Today is Pasankusa Ekadasi, and by great good fortune, we are following this vrata in Vrndavan dhama. All the Vrajavasis also follow Ekadasi. In Rama lila, in Mahaprabhu’s lila, and in all the four yugas, everyone follows Ekadasi. In this way, the sadhaka makes a relation and develops love and affection for God.
Ekadasi is the merciful deity of God. She is krpa murti, karuna murti. The kindness and mercy of Krsna comes with svarupa sakti, who is very close to Krsna. She takes responsibility for all the sadhakas. How will the jivas make their senses strong and be able to serve Krsna? She helps the sadhaka accomplish this. One Ekadasi has responsibility for fifteen days, and then the next Ekadasi comes and has responsibility for the next fifteen days. Ekadasi is one, but they all have distinctions. Sometimes, Ekadasi is called Putrada, Jaya, Vijaya, Moksada etc. Why do all the Ekadasis have different names? Krsna has thousands of names, and Ekadasi also has thousands of names. Each Ekadasi has a different responsibility for fifteen days each. The jivas need special qualities. During the time of sadhana, the sadhaka has to determine his goal. Whether it be for a human, animal, or tree, only rice and dal is not enough. One needs sweets, bitter things and so forth.
Similarly, Ekadasi devi helps the sadhaka to become qualified and strong, and she allows him to serve God. She therefore comes with the power of svarupa sakti. And she has different names for every fortnight. A flower is a flower. This is a common word. But, all flowers are unique. Roses, marigolds, and jasmine flowers have different names to distinguish them from the others. Distilled water, mineral water, filtered water, drain water, ocean water, and river water are all water, yet there is a distinction. Ekadasi-devi is not just Ekadasi; she has manifested from the eleven senses of Krsna, and she makes the eleven senses of the sadhaka qualified and engages them in Krsna’s service. How will the jiva’s senses be able to serve Krsna? At the time of svarupa siddhi, the jivas need these personal qualities. Otherwise, they do not know how to serve. Ekadasi-devi helps the jivas to use their senses in Krsna’s service, and to attain svarupa siddhi. She comes to help the senses. Therefore, we fast. This is a vow. A vrata means a vow. The sadhaka vows that on this day, he will engage his senses in Krsna’s service. He will not give them the material elements—earth, water, air, fire, and ether. He will offer the senses to Ekadasi-devi, and she will give them Krsna bhakti rasa. She knows how to give this. Therefore, she offers this, and does not give this to any others independently. It is impossible for the jivas to independently offer their senses to God. Sastra says many things, but how can the souls be practically helped?
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
All the senses should be engaged in service to Hrsikesa, the Lord of the senses. But, our senses are uncontrolled and do not listen to our instructions. When tired, we sleep. We become involved in arguing and quarreling. We cannot restrain our senses.
Sent by Krsna, Ekadasi devi therefore comes every fifteen days. Krsna assures her, “I am with you. I will help you in all respects.”
Today’s Ekadasi is named Pasankusa. I spoke the glories of this Ekadasi before, and I will repeat them today also. By repeating these glories again and again, I hope that one day, I will be able to also follow Ekadasi completely. What is the special help of Pasankusa Ekadasi? What happens when the sadhaka does sadhana?
Sati was very close to Siva Thakura. She was always with him. She would always listen to his harikatha and she would be engaged in kirtana with him. Also, she had faith that Siva Thakura was a sadhu, a Mahabhagavat Vaisnava, an associate of God. Gradually, after performing sadhana, she acquired some power and strength. She understood that she was a devotee and close to Siva Thakura. She then neglected Siva Thakura.
The rule of love is to not cross beyond your standard. Gurudeva and Gurudeva’s mercy are everything. Gurudeva gives mantra to his disciple and helps him engage himself in sadhana-bhajan. He arranges temples, kirtana, prasada, a favorable atmosphere, and all facility. This does not mean that you should not read sastra or give harikatha. One should give harikatha to only help the jivas. One shouldn’t speak harikatha on the false pretense of helping the jivas, while concealing his real desire of making many followers for himself. Do not disobey your Gurudeva. Don’t neglect your Gurudeva, or go against him. Then, a problem will come. A big crash will come. Then, there will be two conflicting personalities within you. Why haven’t you become humble, and why are you not doing everything under the guidance of Guru-pada-padma? Those who are doing sadhana in order to attain svarupa siddhi always realize their shortcomings. This is a favorable mood for the sadhakas, and this protects them. If the sadhaka thinks himself to be knowledgeable, respectable, and a famous divine master, then he is repeatedly being pricked by the thorn called pride. This is false ego. If the sadhaka thinks like this, he will fall down. Gurudeva warned us many times about this.
Sati was with Siva Thakura when Citraketu Maharaja came and spoke with him. He told Siva Thakura, “O my dear god-brother, you are engaged in harikatha and hari-kirtana. Millions of people follow you, and you never do anything without kirtana and katha. However, the conditioned souls will be confused when they see you naked with Sati sitting on your lap.
yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
The jivas follow whatever higher authorities do. If they see you like this, then everyone would come for harikatha with his girlfriend or wife on his lap, and they would kiss and embrace each other during hari katha. Then, they will not respect Sati.” Sati heard this, and in front of Siva, in front of the acarya, she lost her patience. Greatly angered, she stood up. She appeared as fearful as Ugra murti Candi Vairabi. Then, she cursed Citraketu Maharaja.
She said, “What are you saying? You will fall down, and take birth in the dynasty of the demons. You cannot understand Siva Thakura. You have no knowledge.” Siva Thakura was quiet.
Asat sanga tyaga ei vaisnava acara, if someone is independent and going on the wrong path, do not associate with him. Otherwise, you will become a partner in his wrongdoing, and you will not be able to control yourself. Just say, “Haribol”, and maintain distance from him.
Siva Thakura maintained complete silence. Near a higher authority, like the Guruvarga or God, anything you say, you should say respectfully. If you do anything under their order, there will be no problem. But, if you do anything independently, then what result will come? Did Siva Thakura not know how to respond? Does he have no intelligence?
Sati cursed Citraketu Maharaja and thereafter, her heart became dry.
The sadhaka has to carefully protect his devotion. If he gives blessings or curses, he will be finished. For example if a snake bites anyone, it has to lie down for a month. It loses all its strength. Similarly, if you curse someone, you will also lose your strength, and take on their bad qualities. And if you bless someone, then you will obtain laukika dharma and subha karma. All mundane things will come to you, and you will become very proud.
You will think, “I blessed you, and then you got wealthy.” Therefore, the sadhaka should neither curse nor bless anyone. Otherwise, he will fall down.
Siva Thakura maintained his composure, but Sati’s heart became dry. At the time of Rama lila, Siva Thakura came to the forest where Rama was crying in separation from Sita. Rama was running and looking for Sita, calling out her name repeatedly. Siva Thakura came, did parikrama, and offered pranama to Rama.
Sati said, “You can go, but I am not coming with you.” She had some doubt. When you get doubt in guru, you get doubt in God. Sati thought, “Siva Thakura is offering pranama to Dasarati Rama. Is Rama really God? He is bitterly weeping for Sita, and therefore I doubt that He is God.” Then, in order to test Rama, Sati disguised herself as Sita and went before Rama.
On seeing Sati-devi, Rama said, “Dear mother Sati, where is Siva Thakura? Why did you come here alone?” She became embarrassed, and understood her fault. Embarrassed, she ran back to Siva Thakura. Now, Siva Thakura neglected her. Instead of keeping her at his side, he made her sit in front of him and offered her respect, but did not speak to her. The more Siva Thakura neglected Sita, the more her suffering increased. Finally, she went to Daksa, where she gave up her body in the sacrificial arena. In her next life, she became Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas.
Pasankusa-pasa means rope or thread, and ankusa means hook. Yamaraja has three messengers. If you commit sins and offenses through words, body, or mind, then the personification of death sends his messengers to get you. If you do not submit to them, they will prod you with a hook and pull you on a rope. There is kaya, or body, mana, or mind, and vacana, or speech. Then, it is like when a tiger of wolf catches you and drags you away.
Parvati was still sad and suffering in separation from Siva Thakura. She chanted mantras, and performed many austerities to alleviate her pain. But, she continued to remain greatly anguished. She did not talk to anyone; her unhappiness got the better of her. Whenever she would speak, people would become disturbed, because she misused her speech. Vaco vega, manasa vega, and then krodha vega – she was unable to control these three urges when she spoke in front of Siva.
Vaco vega leads to many consequences when it is uncontrolled. Soon after its onset, manasa vega and kroda vega follow. When these urges are uncontrolled, uddhara and upasta vega naturally become uncontrolled. If people cannot control their speech, mind, and anger, then as a result of this, they will be unable to control their tongue. Not being satisfied with prasadam, they will indulge in copious amounts of ice-cream; thus, their focus will shift to the gratification of the tongue.
Parvati could not control herself, and therefore she was suffering so much. Looking for relief, she performed many austerities. Pitying her plight, Narada rsi came to her and offered to fulfill her heart’s desire.
She said, “How can I return to Siva Thakura? I am very shy. I did many things wrong. Not only in my past life, but for many lives I misbehaved. Therefore, I have been rejected. How can I purify myself? How will he help me, and take care of me? Will he protect me from misbehaving again?”
After many lives, God give us a chance to be in the association of Guru and Vaisnavas. God gives us the chance to even be with Him. But, because of our independent desires we go away from Him. Everyone is with guru, but people have no relation with guru. They are not close or dear to him. How can we be in the presence of guru without neglecting or disobeying him?
In Parvati’s case, she thought, “How can I always be with Siva, and never desire to enjoy?”
If I go against anyone, then everyone will be upset with me. If I serve everyone, and everyone is pleased with me, then guru will automatically be happy with me.
Parvati remembered how Citraketu Maharaja came to her guru, but she, as Sati, cursed him in front of Siva Thakura. At that time Siva Thakura said, “O Sati, Maharaja accepted your curse, but if he wouldn’t have accepted it, what would have happened? If he had also cursed you, what would have happened? He is a Vaisnava, an associate of God. Therefore, he did not say anything, and accepted your curse. He thought, ‘Do as you like, but I will not risk losing my bhakti.’” Indeed, he never lost his bhakti.
When Indra was about to kill Vrtasura, the latter said,
na naka-prstham na ca paramesthyam
na sarva-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
samanjasa tva virahayya kankse
ajata-paksa iva matarah khagah
stanyam yatha vatsatarah ksudh-artah
priyaà priyeva vyusitam visanna
mano ‘ravindaksa didrksate tvam
In his form of Vrtrasura, Citraketu Maharaja intently thought, “How can I be close to the Lord? This body is a great weight for me. O Indra, please kill me.” Indra continuously cut Vrtrasura’s neck for one year, which Vrtrasura tolerated, because he did not want to lose his love for God.
Because of Parvati’s distress, Narada rsi came and offered her his advice. She said, “I will do anything you tell me.”
This rope is the rope of Maya-devi. Sattva, raja, and tama – these three gunas keep a soul bound to this world. These qualities of material nature are accordingly likened to ropes made of gold, silver, and iron. Those who are bound with a strong golden rope are very proud of being bound by a golden rope. These ropes bind one very strongly. You tie yourself with these ropes, and therefore you are the cause of your own suffering. How can we cut these shackles? There is also a hook that is pushed inside the body, just as ships use anchors to not move away.
On seeing Parvati crying, Narada rsi said, “You disobeyed Siva and adi-guru Brahma, and you even disrespected Lord Rama, the Supreme Lord.” How did she neglect Brahma? In Siva loka, Siva Thakura always teaches everyone that Brahma created the material world for all the jivas to correct themselves. If you neglect or disrespect these jivas and especially the bhaktas, then adi-guru Brahma, the creator, is disrespected too. One who can maintain everyone with love and affection, give good advice to them, and forgive them for their ignorance is a powerful person. One who can forgive and forget is a powerful person.
We follow Pasankusa Ekadasi to cut this rope and free ourselves from this hook of bewilderment. Ekadasi-devi has the power to do this great service. Everyone is bound with the ropes of maya. People try to follow bhakti, but Maya-devi has them pulled by the ropes of the material nature, like bulls or horses pull a car. If one is pulled by the rope of tama, he is lazy. Raja guna makes one passionate, and those in sattva guna give charity, and think that they are very great. But, how can we be liberated from these qualities?
Narada rsi explained to Parvati:
Madhava tithi bhakti janani jatane palana kori,
krsna vasati vasati boli parama adare boli
If you follow and take shelter of Ekadasi-devi, you will be freed of your bondage to maya. Your anarthas and memories will be cleansed and forgotten. As a result, you will receive new inspiration, and good desires. Otherwise, the jivas have no good desires; they will not do the right thing despite being told to do so repeatedly. It is very important to have good desires and be continuously inspired. One day, you clean your cloth, but the next day, it will get dirty again. Therefore, you have to clean it every day. But, if you do not know how to clean it properly, it will get dirtier and dirtier. If you wash your cloth in the water of the drain, it will never get clean. You need clean water and a clean place. During the time of sadhana, unless we are connected to the powerhouse, how can we progress?
By the advice of Narada rsi, Parvati did vrata to become liberated from this pasankusa. Then, Lord Visnu and the demigods came. Siva Thakura was still in samadhi. Struck by her beauty, each demigod asked her, “Do you want to get married to me?” She would not reply, or even open her eyes. All the demigods came to enchant her with their beautiful bodies.
Narada Rsi asked Parvati, “Do you like anyone in particular?”
Narada Rsi then asked her whom she wanted to be with. She was only thinking about Siva Thakura.
Lord Siva was in samadhi for a long time, and because of that, the world was overcome by darkness. Who would clean the jivas from their anarthas and protect them from sins and offenses? There are three devas – Brahma, Visnu, and Mahesa. Brahma creates, Visnu maintains, and Siva destroys. What does Siva destroy? He destroys the anarthas of the jivas. But, now the demons were full of anarthas, and nobody was there to clean them. Ekadasi-devi went to Siva Thakura and requested him for help. Brahma and Madhava also came and requested Sivaji to help. Siva Thakura finally agreed to resume his duty.
Whenever we make offenses to Nama, dhama, or Guru and Vaisnavas, we should immediately pray to our guardians for their protection. Mahaprabhu said,
nrtya arambhila prabhu jagatera prana
—Caitanya-Bhagavat, Madhya-khanda 8.138
On the day of Ekadasi, perform sankirtana from the early morning.
tam namami harim param
If people do not desire to do nama kirtana, what will happen?
Ekadasi-devi glorified Siva Thakura, and then he forgave Parvati. Ekadasi-devi said, “But, you must also accept her. Otherwise you will not be protected.”
A devotee comes to Guru and Vaisnavas by his great fortune, but on committing offenses, he leaves their association and suffers. But, how can he come back?
Many of Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura’s followers went to babajis after his disappearance. Param Gurudeva went from house to house and brought them back. He said, “Prabhupada is still present.” Krsna stayed in Dvaraka for a century, but the Vraja-devis never forgot Him. They never went anywhere else, or met with anyone else. They did not lose Krsna for even a second. After a hundred years, Krsna returned. Ramacandra neglected Sita-devi in the forest, but in His heart, He never neglected her. Sita-devi was with Ramacandra all the time. Similarly, the Guruvarga takes care of us and thinks about us. They check to see if we follow Gurudeva and bhakti. If we do everything, Ekadasi-devi will arrange everything. There is no other helper in this world. Some people may chastise, punish, or reject us. This is very easy. But, who can forgive and bring people back? Who can bring them close and make a very sweet relationship with them. In this world, who can do this? Only Madhava tithi bhakti janani; Ekadasi-devi is the mother of bhakti. How will bhakti appear in one’s heart? Whoever has bhakti has sakti. You will not be angry, and you will not neglect others. The jivas’ egos are false, and their actions are faulty.
How can we be close to Guru-pada-padma and God? Pasankusa Ekadasi therefore comes, and checks, “Who follows me? Who accepts my treatment? I will remove their problems and help them.” Hence, today is Ekadasi. Soon there will be Sarad Purnima and Kartika vrata, Urja vrata will begin. Be serious during this time. Follow the vrata according to your own eligibility. Be very silent and secret. This is the month of the Vraja-devis. Do not be like a camel or demon. Always chant, remember, and pray, and act under the guidance of the Vaisnavas. Go on parikrama, hear harikatha, do not insult others, and do not listen to other people’s criticism. Always follow in the footsteps of the Vraja-devis. We should pray, “O Ekadasi-devi, O Madhava tithi, O Bhakti janani, please help me. Otherwise, I am collecting anarthas from everywhere, and then I will become as useless as garbage. No flowers or fruits will grow with me. Instead, many worms and germs will come to me.” Pray to Ekadasi-devi, she will soon bless you with the chance to serve the Vraja-devis.