This Sukala-paksha Ekadasi comes after Margasirsha. The name of this Ekadasi is called Putrada Ekadasi.
The name of Nanda Baba’s father and mother was Parjanya and Variyasi respectively. Both were very happy because they had five qualified sons and four of them had children. Being the grandparents of these children brought great joy to their hearts. But Nanda Baba had no son. Therefore, his parents engaged themselves in performing austerities for a long time. As a result, Siva Thakura appeared before them to bless them.
He told them, “What benediction may I give you?”
But when he heard of Parjanya’s and Variyasi’s request, he nodded his head in disapproval. He said, “How can I bless Nanda-Yasoda with a son? This is not possible. Why? Nanda and Yasoda are greater than me. Your son Nanda is not an ordinary person. He is the King, the supreme authority, and controller of all. He has over world power love for the Vrajavasis. Yasoda is also not ordinary. So, how can I give you this boon?”
Parjanya replied, “Which rules should I follow? What should I do?”
Siva Thakura said, “If you pray by yourself, Nanda will definitely have a son. If your son’s wife follows certain rules, she will be blessed with a son.”
“What should she follow?”
Siva Thakura then told Parjanya, “You tell Nanda-Yasoda that by following Ekadasi, a son will be born to them.” In a year, there are twenty four Ekadasis. Sometimes, there are twenty six Ekadasis in a year. On another year, there are twenty five Ekadasis and on a certain year, there are twenty seven Ekadasis. The year that has twenty seven Ekadasis is a good and auspicious year. Next year, there will be twenty seven Ekadasis. This year there are twenty five Ekadasis.
Devotee: Starting from Gaura Purnima?
Sripada Premananda Prabhuji: Not from Gaura Purnima; starting from the month of Vaisaka. The first Ekadasi is Utpanna Ekadasi that appears in Magasirsha. After the month of Kartika, there will be the appearance of twenty seven Ekadasis in the following year. This year, Kartika ends on the fifth of November. Then the new year begins. Today is the fourth Ekadasi of the second month of the year. So, this year, there are twenty seven Ekadasis. Utthana Ekadasi, the Ekadasi that appears in Kartika, is considered the last Ekadasi of this year. From the first Ekadasi to Utthana Ekadasi, there are twenty seven Ekadasis. You can count for yourself. Hence, this year is very auspicious.
One who follows Putrada Ekadasi will be blessed with a son. Ekadasi-devi has herself promised and said, “If a childless couple observes my appearance, and desires a son; I will bless them with a son. If someone desires wealth; I will give them wealth. If someone is sick, I will steal their sickness away. I will help anyhow.”
There is a history behind Utthana Ekadasi. Lord Krishna came near Dharmaraja and asked, “Oh Dharmaraja, how do you maintain and manage everything by yourself?”
“I came to Sandipani Muni’s Gurukula in Ujjain and learn many arts from him. As a Guru-daksina, I set out to search for his missing son. We were unable to determine where his son went. Then Guru-matha said, ‘O my dear son Krishna, please find my son and give him to me. Then You may return to Mathura. Otherwise, You cannot go.’
I replied, “Okay. I will find your son.”
Then Krishna thought, “I must enter the ocean and look for this boy.”
From the ocean, Krishna went to Yama-loka. While searching for the boy, Krishna killed a demon called Pancajanya. Varuna-devata told Krishna and Baladeva that Pancajanya had devoured the boy.
But, Pancajanya said, “I didn’t eat the boy. The boy was dead already.”
Krishna and Baladeva then went to Yama-loka. When the two brothers entered Yama-loka, Dharmaraja was greatly surprised. He performed an arati and abhiseka of Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. As soon as Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu entered Yamaloka, the entire hellish region became peaceful. Hell became very quiet and everyone was very happy. The guilty were not beaten, shot at, or burnt. Neither were they thrown in boiled water or oil anymore. The guilty were not cut in pieces anymore. The hellish dogs and crocodiles stopped eating their victims. Snakes stopped drinking the blood of the guilty. Hell was now free of pain and carnage.
Before Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu came, the punishments meted out in hell were unspeakable. People who had committed many sins were now being punished and rectified. Iron rods were heated and the guilty were to made to embrace these iron rods. Then they were beaten by whips. The people who committed many wrongs were now going through untold suffering. Everyone was wailing and screaming out of pain. It seemed that they would die, but they would not. Someone who smoked a lot would have fire placed inside their mouths.
Placing the fire in their mouths, the servants of Yamaraja would tell the sinful, “Smoke all you want now! You want more ganja?”
But as soon as Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu entered hell, everyone became peaceful and happy. Everyone wondered in amazement and thought, “Why are we happy and peaceful? Why are we not being punished anymore?”
The guilty looked around and saw that no one was being cut into pieces. The dogs had stopped their vicious biting. The snakes had stopped their venomous attacks. They were surprised.
The guilty requested and pleaded to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. They asked, “Who are You? From where have You both come? What are Your names? After the both of You have come, we are so happy. Please give us more of this happiness. Please take us out of hell and give us shelter at Your lotus feet.”
After duly worshiping and praying to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu, Yamaraja offered Them seats. Krishna then asked Yamaraja, “Why are everyone here loudly shouting and wailing? I have become very restless on coming to this place. What have they done?”
Yamaraja replied, “You don’t know Prabhu. You gave me the duty to punish them. So, what can I do? To discipline them is my duty. All over the world, most people are engaged in committing sins. But, I give them many chances to correct themselves. If they still don’t purify and change themselves, then I am bound to resort to this means of rectification. By trick or force, I make them quit their gross bodies. They come here bound by their subtle bodies and are made to suffer for the many sins they have committed. Here, I have them severely punished.
“You severely punish them?”
“How do you punish them?”
Then Yamaraja showed the many means of punishment to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. Many woks containing boiling oil were shown to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. Blazing fire pits were also shown. Ponds of urine and blood were shown. Many fierce animals were made to bite and eat the guilty. The jivas suffered greatly.
Krishna told Yama Maharaja, “You punish them in such a strong manner?”
Krishna is very kind. He asked all the suffering souls, “Why have you all committed much sins in your previous life?”
The suffering souls collectively replied, “Prabhu! We will not commit sins anymore. Now, give us Your shelter.”
Some souls told Krishna, “O Prabhu! Our minds are very weak. We did not wish to commit sins, but by the effect of asat-sanga, we were forced to commit sinful acts in our lives. Now what can we do? Prabhu please save us!”
Krishna’s heart melted on hearing these words of the residents of hell. He is very magnanimous. At the same moment, a deity manifested from Krishna.
The deity asked Krishna, “Prabhu, why have You called me? What is my service and duty. How can I follow your orders? What do you like? Please give me some services.”
Krishna told the deity, “Nobody is there to help the jivas. They lack sat-sanga and good advice. Their parents, siblings, and relatives try to make them their own. They enjoy them, and make them wounded and hopeless. They may even shoot, disturb, and steal their time and life. All are ready to exploit them. . But, there is nobody to help them. I cannot find anyone in this world who offers pure help.” If the demigods are not served, they might curse the jivas. The parents will be angry with their children if they don’t receive any help from their children. If one doesn’t help his wife or husband, he or she will be rejected by their spouse. Even brothers who don’t help each other, stop talking to each other. If you don’t use your body to perform ordinary work and to cheat others; then no one will like you. On not being liked by anyone, you will suffer. Therefore, for the happiness of others, you perform many actions. But ultimately, only you will suffer for the sins you have committed through certain actions. No one will come forward and suffer for you. Being sinful, you will suffer greatly.
Therefore, Krishna told Ekadasi-devi, “This is very dangerous for the fettered souls, so Ekadasi-devi, testifying to the glories of your name, you must help the eleven senses of the conditioned souls. This is My order to you. If anybody comes near you, you must definitely help them.
It is My request to you that you give these conditioned souls advice and inspiration. I will provide you with all kinds of help and power. Henceforth, you will be called by the names—Ekadasi, Madhava-tithi, and Harivasa. Your glories will be understood and followed all over the world. The souls who follow you will be happy. Regardless of any sins or offenses committed by the conditioned souls, and regardless of any anarthas they may possess like false ego and other unwanted tendencies; if they come near you, you should not hate or neglect them. You should give them shelter. You must clean and purify the conditioned souls more than any mother or any other well-wisher ever could. You should clean them slowly and take care of them.
I will tell Yama Maharaja, ‘Don’t disturb the souls who have taken shelter of Ekadasi-devi. You must never punish them.’”
Ekadasi-devi arranges everything. How does she change and help the conditioned souls? She does everything by herself. Therefore, Krishna told Ekadasi-devi, “It is My request that you help the conditioned souls.”
After listening to Krishna speak, all the jivas came and took the shelter of Ekadasi-devi. Ekadasi-devi gives her shelter to everyone and teaches the souls many devotional services. Everyone was very happy by her divine presence and people all over the world followed Ekadasi. Now, there was no need of Yama Maharaja making entries in his register. He was relieved of all duties.
Hell was empty as no one committed sins anymore. No one behaved inappropriately. If everyone would learn good philosophy every day, why would they do any wrong? There was no need to punish anyone. There was no need of any boiling woks of oil, tridents, or soldiers. There was no need of any hook and worms.
Yama Maharaja went near Brahma and said, “Maharsi, please take my post, duty, and everything. There is no need for me to perform any more duties.”
“Krishna came to my abode one day and gave the order for everyone to follow Ekadasi. Now, all are following Ekadasi and Krishna. They are not following the demigods anymore.”
The demigods were now filled with jealousy and anger. They now made a deity. The name of that deity was Mohini. They told the deity, “Mohini, now go distract the residents of the earthly realm from following Ekadasi.”
When Mohini was sent to this world, Rukmanga Maharaja was the emperor of the world. He had one son named Dharmangad. Both, the prince and the king, strictly followed Ekadasi. They ordered everyone in their kingdom to follow Ekadasi. They told their citizens, “Those who don’t follow Ekadasi cannot avail themselves of any facilities available in the kingdom. Consequently, they will have no place in the kingdom and they may also face a death penalty. By following Ekadasi, you can earn your rightful place in the kingdom.” By following Ekadasi, a person will never be sick and diseased. The person will never have any problems and he will never be inclined to fight with others. Ekadasi-devi will give that person the right treatment to cure his ailments that have plagued him since time immemorial. Gradually, Ekadasi-devi gives him everything. One day, the person will be completely purified and liberated. Yama Maharaja will never punish this person.
Dharmangad would faithfully follow his father Rukmangad’s orders. After ruling over his kingdom for more than sixty thousand years, Rukmangad became old. He told his son, “Now, you have to rule over the kingdom. I will retire to the forest to practice bhajan.”
Having renounced everything, Rukmangad went alone to the forest. There was a hill near the forest, which had a nice garden and waterfall. Mohini resided there and practiced on her vina. She would sing nice songs. The king was old; he went to the forest to engage himself in practicing austerities and meditation. On hearing Mohini sing, the king thought, “What a nice melody and tone! Who is singing in this dense forest? As he went in the direction of the origin of the song, he finally came across a heavenly damsel who said, “I have been waiting for you.” She spoke to him very sweetly. She seemed sweet natured and served him as such.
After serving him, she told the king, “I have a desire to get married to you.”
The king replied, “I am more than sixty thousand years old. And you seem to be a fifteen or sixteen year old girl. You want to get married to me?”
“Yes. I like you. Why? Now that you have become old, there is no one to serve you. I like to serve you. Your wife and son are not with you, but I am with you, to help you.”
Rukmungad Maharaja thought, “I follow Ekadasi seriously. Therefore, anywhere I go, good help comes. A good chance for pleasure also comes.”
He told Mohini, “Okay. I will marry you.”
Right after getting married, Rukmangad’s desire to stay in the forest was changed. He wanted to return to his kingdom. After returning to his kingdom, he sent news to his son, which said, “Dharmangad, I am coming now! You arrange a lavish decoration for my marriage.”
Dharmangad arranged for the marriage ceremony of his old father to a young lady. Dharmangad’s mother came near the king, her husband and said, “You are happy with your new queen. I will also serve and help you.”
After their marriage, everything proceeded well. On Dasami, the day before Ekadasi, an announcement was made, which said, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. Nobody should eat grains tomorrow. Everyone should completely fast and follow Ekadasi’s rules of worshiping and engaging in kirtana of the Lord. One should offer his eleven senses to Ekadasi-devi. She will give good treatment and make the person strong. She will replenish that person who honors and follows her. Thus, they will not engage in any misbehavior for the next fifteen days. This is Ekadasi-devi’s mercy on all of us.”
After the announcement was made, Mohini asked Rukmangad Maharaja, “What was this announcement about?”
“This announcement stated that everyone should follow the rules of Ekadasi.”
She retorted, “What is the meaning of Ekadasi?”
“Ekadasi means to follow a vrata. One fasts from rice and other foodstuffs on this day.”
“No! There is no need for the king to follow Ekadasi. These are not the prescribed rules. Widows and old people follow Ekadasi. There is no need for a king and young people to follow Ekadasi.”
“Where did you chance upon these rules?”
“All the Brahmins and Sastras tell us these rules.”
“Then call these Brahmins.”
Previously, the demigods had influenced the Brahmins to speak in favor of Mohini. Mohini called the Brahmins.
On being summoned and told to speak, the Brahmins said, “Yes Maharaja. There is no need for a king to follow Ekadasi. If he does follow Ekadasi, he will be weak and sick. Enemies from another kingdom will also attack his country, and he may be defenseless. How will he protect his kingdom? A young married lady need only follow one vrata i.e. to serve her husband. There is no need for her to follow any other vrata. If she does so, she will not be considered chaste and honest. She will be considered to be a prostitute. Hence, there is no need to follow many vratas.”
Greatly angered, Rukmangada said, “You are Brahmins!”
Cursing them, the king said, “Your mouth is not proper. Anything you say is wrong. All that you have spoken now is completely inappropriate. Your austerities are now finished. Henceforth, you will be considered beggars and cheaters. You will all beg to door-to-door. Today, the potency of your Veda mantras is lost. You undermine the glories of Ekadasi! You give me wrong advice! Get out of here!” This way the king chastised and cursed the Brahmins, who earlier being greedy, accepted many bribes to convince the king to abandon following Ekadasi.
Mohini told the king, “I am going now! You are not following my request. So, I am going to leave now.”
On seeing the imminent departure of Mohini, the king became very sad and sorry. But, he could not go back on his word. Soon after, Dharmangada and his mother, the king’s first queen came before Rukmangada. They requested Mohini, “Oh Mohini! Please don’t go. The king likes you more than his own self. You are very sweet and humble. So, why are you going?”
Mohini replied, “If you follow Ekadasi, I am not staying.”
The mother and son replied, “The king has to follow Ekadasi. He is bound by his word. If there is any other alternative to settle on a compromise, then please tell us. But, please don’t leave the king.”
Mohini told the mother, “Okay, I will settle on an alternate compromise. The king and you must cut the head of your son with your own hands and give it to me. Then I will stay.”
Mohini desired this because if they would cut the head of their son with their own hands, the old king would also die of shock. With the death of the king, no one in the kingdom would follow Ekadasi. All will be independent as there would be no rules and regulations to guide them. If a person in charge of a temple or one’s Gurudeva will not follow Ekadasi, will his disciples follow Ekadasi? They will definitely not follow. They will think, “Even if we follow or do not follow Ekadasi, there is no problem.”
Rukmangada told Mohini, “No. I am never going to cut the head of my son with my own hands.”
Rukmangada’s first wife said, “No problem king. She will follow Ekadasi. If my son’s head has to be cut for Ekadasi to be followed, then no problem. There is no problem in one person offering his life for the propagation of Ekadasi. There is no harm in offering one’s life for a good purpose. One day, he has to die. If he has to die today for the sake of Ekadasi, then so be it.”
Rukmangada and his wife then prepared themselves to cut the head of their son.
Just when they removed the swords from their sheaths, Mohini intervened and said, “You cannot cut the head of your son at once. You will have to kill him slowly.” Then she handed them a saw.
A western saw can cut through anything in a moment, but an Indian saw will cut through something very slowly.
So, Mohini repeatedly persuaded the parents to cut the head of their son. Just when it seemed that they would strike the head of their son with a saw, Dharmaraja, Lord Visnu, Ekadasi-devi, and many divine personalities appeared. Seeing these divine personalities, the demon lady Mohini ran and hid behind. Crying, she thought, “I will be cursed now. I am finished!”
Yama Maharaja then said, “The demigods are very stupid. They are always engaged in fulfilling their own selfish interests.”
Rukmangada and Dharmangada then requested Visnu and Ekadasi-devi to forgive the demigods. Lord Visnu then said, “Anyone who follows the smarta brahmins will have to give the fruits of their pious merits to Mohini-devi.”
Karmis make their own rules on how to follow Ekadasi. For instance, last’s night Ekadasi started at 2:15, and it will finish today in the evening at 5:30. So, the materialists follow Ekadasi at the time 2:15 and 5:30, then they resume taking grains. They only follow Ekadasi at the time of her appearance and at the time of breaking the fast. These are not the rules of following Ekadasi. You should determine to see if Ekadasi appears one hour and forty eight minutes before sunrise, if Dasami still hasn’t completely passed and coincides with the appearance of Ekadasi, then Ekadasi is polluted. Then Ekadasi should not be followed that day; her appearance day should be followed on the next day.
Now, Ekadasi-devi discussed with Mohini-devi on what she would receive. Ekadasi-devi told Mohini-devi, “If anyone follows Ekadasi on the day that coincides with Dasami, then the fruit of observing that day will come to you. And you will either bless or punish them. But, anyone who follows pure Ekadasi will come near me.” This way, the followers of Ekadasi-devi and Mohini-devi were separated.
In this world, people mostly follow Ekadasi on the day of Dasami. Otherwise, they follow Ekadasi the next day. Anyone who eats grains and takes chances on the day of Ekadasi will have to taste the fruits of their actions. Ekadasi is broken when one thinks, “I followed Ekadasi on days other than her appearance day, so I will take grains today, although today is her appearance day.” By these actions, the vow of following Ekadasi is completely broken. Many rules have been stated on how to properly follow Ekadasi in scriptures like Hari-bhakti-vilasa and Naradiya Purana. Many Puranas have mentioned on how one has to properly follow Ekadasi.
So, today is Putrada Ekadasi. Parjanya Rsi and Variyasi requesting their son Nanda, told him, “Nanda, please follow Ekadasi.”
Nanda Maharaja asked, “Why should I follow Ekadasi?”
“We request you to follow.”
Then Nanda Baba and Yasoda followed Ekadasi.
When Ekadasi touches with Maha-Dvadasi, then the Ekadasi is called a pure Ekadasi. If Ekadasi doesn’t coincide with the appearance of Maha-Dvadasi, then Ekadasi is not to be followed that day. Dasami should never coincide with Ekadasi. Sometimes, Ekadasi may extend for the complete day and night, and Dasami may only coincide with Ekadasi for a moment in the early morning; then Ekadasi should be rejected.
Hence, Nanda Baba and Yasoda followed Ekadasi. One day, Nanda Baba asked his father, “Why did you tell me to follow Ekadasi?”
Parjanya told Nanda and Yasoda, “You had no son. If Yasoda bore a son, everyone would be so happy!”
Nanda baba told his father, “You gave me the order to follow Ekadasi to obtain a son! This is not good. I don’t like any son. Any soul that appears will divide my mind and heart. He will steal my heart. A son may be very sweet, but I will have to give him my love and affection.”
Guru cares for his disciples more than any parent could ever care for their children. If a mother has a son, she will give everything to her son.
Nanda Baba said, “I don’t need a son because I will then forget God’s service. I will then forget Sadhu’s service, Brahmin’s service, and my heart will be divided. So, there is no need of a son.”
Nanda Baba then asked Yasoda, “Yasoda, do you want a son?”
Yasoda replied, “No.”
“Oh you are really my good friend. I know of the transcendental fruits that can be received by following Ekadasi. But Ekadasi-devi has promised to give us a son, if we honorably follow her appearance day, which we did.”
Parjanya and Variyasi also had a desire that a son be born to Nanda-Yasoda. Siva Thakura had explained to the parents of Nanda Baba of how Yasoda could beget a son.
Yasoda told Nanda Baba, “Without Lord Narayana, I don’t like anyone else. If Narayana Himself comes as my son, then it is okay. Otherwise, no one else should be born as my son.”
On this Ekadasi, Lord Narayana entered Nanda-Yasoda’s house. He appeared in the form of a salagrama. Then there was no reason for their mind to be divided. Why? Krishna was going to be born as their son. The entire world is Krishna’s.
One should not have the attitude, “I only like my son. I don’t like anyone else.” These are not the rules of bona fide love.
Therefore, we should follow Putrada Ekadasi only for the pleasure of Krishna. It is December now. Hence, after eight months, in the month of August, Krishna was born to Nanda-Yasoda. He was born after eight months. So, by following today’s Ekadasi, each person will have a son.
But it is much better to have Krishna appear in our hearts as a son. You are then very lucky. Vrindavana is happy. But he will be unhappy if a black son is born. There is no problem if a black or golden son is born; but if we have a relationship with God by the medium of this son, then it is good.
Now it is 12 o’clock. Everyone should go attend arati and honor Mahaprasadam.