Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga

Parsva Ekadasi and Vamana Dvadasi – 16 Sept 2013 published by Bhaktabandhav.com

Today is Parsva Ekadasi and Vamana Dvadasi. Both these tithis are together. This is called vishnu-srinkhala-yoga. These tithis have come together to bind Vishnu. In the beginning of the rainy season there is Sayana Ekadasi. On that day, Hari lays down to rest on His left side. Two months later, at the halfway point of caturmasya, Lord Vishnu turns on to His right side. Two of Bhagavan’s saktis are bhu-sakti and lila-sakti. Sometimes bhu-sakti receives prominence in Bhagavan’s service and sometimes lila-sakti has prominence. Sri-sakti and lila-sakti are one and bhu-sakti is separate. If you go to the temples of South India, you will always see Sri-devi and Bhu-devi present in the temple with Vishnu.

However, these are extrinsic points on the import of this day. What is the real matter?

When a sadhaka properly follows vaidhi-marga in the beginning months of caturmasya, on this juncture, or halfway point of the caturmasya-vrata, one can receive entrance into the raga-marga.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains in his song—
vidhi-marga-rata-jane, swadhinata ratna-dane,
raga-marge korana pravesa
raga-basavarti ho’ye, parakiya-bhavasroye,
labhe jiva krishna-premavesa

[Krishna eventually bestows the jewel of independence unto those persons who are attached to the path of rules and regulations, thereby allowing them entrance into the path of spontaneous loving service. Becoming influenced by such spontaneity, remaining under the shelter of parakiya-bhava, the soul finally attains all the symptoms of ecstatic love for Krishna.]

When Bhagavan rests, He gives mercy through Ekadasi-devi. Ekadasi-devi knows all varieties of ways to serve Bhagavan. She also knows how to arrange that the living entities engage in God’s service. Ekadasi-devi gives this qualification and ability to the jivas. When a person has desire for vraja-seva and residence in Vraja, then Bhagavan sends Ekadasi-devi as well as Paurnamasi Yogamaya-devi and Vrinda-devi to help that person. Such a person receives seva-siksha, or instructions on how to serve. The jivas natural inclination then becomes fully absorbed in Bhagavan. By taking shelter of Ekadasi-devi one begins to engage in smarana, remembrance.

seva sadhaka-rupena
siddha-rupena catra hi
tad-bhava-lipsuna karya
vraja-lokanusaratah

[One who has intense longing to attain ragatmika-bhakti follows in the footsteps of the Vrajavasis who are devoted to raga-marga. With his external body (sadhaka-rupa) he should chant and hear according to the practice of raganuga-bhakti, and with his internally contemplated body (siddha-rupa) bestowed upon him by his Guru, he should perform service in Vraja, following in the wake of the Vrajavasis.]

Some people do so much service and then become proud. Some people only serve to please materialists. Some people are egotists who only perform service for personal prestige, saying, “Look how great a servant I am.” But what is the real identity and nature of a servant? By performing real service the color of nitya-seva will come in the heart. When one sincerely performs seva in the form of a sadhaka under guidance of a high-class Vaishnava, he will soon realize his eternal spiritual form and service in the spiritual world. This is not possible for all. Ekadasi-devi watches. She looks to see who wants to come nearby Hari, who is on the side of Hari. The true source of the word Sri is sarva-lakshmi-mayi, sarva-kanta-siromani, mahabhava-svarupini Srimati Radha Thakurani.
“Who is in Radharani’s paksha? Who wants Her shelter? Who wants to serve Her?” Ekadasi-devi searches for such persons in Radharani’s group and gives Her full help to them. She gives them siddha-rupa-paricaya, understanding of their eternal form. This is no ordinary thing. This is not some two day drama or joke. It is not as cheap as someone coming to the temple, staying there for a while and then announcing his glories on Facebook and decorating his name with titles like maha-mandalesvara and parivrajaka-acarya-varya. Where did all these tufted tails come from? They came from where tails come from. Follow them to their source. Who ever heard of sannyasis or sadhus having tails?

The real result of seva is that by serving in the body of a sadhaka, when your mood matures, you will experience your eternal spiritual form and service in Vraja. This is the real fruit of following Ekadasi and caturmasya. In the early spring you plant a seed, and gradually that grows into a sapling, then in the fall that tree will bear fruits. So, now we have observed the Ekadasis in the two months that followed Sayana Ekadasi, and in the eight months prior to that after caturmasya. Now there should be fruits coming on the tree of your sadhana. They will soon be fully ripe, meaning that Prabhu, the Supreme Lord, will awaken knowledge of your spiritual form and service in the land of Vraja. He says, “Now I am showing your svarupa-gata-seva-pravritti (the nature of your eternal form and service). I will make this fructify and it will be so sweet!”
Bhagavan has been watching how we have progressed up to now. He checks, “Who renders service?”
Our Prabhu is resting now during caturmasya. Who is fanning Him? Who is massaging His feet? Who is waiting at the door? Who is arranging His nitya-bhoga-raga, opulent offerings. In this world, we see that when the farmer retreats from the field to his home, the bulls and oxen lay down and sleep. They do no further work—kisan gelo ghara, langana tuli tara. When Sri Guru is not present before our mortal vision, how do we engage our time? What do we do when we have no master directly instructing us what to do? When the farmer is in the field, the bulls must plow. But when the farmer returns to his house, the bull sleeps and will not get up. This is our unfortunate state. We somehow came near Sri Guru, but as soon as he turns away a little, we jump again into the current of maya.

Bhagavan thinks, “I am resting. Who is engaged in My service. Who is arranging bhoga? Who is doing japa, tapa, niyama, puja and patha? Who is following the rules and regulations of spiritual life?”
Bhagavan accepts everyone’s service and, today, on Parsva Ekadasi, He rolls onto His other side. By doing this, He is saying to the avid sadhakas, “Come! Now I will take you from your sadhaka-sarira (physical body) to your siddha-sarira (spiritual form), crossing beyond Maya-devi’s boundary. Now Kartika-vrata, Damodara-vrata, Urja-vrata and niyama-seva is coming. The opportunities to serve Srimati Radharani are coming. I will give you entrance into the most intimate service.”

Until the jiva has sat-pravritti, spiritual tendency, and sat-seva, spiritual service, he will be filled with asat-pravritti, ill tendencies, and durguna, bad qualities, he will perform kukurma and vikarma, impious and sinful action, and will desire for labha, puja, and pratishtha, gain, adulation and prestige. For one is only inclined to enjoy his senses in the material word, how will tyaga and vairagya ever come? How can we follow niyama and sadhana, rules and spiritual practice, and how can para-sakti, Divine Potency, come to us?

It is said—
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat samas cabhyadhikas ca drisyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jshana-bala-kriya ca
Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.8

[The Supreme Lord has nothing to do, and no one is equal to or greater than Him, for everything is done naturally and systematically by His multifarious energies, such as jshana, bala, and kriya.]

Jshana, spiritual knowledge, bala, spiritual strength, and kriya, spiritual inclination and service tendency, will all come to one who is taking shelter of para-sakti, the Divine Potency. We should know that we, the spirit souls, are not of this world. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita—

apareyam itas tvanyam priakritim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat
Bhagavad-gita 7.5

[However, this inanimate material nature which has eight divisions (earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego) is an inferior nature. Know that I have another superior energy in the form of the jivas, who have accepted this material word for enjoyment by means of their fruitive actions.]

Knowing that we are innately of a higher nature, we should strive to rise above the material coverings by taking shelter of the Divine Potency. As further said by Krishna—

mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakritim asritah
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jshatva bhutadim avyayam

Bhagavad-gita 9.13

[O Partha, the mahatmas, however, having taken shelter of My Divine Potency, know Me to be the original and imperishable cause of all beings. They constantly engage in My bhajana with their minds fixed exclusively on Me.]
Who is para-sakti, the higher potency? The highest potency, and the original source of all potency, is Srimati Radharani. By taking shelter of Her, we will realize vastava-vastu, the Absolute Truth, Krishna, and receive spiritual strength to serve Him. Kriya, or service tendency, will be eternally present within us. From the sadhaka form, one will then enter the siddha-svarupa, spiritual form. Spiritual strength, experience and knowledge, to be used in service, will come. Then one will not be a disturbance to anyone. He will be untouched by tamasika tendencies.

Bhagavan arranges this lila to send us towards the proper acceptance and execution of a vrata on Suddha Ekadasi, and to instruct us to purely and properly follow Suddha Ekadasi. Until worldly people know phala-sruti, the results of following a vrata, then they will not be inclined to practice the vrata, or the limbs of bhakti. People must be given a bribe, or hear about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There must be some way to awaken their greed.

Anyhow, we must try to understand Sri Guru’s bhava and vicara, mood and conception. And to do this we must take shelter of Ekadasi-devi. She is Madhava-tithi and Bhakti-janani. To understand the different considerations included in bhakti is very difficult. We do not understand the words of sadhus. There is no place for guru-vani in our mind. We have no sraddha for the imports of sastra. We do not understand the behavior of Vaishnavas. But Ekadasi is matri-svarupini. She is mother. What does She do? She says, “O child, do not do this. This is the truth. Do this. It is good for you.”

Srila Gurudeva traveled all over the world to liberate the conditioned souls. Only fools criticized his activities. One time in Hawaii, he went to see the whales in the ocean. Someone said, “He is a maha-bhagavata. Why does he want to see the whales? This is only tourism.” But Srila Gurudeva is not an insect or fish like you and me. All the jivas that are in the air, in the water, on the land or anywhere—Srila Gurudeva thinks for the welfare these materially bound souls. Wherever he goes, he sees the lila of Bhagavan. He does not see the material bodies covering the living entities, he sees their souls, and mercifully considers how to liberate them.

vidya-vinaya-sampanne
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panditah sama-darsinah
Bhagavad-gita 5.18

[The wise look with equal vision upon a gentle and learned brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a candala.]
But what do you see? You simply engage in guru-ninda and thus pave your pathway to hell. What will be the result of your criticism of Sri Guru? Srila Gurudeva did not go to see the whales but to give darsana to them and to liberate them. Whatever and whoever we go to see, we become attracted and ensnared in the grip of illusion. Whatever we see we try to make our own possession, but this is not so in the case of pure devotees. The pure devotees offer whatever they see to Bhagavan’s lotus feet and bestow anuraga to those are fortunate enough to be in their presence. The Vaishnavas are simple-hearted. But to perceive the Vaishnavas as transcendental personalities and not mortal beings, that is difficult for conditioned souls. Conditioned souls always have many conditions. They always look for faults, neglecting a thousand good qualities, to focus on one apparent fault.

Hence, Srila Rupa Gosvami states in his Upadesamrita (6)—

drishtaih svabhava-janitair vapushas ca doshair
na prakritatvam iha bhakta-janasya pasyet
gangambhasam na khalu budbuda-phena-pankair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nira-dharmaih

[Devotees who are in this material world should not be considered material; that is, one should not consider them ordinary jivas. Imperfections seen in their natures, such as birth in a low caste, harshness or lethargy, and imperfections seen in their bodies, such as ugly features, disease or deformities, are precisely like the appearance of bubbles, foam and mud in the Ganga. Despite such apparent pollution of her water, the Ganga retains her nature as liquefied transcendence. Similarly, one should not attribute material defects to self-realized Vaishnavas.]

We think everyone has bad qualities. We think that even the Vaishnavas are contaminated and filled with bad qualities. We see them with martya-buddhi, as ordinary mortals, and consider them just like us. In this way, we make many offenses.

The Padma Purana warns—
arcye vishnau sila-dhir gurushu nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhir
vishnor va vaishnavanam kali-mala-mathane pada-tirthe ‘mbu-buddhih
sri-vishnor namni mantre sakala-kalusha-he sabda-samanya-buddhir
vishnau sarvesvare tad-itara-sama-dhir yasya va naraki sah

[Anyone who considers the worshipable Deity to be stone; who considers the Vaishnava Guru to be a mortal man; who considers a Vaisnava to be limited by the confines of caste, lineage, or creed; who considers the holy foot-wash of Lord Vishnu (Ganga water), or of a Vaishnava (caranamrita), to be ordinary water; who considers the holy name (the Hare Krishna maha-mantra), which vanquishes all sins, to be material sound vibration; and who considers the God of gods, Lord Vishnu, to be merely on the level of demigods, such a person becomes a resident of hell.]

That person who sees the Vaishnava to be of mundane designations, Guru as an ordinary man, the Deity to be mere stone, and the holy name as ordinary sound, he is said to be a resident of hell.

Who will help us understand the truth of these matters? Again and again we hear that Ekadasi is the mother of bhakti and that if we do not receive Her mercy, then our lives will pass uselessly on to destruction; but still, we feel no inclination to follow. We are satisfied to pass away our lives in flickering sense enjoyment, oblivious to our coming death, like a goat that nibbles on grass as it is lead to the slaughterhouse.

The glories of Ekadasi must be understood in sat-sanga! This will give us spiritual benefit. Today, Ekadasi comes to grant the many conditioned souls who have come in their sadhaka-sariras, a chance to realize and enter their siddha-sarira, spiritual form. Today, Ekadasi-devi calls Vamanadeva to help us by stealing away all our sins, material piety, and the speculations of our mind. She invites Him, saying, “Please come. Take away their karma-phala, the reactions of their fruitive activities.”

If we are not freed from the fruits of our punya and papa, piety and sin, then we will never be able to do bhajana. By performing punya, pious activity, one becomes proud of health, wealth, and luxury. And by performing papa, sin, one becomes sick, destitute, and miserable.

Ekadasi-devi says to Vamanadeva, “Prabhu, please first take away the karma-phala that waits for them. With your first footstep please take this. Then, with Your second step, please curb the wicked nature and speculations of their minds. They accept their wicked minds as guru, not knowing that the mind will lead them to hell.”

Prabhupada says—

dushta mana tumi kisera vaishnava?
pratishthara tare, nirjanera ghare
tava harinama kevala kaitava

[O wicked mind! What kind of Vaishnava are you? Your chanting in a solitary place is simply for pratishtha, name and fame. Such chanting is nothing but hypocrisy.]

You hide in a room and sit to chant harinama, but you do not do any service. You will not make the glorious endeavor of grinding your body like sandalwood on a stone for the sake of the Beloved Lord of your heart. Sala! Tomara bhajana kevala kaitava—your bhajana is only hypocrisy. You have no desire to serve. This body has been given to you by Bhagavan but you have accepted your mind as guru. You therefore think in many wicked ways. Alas! We are worse than demons and animals. We are slaves of the dushta-mana, the wicked mind. How can we be saved from this demonic mentality and animal nature?

Ekadasi-devi prays to Vamanadeva on our behalf, “O Prabhu, please free them from this pasu-vritti (animal nature).”

Hearing Her prayer, the Lord takes this away from us with His second step. Then Ekadasi-devi says, “Prabhu, now only the soul remains. Please take this atma with Your third step.”

When the time came for Bali Maharaja to fulfill his promise and give the Lord a place to put His third step, he had already lost all his possessions. What else was there to give? Then good intelligence came to him. Once he gave up his wicked and foolish guru, the mind, then good intelligence came to him and he offered prostrated obeisances and said, “Prabhu, You have taken everything else, but You have not yet taken me. Please accept this wretched soul!”

It is our great misfortune that we do not surrender ourselves like this. If the Lord Himself says to us, “I will take you. Come with Me,” we will not come. We will say, “No, I will not come now. I will finish my BA, and then my MB. I will have to get a job and then I can do bhajana. Prabhu, just wait quietly. When the right time comes, I will do bhajana.” Saying this, we collect a degree, a wife or husband, a house, and many children. Then we say, “How can I leave my family and do bhajana? Prabhu, You have given so much to me. I can’t just give it all up! But You can sit and watch over my house. Don’t worry. After doing bhajana of my family, then I will worship You. If I leave all this You have given me to worship You alone, who will take the responsibility for my family? Who will accept the burden and sin of renouncing them? O Lord, it is my duty to take care of all my dependents.”

The conditioned souls have so many conditions and foolish conceptions. They are all resulting from one thing. The dushta-mana, wicked mind. Oh! We don’t realize that tomorrow we will be forced to leave everything and die. Whether we are ready or not, we must leave everything. We will be dragged away from our bodies and possessions. When you die, your son will break your head open and set you on fire. Or maybe you will simply be thrown in a drain to rot. Why wait for death to force you to surrender to his will? Why not willingly surrender to the Lord and achieve immortal life?

Bali Maharaja said, “Prabhu, please take me!” He offered obeisance to Vamanadeva who, being pleased, placed His foot on Bali’s head, thus taking His promised three steps. Bali Maharaja’s head was thus graced with the Lord’s foot. That place on the head of Bali Maharaja and all the devotees is called the sikha. Now we are like heathens. We call ourselves Hindus but we do not keep sikhas due to some prospective embarrassment. We are not worthy of being called Hindus, what to speak of true Vaishnavas.

Bhagavan Himself says, “This place on your head is reserved now for Me. By keeping a sikha in this place, you will always have good intelligence and no one else will be able to steal your mind. If you are always with Me, then maya will not be able to control you.”

We must all keep sikhas. For ladies, all their hair is a sikha. But now we see that even ladies wear short hair. And for men, the sikha is kept on the back of the head, for that is the place where Lord Vamanadeva placed His lotus feet on Bali’s head.

Vamanadeva took Bali Maharaja as His very own. This was His third step. When the Lord takes this third step, Ekadasi-devi rejoices, saying, “Yes. Now I have won. I have completed vishnu-srinkhala-yoga, binding the soul in union with God.”

The Lord then bound Bali Maharaja in the coils of Anantadeva. Bali Maharaja’s sister thought, “What is this? My brother gave You everything and now You are binding him with a snake? How cruel You are! Seeing your charming form, I previously longed to show you motherly affection and feed you my breast milk. But now, mark my words, if I was in the position of your mother, I would place poison on my breasts to kill You!”

Why did she think in this way? She was a danavi, woman born in a demonic lineage, and she was also a servant of the wicked and uncontrolled mind.

ksane rusta ksane tusta rusta tusta ksane ksane
avyavahita cittanam prasado api bhayankarah

Even the affection or mercy of a restless and unstable person is very dangerous and frightening. At one moment, he is furious, and at the next moment, satisfied—moment by moment his mood changes. Rusta means angry, tusta means satisfied, and ksane means in a moment. At every moment, the moods of materialistic followers of the mind are oscillating.

Ekadasi-devi offers us to the Lord and the Lord then binds us, saying, “You are Mine. You cannot go here or there.”

Prahlada Maharaja came to free his grandson Bali. He said to Vamanadeva, “Prabhu, that person who merely chants Your name can receive all types of mukti. But today You have bound Bali, Your surrendered devotee. What is the cause of this astonishing pastime, my Lord?”

“He is My property,” the Lord said. “I will do whatever I like with My property.” He asked Bali, “Are you unhappy?”

“No,” said Bali Maharaja. “I am submerged in an ocean of bliss.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings—

sarvasva tomara, carane sampiya, podechi tomara ghare
tumi to’ thakura, tomara kukura, boliya janaho more

[Hey Prabhu! I have surrendered everything I possess at Your lotus feet and remain prostrate in Your house. You are my Lord and I am Your dog. Kindly accept me as such.]

When we offer everything to Sri Guru, we experience only bliss and peace—

atma nivedana, tuya pade kari, hainu parama sukhi
duhkha dure gela, cinta na rahila, caudike ananda dekhi

[By surrendering myself to Your lotus feet I have become supremely happy. All suffering has gone far away and I have no more worries. Now I see happiness in all directions.]

When we are at the shelter of the Supreme Lord, we are liberated and experience ultimate peace.

The Lord asked, “Bali, do you want anything?”

“Yes, of course I want something.”

“What do you want?”

“I want You!” Bali said.

The Lord smiled.

“You have made me Your own,” Bali said, “now I want to make You my own. I do not want to ever be separated from You.”

The Lord said, “Tathastu, so be it. But where will you keep Me?”

“My Lord,” Bali said, “many people come in and out of my abode. Please situate Yourself in the gopuram, the gateway. I will make you a place in the gateway so that whoever comes will have to go underneath Your lotus feet. Your feet will come on the heads of everyone, as they have come on my head. Then their minds will be purified.”

Until one receives the dust from the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Bhagavan, one can never be purified in mind and heart. This chance is received by all those who offer respects and walk through the Gopuram. In such an arrangement, how can the intelligence ever become misled by the wicked mind?

Every time that Bali Maharaja came in or out of his home, he did pranama and took the footdust of his Lord. That person who does not do pranama to Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas upon seeing them is destined to reside in hell.

vaishnava dekhiya je na noiya munda
se munda padi tara narakera kunda

Upon seeing the Vaishnavas, if a person does not respectfully offer obeisances to them, he will fall to a lake in hell. No one will be able to save that person.

Today, on Parsva Ekadasi, Bhagavan turns onto His other side. He accepts everyone as His own and gives them bhakti.

When Sudama came and took shelter of Krishna, he prayed, “kaha krishna sri niketana, kaha daridra papiyam—You are Lakshmipati and I am such a sinful beggar. O Prabhu, I have come to Your door. Please accept me as Your own.” The Lord came running and embraced Sudama.

If we take the shelter of Ekadasi-devi then we will have no reason to worry in this world. So take Her shelter. Follow Suddha Ekadasi. Pray to Ekadasi-devi to engage us in Bhagavan’ service; not for anything material. But do we pray? On the day of Ekadasi, have we ever prayed like this? Have we said, “O Devi! You are the mother of bhakti. You are madhava-tithi and hari-vasara. Please give me Your mercy.”

We do not do this. We think, “When will the lemonade come? When will the juice come?” and we eat fistfuls of almonds, cashews and raisins. We dream about French-fries and fruit salad. This is what we think about. We do not think of Bhagavan and we do not pray to Ekadasi-devi.

We should pray—

madhava, bahuta minati kori toya
dei tulasi tila deho samarpinu,
doya jani na chadabi moya

[O Madhava, with this offering of a Tulasi leaf and sesame seeds, I beseech You and pledge my body in Your service. I know Your compassion is such that You will not reject me.]

Do we ever cry and pray like this? Have we offered all of our senses in the service of Madhava? If we did so, then why is there still ahankara plaguing our hearts?

Maya lati khai pisaci palai—we are the servants of kama, krodha, lust, and anger. Why should we knowingly stay under the whip of maya? Those days that have passed, have passed. But let this not be our future. We should respect our mother, Ekadasi-devi, and surrender ourselves at Her lotus feet. Then She will take care of us and protect us. She will offer us to the lotus feet of Bhagavan and give us the chance to attain Bhagavan’s eternal service. Our mentality should be like this; then our lives will be successful. Otherwise, our live will be destroyed. Asat-sanga tyaga ei vaishnava acara

tato duhsangam utsrijya
satsu sajjeta buddhi-man
santa evasya chindanti
mano-vyasangam uktibhih
Caitanya-caritamrita, Adi, 1.59

“One should avoid bad company and associate only with devotees. With their realized instructions, such saints cut the knot connecting one with activities unfavorable to devotional service.”

Our dushta pravritti, wicked nature, and bad qualities—how will these things leave us? Guru-vani and vaishnava-vani will cut this. It will destroy these things from within the heart of the jiva. Then guru-vani will decorate us with pure intelligence and good qualities. And whomever they have done this to, that person becomes pleasing to all others.

The vani of the Vaishnavas is like a sharp sword that attacks us. It is painful. But by hearing that vani, our heart will become nirmala, completely pure. We will be freed from sin, illusion, raga, dvesa, abhinivesa—all unwanted things will be cut away. The sadhus have such sakti.

Therefore, stay in sadhu-sanga—

‘sadhu-sanga’, ‘sadhu-sanga’—sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya, 22.54

[The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.]

tulayama lavenapi
na svargam napunar-bhavam
bhagavat-sangi-sangasya
martyanam kim utasishah
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.18.13

[The value of a moment’s association with the devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which are for those who are meant for death.]

It is imperative that we come into the association of the sadhus and hear from them. Sadhus are not ordinary. They have all good qualities, intelligence, and behavior. Giving this, they make the jivas like themselves. They will not allow the jivas to traverse the path of akalyana, inauspiciousness. But if we perceive the sadhus with prakrita-buddhi, a mundane attitude, or think them to be mortal and mundane, like us, then we will not be saved.

Ekadasi-devi is Bhakti-Janani. She so mercifully comes every fifteen days. We must be very serious and careful. We must follow Her and respect Her properly. What does it mean to properly follow Ekadasi? By simply refraining from eating is this accomplished? Today, there are many people that lie on the road, starving and unable to get food. There are many babies that drink only the milk of their mothers’ breast. There are many patients in the hospital that are unable to eat, but are they getting the result of following Ekadasi-vrata? No.

sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam
tat-paratvena nirmalam
hrishikena hrishikesa-
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
Narada Pancaratra

[Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.]

Fully engaging the eleven senses in Bhagavan’s service is defined as bhakti. Today we pray to Ekadasi-devi, “O mother, I do not have the strength to offer myself fully to Krishna’s service. Please take my senses and offer them in Bhagavan’s service. Please give me the strength to be fully engaged in service. And please give me the necessary training.”

Other than Ekadasi Devi, who is there to help us in this world? Fathers make us work, mothers say to work harder, children call us cruel and our spouses abuse us and instruct us in so many ways. But none of them advise us to take the shelter of Ekadasi-devi or offer all our senses in Bhagavan’s service. We have already heard what they will do with us when we die.

Ekadasi-devi is not like this. She is very clever. She called Vamanadava, “Come, come. Assume Your form as Trivikrama and steal everything from Bali. Make him Your bhakta.”

We are very fortunate. We have come to the shelter of Srila Guru-pada-padma and the Vaishnavas. I am praying to everyone that they do not waste their lives. Do not allow yourself to be the slave of lust and anger and the victim of maya.

Our Param Gurudeva has three saktis. One is Vamana, Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja; one is Narayana, Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja; and one is Trivikrama, Srimad Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja. Param Gurudeva has arranged to liberate the whole world with these three saktis. So we should take shelter of them, offer our hearts to them, and follow their instructions and personal practice of bhajana. By doing so, our lives will be successful.

Gaura Premanandi! Hari, Hari Bol!