By the causeless mercy of Guru-pada-padma and the Rupanuga Vaishnavas we are present in the holy dhama. Ekadasi-devi comes every 15 days with special glories and help. She knows what the jivas require. She is the embodiment of Krishna’s mercy. In the winter season, someone gives blankets, and warm clothes, and in the summer season, they give coolers, and so forth. Krishna kindly sent Ekadasi-devi to help all souls. If the soul is weak and sick, and has no help, he can never come to Krishna, and become satisfied. He cannot have a happy life. If someone is happy in this world, others are very disturbed, and think, “Why are you happy in this world? Why are you famous?” Everyone wants to break our legs out from underneath us. They will taunt us, and try in with enemies to destroy us. The soul is the part and parcel of God, and is a particle of the Supreme Consciousness. Where does bad nature come to them from and how can they be free of this? The living beings think that whatever they do is correct, to disturb others is good. Para-sukha duhkhi and para-duhkha sukhi.
When someone is suffering, people are very happy, and when someone is happy, others say, “Why is he happy? Let us attack him, and cause him misery.” And when they are successful, they dance and celebrate. Where are these bad habits collected from? This is present everywhere, not only in England, America, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and so forth. All conditioned souls have the same nature, whether in tamo-guna, rajo-guna, or sattva-guna. It is very rare to find spiritual guides, who actually desire our welfare. Most people only come to cheat us, do not give us any chance to associate with pure Vaishnavas, guru and the holy dhama. They only try to force us to work so hard, but for whom? In the Gita, Krishna said:
karmany evadhikaras te
ma phaleshu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur
ma te sango ‘stv akarmani
[You are eligible only to perform your prescribed work, but you have no right to the fruits. You should not consider yourself to be the cause of the result of your actions, nor should you become attached to neglecting your duties.]
You have the right to work for only one person, Me. I am the Supreme Personality. Karmani eva, work and do everything for My pleasure.
Now, today is Saphala Ekadasi.
One time Mundaka Rshi went to Yama-loka and said, “Maharaja, I have tried to do bhajana in my life, and did not waste one moment. I chanted my mantra, Gayatri, performed japa and vrata, only took dry leaves and water, and would not harm any being. I would try to filter out any insects from the water, and would even filter air before I breathe so as not to hurt anything. I would control my breath for many minutes before breathing, trying not to disturb any other living beings. I would perform my gayatri-mantra with great concentration, meditating on Parabrahma. Why have you punished me? What is my fault?”
Yama Maharaja asked, “O Citragupta, look at your reports of his life. Look at his past karma.”
Mundaka Rshi said, “In my life I have performed bhajana, and you sent the king’s soldiers, who came and bound me, saying I was a thief. They said, “You stole the king’s property.”
They put me on top of a pointed poll, trying to bifurcate me. Why did this punish come to me, when I always used my body for God’s service?
Then they looked in the report and said, “In your childhood, you grabbed a firefly and pushed a thorn into his backside, and then tied him on a rope, and when he flew, you were very happy.”
“At that time, I was younger than five years of age. I had no intelligence. Why did you punish me like this? You should also go to mrityu-loka, the abode of death. You will then understand the situation there. Here you are Yamaraja, the king, and do not understand the worries of the people on Earth.”
Being cursed by Mundaka RIshi, Yamaraja took birth on Earth as the son of Vyasadeva, Vidura.
He looked to find where dharma was present, and who was following it. He thought, “Dhritarashtra says he is the supreme ruler, and he has arranged for the Pandavas to be killed in so many ways, such as by poison, trying to deceitfully burn them in a flammable palace as they slept—he is always engaged in politics to kill his brother’s children, desiring his own sons to be most famous. He is against dharma. He is like their father, in the absence of his brother, their father. And he’s always tormenting them.”
Vidura tried to advise his brother Dhritarashtra, but he would not listen.
Vidura was very unhappy to see the situation of Kunti and her sons. Kunti took care of Gandhari’s hundred sons with the mood of a mother to them. Kunti thought that she had 105 sons, not only five, and she would serve the sons of Gandhari, with such great affection. Still, they had no love or sympathy for the Pandavas. And when Vidura helped the Pandavas in any way, the Kauravas became very upset. Even if Bhishma Pitamaha were to show favor to the Pandavas, then the Kauravas were so upset. People in this world are always ready to destroy anyone they see to be a competitor, or rival.
Duryodhana stole the kingdom of the Pandavas through gambling, and sent them to the forest. He gave them so much pain. Now, one day, all her sons came to her and asked, “O mother, our life has been very strange. We have never been peaceful. We try to follow God, be honest, and always remember Him, but are always assailed by troubles.”
Yuddhishthira Maharaja would always call his cousin Suyodhana, not Duryodhana. He would always describe him as a very good person, and never insult him. He perfectly followed dharma.
When sickness comes, one’s mind becomes disturbed, and he always thinks about how to fix the body, without being able to meditate on God and the soul. Many problems assault us throughout life. It makes us very disturbed and restless. How can we properly follow dharma?
Kunti said, “Your uncle Vidura is the embodiment of dharma. Take his advice, and follow it, then you will be detached from all disturbances of this world, and will be always protected and absorbed in your proper duty.”
The Pandavas came to Vidura, who was worshiping Lord Krishna in the morning. He was always equipoised, and never disturbed by any external event. He saw anything that came or went as a natural occurrence, and would not be agitated. When the Pandavas came and offered him obeisances, he said, “I know you have come to me with some questions that you want to solve. You are honest and always follow dharma, but still, so many troubles torment you. I am present in service of God. He is your Krishna, Devaki-nandana.” He would not say Yasoda-nandana.
“Devaki-nandana is God. I worship Him and will call Him to help you.”
Vidura had love. With love, he remembered Krishna, gave Him a seat and flowers, and arranged for His worship. He had the faith that when he called Krishna, Krishna would come. His straw hut was very simple, but he gave down a simple seat and called for Krishna. Krishna came, and the Pandavas were very happy. They exclaimed, “Oh, You have come.” Vidura then offered Him pranama, as well as the Pandavas.
We must have respect and love in our heart. Vidura prayed to Krishna, “O Lord, this world is very strange. I came to this world having been cursed, and when I go to help anyone, as my duty in this world, people say, ‘You are trying to cheat us? Why are you giving me advice?’ They do not accept my advice, and they also insult me. If I try to help them, or give them something, they think it is only a bribe and part of my cheating. How can people in this world perform sadhana? In this martya-loka, people are always made restless by the three miseries born of the mind, from the body, and external forces and other living beings. How can we not be attached to all these different troubles?”
When anyone comes to me, whether senior or friend, I do not want to give him any pain or trouble. When a friend comes, even if I have pain, I try not to show this to him, I try only to please and serve him. This is real friendship. When a husband comes from outside, his wife begins to say, “This is bad, this is bad, this is not good. You do not take care of me and buy me nice things.” She nags him so much, that he cannot sleep at night, becomes weak and sick, and does not eat. Then she says, “You have bad character, therefore you are suffering, and frail.” She always gives him tension, and then abuses him when he is under stress.
We must do everything for God’s pleasure. Then He will think about our welfare. If we offer Him only rubbish from the beginning, this will be poisonous, and our love will be only temporary. It is actually only cruelty. We may call Gopala, Radha, Krishna, and Mahaprabhu, and then day and night we tell Them, “I have no house, I have no children, I have no car, I have no business, I have no job, I have problems with my eyes, problem with my teeth, problem with my stomach,” we only have problems, problems, problems, this is the bhoga that we offer Krishna. From the morning, while chanting our Gayatri mantras, we offer him our problems, saying, “Ha Gurudeva! Ha Gurudeva! Hey Krishna, hey Nanda-nandana, ha Yasoda-nandana, I have this problem, I have this problem, no one respects me. Everyone insults me. I am suffering so much. O Krishna, please help me.” This is our worship. We offer this as bhoga. We do not offer laddus, or halava. Only black laddus. We are dark and dirty, and offer that to Krishna. We collect anarthas day and night, and during our bhajana, we offer this to Krishna.
Krishna thinks, “What can I do? They call me by force, and then beat and punish me. They do not shower Me with milk and ghee and honey, instead they bathe Me in all their problems, like drain water. They have so many bad desires, and they offer this to Me.”
It is like we mix coal, petrol, and acid, and pour it on the Deity. People have this nature. If someone chants Gayatri and mantra, he should not try to give pain to his worshipable Deity.
Once, I told in Mathura, how many complaint letters would come to Srila Gurudeva. And how many people offer their heartfelt love to Srila Gurudeva? They always offer complaints. People think that Guru and Vaishnavas are their garbage pots. They always throw their rubbish on top of Gurudeva. How can we progress? How can we serve him? We must learn this from the representatives of God. We must remain fixed in our service, and not be restless and agitated by our senses.
We disturb everyone for the sake of our senses, from the topmost personality, to even insects. In human life, people are very wretched. They are always complaining to the government, to families, society, and then they come to priests, gurus and acaryas, and always offer these complaints.
Draupadi never gave pain to Krishna. Once, when she was in great distress, being disrobed in the assembly of the Kuru elders, she called out to Krishna:
he govinda, raksha saranam, apta jivana hare
Then she lamented, “Oh, I have caused Krishna pain.”
Arjuna thought, “I will ask Krishna to be my chariot driver.” Later on he lamented for doing this. This is not real friendship. This is making God our slave. This is not bhajana, it is our bhoga. We try to make God and Guru and Vaishnavas our servants. Because of this, we are punished. We get bodies like pigs, buffaloes, camels, and we are born in the Western countries, and then our bodies are put in hot boxes, or steam boxes, and while we are alive, we are steamed and then everyone eats us. Before, we give pain to everyone with our bodies, and then, as animals, we are tortured, and our souls exit our bodies. Then, the priests in the churches eat our flesh. This is our punishment. We must understand:
tat te ‘nukampam su-samikshamano
bhunjana evatma-kritam vipakam
hrid-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
[A person is entitled to the treasure of serving the lotus feet of God, who redeems us of our worldly bondage, if he lives with his heart, speech and body submitted to Him and if, through his good vision, he truly sees the mercy of God in the sufferings he brought about by his own deeds. There is no other way of being delivered from this world. Whatever God does is for our good. We can be redeemed if we behold His mercy in every event and in every activity. But if we notice any defect in His work, or realize any cruelty therein, it is sure to result in evilness and difficulty.]
I will not give pain to any other being. Narahari Sevavigraha Prabhuji had chickenpox, and fever, and for three days and night, he was suffering inside his room, without calling any brahmacaris. He served throughout his entire life, but when he was a little sick, no one asked about him or went to help him in any way. He could not drink water, or anything, and he left his body without disturbing anyone. Hearing about his dear godbrother’s departure, Param Gurudeva immediately came back to the temple from his preaching and he lamented so much.
If people serve us, then they are our friends, and if they do not serve us, or furfill our desires, they are our great enemies. Our bhajana is now zero. We are only engaged in disturbing others.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore says:
amara jivana sada pape rata,
nahiko punyera lesa
parere udvega diyachi je kato
diyachi jivere klesa
[Throughout my whole life I have been addicted to sin, never performing any pious activities. I have simply been a source of disturbance and suffering for others.]
nija sukha lagi’ pape nahi dori’
para sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhashi
para-duhkha sukha koro
[For my own pleasure I never fear to commit any sin. I am devoid of pity and full of selfishness; I’m sorry at others’ happiness and am an inveterate liar. Indeed, I take delight in others’ miseries.]
The Pandavas prayed to Krishna, and Krishna melted at heart, and wept. He saw that His aunt’s sons were very disturbed and suffering, but they never complained to Him. Krishna understood everything, He said, “Do not worry. Today, I will send the embodiment of My mercy, Ekadasi-devi. She is coming with auspicious fruits, saphala. Wherever My devotee is present, they will not be disturbed by problems and go away from Me.”
Like, when there are many court cases, will we only think about that, or will we think about ashta-kaliya-lila? If Krishna were to come before us, we would say, “Krishna, wait some time, I must go talk to the lawyer, and then I will come back and offer You a garland and some water.”
In Mahaprabhu’s lifetime, one devotee got married. Marriage means children come. One child was born. It was very sweet. It was like a little jellyfish. Five kilos of meat came out for the mother and father to share between themselves. The mother would kiss her son, hold him in her arms, and rock him back and forth day and night, thinking, “Now my life is successful.”
Her husband said, “What are you doing day and night? Worship Gopala!”
She said, “This one is a live Gopala, and that Deity is dead Gopala. Why should I serve Him? I will serve the living Gopala.”
“I have to go and do my work, while I’m gone, worship Gopala, and perform arcana.”
When he came back in the evening, he saw she had not done arcana, any puja, or anything, and was only playing with her baby, embracing him, kissing him, giving him oil, honey, juice, and then her husband said, “You are very involved with this maya, and have forgotten Krishna. Tomorrow morning your son will die.”
The next morning she saw that in truth her son was dead. Then would she keep this lollipop with her? What would she do with it? Then she threw him out. When our senses cheat us, we give up worship of Krishna. Whatever comes as a gift from God, we should use that for God’s service. We should not become attached to that, and forget our own duty.
The Pandavas had deep relation with Krishna. Krishna said, “Saphala Ekadasi-devi is coming, and she will give you the strength to never forget God and restlessly go away from Him. You will engage all your time properly. You will not waste even a moment.”
Don’t waste your life and time. From childhood, I would hear over and over, “Don’t waste time, don’t lose any time.” What does this mean? Now I understand. Gurudeva taught us to engage every minute in God’s service. He taught us not to collect material things, for they will take us very far away from God and His associates. We will run away to try to enjoy. How many hours do we work to maintain ourselves? We only eat a little bit of pasta, or a piece or two of pizza, or some bread or sandwich, but for that, we are slaves throughout our whole life, simply to maintain this dead material body. How can we come close to God? This Saphala Ekadasi is our helper. She does not disturb anyone. She helps so that when any disturbance comes to us, we will not be disturbed. We will be completely pure and strong. Therefore, she is called Saphala Ekadasi. She gives saphala, a very good fruit.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam, we hear:
paratmanishtha-matra vesha dharana
mukunda sevaya haya samsara tarana
sei vesha kaila, ebe vrindavane giya
krishnanishevana kari nibhrite basiya
Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 3.8-9
[The purpose of accepting sannyasa is to dedicate oneself to the service of Mukunda. By serving Mukunda one can actually be liberated from the bondage of material existence. After accepting the sannyasa order, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to go to Vrindavan and engage Himself wholly and solely in the service of Mukunda in a solitary place.]
We pray to this Ekadasi-devi, “O effulgent Goddess, please help me be detached from all things in this world, and to always be engaged in God’s service.”
Krishna told Vidura, “You came in this world as Dharmaraja. In this world, it is very difficult for people to protect their dharma. But, this Ekadasi-devi gives strength to follow dharma, therefore she is called Saphala Ekadasi.”
Once, in Gurudeva’s class, a snake came, and everyone jumped up and ran. Gurudeva said, “Parikshit Maharaja did not run away from hearing hari-katha when he was destined to die by a snake.”
But when a mouse, or spider comes through class, we shout, scream, jump up and run. We are very easily divided, distracted, and lose our focus. How can we be strongly engaged in bhakti? We must never go far away from our Guru-varga. We must never lose our engagement in harinama, hari-katha, and our mantras. Then this is human life. We must not go distance from our own practice, being agitated by any external disturbance.
Krishna said, “Arjuna, you have no intelligence. Go to those who have fixed intelligence, who are sthita-dhi.”
Saphala Ekadasi gives samvit-ananda, pure knowledge and bliss. Ekadasi always comes with a different name and specialty. These are very important for the sadhakas to progress in bhakti.
Try to understand Vaishnava philosophy; otherwise, you will only be like a firefly, running wherever you see fire, and then getting burnt. People desire, “I will be acarya, guru, father, grandfather, grandmother, and have grandchildren.”
We have so many desires. Do not be like fireflies, chant, ‘Haribol! Hare Krishna! Do not divide your life, and time. Without Krishna, do not go one minute away from paramartha. Make a promise today to follow bhakti-dharma, and pray to Ekadasi-devi for help. We are kali-hatta-jivas. We cannot come out of the bondage of Kali, without getting liberation. This is our very bad habit. Do not do like this. You will never be able to come back. Without sat-sanga, everything you do will be like liquid, going down the drain. Stay in the company of sad-guru, pure Vaishnavas, and in the family of devotees. Running away from there, only tension will come. There will be no sweetness. You may search everywhere, but can never find happiness. Today, pray to Gurudeva, and to Ekadasi-devi, and they will give us happiness. Then we will not think, “What is guru-seva?” We will always naturally be engaged in service. Pray to Gurudeva to always give us the nectar of hari-katha to save our life. When our soul is watered by this hari-katha, it will be happy, and will sprout, and then:
klesa-ghni subhada moksha-laghuta-krit sudurlabha
sandrananda-viseshatma sri-krishnakarshini ca sa
[Suddha-bhakti extirpates distress—klesaghni; subha-da—she offers good fortune; moksha-laghutakrit— she exposes the inanity of liberation; su-durlabha—she makes herself very rarely attainable; sandrananda-viseshatma— she fills the heart with inexplicable joy; and sri-krishnakarshini—she attracts Sri Krishna.]