The name of Ekadasi today is Annada. After the creation of this world, Brahma prayed to the Lord how to arrange for the maintenance of all the jivas’ needs – for food, lodge, dress, everything. Lord Sri Hari smiled sweetly and told Brahma about annamaya-brahma, pranamaya-brahma, jnanamaya-brahma, vijnanamaya-brahma, and anandamaya brahma.

God first gave the jivas food in the form of different grains, annamaya brahma – sesame, rice, barley, wheat, etc. The Lord gave these grains in order to help maintain everyone, but the baddha-jiva is very crazy. Without sharing anything with others, or even offering respect and gratitude to God for kindly giving, they directly took these grains for themselves first. The baddha-jivas have this nature for stealing, stocking and hiding more than needed. After over-collecting, they think, “I will share these grains with someone only if they become my slave and servant, if they have some sweet relation with me, serve me, please me, then I will give, otherwise I’m not giving. I have strength, capacity, power; I will acquire all.”

Prthvi-devi freely gives these grains to all without any condition, she does not reserve herself only for a choice few. She is the generous mother to all. But due to unchecked greed, many jivas acquire her gifts and hold them as their own. God Himself gave in charity this annamaya sakti, free to all, but now all are acquiring, stocking, and hiding. How then to distribute to all? Brahma soon understood this was a big problem.

This selfish nature makes all crazy. Now, here there are many sadhus. And with the presence of these sadhus, so much charity comes. One person will come bearing gifts for everybody in the ashram. Some chocolate will come, many things will be given, but each ‘sadhu’ is now hiding all, and day and night he is eating, chewing these gifts. No one likes sharing. This is a big problem; this nature is crazy.

Now Brahma again prayed, “O Prabhu, You are giving so much but all are stealing and hiding Your gifts. What to do?” At that time Maha-Laksmi discussed with the Lord; She knew that if these jivas are given punishment, they still cannot change. Maha-Laskmi then decided, “By God’s mercy, I will become the supplier and will distribute these grains to these greedy jivas. But I will maintain one condition: no jiva may take grains without My permission; if anyone steals grains without My permission, they will be punished. Also, once the grains have been cooked, this food must first be offered to the Lord, then only should they take.” With these conditions, Maha-Laksmi took on the position to distribute the grains to the jivas who receive Her permission.

Unfortunately, the baddha-jiva is so independent that still many did not follow Her conditions. Without first offering to God, the jivas collected grains and ate, and then as a result became sick, unable to digest, and suffered from their carelessness in not hearing or following God’s own rules and regulations.

God is very kind. He asked Maha-Laksmi, “I see they are taking good grains, so why are they sick?” “Prabhu,” She replied, “they are breaking the rules. They collect from Me, but then they do not offer You, and therefore they are all liars, cheaters, and thieves.”

Bhagavad-Gita (3.13) proclaims,

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo

mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ

bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā

ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt

“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.”{BBT translation}

If only for one’s own self a person collects, cooks, eats or distributes, he receives only sin. But if any of these activities are done as a sacrifice, yajna, for Sri Visnu, then no sin will incur. All that can be collected comes from Maha-Laksmi’s store, and all must also be offered to Bhagavan. If anyone is offering God the grains he collects, then there will be no problem. But the jivas are independent and don’t like to offer, and thus they suffer.

At that time all the rebellious jivas suffer and cry in the hell they create from their own sinful activities. For one person, taking one, two, three, four capattis, this is enough; why should someone take 10 or 20? A fallen person will hide so many and all will become rotten. And if fruits come to you, why can’t you share with God and others? Why must you save all for yourself? And if sweets come then why does a person steal them all? This is all nonsense.

For thieves, there is jail, punishment and beating. But we see that even if a thief gets punishment, and is told “don’t disturb anybody,” often he still cannot hear, and his situation of punishment only worsens. What can he do now? We promise to offer everything to God, but then we forget. Like now we see brahmacaris, who know everything very well, but still they go to the market and purchase one ice cream, one chocolate, one rasa-gulla, rabari, dokla, and eat. They are thinking this is nothing, but without offering God, they are collecting sin every moment. They give to their tongues but they cannot digest – allergy, sickness. Do you eat the rasagulla or does it eat you? Eating time is very nice, but then why suffering? Why punishment comes? It is all sin. This is the big problem. For these incorrigible souls, God Himself comes with immense kindness and melting heart – He offers His own help in the form of this krpa-murti, Annada Ekadasi.

This Annada Ekadasi comes to purify anna, grains, and inspire jivas to offer all to God. God gives us everything free – a good brain and intelligence, His own advice, order, instruction, and later He even gives us the inspiration to follow His advice. For this day of Annada Ekadasi, you must not eat grains. Today one will practice preparing all grains only to offer to God. Thus fasting oneself and offering all grains to God, one purifies oneself and the grains, and later Krsna gives that jiva many wholesome grains as His prasadam over the following 15 days following Ekadasi. If one has properly observed Ekadasi, there will be no problem for receiving grains and lovingly offering them with faith to God, then honoring the Lord’s Prasad. Ekadasi-devi acts as a doctor for the jivas, who collect many things but don’t know what is good or bad, right or wrong. She checks and offers only the good to God – she gives the senses power to absorb in God’s service. Then for the next 14 days, and for one’s entire life, it will not be possible to take anything independently from God.

Where does this independent, sinful desire come from? The jiva is born drinking his mother’s breast milk. At that time he is a small baby with no developed brain or knowledge; the mother gives and he takes. But it is from this point that his independence comes. After taking mother’s milk, then anything that comes he thinks it’s his food; why? What will a small child do? Anything he touches he will put in his mouth – if he catches an earthworm, grabs a knife, a chili, anything, he will try to eat it. Why? This desire first comes from taking his mother’s breast. But if the mother is a good mother, then she will first give her baby God’s caranamrta, God’s maha-prasad butter, then after only will she give her breast. Also, even her own breast-milk she will not give directly to her son first, but instead she will first collect like cow’s milk, and give to God. Why should she not directly give her baby first? If she gives, then her baby is now sva-tantra, independent. They are first not drinking mahaprashad, but drinking blood, sucking blood, and with that blood now their nature changes. This is only the fault of the mother. Therefore Ekadasi-devi tells to all mothers, “If you give birth to babies, give milk to your babies by love, by first offering your breastmilk to God.” But unfortunately, no father or mother has training and both are punished. Therefore in English the word “mom” sounds like “mum” – “mummy” – and the word “dad” like “dead.” One is dead and one is mum; both are put in the graveyard. Therefore these faults come for parents.

Thus this Ekadasi-devi is telling, “Don’t take independently.” Nowadays many babies are born who don’t like their mother’s milk, and they are never taking. Also many mothers don’t want to give their breast-milk – they don’t want to be tired, bad-looking, dirty, and lose their youth, and therefore they give their babies other things, chemicals, formulas, but they are actually giving poison. They are not giving God’s caranamrta, God’s Prasad. If they have no training in this, how could that mood come?

This is therefore a very dangerous, demonic time, with many demonic policies. These babies are born like Maya-devi herself is born, and parents by love are immediately stroking, “ah ah ooo ooo.” In previous times however, when babies were born they were at once brought to rsis and maharsis, who would recite Veda, Mantra, bathe them in Ganga water and perform yajna and dhana. Afterward, then the baby would be given Hari’s caranamrta and next the mother would give her breast-milk. If a mother does not first give to her child tulsi-prasad, caranamrta, tilak, things with God’s relation, then as a reaction to this sin, they will suffer at the hands of their child who may later beat and abuse that mother, kick her, shoot the father, or torture them in different ways. And why will this poisonous nature come to that child? This is coming from the fault and sin of the mother and father. So, first training is necessary for all parents in Vaisnava philosophy and sastra.

So today is Annada Ekadasi; how will all anna, grains, be pure? One should think, “I have not created anything. All this creation comes from God, and anything I have, I will offer first to God; then it is pure.” Then you will have no more suffering or tension. So, this Annada Ekadasi is giving strength and power to follow this bhakti program.

If your ahara, diet, is pure then your brain will be very nice. You will then have a pure brain and clean heart, and your memory will be very sharp and vast. You will remember past lives and all that you did before; all will come. Your future will be positive and progressive; nothing will be destroyed if you maintain this purity of Mahaprasad diet. Soon after you will get liberation, mukti, followed by svarupa-siddhi. So really this ahara, diet, is one of the main important things. Check this tongue before giving yourself anything, “Is this Prasad or not? Is this offered or not?” By love if anyone gives you anything, then be clever and at the time you offer that to God, then offer to Guru and Vaisnavas. If not possible for you to offer to God, then simply offer to Guru and Vaisnavas, then share with others, then take for yourself.

Once a magistrate paid a visit to a householder accompanied by many members of his party. The householder happily made many arrangements to receive him and gave him a flat in which to stay. The magistrate accepted the lodging, and also requested, “I will honor what you are offering me to eat, but I will not eat alone. All must come together and eat.” The householders told him, “No you are great. We want you to eat first,” but he strongly insisted, “No, all of you must come.” The table was arranged for everyone to eat together, and the householders asked once more, “Why are you doing this? We feel shy to eat before you.” The magistrate admitted, “Is anyone giving good things or bad things? Poison? I don’t know. But if all are eating together, then I know it’s pure.”

In this world everything is poison without being first offered to God. Many demons who were averse to God tried to poison devotees; Mirabhai’s husband offered her poison, but it failed to have any effect. Also Prahlad Maharaja was offered poison but nothing could touch him. If anything is not offered to God, don’t touch, don’t take – this will be poison. First offer to God – but this is not enough! Offer all Vaisnavas, bhaktas, and then take yourself. This will then be called amrta, nectar, paramamrta, supreme nectar. This will be yajna-vasista. It will no longer be sin.

Only for this purpose does Annada Ekadasi appear, to teach the jivas how to take only pure, suddha mahaprasad, to teach them to offer everything, to give power, inspiration, advice, energy, strength, taste – for this she has come. If I cannot follow then my allergy and sickness will never be relieved. From childhood to the last of my days, I must not take anything but God’s Mahaprasad. If I miss this then I fall down into the material ocean, into hell, and boil and suffer in the hellish planets. Just see how people are suffering – in their homes, in the street, everywhere people are suffering! Why? Only for this cause of not taking Mahaprasad.

Pray to this Annada Ekadasi, “Please, give me a good brain and intelligence, then I will not misuse this annamaya brahma.” (vijnanamaya-brahma, annamaya brahma, jnanamaya-brahma, annamayabrahma – as Vedanta-sutra tells us, Brahma (the all pervasive spiritual energy) is present in five places. First is grains. This anna is not meant simply for my bhoga (enjoyment), it is meant to nourish everybody in the form of Mahaprasad and prevent all suffering in life. Don’t allow your tongue, belly, or mind to do anything independently of Hari, Guru, and Vaisnavas. Just because it is summer season, I may think, “Ah, yes, one lassi is good for me. I need an ice cream. But how is it possible for me to give everybody? I will just take for myself.” But in our lifetime Gurudeva taught us clearly, even to take only this much for yourself will harm you. The Pandavas are a good example of how to share.

Just see – Arjuna won Draupadi and then returned home with his five brothers and announced to his mother Kunti, “O my Mother, today all of us have gone for bhiksa and look, such a nice bhiksa came.” Observing Draupadi, his mother replied, “Your five brothers should share this bhiksa. First offer her to God, then all five of you share.”

“Mother this kind of donation is not possible to share.”

“Yes. It is possible. First offer God and then you share. You are hungry?”

“O Mother, this is not for sharing!”

“I am telling; this is true.”

After his mother’s strong advice, the five Pandava brothers all married one lady, Draupadi. The example of sharing a wife with others does not apply for us, but for our life, we must first offer grains to God and share with others. Then God will understand that we have controlled our tongue, belly and mind and that we are really only His followers. This you must practice. If you don’t practice then you are only in animal life.

When Westerners began coming to India to follow Gurudeva, Gurudeva would order, “Hey, arrange ice cream on some days.” In our life in the temple we never, never touched ice cream; nor chocolate, cake, or cookies. We had very simple Prasad; capatti or rice, and even rice was also not available for sometimes 15 days or one month. We only begged atta for making capatti, then made this once a day and offered, bas. Everybody shared. But Gurudeva insisted on this ice cream for the Western devotees, “They are going outside for food,” he would tell me with concern.

“What else should I make for them, Gurudeva?”

“Butter samosa. Rasa Gulla. Hallava. Laddu.” Gurudeva was so kind and protective, and wanted everyone to only take mahaprasada. Now it seems that everyday this kind of mahaprasad is available for devotees. So why are any devotees then still going outside the temple to eat? They purchase dokla, go to other ashrams, hotels, restaurants, and dabbas only for this tongue twinkling sensation they are running here and there like a goat, eating anything A to Zed. This is now the position of many – goat life.

Pray to Ekadasi-devi, especially follow this Annada Ekadasi. Annamaya brahma. If we offer anna and then take, then brahma is with us. If I am a cheater, then I am cheated with Maya-devi. We may offer very nice things, like bread, momu, tofu, and our tongues drop out of our mouths like a dog’s tongue, dripping water everywhere. No, don’t do like this, like a hungry jackal. Now you are in human life, now you are understanding, you have will power, controlling power, and if you find you have no power, then pray to Ekadasi-devi. She has promised to God to help such jivas. She has promised, “If they only follow me even a little, I am helping them.” This vrata means promise. Promise today to take Ekadasi’s shelter, never to do anything independent of her and God’s family.

In our lifetime, many different foodstuffs came to us, like even prasadam of Radha-Ramana, Radha-Damodara, Radha-Govindadeva, Jagannatha – oh, how many things Krsna is sending for us to test us. He looks, “What are they doing with this? Immediately taking?” After some time we become hungry and thirsty, but we must think, “if bhaktas are giving then only it is possible to take. If not giving, then how I am myself taking?” If I am first taking, then big punishment.

For testing us, God gives this good chance, He gives all things, everything, but never touch, don’t look at anything. If looking then you will be caught. And if touching, then bas, smashed. But if I also give to Vaisnavas, bhaktas, if I cook extra, a double portion, and I first share with other devotees, then Krsna is very pleased. You must make a double portion, not all for your own belly. If everything that is cooked goes into only one belly, then that belly will break, there will be ulcers, otherwise piles, stones, bleeding, or blood in the urine. This punishment will come if you take all for yourself and stock. At that time you will understand something, when doctor is cutting and taking everything out, ah! What a sweet taste comes at that time. Therefore don’t do like this.

Go near the bhaktas and beg; if you are hungry do this, “Prabhu please give me something.” I have two hands and the Vaisnavas also have two hands. This is called anugatya. In our life, when we first came to the temple we saw how many things were there in Gurudeva’s room. His sevakas would give them out and distribute. No one would ever ask for something extra, salt or anything – Prasad would come, and they would be satisfied by that, they would not ask. They would respect. And everyday when Gurudeva would receive his prasadam meals, he would again offer with tulsi. I couldn’t understand, and so I asked him, “Why are you offering again? This has already been offered to Thakurji.” He replied, “They are offering, but I am now offering my Guru Maharaja. Otherwise how can I take? This is called anugatya.”

If one does not learn this, then they have not understood the glories of Ekadasi-devi. This Annada Ekadasi comes during the months of Caturmasya-vrata for the benefit of Rsis, Maharsis, Brahmasis and tapasvis, and for the benefit of all. However, if ignorant persons do wrong, they may receive a little punishment, but if anybody who has knowledge of sastra’s injunctions behaves wrongly, then they endure double and triple the punishment. For protection from this, Ekadasi-devi kindly comes with all Vedas, Vedanta-sutra, Upanisads and gives knowledge to help us. Guru Maharaja has arranged everything here to be very easy for us; we have no tension. But don’t cheat your own self.

One crow sat atop a tree’s branch and closed his eyes and began passing stool. Another bird came and asked him, “What is the problem? Why don’t you open your eyes?”

The crow said, “I don’t want anybody to watch me.”

“How does that make sense?”

“If I am not watching anyone, then no one is watching me,” the crow reasoned.

This is foolishness. One may think they can do as they like without anyone else knowing, but Parabrahma has many millions of eyes, “sahasra sirsa visnu,” He is present everywhere. Why do I hide nice things for myself? Don’t cheat! You will not get Ekadasi-devi’s mercy like this.

Bolo Ekadasi devi ki Jai! Bolo Guru Maharaja ki Jai! Caturmasya-vrata ki Jai! Annada Ekadasi ki jai!

Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!

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