (Karnāṭaka). Mobile: 7676308925. 9019265296. Websites: purebhakti.com, sreeranganthgaudiya.org Printer: O. S. Prints, 48/Y, 59th Cross, 14th Main, 3rd Block, Near Bhasyam Circle, Rajajinagar, Bangalore-560010. (Karnāṭaka) Mobile: 9845320921 Telefax: 41731313 The wonderful picture on the front page is by Śrīmatī Bakulā dīdī. Special thanks to the devotees whose art, photographs, articles and translations are used in this book. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 3 Table of Contents Our preaching centers in South India.................................................2 Preface................................................................................................7 Importance of Ekādaśī........................................................................9 Ekādaśī-kathā (ekādaśī story)..........................................................12 Story of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja.............................................................14 Story of King Rukmāṅgada..............................................................17 Ekādaśī Tattva...................................................................................19 List of the days of ekādaśī...........................................................21 Mahā-dvādaśī...............................................................................22 Proper process for following ekādaśī...............................................27 More Details of ekādaśī....................................................................27 Foodstuffs that are suitable on ekādaśī.............................................28 Rules for breaking the ekādaśī fast...................................................28 Ekādaśī Kīrtana................................................................................28 List of the lectures delivered by Śrīla Gurudeva in India and foreign countries on the topic of ekādaśī......................................................33 The scientific reason behind not taking grains on ekādaśī...............34 The Vow of Ekādaśī..........................................................................34 The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family..................................................38 It Is Not A Day—It Is Kṛṣṇa.............................................................45 Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires........................................................51 Anu-kalpa.........................................................................................60 Restricted foods on ekādaśī:........................................................60 Foods that can be taken on ekādaśī..............................................61 Important Letter about ekādaśī.........................................................61 Stories and Anecdotes about Ekādaśī...............................................65 Deliverance of a brahma-rākṣasa................................................65 Spiritual Lottery...........................................................................66 Old lady and her husband.............................................................66 Safe Delivery................................................................................67 Remote Relief..............................................................................67 Two Muslim brothers...................................................................68 Ekādaśī Māhātmya............................................................................71 Introduction..................................................................................71 4 • Our preaching centers in South India The Purāṇic glories of Ekādaśī.........................................................78 Utpannā Ekādaśī...............................................................................78 Mokṣadā Ekādaśī..............................................................................82 Saphalā Ekādaśī................................................................................83 Putradā Ekādaśī................................................................................85 Ṣaṭ-tilā Ekādaśī.................................................................................87 Jayā Ekādaśī.....................................................................................89 Significance.............................................................................89 Significance of bathing in river in the month of Māgha.........90 Vijayā Ekādaśī..................................................................................94 Āmalakī Ekādaśī...............................................................................96 Pāpamocanī Ekādaśī.........................................................................99 Kāmadā Ekādaśī.............................................................................102 Varuthinī Ekādaśī............................................................................105 Mohinī Ekādaśī...............................................................................107 Aparā Ekādaśī.................................................................................110 Nirjalā Ekādaśī................................................................................112 Yoginī Ekādaśī................................................................................114 Significance...........................................................................114 Story......................................................................................115 Śayana Ekādaśī...............................................................................117 Kāmikā Ekādaśī..............................................................................122 Significance...........................................................................122 Practice..................................................................................122 Pavitrā Ekādaśī...............................................................................124 Annadā Ekādaśī..............................................................................127 Pārśva Ekādaśī................................................................................129 Indirā Ekādaśī.................................................................................130 Pāśāṅkuśā Ekādaśī..........................................................................133 Significance...........................................................................133 Quotes from Scriptures..........................................................133 Ramā Ekādaśī.................................................................................135 Utthāna Ekādaśī..............................................................................139 Padminī Ekādaśī.............................................................................141 Parama Ekādaśī..............................................................................144 The glories of ekādaśī in Garga Saṁhitā........................................147 Eight Mahā-dvādaśīs......................................................................152 Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 5 Important Information....................................................................154 One should not perform śrāddha on ekādaśī........................154 All women must fast on ekādaśī...........................................154 Nanda Mahārāja used to observe ekādaśī ............................155 Important Scriptural Injunctions...........................................155 Keeping the Ekādaśī Vow.....................................................155 The Spiritual Master follows Ekādaśī...................................157 The day of ekādaśī is superior to even Janmāṣtamī..............158 One must not pluck Tulasī leaves on dvādaśī day................158 Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava........................................159 Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva..................................................167 Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa...............................................183 The science behind the Ekādaśī fast...............................................199 Scientific Explanation of Ekādaśī Benefits...............................200 Scientific Importance of observing a fast on Ekādaśī................204 Health Benefits...........................................................................206 6• The bodily urges are also of three types: the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals. Vehemence of the tongue appears when the desire to enjoy any of the six distinct tastes impels one to eat prohibited foods and to take intoxicants. A bhakti-sādhaka must never indulge in these things. One should carefully keep the urge of the tongue at bay by taking the remnants of Bhagavān and the devotees. The urge of the belly will also be pacified by taking bhagavat-prasāda as needed, by regularly observing Ekādaśī and by serving Kṛṣṇa. It is possible to fall into varieties of bad behavior and bad association just to satisfy the desires of the tongue. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 6.227) states: “jīhvāra lālase yei iti uti dhāya, śiśnodara-parāyaṇa kṛṣṇa nāhi pāya” one who runs here and there trying to satisfy his tongue and who is always devoted to the desires of the genitals and belly cannot attain Kṛṣṇa." Also (Antyalīlā 6.236): "bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe” “do not eat delicious food and do not dress opulently." Many troubles come from overeating. A person who eats too much becomes a servant of his agitated genitals. In other words, he becomes devoid of character. The agitation of the genitals, or the desire to meet with the opposite sex, drags the mind towards material sense objects and therefore renders one incapable of cultivating pure bhakti. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 7 Preface We are feeling great bliss in publishing the book “Mādhava-tithi (Glories of ekādaśī)” in the English language. Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja has written the introduction to this book. The main contents of this book are based on the lectures of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja. We have included some additional information such as the foods that permitted on the day of ekādaśī and the foods that are prohibited. The goal of this small book is to introduce the importance of observing the fast on the day of ekādaśī. Many devotees in India and abroad have been observing fast on the ekādaśī. However some of them take sābudāṇā (tapioca) khicari or bhagara (varaī kā cāvala). This is unacceptable. As such as there is no fault in the boiled tapioca root being offered to the Lord and accepting as anukalpa (substitute food) on the day of ekādaśī. However the process of preparing tapioca granules involves adulteration with cow-bone powder and maidā (fine wheat flour). Even the packaged milk is adulterated with the okra (ladies finger) juice in order to increase the fat content. Sugar is crystallized with the cow-bone powder. It is better have jaggery or gur (unprocessed sugar) on the day of ekādaśī. Many Vaiṣṇavas avoid cleansing the teeth on the day of ekādaśī and simply rinse the mouth with water 21 times. However, powdered mixture 100 grams of alum, 50 grams of ekādaśī salt (saindhava) and 2 spoons of turmeric (made from roots) can make a wonderful tooth-powder that is suitable for ekādaśī. Generally speaking even the packaged turmeric is also adulterated with maidā. So it is best to prepare turmeric powder at home itself from the turmeric root. Using the soaps and shampoos marketed by big companies may pose a problem on the day of ekādaśī as they may contain egg yolk, animal fats etc. Herbal shampoo made from 1 liter (0.3 gal) filtered water, juice of 20 lemons, 2 spoons of shikakāi, 2 spoons of soap nut powder (rīṭhā) and 1 spoon of āmalā powder can be safely used. 8 • Preface Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja gave many concessions to the western devotees regarding the observance of the ekādaśī fast. However now one should adhere to the strict Gauḍīya Maṭha standards in order to receive the complete benefit of the vow of ekādaśī. The sahajiyā section of devotees do not like to fast on the day of ekādaśī. They go on satisfying their senses even on the day of ekādaśī. However Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda did not like this mentality. In Madhva sampradāya temples, the pujārī (priest) may offer you a tulasī leaf that is offered to the Lord on the day of ekādaśī. However that leaf is meant to be kept on the ear or on the head. One must on eat the tulasī leaf on the ekādaśī. This books also contains some real experiences in the lives of the devotees. Reading these experiences will certainly enhance the faith of the readers in the vow of ekādaśī. We thank Śrīmatī Jānakī dīdī, Śrī Oṁ Prakāśa Brajavāsī “Sahitya-ratna”, Śrī Keśava Dāsa (Canada), Śrīpāda Bhaktivedānta Tridaṇḍī Mahārāja, Śrīpāda Bhaktivedānta Viṣṇudaivata Mahārāja, Śrīmatī Bakulā dīdī, Śrīmatī Śyāmarāṇī dīdī and the editorial team, Bhaktivedānta Book Trust, Śrī Phanindra Mankale, Śrīmatī Harshala Rajesh, Śrī Avadhūta Dāsa for their valuable help in publishing this book. We hope that more and more devotees will start fasting on the day of ekādaśī by reading this book. Śrī Rādhāṣtamī, September 21, 2015. Dr. Bhaktivedānta Danḍī Mahārāja B.Sc. (Hons), B. E. (IISc. Bangalore). M. S. (IIT Chennai) D. Sc. (Washington University) Śrī Ranganātha Gauḍīya Maṭha, Hesarghatta, Bangalore—560088, India Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 9 Importance of Ekādaśī (by Tridaṇḍi-svāmī Śrī Śrīmad-Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja) The seventh edition of the book Śrī ekādaśī-vrata-kathā has been published by Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. This book has been compiled from various Purāṇas and from the king of all of the Vaiṣṇava smṛtis, Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa. Nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti-prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja has reestablished Śrī Caitanya Pañjikā (calendar), published by Śrī Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. In the introductions, he has given some instructions under the title Gauḍīyera Kṛṭya (Bhāgavata-dharma) which dovetail with the ideology of Jagadguru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who embodies the ideal of Śrī Caitanya Pañjikā. He has provided special orders regarding following the vows of the days of Lord Hari such as ekādaśī’, and regarding saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-grahaṇa(vow to chant the holy name daily a certain number of times).Following the vow of ekādaśī is mentioned among the sixty-four ways of executing devotional service. Therefore, all qualified personalities have accepted the truth and usefulness of following the vow of ekādaśī in order to attain devotional service to Hari. It is mentioned in the Purāṇas that the beloved day of ekādaśī can fulfill all of the desires of every human being. By following this vow all sins are destroyed, one achieves all of the goals of human life, and one is able to please Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The following are four well-known considerations regarding the vow of ekādaśī: observing it pleases Bhagavān; it is based on scriptural injunctions; it imposes restrictions on taking meals; and failing to follow it results in offenses accruing. The vow of ekādaśī is very dear to Śrī Hari. Anyone who observes this vow with devotion, whether a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiṣya, śudra, woman, or man, will attain liberation and association with Bhagavān. It is essential for everyone to fast on ekādaśī. A person seeking the full benefit of the fasting will refrain from dinner the night before ekādaśī, from all meals the day of ekādaśī, and from dinner the night after ekādaśī. All sins such as brahma- 10 • Importance of Ekādaśī hatyā enter grains on the day of fasting. Therefore, one who eats the five types of grains (barley, paddy, mustard, black grams, sesame, etc.) during ekādaśī accepts all types of sins and is counted among the sinners such as the killers of a mother, father, brother, or spiritual master. For brahmacārīs (celibate students under the care of a bona fide spiritual master), gṛhasthas (householder devotees),vānaprasthas (those retired from family life), and yatis (renounced persons), eating restricted foodstuffs on ekādaśī is like eating beef. There is a prescribed system for liberating drunkards, thieves, and killers of brāhmaṇas, but there is no provision for protecting persons who eat grains on ekādaśī. One who does so will go to hell along with one’s forefathers. It is also unlawful for one to insist that anyone else eat restricted foodstuffs on the day of Lord Hari. A widow who takes grains on ekādaśī loses all of her pious merit, and persons included in all of the social and spiritual classes (sarva-varṇī and sarvāśramī) who do so, like renounced persons (yati) and chaste, married women (satī),are also destined to languish in the hell called andha-tāmisra. One who observes with faith fasting on the days of ekādaśī that fall in both fortnights of a month, along with one’s family members, will attain devotion for Bhagavān and reach the ultimate abode. One must maintain the vow of ekādaśī even in times of great adversity and during the period of impurity following the birth or death of a family member. If the occasional day of offering oblations to the forefathers (naimittika-śrāddha) falls on ekādaśī, one should fast on that day and then conduct śrāddha on dvādaśī (twelfth day of the fortnight, or day after ekādaśī). One must never perform śrāddha on the day of ekādaśī because the demigods and elevated forefathers never accept such condemned food. If one does perform śrāddha on ekādaśī, the person who makes the offering, the enjoyer of the offering, and the departed soul, all have to go to hell. It is the duty of all human beings between the ages of eight and eighty, including those who are weak, to fast on the ekādaśī of both the bright and dark fortnights. Lord Śiva told Pārvatī-devī, “If a wicked sinner who eats grains on the day of Lord Hari (hari-vāsara) tries to take shelter of devotional service to me, I will not accept him.” If a wife observes the vow of ekādaśī for the Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 11 benefit of her husband, she is entitled to one-hundred-times more pious merit. Children, elderly people, and those suffering from a bodily or mental disease may follow ekādaśī by eating only once at night, or by consuming milk, fruit, and roots. Ekādaśī has appeared for the protection of all living entities, just like a mother protects her babies, and like medicine protects a sick person. Blessed and intelligent are those who follow the vow of ekādaśī after obtaining the rare human form of life in this world that is so full of diseases. If one abandons the vow of ekādaśī for some other vow, one loses the jewel he had in his hand and replaces it with a worthless pebble. Simply by fasting on the ekādaśī of both fortnights, one attains devotion for Bhagavān and achieves the topmost destination. One should not give up the vow of ekādaśī even during times of calamity or impurity. One can become free from this distressful material world by fasting on ekādaśī and worshiping Janārdana. Sinful people bitten by the snake of material existence will become happy and peaceful by fasting on ekādaśī. One receives the highest benefit by completely fasting from all food and water. One undergoes atonement and is delivered from material existence by remembering Govinda and fasting on ekādaśī. The vow of ekādaśī is the best among all religious observances and is very dear to the Lord of the universe, who is the shelter of all happiness, religion, and transcendental qualities. Those who faithfully observe this vow are eligible to go to Vaikuṇṭha. One becomes free from all sins and achieves the highest goal by hearing narrations about the observance of ekādaśī, by observing ekādaśī, or by giving faith to others to follow ekādaśī. Only this day of Hari, and not pious activities such as giving charity, performing austerities, or visiting holy places, can bestow liberation. Those dedicated to ekādaśī are worshipable everywhere, and for them there is no fear of disease, troubles, jealousy, depression, nor anxiety because they always remember Śrī Hari. Such persons attain spotless devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa because they have taste for hari-kathā and the pure intelligence to recognize their eternal religious duties. ekādaśī is the embodiment of pious merit, the destroyer of sins, the encourager of devotion to Viṣṇu, and the bestower of the 12 • Importance of Ekādaśī topmost spiritual destination. The Supreme Lord of the universe has personally manifested in the form of ekādaśī; ekādaśī is a potency emanating from Lord Viṣṇu that is unlimited and that pervades the entire universe. One should accept only the vow of pure ekādaśī and should reject aruṇodaya-viddhā or daśamī-viddhā ekādaśī (ekādaśī polluted by daśamī). ekādaśī mixed with daśamī is considered to be contaminated with all of the sins of the three worlds. Demons and atheists take shelter of ekādaśī mixed with daśamī; Bhagavān bestows the desired result only on one who fasts on ekādaśī connected with dvādaśī. ekādaśī that is polluted by daśamī is not considered hari-vāsara. Thus, one should perform pāraṇa (breaking the fast) on trayodaśī. Jagadguru Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung: mādhava-tithi bhaktijananī, yatane pālana kari. Yatane pālana kari means that one should reject this polluted (viddhā) ekādaśī. ekādaśī has many names, and there are eight great dvādaśīs with different names. This book includes many histories and details related to ekādaśī, and there is no doubt that it will be very helpful for those who choose to follow ekādaśī. The appendix includes a description of the eight great dvādaśīs’, a song about the duties on the day of ekādaśī and further glorification of ekādaśī. These additions will provide further insight and appreciation for followers of this vow. Our service and efforts in making this book will be meaningful if readers follow this vow and attain devotion to Bhagavān. What more can we say; it is our humble entreaty that if readers find any shortcomings or omissions in this book due to our inattention, out of kindness they will let us know so that the book can be corrected. Alaṁ iti vistareṇa (let this be enough). Ekādaśī-kathā (ekādaśī story) eka dina mātṛ-pade kariyā praṇāma prabhu kahe–mātā, mohe deha eka dāna One day Śrī Gaurasundara offered obeisances at the feet of Mother Śacī and requested, “Mother, please grant Me a wish.” mātā bale–tāhi diba, tumi yā māṅgibe prabhu kahe–ekādaśīte anna nā khāibe Mother Śacī replied, “I will give You just what You ask Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 13 for.” The Lord said, “Mother, do not eat grains on ekādaśī.” śacī kahe–nā khāiba, bhāla kahilā sei haite ekādaśī karite lāgilā Mother Śacī replied, “You have spoken very nicely. I shall not eat grains on that day.” From that day onwards, Mother Śacī observed ekādaśī. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 15.8,9,10) By this incident with His mother, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is instructing every living entity to observe the vow of ekādaśī. Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (12.7) states: ekādaśī vrata nāma viṣṇu prīti kāraṇam, which means that one develops love and affection for Śrī Viṣṇu by following this vow. Therefore, another name for ekādaśī is hari-vāsara, or ‘the day of Lord Hari’. As far as fruitive vows, one may observe them and receive the desired results, and one does not incur any sin or offense by not observing such a vow. On the other hand, by following ekādaśī one achieves devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and if one does not follow it, one commits an offense and thus devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa will not manifest in one’s heart. Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said: mādhava tithi bhakti-jananī yatane pālana kari kṛṣṇa vasati, vasati bali parama ādara vari Knowing that Mādhava-tithi (ekādaśī) gives birth to devotion and Kṛṣṇa directly resides in this day, I carefully accept and observe this day with great respect. “For Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the day of ekādaśī is superior to even Janmāṣtamī. The Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of all auspiciousness, manifests in this world in the form of Mādhava-tithi or ekādaśī. The potency of Viṣṇu, which takes innumerable forms, has appeared as the most auspicious day of ekādaśī in order to bestow all types of auspiciousness on the living entities.” (from a lecture by Oṁ Viṣṇupāda ŚrīmadBhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja) Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes how Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s father, Śrī Nanda Mahārāja, used to fast on ekādaśī. ekādaśyāṁ nirāhāraḥ samabhyarcya janārdanam snātuṁ nandas tu kālindyāṁ dvādaśyāṁ jalam āviśat Śrī Śukadeva said, “O Parīkṣit, Nanda Mahārāja fasted on the day of ekādaśī in the bright fortnight of Kārtika month and worshiped Bhagavān Janāradana, and then he entered the 14 • Ekādaśī-kathā (ekādaśī story) water of Yamunā to take bath during the dvādaśī-tithi.” Story of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja The ninth canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes the pastime in which Śrī Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, a pure devotee, strictly observed ekādaśī by not taking any food and then breaking the fast at the proper time. By honoring ekādaśī, Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was protected from the powerful curse of a brāhmaṇa. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was very fortunate. He was a great admirer of Bhagavān as well as a generous and virtuous soul. Although he was the sovereign ruler of the Earth, he was not attached to his wealth and opulence. Rather, he was attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His loving devotees. He always engaged his mind in thinking about the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; his speech in glorifying the qualities of Bhagavān; his hands in cleaning the temple of Lord Hari; and his ears in hearing about the auspicious pastimes of Bhagavān Acyuta and His devotees. One day he went to Madhuvana in Mathurā with his wife and accepted the regulative principle of observing ekādaśī which gives prominence to dvādaśī. To complete the vow in the next month of Kārtika, he fasted on three nights– the two nights before ekādaśī, and the night of ekādaśī. After taking bath in the Yamunā River, he lavishly worshiped Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and gave his subjects cows, delicious bhagavat-prasāda (food offered to the Supreme Lord), and other types of charity. When the time neared for him to end his fast, Durvāsā Ṛṣi, who has a very angry nature, arrived there. Durvāsā Ṛṣi was very proud of his austerities, his status as a brāhmaṇa, and his great mystic powers. The king greeted him and offered obeisances at his feet, and then requested that he accept food. Durvāsā accepted the invitation, but before eating he went to the banks of the Yamunā River to bathe. He became fully absorbed in meditation on the Supreme Lord. On this particular day of dvādaśī, the period for breaking the fast was only a muhūrta(forty-eight minutes) and the time was running out. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, who knew all religious principles, became concerned and discussed the situation with the brāhmaṇas. He concluded, “It is improper if a host eats a meal Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 15 when his brāhmaṇa guest is not present, as well as if one does not break the fast during the period of dvādaśī. Therefore, I will break the fast by drinking the foot-bath water of the Deity of Bhagavān. The śrutis say that if one drinks such water, in one sense it is eating, and in another sense it is not eating.” Considering this, Ambarīṣa Mahārāja broke his fast by drinking the foot-bath water of Bhagavān’s Deity, and then he waited for Durvāsā Ṛṣi to return. While taking bath, Durvāsā understood through mystic meditation (dhyāna-yoga) that the king had broken his fast by drinking holy water. He became very angry, and when he returned to the palace he said to the king, “You are an imposter! Bhagavān Himself respects the brāhmaṇas, but you have disrespected me. You thought that it would be suitable to drink water to end your fast while I was gone, but you did not consider that this would be an offense to a brāhmaṇa. I must punish you for this.” Burning with anger, Durvāsā pulled out one of his dreadlocks and mystically conjured from it the demon Kṛtyā order to kill Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. This demon, which resembled the flames at the time of the cosmic annihilation, moved quickly towards Ambarīṣa Mahārāja with a sword in its hand. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja did not move or attempt to save himself; he simply placed his palms together and remained peaceful. Śrī Bhagavān, who is affectionate to His surrendered devotees and always protects them, immediately dispatched His Sudarśana-cakra to save Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, and the demon Kṛtyā was burned to ashes. After destroying Kṛtyā, Sudarśana-cakra advanced towards Durvāsā. As he ran for his life, he could feel the heat of the cakra, but it did not burn him. Despite all of his efforts, Durvāsā could not evade the cakra, which continued to chase him. He ran all over the universe, including to the cave of Mount Sumeru, the planetary systems such as atala and vitala that are headed by the various lokapālas (rulers of the planets), and the heavenly realm. Wherever he went, the cakra, with its blinding effulgence, continued pursuing him. Becoming desperate, he sought protection from Brahmā. Brahmā told him, “I do not have the authority to stop this cakra.” Frustrated, Durvāsā left and went for help to Śaṅkara, who said, “I also cannot save you; only the owner of this cakra can 16 • Story of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja protect you.” Exhausted, Durvāsā went to the topmost abode of Vaikuṇṭha and fell at the feet of Śrī Bhagavān. Trembling, Durvāsā pleaded, “O Acyuta, O Ananta, O brahmaṇya-deva (Lord and benefactor of brāhmaṇas),O Prabhu, please save me from Your cakra!” Śrī Bhagavān replied, “O brāhmaṇa, You addressed me as brahmaṇya-deva, but I am unable to protect you. I am dependent on My devotees (ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno); they love Me very much, and I love them. I do not have even slight independence from them, so I cannot help you.” Durvāsā said, “O brahmaṇya-deva, I am a high-class brāhmaṇa, so why are You neglecting Me? You are indeed the protector of brāhmaṇas. Śrī Bhagavān replied, “You tried to burn and kill my devotee, and now you expect Me to protect you? How can I protect an enemy of My devotee? My devotees have given up attachment to their families and wealth. O brāhmaṇa, what have you given up for Me? You summoned Kṛtyā to kill Ambarīṣa, and now you are running all over the universe seeking help from Brahmā and Śiva.” Durvāsā said, “If I have committed an offense to your devotee, this is also an offense to Your feet. Please forgive me.” Śrī Bhagavān said, “If a thorn gets stuck in one’s foot, one cannot remove it from one’s head. You must go to Ambarīṣa and ask him for forgiveness.” Durvāsā replied, “You are finding fault with me, but what about Ambarīṣa? I was his guest but he took water before me, and in this way he disrespected me.” Śrī Bhagavān said angrily, “Ambarīṣa was observing ekādaśī to please Me. He accepted caraṇāmṛta (foot-bath water from the Deity), which should not be considered as eating.” Durvāsā asked, “What is more important—to break the ekādaśī fast on time, or to give proper respect to the brāhmaṇas?” Agitated, Bhagavān replied, “Go and ask Ambarīṣa. You are ignorant of the truths of the religious scriptures. I do not have time to answer your foolish questions. Śrūti, which contains My words, says that drinking caraṇāmṛta can be considered as both taking a meal and not taking a meal. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 17 According to this, Ambarīṣa respected both you and dvādaśī. Not knowing this, you became angry. Go to him; I cannot forgive you, but he will.” After hearing Bhagavān’s order, Durvāsā, who was still feeling the heat of the Sudarśana–cakra, returned to the palace and said to Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, “O king, please protect me from the intolerable heat of this cakra.” Mahārāja Ambarīṣa felt compassion for Durvāsā, and he began to glorify the cakra. Due to the prayers and glorification by Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, the cakra became pacified and withdrew. Relieved from fear of the cakra, Durvāsā became tranquil and began to praise Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, offering many blessings to him. One year had elapsed from the time the Sudarśana-cakra began chasing Durvāsā to the time he returned to the palace. During that entire period, Ambarīṣa Mahārāja only drank water and hoped that Durvāsā would return unharmed. Now, the king fed Durvāsā a meal according to the religious principles, and Durvāsā was satisfied. After Durvāsā finished eating and left, the king ate his food remnants. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja could understand that it was only due to the mercy of Bhagavān that Durvāsā experienced all this trouble, and was then freed from it. Durvāsā Ṛṣi contemplated, “Although I am a great brahmavādī brāhmaṇa1, Sudarśana-cakra chased me all over the universe. I could not save myself, nor could anyone else give me shelter. This certainly shows the power of the vow of ekādaśī.”Then Durvāsā went to Tapoloka to preach this truth. Story of King Rukmāṅgada The Purāṇas describe King Rukmāṅgada, who was devoted to Bhagavān and who strictly followed the vow of ekādaśī. He also made his subjects follow ekādaśī through a royal decree. Due to this order of the king, all of his subjects became spiritually purified. Thus, when they died they went to the 1 A brāhmaṇa who meditates on brahma-tattva (the impersonal truth). Such a brāhmaṇa does not deny the personal form of Bhagavān as do the nirviśeṣa kevala-advaita-vādīs. By the association of advanced devotees brahma-vādīs can be converted into personalists. 18 • Story of King Rukmāṅgada spiritual realm of Vaikuṇṭha, and the hellish abode of Yamarāja became more and more empty. Yamarāja and his assistant Citragupta, who keeps account of the pious and impious activities of the people, went with Devarṣī Nārada to see Brahmā and inform him of the situation. Brahmā understood the difficulty faced by Yamarāja, and after reflecting for sometime he created a very beautiful woman. He gave her the name Mohinī, and ordered her to enchant King Rukmāṅgada with her beauty and charm. Mohinī approached the kingdom and began to sing in a sweet voice. At that time the king, who was riding a horse and looking after his subjects, heard her wonderful singing. Even animals and birds were attracted to that lovely sound. The curious king approached and saw the very beautiful, faircomplexioned damsel Mohinī. Enchanted by her beauty and voice, he proposed marriage to her. Mohinī said, “I am the daughter of Brahmā. I heard about your fame and good reputation, and wanted you as my husband. Thus, I was praying to Lord Śiva through my song. My condition for marrying you is that you promise to do whatever I ask.” Placing his hand on hers, the king vowed, “O Mohinī, I will fulfill all of your wishes.” The king returned to his capital with Mohinī. He put his son Dharmāṅgada in charge of the kingdom and lived with her. Many years passed, and while he lived happily with Mohinī, he never disrespected the vow of ekādaśī. When the king developed a desire to follow the vow of Kārtika, he asked Mohinī for permission to do so. At that time the king heard the proclamation made by his son: “Tomorrow is ekādaśī tithi, and all subjects must follow it.” The king said to Mohinī, “At your request I have appointed the senior queen Sandhyāvalī to observe the vow of Kārtika; however, I will personally observe the vow of ekādaśī. You should also follow this vow with me.” Mohinī reminded the king that he had promised to fulfill all of her desires. The king said, “I will certainly do whatever you want.” Mohinī replied, “I want you to forget about ekādaśī and have lunch with me.” The king replied, “Mohinī, you should not ask me to break my vow; I shall fulfill all of your other desires. I have personally preached about observing Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 19 ekādaśī, so how can I break that vow?” Mohinī became very angry and said with ridicule, “If you do not break the vow, your promise to me will be broken and you will go to hell. I will leave you.” Then Dharmāṅgada arrived and Mohinī explained to him what was going on. Dharmāṅgada insisted that his father obey his stepmother Mohinī. King Rukmāṅgada became very frustrated and said, “Mohinī may stay or go; she may live or die, but I will not fail to observe ekādaśī.” Dharmāṅgada went to his mother Sandhyāvalī and requested that she try to persuade Mohinī to change her mind. However, despite Sandhyāvalī’s best efforts, Mohinī remained insistent. Mohinī said, “If the king does not eat lunch on ekādaśī, he should chop off the head of his dear son and offer it to me.” Hearing this, Sandhyāvalī began to tremble. After regaining her composure, she said, “O king, honoring your religious duties is more important than your son’s life. As his mother I have even more affection for him than you do; however, I would rather give up that affection than see you neglect your religious duties by breaking your vow. So, you should give up your affection and sense of possessiveness towards your son, and sacrifice him.” Then Prince Dharmāṅgada put a sharp sword in the king’s hand and said, “O father, please do not delay; please kill me to protect your vow.” Mohinī told the king, “Either eat food on ekādaśī or kill your son.” The king lifted the sword and Dharmāṅgada was ready to sacrifice his life. The Earth began to tremble and great waves arose in the oceans. At that very moment, Bhagavān Śrī Hari manifested there and took the sword from the king’s hands. Lord Hari said, “O king, I am greatly satisfied by your determination to observe ekādaśī. You, your wife, and your son will go to the spiritual kingdom of Vaikuṇṭha.” Śrī Hari blessed the king with a touch and then disappeared. Ekādaśī Tattva Padma Purāṇa describes a conversation between Śrī Vyāsadeva and Jaiminī Ṛṣi. Śrī Vyāsadeva explained that once, Puruṣottama Śrī Bhagavān rode His carrier Garuḍa to 20 • Ekādaśī Tattva Yamapurī, the abode of Yamarāja. While speaking with Yamarāja, Śrī Bhagavān heard crying and asked for an explanation. Yamarāja replied, “O Lord, the sinful mortal living entities are crying out and suffering in hell due to their sinful activities.”Śrī Kṛṣṇa approached those living entities, and His heart melted with compassion upon seeing them. He thought, “I created these living entities, so I must devise a way to remove their sins.” Thinking in this way, He personally assumed the form of the day of ekādaśī. He made all of those sinful personalities observe the vow of ekādaśī. As a result, they became free from their sins and they went to the transcendental abode of Vaikuṇṭha. Śrī Vyāsadeva told Jaiminī that he should certainly know ekādaśī to be a manifestation of Viṣṇu, and that ekādaśī is the best among all pious activities and vows. Once, the merciful Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa thought, “Having forgotten Me, the living entities are suffering from distress and afflictions; they are fallen and helpless. How can I save them?” Thinking like this, He personally accepted the form of the day of ekādaśī, which became known as Mādhava-tithi. On ekādaśī, Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes to the Earth and bestows special mercy upon the living entities who follow this vow. After some time, the pāpa-puruṣa (personification of sin) went to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and humbly prayed with folded hands:“Since You created ekādaśī, which destroys all sins, I have become weak because I cannot influence those who follow this vow. Who will give me shelter now so that I can survive? O Keśava, please protect me from fear of this day of ekādaśī!” Śrī Bhagavān laughed and replied, “On the day of ekādaśī, which purifies the three worlds, you should reside in the five types of grains (wheat, barley, paddy or rice, uḍada and other types of lentils or pulses, mustard, sesame, etc.). This will be your shelter.” People who eat grains on ekādaśī ingest horrible sins such as brahma-hatyā, and they must go to hell along with their forefathers. One should not give grains in charity on ekādaśī, nor should one encourage others to eat grains on that day; otherwise, one becomes a partner in that sin. The vow of ekādaśī is eternal and should always be Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 21 followed. One should not accept that vow sometimes and not at other times because observing it gives happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda explained that observing ekādaśī is an essential limb of devotional service. ekādaśī falls on the eleventh day of the dark and bright fortnights of every month. In addition, two ekādaśīs occur during the period of adhika or puruṣottama, which comes every two-and-a-half years. On special occasions Mahā-dvādaśī occurs. In this case, one should observe Mahā-dvādaśī in place of ekādaśī. List of the days of ekādaśī Name of the Month Vaiśākha Vaiśākha Jyeṣṭha Jyeṣṭha Āṣāḍha Āṣāḍha Śrāvaṇa Śrāvaṇa Bhādra Bhādra Āśvina Āśvina Kārtika Kārtika Agrahāyaṇa Agrahāyaṇa Pauṣa Pauṣa Māgha Māgha Phālguna Phālguna Caitra Caitra 2 Dark fortnight 3 Bright fortnight Fortnight Kṛṣṇa2 Śukla3 Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Kṛṣṇa Śukla Name of the ekādaśī Varūthinī Mohinī Aparā Nirjalā Yoginī Śayanī Kāmikā Pavitrāropaṇī Annadā Pārśva Indirā Pāpāṅkuśā Ramā Utthāna or Prabodhini Utpannā Mokṣadā Saphalā Putradā Ṣaṭ-tilā Bhaimī Vijayā Āmalakī Pāpa-mocanī Kāmadā 22 • Ekādaśī Tattva Name of the Month Puruṣottama-māsa Puruṣottama-māsa Fortnight Kṛṣṇa Śukla Name of the ekādaśī Kamalā Kāmadā Mahā-dvādaśī Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa describes a conversation between Śrī Sūta and Śaunaka: unmīlanī vyaṅjulī ca trispṛśā pakṣavardhinī jayā ca vijayā caiva jayantī pāpa-nāśinī dvādaśyo’ṣto mahā-puṇyāḥ sarva-pāpa-harā dvija tithi-yogena jāyante catasraścāparastathā nakṣatra-yogācca balāt pāpaṁ praśamayanti tāḥ O dvija (twice born one), the eight dvādaśīs of Unmīlanī, Vyañjulī, Trispṛśā, Pakṣavardhinī, Jayā, Vijayā, Jayantī, and Pāpa-nāśinī are very pure and they destroy all sins. Among them, the first four manifest due to the special junction of ekādaśī with dvādaśī, and the other four manifest due to special combinations with constellations (nakṣatra). On the one hand, observance of ekādaśī is very dear to Śrī Hari and gives rise to devotion to Him, and on the other hand, all types of dangerous sins enter into grains on that day. Therefore, eating grains on ekādaśī is accepting sins. One may raise the objection that Vaiṣṇavas simply accept Mahāprasāda offered to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and Mahāprasāda is totally pure and completely free from all sins - so what defect can there ever be in accepting it? To address this, it is emphasized that the main object of the vow of ekādaśī is to develop love and affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is not the duty of a Vaiṣṇava to contemplate his auspiciousness or inauspiciousness by considering whether or not he has eaten sins. A Vaiṣṇava’s only concern is to please Śrī Kṛṣṇa under any circumstances. In this connection, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has shown us the ideal. Mahāprabhu used to accept the mahā-prasāda of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as directly the nectar remnants from His lips. He would say, “You should eat mahā-prasāda as soon as you receive it.” Once on ekādaśī, Gopīnātha and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya brought Śrī Jagannātha Mahāprasāda, containing different types of cooked grains and vegetables, to Mahāprabhu, Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāya Rāmānanda, Vakreśvara, and other devotees of Jagannātha Purī. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 23 eka-dina gaurahari, śrī guṇḍicā parhihari’, ‘jagannātha-vallabhe’ vasilā śuddha ekādaśī-dine, kṛṣṇa-nāma-sukīrtane divasa rajanī kāṭāilā One day, Gaurahari left the Guṇḍicā Temple and sat in the Jagannātha Vallabha garden. It was pure ekādaśī, and the Lord spent the whole day and night chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. saṅge svarūpa-dāmodara, rāmānanda, varkeśvara, āra jata kṣetra-vāsi-gaṇa prabhu bale, “ekamane, kṛṣṇanāma-saṅkīrtane, nidrāhāra kariye varjana Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāmānanda Rāya, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita, and the other devotees residing in Śrī Kṣetra were there with Him. The Lord said, “Single-mindedly chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and avoid sleeping and eating.” keha kara saṅkhyā-nāma, keha daṇḍa-paraṇāma, keha bala rāma-kṛṣṇa-kathā” yathā tathā paḍi' sabe ‘govinda’‘govinda’ rave mahā-preme pramattta sarvathā “Some of you should chant japa, some of you should offer obeisances, and some of you should speak about Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa.” Bowing wherever they were, everyone chanted, “Govinda! Govinda!” and became completely intoxicated with intense divine love. henakāle gopīnātha, paḍichā sārvabhauma sātha, guṇḍicā-prasāda laiyā āila anna-vyañjana, piṭhā, pānā, paramānna, dadhi chānā, mahāprabhu-agrete dharila At that time, Gopīnātha Ācārya, Tulasī Paḍichā 4, and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya brought prasāda from the Guṇḍicā Temple. They placed rice, vegetables, pancakes, sherbet, sweet rice, yoghurt, and curd before Mahāprabhu. prabhura ājñāya sabe, daṇḍavata paḍi' tabe, mahā-prasāda vandiyā vandiyā triyāmā rajanī sabe, mahāpreme magna-bhāve, akaitave nāme kāṭāiyā On the Lord’s order, everyone bowed down and offered 4 The watchman in the temple 24 • Ekādaśī Tattva prayers to the mahā-prasāda. Then they spent the entire night earnestly chanting the Name, immersed in intense divine love. prabhu ājñā śire dhari’, prātaḥ-snāna sabe kari’, mahāprasāda sevāya pāraṇa kari' hṛṣṭa citta tabe, prabhura caraṇe tabe, kara-joḍe kare nivedana Holding the Lord's order on their heads, everyone bathed in the morning, and then broke their fast by honoring the mahā-prasāda. With joyful hearts and joined palms, the devotees then made an appeal at the feet of the Lord. “sarva-vrata-śiromaṇi, śrī hari-vāsare jāni, nirāhāre kari jāgaraṇa jagannātha prasādānna, kṣetre sarva-kāle mānya, pāilei kariye bhakṣaṇa “We know that the crown-jewel of all rites is to stay awake all night without food or water on the day of the Lord. We also know that in Śrī Kṣetra, Jagannātha’s prasāda should be honored at all times and should be eaten whenever it is received.” e saṅkaṭe kṣetra-vāse, mana-haya baḍa-trāse spaṣṭa ājñā tava, kariye prārthanā sarva-veda ājñā tava, jāhā brahmā-śiva tāhā diyā ghucāo yātanā” “We live in Śrī Kṣetra and are very afraid because of this dilemma, so we pray that You give us a clear instruction. All the Vedas are Your instructions, and Brahmā and Śiva follow them. Please put an end to our confusion by giving us an instruction.” prabhu bale, “bhakti aṅge, ekādaśī-māna-bhaṅge sarva-nāśa upasthita haya prasāda-pūjana kari’, para-dine pāile tari, tithi para-dine nāhi raya The Lord said, “Failing to observe the practice of ekādaśī leads to total ruination. If you worship the prasāda (on ekādaśī) and take it the following day, you will cross over this dilemma because the period of ekādaśī always ends the next day.” śrī hari-vāsara-dine, kṛṣṇa-nāma-rasapāne, tṛpta haya vaiṣṇava-sujana, anya rasa nāhi laya, anya kathā nāhi kaya, Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 25 sarva-bhoga karaye varjana, “On the day of the Lord, pure devotees are satisfied by drinking the rasa of Kṛṣṇa’s holy name. They do not partake of any other rasa or speak about anything else. They avoid all forms of enjoyment.” prasāda-bhojana nitya, śuddha-vaiṣṇavera kṛtya, aprasāda nā kare bhakṣaṇa, śuddha-ekādaśī jabe, nirāhāra thāke tabe, pāraṇete prasāda bhojana “Taking prasāda is a daily activity of pure devotees; they do not eat anything that is not prasāda. On pure ekādaśī, however, they fast and then take prasāda to break their fast (the following day).” anukalpa sthāna-mātra,niranna prasāda-pātra, vaiṣṇavake jāniha niścita avaiṣaṇva jana jāṁrā, prasāda-chelete tāṅrā, bhoge haya divāniśī rata pāpa-purūṣera saṅge, annāhāra kare raṅge, nāhi māne hari-vāsara vrata “Devotees should know for certain that non-grain prasāda is the only supplement acceptable on ekādaśī. Non-devotees enjoy day and night using prasāda as an excuse. Lightheartedly, they eat grains in which the personification of sin is present and disregard the rite for the day of the Lord.” bhakti-aṅga-sadācāra, bhakti-sammāna-kara, govindaraja chandralekha dilip srinivasa mahalaksmi bhakti-devī-kṛpā-lābha habe avaiṣṇava-saṅga-chāḍa, ekādaśī-vrata dhara, nāma-vrate ekādaśī tabe “Everyone should devoutly honor and properly perform the practices of devotion. Then they will attain the grace of Bhakti-devī. So, reject the association of non-devotees and follow the ekādaśī rite by following the rite of chanting the Name. Then your observance of ekādaśī will be successful.” prasāda-sevana āra śrī-hari-vāsare virodha na kara, prabhu bujhaha antare “Understand within your heart that honoring prasāda and honoring the day of the Lord never conflict.” je aṅgera jei deśa-kāla-vidhi-vrata 26 • Ekādaśī Tattva tāhate ekānta-bhāve hao bhakti-rata “Sincerely devote yourself to each practice according to its place, time, rules, and rites.” eka aṅga māne, āra anya aṅge dveṣa, je kare, nirbodha sei jānaha viśeṣa “Those who follow one practice of devotion but disregard the others are foolish. Know this for certain.” sarva aṅgera adhipati vrajendra-nandana jāhe teṅha tuṣṭa tāhā karaha pālana “Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer of all devotional practices, so adhere to what pleases Him.” ekādaśī-dine nidrāhāra-visarjana anya-dine prasāda-nirmālya susevana “On the day of ekādaśī, give up sleep and food, and on the following day, fully honor prasāda and the other remnants of the Lord.” śrī-nāma-bhajana āra ekādaśī-vrata eka-tattva-nitya jāni hao tāhe rata “Knowing service to the Name and the ekādaśī rite to be eternally one, practice them both.” (Śrī Prema-vivarta) By the order of the Lord, everyone offered prostrated obeisances to the mahā-prasāda. They spent the entire night doing kīrtana, and in the morning they took bath and broke the fast with mahā-prasāda. After this, with jubilant hearts and folded hands they inquired from Mahāprabhu, “One should fast and stay awake all night. Also, there is an injunction that one must eat mahā-prasāda of Śrī Jagannātha as soon as one receives it. Which of these orders should we follow? What do the Vedas say about this? Please clarify this and save us from this dangerous dilemma.” The Lord said, “By neglecting ekādaśī, which is a limb of devotional service, one is totally ruined. One should worship mahā-prasāda and accept it the next day. Śrī Brajendranandana is the overseer of all limbs of devotional service. One should carry out the practices that please Him the most. Give up sleep and food on ekādaśī and enjoy the offered food on other days. One should become attached to ekādaśī and nāma-bhajana (devotional service through the chanting of the holy names), Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 27 understanding them to be the same principle.” Proper process for following ekādaśī The name of the pure ekādaśī is hari-vāsara. One should give up viddhā-ekādaśī. When mahā-dvādaśī comes, one should observe dvādaśī instead of ekādaśī. One should observe celibacy on the day before ekādaśī, and one should fast even from water on ekādaśī, as well as continuously engage in devotional service throughout the night. Celibacy should also be observed on the after day ekādaśī, and the fast should be broken at the proper time. These activities constitute real respect for hari-vāsara. If one does not have the strength to observe full fasting on ekādaśī, other arrangements are permitted. One may take, in order of increasing superiority, fruit, milk, water, ghee, or pañca-gavya or air. According to Mahābhārata Udyoga-parva, one cannot break their fast with water, roots, fruits, milk, ghee, words of the spiritual master, or medicine. The only exception is if one has a diet exclusively of fruits. Controlling one’s eleven senses (five working senses, five knowledge-acquiring senses, and the mind), one should follow ekādaśī. More Details of ekādaśī In the instructions given to Sanātana Gosvāmī in the Madhya-līlā of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Mahāprabhu says: ekādaśī janmāṣṭamī vāmana-dvādaśī śrī-rāma-navamī, āra nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī ei sabhera viddhā-tyāga aviddhā karaṇa akaraṇe doṣa kaile bhakti lambhana (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 24.341-342) If the daśamī even slightly overlaps ekādaśī during the period of aruṇodaya (dawn, or one hour and thirty six minutes before sunrise),that ekādaśī is known as viddhā. If dvādaśī begins in the remaining portion of ekādaśī, there is no defect. It is certainly worthy of following. For more information, one should refer to the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Śrī Haribhakti-vilāsa. 28 • Foodstuffs that are suitable on ekādaśī Foodstuffs that are suitable on ekādaśī (1) All types of fruits, dry fruits, buckwheat, siṅghāḍā (pānīphala)5, sugarcane and sugar and other substances made from sugarcane. (2) Potatoes, sweet potatoes, sītāphala (kuṁhaḍā)6, cucumber, lemon, jack-fruit, olive. (3) Milk and all substances prepared from it. (4) Only clarified butter (ghee) made from the Indian breed of cows or the oil made from dry fruits such as groundnut oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. (5) Among the spices, only ginger, black pepper, and mineral salt are permitted. Rules for breaking the ekādaśī fast If one has followed the vow of ekādaśī without taking even water, one should break the fast only by accepting caraṇāmṛta. If one has taken fruit, one should break the fast by accepting grain prasāda. The vow of ekādaśī is only complete if the fast is broken at the proper time. When mahā-dvādaśī comes, the vow is to observed on mahā-dvādaśī instead of on ekādaśī. A list of times for breaking the fast after all ekādaśīs and mahā-dvādaśis can be found in the list of Vaiṣṇava vows and festivals presented by the Gauḍīya Vedānta Prakāśāna. Ekādaśī Kīrtana śrī hari-vāsare hari-kīrtana-vidhāna nṛtya ārambhilā prabhu jagatera prāṇa (1) On ekādaśī day Mahāprabhu, who is the life and soul of all beings, decreed that everyone should gather for kīrtana. Hearing the sound of His own name, He began to dance in ecstasy. punyavanta śrīvāsa-aṅgane śubhārambha uṭhilo kīrtana-dhvani ‘gopāla’ ‘govinda’ (2) In Śrīvāsa-aṅgana, Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura’s divine courtyard, He inaugurated the auspicious reverberations of the kīrtana in a 5 6 Water caltrop, water chestnut, buffalo nut Field pumpkin, ash gourd Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 29 booming voice: ‘Gopāla! Govinda!’ mṛdaṅga-mandirā bāje śaṅkha-karatāla saṅkīrtana-saṅge saba hoilo miśāla (3) In the courtyard the sounds of the mṛdaṅga, small cymbals, conch, karatālas, and beautiful singing all mixed together. brahmāṇḍa bhedilo dhvani pūriyā ākāśa caudikera amaṅgala jāya saba nāśa (4) The thunderous sound passed through the entire brahmāṇḍa and filled the whole sky (reaching Śveta-dvīpa), destroying everything inauspicious in all the fourteen worlds. uṣaḥ-kāla hoite nṛtya kore viśvambhara yūtha yūtha hoilo jata gayana sundara (5) From morning Viśvambhara (He who nourishes and maintains the whole universe withbhakti) danced. Many groups sang charmingly, each with a different melody. śrīvāsa-paṇḍita loiyā eka sampradāya mukunda loiyā āra jana-kata gāya (6) Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita was the guru of one group of kīrtanīyas, and Mukunda was the lead singer of another. loiyā govinda ghoṣa āro kata-jana gauracandra-nṛtya sabe koreno kīrtana (7) Govinda Ghoṣa was the head of another group. Gauracandra danced in the middle of the whole kīrtana party. dhariyā bulena nityānanda mahābalī alakṣite advaita loyena pada-dhūli (8) The mighty Nityānanda Prabhu protected Mahāprabhu when He swooned while dancing as Advaita Ācārya secretly took His foot-dust at that time. gadādhara-ādi jata sajala-nayane ānande vihvala hoilo prabhura kīrtane (9) Tears came to Gadādhara, Mukunda, Śrīdhāra, and others upon hearing Mahāprabhu’s kīrtana, as the rising of aṣṭasattvika bhāvas overwhelmed their hearts. jakhon uddaṇḍ nāce prabhu viśvambhara pṛthivī kampita hoya, sabe pāya ḍara (10) Viśvambhara danced with so much force that the earth trembled, causing all the devotees to become afraid. kokhono vā madhura nācaye viśvambhara jena dekhi nandera nandana naṭavara (11) Sometimes Viśvambhara danced so gracefully and sweetly 30 • Ekādaśī Kīrtana that He appeared to be naṭavara Nanda-nandana, the best of dancers. aparūpa kṛṣṇa-veśa, aparūpa nṛtya ānande nayana bhori’ dekhe saba bhṛtya (12) Mahāprabhu’s beauty is unequaled and unsurpassed, defeating even Kṛṣṇa’s beauty (even Kṛṣṇa has no mahābhāva). All His followers’ eyes filled with ānanda seeing His dancing. nijānande nāce mahāprabhu viśvambhara caraṇera tāla śuni ati manohara (13) Mahāprabhu Viśvambhara danced, absorbed in ānanda. Hearing the rhythm of His dancing feet, the devotees became spellbound. bhāva-bhare mālā nāhi rahaye galāya chiṇḍiyā paḍaye giyā bhakatera pāya (14) Echoing this ecstatic mood His garland swung wildly, and unable to stay around His neck, it broke open and fell at the feet of the devotees. caturddike śrī-hari maṅgala saṅkīrtana mājhe nāce jagannātha miśrera nandana (15) The auspicious sounds of śrī harināma saṅkīrtana spread in every direction while Jagannātha Miśra’s son danced in the midst of all the devotees. jā’ra nāmānande śiva-basana nā jāne jā’ra jaśe nāce śiva, se nāce āpane (16) Śiva chants the same blissful name and becomes so absorbed in prema that his cloth falls down. Hearing Mahāprabhu’s glories, Śiva starts to dance, and Mahāprabhu, hearing His own glories, also dances. jā’ra nāme valmīki hoilā tapodhana jā’ra nāme ajāmila pāilo mocana (17) By this same nāma, Valmīki achieved the wealth of austerity: he saw all Rāma-līlā. And by this same nāma all of Ajāmila’s anarthas and aparādhas were destroyed at the root. jā’ra nāma śravaṇe saṁsāra-bandha ghuce heno prabhu avatārī’ kali-yuge nāce (18) Hearing śrī kṛṣṇa-nāma totally cuts all worldly attachments. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself came in Kali-yuga as Mahāprabhu, dancing and advising all to chant kṛṣṇa-nāma. jā’ra nāma gāi śuka-nārada beḍāya sahasra-vadana prabhu jā’ra guṇa gāya (19) Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 31 Śukadeva and Nārada also chant this kṛṣṇa-nāma and distribute it. With thousands of tongues Mahāprabhu sings the glories of this nāma. sarva mahā-prāyaścitta je prabhura nāma se-prabhu nācaye, dekhe jata bhāgyavāna (20) Taking Mahāprabhu’s name constitutes the highest form of atonement. Seeing Mahāprabhu dancing, the devotees became supremely fortunate. prabhura ānanda dekhi’ bhāgavata-gaṇa anyonye galā dhori’ karaye krandana (21) Seeing Mahāprabhu’s bliss, the devotees embraced each other and wept loudly (as the rays of Mahāprabhu’s ānanda entered their hearts). sabāra aṅgete śobhe śrī candana-mālā ānande gāyena kṛṣṇa-rase hai’ bholā (22) All the devotees attended kīrtana and Mahāprabhu personally decorated their bodies with candana7 and garlands. Śrī Gaurasundara and the devotees sang and tasted kṛṣṇa-rasa with great joy. jateka vaiṣṇava-sabe kīrtana-āveśe nā jāne āpana deho, anya jana kise (23) Absorbed in kīrtana, all the Vaiṣṇava devotees completely lost sense of their own bodies and everyone else around them. “jaya kṛṣṇa-murāri-mukunda-vanamālī” ahar-niśa gāya sabe hai’ kutūhalī (24) “Jaya kṛṣṇa, murāri, mukunda, vanamālī.” Day and night all the devotees sang kīrtana in great happiness. ahar-niśa bhakta-saṅge nāce viśvambhara śrānti nāhi kāro, sabe sattva-kalevara (25) Viśvambhara danced twenty-four hours a day with His devotees but never tired, because His body was fully transcendental. ei-mata nāce mahāprabhu viśvambhara niśi avaśeṣa mātra se eka prahara (26) Daily, Mahāprabhu (in full prema) danced in kīrtana the whole night, and only stopped three hours before sunrise. ei-mata ānanda hoya navadvīpa-pure prema-rase vaikuṇṭhera nāyaka bihare (27) 7 Sandalwood paste 32 • Ekādaśī Kīrtana Daily, Mahāprabhu, the Hero who enjoys the prema-rasa of Vaikuṇṭha (Śvetadvīpa), tasted and distributed great bliss in Navadvīpa. e sakala puṇya kathā je kore śravaṇa bhakta-saṅge gauracandre rahu tā’ra mana (28) Gauracandra and all of His associates enter into the hearts of the devotees who hear this all-auspicious description with full faith. (Thus, their hearts become Śrīvāsa-aṅgana.) śrī kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nityānanda-cāṅd jāna vṛndāvana-dāsa tachu pada-yuge gāna (29) Vṛndāvana dāsa says, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and the moonlike Nityānanda Prabhu are my life and soul, and I humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.” (Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata) śuddha-bhakata-caraṇa-reṇu, bhajana-anukūla bhakata-sevā, parama-siddhi, prema-latikāra-mūla (1) Dust from the lotus feet of pure devotees is very favorable for bhajana, and service to the Vaiṣṇavas is the highest perfection and the very root of the tender creeper of divine love. mādhava-tithi, bhakti-jananī, jatane pālana kori, kṛṣṇa-basoti, basoti boli’, parama ādare bori (2) Very carefully I observe Mādhava’s holy days like ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī, for they are the mother of devotion. Kṛṣṇa stays in these tithis, so by honoring them we can easily achieve Him. By deeply respecting Kṛṣṇa’s līlā-sthāna (pastime places), I will receive their blessings. gaura āmāra, je-sāba sthāne, koralo bhramaṇa raṅge se-saba sthāna, heribo āmi, praṇayi-bhakata-saṅge (3) In the company of praṇayi (intimate, beloved) devotees, I will go to all of the places where Mahāprabhu joyfully wandered. mṛdaṅga bādya, sunite mana, abasara sadā jāce, gaura-bihita, kīrtana suni’, ānande hṛdoya nāce (4) My mind is always anxious to hear the mṛdaṅga play. When I hear kīrtana describing Mahāprabhu, my heart dances in joy. jugala-mūrti, dekhiyā mora, parama-ānanda hoya prasāda-sebā, korite hoya, sakala prapañca jaya (5) Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 33 I feel the highest bliss upon seeing the deity forms of Yugala-kiśora8. Their prasāda enables one to conquer the five elements. je-dina gṛhe, bhajana dekhi, gṛhete goloka bhāya caraṇa-sīdhū, dekhiyā gaṅgā, sukha nā sīmā pāya (6) My home is transformed into Goloka Vṛndāvana when I see Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s worship being performed there. When I honor Śrī Bhagavān’s caranāmṛta (foot-bath water) and look upon the Gaṅgā, my happiness knows no bounds. tulasī dekhi’, juḍāya prāṇa, mādhava-toṣanī jāni’, gaura-priya, śāka-sevane, jīvana sārthaka māni (7) When I see Tulasī, my heart becomes cool and soft, because I know that she pleases Mādhava. Śāka (twenty-two varieties of greens) is very dear to Mahāprabhu, so when I honor it, I consider my life successful. bhakativinoda, kṛṣṇa-bhajane, anukūla pāya jāhā, prati-dibase, parama-sukhe, swīkāra koroye tāhā (8) Everything that is favorable for kṛṣṇa-bhajana, Bhaktivinoda accepts every day most happily. (Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura) List of the lectures delivered by Śrīla Gurudeva in India and foreign countries on the topic of ekādaśī Topic ekādaśī Kathā ekādaśī is not a day, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself ekādaśī-vrata ekādaśī fulfills all the desires The glories of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja Mādhava-tithi The story of King Rukmāṅgada 8 Location Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Mathurā Los Angeles, California Date 04/07/1994 Hawaii Islands Houston, Texas 13/05/2000 2001 Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, Mathurā Brisbane, Australia Houston, Texas 22-24/08/2001 The divine couple Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa 05/06/1998 23/02/2002 27/05/2007 34 • The scientific reason behind not taking grains on ekādaśī The scientific reason behind not taking grains on ekādaśī During the bright and dark fortnights of every month, from ekādaśī until the full-moon day, and from ekādaśī until the new-moon day, there is an increased high tide in the oceans, and the waves rise very high. This is because the moon comes somewhat closer to the Earth and pulls the water towards itself by force of gravity. Ninety percent of the human body is fluid in nature. The moon has a strong influence on water during the above-mentioned days. If one eats grains, they absorb water and there is an increased chance of developing diseases due to the moon’s gravity attracting the water. The body of a human being is like a machine. If we take food three times a day, this machine does not get any rest. If one does not take food on ekādaśī, one’s body can rest and one has more time to engage in nāma-bhajana (devotional service rendered through the chanting of the holy names). Thus, one’s devotion is nourished and can increase. (Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Hawaii, 13 May 2000) The Vow of Ekādaśī Hawaii: May 13, 2000 You are all observing ekādaśī today. We should surely observe ekādaśī—strictly avoiding grains, or anything prepared with any kind of grains, such as wheat, barley, corn, and so on. If you observe ekādaśī, chant the holy name, hear hari-kathā in high-class association, always remain with elevated devotees, and perform any of the nine limbs of bhakti, you will never fall down. Sometimes, due to Kali-yuga and māyā, we become weak and cannot follow; that is why we fall down. In any situation, we must not forget to chant and remember Kṛṣṇa, and also to follow ekādaśī. Even if you are weak, try to strictly follow these principles. Do you know the reason why waves come and go, and why on special days—from ekādaśī to Pūrṇimā and ekādaśī to Amāvasyā—waves are very high? Even if there is no wind, still, from ekādaśī to the full moon and dark moon, the water Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 35 increases and there are so many high waves. Why is this? It is due to the moon. Water and waves increase due to the moon. The moon comes nearer on those days, and extracts the water. Similarly there is some water in our stomachs and bodies. Therefore, if we are not very careful in these five days in every fifteen, the moon will increase all your diseases. You can see in hospitals that most people die within these five days. We have rasa, or water, within us, and wherever there is liquid, the mood attracts it. Thus, all kinds of diseases increase. However, if we are very careful by following the ancient Indian (or Vedic) process of ekādaśī, this can be controlled very easily. How do we do this? By not drinking water and taking grains. If you are weak, and you are taking water or juice but not grains, then you can save yourself. If you are taking any preparation made from grains, it will absorb the water and become saturated with that water. If you put a stone or wood in water, this will not absorb water, whereas if you give any blotting paper or cotton, it will absorb so much that it will remain fully saturated for the entire day. It will not dry, even in the sun. If you drink water but do not take grains, then like a stone, you will not be affected. However if you take grains, the moon will attract the water, those grains will become saturated with the water, and so many kinds of sickness will come. You may even die; so be careful about this. Here is another analogy to help us understand. The government allows that within each week there is a one- or two-day holiday. Why have they made one or two holidays? Why not work for all seven days of each week? If you work every day of the seven days, you will be tired and you won’t be able to continue the next day. Similarly, the stomach contains so many worms, which digest what we eat. If you do not give them rest, they are not able to continue digesting and they will become diseased. The whole world is suffering due to not giving the stomach any rest. Moreover, the most important reason to follow ekādaśī is that ekādaśī is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kṛṣṇa has become ekādaśī. He descends to this world on ekādaśī day, looks after all the people who are observing its vows, and gives special mercy to them. So we must observe ekādaśī. 36 • The Vow of Ekādaśī Once, on the day of ekādaśī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in Purī with all of His associates like Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāya Rāmānanda, Nityānanda Prabhu, and thousands of other devotees. They were performing kīrtana throughout the day and night—remembering Kṛṣṇa, hearing hari-kathā, and not sleeping for even a moment. In the meantime, at about 8:00 in the evening, the paṇḍās (priests) of Jagannātha Purī brought a great quantity of delicious, sweet mahā-prasāda and placed it in front of Mahāprabhu and His devotees. It has been written in the scriptures, like the Purāṇas and others, that when one receives mahā-prasāda he should take it at once, without a moment’s delay. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the mahā-prasāda, He became so happy. He prayed to that mahā-prasāda in various ways and performed its parikramā throughout the night. He quoted many ślokas from śāstra, explaining which he said that even the mahā-prasāda taken by hogs, pigs, crows, and dogs is still mahā-prasāda; it is so powerful. We should not dishonor it; rather, we should take it. Even if it is rotten or dry, or brought from faraway places, we should still honor it. When it became morning, Mahāprabhu took bath in the sea along with all His associates, and then told them, “Let us now divide this prasāda and then honor it.” On the day of ekādaśī, we should honor ekādaśī by not taking grains. ekādaśī is the mother of kṛṣṇa- bhakti, love and affection. If you do not follow ekādaśī, kṛṣṇa- bhakti will never come. If you are young and strong, you can fast all day, not taking anything: not fruits, vegetables, juice, or even water. If you are not so strong, or you are sick or old, you can take very few fruits, or juice, or milk. Don’t try to take a large quantity of juice, one or two kilos three or four times a day, or rabrī (a sweet), or other preparations. You can take very little, only to maintain your life. Not sleeping at all during the day, and chanting like Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Then the fruit of ekādaśī will come. There are so many examples about ekādaśī in the ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, such as the story of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was a very powerful king, who was attacked by an agent of Durvāsā Ṛṣi. Durvāsā was not an angry person. He is a manifestation of Maheśvara (Lord Śiva). Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 37 He was a high-class devotee. He wanted to glorify bhaktas and ekādaśī, so he played a trick, just as Śaṅkara preached māyāvāda philosophy on the order of Kṛṣṇa. Śaṅkara did this for the welfare of the whole world. On our own, we cannot understand why the sage Durvāsā did so many apparently cruel things. Actually he is an exalted devotee, always serving and glorifying Kṛṣṇa. He wanted to give some teachings to us conditioned souls. That is why, just before dvādaśī-pāraṇa (the exact time for breaking the ekādaśī fast), he told Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, “I am accepting your invitation to take prasāda here, but first I must take bath in the river and chant my gāyatrī-mantras.” Yamunā was very near, so he went there to take bath and recite prayers, and he intentionally returned late—after the pāraṇa (time for breaking fast) time was over. We should try to be humble like Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, and very strong in the conclusions of bhakti. He was so humble that for one year he was waiting for when Durvāsā would come back thinking, “I must satisfy him first, and then I can take prasāda.” He was so humble: tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [“Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.” (Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, verse 3)] We should be more humble than a blade of grass which if trampled upon and never protests. We should be more tolerant than trees, whose bark, wood, fruit, shade, and seeds are all for others. Even if you come to cut down the tree, still it will give you shade, fruits, and wood for chairs, beds, etc. Even if it is drying up and dying, still, it will not ask for water. We should be more humble than that tree. Try to give honor to all, in accordance with their qualifications in bhakti. Don’t desire your own praise. If you are like this, then when you chant and remember, you will be able to attain kṛṣṇa-prema very easily; otherwise, not. 38 • The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family Badger, California: June 20, 1998 Today is ekādaśī. I have discussed before that we have eleven (ekādaśa is the Sanskrit word for eleven) senses including the mind. By ekādaśī, we will always want to be near to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. [On the previous ekādaśī, which was on June 5th, Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja said, “This is called upa (near)-vāsa (residing).” Upavāsa is generally taken to mean ‘fasting’, but here Śrīla Mahārāja is giving the deeper meaning—editors.] If all of our senses are serving the Supreme Lord, the mind is remembering Him, the ears are hearing His hari-kathā, the eyes are seeing the Deities, the head is offering obeisance to the Bhāgavatam, the devotees, and the Deities, the hands are performing arcana, the tongue is speaking hari-kathā and singing kīrtana, the feet are walking here—this is now a strong and sacred tīrtha, where hari-kathā is going on- you will surely be with the Supreme Godhead. There are two gains in this: external and internal. On this very day, until the full moon or new moon day, if you go to the ocean you will see very high waves. Why? The moon has some concern with water. We have water in our bodies. If you do not control what you eat and drink on the ekādaśī day (the eleventh day of the full and new moon), then whatever disease you have may increase from ekādaśī up to the full moon or new moon. If you fully fast, the moon will have no bad effect, but if you are taking grains, capātīs, bread, and too much water, then it will have an effect. You can take the accounts in big hospitals and see that so many more patients die from ekādaśī to the full moon or new moon day, and after that it is ‘normal’ again. If you are not eating anything you are not supposed to eat, then all things will be controlled and a good effect will come. Your body will be very strong, healthy, and light, and your digestion will be okay. On the other hand, if you are eating bread, for example, it acts like blotting paper. If you drink water, it will pass out of the body as urine or sweat, just as if you pour water on a stone, cloth, or oil—it will go away; but if you put a heap of cotton in water, that cotton will take days to Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 39 dry. Even if you squeeze that ball of cotton, it will still contain some water. [June 5th: Not following ekādaśī will be harmful to us. On ekādaśī the moon comes closer to the Earth, and therefore it attracts water from everywhere—from the sea, from the river, from our bodies, and so on. If one takes any grains on this day, the grains become like blotting paper. If you drink water, the water will very soon pass out from the body. However, if you take grains and water together, the grains become like blotting paper or cotton and hold the water. Even if you squeeze the cotton, some water will remain. Similarly, if you eat any grain, that grain becomes like a sponge; it will hold a lot of water. The moon will attract that water and all your diseases will increase. You can see this in the sea or ocean. At this time there are high tides and the waves also become very high.] Our ṛṣis (sages) were realized in these topics -both materially and spiritually. It has been told that we should not take any grain on ekādaśī. If by not taking grains you become hungry and if you are a male or female of Kali-yuga, then no harm, you can take water or juice; but not at every minute: first grape juice, then rabrī, then malāī (cream), then mango juice, then apple juice, and after that very, very good capātīs made with potato flour—eating, eating, and eating. This will have a bad effect on that ekādaśī day. You can take water twice a day on ekādaśī. Or, if you can’t just do that, you can also take fruits and vegetables once in the evening. If you are feeling weak, then you can take water and a little food two times. But don’t take much; otherwise you will not get the fruit of ekādaśī. Externally, for worldly reasons, this fasting is good for your health. Also, for poor persons, if they drink water and take nothing else on that ekādaśī day, they don’t have to spend money. If one takes so many things, like juice and dried fruits, it will cost so much. For your increased spiritual advancement on ekādaśī, if you hear the holy name, chant and remembering Kṛṣṇa, and hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the assembly of devotees, you will quickly develop kṛṣṇa-prema. For us fallen conditioned souls, Kṛṣṇa has personally become ekādaśī. ekādaśī has no consideration of caste or creed. 40 • The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family For example, it is not that ekādaśī will give its fruit only to someone who is initiated by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. If anyone, irrespective of caste or creed or any designation follows ekādaśī, he will gain internally and externally. You may already know the history of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, so I won’t speak much about it now. He engaged in worldly affairs. He was not a renounced sannyāsī or brahmacārī. He was a great ruler, a king, with a wife and children. He had a large treasury, an army, and so many commanders and priests, but he was superior to Durvāsā Ṛṣi, a brahma-jñānī. If Durvāsā Ṛṣi would curse anyone to die, that person would die; and if anyone had died, then he could sprinkle water on them and say, “Come on, come on, why are you sleeping?” And that person would immediately return to life. But Mahārāja Ambarīṣa defeated Durvāsā Ṛṣi. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja considered, “I will have to give honor to ekādaśī, not to any brahma-jñānī or yogī.” He wanted to honor both, but when there was a contradiction, he preferred that ekādaśī should be more honored than this class of brāhmaṇa. You may also know the history of Rukmāṅgada and Dharmāṅgada. Rukmāṅgada was a king, a very big emperor, and his son’s name was Dharmāṅgada. He was accustomed to fully observing ekādaśī. He would not eat anything the night before ekādaśī, then he would fully fast on ekādaśī, and on the third day he would take some mahā-prasāda as pāraṇa(the breaking of the fast) after honoring all Vaiṣṇavas and worshiping Kṛṣṇa, and after that he would fast the rest of the day. He did not sleep for three nights, and he would continually chant and remember the Lord. This is full ekādaśī. In Kali-yuga it is not possible to follow that; this was perhaps in Satya-yuga. Some concessions have been given in Kali-yuga, but don’t take undue advantage of this. Try to follow as much as you can. Rukmāṅgada was not only practicing ekādaśī in that way, but he would make an announcement throughout his kingdom on the day before, that all his subjects should obey him and observe ekādaśī—and all would do so. When the king became older at about fifty years of age, he gave his kingdom and position to his son, as he wanted to go Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 41 into the dense forest to fully chant and remember Kṛṣṇa. In the forest he was practicing all his spiritual duties, but one day a very beautiful, half-naked, teenage girl came along playing and picking flowers. Seeing her standing practically in front of him, the king said to her, “You are so beautiful. Who are you, and why have you come here?” She replied, “I have been searching for a husband, but I have not found anyone in the world to marry. Now I have seen you, who are so beautiful; and even though your age is more than fifty years, you look young, like a youth of sixteen. I want to marry you.” The King told that girl, “I have left all these material things. But you are so beautiful, so I will not neglect you. I want to marry you as well.” She said, “If we marry, we will have to return to the kingdom. You will again have to be king, and you will have to obey me.” “No problem,” he replied, “I will obey you.” Then she said, “If you do not obey me, I will at once divorce you.” The King assured her, “I will try to always obey you. I will not neglect you.” He sent a message to his son, “I am returning with my new wife.” When his son heard this, he became joyful, thinking, “Now my father is coming.” He called to his mother, “Mother, the king is coming with his new married wife. You should not think you are the queen. You should treat her like your older sister and try to serve them both. I will also try to do this.” This is hard to follow nowadays. If a wife sees her husband smiling and speaking to another girl, especially a young beautiful teenage girl, she will become upset, thinking, “What to do?! What to do?!” Then, if she again sees this, she may commit suicide, or she may give poison to her husband and his beloved as well. All intelligence disappears at that time. But here, when the king came with his new bride, the first queen and her son personally performed āratī to them both. She took the king’s foot-dust and told him, “I am your dāsī, your maidservant.” She continued to serve them as the king and queen. She fully gave up her false ego that, ‘I am queen.' She always gave preference to them. All wives should try to be like this. If your husband is talking or smiling with another, what harm is it to you? Is there any harm if he loves both you and another lady? Kṛṣṇa had so many queens. Rukmiṇī did not object, nor did 42 • The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family Satyabhāmā. Satyabhāmā used to have māna with Kṛṣṇa, but not towards her sisters. Moreover, this was transcendental. When the next ekādaśī was about to come, the king’s son Dharmāṅgada went out to declare everywhere, “Tomorrow is ekādaśī. All of you please obverse it.” The new queen heard this and told her husband, “What is this silly thing? What is ekādaśī? I will not follow it, and you should also not follow it. A king should be smart and strong, and if you fast, then you will be too weak to control the kingdom.” The king replied, “I cannot give up ekādaśī. I must observe it, and I am asking you to try to observe it.” She said, “I am calling all the brāhmaṇas, and if they say that the king should observe ekādaśī, then you can observe it. If they say that there are no rules and regulations in śāstra for a king or ruler to observe ekādaśī, then you will have to give it up.” He agreed, “Yes, invite them.” All the brāhmaṇas came, but she had bribed them the night before. Especially in Kali-yuga, brāhmaṇas have become very greedy. They will give up their brahminical principles even if you give them a few Indian rupees. These brāhmaṇas were also greedy, and because they were given so many golden coins, they declared, “A king should not observe ekādaśī. Everywhere in śāstra—in the Bhagavad-gītā, ŚrīmadBhāgavatam, or the Purāṇas—it has been told that ekādaśī is only for widows, for those who are old and cannot digest or sit properly, and for those who are going to die and have nothing to do. A married lady whose husband is alive should not follow, and little boys and girls should also not follow. Only widows should follow. For rulers, for a king like you, there is no need to follow ekādaśī.” That girl became so happy and said, “You should follow the brāhmaṇas.” The king argued, “None of them are true brāhmaṇas. I will not follow them. I know they are greedy, and they don’t know scripture.” She replied, “I am going to give you up and return to my father.” The king agreed, “You can go, no harm.” When that new queen was ready to leave, the first queen came, fell at her feet, and asked, “Why are you doing this? You are my sister, so I would like to give you a good suggestion. Try to obey your husband. He has been following ekādaśī since his childhood, and cannot give it up.” Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 43 The girl replied, “I can obey, but on one condition. If you and the king will kill your son and give his head to me on a golden plate as a gift, I will then allow the king to observe ekādaśī.” Hearing this, the king replied, “I don’t want a wife like her. She should go away.” Happy to hear the girl’s condition, the first wife told the king, "I am your good wife, so please obey me also. After ten, twenty, or a hundred years my son will die. So if we make this sacrifice in relation to following ekādaśī, we will be the ideal example for the entire world, for all time. It is so auspicious to be able to offer the life of our son for the glories of ekādaśī; besides this, easily we can obtain another son. So please accept her proposal, and thus there will be no need to send your Mohinī away." And the son said to his father, “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to offer my life for the glories of ekādaśī; so please dear father, grant me this golden chance.” Somehow his first wife pacified him and he became ready. The son now became happy, thinking. “My life is successful, because I am serving my father and mother. In fact I am serving two mothers.” Now, when the father and mother came to cut off the son’s head, that girl was at once changed into a Deity, and a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa, Dharmarāja appeared there. Holding up his hand, he said, “Don’t do this. I sent this girl to test you, and you have passed the examination.” That girl then declared, “I want one thing. You passed the examination, but if anyone will take a grain on ekādaśī, or if he eats beyond what he should be eating, the fruit of his good activities (karma) will come to me. I will gain that. If anyone is taking grains on ekādaśī, all kind of sinful reactions will come to that person, and his all good karma will come to me.” That lady was Mohinī-devī. We are not realizing this fact—how gainful it is to follow ekādaśī. ekādaśī is the mother of bhakti. If anyone observes ekādaśī in the right way, bhakti automatically will come. Whether one is a Vaiṣṇava or not, if he observes ekādaśī, surely he will advance in bhakti and become happy. Therefore, on ekādaśī, by all the ekādaśa (eleven) senses, we 44 • The Powers Of An Ekādaśī Family can engage in: śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsya sakhyam ātma-nivedanam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 7.5.23) [Prahlāda Mahārāja said: “Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)-these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.”] One can practice the sixty-four kinds of bhakti on ekādaśī day, thinking, “I will take leave from my office and worldly affairs, in the morning performing āratī and until the night not engaging in any worldly activities, not taking any grains, and always reading and hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.” Certainly he will gain from this. In India, one day, I saw that a cow was dying but her soul was not leaving her body. Her stomach was swollen, her eyes were full of tears, and she was so sad. Many persons were looking on, but doing nothing. An elderly lady-disciple of mine was passing by and saw her. She at once came to me, weeping, and told me, “This cow is not dying, and not living.” What should I do?" I asked her, “Have you followed many ekādaśīs?” She said, “Yes, so many.” I said, “How many?” She replied, “On the ekādaśī day, since childhood I have been fully fasting and also not sleeping in the night.” In Mathurā, even little boys and girls fast fully -taking no water or grain or anything else. I said, “Can you give the fruit of one of your ekādaśīs to that cow?” She said, “O surely.” I said, “Tell that cow in her ear, ‘O Mother cow, I am giving the fruit of one of my ekādaśīs to you. Please take it.' ” As soon as she did that, the cow looked towards her and then immediately left her body. All were in wonder, thinking, “Oh, how quickly it has been done.” She also chanted to that cow: “Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 45 Hare Hare,” and gave her Tulasī leaves and Gaṅgā water in her mouth. You should all have faith like this. It Is Not A Day—It Is Kṛṣṇa Today is ekādaśī, a very auspicious day. In this regard, let us remember the history of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and Durvāsā Ṛṣi.9 There are so many things to learn from this history—first 9 "Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was the emperor of the entire world, but he considered his opulence temporary. Indeed, knowing that such material opulence is the cause of downfall into conditional life, he was unattached to this opulence. He engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. This process is called yukta-vairāgya, or feasible renunciation, which is quite suitable for worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, as the emperor, was immensely opulent, he performed devotional service with great opulence. Therefore, despite his wealth, he had no attachment to his wife, children or kingdom. He constantly engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. Therefore, to say nothing of enjoying material opulence, he never desired even liberation. "Once Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vṛndāvana, observing the vow of dvādaśī. On dvādaśī, the day after ekādaśī, when he was about to break his ekādaśī fast, the great mystic yogi Durvāsā appeared in his house and became his guest. King Ambarīṣa respectfully received Durvāsā Muni, and Durvāsā Muni, after accepting his invitation to eat there, went to bathe in the Yamunā River at noontime. Because he was absorbed in samādhi, he did not come back very soon. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, however, upon seeing that the time to break the fast was passing, drank a little water, in accordance with the advice of learned brāhmaṇas, just to observe the formality of breaking the fast. "By mystic power, Durvāsā Muni could understand that this had happened, and he was very angry. When he returned he began to chastise Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, but he was not satisfied, and finally he created from his hair a demon appearing like the fire of death. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is always the protector of His devotee, and to protect Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, He sent His disc, the Sudarśana-cakra, which immediately vanquished the fiery demon and then pursued Durvāsā, who was so envious of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. "Durvāsā fled to Brahmaloka, Śivaloka and all the other higher planets, but he could not protect himself from the wrath of the Sudarśanacakra. Finally he went to the spiritual world and surrendered to Lord Nārāyaṇa, but Lord Nārāyaṇa could not excuse a person who had 46 • It Is Not A Day—It Is Kṛṣṇa to learn, then to practice, and then to realize. What is the speciality of today that gives it the name ekādaśī? It is the eleventh day from the dark moon day (Amāvasyā) and from the full moon day (Pūrṇimā). We have eleven senses—five working senses and five knowledgeacquiring senses. That makes ten, and the mind is the eleventh. With these eleven senses we should try to become nearer to Kṛṣṇa. ekādaśī—by our eleven senses we do ‘upavāsa’. Upa means ‘very near’ and vāsa means 'to reside.' On the offended a Vaiṣṇava. To be excused from such an offense, one must submit to the Vaiṣṇava whom he has offended. There is no other way to be excused. Thus Lord Nārāyaṇa advised Durvāsā to return to Mahārāja Ambarīṣa and beg his pardon. "By the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, Durvāsā Muni immediately went to Mahārāja Ambarīṣa and fell at his lotus feet. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, being naturally very humble and meek, felt shy and ashamed because Durvāsā Muni had fallen at his feet, and thus he began to offer prayers to the Sudarśana-cakra just to save Durvāsā. "What is this Sudarśana-cakra? The Sudarśana-cakra is the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by which He creates the entire material world. Sa aikṣata, sa asṛjata. This is the Vedic veṚṣion. The Sudarśana cakra, which is the origin of creation and is most dear to the Lord, has thousands of spokes. This Sudarśana cakra is the killer of the prowess of all other weapons, the killer of darkness, and the manifestor of the prowess of devotional service; it is the means of establishing religious principles, and it is the killer of all irreligious activities. "Without his mercy, the universe cannot be maintained, and therefore the Sudarśana-cakra is employed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. "When Mahārāja Ambarīṣa thus prayed that the Sudarśana-cakra be merciful, the Sudarśana-cakra, being appeased, refrained from killing Durvāsā Muni, who thus achieved the Sudarśana-cakra’s mercy. Durvāsā Muni thus learned to give up the nasty idea of considering a Vaiṣṇava an ordinary person (vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhi). Mahārāja Ambarīṣa belonged to the kṣatriya group, and therefore Durvāsā Muni considered him lower than the brāhmaṇas and wanted to exercise brahminical power against him. “By this incident, everyone should learn how to stop mischievous ideas of neglecting Vaiṣṇavas. After this incident, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa gave Durvāsā Muni sumptuous food to eat, and then the King, who had been standing in the same place for one year without eating anything, also took prasāda. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa later divided his property among his sons and went to the bank of Mānasa-sarovara to execute Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 47 ekādaśī day, we should try to be somehow nearer to Kṛṣṇa, with our entire mind and body, and with all our senses. Not following ekādaśī will be harmful to us. On ekādaśī the moon comes closer to the Earth, and therefore it attracts water from everywhere—from the sea, from the river, from our bodies, and so on. If one takes any grains on this day, the grains become like blotting-paper. If you drink water, the water will very soon pass out from the body. However, if you take grains and water together, the grains become like blotting paper or cotton—grains hold the water. Even if you squeeze the cotton, some water will remain. Similarly, if you eat any grain, it becomes like a sponge. It will hold a lot of water. The moon will attract that water, and all your diseases will increase. You can see this in the sea or ocean. At this time there are high tides and the waves become very high. Similarly, it is like this in our bodies. If a person already has some disease, his disease increases from ekādaśī to Pūrṇimā and ekādaśī to Amāvasyā. We have tested this in hospitals, and we see that of those who die in hospitals, most of them die on these days. Control your eating on ekādaśī, and do not take grains. It is better to perform nirjalā, complete fasting, with no water. Today in India, so many people observe nirjalā-ekādaśī - even young boys, and even when the temperature outside is 48 degrees Celsius. Still these people observe nirjalā. No harm at all comes to such persons by this; rather, this fasting removes all diseases. Be careful to observe ekādaśī in such a way that you will become nearer to Kṛṣṇa—to Kṛṣṇa and to those personalities and things related to the Lord. This includes Tulasī, Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Vṛndāvana, Girirāja, and any temple of Śrī-Sri Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Mostly it refers to His pure devotees-the rasika and tattva-jña uttama-adhikārīs (first class pure devotees), and even to madhyama-adhikārīs (intermediate devotees). If you are associating with them, living in Vṛndāvana, being near to the devotional meditation.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Canto 9 Chapter 4 Summary, and Canto 9 Chapter 5 Summary by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja)] 48 • It Is Not A Day—It Is Kṛṣṇa Tulasī plant, to Purī-dhāma where Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu resided for some time, to Śrī Govinda Temple and Śrī Gopīnātha Temple, and to all temples, and if you are praying and hearing hari-kathā, you will become nearer to Kṛṣṇa. This is called upa (near)-vāsa (residing). Try not to do any worldly activities on ekādaśī. We should utilize at least one day in two weeks to be closer to Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and in that way you will not lose your bhakti. Your bhakti will certainly increase by Their association, and therefore Kṛṣṇa has arranged this opportunity—He Himself has become ekādaśī. In the form of ekādaśī, He invites us: “Today you should give your eleven senses to Me.” This is a very good thing—Kṛṣṇa has become ekādaśī—so we should try to observe it. Kṛṣṇa called His cakra and ordered him to go to Śiśupāla, and in one second that cakra cut off Śiśupāla’s head. In the Vedic scriptures we see that whenever Kṛṣṇa takes His cakra and throws it, it cuts off that person’s head in a second. Why, then, did the cakra pursue Durvāsā, who was quickly running away from it, for one entire year, and still it did not reach him to cut his head? Why? What is the reason? Why was the cakra not cutting his head? It did not cut his head even after one minute, two minutes, three minutes, one hour, two hours, or even one month. It took nearly one entire year, but it still did not cut off his head. Why did it continue to remain two fingers away? What is the reason? [Devotee:] Because Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was praying to Lord Viṣṇu for the benediction that nothing should harm Durvāsā. [Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja:] No, this is not the reason. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja can never be opposed to Kṛṣṇa’s will. If Nārāyaṇa or Kṛṣṇa throws the Sudarśana-cakra, it must cut off the person’s head. Sudarśana-cakra is not only a weapon. The word Sudarśana means ‘auspicious vision’. By connection with that auspicious vision one will not die. He will not be destroyed, either by cutting of his head or by any other means. Durvāsā Ṛṣi is a pure Vaiṣṇava; he is a manifestation of Śaṅkara, Lord Śiva. He is the greatest of all Vaiṣṇavas Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 49 ('vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ')10. He wanted to glorify bhakti (pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa) and the power of the devotees of Kṛṣṇa—in an indirect way. He can give any benediction to anyone, and he even gave a benediction to Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Rādhikā received from him the benediction that whatever She cooked would be sweeter than nectar, and that is the special feature of Her cooking. How is it possible for a person who wanted to glorify bhakti and Kṛṣṇa to be opposed to a person like Ambarīṣa Mahārāja? Durvāsā Ṛṣi is a high-class brāhmaṇa and a yogī, and he is immortal. He lives in Brahma-loka11, not on this Earth planet. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was always chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti, and other devotional hymns (kīrtanas). He was very simple. He used to personally perform many services, such as collecting flowers and making 10 nimna gānāṁ yathā gaṅgā devānām acyuto yathā vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ purāṇānāṁ idaṁ tathā “Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Śambhu (Śiva) the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 12.13.16)] 11 Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Thus being satisfied in all respects, the great mystic yogi Durvāsā took permission and left, continuously glorifying the King. Through the skyways, he went to Brahmaloka, which is devoid of agnostics and dry philosophical speculators. PURPORT (by Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja) Although Durvāsā Muni went back to Brahmaloka through the spaceways, he did not need an airplane, for great mystic yogis can transport themselves from any planet to any other without any machine. There is a planet named Siddhaloka whose inhabitants can go to any other planet because they naturally have all the perfection of yoga practice. Thus Durvāsā Muni, the great mystic yogi, could go through the skyways to any planet, even to Brahmaloka. In Brahmaloka, everyone is self-realized, and thus there is no need of philosophical speculation to come to the conclusion of the Absolute Truth. Durvāsā Muni’s purpose in going to Brahmaloka was apparently to speak to the residents of Brahmaloka about how powerful a devotee is and how a devotee can surpass every living entity within this material world. The so-called jñānīs and yogīs cannot compare to a devotee. (ŚrīmadBhāgavatam 9.5.22)] 50 • It Is Not A Day—It Is Kṛṣṇa garlands for Kṛṣṇa in the form of the Deity. And, regarding the control and maintenance of his kingdom, he gave that job to his ministers. No one could realize that he was such a highclass devotee. A devotee who is always purely chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa while doing his worldly job and maintaining his life is greater than any yogi or brahma-jñānī (one who has realized the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord) like Durvāsā. He may not have attained his spiritual position, but still he is so much higher then any brahma-jñānī. Sudarśana-cakra knew, "Durvāsā is also my devotee. He wants to glorify bhakti, the Lord’s devotee, and the Supreme Lord Himself. Since he is going to glorify them in an indirect way, I will also act in an indirect way. I will not cut his head, but I will pursue him. I will do this in order to create fear in all those who are against the Lord’s devotees. They will understand that Sudarśana-cakra always protects all devotees, like Prahlāda Mahārāja, Gajendra and others. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was thinking, “What shall I do? On one hand, if I drink caraṇāmṛta (the water that has bathed the Deity of the Lord), then I will be neglecting that brāhmaṇa-yogī, but on the other hand I must consider ekādaśī. If I do not properly observe ekādaśī (which includes concluding it by honoring the Lord’s prasāda at the proper time the next day), that means I am neglecting ekādaśī. What is more harmful—to disobey a brāhmaṇa or to disobey bhakti?” He concluded, “I may disobey thousands upon thousands of brāhmaṇas like this brahma-jñanī-yogī, but I cannot disobey the holy name or ekādaśī.” The Vaiṣṇavas utter this prayer before honoring mahāprasāda, the remnants of the Lord’s foodstuffs) mahā-prasāde govinde, nāma-brahmaṇi vaiṣṇave, svalpa-puṇya-vatāṁ rājan, viśvāso naiva jāyate (Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in mahā-prasāda, in Śrī Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaiṣṇavas." [from Skanda Purāṇa, quoted in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, 16.96 purport]). We cannot disobey harināma or ekādaśī. ekādaśī is the mother of devotion. If you observe ekādaśī, bhakti will surely come. It may seem like a very ordinary thing, Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 51 but it is not ordinary at all. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa took some caraṇāmṛta, which was not pāraṇa (breaking the fast) and also pāraṇa at the same time, because this water is not like a grain or a food. When one observes nirjalā ekādaśī (fasting even from water), if one drinks water the next day at the specified time for breaking the fast, then that water is also considered pāraṇa. Otherwise, if one is taking fruits and water on ekādaśī, he will have to break the fast with a grain. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was observing nirjalā for three days. On the first day he drank water one time, on the last day (dvādaśī, the day after ekādaśī) one time, and in between, for the entire ekādaśī day he did nirjalā. He did not sleep at night, not even for a moment. Rather, he was always chanting and remembering Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name and glories. This is the process of ekādaśī. We are not qualified like Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, so Kṛṣṇa has given us some concessions, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja has also given more concessions to us. You can take fruit, milk, and curd, there is no harm in that—but observe ekādaśī. Don’t take grains. Try to take one meal in the day, but if you are not able, you can take two times; but not three times, four times, five times, six times—with one kilo of juice, rabrī (an Indian sweet), one kilo of mango, fruit juice, orange juice, and after that apple juice—not giving a rest to your stomach, but always eating. We should not do this. One or two meals is sufficient; and each time one should take only enough prasāda to half-fill the stomach. Half the stomach should remain empty. Take very little; then it is ekādaśī. Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires [The Best ekādaśī Class Ever] Houston, Texas: around 2001 (not sure of exact year) You know how delicious Jagannātha prasāda is. The paṇḍās (priests) of Jagannātha’s temple brought some prasāda to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who was performing kīrtana with His associates: Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. In general, the paṇḍās and others in Jagannātha Purī don’t observe ekādaśī. They think they have ‘tightened the legs of Ekādaśī-devī and tied her upside down on the branch of a tree’ so that no one would have to observe ekādaśī. They say, “This 52 • Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires is the glory of mahā-prasāda, that even on ekādaśī, Janmāṣṭamī, and Rāma-navamī, you have no need of special fasting. You can take prasāda, and after that you can take betel-nut, and sometimes cigarettes; no harm. And just go on chanting, ‘Jagannātha, Jagannātha, Jaya Jagannātha’.” The paṇḍās considered, “If the Gauḍīya bhaktas from Bengal, and Vaiṣṇavas from other parts of India, come here on ekādaśī, then our mahā-prasāda will not sell and our business will go down. Also, if all of them are observing ekādaśī and we are not, they will laugh at us.” For these reasons the paṇḍās offered Mahāprabhu Jagannātha’s mahā-prasāda on ekādaśī. They thought He would be in a dilemma, and would then take it. What did Mahāprabhu do? He said, “We should not dishonor mahā-prasāda, nor should we dishonor ekādaśī.” Then, with all His devotees, He began to perform kīrtana again, offering prayers and daṇḍavat praṇāmas to the mahā-prasāda from so many Vedas, Upaniṣads, so many Purāṇas, and ŚrīmadBhāgavatam for the entire night. Mahā-prasāda is Himself Kṛṣṇa: mahā-prasāde govinde, nāma-brahmaṇi vaiṣṇave, svalpa-puṇya-vatāṁ rājan, viśvāso naiva jāyate [“Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in mahā-prasāda, in Śrī Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaiṣṇavas.” (Skanda Purāṇa)] Those who are not fortunate cannot honor mahā-prasāda with the understanding that it is Govinda Himself, as they cannot understand that Kṛṣṇa has invested His all power, opulence, mercy, and everything in His name. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa Himself, and mahā-prasāda is Kṛṣṇa Himself, and the pure Vaiṣṇavas are also non-different from Kṛṣṇa. There is a special power in them. We should not neglect them. Mahāprabhu spent His entire night in such glorification. Then, at 4 am He went to Svarga-dvāra, to the ocean. There He took bath, then returned to His place and performed ācamana, put on tilaka, and did āhnika. Even though He is Kṛṣṇa Himself, He was doing this. Why was He remembering Kṛṣṇa? His heart is that of Rādhikā, so He remembered, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa.” Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 53 After performing His morning duties, He offered praṇāma and took prasāda, and then He went for darśana of Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā. He did not see Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā, however. He only saw Vrajendra-nandana. He was just about to faint, but He was caught by Candaneśvara, the son of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Sārvabhauma had told his son, “Always go to the Jagannātha temple with Mahāprabhu, and when He is about to faint, you should protect Him from the fall.” We should try to observe ekādaśī in this way—not taking so many times water, juice fruit, milk, and so on. If you are young and healthy, you can go the whole day and night without taking anything, even water. If you cannot do this, then you can take one time in the afternoon or evening. If you are sick or weak, then you can take something small, two times a day, to maintain your life so that you can chant, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa.” More concessions have been given for Western devotees because they are weaker in body. Otherwise, they are very strong. I have seen so many Western devotees, especially lady devotees, who fast the entire day and night and not sleeping. There are so many benefits from observing ekādaśī. In colleges, hospitals and all work places, we see that leave is given for students and workers once a week so they can take rest, and the next day they can work with full energy. Otherwise, they would not be able to continue their activities over the years. They must take some rest. This is also true regarding our stomach. In our stomach there are some bacteria that are helpful for our health. These bacteria are always working for our digestion, so if they become sick or tired, then you will become sick. We should try and give them rest for one day at least, so that the next day they will work again with great energy. Secondly, you see that in the ocean, especially from ekādaśī to Pūrṇimā, there are very large waves. This is because the moon attracts all the waters of this planet. Wherever there is water, the moon attracts it. In our body there is much water, and especially on ekādaśī day the moon will attract it; if there is any disease, that disease will increase so much. It is best that we check these things, especially grains, corn, wheat, and 54 • Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires things made by them. It has been said that sometimes you can take water, and there is no harm in that. If you put water on a stone, the stone will at once become dry again; all the water will disappear. On the other hand, if you pour water on some cotton or blotting paper, they will soak up the water and take hours to dry. Preparations made from grains, wheat, rice, corn, and dāla are like cotton in our stomach. The moon attracts that water in them and diseases increase. So many people die in hospitals from ekādaśī to the full moon and ekādaśī to the new moon. To check our diseases, it is very essential to follow ekādaśī. [From Gurudeva’s June 5, 1998 lecture on ekādaśī: On ekādaśī, the moon comes closer to the Earth, and therefore it attracts water from everywhere—from the sea, from the river, from our bodies, and so on. If one takes any grains on this day, the grains become like blotting-paper. If you drink water, the water will very soon pass out from the body. However, if you take grains and water together, the grains become like blotting paper or cotton—grains hold the water. Even if you squeeze the cotton, some water will remain. Similarly, if you eat any grain, it becomes like a sponge. It will hold a lot of water. The moon will attract that water, and all your diseases will increase. You can see this in the sea or ocean. At this time there are high tides and the waves become very high.] These are external reasons, for the body. I have told this for those who are attached to their bodies. Even persons who do not believe in God should observe ekādaśī. In India, all kinds of devotees follow ekādaśī— Māyāvādīs (impersonalists), Śaivas (worshipers of Lord Śiva), Śāktas (worship of Durgā-devī), and Gaṇeśa worshipers. Both ladies and males, and children follow, but nowadays everything is finishing. Almost everyone is avoiding ekādaśī, as a very big storm from Western countries went to India and affected everywhere. In ancient times there was a king named Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, and he was in a dilemma regarding whether or not ekādaśī should be observed fully. There was a very high class of brahma-vādī named Durvāsā Muni who could fly in the air, and who could go to Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 55 Brahmaloka and everywhere else. He could disappear; he could take any form, and whatever he would order would happen. He could curse someone by telling him, “Oh, you should die at once,” and that person would die. He was also a very angry person. Durvāsā came to the palace of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, and Ambarīṣa Mahārāja requested him, “Please take prasāda here today, because it is dvādaśī today, pāraṇa day.” [On dvādaśī day, the day following the ekādaśī fast, the fast is broken and the ekādaśī observance is completed, by taking ‘pāraṇa’ at a prescribed exact time. -editors] Durvāsā said, “I will return very soon. I am going very near, to the Yamunā River. I will take bath and do some other things, and then I will return.” He went, and then knowingly delayed and came back late. Before he returned, only a few minutes remained before pāraṇa time. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was thinking, “What shall to do? On one side, if I take pāraṇa I will be dishonoring that mahā-mahā-brahma-vādī, and on the other side, if I honor that brahma-jñānī I will be dishonoring ekādaśī.” If anyone observes ekādaśī without taking water, but does not take pāraṇa in time, then the fruits from ekādaśī go away. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja therefore wondered what to do. At last he decided, “Let the brahma-vādī be angry, no harm. He will come and curse me, saying, ‘You should die.' No harm. In my next birth I will again be okay. On the other hand, if I dishonor ekādaśī and do not take pāraṇa in the proper time, then my bhakti will go away. I will be dishonoring Kṛṣṇa Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I will be ruined forever. If my bhakti leaves, then what will be the use of honoring brahma-vādīs and doing other things? I should not dishonor bhakti.” He then took caraṇāmṛta (the water that bathed his Deity) without Tulasī, only water - because he had done nirjalā, a full fast, on the previous day. If he had not done nirjalā, then water would not have been sufficient to observe the pāraṇa. He would have had to take some grain or anything similar. Thus, he took only one drop of caraṇāmṛta to observe pāraṇa. That Ṛṣi then returned. Knowing (by his trance) that Ambarīṣa Mahārāja had taken the caraṇāmṛta, He gave a curse. 56 • Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires He took one hair from his dread-lock (matted locks) and told it, “You should become fire.” At once that hair became a big and powerful fire demon; Kṛtyā, a rākṣasī, or man-eating, demon. The fire demon asked Durvāsā, “What I should do?” The Ṛṣi replied, “Oh you should at once burn Ambarīṣa Mahārāja to ashes!” He is inimical to brahma-jñānī ṛṣis! He doesn’t know how to honor me!" Kṛtyā attacked at once, but Kṛṣṇa’s Sudarśana Cakra (Kṛṣṇa’s ultimate disc-weapon) was there, always protecting devotees. We have no faith in Kṛṣṇa’s protection—or perhaps just a little, a shadow. We do not really believe that Kṛṣṇa will come, and Cakra will come, and save us. Sudarśana is always here and there. He never destroys anyone; rather he gives sudarśana, a light by which you can see Kṛṣṇa. He is always saving devotees everywhere, because he can go everywhere. He was watching and observing Durvāsā Ṛṣi and Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. He came at once. In a moment he burnt that very big fire-demoness and began to pursue Durvāsā Ṛṣi. Why was he following Durvāsā? He can fly faster than Durvāsā, so why did he not catch and destroy him? Why did he only continue chasing him? This is because Durvāsā Muni was actually Śaṅkara, and Śaṅkara is a bhakta. The apparently demonic behavior of Durvāsā Muni was only to glorify Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. Durvāsā is actually a high class of devotee. He is Śaṅkara. Cakra was following only to make a show, to make a pastime in order to glorify Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and ekādaśī. Otherwise, even Śaṅkara cannot escape Sudarśana cakra. He could have been burnt. But Śaṅkara is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa; in Brahmaloka he is Sadāśiva, Viṣṇutattva. Knowing this Sudarśana cakra only chased him. Durvāsā Ṛṣi went first to the planet of his father, Brahmā, who refused to help him. He then went to the planet of Lord Śiva, but Śiva (Śaṅkara) also refused. And finally he approached Lord Viṣṇu, who refused and told him, “I am not independent. I am dependent on My bhaktas.” If someone gets a thorn in his foot, that thorn cannot be removed from his head; it must be removed from his foot. Viṣṇu told him, “Bhaktas are My feet; they are My heart. I cannot save you. Go back to Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, and if he accepts and forgives you, then okay.” Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 57 Durvāsā Ṛṣi immediately returned to Earth, to the palace of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. He fell flat at the feet of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and begin to pray “Oh, please forgive me.” Ambarīṣa replied, “You should forgive me. It was because of me that Sudarśana cakra chased you everywhere and made you suffer. First, take prasāda; then we will discuss whatever you like.” Mahārāja Ambarīṣa then served delicious prasāda to Durvāsā Ṛṣi, who saw the glory of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. aho ananta-dāsānāṁ mahattvam dṛṣṭam adya me kṛtāgaso 'pi yad rājan maṅgalāni samīhase [“My dear king, today I have experienced the greatness of a Vaiṣṇava, for although I have committed a grievous offense by trying to kill you, you have prayed for my protection and well being.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 9.4.68)] Durvāsā Ṛṣi said, “Oh, today I have seen how glorious the Vaiṣṇavas are. So, today I must observe ekādaśī to become a devotee like you.” If you want to become a devotee like Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, or like the parents of Kṛṣṇa, Nanda and Yaśodā, then you must follow ekādaśī. Nanda and Yaśodā followed ekādaśī in Vṛndāvana, and from Vṛndāvana they came to Ambikā-kānana near Mathurā and followed there. If they were doing this, why should we not? We must observe ekādaśī, and with care. Then, bhakti will come to us automatically. We must follow ekādaśī under the guidance of pure Vaiṣṇavas, and also perform kīrtana under such guidance. If you are doing bhakti, that is okay. But if he is under the guidance of a devotee who has relation with Vraja, who has Vraja- bhakti, who is rasika, knowing all tattvas, that pure devotee can remove all doubts and can put Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa, and Mahāprabhu in your heart. Under the guidance of this caliber of Vaiṣṇava, be always in Vṛndāvana, and always chant and remember. Both at the same time, chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and remember the pastimes related to that name. For example, if you are singing, “Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti, Govinda Dāmodara Mādhaveti,” you can remember the pastimes of Govinda. When there was torrential rains sent by the demigod Indra, Kṛṣṇa held up Girirāja Mountain for seven days to protect the residents of Vṛndāvana. After seven days, Indra realized that he had 58 • Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires committed a great offense at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. He came to Kṛṣṇa with his elephant and Surabhi cow. He performed Kṛṣṇa's abhiṣeka (a sacred bathing ceremony), and then told Him, “O, You are the protector of go—the cows, gopas—the cowherd men and boys, gopīs—the cowherd women and girls, govatsa—the calves, the land, and all the other residents of Gokula So, Your name is appropriately ‘Govinda.'” You can remember this pastime, for example. You can also remember the pastimes of Dāmodara. You can remember the pastime of Yaśodā binding Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa weeping, “Mother, Mother, don’t beat Me.” Once, Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the gopīs were there sitting with Kṛṣṇa. Lalitā took the corner of Śrīmatī Rādhikā's veil and a corner of Kṛṣṇa’s pītāmbara, and tied the two corners together. Then, all the gopīs began to sing the kīrtanas of marriage, and Viśākhā became the priest. When Rādhikā realized what was happening She started to run away, but Kṛṣṇa was bound to Her. The gopīs bound Kṛṣṇa so He could not leave Śrīmatī Rādhikā, He would always be with Her. In this way, He is Rādhā-Dāmodara. We remember Rādhā-Dāmodara. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī established the Deity of Rādhā-Dāmodara, not YaśodāDāmodara. Yaśodā-Dāmodara is only a part of RādhāDāmodara. We should remember and chant like this, and always being in Vṛndāvana, thinking, “We are in Vṛndāvana with Vrajavāsīs.” Also, when you are chanting: jayatāṁ suratau paṅgor mama manda-mater gati mat-sarvasva-padāmbhojau rādhā-madana-mohanau [“All glories to the all-merciful Śrī Rādhā-MadanaMohana! Although I am lame, foolish and devoid of intelligence, Your lotus feet are my refuge and my everything!” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.15)] dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhaḥ śrīmad ratnāgāra-siṁhāsana-sthau śrī-śrī-rādha-śrīla-govinda-devau preṣṭhālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi [“I meditate upon Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda-deva, who are seated beneath a kalpa-vṛkṣa tree on an effulgent bejeweled siṁhāsana in the supremely beautiful land of Vṛndāvana, Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 59 where They are always being served by Their beloved sakhīs, headed by Lalitā and Viśākhā. This Govinda, this pastime surrounded by all the gopīs.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.16)] You can remember the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa surrounded by all the gopīs. And when you chant this verse (below), you can remember Kṛṣṇa as Gopīnātha under this shade of Vaṁśī-vaṭa. śrīmān rāsa-rasārambhī vaṁśīvaṭa-taṭa-sthitaḥ karṣan veṇu-svanair gopīr gopīnāthaḥ śriye'stu naḥ ["Śrī Gopīnātha, who originated the transcendental mellow of the rāsa dance, always stands beneath the Vaṁśī-vaṭa tree, attracting all the kiśorī-gopīs with the sound of His flute, thereby showering me with auspiciousness." (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.17)] Thinking that we are in Sevā-kuñja, or that we are under the shade of Vaṁśī-vaṭa, especially under the guidance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, and chanting and remembering, our ekādaśī will then be observed well. Śyāmarāṇī dāsī: Gurudeva, we always hear that we should not take grains on ekādaśī because sins are stored in them on that day, but why can we not take certain vegetables, like tomato and laukī? Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is not like with grains. They do not have the qualities of grain, corn, wheat, and dāla [in that they don’t act like a blotter paper of a ball of cotton]. Especially it has been told, by a special story, that on the very day of ekādaśī, all sins, including brahma-hatyā (the killing of a brāhmaṇa), mātṛ-hatyā (the killing of one’s mother), go-hatyā (the killing of a cow) take shelter in grains and the things prepared by grains. And in addition śāstra prohibits taking certain vegetables and other foodstuffs.12 A concession has been made for the Western devotees and in India for weak persons. If you are not observing the rules 12 Scriptures like Hari- bhakti-vilāsa state that such foodstuffs create changes in the body and consciousness that are detrimental to the observance of ekādaśī. Sinful reactions don’t take shelter in foodstuffs other than grains and beans. Scriptures like Manu-saṁhitā and Manusmṛti state that certain foodstuffs are prohibited on ekādaśī because they change their qualities on that day, and thus their ingestion creates disturbances in the consciousness. 60 • Ekādaśī Can Fulfill All Desires and prohibitions, then all kinds of sin will come to you; and if you have some bhakti, it will be destroyed. Weak persons can take something, as they like, but it must be within the foodstuffs allowed for ekādaśī. Children can also take as they like, but their mother and father should take care that they only take fruits and other foods allotted for ekādaśī. In evening class, we will discuss how we can develop our Kṛṣṇa consciousness; how we can follow Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the teachings of Rūpa and Raghunātha. We are only here for one day, so what can I tell? If we would be here for seven days, or ten days, as we are in other cities, then we could speak on one subject as a theme. No harm, though; I think that all are inspired by hearing this topic today. My request is: don’t be weak, have great faith in your Guru, in your śikṣā-guru, in devotees, and in the pure Name. If you have no taste, then again and again continue to chant, because the Name is Kṛṣṇa Himself. It will give you darśana of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is coming to you in the shape of ekādaśī, in the shape of His Name, but you are thinking, "Oh, it is enough to chant in any way: ‘lahstom pahstum;' one round, two rounds; and without attention. Don’t be like this. Kṛṣṇa, His Name, and ekādaśī can fulfill all our desires, and can even give vrajaprema. Wealth cannot save us or solve our problems. But this can fulfill all kinds of desires and solve all kinds of problems. Have a very strong belief in the Name, and observe ekādaśī, Janamāṣṭamī, Rāma-navamī, Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī, Mahāprabhu’s Birthday; and especially try to honor devotees. Don’t neglect devotees by mind or by heart. Don’t have any enemies. Gaura Premānande! Anu-kalpa Restricted foods on ekādaśī: (1)Tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, beets, bitter melon (karelā), laukī, parmal, toroi, kunli, drumsticks, bhiṇḍi (lady fingers or okra), banana flower. (2)Peas, chickpeas and all types of beans, including products made from beans [pāpaḍa (wafers), tofu, tempeh Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 61 (Indonesian foodstuff made from fermented soya beans; a dish made by frying this), etc.] (3)All leafy vegetables: spinach, salads, cabbages, etc., and leafy herbs like parsley, coriander leaves, celery, curry leaves, etc. (4)Grains: millet, barley, farina, pasta, rice, corn, etc. all types of flour made from grains and beans (like rice flour, chickpea flour, urad dāla flour, etc.) (5)Starches from corn or grains, and products made from and mixed with these starches like: baking soda, baking powder, certain soft drinks with corn syrup, custard, certain yogurts, puddings, certain cream & cottage cheeses, certain sweets, candies, tapioca balls, etc. (6)Oils made from grains: corn oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, etc., and products fried in these oils: nuts, potato chips and other snack foods. (7)Honey and sweets made with starches. Spices used on ekādaśī: black pepper, fresh ginger, pure salt and fresh turmeric, all taken from a new and clean package. Spices not used on ekādaśī: hing (asafetida), sesame seeds, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, tamarind, fennel, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. Foods that can be taken on ekādaśī (1) All fruits (fresh and dried), all nuts and oils made from nuts. (2) Potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, radish, squash, lemon, avocado, olives, coconut, buckwheat, all sugars. (3) All pure milk products. Important Letter about ekādaśī Devotees often ask about the proper way to observe ekādaśī in the strictest sense. The following letter is written by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, at the Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha in Mathurā, India, on July 11, 1993. We hope this will be helpful. Please accept my heartly blessings. All glories to Śrī Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga and Śrī Śrī Rādhā Vinoda-viharī. 62 • Important Letter about ekādaśī I received your letter sent to Navīna Kṛṣṇa Brahmacārī. You have inquired about nirjalā-ekādaśī and cāturmāsya-vratas. I think you have Hari- bhakti-vilāsa and you have all read these topics in that book. You have also read in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about Ambarīṣa Mahārāja who always used to do nirjalāekādaśī. From Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and from the example of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja’s vrata, we know that on the day before ekādaśī we should take prasāda only one time, and we should not take any water—even at night. On the second day we should take no water and no mahā-prasāda, throughout the entire day and night. We should not sleep. We should observe brahmacarya, always chant and hear hari-kathā, and we should read bhakti books. Also, we should always remember the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, using our eleven indriyas (senses) in His service. On the next day, after worshiping the Deities, we can take pāraṇa, the remnant food grains of mahā-prasāda. By chance, if Nityānanda Prabhu’s or Advaita Ācārya Prabhu’s birthday comes in that day (dvādaśī), and we want to maintain our vrata, we will break the ekādaśī-vrata by taking Kṛṣṇa caraṇāmṛta. No food grains are to be taken, but on that day we can take water. And on the next day, after worshiping Nityānanda Prabhu or Advaita Ācārya, we will break the vrata by remnants of mahā-prasāda food grains. All this has been told for persons who are able to do so. Those who are not able should follow Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s guidelines.13 In Kali-yuga, only rare persons can follow, but if anyone wants to follow, that is very good. I have seen generally that our Gurudeva, Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Mādhava Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Bhakti-vilāsa Tīrtha Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Bhāratī Mahārāja, and other respected ācāryas did not do nirjalā when they became elderly. They used to take milk, curd, fruit juice, boiled potato, plantains, and other vegetables with ekādaśī salt. But I have also seen Vaiṣṇavas doing nirjalā ekādaśī. You can follow which is suitable to you. 13 Śrīla Mahārāja has often explained that Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja was dealing in certain ways with beginners, knowing that they would come to stricter standards later on. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 63 Somehow we should try to remember Kṛṣṇa, along with His associates and His pastimes, throughout the day and night. Don’t sleep, and don’t be lazy. If anyone does nirjalā ekādaśī but at the same time gets a headache, becomes nervous, becomes lazy, and he does not remember Kṛṣṇa, then there is no use of doing nirjalā. Somehow our hearts should always remember Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. The main objective of all our activities should be to somehow or other keep our heart always at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, by hook or crook. Regarding, cāturmāsya, we should try to follow Hari-bhaktivilāsa and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has written an article in which he has explained what to eat and what not to eat in each of the four months, but he did not include certain prohibitions. So you should read Haribhakti-vilāsa and try to follow it. If you take fruits, they should be taken once in a day, not again and again, so many times in a day. I only try to follow my Gurudeva. We should follow our Gurudeva. Regarding serving the Deities during Cāturmāsya, certainly we cannot keep our fingernails so long. We try to be neat and clean to serve the Deities. During the four-month cāturmāsya-vrata, we should bathe the Deities with pañcāmṛta (yogurt, milk, ghee, honey, and sugar), and this pañcāmṛta should be taken by us. At that time it becomes pañcāmṛta-caraṇāmṛta, and therefore it should be taken. This is also true in the case of dahī (yogurt) and madhu. Madhu, honey, is prohibited, but when it is included in that pañcāmṛta, it can also be taken. Only during nirjalā-ekādaśī is pañcāmrta-caraṇāmrta prohibited, although it can be taken after breaking fast. We should try to follow the culture and activities of Vaiṣṇava behavior. Whether outsiders criticize or not, we should try to follow all principles strictly. This is pracāra. We should not leave the bhakti cult in any way. Once an Indian devotee prayed to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, “I have not shaved, I will take only tulasī-mālā on my neck, and I will not do Kārtika-vrata or ekādaśī-vrata. But I will follow you and I want to live with you.” Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja rejected the proposal. Actually, in our cult we don’t shave 64 • Important Letter about ekādaśī daily.14 Brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs should only shave one time in a month as we have seen Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and his followers do, and we have also heard about Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers doing. We don’t follow any other Purāṇas or Mahābhārata. We follow Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers. When there is any discrepancy between the Vedas and the Purāṇas, that is, Bhāgavata, we will follow Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. We should try to follow Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and our guru-paramparā. I have not read Mahābhārata so deeply, but I know the Vaiṣṇava paramparā. We don’t touch Tulasī on the dvādaśī day. We should follow this. And if you have seen Mahābhārata with your own eyes, then there is no harm that on Amāvasyā we do not touch Tulasī. We hope this letter will find you in good health and Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, Your ever well-wisher, Svāmī B. V. Nārāyaṇa. 14 Śrīla Mahārāja has often explained that Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja was dealing in certain ways with beginners, knowing that they would come to stricter standards later on. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 65 Stories and Anecdotes about Ekādaśī Deliverance of a brahma-rākṣasa Pūjyapāda Śrīmad Bhakti-bhūdeva Śrautī Mahārāja—the disciple of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda was preaching in the East India. He was a close friend and Godbrother of Parama-gurudeva Śrīla Bhakti-prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. He preached the pure devotion to the elderly people as well as children in the villages. After one such village preaching program, he inquired from the children of the village if there was any suitable place to stay in the night. The children directed him to a nearby abandoned house. He entered the isolated home, laid down his mat and proceeded to take rest for the night. About twelve in the midnight he heard a ferocious voice waking up, “I am a brahma-rākṣasa. I devour anyone who stays in this house. I am also going to devour you.” Despite hearing the ferocious voice, Śrīmad Bhakti-bhūdeva Śrautī Mahārāja remained completely unperturbed. He contemplated in his mind that only way to rescue this wretched soul suffering in the ghostly body is to donate him the benefit of one ekādaśī. The ghostly body is generally even more painful than the existence in the hell. As soon as Śrīmad Bhakti-bhūdeva Śrautī Mahārāja took water in his hand and sprinkled in the direction of the brahma-rākṣasa, bestowing upon him the benefit of one ekādaśī, a voice came in that direction – “Thank you very much for delivering me. Your bestowal of the benefit of one ekādaśī has rescued from the ghastly body of a brahmarākṣasa. I am feeling a tremendous relief. I cannot repay for your magnanimous gift. I will remained eternally indebted to you.. Offering obeisances to Śrīmad Bhakti-bhūdeva Śrautī Mahārāja, that soul left for a better body where he could practice the limbs of devotional service. 66 • Stories and Anecdotes about Ekādaśī Spiritual Lottery One may be a very poor person earning only Rs. 100 per days. If one is borrowing Rs. 200 per day to meet one’s expenses, then one will certainly incur the debt of about Rs. 6000 per month just for the sake of maintenance of one’s family. However if one buys a lottery ticket worth Rs. 10 and hits a jackpot of Rs. 1 crore, then all of one’s debt is absolved and one instantaneously becomes a rich person. The vow of ekādaśī is that spiritual lottery or jackpot. One many be spiritually weak and poor, however if one observes the vow of ekādaśī diligently, then one will become spiritual rich and endowed. Old lady and her husband One old lady was afflicted by ghost. Her husband was a keen follower of the vow of ekādaśī. He also insisted her to follow the vow of ekādaśī. However the ghost in her body would neither let that old lady observe the vow of ekādaśī nor would it let her go to the Hare Kṛṣṇa temple. However the ghost permitted that lady to visit a Christian Church. The potency of the prayers in the Christian Church is not so great that the ghost will be forced to leave the body of the old lady. However simply by hearing the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra or by observing a fast on the day of ekādaśī, the ghost would be unable to live in the body of that old lady. Whenever that lady attempted to observe the vow of ekādaśī or visit a Hare Kṛṣṇa temple, the ghost used to get enraged and caused the intense trembling, shivering and fits to old lady. She used to shake like a thin plantain tree in the midst of a cyclone. The ghost feared that her doing so would dislodge it from her body and it would lose a comfortable habitat where it could live as a parasite and exploit her knowledge acquiring and working senses for enjoying mundane sense objects. In such a situation, the old man spoke to the ghost in the body of the old lady – “My dear friend! Why are you preventing my good old wife from observing the vow of Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 67 ekādaśī or visiting a Hare Kṛṣṇa temple? Do not be afraid that you will become homeless by letting her do so. Rather a great prospect of your deliverance is awaiting you if you let her do so.. Hearing the fervent prayer of the old devotee, the good sense dawned upon that ghost and it let the old woman observe ekādaśī. Right after the pārāṇa (completion of the vow of ekādaśī), the old lady became permanently free from influence of the pestering ghost and experienced a fresh sense of relief. The ghost also left its subtle existence and received a gross body by the mercy of the ekādaśī-devī, the personal potency of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The old man’s convincing talk inspired the ghost. When a person is afflicted by ghost, one should speak such soothing words to the ghost and bestow the benefit of one ekādaśī upon that spirit soul, who has acquired the ghostly existence. This will free that ghost. Safe Delivery A daughter-in-law of one devotee mātājī was going to give birth to a child. The doctor prescribed the cesarean 15 delivery predicting the normal delivery to be impossible and dangerous. Mātājī requested five minutes of time from the doctor to arrive upon a decision and called up Śrīpāda Bhaktivedānta Daṇḍī Mahārāja. Śrīpāda Bhaktivedānta Daṇḍī Mahārāja bestowed the benefit of one ekādaśī fast to the mother. After five minutes, the doctor changed the mind and proceeded with the normal delivery. Remote Relief One devotee Śrī Śivarāja Kṛsṇa Dāsa, a disciple of Śrīpāda Bhaktivedānta Daṇḍī Mahārāja, is an Engineer in Bangalore. He visited Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma for annual parikramā with the group about seventy devotees from Bangalore by train. 15The delivery of a fetus by surgical incision through the abdominal wall and uterus (from the belief that Julius Caesar was born that way) 68 • Stories and Anecdotes about Ekādaśī Meanwhile his elder brother in Bangalore suffered a cardiac arrest and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in a Bangalore hospital. For about fifteen days, he was a borderline case crisscrossing the thin line of life and death. His relatives phoned Kṛṣṇa Dāsa and reported him about the illhealth of his brother. On hearing this, Śrī Śivarāja Kṛṣṇa Dāsa felt very worried, but he expressed his inability to help as he was situated so far away from Bangalore. That very moment, he took some water in his hands and releasing that water on the ground, he bestowed the benefit of one ekādaśī to his ailing elder brother. Instantaneously his elder brother came out of the comatose condition and began feebly inquire about Śrī Śivarāja Kṛṣṇa Dāsa. Everyone told him that Śrī Śivarāja Kṛṣṇa Dāsa has gone for Navadvīpa Parikramā and will return only after ten days. Upon the return of Śrī Śivarāja Kṛṣṇa Dāsa, he saw that his elder brother was coming running to greet him. His elder brother hugged him tightly and thanked him profusely for saving his life. Even with the best of the medical care available, the bestowal of the benefit of one ekādaśī fast had rescued the elder brother of Kṛṣṇa from the ferocious jaws of Yamarāja, the god of death. The elder brother was fully aware of this and therefore he was reluctant to let go of his younger brother Kṛṣṇa Dāsa, clutching him tightly with the fraternal affection. Afterward, the elder brother also took a vow to observe the vow of ekādaśī with complete steadfastness. Having personally experienced the live-saving grace of the vow of ekādaśī, he had developed a steadfast attachment for the observance of the vow of ekādaśī. Two Muslim brothers Two Muslim brothers in a city of India were living a handto-mouth existence. They used to pull luggage carts (rikshwas) on the streets. Once one rich businessman hired them for transporting a lot of goods from one location to another. It Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 69 was the day of Śuddhā Ekādśī. Both the cart-puller brothers completely unaware that it was the day of ekādaśī, kept on drawing the carts all day long transporting the goods in the hot sun. They had not taken any food or water that particular day. Due to the sweltering heat, exertion, thirst and hunger, they breathed their last and were taken to the hell by the associated of Lord Yama (the god of death). On arrival in the hell, they saw that the residents of the hell were suffering from the unbearable torture at the hands of attendants of Yamarāja. They screaming, lamenting and wailing in piteous voices. None was rescuing them from that hellish torment. Sensing the horrible future awaiting them, the two cart-puller brothers began to tremble with fear. Yamarāja inquired from Citragupta who keeps the records of one’s sins and pious merits. Citragupta reported that these two brothers had not performed no pious activity and engaged in many sinful activities, however they had fasted even from water until afternoon on the day of ekādaśī, therefore they had earned the merit of observing partial vow of ekādaśī. Hearing this, Yamarāja ordered the immediate release of those two brothers and had sent escorted back to the earth planet with full respect. On coming back to life, the two brothers reminisced and became overjoyed on experiencing the glories of ekādaśī vrata personally. On one particular ekādaśī, they went to attend the discourse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam given by one professional reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. After the discourse, everyone was offered grain prasāda by the organizers of the event. However these two Muslim brothers flatly refused to accept any grain prasāda citing the day of ekādaśī. They recounted the entire episode of their going to the hell and being pardoned by Yamarāja personally due to the partial observance of the vow of ekādaśī. On hearing their account, the Hindu members of the audience also took the vow of observing the complete fast 70 • Stories and Anecdotes about Ekādaśī from grains and beans on the day of ekādaśī. ekādaśī fast is indeed the panacea for those who are already suffering the hellish torment and those who are destined to the hell. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 71 Ekādaśī Māhātmya Introduction By the unlimited mercy of the most merciful Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa this book ‘Ekādaśī Māhātmya‘ has been published. Nobody has ever published such a book in Bengali language. By studying the glories of the subject matter of this book the faith of the persons who are observing the vows of ekādaśī will be strengthened. Moreover persons who are inquisitive about the subject matter of this book will also obtain the light of knowledge from this book. This book however does not discuss the complete truth regarding Śrī ekādaśī. The glories of observing ekādaśī had been described in this book through the presentation of stories. Some people may interpret or imagine that the glories described in this book are simply exaggeration, or they may think that observing ekādaśī is simply meant for achieving material happiness and prosperity. Śrī ekādaśī which falls on the eleventh day of each waxing and waning moon, is very dear to Lord Hari. That is why this day is also known as ‘Harivāsara’. A proper and elaborate explanation about ekādaśī is given in Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa. In fact one should observe ekādaśī only to please the Supreme Lord. It is stated in the scriptures ekādaśī vrataṁ nāma sarva kāma phala pradam kartavyam sarvadā vipraiḥ viṣṇu prīṇana-kāraṇaṁ’ ‘The brāhmaṇas should always observe ekādaśī to please Lord Viṣṇu for this fulfills all once desire’. Therefore one will have to observe the vow of ekādaśī for the sake of satisfying the Lord. The happiness and prosperity will automatically follow. It is stated in Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa that if everyone including the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas, the śūdras and the women observe ekādaśī then they will certainly attain liberation. Although various temporary results are found in the scriptures for following the vow of ekādaśī which is one of 72 • Ekādaśī Māhātmya the limbs of regulative devotional service. Nevertheless one should know the principle fruit of devotional service is to develop intense love for the Supreme Lord. Even if the four objectives of life namely religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation automatically follow the performer still the unalloyed pure devotees do not fall prey to this, rather they abandon these objectives and achieve love of God which is the fifth objective of life. jyāsī nāvaḍe ekādaśī, to jitācī narakavāsī jyāsī nāvaḍe he vrata, tyāsī naraka tohi bhīta jyāsī ghaḍe ekādaśī, jāṇe lāge viṣṇupāśī tukā mhaṇe puṇyarāśī, toci karī ekādaśī One who does not like ekādaśī, he already residing in the hell even when alive. Even the hell is afraid of a person who does not like the vow of ekādaśī. Because such a person is considered very sinful. One who follows the vow of ekādaśī will certainly obtain Vaikuṇṭha. Therefore, Tukārāma Mahārāja says that those who have accumulated the heaps of the pious merits in the lives, only they follow the vow of ekādaśī. Tukārāma Mahārāja describes in the following words what happens if one accepts the food-grains on the day of ekādaśī – ekādaśīsa annapāna, je nara karitī bhojana śvāna viṣṭhesamāna, adhama jana te eka tayā dehī yamadūta, jāle tayāce aṁkita tukā mhaṇe vrata, ekādaśī cukaliyā Those people who accept the grains on the day of ekādaśī are indeed very fallen living entities. They are considered degraded, because the food they take is like the stool of a dog. The Yama-dūtas (the messengers of the god of death) are ready to take that person to hell who does not observe this vow. Since the living entities of Kali-yuga are short lived and lusty, they are unable to perform severe austerity. The living entities of Kali-yuga subsist on food grain. They cannot survive without eating grains. People of Satya, Tretā and Dvāpara-yugas were capable of undergoing severe austerity and tolerate physical distresses. That is why a minimum austerity in the form of fasting twice a month on the days of Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 73 ekādaśī has been prescribed for the people of Kali-yuga. If they are able they should eat only once the day before ekādaśī, fast totally on the day of ekādaśī and eat only once the day after ekādaśī. If one is unable to follow even this , in other words if one is unable to eat only once on the day before and after ekādaśī, than he must observe complete fast on the day of ekādaśī. If one is still unable to follow this then he should give up eating five types of grains and observe the vow of ekādaśī simply by partaking some fruits and roots. It is stated in Mahābhārata, Udyoga Parva quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12-40 as follows. aṣṭaitāny avrata-ghnāny āpo mūlaṁ phalaṁ payaḥ havir brāhmaṇa-kāmyā ca guror vacanam auṣadham ‘Water, fruits, roots, milk, ghee, satisfying a brāhmaṇa, following the instruction of spiritual master and medicine these eight items do not break once vow of ekādaśī.. Since grave sinful reactions equal to that of killing a brāhmaṇa or a cow take shelter within five types of grains on the day of ekādaśī, persons who desire ultimate benefit give up eating these grains on this day. The five types of grains are 1. Rice or other products made from rice such as flat rice, puffed rice etc., 2. Wheat flour and White flour etc., 3. Barley etc., 4. Pulses such as Mung, Chickpea, Green Peas, Lentil, etc. 5. Mustered oil and sesame oil. If one eats any of the above mentioned grains then his vow of ekādaśī will be broken. Another name of ekādaśī is Harivāsara. The main purpose of observing ekādaśī is to totally please Lord Hari with all one’s senses. In other words one should try to please Lord Hari and the devotees of Hari. The meaning of the word upavāsa(fasting) is to live nearby. On the day of ekādaśī one should remain aloof from all kinds of sinful activities, give up all kinds of household activities and sense gratification and live near the Lord. It is stated in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 13-14 which is quoted from ‘Gṛhya-pariśiṣṭa’, ‘Kātyāyana-smṛti’, ‘Viṣṇudharma’, and ‘Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa’. upavrittasya pāpebhyo yastu baso guṇaiḥ saha upavasah sa vijṣeyaḥ sarva bhoga vivarjitāḥ’ ‘The word upavāsa or fasting refers to stay aloof from all kinds of sinful activities and sense gratification.’ 74 • Ekādaśī Māhātmya Lord Hari is the transcendental Personality of Godhead and is beyond the three modes of material nature. It is not possible to live with him by the help of ones material body, mind and intelligence. Every conditioned soul is covered by two bodies namely gross and subtle. Therefore how can they live with the Lord? Observing the vow of ekādaśī is one of the principle limbs among the sixty-four limbs of devotional service described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda an associate of Śrīmān Mahāprabhu. Among the sixty-four limbs of devotional service the first and foremost is to take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. Without taking shelter at the lotus feet of the bona fide spiritual master who is well conversant with the scripture, attached to the absolute truth and very dear to Śrī Hari, one cannot engage in worshiping Śrī Hari. When one surrenders at the lotus feet of the spiritual master, then by his mercy and empowerment a living entities material pride is destroyed and his pure spiritual constitutional position is revived. As a result he becomes qualified to serve the Supreme Lord through his service enchained senses in other words he becomes qualified to live with the Lord. The mind is the cause of a living entities bondage or liberation. If one cannot convert the function of the mind into favorable for devotional service, one cannot live with the Lord. That is why it is extremely necessary to associate with pure devotees in order to convert the aversed mind into service inclined mind. Without being subordinate to the devotees of the Lord one cannot live with the Lord even if he engages in various external ritualistic activities. For this reason there is full of difference between the karmīs observation of ekādaśī and the devotees observation of ekādaśī. It is stated in Caitanyacaritāmṛta, Madhya 22-51 as follows. mahat-kṛpā vinā kona karme ‘bhakti’ naya kṛṣṇa-bhakti dūre rahu, saṁsāra nahe kṣaya "Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, he cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of kṛṣṇabhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence. Those who observe the vow of ekādaśī are divided into Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 75 three categories. 1.The majority of the people of this world consider their gross and subtle bodies as self. They think that the rules and regulation of these scriptures and the prescription of the sages are meant for protecting the self interest of their gross bodies. They are doubtful about the existence of the soul and thus they give more importance to the self interest of the body. Their conception is if the soul exists at all it is simply for the sake of the gross body. 2. Although these people believe that the constitutional position of a living entity is that he is a spirit soul not the body, the Supreme Lord is the cause of the living entities and it is the duty of a living entity to worship the Supreme Lord, nevertheless they consider the deliverance of the soul and happiness of the body are both the goal of life. That is why they think that the scriptural prescriptions such as observing ekādaśī is meant for both deliverance of the soul and protection of the bodies’ self interest. 3. These people are minority in number. They say that a living entity is constitutionally part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, eternal, full of knowledge and blissful. The two coverings in the form of gross and subtle bodies are attributed to the living entities by the external energy of the Lord, hence unwanted. Since the gross and subtle bodies are born from the external energy of the Lord therefore the Supreme Lord is naturally the enjoyer and proprietor of those bodies. In other words the soul, the mind and the body of a living entity are belong to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is the only duty of the soul, mind and body to fully engage in the service of the Lord. By worshiping Lord Hari ones own and others benefit is accomplished. Execution of pure devotional service is the only means of attaining eternal peace. In order to please the Supreme Lord alone they cultivate limbs of pure devotional service such as observing the vow of ekādaśī. They know that the principle purpose of all these practices is to achieve love of God. They also know that these limbs of devotional service are not prescribed for material sense gratification or protecting the self interest of the gross and subtle bodies. The pure devotees who follow in the foot steps of Śrī Caitanya respects this consideration which is based on pure devotional service. 76 • Ekādaśī Māhātmya Some people say, particularly many devotees from Jagannātha Purī in Orissa say that there is no fault in accepting grain mahā-prasāda of Jagannātha on ekādaśī. But the point of consideration at this juncture is that the Vaiṣṇavas do not accept any thing other then mahā-prasāda regularly. Therefore in order to protect the prestige of ekādaśī they offer obeisances to the mahā-prasāda and save it for the next day. From the very beginning of His childhood life Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the ekādaśī day. In the Bhakti-sandarbha, by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, there is a quotation from the Skanda Purāṇa admonishing that a person who eats grains on ekādaśī becomes a murderer of his mother, father, brother and spiritual master, and even if he is elevated to a Vaikuṇṭha planet, he falls down. On ekādaśī, everything is cooked for Viṣṇu, including regular grains and dahi, but it is enjoined that a Vaiṣṇava should not even take viṣṇu-prasāda on ekādaśī. It is said that a Vaiṣṇava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Viṣṇu, but on ekādaśī a Vaiṣṇava should not touch even mahā-prasāda offered to Viṣṇu, although such prasāda may be kept for being eaten the next day. It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on ekādaśī, even if it is offered to Lord Viṣṇu. A description regarding the following of ekādaśī is given by Śrī Jagadānanda Paṇḍita an associate of Śrī Gaura in his book Prema-vivarta as follows. ‘Śrī Mahāprabhu said that if one disregards the vow of ekādaśī he brings ruination to his life. One should simply respect the grain prasāda on the day of ekādaśī and save it for the next day, for the effect of ekādaśī no longer remains on the next day. The pious Vaiṣṇavas are simply satisfied by drinking the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s holy names on the day of ekādaśī. They do not indulge in any kind of sense gratification, do not speak useless topics and abandon all kinds of material enjoyment. Honoring prasāda is an eternal activity of the pure Vaiṣṇavas and they never eat any thing that is not first offered to the Lord. The devotees should totally fast on the day of ekādaśī and eat the lords remnants only on the next day. In a special case a Vaiṣṇava may take non grain remnants of the Lord. Those who are non-Vaiṣṇavas, they engage in sense Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 77 gratification day and night on the pretext of honoring prasāda. Such people associate with sinful man, eat grain on ekādaśī and disrespect the vow of ekādaśī. Cultivate the limbs of devotional service with respect then you will attain the mercy of Bhaktidevī. Give up the association of non devotees and strictly observe the vow of ekādaśī by engaging in chanting the holy names of the Supreme Lord. It is stated in the scripture that one should fast on the day of ekādaśī and never transgress this rule. O king! One should observe the vow of ekādaśī as long as he is alive. It has been repeatedly declared in the Purāṇas that one should not eat on the day of ekādaśī. It is stated in Viṣṇu-smṛti that all the sinful reaction such as killing a brāhmaṇa take shelter in the food grain, therefore if one eats grain on the day of ekādaśī he certainly eats sin. There is no arrangement of atonement for the deliverance of a person who eats grain on ekādaśī, in other words according to the gravity of a sinful activity various arrangement for atonement are prescribed by the twenty dharma-śāstras, but eating grain on ekādaśī is so grave sin that there is no atonement prescribed for this. Persons who desire to cultivate pure devotional service should carefully remember the following consideration while following the vow of ekādaśī. The Vaiṣṇavas do not observe any vow or festival on a particular day which is perforated with the previous tithi or day. In such a case they observe the vow or festival on the next day. According to Vedic calculation a day starts with the sun rise. If the day of daśamī continues up to the one and half hours before the sun rise of the next day even then the ekādaśī should not be observed on the next day rather it should be observed the day after. In this regard we quote some authentic scriptural statements found in Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, the king of the Vaiṣṇava smṛti as follows. ‘O brāhmaṇa if the day of ekādaśī starts ninety six minutes before the sun rise then it is pure ekādaśī. A householder should fast on such an ekādaśī ‘. [Garuḍa Purāṇa] ‘If the tithi or day of ekādaśī begins one hour thirty six minutes before the sunrise then it is called a complete ekādaśī 78 • Ekādaśī Māhātmya and if the ekādaśī starts less then one hour thirty six minutes before the sun rise then it should be considered incomplete and contaminated because it is performed with the previous tithi. Therefore one should give up the following of ekādaśī if it is mixed with the previous tithi at the time of sunrise. Particularly the Vaiṣṇavas should totally abandon following the vow of such ekādaśī. The great sage Kaṇva said, if the day of ekādaśī is pierced with the previous tithi then one should fast on the next day of ekādaśī and brake fast on the following day.’ [Bhaviṣya Purāṇa] ‘All the days begin from the rising of the sun and complete up to the next rising of the sun. But this is not the case with ekādaśī. If an ekādaśī starts one hour thirty-six minutes before the sun rise then only it is uncontaminated and complete.’ [Skanda Purāṇa] ‘We request all the kind hearted readers to study this book with special attention. The Purāṇic glories of Ekādaśī Once in the great assembly of the sages, the renowned scholar and sage Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī declared about the twenty six ekādaśīs. There are two ekādaśīs in each month, so there are twenty four ekādaśīs in a year. Apart from them there are two more ekādaśīs which occur in an extra month that comes after every two and half years. The names of the twenty four ekādaśīs are as follows Utpannā, Mokṣadā, Saphalā, Putradā, Ṣaṭ-tilā, Jayā, Vijayā, Āmalakī, Pāpamocanī, Kāmadā, Varuthinī, Mohinī, Aparā, Nirjala, Yoginī, Śayana, Kāmikā, Pavitrā, Annadā, Pārśva, Indirā, Paśāṅkuśā, Rāma and Utthāna ekādaśī. The names of the two extra ekādaśīs are Padminī and Parama. In that assembly the glories of all the ekādaśīs were properly sung. Those who are unable to observe ekādaśī can get the result of observing ekādaśī by hearing and singing their glories. Utpannā Ekādaśī The glories of Utpannā ekādaśī is described in Bhaviṣyauttara Purāṇa in the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 79 Arjuna. Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said to the assembled brāhmaṇas and sages - ‘if a person with faith and devotion duly follows or hears about the glories, rules and regulations of observing ekādaśī as described by Lord Kṛṣṇa, then he will attain happiness in this life and will return to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu in the next life.. Once Arjuna asked Śrī Kṛṣṇa, ‘O Janārdana Please explain to me, what is the benefit of total fast, eating only at night or eating once at midday on ekādaśī. In reply to this Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “O Arjuna! In the beginning of autumn on the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of November-December a person should begin observing the vow of ekādaśī. In the early morning on the day of ekādaśī he should make a vow to observe fasting. At mid-day he should purify himself by taking a bath. At the time of taking bath he should pray as follows. aśva-krānte ratha-krānte viṣṇu-krānte vasundhare mṛttikā hara me pāpaṁ yanmayā pūvūrvarsaṁcitam ‘O Aśva-krāntā16! O Ratha-krāntā17! O Viṣṇu-krāntā18! O Vasundharā! O Mṛttikā! O Mother earth! Please destroy all my sinful reactions accumulated from previous life times so that I can attain the supreme destination’. After completing his bath he should worship Lord Govinda. Once Indra the king of heaven surrounded by the demigods approached the Supreme Lord and prayed to Him as follows. ‘O Lord of the universe, O supreme personality of godhead we offer our respectful obeisances to you. You are the supreme shelter, mother and father of everyone. You create, maintain and destroy everyone. You are the benefactor of earth, the sky and the entire material creation. You yourself are Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva. You are the Lord and enjoyer of all kinds of sacrifices, austerities, hymns and their performers. There is no object within these three animate and inanimate worlds which is not owned and controlled by you. O Lord! O supreme personality of godhead! O master of the demigods! O protector of the surrendered souls! O 16 One who is traversed by the horses. 17 One who is traversed by the chariots. 18 One who is traversed by Lord Viṣṇu. 80 • Utpannā Ekādaśī supreme mystic! The demigods have been deprived of their heavenly kingdom and have been driven out by the demons. They have fearfully surrendered at your lotus feet, please protect them. O Lord of the universe! We have been fallen from the heavenly planets in to this earthly planet and have merged into the ocean of miseries. Kindly be pleased with us’. On hearing such a pathetic prayer of Indra Lord Viṣṇu asked him, ‘Who is this invincible demon who has defeated even the demigods? What is his name? What is the source of his prowess? O Indra! Please explain to me everything in detail without any fear ‘. Indra replied O Lord of the demigods! O deliverer of the devotees! O Supreme Lord! A fierce demon named Nandījaṅgha who first caused distress to the demigods appeared in the family of a brāhmaṇa. He had an equally powerful infamous demon son called Mura. The great city of Candrāvatī is the capital of this great demon Mura. This demon Mura has driven out all the demigods from heavenly planets and he himself is living there. He has taken over all the post of Indra, Agni, Yama, Vāyu,Īśa, Candra, Nairṛti 19 and Varuṇa all by himself. The demigods combined could not conquer him. O Lord Viṣṇu please kill this demon and protect the demigods’. On hearing the words of Indra the Lord became very angry to those who harassed the demigods and said ‘ O king of the demigods I will personally kill this powerful demon who is your enemy. Now all of you should return to the city of Candrāvatī’. Thereafter all the demigods proceeded towards the city of Candrāvatī led by Lord Viṣṇu. On one side the demigods were prepared for the battle with thousands of various weapons in their possession, and on the other side the Demon Mura was roaring surrounded by innumerable demon army. The demigods were already scattered due to the severe beatings by the demigods; but now when they saw the rejuvenated fearless demigods led by the Supreme Lord were standing before them the demons became extremely angry. Although the Lord easily defeated all the demons he felt 19 Fire demigods Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 81 difficulty in defeating the demon Mura. When in spite of using various weapons the Lord could not kill the demon Mura, He engaged him in wrestling with the demon for ten thousand years. Finally the Lord defeated the demon and left for Badarikāśrama. In Badarikāśrama the Lord entered into a beautiful cave called Hemavatī and took rest. The Supreme Lord continued, “Badarikāśrama O Arjuna! Thereafter that demon chased me and entered that cave. On seeing me resting there he decided to kill me. At that time an effulgent daughter appeared from My body and holding various divine weapons began to fight with the demon. After constantly fighting with the demon for a long time the effulgent goddess finally severed his head. Then all the other demons ran away to Pātālaloka out of fear. When the Lord got up from His rest He saw that the dead body of demon Mura is lying in front of him and an effulgent goddess humbly standing before Him with folded hands. On seeing her the Lord surprisingly asked her, ‘Who are you?'” The goddess replied ‘O my Lord I am born from your body and I have killed this demon. On seeing you lying down this demon attempted to kill you, that is why I have killed him.’ The Supreme Lord said ‘O Goddess I am very pleased with you for this act. You can ask for any benediction you desire.’ When the goddess prayed for benediction the Lord said ‘ You are my spiritual energy and since you have appeared on the day of ekādaśī your name will be ekādaśī. Any one who will follow the vow of ekādaśī be relieved from all sinful reactions and attain inexhaustible heavenly happiness’. From that day onwards the day of ekādaśī has been nourished and worshiped in this world. O Arjuna a person who observes the vow of ekādaśī I award him the supreme destination. O son of Kuntī , an ekādaśī mixed with dvādaśī is the highest. One should give up sex life, eating grains, honey, meat, eating on a bell-metal plate, applying oil on the day of ekādaśī. If a person observes this ekādaśī and hears its glories he can attain more results. 82 • Mokṣadā Ekādaśī Mokṣadā Ekādaśī This Mokṣadā ekādaśī occurs in the waxing moon in the month of November/December. The glories of this ekādaśī is described in Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Kṛṣṇa, my dear Kṛṣṇa what is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of November/December? Also please explain to me in details about the procedure for observing this ekādaśī. Lord Kṛṣṇa Said, “O best of the King! This ekādaśī destroys all once sinful reactions. If one worships the Supreme Lord with tulasī-mañjarī on this day, the Lord becomes extremely pleased. By observing this ekādaśī one achieves the result of performing Vājapeya sacrifice. There was a King named Vaikhānasa lived and ruled in the city of Campaka. The King was very affectionate towards the citizen. Many qualified brāhmaṇas who were well versed in Vedic knowledge lived in his Kingdom. One day the King had a dream that his father was fallen in the hell and was suffering unlimited miseries there. On seeing this the King became struck with wonder. The next day the King disclosed the topics of his dream in the assembly of learned brāhmaṇas. He also informed them that his father has requested to deliver him from the hellish condition. Ever since the King had this dream he became restless. And he did not feel any happiness or interest in ruling his kingdom. He even dealt with his family members indifferently. He thought the life, kingdom, opulence, power and influence of a son is completely useless if his father is suffering in the hell. That is why the king pathetically appealed to all the learned brāhmaṇas, please tell me the way by which I can deliver my father from the clutches of hell. On hearing his appeal the brāhmaṇas said—“O King the āśrama of Parvata Muni is situated very near from here. He is the knower of past, present and future. You please relate the topics of your dream to him.” After hearing their suggestion King Vaikhānasa arrived at the āśrama of Parvata Muni accompanied by the brāhmaṇas and his subjects. When Parvata Muni inquired about the well Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 83 being of his Kingdom King Vaikhānasa said, “O my Lord, we are all very well by your mercy; but in spite of possessing the kingdom and all appliances I am in a great difficulty. In fact a doubt has arisen in my mind and in order to remove that I have come to your lotus feet.” After hearing the whole incident from the King Parvata Muni sat down in deep meditation. After a while he got up from his meditation and said to the King - ‘My dear King your father was very lusty in his previous life hence he has degraded himself in this condition. Now you all should observe the vow of ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of November/December for the deliverance of your father and donate the accumulated piety to him. Then by the influence of that piety your father will be relieved from the clutches of hellish life. After hearing these words from Parvata Muni king returned to his palace surrounded by his entourage. Thereafter in due course of time the king with his wife, children and servants duly observed this ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of November/December and dedicated all its piety to his suffering father. By the influence of this piety the father attained the heavenly planet and blessed his son very much. O King, one who properly follows this Mokṣadā ekādaśī certainly relieved from all sinful reactions. Saphalā Ekādaśī Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “On the ekādaśī day worship Śrī Nārāyaṇa during the day with upavāsa. Amongst the snakes Ādi-śeṣa, amongst the birds Garuḍa, amongst Gods Viṣṇu and similarly amongst all the vratas, ekādaśī vrata is the most prominent (śreṣṭha). Perform jāgaraṇa (night vigil) with hari-bhaktas. On dvādaśī day Offer coconut, pomegranate, gooseberry(Āmalakī), berry fruit (ber), raw mango, beetle leaves and beetle nuts. Perform pūjā with Lamps(dīpa) and incense(dhūpa) . Offer naivedya to Śrī Hari. Offer prasāda to the learned people and then break fast. This Saphalā ekādaśī occurs during the waning moon in the month of December/January. The glories of this ekādaśī is 84 • Saphalā Ekādaśī described in Brāhmaṇḍa Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, ‘O Kṛṣṇa, what is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of December/January and how one should observed it? Please Explain this to me in detail.’ The Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘O best of the Bhārata dynasty, just as Śeṣa is best among the snakes, Garuḍa is best among the birds, horse sacrifice is best among the sacrifices, the Ganges is best among the rivers, Lord Viṣṇu is best among the demigods and the brāhmaṇas are best among the human beings, similarly among all the vows the day of ekādaśī is best. O best of the kings any one who observes ekādaśī is very dear to me. The amount of piety one accumulates by undergoing austerity for five thousand years, is achieved simply by observing ekādaśī.’ There was a famous king named Māhiṣmatā lived in the city of Campāvatī. This King had 4 sons. Among them the eldest son Lumbhaka was very sinful. He used to blaspheme the brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and demigods and was extremely attached to gambling and prostitution. For this reason his father King Māhiṣmata exiled him. The exiled Lumbhaka lived in the Jungle and at night began to plunder wealth from the people of his father’s kingdom. In spite of staling the citizens would set him free knowing him to be the son of the king. Lumbhaka spend his life by regularly eating raw meats and fruits. There was a banyan tree in this forest who was as worshipable as the demigods. Lumbhaka lived underneath this tree for some time. Coincidentally when Lumbhaka was living in this way the ekādaśī of the waning moon of the month of NovemberDecember occurred due to fatigue and weakness he became unconscious on the day before ekādaśī and regained his consciousness at mid-day on ekādaśī. There was no possibility for Lumbhaka to kill any animal on that day because he was severely afflicted with hunger. Thereafter he accumulated some fruits and offered them to Lord Viṣṇu for His pleasure. The sun had set by then. That night Lumbhaka remained awake. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 85 As a result of fasting and keeping awake he unknowingly observed Saphalā ekādaśī. Lord Madhusūdana accepts the worship and vow of this ekādaśī offered by the practitioner. As a result of performing this ekādaśī Lumbhaka got an opulent kingdom. On the next morning a divine horse came and stood before Lumbhaka; at that time a voice from the sky was heard ‘o prince, by the mercy of Lord Madhusūdana and by the influence of Saphalā ekādaśī you will receive a kingdom and rule it without any difficulty. Return to your father and enjoy the kingdom.’ According to this instruction Lumbhaka returned to his father and accepted the responsibility of ruling the kingdom. Thereafter he got a beautiful wife and had good sons. In this way Lumbhaka happily ruled this kingdom. By observing the vow of Saphalā ekādaśī persons attain fame in this life liberation in next life. Those who follow this ekādaśī are glorious. By following this ekādaśī one attains the result of performing Aśvamedha sacrifice. Putradā Ekādaśī The glories of Putradā ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of December/January is described in Bhaviṣya-uttarā Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Lord Kṛṣṇa said to Yudhiṣṭhira, “My dear king the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of December/January is called Putradā. By observing this ekādaśī all ones sinful reactions are counteracted. People become learned and famous by following this ekādaśī. Now please hear the glories of this auspicious ekādaśī.” There was a city named Bhadrāvatī. A king named Suketumāna ruled this city. The name of his queen was Śaibyā. Since they had no son both the king and queen lived their lives with distress. They spend most of their times in religious activities. Because the king and the queen were afflicted with lamentation. The water that they offered during the time of their offering oblation to their forefathers appeared hot to the forefathers. The forefathers were also worried thinking that after the King Suketumāna no one will offer 86 • Putradā Ekādaśī them oblations. Knowing this distress of the forefathers the king became even more morose. He did not feel any pleasure in the association of his friends, well-wishers and ministers. Being merged in the lamentation and hopelessness the king considered that without the son a human life is useless. It is impossible to become free from the debts to the demigods, to the forefather and to the human beings without possessing son. Without heaps of pious activities and devotion to Viṣṇu one cannot possess sons, wealth and knowledge. After concluding in this way the morose King secretly left for the forest for his own benefit riding on a horse. The King Suketumāna entered in the forest which is inhabited by birds and beasts and began to search for a place to take rest. Within the dense forest the King saw various trees such as Banyan, Pippala, Date, Tamarind, Palm, Śāla, Maulasiri, Saptaparṇa, Tilaka, Tamāla, Sarala, Hingota, Arjuna, Lavhera, Behaḍā (Bibhītakḥ), Śallakī, Pāṭala, Catechu and Palāśa as well as various animals such as tigers, lions, wild elephant, Deer, Wild Pigs, Monkeys, Snake , Leopards and Hares. Then the King instead of resting began to wonder through the forest. The King became scared and surprised by hearing the howling of the Jackals, sounds of the owls. Wondering in this way in all directions the king became very tired. It was midday and the King was very thirsty. He thought that though I have pleased the demigods through worship and sacrifices, maintained my subjects like my own children and satisfied the brāhmaṇas by offering them foodstuffs and dakṣiṇā. Yet why am I suffering like this today. Being absorbed in this thought King Suketumāna wondered hither and thither. Suddenly He saw a lake which was as beautiful as the Mānasa-sarovara filled with lotuses. Many Swans Cakravāka and Cakora birds were sporting in the waters of that lake. On seeing some sages chanting Vedic mantras on the bank of this lake the King got down from his horse and offered obeisances to each of them separately. The sages became pleased by the Kings behavior and asked him O king, We are pleased with you please ask us for some benediction. The King Said who are all of you, ‘ Why have you come to his lake? The sages replied, We are Viśvadevas, We have come Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 87 here to take bath. Today is the auspicious Putradā ekādaśī. If a person desirous of a son observes this vow, he is certainly benedicted with a son. The king said, I have tried so many things to get a son; but till today I have not been successful. Since all of you are pleased with me kindly bless me with a beautiful son. Then the sages instructed today is Putradā ekādaśī o King, observe this ekādaśī with great care; then by the mercy of the Lord and by our blessing you will certainly receive a son. Thereafter according to the instruction of the sages the king observed the auspicious Putradā ekādaśī. On the next day he broke his fast and after repeatedly offering obeisances to the sages returned to his Palace. In due course of time Queen Śaibyā became pregnant. By the blessing of the sages and the influence of the piety accumulated by observing Putradā ekādaśī the King begot a pious and brilliant son. Thereafter the King happily ruled his Kingdom and his forefathers also became satisfied. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued—O King Yudhiṣṭhira by following this Putradā ekādaśī one can get a son and attain heavenly planets. Any one who hears or sings the glories of this ekādaśī certainly achieves the results of Aśvamedha Sacrifice. Ṣaṭ-tilā Ekādaśī This ekādaśī occurs during the waning moon in the month of January-February. The glories of Ṣaṭ-tilā ekādaśī is described in Bhaviṣya-uttara Purāṇa. Once sage Dālbhya asked sage Pulastya—O respected brāhmaṇa people are engaged in various sinful activities such as killing brāhmaṇas and sense gratification in this mortal world. Please explain to me how can they be delivered from the hellish condition as a result of their sinful activities. Sage Pulastya replied—O most fortunate one! One should worship the Supreme Lord in a pure state of mind on the day of ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of January-February. At the time of worship one should pray as follows. O Lord Janārdana! O most merciful Śrī Kṛṣṇa! You are the deliverer of the sinful people. Please be merciful to those who have 88 • Ṣaṭ-tilā Ekādaśī drowned in the ocean of material existence. O Supreme Brahman! O Supreme personality of Godhead! O Lord of the universe! You please accept my worship with your consort Śrīmatī Lakṣmī-devī. Thereafter one should worship the brāhmaṇas by giving them umbrella, cloth, shoes and pitcher filled with water in charity. According to ones capacity one should also give black cow and sesame seeds in charity to the best of the brāhmaṇas. By giving sesame seeds in charity one can live in the heavenly planets for many years. One should bath in water mixed with sesame seed, smear sesame seed paste on his body, perform fire sacrifice with sesame seed, offer oblations to the forefather with the water mixed with sesame seeds, eat sesame seed and give sesame seed in charity on this ekādaśī. By doing so all ones sinful reactions will be destroyed. That is why the name of this ekādaśī is Ṣaṭ-tilā ekādaśī. Lord Kṛṣṇa narrated the following story to Nārada Muni when he approached Kṛṣṇa to hear the glories and results of observing Saṭ-ṭilā ekādaśī. An the ancient time there lived a female brāhmaṇī. She is strictly followed the vow of celibacy and engaged in worshiping the Lord. By constantly observing various vows in the course of her worship she gradually became weak and skinny. Although she gave charity to the poor brāhmaṇas and unmarried girls but she never pleased the brāhmaṇas and demigods by giving food grains in charity. So I consider that although the body of the brāhmaṇī became weak on account of performing many severe vows yet she is a purified soul. Moreover she has not given any food grains in charity to the hungry people. O best of the brāhmaṇas! In order to test this brāhmaṇī I took the form of a mendicant and personally appeared in this mortal world. I took a begging pot in my hands and approached the house of that brāhmaṇī for begging alms. The brāhmaṇī said ‘O brāhmaṇa! Please tell me the truth from were have you come’ I pretended as if I have not heard anything and begged for the alms again. She became angry at this and took a handful of clay and put it in my begging pot. Thereafter I returned to my abode. That ascetic brāhmaṇī as a result of observing severe vows also returned to my abode. Although she got a beautiful house but due to offering me clay in charity she had no food grains or wealth in her house. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 89 O brāhmaṇa! When she entered that house she did not find anything and gradually due to lack of wealth she became restless. Thereafter she approached me in an angry mood and said ‘ O Janārdana! I have undergone severe austerities, vows and worship Lord Viṣṇu adequately. Yet why am I bereft of food-grains and wealth? Then I said ‘O brāhmaṇī! As you have come here from the material world now please go back to your house. When out of curiosity the wives of the demigods will come to your house for darśana then you should inquire from them about the glories of Ṣaṭ-ṭilā ekādaśī. Do not open the door until they finish the narration.’ After hearing my statement the brāhmaṇī returned home. One day when the brāhmaṇī was siting in her room closing the door from inside at that time some wives of the demigods came there and said ‘ O beautiful one! We have come here for darśana please open the door’. The brāhmaṇī replied ‘If you want to see me then please explain to me the importance, piety and glories of Ṣaṭ-ṭilā ekādaśī before I open the door. Then one of the wives of the demigod narrated the glories of this ekādaśī. After hearing the narration the brāhmaṇī became satisfied and opened the door. The wives of the demigods became pleased by seeing the brāhmaṇī. Under the instruction of these demigoddesses the brāhmaṇī observed the vow of Ṣaṭ-ṭilā ekādaśī. Thereafter she became beautiful, effulgent and became the proprietor of sufficient food-grain, wealth and gold. However no one should observe this ekādaśī being controlled by greed. By following this ekādaśī once misfortune and poverty are destroyed. If one donates sesame seeds on this day then all his sinful reaction are vanquished. Jayā Ekādaśī Significance This is an auspicious ekādaśī in the month of Māgha also known as Jaya ekādaśī. On the dvādaśī day of śukla pakṣa we will sight Punarvasu Nakṣatra(star). Hence the day is considered very auspicious. Śrī Kṛṣṇa explains the significance of Jaya ekādaśī to Dharmarāja "Oh Yudhiṣṭhira, I 90 • Jayā Ekādaśī shall gladly tell you about the ekādaśī that occurs during the light half of this month of Māgha. This ekādaśī obliterates all kinds of sinful reactions and demoniac influences that may be affecting the spirit soul. It is known as Jayā Ekādaśī, and the fortunate soul who observes a fast on this sacred day is relieved of the great burden of ghostly existence. Thus there is no better Ekādaśī than this, for it truly bestows freedom from birth and death. It is to be honoured very carefully and diligently. So I as you to listen to Me very attentively, Oh Pāṇḍava, as I explain a wonderful historic episode regarding this ekādaśī. Significance of bathing in river in the month of Māgha hareḥ pūjā ca vaiśākhe tapaḥ pūjā ca kārtike tapo homas thatā dānaṁ trayaṁ māghe viśiṣyate In Vaiśākha Śrī Hari pūjā is gets precedent, in Kārtika all tapas regarding Śrī Hari gets precedent, in Māgha tapas, homa and dāna regarding Śrī Hari, All charity in name of Śrī Hari and all homa offered to Śrī Hari brings enormous benefits. Ancient times Aditi-devī did morning (before sunrise) bath in Māgha without eating for 12 years. She became mother of 12 devas called dvādaśa Ādityas. Rohiṇī-devī practiced māgha snāna vrata and attained saubhāgya (good fortune). Arundhatī became best amongst women, by practicing māgha-snāna and dāna. Sacīdevī attained immense beauty because of the austerities performed including māgha-snāna. Sun rays have special effect on our body and soul during predawn bathing in the month of Māgha. In the month of Māgha sesame seeds dāna and pre-sunrise bath in river are essential for bhakti in Śrī Hari. - Conversation between Dilīpa and Sage Vasiṣṭha regarding significance of Māgha snāna. The glories of Jayā ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of January-February is described in Bhaviṣya-uttara Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, “O Lord Kṛṣṇa! O original personality of godhead, O Lord of the universe Śrī Kṛṣṇa! You are the original cause of the four types Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 91 of living entities namely those who born from perspiration, those born from seeds, those born from egg and those born from embryos. You alone are the creator, maintainer and destroyer of everything. Please describe to me the glories of that ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of January-February. Also please explain to me the procedure for observing this ekādaśī and which deity is to be worshiped on this auspicious day. Lord Kṛṣṇa said ‘ O best of the Kings Yudhiṣṭhira! The ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of January-February is celebrated as Jayā ekādaśī. Following of this ekādaśī takes away all ones sinful reactions. The performer of this ekādaśī is never subjected to accept the body of a ghost. O King! As far as awarding liberation and exhausting ones sinful reactions are concerned this ekādaśī has no substitute. O Lion like King! Now please hear the description of this ekādaśī which I had previously narrated in Padma Purāṇa. The demigods were living happily in the heavenly kingdom of Indra under his rule. In the nandana-kānana forest which was filled with the fragrance of fully blossomed Pārijāta flowers and were the Apsarās freely enjoyed their lives Indra also enjoyed various exchanges with the Apsarās. Once Indra in the pleasant mood arranged a dance festival of fifty million Apsarās. In that assembly there was a Gandharva singer named Puśpadanta. Another Gandharva named Citrasena came there along with his wife Mālinī and daughter. Citrasena had a son named Puśpavāna whose son was Mālyavān. A Gāndharvī named Puśpavantī became attracted by the beauty of Mālyavān. Being pierced by the sharp arrows of cupid. The most beautiful Puśpavantī tried various ways such as gestures and glances to bring Mālyavān under her control. O King! What can I describe the splendid beauty of Puśpavantī? She had beautiful arms which resemble the ropes of cupid, the beauty of her face resembled the beauty of the moon. She had broad eyes, ears decorated with ear rings, her neck defeated the beauty of the conch. Her waist was thin, breasts were highly raised, her hips were broad and her thighs resembled like banana tree. Her shining feet defeated the beauty of the red lotus flower. Her beautiful features appeared more enchanting by being decorated with gorgeous ornaments and 92 • Jayā Ekādaśī garments. On seeing such a beautiful women Puśpavantī, Mālyavān totally became captivated. In order to please Indra both Mālyavān and Puśpavantī began to perform dancing and singing with other Apsarās in that dance festival. But since both were attracted to each other they could not perform well. As a result there was a disturbance in the ongoing performance of dancing assembly. Continuously looking each other through the corner of their eyes both of them became pierced by the arrows of Cupid. When Indra noticed the perpetual disturbance in the process of singing and dancing he understood their mental condition. Due to constant disturbance in their performance Indra felt insulted and cursed them as follows. ‘ Both of you are fools and sinful. You have disobeyed my order hence I am cursing you. Both of you accept the bodies of a male and female ghost and take birth in the earthly planet and enjoy the result of your karma.’ After being cursed in this way both Mālyavān and Puśpavantī received the bodies of ghost and began to spend their miserable lives within a cave of the Himalaya Mountain. As a result of receiving ghost bodies both of them felt great distress and lamentation. By the influence of the curse they could not take pleasure from the sense of smelling, touch and sleeping. While wondering in the dense forest and cold mountainous regions of Himalaya once they sat down in one place and began to introspect. The male ghost said to the female ghost ‘ Alas, What heinous sinful activities we have committed that we have received such a miserable ghost bodies’. They felt extreme sadness and merged in the ocean of repentance. Both Mālyavān and Puśpavantī in the form of male and female ghost spend that day without taking any food while continually repenting for their misdeeds. Coincidentally this day was the auspicious day of Jayā ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of January-February. Although they were extremely afflicted with hunger and thirst, they did not kill any living entity on that. Even they abstained from taking any roots, fruits or water. O King! In this way when the ghost couple was sitting underneath a banyan tree in miserable condition the sun was about to set. Due to freezing cold and being absorbed in deep Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 93 thought they felt great unhappiness and spend that entire night without sleeping. Due to mental disturbance no propensity for sense gratification appeared in their hearts. O Lion hearted King! In this way they unknowingly observed the vow of Jayā ekādaśī and by the influence of the piety accumulated from observing this vow the very next day they attained liberation from their ghost bodies. Thereafter Puśpavantī and Mālyavān regained their original positions and returned to heaven through air plains. On returning to heaven both of them happily approached Indra the king of demigods and offered their obeisances. When Indra saw them He was struck with wonder and he asked them what a wonder! By the influence of which piety have your ghostly condition of lives been destroyed? Which demigod has freed you from my curse? In answer to this Mālyavān said ‘ By the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord and as a result of observing the vow of Jayā ekādaśī which is very dear to Him, we have became freed from the curse. O master! I am telling you with full conviction that we have been freed from our ghostly lives simply by the influence of devotional service’. After hearing this words Indra again said to Mālyavān ‘ You have become purified as a result of executing devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu and observing the vow of ekādaśī. Therefore now you are worshipable by me also. Those human beings who are engaged in devotional service of Viṣṇu are certainly worshiped and respected by me.’ Thereafter Puśpavantī and Mālyavān began to live happily in the heavenly planet. O King Yudhiṣṭhira! That is why one must observe the vow of ekādaśī. Observance of the vow of Jayā ekādaśī takes away even the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa. The secondary fruits of observing this vow is that one automatically receives the piety of giving charity, performing sacrifice and visiting holy places. If one properly follows the vow of this ekādaśī with faith and devotion then he lives in Vaikuṇṭha for ever. Just by reading and hearing the glories of this ekādaśī one can attain the result of Agniṣṭoma sacrifice. 94 • Vijayā Ekādaśī Vijayā Ekādaśī The glories of this ekādaśī is described in Skanda Purāṇa. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira inquired from Śrī Kṛṣṇa O Lord Kṛṣṇa please be kind to me and describe the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of February-March. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied O King Yudhiṣṭhira! I will happily describe the ekādaśī known as Vijayā ekādaśī to you. By observing the vow of this ekādaśī ones sinful reactions are simultaneously eradicated. Once great sage Nārada asked Lord Brahmā, ‘ O best of the demigods! Kindly described to me the result one achieves by following the vow of Vijayā ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of February- March. In reply to this Lord Brahmā said, My dear son this oldest vow is pure and destroyer of all sinful activities. Actually it has got great results as its name suggests. This Vijayā ekādaśī undoubtedly awards one the power of victory. When Śrī Rāmacandra went to the forest for fourteen years with His wife Sītādevī and brother Lakṣmaṇa in order to fulfill the order of His father They lived in a beautiful forest known as Pañcavaṭī on the bank of the river Godāvarī for sometime. While residing in this forest one day Rāvaṇa the king of demons kidnapped austere Sītādevī. Due to separation from Sītādevī Rāmacandra became overwhelmed with extreme distress. While wondering throughout the forest in search of Sītā, Rāmacandra met with Jaṭāyu, the king of the birds who was about to die. Jaṭāyu told Rāmacandra everything about Sītā and left this world and returned to Vaikuṇṭha. Thereafter Rāmacandra made friendship with Sugrīva. In order to help the mission of Rāmacandra many monkey soldiers were gathered. Meanwhile Hanumān the king of the monkeys completed a great mission. He went to the Aśoka forest in Laṅkā and met Sītādevī and in order to convince her gave Rāmacandra’s ring. Thereafter Hanumān returned to Rāmacandra and explained the whole incident to Him. After hearing the words of Hanumān Rāmacandra had a meeting with His friend Sugrīva and resolved to invade Laṅkā. Rāmacandra gathered a great number of monkey soldiers and arrived at the shore of the ocean. He then said to Lakṣmaṇa, O Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 95 Saumitra20! How will we cross beyond this unfathomable ocean which is full of fierce aquatics such as whales and crocodiles? Lakṣmaṇa replied, O original supreme personality of Godhead! You are the primeval Lord. There is a great sage named Bakadālbhya lives in this Island. His āśrama is situated four miles away from here. O son of the dynasty of Raghu! This sage has got darśana of Lord Brahmā. We should ask him about the means of crossing this ocean. Being advised by Lakṣmaṇa in this way Lord Rāmacandra went to the āśrama of Bakadālbhya and offered respectful obeisances to him. The omniscient sage could immediately understand that this personality was the Supreme Lord Rāmacandra. For some particular cause such as killing the demon Rāvaṇa he has now appeared in this material world. The great sage asked him–’ O Rāmacandra for what purpose you have kindly come here?’ Rāmacandra replied, ‘O brāhmaṇa! By your mercy I have come here on the shore of this ocean with my soldiers. In order to fight the demons and conquer Laṅkā. O best of the sages! Please tell me a simple method by which I can easily cross over this insurmountable ocean. For this reason only I have come to your lotus feet. The great sage said to Rāmacandra,’ O Rāmacandra! I will tell you about observing a great vow by which you will certainly conquer your battle and obtain extraordinary fame and opulence in this world. You should follow this vow with undeviated attention. O Rāma! There is an ekādaśī known as Vijayā which occurs during the waning moon in the month of February-March. By observing this ekādaśī you will certainly be able to cross over this ocean with your monkey soldiers. O Lord Rāmacandra! Now please hear about the procedure of following this ekādaśī. On the day before ekādaśī you should fill a golden, silver, copper or clay pitcher with water and decorate it with Mango twigs. Thereafter you should place this pitcher on a sanctified raised alter which is decorated with seven kinds of grains. Thereafter you should place a golden deity of Lord Nārāyaṇa upon this pitcher. On the day of ekādaśī you should take bath early in the morning and worship this deity of Lord Nārāyaṇa with devotion by offering various items such as Tulasī leaves, sandalwood paste, flowers, 20 Saumitra—Son of Sumitrā-devī, Lakṣmaṇa 96 • Vijayā Ekādaśī garlands, incense, ghee lamp and food stuff. You should also remain awake that night. On the day after ekādaśī you should place this pitcher on the bank of a river, pond or lake after the sun rise and duly worship it. Thereafter you should donate this pitcher along with the deity of Nārāyaṇa to a brāhmaṇa who strictly follows the vow of celibacy. By doing so you will certainly conquer over your enemies. According to the instruction of this great sage Lord Rāmacandra exhibited the ideal example of properly following this vow of ekādaśī and conquer the battle. A person who properly follows this vow of ekādaśī certainly becomes victories in this life and in the next. Lord Brahmā continued to speak to Nārada ‘ O my dear son! That is why every human being should follow this vow of this Vijayā ekādaśī. The glories of Vijayā ekādaśī destroys all ones sinful reaction. One who reads or hears the glories of this ekādaśī obtains the result of Vājapeya sacrifice. Āmalakī Ekādaśī The topics of the glories of Āmalakī ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of February- March is described in Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa in the conversation between King Māndhātā and sage Vasiṣṭha. Once King Māndhātā asked to the sage Vasiṣṭha, O most fortunate one if you are pleased with and merciful to me then kindly describe to me about a vow by following of which I can attain all auspiciousness. The sage Vasiṣṭha replied, “O King now I will explained to you about the glories and history of a great vow which awards one all auspiciousness. O King! The name of this vow is Āmalakī ekādaśī. The influence of the piety accumulated by following this ekādaśī certainly destroyed all ones sinful reactions and awards liberation as well as one can attain the result of donating one thousand cows. In the ancient time there was a city named Vaidiśa which was inhabited by many healthy prosperous brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras. O Lion hearted king there was no atheistic or sinful person in this beautiful city. The entire city was filled with the sound of Vedic mantras. In this famous city there lived a truthful pious king named Caitraratha who was Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 97 born in the family of King Pāśabiṅduka, a member of the dynasty of moon. King Caitraratha was powerful, heroic, opulent and well versed in the scriptures. During the reign of this king there were all kinds of auspiciousness and prosperity found in the kingdom. All his subjects were attached to the devotional service of Lord Viṣṇu and all of them observed the vow of ekādaśī. Due to remaining engaged in the devotional service to Lord Hari everyone lived happily in his Kingdom. There was not a single poor or miser person found in his kingdom. After living happily for many years in this way once Āmalakī ekādaśī conjoined with dvādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of February- March. Realizing that this ekādaśī bestows great benefits the king and his subjects resolved to observe this ekādaśī with proper rules and regulations. Early in the morning on the day of ekādaśī the King and his subjects took bath in the river and went to the temple of Lord Viṣṇu situated on the bank of the river. Within the temple there was an Āmalakī tree where he places a pitcher filled with water and brought an umbrella, cloths, shoes and five kinds of jewels for the worship. Thereafter the king worshiped Lord Paraśurāma and Āmalakī by offering water, shoes, canopy, gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls, sapphires and fragrant incense. Then the king led by the sages and followed by his subjects offered prayers to Lord Paraśurāma as follows. ‘O Lord Paraśurāma! O Son of Reṇukā! O You who is situated under the shadow of Āmalakī tree! O bestower of material enjoyment and liberation I offer my respectful obeisances to you.’ Then they offered prayers to the Āmalakī tree. O Āmalakī! O Sustainer of the Universe! O Offspring of Lord Brahmā! O destroyer of all sins! We offer our respectful obeisances to you. Kindly accept our offering. After properly worshiping the Lord and Āmalakī in this way the king accompanied by his subjects remained awake that night within the temple of Lord Viṣṇu. They sang songs and offered beautiful prayers with devotion in praise of the Lord and the Āmalakī tree. At that time by providence a hunter came there. This hunter earned his livelihood simply by killing various living entities. When he came to the temple which was decorated with ghee lamp, incense and other auspicious items and saw that many people were remaining 98 • Āmalakī Ekādaśī awake while glorifying the Lord. He sat down with them and began to contemplate what all these was going on?. The fortunate hunter took darśana of Lord Dāmodara placed on the top of the pitcher and began to hear the transcendental topics of Viṣṇu. Although he was afflicted with hunger he was astonished to see this and remained awake that whole night while hearing the glories of ekādaśī. In the morning king left towards his palace accompanied by his subjects. The hunter also returned home and happily took his meal. After many years the hunter left his body. By the influence of Āmalakī ekādaśī and as a result of remaining awake on the night of this ekādaśī the hunter in his next life became a king with innumerable elephants, horses, chariots and army. The hunter took birth as Vasuratha the powerful son of King Viduratha who ruled the famous city of Jayantī. King Vasuratha ruled one million villages. He was as brilliant as the sun, as effulgent as the moon and as powerful as Lord Viṣṇu as tolerant as the earth. He was truthful, fixed in his occupational duties and became a great devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. One day king Vasuratha who was very kind and charitable lost his way while hunting in the forest. He was extremely tired and afflicted with hunger. Not finding any other alternative the king lied down within that dense forest using his arm as pillow. At that time some mlechhas who lived in that forest came before the sleeping king and began to torture him in various ways. Considering the king as their enemy they attempted to kill him. They thought that this king had previously killed our fathers mothers, sons, grandsons and uncles and have compelled us to wonder aimlessly. Speaking in this way the mlechhas took up their different weapons and began to beat the king. But to their utter surprise non of their weapons touched the body of the king and as a result the king did not feel any injury at all. When all their weapons were used up the mlechhas became morose and lifeless due to fear. They lost all power to move any further. At that time a beautiful extraordinary women decorated with various ornaments and fragrant sandalwood paste appeared from the body of the king. She was decorated with an attractive flower garland and her eyes were reddish due to anger. She raised her eye brow and holding a disc in her hand she rushed Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 99 towards the mlechhas to kill them in an angry mood. Within a movement that powerful women killed all the sinful mlechhas. After this incident the king woke up. On seeing such a ghastly killings the king who just got up from sleep became frightened and stunned. When the king saw his fierce looking enemies lying killed he became astonished and said, ‘Alas! Who is that most well wishing friend of mine who has protected my life by killing these powerful enemies? I convey my heartfelt gratefulness to him for this great act.’ At that time a voice from the sky was heard, ‘who else except Lord Keśava is capable of protecting his surrendered souls?. He alone is the maintainer of surrendered devotees. After hearing these voice from the sky the king became extremely amazed and his heart melted with devotional feeling. Thereafter the king returned to his palace and ruled his kingdom like Indra without any obstacles. The Sage Vasiṣṭha continued my dear king! Any person who observes this vow of this sacred Āmalakī ekādaśī undoubtedly returns to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. Pāpamocanī Ekādaśī The glories of Pāpamocanī ekādaśī is described in Bhaviṣyauttara Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Kṛṣṇa my dear Lord Kṛṣṇa you have already explained the glories of Āmalakī ekādaśī now please describe the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of March-April. What is the name of this ekādaśī? Also describe to me the procedure for observing this ekādaśī and its results. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, O best of Kings! The name of this ekādaśī is Pāpamocanī. Now please hear its glories as I describe to you. Long ago the glories of this ekādaśī was spoken by the Sage Lomaśa to King Māndhātā. This Pāpamocanī ekādaśī occurs during the waning moon in the month of March-April. This ekādaśī takes away all ones sinful reactions, destroys ones ghostly condition of life and awards one eight kinds of mystic perfections. Sage Lomaśa said, “In the ancient time Kubera the treasurer of the demigods had a beautiful forest of flowers called Caitraratha where the weather was pleasant as a result 100 • Pāpamocanī Ekādaśī of ever (spring?) The heavenly dancing girls such as Gandharvas and Kinnaras enjoyed various sports there. Demigods headed by Indra used to come there and enjoyed various exchanges. In that forest a great sage named Medhāvī who was a staunch devotee of Lord Śiva was engaged in performing austerity. The Apsarās or the heavenly dancing girls tried to disturb the sage in various ways. Among the Apsarās one famous Apsarā named Mañju Ghoṣa devised a means to captivate the mind of the sage. Due to fear of the sage Mañju Ghoṣa built a cottage a little away from the āśrama of the sage and began to sing in a sweet voice accompanied with the musical instrument vīṇā. On seeing Mañju Ghoṣa who applied sandal wood pulp on her body wore a fragrant flower garland and was engaged in singing sweetly, even the cupid who is an enemy of Lord Śiva tried to conquer the sage who was the devotee of Lord Śiva. Since Lord Śiva burnt the cupid to ashes therefore remembering his previous enmity the cupid, in order to take revenge entered in to the body of the sage. At that time sage Medhāvī who wore a white sacred thread on his body and lived in the āśrama of Cyavana Ṛṣi appeared as the second cupid. The lusty Mañju Ghoṣa slowly came before the sage. The sage Medhāvī also became overwhelmed by lust and forgot his worshipable Lord. He gave up the practice of devotional service and became so much intoxicated in relishing the association of the women that he even lost the sense of discriminating between day and night. In this way sage Medhāvī spend many years in enjoying lusty activities. Thereafter when Mañju Ghoṣa saw that the sage has fallen down from his position she decided to return to the heavenly planet. She said to sage Medhāvī who was engaged in conjugal affair ‘O great sage! Now please give me permission so that I can return home. Then sage Medhāvī replied O beautiful women! You have come to me only in the evening stay here tonight and you can return in the morning. On hearing these words of the sage Mañju Ghoṣa became frightened and continued to live with him for a few more years. In this way although Mañju Ghoṣa lived with a sage for fifty seven years nine months and three days yet it appeared to be only half of a night to the sage. Then Mañju Ghoṣa again Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 101 asked for the permission from the sage to return home but the sage said O beautiful one! Please hear my words. This is only morning, please wait till I finish my morning rituals. Then the Apsarā smiled and said to the sage with amazement. O great sage! How long it will take to complete your morning rituals? Has it not finished yet? You have spent many years in enjoying my association. Therefore please consider the actual value of the time. On hearing the words of the Apsarā the sage came to his senses and after carefully calculating the time he said Alas! O beautiful one! I have simply wasted long fiftyseven years of my valuable time. You have ruined everything and spoiled all my austerities. The eyes of the sage filled with tears and his entire body began to tremble. Sage Medhāvī cursed Mañju Ghoṣa in the following words ‘You have behaved with me like a witch therefore you will immediately become a witch. O sinful unchaste Lady! Shame on you. After being cursed by the sage in this way Mañju Ghoṣa humbly said to the sage, O best of the brāhmaṇas! Please withdraw your heavy curse. I have spent many years in your company O my Lord for this reason I am a fit candidate for your forgiveness, please be merciful to me. The sage replied, O gentle lady! What will I do now? You have destroyed my entire wealth of austerity, still I am telling you the procedure from getting freed from this curse. The ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of March-April which called Pāpamocanī and is capable of destroying all ones sinful reactions. If you follow this ekādaśī strictly and faithfully then your ghostly condition of life will be vanquished. After speaking these words sage Medhāvī returned to the āśrama of his father sage Cyavana. As soon as sage Cyavana saw his fallen son he became extremely unhappy and said, ‘Alas! Alas! O my son what have you done? You have ruined yourself. You should not have spoiled your entire treasury of austerity simply being captivated by an ordinary lady sage Medhāvī replied O respected father! Due to misfortune I have committed great sins in the association of an Apsarā. Therefore please instruct me regarding the atonement of my sinful reactions. On hearing the pathetic words of his repentant son sage Cyavana said O my son! By observing Pāpamocanī ekādaśī which falls during the waning moon in 102 • Pāpamocanī Ekādaśī the month of March- April all ones sinful reactions are completely destroyed. Therefore you should observe this ekādaśī. On hearing these kind words of his father sage Medhāvī exhibited special enthusiasm in observing this ekādaśī. By the influence of this ekādaśī all the sinful reactions of sage Medhāvī were destroyed and he became a very pious. Meanwhile Mañju Ghoṣa also observed this auspicious Pāpamocanī ekādaśī and became liberated from the ghostly condition of life. She then regained her divine form and return to heaven. After narrating this story to king Māndhātā sage Lomaśa concluded as follows. My dear king just by observing this Pāpamocanī ekādaśī all ones sinful reaction are automatically destroyed. By hearing or reading the glories of this ekādaśī one achieves the result of donating one thousand cows. By observing this ekādaśī all kinds of sinful reactions resulting from a killing a brāhmaṇa, killing an embryo, drinking wine and associating with ones guru’s wife are totally uprooted. The purport is that since this sacred ekādaśī is all auspicious and destroyer of all sins everyone should strictly observe this ekādaśī. Kāmadā Ekādaśī The glories of Kāmadā ekādaśī is described in Varāha Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Kṛṣṇa the crown of Yadu Dynasty. O Lord Vāsudeva! Please accept my humble obeisances. O my Lord! Please describe to me about the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of March/April. Also explain to me the procedure for observing this ekādaśī and what is its benefit? Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘My dear Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira please hear attentively the description of this ekādaśī which is recorded in the Purāṇa. Once when Mahārāja Dilīpa, the great grandfather of Lord Rāmacandra asked his spiritual master sage Vasiṣṭha about the name and procedure for observing the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 103 March/April. Sage Vasiṣṭha replied, ‘O King! I will certainly fulfill your desire. The name of this ekādaśī is Kāmadā. This sacred ekādaśī burns all ones sinful reactions to ashes and awards the observer the privilege of having a son. Now please hear its glories from me. Long ago there existed a city named Ratnapura (Bhogīpura). This opulent city was ruled by a king named Puṇḍarīka. He was accompanied by his subjects that includes the Gandharvas. Kinnaras and the Apsarās. In that city a beautiful Apsarā named Lalitā and a handsome Gandharva named Lalita lived as a husband and wife. Both of them were overwhelmed by each others love and they constantly remained engaged in various sporting activities at their opulent house. The love for her husband in the heart of Lalitā and the love for his wife in the heart of Lalita was so intense that they were unable to tolerate a movements separation from each other. One time in the court of King Puṇḍarīka many Gandharvas were singing and dancing and Lalita also sang with them without his wife. Due to absence of Lalitā, Lalita’s voice, tune, steps and wordings became faulty. Among the audience there was a snake named Karkoṭaka who new about this mystery. So he went and complained to King Puṇḍarīka about the actual truth of Lalita’s behavior. Then the king became extremely angry and cursed Lalita as follows. ‘ O sinful one! O fool! Being controlled by the lust of your wife you have disturbed the singing and dancing. So I curse you to become a man eater cannibal. O best of the king being cursed by King Puṇḍarīka Lalita immediately transformed into a great demon. When Lalitā saw her husbands such an unbelievable and fears looking form she became extremely hurt. With intense distress she spent her days and nights simply thinking what should I do and where can I go. Giving up all embarrassment she lived with her husband in the forest. Once while wondering within the dense forest with her husband Lalitā saw the most sacred āśrama of the sage Śṛṅgī at 104 • Kāmadā Ekādaśī the peak of Vindhya Mountain. Lalitā immediately went there and offered her respectful obeisances to the sage. Upon seeing this lady the sage inquired O beautiful one who are you? Whose daughter are you? Why have you come here? Lalitā replied, ‘ O great soul I am the daughter of the Gandharva named Vṛndāvana. My name is Lalitā. I have come here with my cursed husband. O great sage! My husband has become a demon by the curse of the Gandharva king Puṇḍarīka. O brāhmaṇa! I am greatly distressed by seeing his terrible and ferocious form. O my Lord! Kindly explain to me the process of atonement by which my husband can become liberated from the curse. O best of the brāhmaṇas! Please instruct in such a way that his demoniac condition of life is removed. After hearing Lalitā’s pathetic request the great sage Śṛṅgī said, O daughter of the Gandharva! In a few days time an ekādaśī named Kāmadā which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of March-April will approach. By strictly following the vow of this ekādaśī all ones’ desires are fulfilled. O gentle lady! According to my instruction you observe this vow of ekādaśī and give the entire merit which you have earned by observing this vow to your husband. Then by the influence of this merit your husband will immediately become freed from the curse. O King! Being instructed in this way by the sage Lalitā gladly observed the vow of this ekādaśī. On the day of dvādaśī Lalitā sat in front of the brāhmaṇas and the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva and declared, ‘ I have observed the vow of Kāmadā ekādaśī to relieve my husband from the curse. Now by the influence of my earned piety let my husband be freed from the demoniac condition of life. At that time her husband turned demon Lalita was present there. As soon as Lalitā finished her prayer her demon husband became freed from all sins and regained his divine Gandharva form. Thereafter both Lalita and Lalitā lived their lives happily. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “O Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira! O best of the Kings! Any one who hears this wonderful narration of Kāmadā ekādaśī should certainly observe it to the best of its ability. There is no better vow of ekādaśī then this Kāmadā ekādaśī for it can eradicate even the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa and counteract the demoniac curses. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 105 Varuthinī Ekādaśī The glories of Varuthinī ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of April-May is described in Bhaviṣya-uttara Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, ’O Vāsudeva! I offer my humble obeisances to you. Now please explain to me the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of April- May including its name influence and glories’. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied my dear king the name of this ekādaśī is Varūthinī and it awards one good fortune both in this life and in the next. By following the vow of this ekādaśī a living entity attains perpetual happiness, diminishes his sinful reactions and becomes greatly fortunate. By observing this vow an unfortunate wife become fortunate, a human being attains happiness and prosperity both in this life and in the next, they become freed from the cycle of birth and death, all their sinful reactions are nullified and they attain devotional service to the Lord. King Māndhātā was liberated by properly observing this ekādaśī. Many kings such as Dhundhumāra became liberated by following this ekādaśī. One can achieve the result of undergoing austerities for ten thousand years simply by observing this Varūthinī ekādaśī. The amount of piety one accumulates by donating 40 kilos of gold during the solar eclipse in Kurukṣetra is achieved simply by observing this Varūthinī ekādaśī. O best of the kings! Donating elephant is superior than donating horse. Donating land is superior than donating elephant and donating sesame seed is greater than donating land. Donating gold is greater than donating sesame seeds and donating food grains is greater than donating gold. In fact there is no greater charity than giving food grains in charity. O best of the kings! By giving food grains in charity one can satisfy the forefathers, the demigods and all living entities. The learned scholars have ascertained giving a daughter in charity to be equal to giving food grains in charity. The 106 • Varuthinī Ekādaśī Supreme Lord Himself has compared donating food grains to be equal to donating cows. Moreover among all kinds of charities giving knowledge to others is the highest type of charity. By following Varūthinī ekādaśī one can attain the results of all charities. A person who earns his livelihood by selling his daughter certainly commits the great sin and he is fit to live in the hell till the time of final annihilation. That is why no one should ever accept wealth in exchange of his daughter. O king of kings! A householder who under the influence of greed sells his daughter in exchange of money becomes a cat in his next life. One who decorates his daughter with ornaments according to his own capacity and gives her in charity to a qualified groom, even Citragupta the chief secretary of Yamarāja is unable to count his piety. The follower of this ekādaśī should abstain by eating out of bell-metal pot, eating meat, masūra gram, chickpea, spinach, honey, accept food stuffs cooked by others, eating more then ones and indulging in sex life from the day before ekādaśī. He should not indulge in gambling, sleep eat betel nuts, brush his teeth, blaspheme anyone, indulge in gossiping, speak with a sinful person, become angry and tell lies on the day of ekādaśī. On the day after ekādaśī he should not eat on a plate made of bell-metal, eat meat, masūra gram and honey; as well as he should abstain from speaking lies, do exercise, labor hard, eat more then once, indulge in sex life, shave head or face, apply oil on the body and eat food stuff cooked by others. One should carefully avoid all the above mentioned prohibitions which destroy the vow of ekādaśī. Apart from them some other prohibitory measures should to taken not only for the three days but for ever. If one observes the vow of Varūthinī ekādaśī according to these prescribed rules and regulations then all his sinful reactions are eradicated and he attains the supreme destination. One who remains awake on the day of ekādaśī and worships Lord Janārdana becomes freed from all sins and attain the supreme goal of life. Any one who hears or reads the glories of this ekādaśī surely achieves the result of donating one thousand cows and being freed from all his sinful reactions attains the abode of Viṣṇu. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 107 Mohinī Ekādaśī The glories of Mohinī ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of April-May is described in Sūrya Purāṇa. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said to Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Janārdana! What is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of April/May and what is the process for observing this ekādaśī. Also what is the merit one obtains by following this ekādaśī please explain all these to me in details. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O son of dharma! Please hear me attentively as I describe to you the story that sage Vasiṣṭha once told Lord Rāmacandra. Long ago once Lord Rāmacandra asked the great sage Vasiṣṭha, ‘O respected sage! I am feeling great distress due to separation from Sītā the daughter of king Janaka. Kindly explain to me about the great vow by following of which all once sinful reactions and distresses are mitigated. The great sage Vasiṣṭha the spiritual master of Rāmacandra said, ‘My dear Rāma your intelligence is sharp and mixed with faith. Your question is beneficial for the entire humanity. Just by chanting and remembering your all auspicious holy names all living entities can become purified and become eligible to achieve all auspiciousness. Still for the benefit of the ordinary people I will describe to you about a great vow. O Lord Rāma! The ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of April/May is famous as Mohinī ekādaśī. This ekādaśī is very auspicious. By following this ekādaśī all ones sinful reactions, material miseries and network of illusion are destroyed. Now please hear attentively as I narrate the most pious topics of this ekādaśī. There was a beautiful city named Bhadrāvatī situated on the bank of sacred river Sarasvatī. A king named Dyutimān ruled this city. O Lord Rāma! This king was born in the dynasty of moon. He was tolerant and truthful. A pious and prosperous devotee of Lord Viṣṇu lived in that city. His name 108 • Mohinī Ekādaśī was Dhanapāla. He was a vaiśya21 by profession. For the benefit of the ordinary people this devotee Dhanapāla built many Dharma-śālās or Guest houses schools temples of Lord Viṣṇu, charitable hospitals, wide roads and market places. He also made arrangements for distributing water and food stuff, dug wells for cool drinking water and ponds for clear water, built gardens for flowers and fruits. In this way he properly utilized his wealth for the benefit of all and thus successfully demonstrated the true meaning of his name. This pious devotee of Lord Viṣṇu who was always peaceful, a benefactor of others and engaged in devotional service to Viṣṇu had five sons namely Samāna, Dyutimāna, Medhāvī, Sukṛti and Dhṛṣṭabuddhi. Among his five sons Dhṛṣṭabuddhi was most sinful. He was extremely wicked, ill-natured, always engaged in bad association, having illicit connection with unchaste women. He was found of gambling and drinking wine. He took pleasure in killing and torturing other living entities. In this way he engaged in all kinds of sinful activities and soon turned into an abominable son of the most pious father and a disgrace to the family. He never showed respect to the demigods, guests, old forefathers and brāhmaṇas. He was constantly engaged in thinking of committing sinful activities and thus lived a contemptible life. The sinful wretched Drṣṭhabuddhī misused all his fathers wealth in many useless activities. He always ate abominable food stuff and remained always absorbed in drinking wine. One day on seeing his shameless son walking in the public place while placing his hand on the shoulder of a prostitute father Dhanapāla became extremely hurt. On that very day he threw out his spoiled son from the house. Drṣṭhabuddhī became bereft of every ones affection including his father mother brothers, relatives and friends. Soon he degraded from his position of caste society and pious community and became an object of hatred for everyone. After being drawn out from his fathers house Drṣṭhabuddhī continued to fulfill his sinful propensities with the money he received by selling his personal clothes and ornaments. Soon that also came to an end. Gradually due to lack of sufficient food his body became weak and skinny. On 21 A member of mercantile community Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 109 realizing that he has become poor and his so called deceitful boys and girls friends left him while condemning him on various pretext. Drṣṭhabuddhī was now full of anxiety. He had no foods or clothes hence he was extremely afflicted with hunger. So he began to contemplate. "What should I do now? Where should I go? By which means will I survive.’ After contemplating in this way he decided that there is no other alternative than to start stealing for his survival. Si with a desire to steal he began to wonder throughout the city. Some times the kings guard would arrested him and after considering his fathers greatness he would release him. After being caught and released in this way for a few times once he was formally arrested due to committing a special kind of theft. He was taken to the king who awarded him severe punishment. The King said, O sinful foolish creature you cannot stay within this kingdom any more. For you are the greatest sinner. I am realizing you now but leave this kingdom immediately and go where ever you wish. Thereafter Drṣṭhabuddhī became afraid of being punished again and left the kingdom. He went far away and entered into a dense forest. Within the forest he became so much afflicted with hunger and thirst that he began to kill beasts and birds indiscriminately and ate their raw flesh for their survival. He wondered within the forest like a hunter, holding a bow and arrows in his hands and continued to kill innocent animals. In this way Drṣṭhabuddhī lived in that dense forest for some years while engaging in sinful activities. Drṣṭhabuddhī was always miserable and anxious, but one day due to some fast pious deeds he arrived at the sacred āśrama of the great sage and ascetic Kauṇḍiṇya while wondering about within the forest. It was the month of Vaiśākha (April -May) and the great sage Kauṇḍiṇya was just returning home after taking bath in the Ganges. At that time by providence Drṣṭhabuddhī who was very much agreed with distress and lamentation happened to touch a drop of water falling from the sages cloth. Drṣṭhabuddhī was immediately relieved- from his sinful reactions. With folded hand and great humility he said to sage Kauṇḍiṇya, ‘ O great brāhmaṇa I am the most sinful person. There is no such sin that I have not 110 • Mohinī Ekādaśī committed. Now please instruct me about a highest type of atonement which a most wretched person like me can easily perform. As a result of committing unlimited sinful activities till now I have been bereft of my house, wealth, relatives and friends. I am spending my time with great deal of mental agony. After hearing these statements of Drṣṭhabuddhī the great sage Kauṇḍiṇya who feels distress by seeing others distress said, ‘ I am telling you a sublime method by which all your sinful reaction can easily be nullified in a very short time, please hear me attentively. Mohinī ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of April/May totally destroys a persons sinful reactions as big as Sumeru mountain accumulated from many life time. Therefore you should faithfully observe this ekādaśī. Hearing these words from the great sage Drṣṭhabuddhī became joyful and properly observe that ekādaśī according to the rules and regulations instructed by the sage. O best of the Kings! By observing this Mohinī ekādaśī the most sinful Drṣṭhabuddhī soon became devoid of all sinful reactions and after assuming a divine body he returned to the all auspicious abode of Lord Viṣṇu by riding on the back of Garuḍa. O Rāmacandra! This vow certainly removes all kinds of illusion and darkness of ignorant. Any piety accumulated by taking bath in the holy waters, giving in charity and performance of sacrifice can not be compared with the piety one attains by observing this Mohinī ekādaśī. Aparā Ekādaśī The topics of Aparā ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of May-June is described in Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Kṛṣṇa, “O Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Janārdana, What is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of May- June and what is its glories. Please describe this to me.” Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 111 Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira you have asked me an intelligent question which is actually beneficial for everyone. The name of this ekādaśī is Aparā. O king! This ekādaśī awards so much piety to those who observe it and destroys all their sinful reactions. By observing this Aparā ekādaśī many grave sinful activities such as killing a brāhmaṇa, killing a cow , killing an embryo through abortion, criticizing others, illicit sex-life, speaking lie, giving false witness, bragging others, reciting or teaching Vedas for the sake of money and concocting own scripture. A cheater, a pseudo astrologer and a cheating physician are also as sinful as those who give false witness. All these sinful activities are totally eradicated by observing this Aparā ekādaśī. Any kṣatriya who gives up his profession and runs away from the battle field, certainly falls down from his occupational duties and go to hell. If such a person observes this ekādaśī with faith also attains the heavenly planet. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued O King! A disciple who after receiving knowledge from his spiritual master engages in blaspheming his spiritual master certainly accumulates great sins. Such a condemned sinful person can be relieved from his sinful reaction by following the Aparā ekādaśī and attain the supreme destination. O King of Kings! The result one obtains by taking bath three times at Puśkara in the month of Kārtika, the piety one accumulates by taking bath at Prayāga in the month of January when the sun enters Capricorn, the results one obtain by observing the vow of Śivarātrī at Kāśī and by offering oblations at the lotus feet of Viṣṇu at Gayā, and the auspicious results one obtains by taking bath in the river Gautamī when the planet Jupiter enters Leo, by visiting Kedāranātha during Kumbha-melā, by visiting and worshiping Badarīnātha, by taking bath at Kurukṣetra during solar eclipse, and by giving elephants horses, cows, gold and land in charity are all obtained easily by observing the vow of Aparā ekādaśī. It is like the sharp ax for cutting down the tree of sinful activities and the blazing forest fire for burning the fuel of sinful activities to ashes. It is like the brilliant son for decimating the darkness born of sinful activities and like the lion to a deer in the for of sinful activities. O King! By observing this Aparā ekādaśī and worshiping Lord Viṣṇu in his form as Trivikrama, a person 112 • Aparā Ekādaśī attains the all auspicious abode of Lord Viṣṇu. Any one who hears or reads the glories of this ekādaśī that I have described to you for the benefit of everyone is relived from all his sinful reactions. Nirjalā Ekādaśī The description of Nirjalā ekādaśī which occurs during the month of May-June is found in Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Vyāsadeva and Bhīmasena. Once Bhīmasena the younger brother of Yudhiṣṭhira asked the great sage Śrīla Vyāsadeva O most learned and worshipable grand father please hear my request, ‘my elder brother Yudhiṣṭhira, mother Kuntīdevī, brothers Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva and Draupadī do not eat anything on the day of ekādaśī. They, especially Yudhiṣṭhira always tells me that I should also fast on ekādaśī. But I always tell them though I know that to fast on ekādaśī is an injunction of the scriptures. Yet I can not bear my hunger therefore I am unable to fast. I can give in charity as per my capacity, I can worship Lord Keśava with proper rules and regulations, but I cannot fast. So please instruct me how can I obtain the result of ekādaśī with having to fast? On hearing these words of Bhīmasena Śrī Vyāsadeva said, “O Bhīma! If you want to go to the heavenly planet and avoid the hellish planets, then you must refrain from eating on both the ekādaśīs of each month Bhīma said, “O great sage! It is impossible for me to observe fast on 24 ekādaśīs every year as instructed by the Lord. What to speak of fasting day and night I can not even tolerate my hunger for a movement. The fire of hunger known as ‘vṛka’ is always present with in my stomach and it is extinguished only by voracious eating. But with great endeavor I can fast only one day in a year. Therefore please instruct me about a vow by duly following of which I can attain auspiciousness both in this life and next.” Śrī Vyāsadeva said, “O King! You have already heard from me the about the Vedic religious principles and the duties of the human beings. But in this age of Kali every one is not capable of following those rules and regulations. Therefore I Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 113 will tell you a sublime method by which you can achieve great results. This method is the essence of all the Purāṇas. Any one who observes the ekādaśīs of waning and waxing moons by fasting never goes to hell.” Hearing Vyāsadeva’s words the strongest warrior Bhīmasena became frightened and shivered like a leaf on a Banyan tree and said, “O grandfather! Then what should I do? I am totally unable to fast twice a month throughout the year. Therefore O my Lord! Kindly instruct me about observing one vow which awards the most amount of merit and following of which I can achieve all benefits.” Then Śrī Vyāsadeva replied the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of May-June during the sun’s presence in either Taurus or Gemini rāśi is called as Nirjalā ekādaśī. One should observe total fast even from drinking water in this ekādaśī. On this day one should perform Ācamana for purification by drinking that amount of water in which a single mustered seed or a drop of gold can be immersed. One should place the said amount of water in his palm which he should form to resemble a cows ear. If one drinks more or less water than this then it will amount to drinking of wine. One must not eat anything at all on this ekādaśī otherwise his vow will be broken. One should not drink even water from the movement of sunrise from the day of ekādaśī until the sunrise on the day of dvādaśī. In this way if one strictly observes this ekādaśī without drinking water then he can attain the results of observing all the ekādaśīs of the year. In the early morning on the day of dvādaśī one should take bath and give gold and water in charity to the brāhmaṇas. Thereafter the follower should gladly eat with the brāhmaṇas. O Bhīmasena! Now please hear the about the piety one accumulated by observing this ekādaśī. By following this ekādaśī one can achieve the result of following all the ekādaśīs throughout the year. Once Lord Viṣṇu who holds a conch, a disc, a plough and a lotus flower in his hand told me that if a person gives up all varieties of religion and surrenders unto me and follows this Nirjalā ekādaśī which is very dear to me is certainly relieved from all sinful reactions. One cannot achieve 114 • Nirjalā Ekādaśī supreme destination by giving wealth in charity or attain any benefit by following smārta rules and regulations in the Kaliyuga. In fact the Vedic religious principle have been extinct in this age of Kali which is polluted with various faults. O Son of Vāyu! What more can I tell you? Actually eating is prohibited on all the ekādaśīs and even the drinking of water is prohibited on Nirjalā ekādaśī. By observing this ekādaśī one achieves the piety of visiting all the holy places. At the time of death such a person is not approached by the fierce looking Yamadūtas rather he is approached by the divine looking Viṣṇudūtas to be transferred to the abode of Viṣṇu. If one gives water and cows in charity after observing this ekādaśī then he is freed from all his sinful activities. When the other Pāṇḍavas heard about the glories of this ekādaśī they resolved to observe it since Bhīmasena began observing this Nirjalā ekādaśī from that day onward this ekādaśī became famous as Pāṇḍava Nirjalā or Bhīmasenī ekādaśī. By following this ekādaśī sinful activities as huge as Sumeru or Mandara Mountain are at once burnt to ashes. O King! Lord Kṛṣṇa has declared that any pious activities such as taking bath in a holy place, giving in charity. Chanting Vedic mantras and performing sacrifices are carried out on this Nirjalā ekādaśī day become inexhaustible. One who reads or hears the glories of this ekādaśī with devotion goes back to the abode of Vaikuṇṭha. The result one attains by observing the vow of Amāvasyā conjoined with pratipadā and offering oblations to the forefathers during the solar eclipse is attained simply by hearing the glories of this ekādaśī. Yoginī Ekādaśī Significance This is a special ekādaśī the benefits of which can cure severe diseases in the body. This is known as the Yoginī ekādaśī. Its interesting to note that this ekādaśī is recommended by a great devotee of Lord Śiva, Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi to another Śiva devotee. Thus gives a clear indication that ekādaśī Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 115 vrata is for everyone including the devotee of Lord Śiva too. The glories of Yoginī ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of June-July is described in Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Story Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Supreme Lord! O Madhusūdana! I have heard the glories of Nirjalā ekādaśī. Now I wish to hear about the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of June- July.” Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! I will explained to you about the ekādaśī that comes during the month of June-July. The name of this ekādaśī is Yoginī and it destroys all once grave sinful reactions and delivers one from the ocean of material existence.” “O best of the kings! Now I will narrate a story from Purāṇa to illustrate this truth. Kubera the king of Alakā-purī was a staunch devotee of Lord Śiva. He regularly worshiped Lord Śiva. He had a Yakṣa gardener named Hema. The name of this gardener Hema’s wife was Viśālakṣī. Viśālakṣī was exquisitely beautiful. Hema was very attached to his beautiful wife. He regularly gathered flowers from Mānasa-sarovara Lake and gave to Kubera the King of Yakṣas for his worship of Lord Śiva. One day he brought flowers from Mānasa-sarovara Lake and instead of giving it to Kubera he remained at home being bound by the love of his dear wife.” “O King! As a result of this Kubera did not receive any flower on that day. Meanwhile the king of the Yakṣas Kubera waited six hours for Hema. Due to the absence of flower he could not complete the worship of Lord Śiva. Being extremely angry the king immediately sent his messenger to find out the cause of gardener’s delay. The messenger immediately left.” “After some time the Yakṣa Messenger returned and said to the king. ‘O Master Hema is enjoying the association of his wife at home. On hearing these words of messenger Kubera became very angry and immediately ordered his servants to bring Hema before him. On realizing that he has made a great mistake Hemamālī became ashamed and with great fear he 116 • Yoginī Ekādaśī came before Kubera. The gardener first offered his respectful obeisances. Kubera whose entire body trembled and whose eyes became red with anger said, ‘O sinful one! O destroyer of religious principle you have disregarded my most worshipable Lord Śrī Śaṅkara and engaged in your own sense gratification, hence I am cursing you. You will be afflicted with white leprosy and you will remain separated from your dear most wife forever. O Low-class fool! You will immediately degrade from this place.'” Being cursed by Kubera Hemamālī immediately fell from Alakā-purī and took birth in this world. He became afflicted with white leprosy and suffered extremely miserable conditions. In such a condition and with intense mental agony and lake of food and water he went to a formidable dense forest. In that forest he suffered the pangs of hunger and thirst day and night. During the day he did not find any happiness and at night he could not sleep as well. He suffered great miseries both in winter and summer. But because he helped worship Lord Śiva faithfully his memory remained intact. Although he was engaged in various sinful activities he remembered his previous activities and his consciousness remained pure and alert. “After wondering throughout the forest in this way he fortunately came upon the Himalayan Mountain. While moving here and there by providence he had the good fortune of meeting the great sage Mārkaṇḍeya who is the best of the ascetics and whose duration of life is seven Kalpas. Hemamālī, feeling very sinful stood at a distance from the sage and repeatedly offered his humble obeisances. The kind hearted sage Mārkaṇḍeya called that leprosy ridden man before him and asked ‘ O you! How have you got this dreadful affliction? What kind of sinful and condemned activities you have performed so that you had to suffer such a miserable condition?'” “On hearing this Hemamālī replied, ‘O great sage! I am the gardener of Kubera the king of the Yakṣas. My name is Hemamālī. I use to collect flowers regularly from Mānasasarovara Lake and give it to my master Kubera. With this flower Kubera performed his worship of Lord Śiva. One day I was late to give flower to my master as a result of remaining Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 117 engaged in fulfilling my lusty desires with my wife. That is why Kubera the King of the Yakṣas became angry and cursed me. As a result of that curse I am profusely suffering the miseries of White leprosy and I have been separated from my wife. But now I do not know for what previous misdeeds this unfortunate soul has suddenly become fortunate to meet a great personality like you. I have heard that the hearts of the saintly persons are always afflicted by seeing the distress of others and they are always engaged in well fare activities. O great sage! With the desire to obtain auspicious result today this fallen soul has surrendered unto you. Please be kind and deliver him.'” “Thereafter the great sage Mārkaṇḍeya spoke to him with compassion. ‘O gardener! I am instructing to you about a most auspicious and beneficial vow. You should observe the vow of ekādaśī known as Yoginī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of June-July and by the influence of its piety you will certainly be liberated from the curse of suffering from leprosy.' On hearing this instruction of the great sage Mārkaṇḍeya, Hemamālī became joyful and with feelings of gratitude he offered his humble obeisances to him. Thereafter he duly observed this sacred vow of ekādaśī as the sage has instructed him. By the influence of this vow he regained his divine form. Then he returned home and reunited with his wife. The result one obtains by feeding 88 Thousand brāhmaṇas is attained by observing this Yoginī ekādaśī. This ekādaśī destroys all ones sinful reactions and awards one great piety.” Śayana Ekādaśī The topics of Śayana or Devaśayanī or Padma ekādaśī is described in Bhaviśyottara Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said O Keśava! What is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of June/July. Who is the worshipable deity for this sacred day and what are the rules and regulation for 118 • Śayana Ekādaśī observing this ekādaśī. Please explain this to me in detail. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘ O maintainer of this world! This question was once asked by Śrī Nārada Muni to Lord Brahmā. Now please hear from me the wonderful history which Lord Brahmā narrated to Nārada Muni in his reply. Once the great orator and best of the sages Nārada said to Lord Brahmā, O Father! What is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of June-July. Kindly explain to me how should I observe this ekādaśī in order to please the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Brahmā replied, ‘There is no other vow in this material world which is as sacred as the vow of ekādaśī.’ It is extremely necessary for one to observe the vow of ekādaśī in order to nullify all his sinful reactions. A person who does not observe ekādaśī in this world certainly goes to hell. The ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of JuneJuly is called Devaśayanī or Padmā ekādaśī. In order to please the Supreme Lord Hṛṣikeśa one should follow this ekādaśī. It is stated in the Purāṇa there was a saintly emperor named Māndhātā who ruled the entire world. He was born in the dynasty of Sun God, extremely powerful and always stood up for the truth. This King maintained his subjects piously and affectionately like his own children. In the kingdom of this pious king there was no famine, drought or any kind of decease. All his subjects lived peacefully without any anxiety and they were very prosperous. There was no wealth in the treasury of the king which was unlawfully earned. In this way the and his subjects happily spend their days. After many years due to providence and some sinful activities there was no rainfall in his kingdom for three consecutive years. As a result people became afflicted with hunger due to lack of food and became full of anxiety. As a result of suffering from lack of food the performance of various sacrifices and study of the Vedas came to a standstill. Then all the subjects came before the King and appealed O King! Please hear our words which will alternately benefit us. The water is addressed in the scriptures as ‘nāra’. The Supreme Lord resides (‘ayana’) in ‘nāra’. That is why the Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 119 another name of the Supreme Lord is Nārāyaṇa. The Supreme Lord Viṣṇu is all pervading in His form as clouds. He alone causes the rain fall. The food grains are produced from rain and the living entities subsist on rain. At present due to lack of this food grains your subjects are suffering and decreasing. O best of the Kings! Please find some remedy for our miserable condition and restore peace and prosperity among us. The King replied, ‘ What ever you all have said is truth. The food grains are considered like Brahman. Everything is sustained by food grains. The entire world and the living entities subsists on food grains. It is clearly stated in the Purāṇas and other scriptures that due to the sinful activities committed by the king he and his subjects suffer. Although I cannot ascertain my fault through my own consideration and intelligence nevertheless I will try my best for the benefit of my subjects. After speaking in this way the King Māndhātā gathered some of his principal armies and after offering obeisances to Brahmā he entered the forest. Within the forest he regularly visited the āśramas of great sages and ascetics. While wondering in the forest in this way one day by providence the king met with the great sage Aṅgirā the son of Brahmā. Sage Aṅgirā was as effulgent as Brahmā and all the four direction were illuminated by his effulgent. As soon as the selfcontrolled king saw him he immediately got down from his carrier and offered his respectful obeisances at the feet of the sage. Then the King folded his hand and offered prayers. The sage reciprocated and blessed the king. Thereafter the sage inquired from the King about the cause of his arrival and the well being of his kingdom. The King replied O Lord! I have been ruling my kingdom according to religious principals still there is no rainfall in my kingdom for last three years; As a result my subjects are suffering from various miseries. I have not been able to ascertain its cause in order to remove this cause. Today I have come to your lotus feet. Kindly tell me the way by which my subjects can live peacefully and thus attain auspiciousness. The sage Aṅgirā replied, “O King! This present age of Satya-yuga is the best of all the yugas. In this yuga people 120 • Śayana Ekādaśī worship the supreme Brahman. The fourfold religious principal are manifest in this Yuga. No one except the Brāhmaṇas are supposed to perform austerity in this Yuga. In spite of this standard a śūdra in your Kingdom is undergoing this austerity. As a result of this unlawful conduct you are facing its consequences in the form of drought. Therefore you should try to kill him and bring peace and prosperity into your Kingdom. The King said, “O great sage it will be impossible for me to kill an innocent person who is engaged in performing austerity. Therefore please instruct me about some easy solution.” Then the sage replied, “O King, if this is the case then observe the sacred ekādaśī known as Padmā or Devaśayanī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of JuneJuly. By the influence of this vow there will certainly be rain fall in your kingdom. This ekādaśī awards one all auspiciousness and perfection. It destroys all obstacles on the path to perfection. O King! You along with your subjects should observe this ekādaśī.” After hearing these assuring words of the great sage the king offered his obeisances and returned to his palace. Thereafter in the month of Āṣāḍha or June-July the king along his family members and subjects properly observed this auspicious Padma or Śayana ekādaśī. By the influence of this observance the rain poured in all over his Kingdom. This scarcity of water remained no longer and soon the entire world became filled with food grains by the mercy of the Supreme Lord Hṛṣīkeśa everyone lived happily. Therefore it is the duty of everyone to observe this sacred ekādaśī. This ekādaśī awards everyone the happiness and liberation. By hearing and reading the glories of this ekādaśī all ones sinful reactions are destroyed. This ekādaśī is also known as Viṣṇu-śayanī ekādaśī. In order to please Lord Viṣṇu the devotees observe this ekādaśī with special devotion. They do not endeavor for material enjoyments or liberation rather they pray for the pure devotional service to the Lord. The famous vow of Cāturmāsya begins from this ekādaśī. The devotees observe Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 121 this vow of Cāturmāsya by hearing and chanting the topics of Lord for four months beginning from the day when Lord Hari goes to bed up to the day He wakes up. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said to Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa! Please tell me how one should observe this Śrī Viṣṇu-śayana-vrata or Cāturmāsya-vrata. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! When the sun remains in the sign of Cancer then Śrī Madhusūdana the Lord of the entire universe goes to bed and when the sun goes to the sign of Libra the Lord wakes up. The vow of Cāturmāsya commences from the day of Śayana ekādaśī. O King Yudhiṣṭhira! After taking bath one should dress up Lord Viṣṇu with yellow garments. Then he should make a bed and cover it with white sheets to put the Lord on it to rest. First one should bath the Lord with five ingredients such as yoghurt, milk, ghee, honey and sugar water by the qualified brāhmaṇas. Thereafter one should wipe the lords body with a cloth and apply fragrant sandal wood paste. Then he should worship the Lord by offering incense, ghee lamp and flowers with devotion.” “One can also begin observing the vow of Cāturmāsya either from the day of ekādaśī, dvādaśī, Pūrṇimā, aṣṭamī or Saṅkrānti (when the sun enters into the sign of Cancer) The vow of Cāturmāsya ends on the day of dvādaśī which falls the day after Utthāna ekādaśī in the month of Kārtika. A person who observes the vow of Cāturmāsya while remembering Lord Hari goes back to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu sitting on an airplane as effulgent as the sun. Any one who cleanses the temple and the courtyard of the Lord, decorates them with flowers and creepers and feeds the brāhmaṇas according to his capacity at the end of the vow obtains inexhaustible happiness for seven life times. By offering ghee lamps to the Lord during t his vow one can become fortunate and prosperous. One who chants Gāyatrī mantra one hundred and eight times in the temple of the Lord in three different times morning, noon and evening no longer have to indulge in sinful activities. Lord Vyāsadeva become pleased with such a person and the practitioner returns to the abode of Viṣṇu. Any one who donates twenty-eight or hundred and eight pots of sesame seeds to the intelligent brāhmaṇas at the end of the vow become freed from this sinful reaction accumulated by his body mind and speech. He becomes freed from all diseases 122 • Śayana Ekādaśī and obtains intelligent children.” “A practitioner of devotional service should not sleep on a bedstead for four months during which Lord Janārdana takes place. It is prohibited to have sex during Cāturmāsya only except after of the days of mensuration. One should observe this vow with fasting eating only supper, eating only once a day or eating that which come without asking for it. One who chants and sings before Lord Viṣṇu during Cāturmāsya goes to the planet of the Gandharvas. A person who give up eating Gur or Jaggery is blessed with sons and grand sons. By giving up oil one becomes beautiful and his enemies are destroyed. By giving up the taste of bitter, pungent, sour, sweet and salty preparations ones ugliness and bodily odor Is vanquished. Those who give up the enjoyment of flowers go to the heavenly planets and become Vidyādharas. By giving up the chewing of butternuts and immediately becomes diseaseless. If one eats out of the bare floor he attains the heaven the abode of Indra. If one gives up milk and yoghurt for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa he goes back to the supreme abode of Goloka. One who does not cut his nails and shaves his head attains the good fortune of touching the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. One who circumambulates the temple of the Lord returns to the abode of Lord riding on an airplane carried by the swans.” Kāmikā Ekādaśī Significance This is a special ekādaśī also known as Kāmikā ekādaśī. This ekādaśī brings out the importance of Tulasī while worshiping Śrī Hari. Practice On this day arcana is done to Śrī Hari using tulasī leaves. One tulasī leaf is equivalent to 8 tolā golden flower and 32 tolā silver flowers. Worship with Tulasī leaves is very dear to Śrī Hari. Worshiping Śrī Hari with tulasī means more dear to him than worshiping him with pearls, rubies, topaz, diamonds and other precious stones Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 123 Worshiping Śrī Keśava with Tulasī tender leaves, or bunches of tulasī leaves, all sins since birth will be wiped out. Just by looking at tulasī plant hordes of sins are wiped out. If you touch tulasī body becomes clean. If we bow to tulasī plant we become healthy. If we water the tulasī plant, even Lord Yama is afraid to come near. If we grow tulasī plant/creeper we make a connection with Kṛṣṇa. If we keep tulasī leaves at the feet of Śrī Hari we attain mokṣa. To this pious plant tulasī we bow our heads. People who light Ghee lamp or oil lamp in front of Śrī Hari will be in turn worshiped by many(koṭī) lamps and taken to Sūrya-loka. On ekādaśī day in whose house lamps light in front of Śrī Hari their forefathers will get amṛta in Svargaloka. The topics of Kāmikā ekādaśī is described in Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa! I have heard from you the glories of Deva-śayanī ekādaśī. Now I would like to hear about the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of July-August. O Lord Please be kind to me and explain its glories. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! Please hear attentively the description of this sacred vow of ekādaśī, which removes all sins. In an ancient time Nārada Muni once asked Lord Brahmā about this same topic. He also inquired about the deity which is to be worshiped on that day and the process one must follow to observe this ekādaśī. Lord Brahmā the spiritual master of the entire universe replied, “The ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of July-August is called Kāmikā ekādaśī. By hearing the glories of this ekādaśī one obtains the result of performing Vājapeya sacrifice. On this auspicious day one should worship Lord Viṣṇu who holds a conch, a disc, a club and a lotus in His hands. The results one obtains by residing and bathing in holy places like the Ganges, Kāśī, Naimiṣāraṇya and Puṣkara is obtained simply by worshiping Lord Viṣṇu on that day. The result one can not obtain even by taking bath in Kedāranatha, Kurukṣetra or during solar eclipse is easily obtained by worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa on this day. Therefore it is the duty of everyone to strictly observe this Kāmikā ekādaśī by worshiping 124 • Kāmikā Ekādaśī Lord Viṣṇu. “Just as the water cannot touch the lotus leaf similarly by the influence of this Kāmikā ekādaśī a person can remain aloof from sins. Anyone who worships Lord Hari with Tulasī leaves is freed from all sins. Only by seeing Tulasī ones sinful reaction are destroyed, by touching Tulasī ones body become purified, by offering prayers to Tulasī ones diseases becomes cured, by bathing Tulasī one does not have to fear for Yamarāja the Lord of Death, by planting Tulasī one becomes fortunate enough to reside with Lord Kṛṣṇa and by offering Tulasī leaves at the feet of the Supreme Lord one attains pure devotional service. Even Citragupta22 is unable to estimate the piety of one who offers obeisances and ghee lamp to such a Tulasī on the day of ekādaśī. The sin of killing a brāhmaṇa or an embryo is destroyed as a secondary result of observing this Kāmikā ekādaśī. One who hears or reads the glories of this ekādaśī with faith certainly attains the abode of Viṣṇu. Pavitrā Ekādaśī The glories of Pavitrā ekādaśī is described in Bhaviśyottara Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said to Kṛṣṇa, “O Madhusūdana!, the killer of Madhu demon. What is the name and glories of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of July/August. Please explain it to me in detail”. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! The name of this sacred ekādaśī is Pavitrā ekādaśī. Now please hear attentively the topics of this ekādaśī which destroys ones sinful reaction. By hearing the glories of this ekādaśī one obtains the result of Vājapeya sacrifice. In an ancient time in the beginning of Dvāpara-yuga there was a King named Mahījita who ruled the kingdom named Māhiṣmatī-purī. But since the king had no sons he did not feel any happiness in conducting his activities. A married man who has no son does not get any happiness either in this life 22 The personal secretary of Yamarāja, who is the Lord of death. He records the living entities’ pious and evil deeds. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 125 or in the next. The King spent many years in trying to get a son, but he was not fortunate enough to get a jewel like son who would give him all pleasure. Realizing his own pathetic condition one day the king called his subjects whom he treated as his children to the royal assembly and said to them, O dear subjects I have never committed any sinful activity in this life, I did not increase my treasury by unlawfully earned wealth, I did not plunder the wealth of the brāhmaṇas and the demigods, rather I have conquered this world by following the proper code of conduct, I have maintained all of you like my own children, I have never hesitated to award due punishment even to my dear ones like my brother and relatives according to their faults and I have showed due respect to even my enemy if he was gentle and pious. O brāhmaṇas in spite of traveling on the religious path like this why I am bereft of a son? Please consider carefully the reason behind this and advise me. After hearing these lamenting words of King Mahījita, the kings’ brāhmaṇa advisers discussed the subject matter among themselves and decided that for the benefit of the king they would go to the forest and visit the āśramas of the great sages who know the past, present and future. That is exactly what they did. They entered the forest and while wandering here and there they came across the various āśramas of the great sages. Finally they met Lomaśa Muni who was engaged in severe austerities, whose body was spiritual and full of bliss, who strictly observed the vow of fasting, who was self controlled, who knew the science of Eternal Religious Principle, who was well conversant with the knowledge of all the scripture, whose duration of life was as long as that of Brahmā and who was an effulgent saint. When a kalpa23 of Brahmā passes one hair (loma) out of his body falls out that is why the name of the sage is Lomaśa. The sage Lomaśa was the knower of past, present and future. Enchanted by this great sage, the advisers of the king offered their obeisances to him and spoke with humility. “O 23 The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in cycles of kalpas. A kalpa is a day of Brahmā, and one day of Brahmā consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas or ages: Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara, and Kali. 126 • Pavitrā Ekādaśī great sage! Due to our great fortune we have met a great soul like you. The sage Lomaśa inquired who are you all? Why have you come here? Why are you praising me like this. The brāhmaṇas replied O great sage! We have come to you for removing some of our doubts. O Lord! Our king Mahījita has no sons. We are his subjects and we are treated by the king as his own children. We are feeling distressed on seeing the distress of the King. O best of the brāhmaṇa we want to strictly under go austerity here. It is the good fortune of the king that today we met a great personality like you. By the darśana of a great personality a man certainly attains all perfections. Please instruct us in such a way so that our son-less king can have a son.” After hearing their sincere prayers the sage Lomaśa entered into a deep meditation for a movement and immediately understood the king Mahījita’s previous life. He then said in his previous life this king was a poor Vaiśya or a Merchant. He committed a sinful deed. Once while traveling from village to village in the course of his business he became overwhelmed with thirst. It was the midday of dvādaśī in the month of July. Soon he found a beautiful lake and decided to drink its water. At that time a cow and her newly born calf came there to drink water. As the cow began to drink water from the lake the merchant immediately drove her away and began to drink water himself. As a result of obstructing and unsatisfying thirsty cow from drinking water the merchant had committed a sin. For this reason though the merchant who by the influence of his piety has now been born as a King Mahījita, but he has got no son. On hearing these words of the great sage the kings advisers said, “O great sage! It is stated in the Purāṇas that by the influence of piety all ones sinful reactions are counter acted. Therefore please instruct us in such a way that all the sinful reactions of the king may be destroyed and he can obtain a son. The great sage Lomaśa replied, There is a famous auspicious ekādaśī known as Pavitrā ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of July/August. You and your King should properly observe this ekādaśī. Thereafter you should give away your piety that you will earn by Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 127 observing this ekādaśī. If you follow my instruction then the King will certainly be blessed with a son. After hearing these words from sage Lomaśa all the kings advisers became happy and satisfied. They offered their obeisances to the sage and returned home. Then they meet king Mahījita and explained to him in detail whatever they have heard from the great sage Lomaśa. Thereafter when the proper time arrived the kings advisers remembered the advice of the sage and properly observed the vow of Pavitrā ekādaśī along with the king. On the day of dvādaśī they gave away their accumulated piety to the king as advised by the sage. By the influence of this piety the queen became pregnant and in due course of time she gave birth to a beautiful son. O King Yudhiṣṭhira! Any one who observes this sacred ekādaśī is relieved from sinful reactions and becomes happy both in this life and in the next. One who hears the glories of this ekādaśī obtains the happiness derived from having a son in this life and goes back to godhead in his next life. Annadā Ekādaśī The glories of Annadā ekādaśī is described in the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said O Kṛṣṇa! What is the name of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of August-September. Please be kind to me and explain this. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! Hear me with full attention. The name of this auspicious ekādaśī which removes all ones sins is Annadā ekādaśī. One who observes the vow of this ekādaśī and worships Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the master of the senses becomes freed from the reactions of his sinful activities. In an ancient time there was a famous emperor named Hariścandra. He was very truthful and honest. Due to some unknown deeds and in order to protect the validity of his promise he lost his great kingdom. He even had to sell himself, wife and son. O King! This pious emperor became a menial servant of a dog eater. Still he maintained his firm faith 128 • Annadā Ekādaśī in truthfulness. By the order of his master the dog-eater he began to accept the cloths from the dead bodies in the crematorium as his salary. In spite of engaging in such a low class service he did not fall from his truthfulness and proper code of conduct. In this way he spent many years. Then one day the king began to contemplate with great unhappiness. What should I do? Where should I go? How will I delivered? Considering that the king is in great distress the great sage Gautama came to him. On seeing the great sage the king thought the Lord Brahmā the creator has created the brāhmaṇas for the benefit of others. The King then offered his respectful obeisances to that best of the brāhmaṇas and stood before him with folded hands. Thereafter he narrated his entire pitiful story to sage Gautama. After hearing the pathetic story of the king the great sage Gautama became very astonished and instructed the king O King! The Annadā ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of August-September is extremely auspicious and sin remover. It is your good fortune that this ekādaśī is coming soon. You should observe this ekādaśī by fasting and staying awake at night. As a result of this soon all your sinful reaction will be eradicated. O best of the Kings! Only by your influence I have come here. After instructing King Hariścandra in this way the great sage Gautama disappeared. Thereafter according to the instruction of the sage the King observed the vow of Annadā ekādaśī and became liberated from all his sinful reactions. Lord Kṛṣṇa concluded O Lion like King! The wonderful influence of this ekādaśī is such that one immediately exhausts the sufferings that he was destined to suffer for many years. By the influence of this ekādaśī King Hariścandra regained his wife and his dead son became alive. The demigods began to play drums and shower flowers on the sky. Thereafter by the influence of this ekādaśī the King enjoyed his kingdom without any impediment. Finally the king went to the spiritual world along with his relatives, associates and subjects. O King! Anyone who will observe this ekādaśī will become freed from all sins and go to the spiritual world. By hearing or reading the glories of this ekādaśī one can obtain the result of horse sacrifice. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 129 Pārśva Ekādaśī The glories of Pārśva ekādaśī which is also known as Parivartinī ekādaśī or Vāmana ekādaśī is described in Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira asked Lord Kṛṣṇa what is the name of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of August/September. How one should observe this ekādaśī and what is the merit one obtain by observing it? Please explain to me all these in details. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied O King! The ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of August/September is called Pārśva ekādaśī. This ekādaśī is very auspicious, it awards one liberation and takes away all ones sins. Just by hearing the glories of this ekādaśī all the sinful reactions of a person is vanquished. The piety one obtains by observing this ekādaśī can not be obtained even by performing Vājapeya sacrifice. This ekādaśī is also known as Jayantī ekādaśī. One who worships Lord Vāmana-deva with devotion on this day, he is worshiped by the inhabitants of the three worlds. A person who worships the Lotus eyed Lord Viṣṇu with a lotus flower undoubtedly goes back to the abode of the Lord. On this ekādaśī the sleeping Lord turns from left side to right side. That is why this ekādaśī is renowned as Pārśva Parivartinī (Changing sides) ekādaśī. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Janārdana! In spite of hearing your description I still have some doubts. O Lord of lords! How do you sleep and how do you change sides? What are the procedures for observing the vow of Cāturmāsya? What should people do when you are sleeping? Why did you bind Bali Mahārāja with ropes? O my Lord! Please describe these to me in detail and remove my doubts.” Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O Lion like King! There was a great devotee of me named Bali in Tretā Yuga. Although he was born in a demoniac family he regularly worship me and offered various prayers. He also worshiped the brāhmaṇas and performed sacrifices. Soon he became so prominent that he defeated Indra the king of heaven and conquered the heavenly planet. Then Indra along with the other demigods 130 • Pārśva Ekādaśī and the sages approached me. By their prayer I assumed the form of a dwarf (Vāmana) and went to the sacrificial arena of King Bali dressed as a small brahmacārī. I asked Bali to give me three steps of Land in charity. When Bali requested me to ask for some thing more after hearing my demand for only three steps of land, I exhibited my determination to remain satisfied with what I asked. Without further consideration King Bali and his wife Vindhyāvalī gave me a the steps of land in charity. Due to being the supreme personality of Godhead Lord Vāmanadeva gradually began to expand His body with his one step He covered the seven lower planetary systems and with his second step He covered the entire planetary system. He Also covered the entire sky by expanding His body. When Vāmana-deva asked for the place to set his third step King Bali offered his head with folded hands. Then Lord Vāmanadeva placed His third step on the head of the King Bali. Being fully satisfied by his humility I blessed him that I will constantly live with you. On the day of this ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of August/September a deity form of Vāmanadeva was installed in the residence of King Bali. Another form of mine has been established in the bed of Ananta-śeṣa in the ocean of milk. The Supreme Lord sleeps for four months beginning from Śayana ekādaśī up to Utthāna ekādaśī. One should specially worship the Lord during this four months. On should properly observe each and every ekādaśī. By observing this ekādaśī on obtains the result of performing one thousand horse sacrifices. Indirā Ekādaśī The glories of Indira ekādaśī is described in Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Kṛṣṇa! O Madhusūdana! O Killer of the demon Madhu! What is the name of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of September-October. What are the rules and regulations for observing this ekādaśī and what is the merit one gains by Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 131 observing it. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, the name of this sacred ekādaśī is Indira ekādaśī. By observing this ekādaśī one can deliver his degraded forefathers and all his sinful reactions are eradicated. O King! There was a King named Indrasena lived in Satyayuga. He was very expert in subduing his enemies. He ruled his Kingdom Mahiṣmatī-purī with great prosperity. He was surrounded by his children and grand children and lived happily. He was always attached to the devotional service of the Viṣṇu. The King who was a devotee and constantly absorbed in spiritual knowledge spent his time by chanting the holy names of Śrī Govinda the bestower of liberation. One day when the king was happily sitting in his royal thrown suddenly Śrī Nārada Muni appeared before him from the sky. On seeing the great sage Nārada the King immediately stud up with folded hands and then offered his respectful obeisances to him. Thereafter the king duly worshiped the sage by sixteen ingredients. After the sage was happily seated he asked Indrasena, “O great King! Are every one happy and prosperous in your kingdom? Is your mind fixed in religious principles? Are you engaged in devotion service to Viṣṇu. The King replied O best of the sages! Everything is well and auspicious by your mercy. Today my life has become successful by your darśana and my performing sacrifices bore fruits. O sage among the demigods! Please tell me the cause of your arrival. After hearing these humble words of the king Nārada Muni said, “O Lion like king! Now hear about a wonderful incident that had happened to me. O best of the Kings! Once I went to the abode of Yamarāja from the abode of Lord Brahmā. Yamarāja greeted me respectfully and worshiped me properly. After I was comfortably seated I offered prayers to the pious truthful Yamarāja. In the assembly of Yamarāja I saw your greatly pious father. As a result of breaking a vow your father had to go there. O King! He gave this message to me and requested me to convey this to you. He said, ‘Indrasena the king of Māhiṣmatī-purī is my son. O Lord please tell him that due to some sinful activities committed in my previous life now I am living in the abode of Yamarāja. 132 • Indirā Ekādaśī Therefore he should observe to vow of Indira ekādaśī and give away its piety to me. Then I will be released from my present condition of life.'” Nārada Muni continued, “O King! This is your fathers request to you. So in order to deliver your father to the spiritual world you should observe the vow of Indira ekādaśī.” Then King Indrasena said, “O sage among the demigods now kindly explain to me the procedure for following this Indira ekādaśī.” Nārada-muni replied, “On the day before ekādaśī one should take bath early in the morning and faithfully offer oblations to the forefathers for their satisfaction. On that day one should eat only once and sleep on the floor at night. On the day of ekādaśī one should rise early in the morning, brush his teeth, wash his hands and mouth and take bath. Thereafter he should take a vow of not indulging in any kinds of material enjoyment and thus observe a total fast. He should also pray to the Lord saying, ‘O Lotus eyed one I take shelter of you’.” “Thereafter at noon, in front of śālagrāma-śīlā he should offer oblations to his forefather according to proper rules and regulation. The he should worship the brāhmaṇas and after feeding them sumptuously he should give dakṣiṇā. At the end one should give the remnants of the oblations to the cows. During the day one should worship Lord Hṛṣīkeśa by offering sandal wood paste flowers, incense, lamp and foodstuffs with devotion. One should remain awake that night while chanting, hearing and remembering the names, forms, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. On the day after ekādaśī one should worship Lord Hari in the morning and feed the brāhmaṇas. Thereafter one should break his fast by eating along with his brothers, children, grandchildren and relatives while maintaining silence. O King! If you follow this ekādaśī as a have just described then your father will certainly to the abode of Viṣṇu.” After speaking in this way Nārada Muni disappeared from there. According to the instructions of Nārada Muni the king Indrasena strictly observed this ekādaśī. O Son of Kuntī this King accompanied by his children, servants and others duly observed this vow. As a result of observing this ekādaśī flowers were showered from the sky. The father of King Indrasena Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 133 immediately rode on the back of Garuḍa and went to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. The saintly King Indrasena also ruled his kingdom without any impediment. At the end of his life the king entrusted his kingdom to his son and personally returned to the spiritual world. Such is the glories of Indira ekādaśī. Any one who reads or hears the glories of this ekādaśī, becomes freed from all sinful reactions and ultimately returns to the abode of Viṣṇu. Pāśāṅkuśā Ekādaśī Significance Śrī Kṛṣṇa said to Yudhiṣṭhira, "Oh king, please listen as I explain the glories of this ekādaśī—Pāpāṅkuśā ekādaśī—which removes all sins. On this day one should worship the Deity of Padmanābha, the lotus naveled Lord Viṣṇu, according to the rules of archana-vidhi (regulations). If a person who is a Vaiṣṇava and has shown disrespect to Śiva, if he is a Śiva bhakta and has shown disrespect to Śrī Hari, that person will spend 14 long yugas in hell. That sin will be wiped out when a person fasts on this special ekādaśī. (This indicates that ekādaśī is to be practiced by both Śiva and Hari bhaktas.) Also by practicing this ekādaśī, people will get health, wealth, progeny and moreover previous 10 generations of both mother and father will attain mokṣa. Quotes from Scriptures Whether one is a child, a youth, or in old age, fasting on Pāpāṅkuśā ekādaśī frees him from all sins and makes him immune to suffering a hellish rebirth. Whosoever observes a fast on the Pāpāṅkuśā ekādaśī becomes free of all his sins and returns to the spiritual abode of Lord Śrī Hari. If a resident of earth fails to perform spiritual deeds, especially the observance of a fast on days such as ekādaśī, his breathing is said to be no better, or of as much use as the breathing (puffing) of a blacksmith’s bellows. (Padma-purāṇa) This daśāmī is also very special, with Vijayā daśāmī..Good day to start a new venture with new saṅkalpa. (Padma Purāṇa, Part-3, Uttara-khaṇḍa, 60th chapter) 134 • Pāśāṅkuśā Ekādaśī The glories of Pāśāṅkuśā ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of September-October is described in Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Madhusūdana, what is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the month of September/October. Please be kind and explain this to me.” Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O best of the Kings! The name of this ekādaśī is Pāśāṅkuśā ekādaśī. Now Please hear from me the glories of this ekādaśī which destroys all ones sins. Some people also call this ekādaśī as Pāpāṅkuśā ekādaśī. One should specially worship Lord Padmanābha on the day of this ekādaśī. This ekādaśī awards a person the heavenly pleasures liberation and his desired results. Just by chanting the holy names of Lord Viṣṇu one can attain all the piety of visiting all the holy places on the earth. If a conditioned soul in spite of indulging in various sinful activities due to illusion takes shelter and offers obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Hari who is expert in delivering the fallen souls then such a person does not have to go to hell. Those Vaiṣṇavas who criticize Lord Śiva and those Śaivaites who criticize Lord Viṣṇu are both undoubtedly go to hell. The result one obtains by performing one thousand horse sacrifices or by performing one hundred Rājasūya sacrifices can not be equal to the one sixteenth portion of piety one obtains by following this ekādaśī. There is no piety in this world which is equal to the piety earned by observing the ekādaśī. Therefore there is no other day as sanctified as this day of ekādaśī which is very dear to Lord Padmanābha. O King! As soon as a person fails to observe ekādaśīs the sins begin to reside in his body. This ekādaśī awards its follower the heavenly pleasure, liberation, freed from deceased condition, beautiful women, wealth and food grains. O maintainer of the earth! If one observes this ekādaśī and remains awake on that night easily goes to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “O best of the Kings! By observing the vow of this ekādaśī one can deliver ten generations from his mothers family, ten generations from his fathers family Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 135 and ten generations from his wife’s family. If a person observes this ekādaśī either in his childhood or youth-hood or in his old age he does not suffer the miseries of the material existence. One who strictly observes this Pāśāṅkuśā or Pāpāṅkuśā ekādaśī then all his sinful reactions are eradicated and at the end of his life he returns to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. If a person gives away gold, sesame seeds, land, cow, food grains, water, umbrella or shoes in charity then such a person does not have to goo to the abode of Yamarāja. Any one who spends his day without engaging in pious activities he is like a dead man although he is breathing. His breathing is compared to the bellows of the blacksmith. O best of the Kings! A person who digs well and lakes for the benefit of others, donates land and houses and perform other pious activities such as performing sacrifices is not subjected to the punishment of Yamarāja. As a result of piety only people live long lives, become rich, take birth in highclass families and become diseaseless. The purport is that the direct result of observing ekādaśī is to attain devotional service to Kṛṣṇa and the indirect result is to attain the temporary material benefits. Ramā Ekādaśī The glories of Ramā ekādaśī is described in the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O Janārdana! What is the name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waning moon in the month of October-November. Please explain this to me.” Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O Lion among Kings! The name of this ekādaśī is Ramā ekādaśī and it vanquishes all ones sinful reactions. Now please hear about the glories of this sacred ekādaśī. Long ago there was a famous King named Mucukunda. He was a good friend of Indra the King of Heaven. He also had friendship with the personalities like Yamarāja, Varuṇa, Kubera and Vibhīṣaṇa. This King was very truthful and always attached to the devotional service of Lord Viṣṇu. He ruled his Kingdom with proper code of conduct. 136 • Ramā Ekādaśī In due course of time King Mucukunda begot a daughter. According to the name of a best river Candrabhāgā she was given the name Candrabhāgā. She was married to a handsome person named Śobhana who was the son of Candrasena. One day Śobhana came to the house of his father-in-law on the day of the ekādaśī. Candrabhāgā became greatly worried and contemplated O my Lord! What will happen now? My husband is very weak and he cannot tolerate hunger. Moreover my father is also very strict. On the day before ekādaśī my father usually sends his servant to announce that no one can eat on the day of ekādaśī. When Śobhana heard about this custom he said to his dear wife, “O dear one! What should I do now? What can I do so that my life is protected and the order of the King is not transgressed. Candrabhāgā replied, O my Lord! What to speak of the human being even the elephants, horses and other animals in the kingdom of my father will not be allowed to eat anything today. O husband then how can the human beings possibly eat? O respected husband! If you must eat today then you will have to go back to your house. Therefore consider carefully and take a decision. After hearing the words of his wife Śobhana said what you have said is indeed true but I wish to observe this ekādaśī. Whatever is destined to me will certainly happen. Considering in this way Śobhana decided to observe this sacred ekādaśī. He became overwhelmed with hunger and thirst. When the sun had set all the Vaiṣṇavas and pious human being became very happy. O Lion among Kings! They happily spent the entire night chanting and worshiping the Supreme Lord. But it was intolerable for Śobhana to pass that night and thus he died just before the sunrise. King Mucukunda completed Śobhana’s funeral rites with royal prestige by burning him with fragrant sandal wood. According to the order of her father Candrabhāgā did not burn herself in the funeral fire in other words she did not die with her husband. Candrabhāgā, after completing her husbands śraddhā ceremony continued to live at the house of her father. O King! Meanwhile by the influence of observing Ramā ekādaśī Śobhana became the King of the beautiful city of Devapura which was situated at the peak of Mandara Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 137 mountain. He began to live in an opulent residence whose pillars were made of gold and bedecked with jewel and whose walls were decorated with Gems and crystals. A beautiful white umbrella was held over his head which was decorated with a golden crown bedeck with jewels. His ears were decorated with earrings, his neck was decorated with a neckless and his arms were decorated with a golden armlets. Decorated in this way Śobhana sat on the royal thrown. He was always served by the Gandharvas and Apsarās and appeared just like Indra the King of the heaven. One day a brāhmaṇa named Soma-śarmā who was a resident of Mucukundapura arrived in the kingdom of Śobhana in the course of traveling to the holy places. Considering Śobhana as the son-in-law of King Mucukunda the brāhmaṇa approached him. As soon as the King saw him he stood up with folded hands and then offered his respectful obeisances to the King. Thereafter Śobhana inquired from the brāhmaṇa about his well-being as well as the well beings of his father-in-law Mucukunda, wife Candrabhāgā and all the residents of Mucukundapur. He also informed the King that everyone was living in peace and harmony. With great amazement the brāhmaṇa said to the King O King! I have never seen such a beautiful city like this before. Please tell me how have you obtained such a kingdom. The King replied, by the influence of observing Ramā ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon in the month of October-November I have received this temporary kingdom. O best of the brāhmaṇas please advice me in such a way that my kingdom can remain permanently. I think because I observed the ekādaśī without faith hence I have received this unsteady kingdom. Please explain these topics to Candrabhāgā the beautiful daughter of King Mucukunda. I think she is capable of making it steady. After hearing this words of King Śobhana the brāhmaṇa returned to Mucukundapura and told everything to Candrabhāgā in detail. When Candrabhāgā heard the whole incident she became extremely joyful and said to the brāhmaṇa, “O great brāhmaṇa! Your statements are appearing to me just like a dream.” Then the brāhmaṇa Soma-śarmā said, “O daughter! I have personally seen your husband at Devapurī. I 138 • Ramā Ekādaśī have also seen his entire kingdom which is as bright as the sun but he told me that his kingdom was not steady. Therefore you should try to make his kingdom steady by any means.” Candrabhāgā said, “O respected brāhmaṇa, Please take me there because I have developed an intense desire to see my husband. I will make his kingdom steady on the strength of my piety. O twice born! Please make some arrangement so that I can meet him for by helping the separated to meet one accumulates piety. Thereafter Somaśarmā took Candrabhāgā and went to the āśrama of Vāmadeva which was situated near Mandara Mountain. After hearing the whole story from the bright faced Candrabhāgā Vāmadeva initiated her with Vedic mantras. By the influence of the mantras received from sage Vāmadeva and by the piety accumulated as a result of observing ekādaśī Candrabhāgā obtained a spiritual body. Thereafter Candrabhāgā happily went before her husband. Upon seeing his wife Śobhana became extremely pleased and satisfied. Candrabhāgā said, “O my respected husband please hear my beneficial words. I have been strictly observing ekādaśī from the age of eight at the house of my father. May that accumulated piety make your kingdom study and let it continue to prosper until the time of annihilation. Thereafter having received divine body and decorated with opulent ornaments she began to enjoy the association of her husband. By the influence of Ramā ekādaśī Śobhana also received a divine body and began to enjoy with his wife at the peak of Mandara Mountain. Therefore O King this Ramā ekādaśī is just like the wishful filling cow or a touchstone. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued O King I have thus explained to you the glories of auspicious Ramā ekādaśī. A person who strictly observes the vow of this ekādaśī he is undoubtedly freed from the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa. Just as black cows and white cows both give white milk similarly ekādaśīs of waning moon and ekādaśīs of waxing moon both award liberation to the followers. Any one who hears the glories of this ekādaśī becomes liberated from all sinful reactions and happily resides in the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 139 Utthāna Ekādaśī The glories of Utthāna ekādaśī is described in Skanda Purāṇa in the conversation between Lord Brahmā and Nārada Muni. Once Lord Brahmā said to Nārada Muni O best of the sages! Please hear from me the glories of Utthāna ekādaśī which destroys all ones sinful reactions, increases ones piety and awards one liberation. O best among the brāhmaṇas! The supremacy of the Ganges was intact as long as Utthāna ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of October-November and which burns all ones sins into ashes did not manifest in this world. The influence of the oceans and lakes piety was matchless as long as Utthāna ekādaśī did not manifest. The result one obtains by performing one thousand horse sacrifices and one hundred Rājasūya sacrifices can easily be obtained by observing this ekādaśī. After hearing this words of Lord Brahmā, Nārada Muni said, “O dear father! Please tell me What is the merit one attains by eating ones a day, by taking supper in the evening and by complete fasting.” Lord Brahmā replied, “If one eats ones a day then all the sinful reactions of his one life time is destroyed, If one eats supper then the sinful reactions of his two life time are destroyed and by fasting completely one can destroy the sinful reactions of his seven life times. O dear son! This Utthāna ekādaśī awards everything that are unseen undesired and rare within the three worlds. This ekādaśī burns to ashes the grave sins as big as Mandara Mountain. The lion among sages if a person accumulates any piety on this day of ekādaśī then he obtains results equal to Sumeru Hill. In the body of those who do not prayers to the Lord, who are fallen from their vows, who are atheistic, who blaspheme the Vedas, who pollute the religious scripture, who enjoy others wife and who are foolish religious principle cannot remain. On should not indulge in sinful activities rather he should engage in pious activities. If one is inclined towards pious activities his religious principle are not destroyed. One who confidently follows the vow of Utthāna ekādaśī, the sinful reactions of his one hundred life times are vanquished. If one remains awake on the night of Utthāna 140 • Utthāna Ekādaśī ekādaśī then his past, present and future generations returned to the abode of Viṣṇu. O Nārada! A person who does not observe the vow of ekādaśī in the month of Kārtika and does not worship Lord Viṣṇu then all his accumulated piety is totally destroyed. O best of the brāhmaṇa! Therefore one should certainly worship Lord Viṣṇu in the month of Kārtika. If one eats food stuff cook by himself in the month of Kārtika he obtains the result of Cāndrāyaṇa vrata. If one engages in hearing and chanting the topics of Lord Viṣṇu in the month of Kārtika attains the result of donating one hundred cows. By regularly studying the scriptures one achieves the result of performing one thousand sacrifices. A person who hears the topics of the Lord and then gives dakṣiṇā to the speaker according to his capacity goes to the eternal abode of the Lord. Nārada Muni said, “O Lord! Kindly explain to me the procedure for observing ekādaśī.” The grandfather Brahmā replied, “O best of the twice born one should rise early in the morning during brāhma-muhūrtha and after washing his mouth and taking bath he should worship Lord Keśava. Then he should take a vow while chanting a mantra as follows. ‘I will fast on the day of ekādaśī and I will only eat on the day of dvādaśī. O Puṇḍarīkākṣa! O Acyuta! I surrender unto you Please protect me’. One should gladly observe the vow of ekādaśī with devotion and at night one should remain awake. While remaining awake at night one should hear and chant the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Any pious person who follows these instructions attains supreme destination. One should give up all kinds of greediness on the day of ekādaśī. Lord Brahmā continued, “If one worships Lord Janārdana with Kadamba flowers does not go to the abode of Yamarāja. If one worships Lord Garuḍa-dhvaja or Lord Viṣṇu with rose flowers in the month of Kārtika certainly gets liberation. If one worships the Lord with bakula and aśoka flowers then he becomes freed from lamentation for as long as the sun and the moon rise in the sky. If one worships the Lord with śamī leaves escapes the punishment of Yamarāja. If one worships Lord Viṣṇu who is the controller of the demigod with Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 141 Campaka flowers during the rainy reason then he will not have to take birth again within the material world. If one offers yellow colored Ketakī flowers to Lord Viṣṇu then all his sinful reactions accumulated from millions of life time is destroyed. If one offers red colored fragrant hundred petaled lotus flower Lord Jagannātha then he returns to the abode of the Lord known as Śvetadvīpa. O best of the brāhmaṇas! One should remain awake on the night of ekādaśī. On the day of dvādaśī one should worship Lord Viṣṇu and complete his vow by feeding the brāhmaṇas. According to ones ability if one should worships his spiritual master and gives him charity then the Supreme Lord becomes freed with him. Padminī Ekādaśī Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, O Kṛṣṇa! O Janārdana! What is the name of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon of the extra leap year month? What is the procedure for observing this ekādaśī and what merit one gains by observing it. Please describe this to me. Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! The name of this sacred ekādaśī is Padminī ekādaśī. If one strictly observes this ekādaśī he returns to the abode of Lord Padmanābha. This ekādaśī counteracts all ones sinful reactions. Even Lord Brahmā is unable to describe the results of this ekādaśī.” “Long long ago Lord Brahmā described the glories of Padminī ekādaśī which awards its followers opulence and liberation to the great sage Nārada.” Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “One should begin to observe the vow on the day of daśamī or the day before ekādaśī. One should not eat food stuff cooked by others, should not eat in a plate made of bell-metal, should not eat Urad dāla, Chick-pea, spinach and honey on the day before ekādaśī. One should eat boiled sunned rice with ghee and rock salt. One should sleep on the floor and observe strict celibacy on the day of ekādaśī. “On the day of ekādaśī one should rise early in the morning, brush his teeth and take bath. Thereafter he should worship the Supreme Lord with sandal wood paste, incense, lamp, aguru, camphor and water. One should chant the holy 142 • Padminī Ekādaśī names and glories of the Lord. One should not indulge in useless takes. If one drinks water or milk on the day of ekādaśīs which occurs during the extra leap year month then his vow is spoiled. One should remain awake at night on ekādaśī and glorify the holy names and qualities of the Supreme Lord. By remaining awake the first three hours of the night one obtains the result of performing agniṣṭoma sacrifice. By remaining awake the first six hours of the night one obtains the result of performing Vājpeya sacrifice. By remaining awake the first nine hours of the night one obtains the result of performing Aśvamedha sacrifice and by remaining awake the entire night one obtains the result of Rājasūya sacrifice. On the day of dvādaśī or the day after ekādaśī one should complete his vow by feeding the Vaiṣṇavas and the brāhmaṇas. A person who observes this ekādaśī in this way certainly attains liberation.” Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “O sinless one! According to your inquiry I have thus explained to you the procedure for observing the Padminī ekādaśī. Now please hear about an enchanting story which once Pulastya Muni narrated to Nārada Muni.” Once Kārtavīryārjuna defeated Rāvaṇa and put him in the prison house. When Pulastya Muni saw Rāvaṇa in this condition he went to Kārtavīryārjuna and requested him to release Rāvaṇa. Being requested by the great sage the King finally released Rāvaṇa. Upon hearing this amazing event Nārada Muni humbly asked Pulastya Muni O best of the sages! Since Rāvaṇa defeated all the demigods including Indra how could Kārtavīryārjuna defeat Rāvaṇa. Please explain this to me. Pulastya Muni replied, “O Nārada! In Tretā-yuga there was a King named Kārtavīrya who took birth in the dynasty of Haihaya. His capital was Māhiṣmatī-purī. King Kārtavīrya had one thousand wives but he had no suitable son to take over the reign of the king. Although the king worshiped the forefathers, saintly persons and observed various vows under the guidance of the saintly person still yet he was not blessed with a son. Then the king decided to undergo austerities. The king entrusted his responsibility to his prime minister and set out for undergoing austerities by wearing a dress made of bark. When he was about to live his palace one of his wives Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 143 Padminī the daughter of King Hariścandra who appeared in the royal family of King Ikṣvāku, saw him. When the chaste wife saw her husband going to the forest to perform austerities she immediately gave up all her ornaments. She too accompanied her husband to the Mandara Mountain. At the summit of Mandara Mountain King Kārtavīrya and his wife Padminī performed severe austerities for ten thousand years. Upon seeing that her husbands body is becoming day by day the chaste wife thought of a solution. Once Padminī humbly asked the greatly chaste Anusūyā the wife of sage Atri. ‘O chaste lady! My husband has spent ten thousand years in performing austerities yet he could not please Lord Keśava who destroys one’s miseries. O fortunate one! Please tell me about a vow by following of which the Supreme Lord will be pleased and I will be blessed with a son who will become a powerful King. Being pleased by the prayer of chaste Queen Padminī, Anusūyā said, ‘ After every thirty-two months an extra leap year month comes. The two ekādaśīs of this month are known as Padminī and Parama. If you observe this ekādaśī then soon the Supreme Lord will be pleased with you and award your desired result. Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “According to the instruction of Anusūyā queen Padminī duly observed this ekādaśī. Then Lord Keśava riding on the back of Garuḍa came before Padminī and ordered her to ask for benediction. The queen first offered her obeisances to the Lord and offered prayers. Then she requested the Lord to bless them with a son. Then the Lord said, ‘O gentle lady! I am very pleased with you. There is no month as dear to me as the month of Adhika-māsa or leap year month. The ekādaśīs of this month is more dear to me. You have properly observed this ekādaśī. Therefore I will certainly fulfill the desire of your husband.'” After speaking in this way to Padminī the Lord came before the King and said, “O great King please ask for your desired benediction. I have been pleased by your wife for she observed the sacred vow of ekādaśī.” On hearing this words of Viṣṇu the King became jubilant and begged the Lord to give him a son who will be very powerful and always victorious. He said O Madhusūdana! The Lord of the universe let me have a son who will not be defeated by the demigods, human 144 • Padminī Ekādaśī beings, serpents and demons. The Lord granted the King his desired boon and disappeared. Being fully satisfied the king and his wife regained their health and returned to their opulent kingdom. In due course of time the queen Padminī gave birth to a powerful son who became famous as Kārtavīryārjuna. There was no other warrior in the three worlds as great as him. Even the ten headed Rāvaṇa was defeated by him. After narrating this wonderful story the great sage Pulatsya left. Lord Kṛṣṇa concluded, “O sinless king! I have thus described to you the glories of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waxing moon of an extra leap year month. O best of the Kings! Any one who will observe this ekādaśī will certainly go to the abode of Lord Hari.” According to the statement of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira with his entire family observed this ekādaśī. A person who faithfully observes this Padminī ekādaśī his life become glories. One who hears or reads the glories of this ekādaśī obtains a great amount of Piety. Parama Ekādaśī The glories of Parama ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon on an extra leap year month is described by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said, “O my Lord! What is the name of the ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon on an extra leap year month and what is the procedure of observing this ekādaśī.” Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! The name of this ekādaśī is Parama ekādaśī. This Auspicious ekādaśī destroys all ones sinful reactions and awards one material enjoyment and liberation. The procedure for observing this ekādaśī is same as I have already described to you. One should worship the Supreme Lord who is the master of all beings on this ekādaśī. Now please hear an enchanting story which I had heard from the sages in the city of Kāmpilya24. There was a pious brāhmaṇa named Sumedhā lived in the 24 The capital of King Drupada Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 145 city of Kāmpilya. He had a chaste wife named Pavitra. But due to some sinful activities this brāhmaṇa became poor. He could not earn his livelihood even by begging. He had no food to eat no cloth to wear and no place to sleep. Nevertheless his young beautiful wife faithfully served him. Often she had to remain hungry for the sake of serving a guest. In spite of often remaining hungry her face did not become pale. She never told her husband about this. Upon seeing that his wife was becoming weak day by day the brāhmaṇa condemned himself and said to his sweet speaking wife O dear one! Although I have tried to beg from the most influential people yet I did not get anything now tell me what should I do? Should I go to a foreign country to earn wealth. I may get some thing there if I am fortunate. Without enthusiasm no work is successful that is why intelligent persons always praise the enthusiasm of the people. After hearing these words of her husband Sumedhā the beautiful eyed Pavitra said to her husband with folded hands and tears in her eyes. “There is none else more intelligent than you. What ever we do and what ever we achieve in this world are due to our previous deeds. If one has no piety accumulated from his previous life he cannot attain any thing however he may try. If a person distributes knowledge or wealth in his previous life attain similar things in this life. O best of the brāhmaṇa! It seems that neither you or me gave any charity the suitable candidate in our previous life. That is why both of us will have to stay here together. O Lord! I can not remain without you even for a movement. Moreover if you go then people will call me an unfortunate and condemn me. Therefore please be happy with whatever wealth you can collect here. You will certainly achieve happiness in this country only.” Upon hearing these words of his wife the brāhmaṇa dropped his plan to go to a foreign country. One day by providence the great sage Kauṇḍiṇya Muni came there. As soon as Sumedhā saw him, he and his wife became joyful and offered their obeisances to the sage. He offered an āsana to the sage and worshiped him properly. He said, “O great sage! Today our lives have become successful for we have received your darśana. Thereafter the couple fed the sage according to 146 • Parama Ekādaśī their ability. Then the wife of the brāhmaṇa asked O learned sage! What is the means of destroying poverty? Without giving any charity how can one get wealth education and so on? My husband wanted to go to a foreign country in order to earn wealth but I have stopped him from this act, It is indeed our good fortune that you have come here. By your mercy our poverty will certainly be destroyed. Now please instruct us in such a way so that our poverty is destroyed.” After hearing these words Pavitra the great sage Kauṇḍiṇya said, “There is an auspicious ekādaśī which occurs during the waning moon on the extra leap year month. This ekādaśī is very dear to the Lord and it is known as Parama ekādaśī. This ekādaśī vanquishes ones sinful reactions, material miseries and poverty. By observing this ekādaśī a person certainly become prosperous. This sacred ekādaśī was first observed by Kubera. As a result of this Lord Śiva became pleased and awarded him the benediction to become very rich. By observing this ekādaśī King Hariścandra regained his kingdom and wife whom he once sold out. O beautiful eyed! You should also observe this ekādaśī.” Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, “O Pāṇḍava! After happily and affectionately describing the topics of Parama ekādaśī Kauṇḍiṇya Muni described the auspicious vow known as Pāñcarātrika. By observing Pāñcarātrika vow one attains liberation. One should begin to observe Pāñcarātrika vow from the day of Parama ekādaśī with proper rules and regulations. Any one who according to his ability fasts for five days beginning from Parama ekādaśī he goes back to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu along with his father, mother and wife. One who only eat ones a day during this five days becomes freed from all sinful reactions and goes to the spiritual world. According to the instructions of Kauṇḍiṇya Muni both the husband and wife duly observed this Parama ekādaśī. When the vows of ekādaśī and Pāñcarātrika were completed a prince from the royal palace came there being inspired from Lord Brahmā the prince offered them a new house decorated with beautiful royal furniture. He also gave a cow to the brāhmaṇa for their livelihood and after praising the brāhmaṇa couple the prince left. As a result of this prince returned to the abode of Viṣṇu at the end of his life. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 147 As the brāhmaṇas are best among the human beings as the cows are best among the four legged animals, as Indra is the best among the demigods similarly the leap year month is the best among all the months. Within this month the two ekādaśīs namely Padminī and Parama are most dear to Lord Hari. Having received the human form of life if a person does not observe ekādaśī then he never attains any happiness throughout his eight million four hundred thousand species of life. Rather he suffers unlimited miseries. By virtue of great piety one obtains a human birth that is why one should certainly observe the vow of ekādaśī. After hearing the glories of this ekādaśī Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira along with his wife and brothers observed this sacred ekādaśī. The glories of ekādaśī in Garga Saṁhitā Nārada Muni said, “O Maithila! Please hear about the topics of the gopīs which destroys all ones sinful activities awards piety, fulfills all ones desires and is the source of all auspiciousness. There is country named Uśinara in South India. Once there was no rain fall in this country for ten years. The prosperous cowherd men of this place became afraid of the severe drought and they left for Vraja-maṇḍala along with their relatives and cows. O King! They came and lived at the transcendental abode of Vṛndāvana near Yamunā under the guidance of Nanda Mahārāja. By the benediction of Rāmacandra many gopīs took birth in their families. They were all transcendental beautiful and decorated with fresh youth. O best of the kings! After seeing beautiful Kṛṣṇa they became enchanted and in order to know how to please Kṛṣṇa they approached Śrī Rādhā. The gopīs said, “O Rādhā! O daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu! O lotus eyed one! Please instruct us about a vow by which we can please Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa the son of Nanda Mahārāja and who is rarely attained even by the demigods is under your control. O Rādhā! You are the enchanter of the entire universe and expert in all the scripture.” Śrī Rādhā said, “You should observe ekādaśī in order to 148 • The glories of ekādaśī in Garga Saṁhitā please Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The the Lord certainly be controlled there is no doubt about it”. The gopīs said, “O Rādhikā! Please tell us the names of ekādaśīs which occurs during a full year and how one should observe ekādaśī.” Rādhā replied, “ekādaśī first appeared from the body of Lord Viṣṇu during the waning moon in the month of November-December in order to kill demon Mura. Then this exalted ekādaśī appears every month in different form. For your benefit I am describing their names. Utpannā, Mokṣadā, Saphalā, Putradā, Ṣaṭ-tilā, Jayā,Vijayā, Āmalakī, Pāpamocanī, Kāmadā, Varūthinī, Mohinī, Aparā, Nirjalā, Yoginī, Devaśayanī, Kāminī, Pavitra, Ajā, Padmā, Indirā, Pāpāṅkuśā, Rāma, Prabodhini these are the twenty-four ekādaśīs which occur during one complete year. Apart from them there are two more ekādaśīs namely Padminī and Parama which occurs during an extra leap year month. Any one who chants the names of these twenty-six ekādaśīs, obtains the result of observing the vow of dvādaśī for the entire year. O damsels of Vraja! Now hear about the rules and regulations for observing ekādaśī. On the day before ekādaśī one should sleep on the floor, eat only ones and control the senses. He should also drink water only once and remain neat and clean. On the day of ekādaśī one should rise early in the morning during brāhma-muhūrta and offer obeisances to Lord Hari. To take bath with well water is the lowest, to take bath in a pond is medium, to take bath in a large pool is the highest and to take bath in a river is the best of all. A pious person should take bath in this way and give up his anger and greed. One should not apply oil on the day of ekādaśī. A person should give up associating with low class sinful and atheists on the day of ekādaśī A person who is observing the vow should carefully avoid the association of those who speak lies, who blaspheme the brāhmaṇas, who steal others things, who enjoy the association of others wife, who are miscreants and who do not show respects to the exalted personalities. On the day of ekādaśī one should worship Lord Keśava with devotion and offer Him palatable foodstuffs, one should offer lamp in the temple of the Lord. One should hear the glories of the vow from the mouth of a brāhmaṇa and then give him sufficient dakṣiṇā. One should remain awake on the night of ekādaśī Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 149 while singing the transcendental glories of Kṛṣṇa. One should avoid eating in a bell-metal plate, eating meat, pink dāla, any kind of intoxicant, spinach, honey, preboiled rice, eating more then ones and indulging in sex life on the day before ekādaśī. On the day of ekādaśī one should give up gambling, sleeping, eating betel-nuts and pan, brushing teeth, criticizing others, cheating, stealing, becoming envious, indulge in sex life, becoming angry and speaking lies. On the day of dvādaśī one should not eat on a bell-metal plate, Urad dāla, Honey, Oil and contaminated food stuff. One should strictly follow these rules and regulations. The gopīs said O Greatly learned-one! Please explain to us the proper time for observing ekādaśī. Śrī Rādhā replied, :If the tithi of daśamī is consists of fifty-five daṇḍas then one should not fast on the next day rather he should fast on the day of dvādaśī. If an ekādaśī is conjoined with a fraction of second of daśamī then such an ekādaśī should be rejected like a pot of Ganges water mixed with a drop of wine. If an ekādaśī extends on the day of dvādaśī then one should fast on the day of dvādaśī. O damsels of Vraja by hearing the glories of ekādaśī one obtains the result of Vājapeya Sacrifice. The result one obtains by following a vow of a dvādaśī is equal to that of feeding 88,000 brāhmaṇas. By observing the vow of ekādaśī one obtains one thousand times more results then the result one obtains by donating the entire earth with all the oceans and forests. Observing the vow of dvādaśī is advised as the means of deliverance for those who are absorbed in the ocean of material existence which is filled with the mare of sinful activities. If human beings observe ekādaśī by remaining awake on the night of ekādaśī then even if they are very sinful they do not go to the fearful abode of Yamarāja. A person who worships Lord Hari with devotion on the day of dvādaśī by offering him Tulasī leaves never become touched by sin just as a lotus leaf remains untouched by water. The results of performing one thousand horse sacrifices and one hundred Rājasūya sacrifices is not even equal to the one sixteenth portions of the results obtained by observing ekādaśī. By observing ekādaśī a person delivers ten generations of his mothers family, ten generation from his fathers family and ten generations from his wife’s family. A cow may be a 150 • The glories of ekādaśī in Garga Saṁhitā white or black but both are qualitatively same because both give milk. Similarly the ekādaśīs of both the waning moon and waxing moon are same in awarding piety, O gopīs! An ekādaśī burns to ashes heaps of sinful reactions of a person accumulated from one hundred life times. The charity given on the day of dvādaśī may it be less or more or given with or without proper rules and regulations, awards merits equal to that of a mountain. A person who hears the topics of Hari on the day of ekādaśī obtains the result of giving the entire earth which consists of seven Islands in charity. The piety one achieves by taking bath in the holy place of Gayā and seeing the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu is not even equal to the one sixteenth portion of piety obtained by observing ekādaśī. The merit one obtains by giving charity at Prabhāsa-kṣetra, Kurukṣetra, Kedārnātha, Badrikāśrama, Kāśī, Śukara-kṣetra, during solar and lunar eclipse, as well as giving charity during four hundred thousand Saṅkrāntīs (When the sun enters into a particular rāśi) is not even equal to one sixteenth portion of merit one obtains by fasting on ekādaśī. Śrī Rādhā continued, “O gopīs! Just as Ananta is best among the snakes, Garuḍa is best among the birds, Lord Viṣṇu is best among the demigods, the brāhmaṇa is best among the varṇas, banyan tree is best among the trees and tulasī is best among the leaves similarly the vow of ekādaśī is best among all the vows. The result one obtains by performing austerities for ten thousand years is obtained simply by observing the vow of a dvādaśī. O damsels of Vraja! Such are the glories of the vow of ekādaśī. All of you should immediately observe this vow.” The gopīs said, “O beautiful one! O daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu! You are expert in all scriptures. Even the statement of Bṛhaspati is baffled before the statement of you. O Rādhā! You are directly the ocean of transcendental knowledge. Please describe to us particularly the names of those who had previously observed these ekādaśīs.” Rādhā replied, “O gopīs! In order to regain their lost kingdom the demigods had observed this sacred ekādaśī long ago. King Vaiśanta observed this ekādaśī in order to deliver his forefather from the abode of Yamarāja. The sinful king Lumbhaka who was rejected by his subjects observed the vow of ekādaśī and Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 151 regained his lost kingdom. King Ketumāna of Badrāvatī who had no son observed the vow of ekādaśī according to the instruction of the learned brāhmaṇas and was blessed with a son. Once the wives of the demigods instructed the wife of the brāhmaṇa to observe ekādaśī. Though that wife of the brāhmaṇa was an ordinary human being yet she achieved prosperity and heavenly pleasure. Both Puśpadanta and Mālyavān became ghosts due to being cursed by their enemies, but by observing the vow of ekādaśī they regained their original forms as Gandharva. In the ancient time in order to built a bridge on the ocean and to kill Rāvaṇa Rāmacandra observed this ekādaśī. At the end of the annihilation the demigods observed the vow of ekādaśī under the Āmalakī tree for the benefit of entire world.” “Sage Medhāvī observed the vow of ekādaśī according to the instruction of his father and became freed from the bad association of Apsarās and thus became fully effulgent. A Gandharva named Lalita became a demon by the curse of his wife but by observing this ekādaśī he regained his position as a Gandharva. By observing the vow of ekādaśī many great kings like Māndhātā, Sagara, Kakuṣtha, Mucukunda and Dhundhumāra went back to the spiritual world. By observing ekādaśī Lord Śiva became freed from the curse of Brahmā. A son of a vaiśya named Dhṛṣṭabuddhi returned to Vaikuṇṭha by observing this ekādaśī. King Rukmāṅgada also observed the vow of ekādaśī. As a result he enjoyed the whole world as his kingdom and yet the end of his life returned to Vaikuṇṭha with his subjects. King Ambarīṣa also observed this ekādaśī and as a result even the inevitable curse of Lord Brahmā could not touch him. A yakṣa named Hemamālī became afflicted by leprosy due to the curse of Kubera but observing the vow of ekādaśī he became as good as the moon. By observing ekādaśī King Mahījita was blessed by a son and at the end of his life returned to Vaikuṇṭha.” “In Satya-yuga there was a king named Śobhana who became the son-in-law of King Mucukunda. He observed ekādaśī and attained a beautiful place among the demigods in Mandara Mountain. Even today he is ruling his kingdom with his wife Candrabhāgā like Kubera. O gopīs! Know it for certain that the vow of ekādaśī is the highest of all. There is no tithi as 152 • The glories of ekādaśī in Garga Saṁhitā auspicious as the tithi of ekādaśī.” Nārada Muni concluded, “after hearing this description from Śrī Rādhā the gopīs properly observed the ekādaśī in order to attain the favor of Kṛṣṇa.” As a result of their observing ekādaśī Lord Hari became pleased with them and performed Rasa dance with them on the full moon night in the month of Agrahāyaṇa (November). Eight Mahā-dvādaśīs In this regard one should also know the topics of eight Mahā-dvādaśīs. These topics are described in Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa in the conversation between Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī and Śaunaka Ṛṣi. Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said, “O learned brāhmaṇa! Unmīlanī, Vyañjulī, Trispṛśā, Pakṣavardhinī, Jayā, Vijayā, Jayantī and Pāpanāśanī—These are the eight Mahā-dvādaśīs. They are most auspicious and destroy all ones sinful reactions. Among these eight Maha-dvādaśīs the first four occur according to the tithi or day and the later four occurs according to nakṣatra or star. Nevertheless all of them destroy heaps of sinful reactions.” The specialties of eight Mahā-dvādaśīs are ascertained as follows. 1. If an ekādaśī extends on the day of dvādaśī, but the day of dvādaśī does not extend then it is called Unmīlanī Mahādvādaśī. It destroys all ones sinful reactions. 2. If an ekādaśī does not extend to the day of dvādaśī, but the day of dvādaśī Extends onto the day of trayodaśī then it is called Vyañjulī Mahā-dvādaśī. It counteracts unlimited sins. 3. If an ekādaśī extends up to the sunrise on the day of dvādaśī and the dvādaśī extends up to the sunrise of trayodaśī then it is called Trispṛśā Mahā-dvādaśī. This Mahā-dvādaśī is extremely dear to Lord Hari.(But if the above mentioned ekādaśī is conjoined with daśamī then it will not be a Trispṛśā Mahā-dvādaśī). 4. If an Amāvasyā or Pūrṇimā extends then the dvādaśī which comes prior to them is known as Pakṣavardhinī Mahādvādaśī. Instead of observing a fast on ekādaśī one should observe fast on dvādaśī. These above mentioned four dvādaśīs are ascertained Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 153 according to the conjunction of the days. 5. It is stated in Brahma-purāṇa in the conversation between sage Vasiṣṭha and King Māndhātā that if the Nakṣatra called Punarvasu touches the day of dvādaśī of the waxing moon then it is called Jayā Mahā-dvādaśī. This Mahā-dvādaśī is most auspicious among all the tithis. 6. It is written in Viṣṇu-dharmottara that when Śravaṇa Nakṣatra conjoins with the dvādaśī of the waxing moon it is called Vijayā Mahā-dvādaśī. Since Śrī Vāmanadeva appeared during Śravaṇa Nakṣatra this Maha-dvādaśī is unlimitedly glorious. Moreover if such a Mahā-dvādaśī occurs on a Wednesday in the month of August then its glories are indescribable. On that day one should particularly discuss the topics of Śrī Vāmanadeva. 7. If a dvādaśī of the waxing moon is conjoined with Rohiṇīnakṣatra then it is the all auspicious Jayantī Mahā-dvādaśī. It destroys all ones sinful reactions. Since Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared during Rohiṇī-nakṣatra this Jayantī Mahā-dvādaśī is extremely glorious. On this day one should discuss the past times of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s birth etc., 8. It is stated in Brahma-purāṇa that if a dvādaśī of the waxing moon is conjoined with Puṣya-nakṣatra then it is called Pāpanāśinī Mahā-dvādaśī. By observing a fast on this day one can obtain the result of observing one thousand ekādaśīs. If this Pāpanāśinī Mahā-dvādaśī occurs in the month of March then it awards unlimited piety. Although various results of these vows are described in the scriptures, an intelligent pure devotee should totally give up desire for results which aim at full filling their own sense gratification and aspire for pure devotional service which aim at gratifying Kṛṣṇa’s senses. He should consider the love of god as the supreme goal of life. When ever these eight Mahā-dvādaśīs arrive the pure devotees should protect the prestige of Mahā-dvādaśī even if they have to give up the previous ekādaśī. By observing a Mahā-dvādaśī the observance of ekādaśī is automatically completed and Lord Hari will also be greatly pleased. 154 • Important Information Important Information One should not perform śrāddha on ekādaśī Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has given quotations from many śāstras stating that the śrāddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers should not be performed on ekādaśī tithi. When the tithi of the death anniversary falls on the ekādaśī day, the śrāddha ceremony should be held not on ekādaśī but on the next day, or dvādaśī. In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa it is said: ye kurvanti mahīpāla śrāddhaṁ caikādaśi-dine trayas te narakaṁ yāntidātā bhoktā ca prerakaḥ If one performs the śrāddha ceremony of oblations to the forefathers on the ekādaśī tithi, then the performer, the forefathers for whom the śrāddha is observed, and the purohita, or the family priest who encourages the ceremony, all go to hell. All women must fast on ekādaśī It is a prejudice amongst smārta-brāhmaṇas that a widow must observe fasting on ekādaśī but a woman who has her husband should not. It appears that before the request of Lord Caitanya Śacīmātā was not observing ekādaśī because of her being sa-dhava, which means that her husband was living. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, introduced the system that a woman, even if not a widow, must observe the ekādaśī day and must not touch any kind of grains, even those offered to the Deity of Viṣṇu. In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa it is said that one who observes fasting on ekādaśī day is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life. The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one’s faith and love for Govinda, or Kṛṣṇa. The real reason for observing fasting on ekādaśī is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting or performing similar service. The best thing to do on fasting days is to remember the pastimes of Govinda and to hear His holy name constantly. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 155 Nanda Mahārāja used to observe ekādaśī In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated the rāsa dance took place on the full moon night of the śarat season. From the statement of previous chapters, it appears that the festival of Govardhana Pūjā was performed just after the dark moon night of the month of Kārttika, and thereafter the ceremony of Bhrātṛ-dvitīyā was performed; then the wrath of Indra was exhibited in the shape of torrents of rain and hailstorm, and Lord Kṛṣṇa held up Govardhana Hill for seven days, up until the ninth day of the moon. Thereafter, on the tenth day, the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were talking amongst themselves about the wonderful activities of Kṛṣṇa, and the next day, ekādaśī was observed by Nanda Mahārāja. On the next day, dvādaśī, Nanda Mahārāja went to take bath in the Ganges and was arrested by the men of Varuṇa; then he was released by Lord Kṛṣṇa. Then Nanda Mahārāja, along with the cowherd men, was shown the spiritual sky. In this way, the full moon night of the śarat season came to an end. The full moon night of Āśvina is called śārad-pūrṇimā. It appears from the statement of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣṇa had to wait another year for such a moon before enjoying the rāsa dance with the gopīs. At the age of seven years, He lifted Govardhana Hill. Therefore, the rāsa dance took place during His eighth year. Important Scriptural Injunctions tulasy-aśvattha-dhātry-ādi pūjanaṁ dhāma-niṣṭhatā aruṇodaya-viddhas tu santyajyo hari-vāsaraḥ janmāṣṭamy-ādikaṁ sūryo-daya-viddhaṁ parityajet One should worship the tulasī plant, the banyan and Āmalakī trees, and everything else which is in relationship with the Lord. One should not fast on the ekādaśī day which partly falls on the daśamī, and one should not fast on the janmāṣṭamī day which falls on the saptamī. Keeping the Ekādaśī Vow In the same text it is said that the disciple (12) should not eat on ekādaśī, or in the waxing or waning phases of the moon. He should perform a special pūjā on ekādaśī and should keep 156 • Important Information vigil on that night. This is stated in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.147)— jāgaraṁ niśi kurvīta viśeṣāc cārcayed vibhum. In this verse, the word viśeṣāt has been explained in Sanātana’s commentary as follows: viśeṣād iti anya-tithibhyo viśeṣeṇa ekādaśyāṁ tatrāpi viśeṣato jāgaraṇe’rcayed ity arthaḥ. That is, “On ekādaśī one should keep vigil in a way that is not done on other nights. While maintaining this vigil, one should perform special worship of the deity.” There are, in fact injunctions for the vigil to the effect that in each of the three-hour periods or praharas of the night, one should engage in special worship activities such as pūjā, making food offerings, performing ārātrika, reading loudly from scriptures, and chanting the Holy Names and other hymns congregationally. Injunctions from the Viṣṇu-yāmala “On the twelfth day of the waxing moon in the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July), when Lord Hari is about to go to sleep, an initiated Vaiṣṇava should break his ekādaśī fast and then brand the symbols (tapta-mudrā) of Viṣṇu on his body.”(Hari-bhaktivilāsa 15.24) This marking of the body is compared to a faithful wife’s wearing the signs of marriage such as conch-shell bracelets. The verse mentions that Lord Hari is about to take rest. In fact, the preceding day is the Śayana ekādaśī which marks the beginning of the Cāturmāsya period during which Lord Viṣṇu is said to be sleeping. dvādaśī is sometimes said to be an extension of ekādaśī, thus this kind of statement is permissible. In some circumstances, one may have the tapta-mudrā done on the ekādaśī day itself. The same injunction is also given for Pārśva ekādaśī (which marks the halfway point in the Cāturmāsya when Viṣṇu is said to turn over in His sleep) and Utthāna ekādaśī (at the end of the four month period, when Viṣṇu rises). Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (15.52) goes on to describe the symbols, which are also called Viṣṇu’s five weapons (pañcāyudha) and where on the body they should be branded. Viṣṇu’s club named Kaumudakī goes on the forehead; on the head, Viṣṇu’s bow and quiver; over the heart goes Viṣṇu’s sword named Nandaka; brāhmaṇas should place His discus Sudarśana on the right arm, His conch on the left. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 157 Though these three days are set aside for the marking of the symbols of Viṣṇu with a red-hot iron, on all other occasions Vaiṣṇavas use gopīcandana clay to make such marks. Thus it is said, “The intelligent person daily marks himself with the symbols such as the discus with gopīcandana. On Śayana ekādaśī and other specific dates, one brands these symbols on the body.” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 4.116) In this same chapter of the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, a section of the Gautamīya-tantra is quoted, giving the regulations for the use of gopīcandana for marking the body with Viṣṇu’s symbols: “One should place the discus on the right arm, the conchshell on both the left and the right; the mace on the left, and below the mace, another discus. Above the conchshell on both arms one should stamp the lotus. The sword goes on the chest and the bow along with the quiver go on the head. Every Vaiṣṇava should first wear the five weapons of Viṣṇu; then he should stamp the symbol of the Fish incarnation on the right hand and the Tortoise on the left.” It is also said, “A brāhmaṇa should place Sudarśana-cakra, the Fish and lotus on his right arm, the conch, lotus, and mace on the left arm.” (Hari-bhaktivilāsa 4.110-113) Sanātana writes in his commentary to verse 111 that, in fact, one can place any of the mudrās on any part of the body as he wishes. This is further confirmed by the Hari-bhaktivilāsa which states: “Alternatively, following the traditions of his own sampradāya’s ācāryas, one can place the conch, discus, and other markings on any part of the body he likes, adding out of devotion the specific markings which signify his personal deity.” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 4.114) Scripture says that the person whose body is decorated with markings representing the Lord’s conch, etc., can never be invaded by sin. These symbols act as a shield, or kavaca, for the Vaiṣṇava. The Spiritual Master follows Ekādaśī Śrīla Śrīdhara Maharaja: By the special will of Kṛṣṇa, gurudeva is a delegated power. If we look closely within the spiritual master, we will see the delegation of Kṛṣṇa, and accordingly, we should accept him in that way. The spiritual master is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and at the same time, the 158 • Important Information inspiration of Kṛṣṇa is within him. These are the two aspects of gurudeva. He has his aspect as a Vaiṣṇava, and the inspired side of the Vaiṣṇava is the guru. On a fast day like ekādaśī, he himself does not take any grains. He conducts himself as a Vaiṣṇava, but his disciples offer grains to the picture of their guru on the altar. The disciples offer their spiritual master grains even on a fast day. The day of ekādaśī is superior to even Janmāṣtamī For Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the day of ekādaśī is superior to even Janmāṣtamī. The Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of all auspiciousness, manifests in this world in the form of Mādhava-tithi or ekādaśī. The potency of Viṣṇu, which takes innumerable forms, has appeared as the most auspicious day of ekādaśī in order to bestow all types of auspiciousness on the living entities. (Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja) One must not pluck Tulasī leaves on dvādaśī day na chindyāt tulasīm vipra dvadaśyām vaiṣṇavaḥ kvacit (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, 7/354, Viṣṇu-dharmottara) Oh brāhmaṇas, a Vaiṣṇava never picks tulasī leaves on dvādaśī, (the day after ekādaśī). bhanuvāraṁ vinā durvām tulasīṁ dvādaśīṁ vinā jivitasya avināśāya na vicinvita dharma vit (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa,7/355, Garuḍa-purāṇa) A scripturally learned person, if he does not want to decrease his duration of life, he should not pick grass for worshiping and tulasī leaves on the dvādaśī day. dvadaśyām tulasī patram dhātri patraś ca kārtike lunati sa naro gacchet nirayaṁ ati garhitam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 7/356, Padma-purāṇa, Conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā) If any person picks Tulasī leaves on dvādaśī day, (day after ekādaśī) or Āmalakī leaves in the Kārtika month, he falls into a grievously hellish planet to suffer. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 159 Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava “Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava” literally means “Great Ocean of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s nectarean devotional service”. It is a wonderful book written by Śrīla Madhvācārya. Śloka 156: Sūta said: “Brāhmaṇas must learn about the day when ekādaśī occurs from astrologers who discuss and determine the same. Having determined the same, fasting must be done on that day, else one will attain hell!” Śloka 157: If tithis are in kṣaya (less), excess or if all the three tithis occur on ekādaśī,then fasting done on dvādaśī is beneficial. The ekādaśī which has the contact of daśamī must be avoided Śloka 158: If one fasts on an ekādaśī which has the contact of daśamī (i.e. daśamī exists at sunrise on the day), such a person will lose all the merits he has accumulated and will cause the destruction of his lineage and loss of all his wealth Śloka 159: O excellent brāhmaṇa! Just like Gaṅgā water which has been contaminated by a drop of alcohol needs to be avoided, so should ekādaśī be avoided (for fasting) if there is even a faint contact with daśamī. (Note: Avoiding ekādaśī here means fasting on dvādaśī) Śloka 160: O excellent brāhmaṇas! Just like pañcha-gavya, even though very pure, is avoided if it comes in contact with a dog’s skin, so must ekādaśī be avoided if there is contact of daśamī,irrespective of whether it occurs in the śukla-pakṣa or kṛṣṇa-pakṣa Śloka 161: O brāhmaṇas! Therefore, one should never fast on an ekādaśī that comes with daśamī (daśamī at sunrise). Just as a fallen brāhmaṇa spoils the śrāddha ceremony, similarly all the accumulated merits get destroyed if one fasts on Viddhā ekādaśī Śloka 162: Just like darkness vanishes upon sunrise, similarly if one observes Viddhā ekādaśī,all his merits accumulated due to previous japa, dāna, homa, snāna and worship of Lord Hari gets destroyed Śloka 163: O brāhmaṇa! If there is dina-kṣaya on the day of ekādaśī, then dvādaśī is the appropriate day for fasting and consequently pāraṇa (breaking the fast) must be done on 160 • Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava trayodaśī. Notes: (a) If day starts with navamī, enters daśamī and later ekādaśī or (b) if daśamī exists for a while after sunrise or (c) if ekādaśī exists only for few ghaṭikās at sunrise and then daśamī starts—its termed dīna-kṣaya. In such situations, fasting must be done on dvādaśī and pāraṇa on subsequent day Śloka 164: For Padya (pratipadā) and other days, it is considered auspicious and the counting starts from previous sunrise to next day’s sunrise. But such a calculation is discarded for Hari-vāsara (ekādaśī) Śloka 165: One should know that if one fasts on an ekādaśī when daśamī exists, even if only during Aruṇodaya (dawn), then such a fast will lead to accumulation of sins Śloka 166: If daśamī-tithi is observed during Aruṇodaya time and one still fasts on such an ekādaśī, it leads to destruction of puruśārthas such as dharma, artha and kāma. Therefore, there is no observance of ekādaśī on such a day Śloka 167: The 4 ghaṭikās before sunrise (4×24 minutes) is known as “Aruṇodaya Kāla”. For yatis, this is the most appropriate time for bathing. The śāstras proclaim this time to be as pure as the Gaṅgā Śloka 168: O brāhmaṇas! If ekādaśī exists for 2 muhūrthas (4 ghaṭikās) before sunrise, then such an ekādaśī is called Sampūrna (complete) ekādaśī and fasting must be observed on the same day Śloka 169: If ekādaśī exists only for 3 ghaṭikās before sunrise, then such an ekādaśī is called Sandigdhā (doubtful) ekādaśī. Fasting must be avoided on this day as it can cause destruction of dharma and artha Śloka 170: When there is Viddhā ekādaśī, fasting must be done on dvādaśī for the betterment of one’s children and grandchildren. Similarly, pāraṇa must be done on trayodaśī. This will give the merits of hundreds of yāgas (sacrifices). Śloka 171: If ekādaśī exists for just 2 ghaṭikās before sunrise, it is considered as Saṅkīrna ekādaśī. Those desirous of dharma and artha should not fast on such ekādaśīs Śloka 172: Having fasted on an ekādaśī which had daśamī at the beginning, Gandhārī lost all her 100 sons. Therefore, Viddhā ekādaśī must be avoided Śloka 173: The learned say that ekādaśī with even a small element of daśamī must be avoided just like amṛta which is Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 161 contaminated with alcohol is avoided Śloka 174: Many śāstras offer contrasting rules about ekādaśī. If brāhmaṇas are discussing about when to fast, it is always better (safer) to fast on dvādaśī and perform pāraṇa on trayodaśī. Śloka 175: If ekādaśī has the vedha (intrusion) of daśamī, even if the nakṣatra during dvādaśī is śrāvana, it is correct to fast on dvādaśī, both during śukla and kṛṣṇa pakṣas Śloka 176: Thousands of eclipses, ten thousand Vyatipātas, lakhs of Amāvasyas; all these are not equal to even one sixteenth of a dvādaśī Śloka 177: Even if there is a bit of dvādaśī on a trayodaśī, it is just as fit for fasting like a pure dvādaśī (full day of dvādaśī). daśamī is like poison while ekādaśī is like amṛta. Therefore, ekādaśī which is contact with poison-like daśamī must be avoided and ekādaśī,which is nectar-like, must always be accepted for fasting Śloka 178: Those who fast on a Viddhā ekādaśī and perform pāraṇa on the next day(dvādaśī) are fools and attain hell! Śloka 179: Those śāstras which propagate fasting on a Viddhā ekādaśī are oriented towards material gains such as wealth. ekādaśī which has the Vedha of daśamī is never pleasing to Lord Hari Śloka 180: On the other hand, upon the prayer of Mohinī, wife of King Rukmāṅgada, Lord Janārdana, in the form of Veda-vyāsa wrote those statements in the Purāṇas which propagate fasting on a Viddhā ekādaśī, just in order to confuse the evil! Śloka 181: The worship of lesser Gods who will grant (only) material wealth should increase. The wealth of evil people should get destroyed. The ignorance and incorrect knowledge of Asuras should increase. Pāśandas should increase. These people should not get the true knowledge of the Supreme Being. Mokṣa should be unattainable by them. (Hence He wrote some wrong statements in the Purāṇas) Śloka 182: In this way, if one discards Viddhā ekādaśī and observes fast on the dvādaśī, by that single observance, the sins accumulated over crores of births will get destroyed Ślokas 183-184: If one observes ekādaśī in spite of resistance or obstruction from others, such a person will get a crore times 162 • Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava more merits than one who merely fasts. Not only the sins accumulated over eternity but also the sins that one can potentially accumulate over subsequent births also get destroyed, if one gets another person to start observing ekādaśī fasting. There is no other person who is more liked by Lord Hari or me (Rūdra). Śloka 185: If there is no Vedha for ekādaśī, the pāraṇa on dvādaśī must never be compromised. For pāraṇa and Maraṇa, the particular Tithi at that time must be considered, so say the śāstras. (Note – (1) This śloka means that if no Vedha, fasting must necessarily be done on ekādaśī and consequently pāraṇa on dvādaśī. (2) Here Maraṇa refers to the time to be considered for performing śrāddha for departed ancestors) Śloka 186-187: Bachelors, Householders, people retired from active life and Sannyāsīs, brāhmaṇas, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśhyas and śūdras, sumangalīs (married women), widows, those outside of the 4 varṇas such as Sūtas (chariot drivers or professional historians), Vaidehikas (men of Vaideha caste) and others also should, without fail, observe ekādaśī during both śukla and kṛṣṇa pakṣas. Śloka 188: Due to ignorance or wrong knowledge, if one consumes food on either a śukla-ekādaśī or kṛṣṇa-ekādaśī, such a person will definitely obtain hell Śloka 189: Those people who think of only śukla pakṣa ekādaśī as fit for fasting and, out of ignorance, think that kṛṣṇa pakṣa ekādaśī does not warrant fasting are sinners who will go to hell. This is certain! Śloka 190: Śaṅkara said: O dear one! Whether it is a black colored one or a white one, a cow must never be killed. Similarly, whether it is śukla-pakṣa or kṛṣṇa-pakṣa, one must never eat on an ekādaśī Śloka 191: Statements such as ekādaśī not to be performed in kṛṣṇa pakṣa, fasting not to be done on ekādaśī with Bharaṇī Nakṣatra and other such forbidden rules exist only for those who observe ekādaśī with the goal of materialistic results Śloka 192: Those who fast for materialistic desires also should fast on every ekādaśī (without exceptions) for obtaining Mokṣa and their wishes. This is for pleasing the Supreme Lord and not with the intention of any particular desire Śloka 193: Therefore, whether it is śukla pakṣa or kṛṣṇa pakṣa, Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 163 or even if there is Bharaṇī Nakṣatra or any other reason, one must always fast on an ekādaśī in order to obtain the love of Lord Hari and also attain his abode Śloka 194: On the day after dvādaśī (trayodaśī), if there is dvādaśī for a ghaṭikā or even a kalā (24 seconds), doing pāraṇa (breaking fast) on previous day (dvādaśī) will destroy the merits accumulated due to 12 dvādaśī pāraṇas. Note: If there is any contact of dvādaśī with trayodaśī next day, fasting must be done on 2 days and pāraṇa must be done on trayodaśī Śloka 195: If one does not fast on an atirikta dvādaśī (excess dvādaśī on trayodaśī) or if dvādaśī is over at the time of pāraṇa on trayodaśī, one loses the merits accumulated over 12 dvādaśī pāraṇas Śloka 196: If there is excess dvādaśī on the day of trayodaśī and one still eats on the previous dvādaśī day or if one does not perform pāraṇa on the morning of such a trayodaśī when dvādaśī still exists, the merits accumulated over 12 dvādaśī pāraṇas will be destroyed Śloka 197: If one does not fast on a dvādaśī which comes along with śrāvaṇa-nakṣatra, such a dumb person will lose all merits accumulated over 5 years. Note: Śrāvaṇa-nakṣatra and dvādaśī tithi should coincide till only noon. If Śrāvaṇa-nakṣatra extends to trayodaśī, fasting must not be done on such a dvādaśī Śloka 198: If one fasts on ekādaśī and also fasts on the dvādaśī (in case of śrāvaṇa-dvādaśī), then missing dvādaśī pāraṇa will not count as a mistake. After all, isn’t Lord Hari the Lord of both the days? Śloka 199: There is no mistake if one does pāraṇa initially with just water and then has a proper meal Śloka 200: If there is very little dvādaśī left, one should perform all his morning rituals and noon rituals before dawn itself. The meal which is consumed later will attract distortion (in terms of merits) Śloka 201: If one is unable to practice dvādaśī pāraṇa as previously described, one should perform pāraṇa with water first and then consume food. So say some Śloka 202: If one drinks water, it is equivalent to both eating as well as staying without food, so say the knowledgeable. Hence, I will perform the vrata of dvādaśī pāraṇa with just 164 • Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava water(one must perform Saṅkalpa in this way) Śloka 203: Neither Kāśī, nor Gayā; neither Gaṅgā nor Narmadā; neither Godāvarī nor Kurukṣetra. None of them are equal to the day of Lord Hari (ekādaśī) Śloka 204: Neither thousands of Aśvamedha sacrifices nor hundreds of Vājapeya sacrifices are equivalent to even one sixteenth the merits of fasting on an ekādaśī Śloka 205: O Excellent King! The firewood, which are our sins, accumulated over hundreds of births are instantly burnt to ashes by the fire, which is the merit obtained, due to fasting on an ekādaśī! Śloka 206: There is no other day on this earth which is as purifying and capable of destroying our sins as the day of Lord Padmanābha (ekādaśī) Śloka 207: O King! Sins accumulate and stay in this human body only till one fasts on the day of Lord Padmanābha Śloka 208: O Lord! All the sins committed by the eleven sense organs are destroyed by fasting on the eleventh day (ekādaśī). Note: The 11 sense organs are eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, mouth, hands, legs, renal and excretory organs and the mind (mānasa) Śloka 209: O King! There is nothing else that is equivalent to ekādaśī in destroying one’s sins. Even if one observes ekādaśī just for showing off, such a person shall not see Yama Śloka 210: Lord Veda-vyāsa said: On My day (ekādaśī), even if one offers me a little food, such a person will attain hell. What then of a person who actually consumes food himself! Śloka 211: Lord Veda-vyāsa said: One who consumes food on ekādaśī, be it in śukla-pakṣa or kṛṣṇa-pakṣa, will get the sins of brahma-hatyā, go-hatyā, thieving, guru-patnī-gamana, and others Śloka 212: Sleeping with one’s own mother, consuming beef, killing a brāhmaṇa, drinking alcohol—even these are okay when compared with consuming food on ekādaśī. Note: This comparison is only used for highlighting the importance of ekādaśī fasting and is not judgment on those immoral activities in any way Śloka 213: People who consume food on the auspicious day of ekādaśī are the lowest amongst humans. If one sees the inauspicious face of such people, one should watch the Sun (to cleanse oneself) Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 165 Śloka 214: All the big sins on this earth, such as brahmahatyā (sin of killing a brāhmaṇa) and others, take shelter and reside in food on the day of Lord Hari (ekādaśī) Śloka 215: Rukmāṅgada said: “A person who is above eight years of age and less than eighty and consumes food on the day of Lord Viṣṇu, such a person is a big sinner!” Śloka 216: Be it one’s father, son, wife or friend, one who consumes food on the day of Lord Padmanābha (ekādaśī) is a criminal and qualifies for punishment Śloka 217: Dharma Vibhuṣaṇa said: O devotees! Tomorrow morning is ekādaśī. Hence, today, do not consume any kṣāra substances (cotyledons). Do not consume even salt. Stick to only Haviṣ substances (milk, curds, fruits, āmalā, etc) Śloka 218: Do not have physical intercourse with your wife today. Sleep on the floor and constantly think of Him who is the Lord of Brahma and others, the one who has been ever p resent, the one who is the best amongst Puruṣas! Śloka 219: On daśamī, have food only once. On ekādaśī, observe complete fasting and do not perform rituals such as śrāddha, Tilodaka, Piṇḍa Pradhāna and Jala Tarpaṇa Ślokas 220 and 221: Brahma and Vyāsa said: “On the holy day of dvādaśī, the day that destroys all sins, the ones who perform Upavāsa shall never see Yama or Naraka (hell). Such people will never undergo suffering in hell! Śloka 222: Śaṅkara said, “All the Purāṇas are exclaiming the same thing again and again –that one should not consume food and not consume food on ekādaśī” Śloka 223: Till one is alive, one should always observe dvādaśī. One should worship Lord Hṛṣikeśa with a clean heart Śloka 224: O learned ones! Lord Hṛṣikeśa can be obtained by devotion alone and not by wealth. To the one who worships Him with devotion, He grants all the desires Śloka 225: Just as one who is suffering from thirst is immensely satisfied with water, Lord Jagannātha, the destroyer of all sorrows, is immensely satisfied even if one worships Him with at least water Śloka 226: O Narasiṁha, the one who has lotus like eyes! Always reside in my heart, even when I am sitting, sleeping, standing or walking Śloka 227: O Lord Narasiṁha! The one who is omnipresent, 166 • Quotes from Kṛṣṇa-amṛta-mahā-arṇava the indestructible, the one with lotus like eyes and the one who is the Lord of all. Reside in my heart in every state of mine (such as when awake, sleeping, dreaming, unconscious, etc) Śloka 228: O Lord kṛṣṇa, the one with eyes like lotus! Please give me your hands which are my only refuge when I am sinking in the ocean of slush that is this worldly life (the cycle of life and death). Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 167 Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva suklye va yadi va krsne tad vratam vaiṣṇavam mahat (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/5 Matsya Purāṇa and Bhaviṣya Purāṇa) Anybody who fasts on both ekādaśīs on both the light and dark fortnights of the month and eats on the next day (dvādaśī), Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa becomes very pleased with him. eka dasyam na bhunjita vratam etad dhih vaiṣṇavam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/6 Agni Purāṇa) Full eating is condemned on ekādaśī and fasting is certainly on that day is certainly very pleasing to Lord Kṛṣṇa. brahmana ksatriya visam sudranam caiva yositam moksadam kurvatam bhaktya visnoh priyataram dvijah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/7 Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa) Oh brāhmaṇas, brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiṣyas and śudras, whosoever one may be, to fast on ekādaśī with full devotion, he will certainly achieve liberation. ekadasyam na bhunjita kadacid api manavah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/15 Viṣṇu Smṛti) A human being should never eat on ekādaśī day. ekadasyam na bhunjiya nari drste rajasyapi (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/16 Śṛṅgi Ṛṣi) Even if a woman is going through menstruation, she should not eat on ekādaśī. vaisnavo yadi bhunjita ekadasyam pramadatah viṣṇu arcanam vrtha tasya narakam ghoram apnuyat (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/32 Gautamīya-tantra) If due to bewilderment, a Vaiṣṇava eats grains on ekādaśī day, then whatever merit has attained by worshiping Lord Śrī Viṣṇu becomes fruitless and he falls into hell. samadaya vidhanena dvādaśī vrtam uttamam tasya bhangam narah krtva rauravam narakam vrajet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/33 Viṣṇu Rahasya) If, after taking a vow to observe dvādaśī (ekādaśī), if one breaks it, he falls into a grievous hell known as Raurava. vidhava ya bhaven nari bhunjita ekādaśī dine tasyas tu sukrtam nasyed bhruna hatya dine dine (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/34 Kātyāyana-smṛti) Any widow, if she eats grains on the ekādaśī day, she becomes bereft of all of her merits and she suffers the sin of 168 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva performing an abortion daily. yatha sukla tatha kṛṣṇa yatha kṛṣṇa tatetara tulyete manute yastu sa vai vaiṣṇava ucyate (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/54 tattva-sāgara) Both the ekādaśī from the light fortnight and the one from the dark fortnight are equally powerful. Any person who thinks that both ekādaśīs are equal are addressed as Vaiṣṇavas. saner vare raver vare sankrantyam grahane'pi ca tyajya na ekādaśī rajan sarva daiveti niscayah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/63 Devala Ṛṣi) Oh king, one should never give up fasting on ekādaśī, even if it falls on Saturday, Sunday, on and eclipse day or on saṅkrānti day. varnanam asramanan ca strinam ca vara-varnini ekadasy upavasastu kartavyo na atra sansayah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/74 Padma Purāṇa Uttara-khaṇḍa, Conversation between Lord Śiva and Pārvatī) Oh dear wife, among all kinds of social and spiritual orders or even women, everyone should fast on ekādaśī day. Of this, there is no doubt. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī remarks in his Digdarśiṇī-ṭīkā commentary–Everyone should fast on such an auspicious day as ekādaśī. Everyone, among all social and spiritual orders are said to be authorized to fast on this day. Even gṛhasthas, previously as it is said, “brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiṣyas and śūdras, and even women should fast”, and furthermore, “men and women should fast”. Śudras and even women have not been rejected to fast on ekādaśī. Specifically, “even a widow” and “with his wife and his son”, either a married or unmarried woman are authorized to fast. As Manu Maharaja says, “there is no authorization for a woman to separately perform a fire sacrifice, any fasting”. Lord Viṣṇu says, “if any woman’s husband is alive and she fasts without asking him, she reduces the duration of life of her husband and attains hell herself.” This means, a woman has to take her husband’s permission to perform auspicious functions. Therefore, it is advised in the Sankha-likhita scripture, “a woman should begin taking vows for spiritual functions and fasting by the order of her husband.” Therefore, a Vaiṣṇava understands that a gṛhastha should fast with his wife and children. A Vaiṣṇava should automatically understand this statement regarding Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 169 women. As stated in Rukmāṅgada, “He should fast with his children, wife, and relatives together on the ekādaśī day.” asta varsadhiko martyo apurna asiti vatsarah ekadasyam upavaset paksayor ubhayor api (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/75 Kātyāyana-smṛti) From the age of eight to the age of eighty, a person should fast on all of the ekādaśīs on both the light and the dark parts of the month. vaisnavo vatha saivo va kuryad ekādaśī vrtam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/78 Viṣṇu Dharmottara) Whether one is a Vaiṣṇava or a Śaiva25, everyone should fast on ekādaśī day. eka bhuktena naktena bala vrddha aturah ksipet payo mula phalair vapi na nirdvad asiko bhavet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/91 Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa) A child, an old man or a person unable to fast can take something to eat in the evening or once in the day, whether is be milk, fruit or water, but should properly follow the ekādaśī fast. One should not give up fasting on ekādaśī. vyadhibhik paribhutanam pitta adhika saririnam trinsad varsadhikanan ca nakta-adi prikalpanam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/93 Baudhāyana-smṛti) Any person who is diseased, or who is dominated by bile or who has aged more than thirty years (after householder life), they are advised to eat in the evening on the ekādaśī day. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī remarks, stating that, “Aging more than thirty years means after household life ends. This is understood to be around sixty years of age, so thirty years added to that is ninety years.” Furthermore, “one should go to the forest at the ate of fifty”. According to this statement, a gṛhastha’s life is said to be fifty years, that is he has decided to live in his family life until the age of fifty. Even then, if one adds thirty years, if becomes eighty years. Therefore, fasting is recommended until a minimum age of eighty. asta etany avrtaghnani apo mulam phalam payah havir brahmana kamya ca guror vacanam ausadham (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/100 Mahābhārata, Udyama Parva) Water, fruits, roots, milk, ghee, the request of a brāhmaṇa and the order of a spiritual master and medicine do not wane 25 A devotee of Lord Śiva 170 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva ones fast. mad utthane mat sayane mat parsva parivartane atra ko diksitah kascid vaisnavo bhakti tatparah annam'va yadi bhunjita phala mulam athapi va aparadham aham tasya na ksamami kadacana ksipami narake ghore yavad ahuta samplavan (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/101,102 Kaśyapa-Pañcarātra, Spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead) A devotee who is properly initiated and doing devotional service, if he eats on My awakening day, sleeping day, or turning side day, of ekādaśī days, whether he eats grains, or fruits or roots, I never forgive him for his offense and keep them in a ferocious hell until the end of annihilation of this material world. mat sayane mad utthane mat parsva-parivartane phala-mula-jalahari hrdi salyam mama arpayet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/103) Whether one takes fruits, roots, or even water on My sleeping day, or My turning over on My side day of ekādaśīs, he pierces My heart with a sharp spear. samayasya maharogad duhkhinam sarva dehinam ekādaśīm upavaso'yam nirmitam paramausadham (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/110 Tatva Sāgara) This ekādaśī day was created as the Supreme medicine to remove the disease of material world of having a miserable material body and mind. tavat papani dehe' smin tisthanti manujadhipa yavat na upavaset jantuh padmanabha dinam subham (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/114 Nārada Purāṇa, spoken by Vasiṣṭha Muni) Oh King, as long as one does not fast on ekādaśī, the day of Lord Hari, Who has a lotus navel, until that long, all of the sins remain in ones body. na ganga na gaya bhupa na kasi na ca puskaram na ca api kauravam ksetram na reva nacavedika yamuna candrabhaga ca tulya bhupa harer dinat cintamini sama hy esa athavapi nidhih smrta kalpa padapa preksa va sarva veda upamathava (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/119, 120 Nārada Purāṇa, spoken by Vasiṣṭha Muni) Neither Gaṅgā, Gayā, Kāśī, Puṣkara, Kurukṣetra, Revā, Vedikā, Yamuna, and Candrabhāgā, none of them are equal to the day of Lord Hari, ekādaśī. Oh king, even if one fasts on Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 171 ekādaśī unknown to others, all of his sins are at once burnt and he easily attains the spiritual world. evam samasta sukha dharma gunasrayan ca ekādaśī vratam idam kali ketur uktah sastresu saunaka jagat-patisu priyan ca sraddha parah prakurute labhate na muktim (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/137 Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa) O Śaunaka, ekādaśī which is the source of happiness, religiosity and good qualities, which is the topmost meritorious day, which is the most dear day to the Supreme Lord, the Lord of the universe, anybody who takes a vow to fast on this day becomes eligible to completely liberated from this material world. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī comments on the verse as follows: The word kali ketu means the topmost meritorious day. “Ketu” –“that which is the source of all kinds of happiness.” It is stated by all scriptures to fulfills all of ones desires. na asvamedha sahasrais ca tirtha koty avagahanaih yat phalam prapyate vatsa dvādaśī-vasare krte (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/164 Skanda Purāṇa, Conversation between Lord Brahmā and Nārada Muni) Oh son (Nārada), whatever merit one achieves by fasting on dvādaśī day, one cannot achieve either by performing a horse sacrifice, or by going to millions of places of pilgrimage to take bath. na bhavet manasi pida rogas catyanta duhkhadah mahatmyam pathatah punso dvādaśī sambhavam kalau (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/170 Skanda Purāṇa, Conversation between Lord Brahma and Nārada Muni) In Kali-yuga, if somebody studies the glories of dvādaśī (ekādaśī) on ekādaśī day, they do not suffer with mental problems and physical disease ekādaśī bratad anyad yad vratam kriyate naraih tat phalam tad vijaniyad duhkhodhbhutam iva ankuram (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/178 spoken by Sanat-kumāra) Any person who does not fast on ekādaśī and observes other day’s fasts, he suffers the miseries of performing fasts, but does not attain sufficient results, or they only achieve difficulties from fasting and nothing else. ekatas ca agni hotradi dvādaśīm ekatah prabhuh tulaya taulayat tatra dvādaśī ca visisyate 172 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/179 Saura-dharma The Supreme Personality of Godhead once took a measuring scale and on one side, put sacrifices, austeities etc. and on the other side dvādaśī day and found that dvādaśī is more meritorious. ekādaśī-vratam yas tu bhaktiman kurute narah sarva papa vinirmuktah sa visnor yat mandiram (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/192 Vāyu Purāṇa) Any person who observes an ekādaśī fast with devotion becomes free from all difficulties and sins and after becoming purified, attains the abode of Lord Viṣṇu. yah karoti naro bhaktya ekadasyam uposanam sayati viṣṇu salokyam prapya visnoh svarupatam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/197 Śiva Purāṇa) Any person who fasts on ekādaśī with devotion, he attains the same form as Viṣṇu and goes to His abode and lives with Him. ekādaśī ca sampurna viddheti dvividha smrta viddha ca dvividha tatra tyajya viddha tu purvaja (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/199 Śiva Purāṇa) There are two divisions of ekādaśīs–the complete ekādaśī and the overlapping ekādaśī. The overlapping ekādaśīs are also divided into two-begin overlapping and end overlapping. The beginning overlapping should always be given up. ekādaśīm upavased dvādaśīm. athava punah vimisram vapi kurvita na dasamya yutam kvacit (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/202 Saura-Dharmottara) ekādaśī and dvādaśī are both qualified for fasting. Furthermore, one should fast when ekādaśī is combined with dvādaśī, but one should never fast when ekādaśī is combined with daśamī. na uposya daśamī-vidha sadaiva ekādaśī tithih samuposya naro jahyat punyam varsa satodbhavam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/205 Nārada Purāṇa) One should never fast on the days when ekādaśī is overlapped with daśamī. If one does so, looses whatever merit he had accumulated for one hundred years. purvam tvaya sabharyena daśamī sesa samyuta krta ca ekādaśī rajan tasya idam karanam matam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/211 Brahma Purāṇa Maitreya speaks to Dhṛtarāṣṭra in answer to his question as to why all of his 100 sons had been killed) Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 173 Oh king, previously, you, along with your wife, had fasted on an ekādaśī which was overlapped with daśamī day, therefore you are suffering the seperation of all of your sons. dasamy ekādaśīm purvam samuposya janārdanah abhyarcitas tvaya devi tasyeda karmanah phalam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/214 Brahma Purāṇa, Vālmīki Muni answered Mother Sītā's questions. She had asked him why she had been sent to the forest by Lord Rāma) Previously you had observed an ekādaśī fast which was overlapped with daśamī and worshiped Lord Śrī Hari. This is the result which you are experencing now. daśamī sesa samyuktam yah karoti vimudhadhih ekādaśī phalam tasya na syad dvadasa vaṛṣikam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/218 Kūrma Purāṇa, Nārada Purāṇa and Viṣṇu Rahasya) Those foolish persons who fast on ekādaśī which is mixed with daśamī, he does receive any result for performing ekādaśī fast for the past twelve years. gangodakasya sampurnam yatha tyajyam ghatam bhavet suravindu samyuktam tat sarvam madyatam vrjet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/223 Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa) Just as a cup of Ganges water which has been mixed with a drop of wine is fit for giving up, in the same way, an ekādaśī which has been minutely mixed with daśamī is fit for giving up. viddham ekādaśīm vipras tyajanty etam manisinah tasyam uposito yati daridryam duhkham eva ca (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/226 Garuḍa Purāṇa) Oh brāhmaṇas, learned souls reject ekādaśīs which are mixed with daśamī because they know that if they fast on this day, they will only get poverty and misery. dvaparante tu gandhari kuru vansa vivardhini karisyati ca senani mudha bhavad sikhi-dhvaja tena putra satam tasya nasam isyaty asamsayam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/228 Skanda Purāṇa) Oh commander and chief of the demigods (Skanda) at the end of Dvāpara yuga, Gāndhārī, who will increase the Kuru dynasty by producing one hundred sons, due to bewilderment and madness, she will observe ekādaśī which will be mixed with daśamī. Due to this, her hundred sons will be destroyed. Of this, there is no doubt. 174 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva dasamy ekādaśī yatra tatra sannihito'surah dvadasy ekādaśī yatra tatra sannihito harih (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/230 Skanda Purāṇa) The demons reside in any ekādaśī which is overlapped with daśamī and any whoever fasts on this day achieves negative results. Lord Hari resides in any ekādaśī which is overlapped with dvādaśī. If someone observes fasting on this day, he receives complete results, which is proper. ye samsanti dinam visnor daśamī vedha dusitam jneyas te papa purusah sukramaya-vimohitah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/234 Skanda Purāṇa, conversation between Lord Śiva and Umā devī) Any person who fasts on ekādaśī which is contaminated by daśamī or makes somebody else fast, he has been controlled and bewildered by Śukrācārya the spiritual master of the demons). This should be understood properly. ekādaśī daśamī-viddha dhana santana nasini dhvansini sarva punyanam kṛṣṇa bhakti pranasini (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/239 Skanda Purāṇa) Dvādaśī or ekādaśī, if it overlaps daśamī, it ruins ones offspring of one who fasts on those days and ruins the merit of all time and takes away the devotional service to the Lord and gives him a birth among the devils or ghosts. daśamī sesa samyuktam nisiddham viṣṇuna pura tasmad bhagavatair bhupa sodhayitva harer dinam upositavyam yatnena purva-sangati-varjitam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/244 Skanda Purāṇa, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi speaks to King Bhagīratha) Oh king, previously the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu prohibited one to fast when the ekādaśī overlapped daśamī. Therefore, the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead should endeavor to reject the ekādaśī which overlaps daśamī and observe a pure ekādaśī fast. kurute vaisnavo bhutva sa salyaikadasi vrtam jnanato'jnanato vapi na sa viṣṇu priyo bhavet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/246 Skanda Purāṇa) Any person who is a Vaiṣṇava, who knowingly or unknowingly observes ekādaśī overlapped with daśamī should certainly understand that Lord Śrī Viṣṇu will not be happy with him. tasmad ekādaśī yukta dasamya narasattama Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 175 na kartavya prayatnena niskala dvādaśī mata (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/248 Skanda Purāṇa) Therefore, O best among human being, it is not recommended to observe ekādaśī overlapped with daśamī. Great sages have recommended and stated to you to observe only pure ekādaśī fasts. punyam susancitam yati kalpa koti sata arjitam sasalyam ye prakurvanti muktidam mama vasaram (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/253 Dvārakā Māhātmya, spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead) Any person who fasts on the liberating day of Mine, but which is mixed with daśamī, their collective merit for the past 100 cycles (one cycle equals 1000 yugas) is destroyed. saviddham vasaram yasmad krtam mama pitamahaih pretatvam tena sampraptam maha duhkha pradayakam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/256 Dvārakā Māhātmya, Śrī Candra Śarmā prays to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.) Oh Supreme Personality of Godhead, my forefathers had observed the day of Lord Hari fast some time on the daśamī day. This is why they have achieved the form of ghost which is very miserable condition. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī remarks in his Digdarśiṇī-ṭīkā: Candra Śarmā brāhmaṇa was a devotee of Lord Siva and was against the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Somehow, in a dream, he saw that his forefathers had achieved the form of ghosts due to observing fasting on the overlapping day of ekādaśī and daśamī. Then he was advised by a devotee of the Lord to go to Dvārakā near the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worship Him and pray to Him to please free his forefathers from their devilish condition. The Lord then freed them because of his prayers. sukrena mohita vipra daityanam karanena tu pusty artham daśamī viddham kurvanti mama vasaram vasaram daśamī viddham daityanam pusti-vardhanam madiyam nasti sandehah satyam satyam pitamaha (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/257, 258 Padma Purāṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead speaks to Lord Brahmā.) The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, "O Brahmā, the brāhmaṇas bewildered by the illusion created by Śukrācārya fast on the daśamī mixed ekādaśī to enhance the strength of demons. My day (ekādaśī) influenced by daśamī day increases 176 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva the strength of demons. I repeated and truthfully say this. Of this there is no doubt. yavad dasamya samyuktam karisyanti dinam mama tat punyam daitya jatinam surair dattam pitamaha teha punyena sampusto hiranyaksah pitamaha nirjitya vasavam sankhye hrtam rajyam divaukasam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/259, 260), Padma Purāṇa, conversation between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lord Brahmā) O Grandfather of the world, as long as somebody fasts on ekādaśī mixed with daśamī, the demigods extend their merits to the demons, therefore the demon Hiranyākṣa became strong due to that merit and defeated Indra in the battle and usurped the kingdom of the demigods. purna viddham upaste ko nandam veda balad api ko veda vacanat tata gosave gam nihanti vai? (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/268 Bhaviṣya Purāṇa and Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa) Oh son, after knowing the instruction about fasting on daśamī, who is that person who would like to fast on the ekādaśī which overlaps daśamī? Who would be those persons, after hearing Vedic instructions, who would kill cows in the name of worshiping cows? supunya ekādaśī suta yadi, salya vivarjita kartur niraya pataya sasalya samuposit salyam vedha iti proktam purāṇartha vicaksanaih (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/270 Kūrma Purāṇa and Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa, Śrīla Vyāsadeva speaks to Sūta Gosvāmī) Oh Sūta Gosvāmī, if somebody strictly observes a pure ekādaśī which is not mixed with daśamī, it is all auspicious. If ekādaśī is mixed with daśamī and is observed, then the observer who is fasting makes him fall into the hellish planets. Therefore, the learned people, the knowers of Vedic literature have determined this fasting to be improper. dvayor vivadatoh srutva dvādaśīm samuposayet paranantu trayodasyam esa sastra vinirnayah dvādaśī daśamī yukta yata sastre pratisthita na tat sastram aham manye yadi brahma svayam vadet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/277, 278 Kūrma Purāṇa, Śrīla Vyāsadeva speaks to Sūta Gosvāmī) If there are two people arguing and due to that argument and unsteady opinions, the exact date of ekādaśī cannot be Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 177 determined, then hearing this, one should fast on dvādaśī day and break fast on trayodaśī. This is the scriptural instruction. If any scripture recommends to observe ekādaśī mixed with daśamī, even if Lord Brahma is the writer of that scripture, I (Vyāsadeva) do not accept it. ksaye vapy athava vrddhau samprapte va dinatraye uposya dvādaśī suddha trayo dasyantu paranam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/286 Nārada Purāṇa) If there is a reduced day in the fortnight or increase of a day, or if there are three days combined, then one should fast on a pure dvādaśī day and break the fast on trayodaśī. urdhvam haridinam na syat dvādaśīm grahayet tatah dvādaśīm upavaso'tra trayo dasyantu paranam evam kurvan naro bhaktya viṣṇu sayujyam apnuyat anyatha kurute yastu sa yati narakam dhruvam ekādaśī ṛṣinam tu dvādaśī cakrapaninah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/293-295 Skanda Purāṇa) If ekādaśī appears to be daśamī, it is not called the day of Lord Hari, therefore, dvādaśī is to be accepted for fasting and one should then break fast on trayodaśī. If one follows this process with devotion, then the fasting person goes to live in the Lord’s abode after liberation. If one does otherwise, he falls into the hellish planets because ekādaśī is the day of the sages and purified ekādaśī with dvādaśī is the day of Lord Hari. udayat prak yada vipra muhurta dvaya samyuta sampurna ekādaśī nama tatraiva upasaved grhi (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/316 Garuḍa Purāṇa, Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, and Śiva Rahasya) Oh brāhmaṇa, ninety-six minutes before sunrise, if there is an ekādaśī available, it is called a complete and pure ekādaśī. On this ekādaśī, even every householder should fast. ata eva parityajya samaye ca arunodaye daśamī ekādaśī viddha vainave na visesatah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/318 Bhaviṣya Purāṇa) Therefore one should give up ekādaśī which is combined with daśamī, even if it is available before sunrise. Specifically, Vaiṣṇavas should always reject ekādaśīs which overlap daśamīs. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī remarks in his Digdarśiṇī-ṭīkā that if ekādaśī is mixed with the previous day, even ninety-six minutes before sunrise, it is said to be an unwanted ekādaśī because it is an ekādaśī which overlaps with daśamī. It does not 178 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva matter what moment before sunrise ekādaśī is overlapping daśamī, it should always be given up, especially by Vaiṣṇavas. The duty of a Vaiṣṇava is to reject the mixed ekādaśī of the previous day." Such a statement as this from the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa is meant specifically for Vaiṣṇavas. It may be found somewhere else that for Śaivas and others, it may be found that they can observe an ekādaśī mixed with the previous day. arunodaya velayam daśamī-samyuta yadi atra uposya dvādaśī syat trayodasyantu paranam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/319 Kanva Ṛṣi) If before sunrise, daśamī is mixed with ekādaśī, one should fast on dvādaśī and break fast on trayodaśī. udayat pranmuhurtena vyapiny ekādaśī yada samyukta ekādaśī nama varjayed dharma vrddhaye (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/322 Garuḍa Purāṇa) Even if ekādaśī is available forty-eight minutes before sunrise, still it said to be mixed with the previous day. People who are interested to increase their merits should give up fasting on such ekādaśīs. daśamī sesa samyukto yadi syad arunodayah vaisnavena na kartavyam tad dinaikadasi vrtam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/336 Bhaviṣya Purāṇa) At the time of sunrise, if ekādaśī if available, a Vaiṣṇava should not fast on that ekādaśī. ardha ratram atikramya daśamī yadi drsyate tada hy ekādaśīm tyaktva dvādaśīm samuposayet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/354, Kūrma Purāṇa) If daśamī day passes over midnight, then one should give up fasting on that ekādaśī, but fast on dvādaśī day. sampurna ekādaśī yatra prabhate punar evasa vaisnavi ca trayodasyam ghatikai kapi drsyate grhastho'pi param kuryat purva na upavaset tada (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/360, Garuḍa Purāṇa) If there is a complete ekādaśī available which begins from dawn and carries on until the next day which due to extension, it continued until sunrise the next day, it is better to perform ekādaśī on the next day, and this is the duty of both the gṛhastha or the sannyāsī, to not follow the previous day ekādaśī. dvādaśī-miśrīta grahya sarvatra ekādaśī titih dvādaśī ca trayodasyam vidyate yadi vana va Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 179 (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/362 Padma Purāṇa) It does not matter if ekādaśī is touching the trayodaśī or not, but ekādaśī mixed with dvādaśī should be observed among all other fasts. ekādaśī kalā yatra parato dvādaśī na cet tatra kṛatu śatam puṇyam trayodasyāṁ tu pāraṇam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/365 Skanda Purāṇa) Even if for a moment, ekādaśī is available on dvādaśī day and dvādaśī is not touching the trayodaśī day, one should fast on dvādaśī and break fast on trayodaśī. This fasting brings the results of performing one hundred sacrifices. ekādaśī kala yukta uposya dvādaśī naraih trayodasyantu yo bhunkte tasya viṣṇuh prasidati (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/371 Baudhayana Smrti) Human beings are desired to observe dvādaśī fasts which is mixed with ekādaśī and break fast on trayodaśī. If they do so, Lord Śrī Viṣṇu becomes please with them. ekādaśī bhavet purna parato dvādaśī yada tada hy ekādaśīm tyaktva dvadasyam samu posayet (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/372 Skanda Purāṇa) Although ekādaśī is complete which began from dawn and also dvādaśī is complete which mixes with trayodaśī, even for a few moment, then one should not fast on ekādaśī, but should fast on dvādaśī day. ekādaśī tu sampurna parato dvādaśī bhavet uposya dvādaśī tatra tithi vrddhih prasasyate (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/373 Kālikā Purāṇa) Even if ekādaśī is a complete day and dvādaśī being extended, then one should fast on dvādaśī. This is called extended fasting. sampurna ekādaśī tyajya parato dvādaśī yadi uposya dvādaśī suddha dvadasyam eva paranam na garbhe visate jantur ity aha bhagavan harih (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/376 Bhāgavatādi-tantra) The Supreme Personality of Godhead says, "If dvādaśī combines even for a moment in trayodaśī, one should give up a complete day of ekādaśī fast and fast on dvādaśī. If someone does fast like this, than that fasting person does not need to take another birth in the material world. ekādaśī dvādaśī ca ratrisese trayodaśī tribhir misra tithih prokta sarva papa hara smrta 180 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/378 Kūrma Purāṇa) If ekādaśī and dvādaśī fall in one day, and at night trayodaśī is combined, in other words, there are three days combined in day and night, it is called Trispṛśā. This tithi or day is said to be removing sins. trispṛśā ekādaśī yatra tatra sannihito harih tam eva upavaset kami akamo viṣṇu tatparah (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/380 Kūrma Purāṇa) Where there is Trispṛśā ekādaśī, there Lord Hari Himself resides. Both the devotees who are full of desires and those who are desirous should fast on this Trispṛśā Mahā-dvādaśī. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has given his Digdarśinī commentary, saying, "It is said that when ekādaśī, dvādaśī and the end of the night are combined, trayodaśī, one should perform fast with his sons, grandsons and all of his family members. This is because whether one is full of desires, desiring wealth, sons or many other things or he is a desireless Vaiṣṇava who is interested to please the Supreme Lord, who is desirous for liberation, but one who is interested to please the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu is called a Vaiṣṇava. All of them should observe this Trispṛśā ekādaśī fast. By doing so, one becomes free from the sin of killing a brāhmaṇa, etc. He becomes free from all kinds of miseries acquired from different births and attains the merit of performing sacrifices too. This fasting is the source of auspiciousness and increases ones merit. Therefore one should accept it. purā ca ekādaśī svalpā ante caiva trayodaśī sampurṇā dvādaśī madhye trispṛśā sa hari-priyā (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/387 Dvārakā-māhātmya) If in the beginning there is a tinge of ekādaśī, in the middle there is a complete dvādaśī day and at last, there is a minute mixture of trayodaśī, that is called Trispṛśā ekādaśī, which is very dear to Lord Hari. suddhaiva dvādaśī rajan uposya moksa kanksibhih paranas tu trayodasyam pujayitva janārdanam (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/407 Viṣṇu Rahasya, Spoken by Śrīla Vyāsadeva) Oh King, those people who are desirous for liberation from this material world observe a purified dvādaśī fast and break it in trayodaśī after properly worshiping Lord Janārdana. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī gives his commentary in his Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 181 Digdarśinī-tīkā, stating that attaining liberation means to become free from birth, death, etc. which is the bondage in the material world. In other words, anyone who liberates others from the maximum misery is called “liberation”, or Lord Śrī Viṣṇu. A real devotee of the Lord is interested in attaining love of Godhead. That is his liberation and it is his ultimate desire. It has been accepted here that if the day of Vaiṣṇava (dvādaśī) is not available, then one can worship Lord Śrī Janārdana on trayodaśī and break ones fast. To break ones fast, it is specifically recommended that even on trayodaśī, after worshiping the Supreme Lord Śrī Janārdana, one can break his fast. This is undoubtedly an authorized statement. ittham sastra vicarena sistacara anusaratah ekādaśī vyavastheyam krta vaiṣṇava sammata vidvanso'pi atra mudhah syur vina kṛṣṇa prasadatah atah sadasau nirddharya prastva bhagavata uttaman (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/410, 411 Viṣṇu-rahasya) In this way, after studying the rules in the scriptures and following the statements of realized souls, ekādaśī, which is pleasing to the Vaiṣṇavas, is established. Unless one has the direct mercy of the Lord, even if he is very learned, it is very difficult to determine the correct days for ekādaśī. Therefore, to perform the ekādaśī fast properly, one should always reach the topmost Vaiṣṇava devotee of the Lord and ask for the exact date. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī explains in his Digdarśinī-tīkā, stating that, the ways for the Vaiṣṇavas and the nonVaiṣṇavas to determine the exact dates of ekādaśī have been explained here. One should consider the statements of the scriptures and also he should discuss this with learned personalities as well. One should not just rely on the scriptures, but it is important to also consult the learned souls as well. According to Vaiṣṇava, following Vaiṣṇava ekādaśī is important, not an ekādaśī which has been pierced with the previous day (daśamī day). Even on ekādaśī, if dvādaśī is available, if it is mixed with daśamī, one should completely give it up. Trispṛśā ekādaśī, which is free from daśamī, falling in cāturmasya during one of the dark fortnights is said to be observable. In essence, a Vaiṣṇava should always be consulted so as to know what to do. Due to the illusory influence of 182 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Ekādaśī-tattva Śukrācārya, even the learned scholars, who are expert in Vedic literature, become bewildered and are unable to determine the exact day for fasting on ekādaśī. Therefore, one should be a devotee who is depending on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the exact way to determine the exact ekādaśī fasting day. dvadasya nirnaye bhupa mudham atra jagattrayam atra mudha mahipala prayaso ye narah pura (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 12/412, Viṣṇu Rahasya, Conversation between Mārkaṇḍeya and King Indradyumna) Oh King, the three worlds have been become bewildered on the subject of establishing the correct day of fasting on dvādaśī. What to speak of the present day, even in ancient times, great persons were almost bewildered in perfectly determining the correct days for fasting. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 183 Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa Text 543 atha pārśva-parivartanotsavaḥ bhādrasya śuklaikādaśyāṁ sāyanotsavavat prabhoḥ kaṭi-dānotsavaṁ kuryād vaiṣṇavaiḥ saha vaiṣṇavaḥ The Pārśva-parivartana Festival: On the śukla-ekādaśī of Bhādra a Vaiṣṇava, accompanied by other Vaiṣṇavas, should celebrate the Kaṭidāna festival, which is like the Śayana festival. Text 544 bhaviṣyottare prāpte bhādra-pade māsi ekādaśyāṁ site ‘hani kaṭi-dānaṁ bhaved viṣṇor mahā-pātaka-nāśanam In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, it is said: On the śukla-ekādaśī of the month of Bhādra, one should observe the kaṭi-dāna (turning over) festival of Lord Viṣṇu, a festival that destroys great sins. Text 545 jalāśayāntikaṁ nītvā samyag abhyarcya prabhum karṇikā-parivṛttiṁ ca dakṣiṇāṅge prakalpayet One should approach the Supreme Lord as He naps on the ocean and one should arrange that the Lord turns over in His sleep and now rests on His right side. Text 546 atha abhyarthana-mantraḥ deva deva jagannātha yogi-gamya nirañjana kaṭi-dānaṁ kuruṣvādya māsi bhādra-pade śubhe The Mantra-Prayer: O Lord, O Lord, O master of the universes, O Lord approached by the yogīs, O Lord untouched by matter, now that it is the auspicious month of Bhādra, please turn over on Your other side. Text 547 mahā-pūjāṁ tataḥ kṛtvā vaiṣṇavān paritoṣya ca devaṁ sva-mandire nītvā yathā-pūrvaṁ niveśayet Then one should perform great worship, please the Vaiṣṇavas, and then return the Deity of the Lord to His place in the temple. Text 548 184 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa atha śravaṇa-dvādaśī-vrataṁ bhādrasya śukla-dvādaśyāṁ yuktāyaṁ śravaṇena hi upoṣya saṅgame snātvā devaṁ vāmanam arcayet The Vow of Śravaṇa-dvādaśī: When the star Śravaṇā is conjoined with the moon on the śukla-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, one should fast, bathe, and worship Lord Vāmana. Text 549 atha tan-māhātmyaṁ māsi bhādra-pade śuklā dvādaśī śravaṇānvitā mahatī dvādaśī jñeyā upavāse mahā-phalā arcayitvācyutaṁ bhaktyā labhet puṇyaṁ daśābdikam The Glory of That: When the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on the śukla-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, that day is known as a mahā-dvādaśī. By fasting and devotedly worshiping the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead on that day, one attains the result of having performed ten years of pious deeds. Text 550 phalaṁ datta-hutānāṁ ca tasyāṁ lakṣa-guṇaṁ bhavet On that day the results of giving charity and performing yajñas are multiplied by a hundred thousand times. Text 551 skaṇde māsi bhādra-pade śuklā dvādaśī śravaṇānvitā mahatī dvādaśī jñeyā upavāse mahā-phalā In the Skanda Purāṇa it is said: When the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on the śukla-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, that day is known as mahā-dvādaśī (great dvādaśī). Fasting on that day brings a great result. Text 552 saṅgame saritaḥ puṇye dvādaśīṁ tam upoṣitaḥ āplavād eva cāpnoti dvādaśa-dvādaśī-phalam A person who on this dvādaśī fasts and bathes in a sacred river attains the benefits of observing twelve dvādaśīs. Text 553 budha-śravaṇa-samyuktā saiva ced dvādaśī bhavet atyanta-mahatī tasyāṁ dattaṁ bhavati cākṣayam If on that day both Mercury and Śravaṇa are conjoined Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 185 with the moon, that day is known as atyanta-mahā-dvādaśī (very great dvādaśī). Whatever charity is given on that day becomes eternal and inexhaustible. Text 554 arcayitvācyutaṁ bhaktyā labhet puṇyaṁ daśābdikam phalaṁ datta-hutānāṁ ca tasyāṁ lakṣa-guṇaṁ bhavet By worshiping the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead on that day one attains the results of ten years of pious deeds. On that day the results of charity and yajñas are multiplied a hundred thousand times. Texts 555 and 556 brahma-vaivarte pitā-putra-samvāde māsi bhādra-pade śuklapakṣe yadi harer dine budha-śravaṇa-samyogaḥ prāpyate tatra pūjitaḥ prayacchati śubhān kāmān vāmano manasi sthitān vijayā nama sā proktā tithiḥ prīti-karī hareḥ In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa a father tells his son: If Mercury and Śravaṇa are both conjoined with the moon on the śukla-ekādaśī of the month of Bhādra, that day is called Vijayā ekādaśī. That day is very pleasing to Lord Hari. Lord Vāmana fulfills the auspicious desires in the heart of one who worships Him on that day. Text 557 saṅgame sarva-tīrthānāṁ saṅgamas tatra jāyate śuklā bhādra-pade svargaṁ kṛṣṇā kaluṣa-saṅkṣayam When Mercury and Śravaṇa are both conjoined with the moon on the dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, all holy places are present. When Mercury and Śravaṇa are both conjoined with the moon on the śukla-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, they bring residence in Svargaloka, and when they are both conjoined with the moon on the kṛṣṇa-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, they bring the destruction of sins. Text 558 phālgune kurute mokṣam api brahma-vadhān nṛṇām mahā-puṇya-pradā hy eṣā saṅgame vijayā tithiḥ sarva-pāpa-kṣayo nūnaṁ jāyate tad-upoṣiṇām When Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on the śukladvādaśī of the month of Phālguna (February-March), that day is called Vijayā dvādaśī. That day brings great piety. It purifies even the sin of murdering a brāhmaṇa. They who fast on that 186 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa day become free from all sins. Text 559 kiṁ ca sarva-tīrthāni bhū-pṛṣṭhe saṅgame yānti saṅgamam vijayā-vāsare sarve devānāṁ saṅgamo bhuvi It is also said: On Vijayā dvādaśī all holy places and all demigods gather together on the earth. Text 560 idaṁ sarva-purāṇeṣu rahasyaṁ parigīyate saṅgame vāmanaṁ pūjya preta-yonau na jāyate This secret is told in all the Purāṇas: Simply by worshiping Lord Vāmana on this day one is protected from having take birth as a preta (ghost). Text 561 viṣṇu-dharmottare śrī-paraśurāma uvāca upavāsāsamarthānāṁ kiṁ syād ekam upoṣitam mahā-phalaṁ mahā-deva tan mamācakṣva suvrata In the Viṣṇu-dharma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, Śrī Paraśurāma says: What is the result attained by persons generally unable to fast who once fast on this day? O saintly Śiva, please tell this to me. Text 562 śrī-śaṅkara uvāca yā rāma śravaṇopetā dvādaśī mahatī tu sā tasyām upoṣitaḥ snātaḥ pūjayitvā janārdanaṁ prāpnoty ayatnād dharma-jña dvādaśa-dvādaśī-phalam O Paraśurāma wise in spiritual truth, a person who fasts, bathes himself, and then worships Lord Kṛṣṇa on mahādvādaśī, when the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon, attains the results of observing twelve dvādaśīs. Text 563 kiṁ ca śravaṇa-dvādaśī-yoge budha-vāro bhaved yadi atyanta-mahatī rāma Lord Śiva also said: O Paraśurāma, if Śravaṇa-dvādaśī (when the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon) falls on a Wednesday, then it is said to be atyanta-mahatī (very great). Text 564 snānaṁ japyaṁ tathā homo dānaṁ śrāddhaṁ surārcanam Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 187 sarvam akṣayam āpnoti tasyāṁ bhṛgu-kulodvaha O scion of the Bhṛgu dynasty, bathing, japa, yajña, charity, śrāddha, and demigod-worship all become limitless and imperishable when performed on that day. Text 565 tasmin dine tathā snāto yo ‘pi kvacana saṅgame sa gaṅga-snāna-jaṁ rāma phalaṁ prāpnoty asaṁśayam O Paraśurāma, a person who on that day bathes in any place attains the result of bathing in the Ganges. Of this there is no doubt. Text 566 śravaṇe saṅgamaḥ sarve paripuṣṭi-pradaḥ sadā viśeṣād dvādaśī-yukte budha-yukte viśeṣataḥ When it falls on a Wednesday, this dvādaśī it brings especially great piety. Text 567 bhaviṣyottare śrī-yudhiṣṭhira uvāca upavāsāsamarthānāṁ sadaiva puruṣottama ekā yā dvādaśī puṇyā taṁ vadasva mamānagha In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, Śrī Yudhiṣṭhira says: O sinless Supreme Person, please describe to me the piety attained by persons generally unable to fast who once fast on this day. Text 568 śrī-kṛṣṇa uvāca māsi bhādra-pade śuklā dvādaśī śravaṇānvitā sarva-kāma-pradā puṇyā upavāse mahā-phalā Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: When the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon during the śukla-dvādaśī of the month of Bhādra, that day is very sacred. That day fulfills all desires. Fasting on that day brings a great result. Text 569 saṅgame saritāṁ snatvā gaṅgā-snānādi-jaṁ phalam sopavāsaḥ samāpnoti nātra karyā vicāraṇā A person who on this day fasts and bathes in any river attains the result of bathing in the Ganges. Of this there is no doubt. Text 570 188 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa kiṁ ca budha-śravaṇa-samyuktā saiva ced dvādaśī bhavet atīva mahatī tasyāṁ sarvaṁ dattam ihākṣayam It is also said: If on this dvādaśī Śravaṇa and Mercury are both conjoined with the moon, that is a very great dvādaśī. Any charity given on that day becomes limitless and imperishable. Texts 571 and 572 kiṁ ca tatraiva vaṇig-upākhyāne śravaṇa-dvādaśī-yoge pūjayitvā janārdanam dānaṁ ca dattvā viprebhyaḥ sopavāso jitendriyaḥ mahā-nadī-saṅgame ca snātvā diṣṭāntam āgataḥ avāpa paramaṁ sthānaṁ durlabhaṁ sarva-mānavaiḥ A person who on a śravaṇa-dvādaśī fasts, controls his senses, bathes in a great river, gives charity to the brāhmaṇas, and worships Lord Kṛṣṇa, attains, at the moment of death, a celestial world that is difficult for any human being to enter. Text 573 yatra kāma-phalā vṛkṣā nadyaḥ pāyasa-kardamāḥ śītalāmala-pānīyāḥ puṣkariṇyo manoharāḥ In that world the trees fulfill all desires. There the beautiful lotus-filled lakes have cool, pure, delicious water. The mud of those lakes is pāyasa (condensed milk). Text 574 taṁ desām āsādya vaṇiṅ mahātmā su-mṛṣṭa-jāmbūnada-bhūṣitāṅgaḥ kalpaṁ samagraṁ sura-sundarībhiḥ sākaṁ sa reme muditaḥ sadaiva The noble-hearted merchant attained that world. There he was decorated with ornaments of the finest gold. For an entire kalpa he enjoyed there with many beautiful demigoddesses. Text 575 kiṁ cānte budha-śravaṇa-samyuktadvādaśyāṁ saṅgamodakam dānaṁ bahv-odanaṁ śastaṁ upavāsaḥ paro vidhiḥ It is also said: When on this dvādaśī both Śravaṇa and Mercury are conjoined with the moon one is enjoined to fast Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 189 and to give grains in abundant charity. Text 576 sagareṇa kukutsthena dhundhumāreṇa gandhinā etaś cānyaiś ca rajendra kāmadā dvādaśī kṛtā O king of kings, Sagara, Kakutstha, Dundhumāra, Gandhī, and many others attained their desires by observing this dvādaśī. Text 577 yā dvādaśī budha-yutā śravaṇena sārdhaṁ syāt sā jayeti kathitā munibhir nabhasye tam ādareṇa samupoṣya naro hi samyak prāpnoti siddhim aṇimādi-guṇopapannaḥ. iti. In the month of Bhādra a dvādaśī when Śravaṇa and Mercury are both conjoined with the moon is called Jayā by the sages. A person who respectfully fasts on that day attains aṇimā-siddhi (becoming atomic in size) and the other mystic perfections. Text 578 atha śravaṇa-dvādaśī-vrata-nirṇayaḥ dvādaśy ekādaśī vā syād upoṣyā śravaṇanvitā viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yogaś ca taṁ trayaṁ miśritaṁ yadi Conclusion of the Śravaṇa-dvādaśī Vow: One should fast on either a dvādaśī or an ekādaśī when Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon. When in a single day all three of these conditions are present, that day is called Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga. Text 579 atha śravaṇa-dvādaśy-upavāsaḥ śrī-mārkaṇḍeyaḥ śravaṇarkṣa-samāyuktā dvādaśī yadi labhyate upoṣyā dvādaśī tatra trayodaśyāṁ tu pāraṇam atha–now; śravaṇa–dvādaśy–upavāsaḥ–fasting on śravaṇa– dvādaśī; śrī–mārkaṇḍeyaḥ–Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya; śravaṇarkṣasamāyuktā– with the star śravaṇa; dvādaśī–dvādaśī; yadi–if; labhyate–is attained; upoṣyā–to be fasted; dvādaśī–dvādaśī; tatra–there; trayodaśyām–on trayodaśī; tu–indeed; pāraṇam– breaking the fast. Text 580 yamaś ca yadā tu śukla-dvādaśyāṁ nakṣatraṁ śravaṇaṁ bhavet tadāsau tu mahā-puṇyā dvādaśī vijayā smṛtā 190 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa Yamarāja also explains: When the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on a śukla-dvādaśī, that very sacred day is called Vijayā dvādaśī. Text 581 tatra dānopavāsādyaṁ akṣayaṁ parikīrtitam ekādaśyā viśuddhatve dvādaśyāṁ tu pare ‘hani śravaṇe sati śaktasya vrata-yugmaṁ vidhīyate In that situation fasting, giving charity, and other pious deeds become limitless and imperishable. If the ekādaśī is pure and the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on the dvādaśī, one should, if one is able, follow the vow on both ekādaśī and dvādaśī. Text 582 asamāpte vrate sarve naiva kuryād vratāntaram ity ādi vacanasyātra bādhakaṁ vaṁ na vidyate asamāpte–not attained; vrate–vow; sarve–all; na–not; eva– indeed; kuryāt–should do; vratāntaram–another vow; iti–thus; ādi–beginning; vacanasya–of the statement; atra–here; bādhakam–refutation; na–not; vidyate–is. Text 583 tathā hi bhaviṣyottare ekādaśīm upoṣyaiva dvādaśīṁ samupoṣyate na cātra vidhi-lopaḥ syād ubhayor devatā hariḥ. iti. In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, it is said: If in this situation one fasts on both the ekādaśī and the dvādaśī, he is not at fault, for both days have Lord Kṛṣṇa as their Deity. Text 584 aśaktas tu vrata-dvandve bhuṅkte vaikādaśī-dine upavāsaṁ budhaḥ kuryāc chravaṇa-dvādaśī-dine If unable to fast on both days, a wise person should eat on ekādaśī and fast on the śravaṇa-dvādaśī day. Text 585 tathā ca nāradīye upoṣya dvādaśīṁ puṇyaṁ viṣṇu-ṛkṣena samyutam ekādaśy-udbhavaṁ puṇyaṁ naraḥ prāpnoty asaṁśayam In the Nārada Purāṇa it is said: By fasting on this dvādaśī when the star sacred to Lord Viṣṇu is conjoined with the moon, one attains the pious benefits attained by fasting on ekādaśī. Of this there is no doubt. Texts 586 and 587 Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 191 vājapeye yathā yajñe karma-hīno ‘pi dīkṣitaḥ sarvaṁ phalam avāpnoti asnāto ‘py ahuto ‘pi san evam ekādaśīṁ tyaktvā dvādaśyāṁ samupoṣaṇāt pūrva-vāsara-jaṁ puṇyaṁ sarvaṁ prāpnoty asaṁśayam. iti. As a person initiated into the performance of a Vājapeyayajña attains all the results of the yajña even though he personally did not do any of the work of the yajña, did not offer the oblations, and did not perform the ritual bath, so a person who neglects this specific ekādaśī and fasts instead on the dvādaśī attains all the pious benefits of fasting on ekādaśī. Of this there is no doubt. Text 588 aty-alpo ‘py anayor yogo bhavet tithi-bhayor yadi upādeyaḥ sa eva syād ity atropavased budhaḥ Even if the junction of the tithi and star is very slight, a wise person will fast on that day. Text 589 tathā ca śravaṇa-dvādaśīṁ prakṛtya tatraivoktaṁ tithi-nakṣatrayor yoge yogaś caiva narādhipa dvi-kalo yadi labhyeta sa jñeyo hy aṣṭa-yāmikaḥ In that scripture it is also said about śravaṇa-dvādaśī: O king, if the yoga of tithi and star occurs for two kalās, that day is called Aṣṭa-yāmika. Text 590 tathaiva mātsye dvādaśī śravaṇa-yuktā kṛṣṭnā puṇyatamā tithiḥ na tu sā tena yuktā catāvaty eva praśasyate In the Matsya Purāṇa it is said: When Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon, this dvādaśī becomes a very sacred day. By that conjunction it becomes glorious. Text 591 atha śravaṇa-nakṣatra-yuktaikādaśy-upavāsaḥ nāradiye yadi na prāpyate ṛkṣaṁ dvādaśyāṁ vaiṣṇavaṁ kvacit ekādaśī tadopoṣyā pāpa-ghnī śravaṇānvitā Fasting on an ekādaśī When the Star Śravaṇa Is Conjoined with the Moon– In the Nārada Purāṇa it is said: If Śravaṇa is not conjoined 192 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa with the moon on the dvādaśī, but it is so on the ekādaśī, one should fast on the ekādaśī. That ekādaśī destroys sins. Text 592 ubhayor devatā viṣṇuḥ purāṇaḥ puruṣottamaḥ vibhedo ‘tra na kartavyo vibhedāt patate naraḥ Lord Viṣṇu, the ancient Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the presiding Deity of both these days. Therefore one should not make a distinction between them, saying one is better than the other. One who makes such a distinction falls down. Text 593 ata eva bhaviṣyottare ekādaśī yadā ca syāt śravaṇena samanvitā vijayā sā tithiḥ proktā bhaktānāṁ vijaya-pradā In the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, it is said: When the star Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon on this ekādaśī, the day is called Vijayā ekādaśī, for it brings victory (vijaya) to the devotees. Text 594 viṣṇu-purāṇe yāḥ kāścit tithayaḥ proktāḥ puṇyā nakṣatra-yogataḥ tāsv eva tad-vrataṁ kuryāc chravaṇa-dvādaśīṁ vinā. iti. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said: Śravaṇa-dvādaśī is not usually counted among the various holy days with auspicious stars. (That is because it is considered to be included in the previous ekādaśī). Text 595 ekādaśy-upavāse ca dvādaśyāṁ kṛṣṇam arcayet prādurbhūte hi bhagavān dvādaśyām eva vāmanaḥ On that ekādaśī one should fast, and on the dvādaśī one should worship Lord Kṛṣṇa. This is so because Lord Vāmana appeared in this world on that dvādaśī. Text 596 tathā ca matsya-puraṇe upoṣyaikādaśīṁ tatra dvādaśyāṁ pūjayed dharim. iti. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 193 In the Matsya Purāṇa it is said: On that ekādaśī one should fast, and on the dvādaśī one should worship Lord Hari. Text 597 ato yadi na labhyeta madhyāhne dvādaśī tadā dvādaśī-madhya evārcyo vāmanas tarhi sūribhiḥ. iti. If by midday dvādaśī is not attained, then the devotees should wait until the day when it is dvādaśī at midday. On that day they should worship Lord Vāmana. Text 598 atha śrī-viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yogaḥ mātsye dvādaśī śravaṇa-spṛṣṭā spṛśed ekādaśīṁ yadā sa eṣa vaiṣṇavo yogo viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-samjñitaḥ Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga– In the Matsya Purāṇa it is said: When a dvādaśī touched by Śravaṇa touches this ekādaśī, that day is very sacred to Lord Viṣṇu. That day is called Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga. Text 599 tasminn upoṣya vidhi-van naraḥ saṅkṣīṇa-kalmasaḥ prāpnotv anuttamāṁ siddhiṁ punar-āvṛtti-durlabhām. iti. A person who fasts on that day becomes free from sin. He attains a perfection without peer, a perfection rare in this world of repeated births. Text 600 ekādaśī-padenātra tad aho-rātra ucyate anyathā dvādaśī-sparśas tasyāṁ nityaṁ na vidyate The word “ekādaśī” here refers to both the day and the night. Were this not so, the touch of the dvādaśī would almost never occur. Text 601 tithi-nakṣatrayor yoga ity ādyaṁ yat tu darśitam tenālpa-kāla-samyoge ‘py aṣṭa-yāmikateṣyate In text 589 it is seen that even if the yoga of tithi and star is very brief, the day is still called Aṣṭa-āmika. Text 602 194 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa atraiva dvādaśī-madhye pāraṇaṁ śravaṇe ‘dhike vakṣyamānaṁ ca ghaṭate ‘nyathā prāgvad dvidhā vratam If Śravaṇa is conjoined with the moon, it is best to break the fast on the dvādaśī. If Śravaṇa is not conjoined with the moon, the vow may be observed in two ways, as has already been described. More will be said of this later. Text 603 dvādaśī śravaṇarkṣaṁ cety asmin pāṭhe bhaved idam dvādaśī-śravaṇa-spṛṣṭety asmiṁś ca spṛṣṭatā khalu tat-tat-sāhityam evāha pūrvasmād eva hetutaḥ The first line of text 589 may also be read “dvādaśī śravaṇarkṣaṁ ca” (dvādaśī and the star Śravaṇa). Thus the touch of dvādaśī and the star Śravaṇa is described. This is for the same reason as given previously. Text 604 atha tasmād ayaṁ tu tatraiva viśeṣaḥ dvitīya-viṣṇuśṛṅkhala-yogaḥ yathā viṣṇu-dharmottare ekādaśī dvādaśī ca vaiṣṇavyam api tad bhavet tad viṣṇu-śṛṅkhalaṁ nāma viṣṇu-sāyujya-kṛd bhavet tasminn upoṣanād gacchec chvetadvīpa-puraṁ dhruvam The Second Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga– In the Śrī Viṣṇu-dharma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, it is said: When ekādaśī, dvādaśī, and the star Śravaṇa combine in a single day, that day is called Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga. That day brings Viṣṇu-sāyujya liberation. By fasting on that day one goes to the eternal realm of Śvetadvīpa. Text 605 dvādaśyām upavāso ‘tra trayodaśyāṁ tu pāraṇam niṣiddham api kartavyaṁ ity ājñā parameśvarī. iti. dvādaśyām–on the dvādaśī; upavāsaḥ–fasting; atra–here; trayodaśyām–on the trayodaśī; tu–indeed; pāraṇam–breaking the fast; niṣiddham–forbidden; api-also; kartavyam-to be done; iti– thus; ājñā–the order; parameśvarī–of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iti–thus. In this case, although it may be forbidden, one must fast on Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 195 dvādaśī and break the fast on trayodaśī. This is the order of the Supreme Lord. Text 606 yogo ‘yam anyo dvādaśyāḥ kṣaya eveti lakṣyate dvādaśyām upavāsāc ca trayodaśyāṁ tu pāraṇāt trayodaśyāṁ pāraṇaṁ hi śravaṇe ‘pi nisetsyate To fast on the dvādaśī and break the fast on the trayodaśī breaks the special yoga of the dvādaśī in this situation. When the star Śravaṇa is present on ekādaśī it is also forbidden to break the fast on the trayodaśī. Text 607 ataḥ viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala eva viśeṣāntaraṁ dvādaśy ekādaśī saumyaḥ śravaṇaṁ ca catuṣṭayam deva-dundubhi-yogo ‘yaṁ yajñāyuta-phala-pradaḥ. iti. A Different Kind of Situation in Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga: When dvādaśī, ekādaśī, Wednesday, and the star Śravaṇa meet in a single day, that meeting is called deva-dundubhi-yoga. That day gives a pious result equal to ten thousand yajñas. Text 608 pāraṇāhe tu dvādaśyāḥ śravaṇāyāś ca vṛddhitaḥ rātrau tu pāraṇābhāvād yuktaṁ kartuṁ vrata-dvayam One may break the fast on a dvādaśī with Śravaṇa. One may not break the fast at night. One may observe the vow of fasting on both ekādaśī and dvādaśī. Text 609 na cātra vidhi-lopaḥ syād ubhayor devatā hariḥ There is no fault in fasting on both days, for Lord Hari is the presiding Deity of both these days. Text 610 dvādaśyām upavāso ‘tra trayodaśyāṁ tu pāraṇam In this situation one may fast on dvādaśī and break the fast in trayodaśī. Text 611 dina-dvaye ‘pi śravaṇābhāve tad-yoga-hānitaḥ ekādaśyām upoṣyaiva dvādaśyāṁ vāmanaṁ yajet If the star Śravaṇa is not conjoined with the moon on either ekādaśī or dvādaśī, then there is no yoga. In that situation one 196 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa should fast on ekādaśī and worship Lord Vāmana on the dvādaśī. Text 612 viṣṇu-śṛṅkhalake ‘pi syād vṛttir niśi paratra cet yad ādhikyaṁ tithi-bhayoḥ śaktaḥ kuryād vrata-dvayam Even when there is a Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala-yoga and both the tithi and Śravaṇa are present at night, then it is best to fast, if one is able, on both days. Text 613 pāraṇāya anaucityaṁ tāvatyāṁ niśi ced bhavet aśaktas tūttaraṁ kuryād yogasyaivasya gauravat However, it is not proper to break the fast at night. If one is not able to fast on both days, in this situation one should fast on the dvādaśī, for then the yoga is more important. Text 614 atha tatra pāraṇa-kāla-nirṇayaḥ sa ca vrata-vikalpe dvitīye viṣṇu-śṛṅkhale ca spaṣṭa eva. kevala-śravaṇa-niṣkarṣe tu na tad-ādaraḥ. tithinakṣatrasaṁyoge ity ādi vakṣyamānebhyaḥ. The Time of Breaking the Fast: In the Second Śrī Viṣṇu-śṛṅkhala this is clear. However, when the star Śravaṇa is not conjoined with the moon this is not so. This will be discussed in the verse beginning with the words “tithi-nakṣatra-samyoge”. Text 615 prathama-viṣṇu-śṛṅkhale pāraṇa-nirṇayaḥ anuvṛttir dvayor eva pāraṇāhe bhaved yadi tatrādhikye tither vṛtte bhānte saty eva pāraṇam The Time of Breaking the Fast: After the First Viṣṇuśṛṅkhala: It is best to break the fast on the next day, after both the tithi and star-conjunction have ended. Text 616 yad uktaṁ nāradīye tithi-nakṣatrayor yoge upavāso bhaved yadā pāraṇaṁ tu na kartavyaṁ yāvan naikasya saṅkṣayaḥ. iti. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 197 This is described in the following words of the Nārada Purāṇa: When the tithi and the star are both present, one should fast. One should not break the fast until at least one of these has ended. Text 617 ṛkṣasya sati cādhikye tithi-madhye tu pāraṇam dvādaśī-laṅghane dośo bahuśo likhito yataḥ If the star is still conjoined by the middle of the dvādaśī, one should break the fast then, for the scriptures affirm that it is a great fault not to break the fast on dvādaśī. Text 618 tathā coktaṁ tithi-nakṣatra-samyoge upavāso yadā bhavet tavad eva na bhoktavyaṁ yāvan naikasya saṅkṣayaḥ It is said: One should fast when the tithi and star are both present. One should not break his fast until at least one of the two has ended. Text 619 viśeṣena mahī-pāla śravaṇaṁ vardhate yadi tithi-kṣayena bhoktavyaṁ dvādaśīṁ naiva laṅghayet. iti. O king, this is especially so when the star Śravaṇa is prominent. One should fast when the tithi has ended. One should not ignore the presence of the dvādaśī. Text 620 evaṁ dvayor niśa-vyāptau cāhni pāraṇam īritam na rātrau pāraṇaṁ kuryād iti hy anyatra sammatam When both are present at night, one should break the fast on the following day. One should not break the fast at night. That is also confirmed in other scriptures. Text 621 yato rātrāv ṛkṣa-labdhāv api dvādaśy-atikramaḥ ataḥ kṛtaṁ paunar-uktyaṁ dvādaśīṁ naiva laṅghayet When the star is present the whole night and is still present during dvādaśī, one should not neglect the dvādaśī. On dvādaśī the fast should be broken. This is said again and again. Text 622 eva-kāreṇa ca punas tad eva niradhāri yat dvādaśy-anādaro nātaḥ kāryo bhasya tu sa smṛtaḥ The word “eva” (indeed) in this verse emphasizes that one 198 • Hari-bhakti-vilāsa–Fifteenth Vilāsa should not disrespect the dvādaśī, even if the star is still present. Text 623 tathā ca skānde yāḥ kāścit tithayaḥ proktāḥ puṇyā nakṣatra-yogataḥ ṛkṣānte pāraṇaṁ kuryād vinā śravaṇa-rohiṇīm. iti. In the Skanda Purāṇa it is said: When special star-moon conjunctions occur during holy days, one should break the fast after the stellar conjunction has ended. However, the stars Śravaṇa and Rohiṇi provide exceptions to this rule. Text 624 yato rātri-gato dvādaśyaṁśo nātra vicāryate ato vardhata ity āha pāraṇāsamayātyayam The time when not even a part of the dvādaśī is present at night is not considered here. That time is called “ato vardhata”. That is past the time for breaking the fast. Text 625 trayodaśyāṁ pāraṇaṁ tu naitad viṣayam iṣyate trayodaśyām apīty etad anukter advidhā smṛtaḥ One should not break the fast on the trayodaśī. This is not confirmed by the words of scripture. Text 626 praty utātra tu-śabdena tasyaikadhyaṁ pradarśitam paryavasyed ato yuktyā dvādaśī-kṣaya eva tat Here the word "tu" (indeed) shows that one should properly observe the end of dvādaśī. Text 627 tathāpi sandihānaś ced gṛhṇīyāc caraṇāmṛtam pāraṇāyāḥ paraṁ samyak pūrakaṁ tad bhaved yataḥ If there is doubt about whether the fast should be broken at that time, one may accept caraṇāmṛta, the water that has washed the feet of the Deity. Text 628 gautamīye tu sphuṭam evoktaṁ yad-ṛkṣaṁ vā tithir vāpi rātriṁ vyāpya vyavasthitā divase pāraṇaṁ kuryād anyathā patanaṁ bhavet. iti. In the Gautamīya Tantra it is said: When the star or tithi are present during the night, one should break the fast on the following day. Otherwise one will fall down. Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 199 The science behind the Ekādaśī fast Ekādaśī is the 11th day of the moon cycle, both from the full moon and from the new moon. According to modern science, it is known that the air pressure on our planet varies to extreme limits on both the new moon (Amāvasyā) and the full moon (Pūrṇimā) day. This is because of the orbital path combination of the sun, moon and earth. This can be observed by the change in the nature of the tidal waves on the new moon and full moon days. The waves are very high and rough, but from the next day onwards, the waves become calm, an indication that the pressure has also receded. Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekādaśī fasting can be explained in 2 ways: 1) According to science, it takes about 3-4 days for the food that we eat today to reach our brain. Now, if we eat light/fast on Ekādaśī days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the New moon/full moon day. On both of these days, the earth pressure is at its maximum, thus leading to imbalance in everything, including ones thought process. So, if the input to the brain is at a minimum, the chances of the brain indulging in any wayward activity due to the high pressure imbalance also becomes minimum. 2) Another explanation for the Ekādaśī fasting is that compared to any other day of the moon cycle, the atmospheric pressure is the lowest on the Ekādaśī days. Thus, this is the best time to fast and cleanse the bowel system. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system. Thus, it is advisable that after fasting on the Ekādaśī, 200 • The science behind the Ekādaśī fast on the immediate next day (Dvādaśī), we get up early and eat as soon as possible. As per both the above theories, the fasting practice on the Ekādaśī days have a strong scientific base. People who observe the fast are asked to stay away from all types of grains, and to have a light diet of nuts, milk, fruits, etc. Fasting gives the system a rest. The physiological system may become overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. Thus the fortnightly Ekādaśī fasting gives the system a chance to catch up. We know that the digestive system draws the blood circulation towards the digestive organs. Therefore blood circulation to the head is decreased once food is taken: so we feel sleepy. Thus observance of Ekādaśīs helps us recharge our brain and mind keeping us more alert, sharp, focused and more aware. The fortnightly Ekādaśī fasting accompanied with healthy eating improves insulin responsiveness, lowers blood cholesterol and prolongs life span. It helps improve the mental stability of people suffering from anxiety and depression. It also detoxifies the body, cleanses the blood and improves the functioning of kidneys and liver. It is amazing how the ancient Vedic Indians devised this method to keep ourselves fit and free from any negative influences! Scientific Explanation of Ekādaśī Benefits A man or a woman is 80 percent liquid and 20 percent solid like the earth, This is the basic biological condition which helps the understanding about the Ekādaśī fast. We are aware of high tide on new moon and full moon days and low tide on the seventh day of the lunar cycle. This is lunar attraction on the liquid of the earth. The earth and the moon attracts each other but on certain days the attraction is more because of their nearness. It is this attraction that causes tides in the ocean and it is certain that there will be biological high tide and low tide too, governed by the moon. The Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 201 gravitational force of the moon exerts its influence on the water in the human body as it does in the case of the oceans of the planet. Arnold Lieber, a Miami Florida psychiatrist, experimented and found that the biological tides effect our moods and behaviors also. From many of the psychiatric hospitals it has been reported that at full moon or new moon days mental patients’ behavior becomes increasingly disturbed and erratic. In an article, “Does the moon control your moods” Edgar Ziegler writes that the Phoenix Arizona fire department has found that it receives 25 to 30 more calls on nights of the full moon. There are instances, that on these tidal days when the moon comes closest to the earth, people having weak mind or a week body specially suffer more. I know many people with a weak bowel who always complain of the worst suffering on such days. There are fantastic reports quoted in the article of Edgar Zieglar mentioned above. He writes, that Fergus Wood a scientist with the U.S. National Ocean Survey, reported several years ago, that two extreme high tides would occur, one after another, on January 8 and February 7 of 1974. Wood saw that on both occasions, the earth, sun and moon would be positioned along a nearly straight line called a Sygy and that on January 8 1974 the moon would also be very close to the Earth. This frequent combination of astronomic events causes ocean water to rise far above normal levels. On hearing this Arnold Lieber alerted the Miami police department, newspapers and psychiatric emergency rooms at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital predicting a general disturbance in human behavior, during these days, And really, Miami’s murder toll for the first of these weeks of the new year was two times higher than for all of January 1973. Also, there were repeated incidences of motiveless crimes. This was one such example to quote from on how human behavior is affected by the lunar attraction on human personality. Studies on the influence of celestial bodies upon ours have shown an imbalance of hormones and fluids can occur, and that these influences can play a greater part on our pathological diseases and psychological behavior. The physiological glands and hormones concerned relate to the 202 • The science behind the Ekādaśī fast physio-psychic reasons for the various psychic expressions known as vṛttis (propensities), e.g. fear, greed, hatred, passion and anger etc. There are 50 such expressions and if these hormones get imbalanced, the secretions become abnormal, i. e. hypo or hyper, resulting in abnormalities with these expressions (vṛttis). The above experiment of Arnold Lieber was for a few of these vṛttis only; but all such or many of these vṛttiṣ can get affected by lunar biological tides. Not only that, the skin of our body is a semi-permeable membrane that permits movement of electromagnetic forces in both directions, maintaining a dynamic equilibrium. Arnold Lieber says that each nerve impulse generates its small aura of energy for the associated cells, like a miniature solar system, and has its own faint electromagnetic field. It is possible that the gross electromagnetic forces originating with celestial bodies can affect the balance of these microscopic cellular worlds. When there will be extreme tides, there is a chance of heavy bombardment by massive disturbances of grave and surrounding electromagnetic fields. This may cause effects to the nervous system and weaken the nerve fiber. In Lieber’s research on a number of manic depression patients, he found recurrences of symptoms of depression, restlessness, insomnia and rapid heartbeat during extreme tidal days. It is commonly found that a range of attacks are more on tidal days and the effect is from Ekādaśī to New Moon or Full Moon days. Thus Ekādaśī fast has varied effects on the body and the mind to counter negative effects. The first and foremost is keeping the balance of hormones and other secretions in relation to the glands and cells. As there will be no food and water in the stomach on these fasting days, the linear attraction will not affect the intestine, kidney and liver etc. Further, the tendency of the functioning of most of the forces of the body will be centripetal, i. e. towards the inner side of the body. So, the internal gravitational pull will be more powerful to balance the external pull of the lunar gravitational force. This will help in controlled functioning of all the organs, chemical changes, growth of cells and other biological transmutations. If functioning be normal and balanced, there will hardly be health problem and the longevity will get enhanced many Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 203 folds. It is good to fast on both Ekādaśī days and Full Moon and New Moon days. But at least the Ekādaśī fast is a must for all person, male and female above the age of 12 years. As Ekādaśī day falls in between the seventh and fifteenth day of the lunar cycle, i. e. the neap tide and high tide days, a day’s fast helps balancing the effect of the lunar attraction. But, as mentioned above fasting can be done on all the four days for better results, that is: Ekādaśī before New Moon, New Moon itself, Ekādaśī before Full Moon, Full Moon itself. The chance of bombardment of celestial electromagnetic forces on the tiny cells of our body too, will have less or no effect at all, thereby the equilibrium can be better maintained. It has been experimentally seen that manic-depressive patients get cured by such systematic fasts and many abnormalities of the mind which mostly the people of the modern world suffer from to-day, will get reduced. Excessive sexual excitement, anger, irritation, fear, greed and passion etc. also gets sublimated by these fasts. Even hyper-tension can be controlled efficiently with the help of Ekādaśī fast. Mostly people fear that by fasting one will become weak. Such a fear is not genuine. A day’s fast gives rest to the machinery of stomach and thereby helps it to function better in the future. Not only that the undigested food material gets proper opportunity for its further digestion, but also by fasting the digestion power increases, better assimilation of food takes place helping in more production of blood and other necessary chemicals, and thereby helping better health and better nutritional effects. It is both a good measure for would be stomach troubles and a cure for a number of ailments. It helps better functioning of the liver, pancreas, intestines and kidney etc., thereby reducing the chance of any ailment relating to these organs. The fast on Ekādaśī also helps the transmutation of chemicals in the body into subtler factors like ectoplasmic stuff of the mind (i.e. citta or mind-stuff) so that the ectoplasmic stuff associates with the still higher spheres. If the science of meditation is practiced by the aspirant, fasting does not only mean not eating anything, it also means not drinking any thing in the stricter sense. The meaning of fast, i.e. ‘upavāsa’ spiritually means staying with divine ideas, i. e. 204 • The science behind the Ekādaśī fast living closer to the Supreme Conscious Being. This can be done only by shunning the activities of the sensory and motor organs (indriyas) externally and dwelling instead on the various aspects (bhāva) of the Supreme Consciousness or the Supreme Lord. By not eating and drinking on Ekādaśī days along with dwelling on the divine it will certainty help an aspirant to keep himself or herself perfect physiologically and psychologically and thereby help attain the ultimate spiritual purpose of life. Scientific Importance of observing a fast on Ekādaśī From time immemorial, devotees have been observing fasts twice a month on the Ekādaśī days. This fasting is, in general, for everyone. Ekādaśī (‘Eka’ is 1, ‘Daśa’ is 10) is the 11th day in the lunar calendar, i.e. counting from the new moon day and also from the full moon day. According to research, the air pressure in the earth’s Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 205 atmosphere rapidly changes on both the new moon (Amāvasyā) and the full moon (Pūrṇimā) days. This is because of the orbital paths—combination of the sun, moon and the earth and their varying distances at particular intervals (i.e. every 24 hours for one entire rotation of the Earth). Accordingly the pressure in the atmosphere too changes drastically and varies from day to day. This can be observed by the change in the nature of the tidal waves on the new moon and full moon days. On an Amāvasyā, the waves are very high and rough due to the increase in atmospheric pressure in the oceans. But from the next day onwards, the waves become calm—an indication that the pressure has also receded. Particularly on the 11th day from new moon or full moon days, the pressure is very light or nil. Now, based on this fact, the significance of Ekādaśī fasting can be explained in this way – 1. Compared to any other day of the moon cycle, atmospheric pressure is lowest on Ekādaśī days. Thus, this is the best time to fast and cleanse our bodies. If we fast on any other day, the high pressure/strain may damage our system. On this day, the body never experiences the pain while we cleanse our systems, thus refreshing the entire body mechanism—specifically the liver/stomach/bowel. As the atmospheric pressure builds up faster and doubles on the 12th day from Amāvasyā / Pūrṇimā days (called as Dvādaśī), to avoid any complications in the body, people fasting are advised to consume food as early in the morning as possible, the next day. 2. It is noted that fasting on this day is also very conducive to concentrate on meditation and prayers. According to science, it takes about 3-4 days for the brain to understand our food intake after we have eaten. It is said that if we eat light/fast on Ekādaśī days, that intake will reach the brain correspondingly on the new moon/full moon day. 206 • The science behind the Ekādaśī fast Health Benefits Nowadays, people also fast for health reasons; fasting helps in the detoxification of the body. Everyone wants to look good by staying fit in the current times. As such, you may find many youngsters across India fasting. In the medical context, fasting refers to the state achieved after digestion of a meal. A number of metabolic adjustments occur during fasting and many medical diagnostic tests for blood sugar, cholesterol levels are standardized to fasting conditions. Thus fasting has medical reasons coated with religious significance in India. 1. Cleansing of the bowels—Those who observe fasting on Ekādaśī days stay in good health, cleanse their bowel systems and are mostly free from frequent ailments. Also, it is said that for those on the spiritual/religious path, observing a fast on Ekādaśī days, provides a mental peace, by way of selfrealization. This sort of penance is believed to aid them in their spiritual path, thus making them pure in body and mind. 2. Enforcing a better way of life—Fasting improves blood flow or circulation and the body’s capacity to eliminate toxins, resulting in a better overall health. One feels more energetic and alert and is more resistant to all forms of disease or illness. It even slows down the aging process, which is a little more due to the accumulated effects of our bad habits or wrong ways of living. A day of fasting teaches one, selfcontrol and discipline. It greatly helps to break those addictions that are destroying us and helps us start to acquire new and positive habits. Now, let us look at the other scientific facts concerning the 11th day from the full moon & new Moon. In the Indian Vedic system, there are different methods to calculate a month. One such is counting from the new moon day (Amāvāsyā). From the new moon day till the full moon day it is called as Śukla-pakṣa (waxing/growing moon). From the full moon day till the next Amāvasyā, it is known as Kṛṣṇapakṣa (waning/shrinking moon). Mādhava Tithi (Glories of Ekādaśī)• 207 In the celestial phenomena, the Earth as well as moon rise and settle at the same time on Amāvasyā. From the next day up till Amāvasyā, the moon moves about a distance of 12 degrees from the solar path. On the Ekādaśī day (11th day from full moon) the Moon stays at a distance of about 135 degrees in the solar path—this causes lesser gravitation force and thus resulting in lesser atmospheric pressure. Therefore fasting on an Ekādaśī day will not affect the body system as also hunger is said to be minimum at this time.