This harikatha was spoken on Utpanna Ekadashi Tithi. The teachings are relevant to be heard on all the Ekadashi Tithis. Observing Ekadashi is one important limb of the 64 limbs of devotion. There is a scriptural prescript to do Upavasa on Ekadashi Tithi. Upavasa means to stay near Supreme Lord. For a conditioned soul it is possible by performing Hari Kirtana alone, which is the Yuga dharma for Kali-yuga and is the only way.
Today is a very auspicious day—Utpanna Ekadashi tithi. How did Ekadashi Tithi appear? It is mentioned in Ekadashi Mahatamya. According to Indian calendar, this is Agrahanya (also known as Margashirsha) month. This is the first month. It’s called Margshirsha because in this month mustard crop is grown. It’s beautiful and everyone’s heart is filled with happiness.
It is written in Ekadashi-mahatamya, providing evidence from a Purana of a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna inquires from Supreme Lord Sri Krishna about the significance of this Ekadashi Upavasa and Nakta bhojana. Sri Krishna replies, Nakta bhojan means eating once in Dasami, not eating on Ekadashi and again eating once in Dwadasi. One gets all auspiciousness by observing Ekdadashi with faith.
How did Ekadashi appear? All the demigods once approached Supreme Lord that we have been driven out from our heavenly abodes by demons. We are unable to fight with them. Please rescue us by killing those demons. You are our Protector, Creator and Destructor. Therefore, we are praying to you. At that time Supreme Lord exhibits anger and inquired about the demon. Demigods informed about Mura demon. Supreme Lord said you all be ready to fight. I will come with you and kill that demon.
When they went there Mura demon started roaring seeing them. Fight began and the demigods couldn’t match him and fled. Only Supreme Lord stood there. Supreme Lord killed all the demons but the fight with Mura demon went on for 10 thousand years. He defeated the demon and then went to Badrinarayana to take rest. Mura demon got up again and started searching for Supreme Lord to fight. He ultimately could find Him resting and wanted to kill Him. At that time a divine woman form appeared from the body of Supreme Lord. She fought with Mura demon and killed him by breaking his head in two pieces. Is Supreme Lord actually sleeping? This is His pastime. Supreme Lord opened His eyes and saw the divine woman form present there. He inquired, “Who are you?” She said, “While you were taking rest, a demon came. I appeared from you and fought with Him and killed him”. Supreme Lord was pleased with her. He said, “Today is Ekadashi. Your name will be Ekadashi. By performing Ekadashi-vrata one will be relieved of all kinds of sins.”
In Karma-kanda scriptures it is mentioned “Deliverance from sins and attainment of heaven”. But devotees don’t desire heaven because one has to return from there after their piety is exhausted.
Karmis, who think the body to be the self, perform vrata for material gains like getting a son etc. However, in Hari-bhakti-vilasa, a Smriti scripture, it’s written,
upavrattasya papebhyo yas tu vaso gunaih saha
upavasah sa vigeyah sarva bhoga vivarjitah
(Sri Hari-Bhakti-Viläsa, 13.14)
(Giving up all sins, and with all good qualities, one who remains near Krishna, totally relinquishing all enjoyments, has actually observed the vow of Ekadashi.)
Upavrattasya papebhyo—we are to give up all sinful activity. We are to refrain, to desist from committing all sins. We can enjoy only things inferior to us and they are temporary. By having tendency to enjoy we will be entangled in the temporary things of this world. The purpose of Ekadashi-vrata is to develop love for Supreme Lord.
In Chaitanya Charitamrita it is mentioned that observing Ekadashi-vrata is one of the 64 limbs of devotion. The purpose of all kinds of devotion is to remember Supreme Lord as mentioned in Padma Purana.
smartavyah satatam vishnu
vismartavyo na jatucit
syur etayor eve kinkarah
I am telling in brief regarding 64 limbs of devotion. Of that first ten are advised. Observing Ekadashi-vrata is one of these ten. Supreme Lord is pleased when Ekadashi-vrata is observed.
The result of performing bhajan is much more in Ekadashi. When Ekadashi-vrata is observed in a Dham (abode of Supreme Lord) the result is even more. Like Ambarish Maharaja observed Ekadashi in Mathura Dham for one year.
Place where devotees sing glories of Supreme Lord is also Dham. Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math is also Dham. Our Paramgurudev, Nityalila-pravistha Om Vishnupad BhaktiSiddhant Saraswati Prabhupad used to say he did not stay in Kali’s place Kalikata (previous name of Kolkata) even though he was physically residing there. This is because he was residing in Math.
A dham, like Mathura-Vrindavan, is not a part of India or this earth. It’s not made up of earth, fire, water, air, ether like any other place. We will not get entrance in a dham with our material bodies. In Garg-samhita it is mentioned that 84 Krosa of Brij-mandal dham has descended, by the desire of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Similarly, Govardhan appeared first as son of Drona Mountain. Later Pulastya Muni desired to take Him to Kasi but Govardhan wanted to stay in Brij-mandal. So, he was cursed by Pulastya Muni to diminish in size every day. Originally, he was with a length of 64 miles, width of 24 miles and height of 16 miles. Now he is even less than 7 miles. After few thousand years he will disappear. It’s said that till the River Ganges and Govardhan are present there will be still some protection and peace in the world but after their disappearance there will be no one to protect.
Sree Chaitanya Gaudiya Math is not a part of this earth. This is also a dham. By material body and intelligence and having enjoyment propensity one cannot get actual entrance.
Supreme Lord says, mad-bhakta yatra gayanti tatra tisthami narada—O Narada, wherever My devotees sing my glories I stay there.
If Ekadashi-vrata is observed in such a dhama where devotees reside, it can’t be said in words how much more benefit is derived.
(Upavasa means to stay near Supreme Lord). What should we do to stay near Supreme Lord because He is Nirguna and transcendental. He can be approached with a transcendental body only.
What is the solution?
We find in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita:
diksha-kale shishya kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krishna tare kare atma-sama
sei deha kare tara cid-ananda-maya
aprakata-dehe krishna carana bhajaya
(At the time of taking mantra-diksha, the devotee takes absolute shelter of Gurudeva, Grace incarnate of Supreme Lord, non-different from Supreme Lord. Sri Krishna makes the devotee cid-ananda-maya via the medium of Gurudeva and in that transcendental form, the devotee can worship Sri Krishna.)
But we still consider body to be the self. Then how can we stay near Supreme Lord. For that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Srivas Angana, the Sankirtan Rasa-Sthali, teaches how we can perform Ekadashi-vrata. (Srivas Pandit is Narada Muni.)
harivasare, hari-kirtana vidhana
nritya arambhila prabhu jagatera prana
So, the devotional prescript in Ekadashi Tithi is to perform kirtana. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is combined form of Radha and Krishna, is performing dance in Srivas Angana.
punyavanta srivas angane subharambha
uthile kirtana dhvani gopala govinda
hari o rama rama!
In Bhagavat it’s written:
kaler dosa-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet
Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults of sins and irreligion, there is still one great quality about this age, Krishna-Kirtana, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
As mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.17), the last heir of Pandavas, Parikshit Maharaj, once witnessed in his kingdom that one person dressed as a king is beating a cow and also a bull is standing there having only one leg.
Parikshit Maharaja inquired him: “Who are you?”.
He replied “I’m Kali”.
“What is the meaning of Kali.”
“Sin, irreligion, quarrel”.
“You have no place in my kingdom. You leave else I will kill you.”
Kali took shelter to Parikshit Maharaj so he couldn’t kill him and asked him to leave his kingdom. He said but everywhere it’s his kingdom only. Please give me place to stay. So, he was given four places to stay: dhyutam (place of gambling), panam (intoxication), striyam (illicit association with women) and suna (meat eating). He requested for one more place. Parikshit Maharaj gave him a place in ‘Wealth’. Wealth is Laxmi Devi who is supposed to serve Narayana. So, if one who doesn’t engage wealth in the service of Narayana but tries to enjoy it then Kali will take his position there.
Those who want welfare should not associate with above four places. And if a religious person indulges in these sins then he will be harmed even greater, as general people hold religious people as their ideals and try to follow them. If a king indulges in vices then citizens will also follow. This is very bad. So, religious person or a king should not indulge in such acts.
To be rescued from these places of kali one should perform Harinama.
krte yad dhyayato visnum
tretayam yajato makhaih
kalau tad hari-kirtanat
In Satya-yuga the process was meditation. All four legs of Dharma viz tapa (austerity), saucham (cleanliness), daya (mercy) and satyam (truthfulness) were present. Therefore, meditation was possible. Mind was not restless at that time. In Treta only three legs of Dharma remained and attachment to material things started. In Treta itself meditation was not possible. So, sages of that time prescribed to offer the object of material attachment to Supreme Lord. The logic is that whatever object one is attached to, one’s mind will follow it. e.g. if that material object is taken away by a thief then one will run behind the thief, wherever he runs whatever be the place. Similarly mind runs behind the object of attachment. Therefore, to be able concentrate on Supreme Lord one should offer the object of attachment in the service of Supreme Lord. Process in Treta-yuga was Yagna—to sacrifice the object of attachment to Vishnu through Yagna (fire-sacrifice).
In Dwapara-yuga, the second leg of Dharma, saucham, is also gone. People developed desire for enjoyment. Yagna was not possible also because mantra should be recited accurately otherwise opposite result can happen as in the Vrittasura incidence. Therefore, in Dwapara-yuga deity worship was the process. To put all the senses and sense-objects in the deity service so that mind gets attached to deity.
In Kali-yuga, mind and senses are restless. Object of worship are also not pure like Ghee etc. People are diseased therefore ineligible for deity worship. Therefore, Hari-Kirtana is the process in Kali-yuga. The same object will be achieved in KALI-YUGA by Hari-Kirtana which was achieved by the respective processes of other Yugas.
Every Yuga has it’s Mahamantra and people had to perform it for achieving perfection.
In the Satya-yuga the taraka-brahma-nama is:
narayana para veda narayana paraksara
narayana para muktir narayana-para gatih
In the Treta-yuga the taraka-brahma-nama is:
rama narayanananta mukunda madhusudana
krsna kesava kamsare hare vaikuntha vamana
In the Dwapara-yuga the taraka-brahma-nama is:
hare murare madhu-kaitabhare gopala govinda mukunda saure
yajnesa narayana krsna visnos nirasrayam mam jagadisa raksa
In the Kali-yuga the taraka-brahma-nama is:
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
In Kali-yuga it’s directly calling the Supreme Lord. There is no other way. Tulasidas also said: “kaliyug kewal naam adhara, simar-simar nar utarahin para”.
It’s also said: “sri harer nama mangalam param svastyayanam nrinam nasty-eva gatir anyatha”.
Only Hari-nama with full determination. Definitely no other way. Definitely no other way.
Definitely no other way. Even when a demigod worshipper dies, they chant the names of Rama and Hari and not any demigod. “rama nama satya hai…”. “Haribol! Haribol!”.
The names have to be taken in the association of Sadhus, who call out Supreme Lord for His satisfaction alone.
Therefore, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says “Sankirtana”:
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamritaswadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krishna-sankirtanam
Perform Sri Krishna Sankirtanam, Hare Krishna Mahamantra, RadhaKrishna Kirtana by which heart will be cleansed of material desires, which are the cause of sufferings. No other process is required except Holy Names. If heart is cleansed then this worldly forest fire of sufferings would be extinguished. Material desires, compared to fire, are the cause of sufferings. If no such desire then no suffering will remain. If there is suffering then it means desires are present. If one is performing Sankirtana then sufferings can’t remain. Threefold afflictions, birth, death etc will all go away. Auspiciousness will descend. One will get knowledge that he is servant of Supreme Lord. All the quarrels are due to misconception of self. Everything is by, for and of Supreme Lord. It doesn’t belong to any nation for which they quarrel. If I love someone then I can’t hurt persons related to him. So, if one actually loves Supreme Lord then he can’t harm even an ant.
Therefore, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said I haven’t appeared just for India but for whole world. Let whole world know that there is no way except Harinama. Call out for Supreme Lord in association of bonafide Sadhus. Then you will get love for Supreme Lord and love for all. Let whole world know.
Srila Puri Maharaja told me to go to foreign countries. I said my spiritual life may get spoiled by going there. He said no you should go. I asked him will you take my responsibility. Wherever I went I was surrounded by devotees so I had no fear.