Annada Ekadashi Katha – Ekadashi Awakens our Vraja-bhāva
Today is Annadā-Ekādaśī. Every Ekādaśī has a special name and quality. In the course of one year there are generally twenty-four Ekādaśīs. When Puruṣottama-masa comes, there are twenty-six Ekādaśīs, and sometimes there may even be an extra Ekādaśī. Each Ekādaśī bestows a special benediction to the living entities and in this way nourishes their spiritual lives. The name of today’s Ekādaśī is annadā.
In the Vedānta-sūtra, five kinds of puruṣas are described: annamaya-brahma, prāṇamaya-brahma, jñānamaya-brahma, vijñānamaya-brahma, ānandamaya-brahma. The first three (annamaya, prāṇamaya and jñānamaya) represent the ksetra, material body. The vijñānamaya-puruṣa, the jīva‚ is the knower of the kṣetra (this material body). The embodied soul cannot live without annamaya-brahma, which is represented as food or grains. By taking these food grains, the living entities become inclined toward sense gratification, bhoganmukha. Whatever they see, they try to acquire for their own enjoyment. The living entities thus become completely bhoganmukha.
We come to this world and have received this physical body and family, society, village, nation and world; for what purpose? Have we come only to eat and fill our bellies? Why have we come here? Day and night we think only about our survival and our own sense gratification. Because of this tendency, people have no mercy for others. They want to enjoy everything and have no sevonmukhavṛtti, service tendency.
If we do not serve our Supreme Father, then we are ungrateful. Aurangzeb, the Moghul emperor of India, said to his sons, “You should serve your father and follow his instructions. If you follow your father’s instructions you will receive auspiciousness.”
They asked him, “Should we serve you the way you served your father?”
Aurangzeb had usurped his father’s kingdom, and placed his father in jail and would give him only a glass of water and some chickpeas to eat. His father died in solitary confinement. Aurangzeb also killed his other brothers so he would have no competition for the throne.
This is our unfortunate condition. We give everyone pain and misery so that we may enjoy. We are great demons. We do not have sharp fangs like a beast, but our tendency is worse than theirs. We will do anything to gratify ourselves. We perform sin, become diseased, lament and then die. This is the natural sequence according to our actions. We are not going down the right path, so we must suffer. One day you should give up your enjoyment.
cira sukhi jana, brahmi ki kokkhon, vyathita vedana, bhujite pare
ki jatane bise, bhujibe se kise, kabhu asi bise, dang seni jare
“He who is always pleased does not wander. How can he understand the sorrow of the destitute? He who has not been bit by a snake cannot understand the pain. If he is ever bitten, then he will realize the anguish.”
Day and night people are drinking the poison of saṁsāra. Then they will have to suffer the painful result. Therefore, one must receive this sevonmukhavṛtti, service tendency. Where will it come from? Ekasadi-devī is the mother of bhakti. She says, “Today, give up your enjoyment of material objects. Give up the serpent of sense gratification.” Our condition in this world is that whatever we can get our hands on, we try to enjoy. We think, “this is mine,” and “that is mine.” A child will grab anything he can, thinking, “this is mine,” and, “this is mine,” and, “this is mine.” He cannot give up the habitual nature acquired from millions of lives.
Renunciation gives great satisfaction. If you cannot give up sense enjoyment then, like a serpent it will devour you. When one is bitten by a serpent it takes many hours to die. The whole time you will be moaning in great pain. You think, “I will eat a paratha, rice, some fish, chicken and rasagullas. I will drink milk and then eat the cow.”
We do not know that it is not us eating the meat but it is the meat eating us. Those animals we kill will come back to kill us. Māṁsa, meat, is defined in the Manu-saṁhitā—
māṁ sa bhakṣayitāmutra
yasya māṁsam ihādmy aham
etan māṁsasya māṁsatvaṁ
“The word māṁsa means: ‘That which I am eating here, will eat me in my next life.’ For this reason, the learned say that meat is called māṁsa (a repeated act: I eat him; he eats me).”
The beings living within the annamaya-kosa, food cells, are the separated parts and parcels of Bhagavān. The living beings are the servants of Bhagavān and are for His enjoyment. When you try to acquire and enjoy those objects, you commit great sin. The wealth of the soul is manifested from Bhagavān’s potency and is meant for His service. We are suffering in this material existence because we have lost our service nature and forgotten that we are Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servants.
kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha
kabhu svarge uṭhāya kabhu narake ḍubāya
daṇḍya-jane rājā yena nadīte cubāya
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 20.117-118
“Because he has forgotten Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the jīva has been absorbed in his attempts to enjoy the material energy since time immemorial. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s māyā–śakti awards the jīva the various sufferings of saṁsāra. Sometimes he is elevated to the heavenly planets, and at other times he is thrown in the hellish planets. This is just like a man who is punished by the king by being tied to a wooden plank and dunked in a river. Sometimes he is immersed till he nearly drowns, and sometimes he is released for a few moments of apparent happiness.”
When we forget our true nature then the witch of māyā attacks us with countless kinds of affliction. By great fortune the living beings come in contact with Vaiṣṇavas, and they then come to realize their dreadful condition in material existence, and pray to Kṛṣṇa for mercy. As described in Śrī Prema-vivarta (6.1-13)—
piśācī pāile jena mati-cchana haya
māyā-grasta jīvera haya se bhāva udaya
“The dharma of the jīva who has turned away from Kṛṣṇa becomes covered, just as a person’s intelligence becomes covered when he is haunted by a witch.”
āmi siddha kṛṣṇa-dāsa, ei kathā bhūle
māyāra naphara hañā cira-dina bule
“He forgets Bhagavān’s identity, and his own identity as a servant of Hari. Becoming a slave of māyā, he wanders here and there for a long time in this bewildering material existence.”
kabhu rājā, kabhu prajā, kabhu vipra, śūdra
kabhu duḥkhī, kabhu sukhī, kabhu kīṭa kṣudra
“Sometimes he is a king and sometimes a subject, sometimes a brāhmaṇa and sometimes a śūdra. Sometimes he is happy and sometimes distressed, and sometimes he is a tiny insect.”
kabhu svarge, kabhu martye, narake vā kabhu
kabhu deva, kabhu daitya, kabhu dāsa, prabhu
“Sometimes he is in heaven, sometimes on earth, and sometimes in hell. Sometimes he is a deva and sometimes a demon. Sometimes he is a servant and sometimes a master.”
ei-rūpe saṁsāra bhramite kona jana
sādhu-saṅge nija-tattva avagata hana
“As he is wandering like this throughout material existence, if by some great fortune he happens to obtain the association of pure bhaktas, he comes to know of his own identity, and his life thus becomes meaningful.”
nija-tattva jāni āra saṁsāra na cāya
kena vā bhajinu māyā kare hāya hāya
“By his association with those bhaktas, he understands his true identity and becomes indifferent to material enjoyment. Grieving bitterly for his predicament, he laments, ‘Alas! Alas! Why did I serve māyā for so long?’”
kaṅde bole, ohe kṛṣṇa! āmi tava dāsa
tomāra caraṇa chāḍi’ haila sarva-nāśa
“He cries profusely, and prays at the lotus feet of Bhagavān. ‘O Kṛṣṇa! I am Your eternal servant, but I have been ruined because I disregarded the service of Your feet. Who knows how long I have been wandering aimlessly as the slave of māyā?’”
kākuti kariyā kṛṣṇe ḍāke eka-bāra
kṛpā kari kṛṣṇa tāre chāḍāna saṁsāra
“’O Patita-pāvana! O Dīna-nātha! Please protect this destitute soul. Deliver me from Your māyā and engage me in Your service.’ Śṛī Kṛṣṇa is an ocean of mercy, and when He hears the jīva cry out in such desperation even once, He quickly transports him across this insurmountable material energy.”
māyāke pichane rākhi’ kṛṣṇa-pāne cāya
bhajite bhajite kṛṣṇa-pāda-padma pāya
kṛṣṇa tāre dena nija-cic-chaktira bala
māyā ākarṣaṇa chāḍe haiyā durbala
“Kṛṣṇa empowers the jīva with His spiritual potency, so that māyā’s power to attract the soul gradually wanes. The jīva then turns his back on māyā and desires to attain Kṛṣṇa. He worships Kṛṣṇa again and again, and finally becomes competent to attain His lotus feet.”
‘sādhu-saṅge kṛṣṇa-nāma’–ei-mātra cāi
saṁsāra jinite āra kona vastu nāi
“Therefore, the only infallible method to cross this insurmountable material existence is to chant kṛṣṇa–nāma in the association of bhaktas.”
We have heard this philosophy, but have no ability to give up our sinful nature and our desire to run after sense enjoyment. We think, “I will enjoy everything.” But we must give up the path of enjoyment and come on to the path of renunciation. We will have to give up our materialistic nature.
Ekādaśī-devī appears on this day to help the conditioned souls awaken their service tendency and give up their enjoying tendency. If we take shelter of her, she will cut off our attachments and moha. Then she will help us realize we are a part and parcel of Bhagavān and His eternal servants.
When we realize that we have been afflicted in saṁsāra for so many births having forgotten Kṛṣṇa. Now I realize that I am your servant.
When we surrender to Kṛṣṇa, we will experience peace and supreme bliss.
ātma-nivedana, tuwā pade kori’, hoinu parama sukhī
duḥkha dūre gelo, cintā nā rohilo, caudike ānanda dekhī
aśoka-abhoya, amṛta-ādhāra, tomāra caraṇa-dvaya
tāhāte ekhona, viṣrāma labhiyā chāḍinu bhavera bhoya
“O My Lord, since I have surrendered my soul permanently at Your lotus feet, I have become supremely joyful. All my sufferings and sorrows have gone far away, and no more anxieties remain in my mind. I see only bliss everywhere in all four directions. Your lotus feet are reservoirs of immortal nectar where one may live free from lamentation and fear. I have found peace there now and have given up the fear of worldly existence.”
One day, Kṛṣṇa said to all the Vrajavāsīs, “We will have annakuta-mahotsava, whatever grain you have, you must offer everything to Bhagavān in very nice preparations.”
Kṛṣṇa instructed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.27)—
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
“O Kaunteya, whatever activities you perform, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice and give in charity and whatever austerities you perform, offer them all to Me.”
Whatever action we perform, and whatever we have, we must offer it to God. But for us this is not possible. We will always save some share for ourselves.
Kṛṣṇa arranged for annakuta-mahotsava, and all the Vrajavāsīs prepared wonderful delicacies with everything they possessed and offered it to Girirāja.
Kṛṣṇa said to the Vrajavāsīs, “Give everything to Girirāja; don’t hide anything in your turbans. Offer your daṇḍavat praṇāmas and tell Girirāja you surrender completely to Him.”
Kṛṣṇa said, “Girirāja is so large, but you are bringing Him very slight amounts of food. It is only small morsels for His mouth.” Then what to do? Kṛṣṇa said, “Offer yourselves to Girirāja. Say to Him, ‘Girirāja we are all Your servants and we will always do everything for You.”
Girirāja appeared in a massive form and rapidly took all the offerings that were given to Him. Still, Girirāja’s stomach was not filled.
Kṛṣṇa said, “Indra only takes soma–rasa, heavenly liquor, and his mind is impure. But just see our Girirāja, He is eating everything and is calling out, ‘Ano re! Ano re! Bring more, Bring more.’”
The Vrajavāsīs said, “We have nothing left, what can we do?”
“Give Him a Tulasī leaf,” Kṛṣṇa said. They gave this to Girirāja and He said, “Now I am satisfied, Trpto ‘smi! Trpto ‘smi! Now My stomach is full.”
Then Girirāja filled up all the pots and said, “Now you all eat.” He gave so much. A thousand times more appeared than what they had offered. Therefore we should not think we will have any shortness if we offer everything to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa will fulfill our store with thousands of times more then we can ever give Him.
What does Ekādaśī-devī do? She connects us to Bhagavān’s service. She awakens our vraja-bhāva, our mood towards Kṛṣṇa in a relationship in the primary rasas, as a servant, sakhā, mother or father, or mañjarī. She gives these moods and makes us inclined towards service. She endeavors to help us in all ways and helps us lose taste for mundane sense enjoyment, giving us a higher taste. She helps us renounce the conception of being a separate enjoyer and to realize that we are Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servants. Until we can give up this mentality of being an independent enjoyer, we will always suffer in this saṁsāra. Everything you do here is for your own self. Until this mentality leaves, everything you do is selfish and will only bring you suffering.
Kṛṣṇa will not eat your remnants. He will only take the remnants of the Vrajavāsīs who have pure love for Him. To give the pure mentality of a servant, Ekādaśī-devī appears on this day and is known as Annadā-Ekādaśī. The living being cannot remain alive without some food. When he offers everything to Kṛṣṇa and receives His prasādam, then he may become liberated from the mentality of being an independent enjoyer and he can accept the fact that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Enjoyer and he is His eternal servant. Kṛṣṇa said to Arjuna, “When will one’s miserable state of saṁsāra be destroyed? He must receive My praśāda—
prasanna-cetaso hy āśu
“The suffering of one who receives praśada is completely destroyed. One becomes self-controlled, blissful and intelligence fixed in attaining his desired goal.”
First you must offer everything to Kṛṣṇa and then it will become His prasādam. Taking that prasādam, all your misery in this world will be finished. Until you can do this you will have to suffer in this world. Bhagavān is the Supreme Father, if you surrender to Him then no one will be able to cause you any disturbance.
Ekādaśī-devī comes as Annadā-Ekādaśī to teach us how to offer our anna, and to understand it is Kṛṣṇa’s property. Without this understanding we will be misers and will always worry about our own maintenance. We will hide coins in our wall or under our bed so no one can find them. Our mentality will always be very low. We will not have a generous nature and will never give charity, annadā.
Today, Mahāprabhu was weeping as a child. Usually He would not stop crying until someone would chant, “Haribol! Haribol!” But today He would not stop crying even though many people were chanting, “Haribol,” for many hours. Finally, Jaganatha-miśra asked Mahāprabhu why He was weeping. Mahāprabhu said, “Today is Annadā-Ekādaśī. Hiranya and Jagadish Paṇḍita are offering so much anna to Bhagavān and if I cannot eat that, I will not be able to stop crying. I will not find any peace. They are giving that to Me and if I do not take it then it will be useless and they will feel so bad.”
We are instructed not to distribute grains or eat grains on Ekādaśī, but this does not mean we should not offer grains to Bhagavān on Ekādaśī. On Ekādaśī people make Bhagavān fast on some fruit or roots. This is an offense in Bhagavān’s service, sevā-aparādha. On Ekādaśī you should offerchapanna–bhoga, fifty-six preparations, with many grain dishes, to Bhagavān.
Jagannātha-miśra went to the house of Hiranya and Jagadish Paṇḍita and told them how Nimāi wanted to take the offerings they were making to Ṭhakurajī. Hiranya and Jagadish were singing kīrtana and had offered opulent bhoga.
Jagannātha-miśra asked them, “Today is Ekādaśī, why are you offering so many things?”
“We are fasting,” they said, “but do not want to make Bhagavān fast. We made fifty-six preparations for His pleasure.”
Jaganatha-miśra asked them to bring the offerings to Mahāprabhu, saying, “My son Nimāi, Viśvambhara, is crying and wailing because He wants your bhoga.”
Hiranya and Jagadish understood He was the Lord and were overjoyed. For so many years they had been serving the Lord, but still had some trace of doubt that Bhagavān was accepting their offerings. Now they realized the truth brought the offerings to Nimāi. Taking them, Nimāi began to smile and laugh. He sat down like Girirāja and took one item at a time, eating and laughing in great bliss.
We must cultivate the tendency to give charity. But who should we give to? We should not give to those who are lame or lepers, or sinful people. Then we will only take a share of their sin. It is like we are buying their sin and in the end we will also become diseased. Our charity must be given to Bhagavān. Offer bhoga to Bhagavān, then by distributing His prasādam, and taking His prasādam, you will never again have to suffer disease or lamentation in the material worlds.
If you take anything without first offering it to Bhagavān, then it is a great sin. You cannot create anything in this world; everything is the property of Bhagavān. He has created everything. If you selfishly take anything without first offering it to Bhagavān then it will cause you great suffering. First we perform sin and then by these actions we are teaching others. We must offer everything to Bhagavān. Bhagavān’s prasādam is beneficial to all living entities. You will become very merciful and magnanimous to others by distributing His prasādam.
On Annadā-Ekādaśī we must purify our consciousness. She comes to help us with this and to engage us in Bhagavān’s service. In this way we can learn how to offer everything to Him. If you steal from Bhagavān you will be forced to suffer the sinful reactions. If we do not offer everything to Bhagavān then we will incur the sins of killing other living beings for our own gratification.
bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā
ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt
“Saintly persons who accept the remnants of yajña become free from all sins, but those who cook grains and other foodstuffs for their own sake are sinful, and certainly partake of sin.”
Everything should be offered to Bhagavān, this is called yajña. Then you may take whatever remnants are there to maintain your life.
Ekādaśī-devī comes to give us spiritual strength and intelligence. She helps us realize our own internal moods and relationship with Bhagavān. Every Ekādaśī has some specialty which is indicated by her name. We must understand her qualities and respect and surrender to her. Then she can give us treatment for our material disease.
We see people in this world speculating on Ekādaśī. They will not take whole grains but they think if they turn it into flour and mix it with Gaṅgā water to make rotis—this will not break Ekādaśī. Or they soak the mung–dal and say it is not cooked so therefore it is okay. Some people think to take only nuts and dried fruits and make a nice feast for themselves. This is not the process either. On Ekādaśī we must learn to offer our eleven senses to Bhagavān. When we do so, Ekādaśī Devī will protect, maintain and nourish us. Follow this process. Do not follow your mental speculation. Today, study Śrīmad-bhāgavatam, Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and serve Ṭhakurajī with all your senses. Surrender to Ekādaśī-devī, following the guidance of Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, then you will receive supreme auspiciousness.