On this auspicious day of Ekadasi, in the association of Guru and Vaisnavas, and especially staying here in Vrndavana dhama, we shall try to follow the limbs of pure bhakti. By staying in the association of pure devotees automatically you will follow the limbs of pure bhakti, but by staying in the association of karmis and jnanis, you cannot follow bhakti’s nine limbs. Only in the association of devotees will you always try to follow the nine limbs of bhakti.
How can this suddha bhakti be obtained? How can these limbs be followed? There is suddha-bhakti itself, and then there are the nine limbs of suddha bhakti. So where do these nine limbs manifest? Within that personality of Srimati Ekadasi-devi herself is the place where the nine limbs of suddha bhakti manifest. We know that Ekadasi-devi has many different names, forms and specialties. The name of this Ekadasi today is Mohini Ekadasi.
Mohini has two svarupas—a cheating svarupa and a transcendental svarupa. In her transcendental feature, she offers various forms of help. But why is she also of a cheating nature? Is this her real nature? No. She doesn’t try to cheat anyone; but she cheats those jivas who try cheating God, Guru and Vaisnavas. Thus, the jivas cheat their own selves. She will thus distance the jivas from God and herself by supplying them with mundane things.
I will explain one svarupa now and I will explain the other, later. There is a history behind the appearance of Mohini’s cheating svarupa. In ancient times, there was a saintly king called Rukmangad Maharaja. He would strictly follow dharma. For the benefit of his citizens, he would always seek the advice of his superior authorities. With the well-being of his citizens in mind, he asked Brahma, “What form of dharma should the jivas follow by which they will quickly attain the fruit of their sadhana and make their lives successful? How will they continuously be helped in all ways?”
The jivas follow many forms of dharma. On receiving the fruits and results of their endeavors, the jivas are quick to taste them and they run away. But who will always protect and help the jivas? Who will look after them with love and affection that transcends even that of their mothers’ and thus help them stay always connected? Youngsters disregard even the help of their mothers. They live separate from their parents; they don’t care for them. Hence, Rukmangad Maharaja asked Brahma on who they could depend to be helped.
Brahma replied, “I created this world, but only God Himself can help the jivas. For this purpose, He manifested the deity of Bhakti-janani, the mother of bhakti, Ekadasi-devi. Anyone who takes the shelter of the lotus feet of the mother of bhakti will be duly helped by her. She will make her dependents qualified to follow bhakti. Therefore, you must follow Ekadasi-devi, Visnu’s murti. She is God’s svarupa; she appears with the Lord’s eleven senses to help the jivas. Her help far exceeds that of an affectionate mother.
“On the day preceding Ekadasi, on the day of Dasami, you must be very strong. You must follow certain rules and regulations. You must not talk to or address anyone. You must avoid useless, bogus people. Don’t engage yourself in joking and bogus dramas. You must be careful to not be entangled in any form of sense gratification. You must only be absorbed in hari-smarana. During the night of this day, you must make a sankalpa with a mantra.”
Uttering the mantra in the king’s ear, Brahma arranged for the king to make a sankalpa.
On Dasami, a sadhaka should think, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. How can I follow this auspicious day? I must always pray to be helped by the Guru-varga, Ekadasi-devi, and God.”
Rukmangad Maharaja offered his prayers from the night of Dasami up until the morning of Ekadasi. On the day of Dasami, an announcement was made all over the kingdom. It was announced, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. Everyone must follow this day.”
Rukmangad Maharaja would patrol his vast kingdom on the day of Dasami and have his sentries broadcast the order of following Ekadasi, which also read, “The citizens of my country whose age is between eight and eighty must follow Ekadasi. Those who don’t follow Ekadasi will have themselves kicked out of the kingdom. Or I will have them killed. I consider those who don’t follow the rules and regulations to be my enemies. There is no need for them to live anymore.”
Therefore, all of the citizens were very scared. Regardless of their desire, they diligently followed Ekadasi. By following Ekadasi, they found themselves to be infused with transcendental strength. Indeed, energy from a sublime source permeated their bodies. Hence, they found themselves to be very qualified and free of sin. From following Ekadasi in a pure way, engaging all of their senses in the service of God, King Rukmangad along with all the citizens of his kingdom became increasingly happy and peaceful. They engaged in hari-bhajana and all became free of any faults; they respected the demigods and did not disrespect or hate anyone; nobody criticized another or considered anyone else insignificant; and nobody gave their neighbors any trouble.
As long as you don’t understand your own faults, you will find faults in others. Who is the best man? The best man is he who can see his own faults. He is acarya. He is qualified. Krsna’s mercy is upon him, because he is seeing his own faults. But instead of seeing one’s own faults, most only see the faults of others. Such a person is a great troublemaker for the entire world; he is a great hypocrite, cheater, materialist, a vyabhicari enjoyer, a debouchee – because he is not realizing his own faults. Unless he realizes his own faults, how can he come on the pure path, the path of all auspiciousness?
Therefore there should be a person who can help you in this path of suddha-bhakti, one who can tell you, “this is your fault.” Take their help. If we correct ourselves, the entire world will be corrected; if we are happy, the entire world is happy. But if we have some blackness inside us, then we will see blackness in others also. Therefore a thief considers the entire world to be thieves. A lusty man considers that the entire world is lusty. A greedy man thinks the entire world is greedy. One will see his own qualities in everybody else. This is the nature of the enjoyers.
Now King Rukmangad and his kingdom became thoroughly cleansed, inside and out, from Ekadasi-devi’s mercy. Citragupta, the karmic accountant of the universe and assistant to the Lord of Death, became inactive as a result of the piety of the citizens, and Yama Maharaja asked him, “Citragupta, why are you not working?”
Citragupta replied, “O Dharma-Raja, what need is there for me to work? I haven’t had to even use the pen and paper. I usually collect notes of all the conditioned souls’ actions on an hourly basis and note the name of the sinful culprits down. But presently, they haven’t performed any action contrary to the injunctions of the scriptures; they haven’t done any wrong. They have all followed Ekadasi with their strengthened eleven senses. They haven’t been weak and haven’t been led the wrong way. Now no one is sinning; no one is speaking lies. Now everyone’s senses are engaged in Sri Hari’s seva. We don’t have any other work to perform. I will therefore just throw this record book away – there is no need to maintain any records of anyone’s sins because no one is sinning anymore. They have not been entangled by any form of misunderstandings and misconceptions. They possess good intelligence. By the mercy of the mother of devotion, Ekadasi-devi, they sincerely practice the limbs of bhakti and follow God. So, how can they enter our abode?”
Yama Maharaja and Citragupta then went to Brahma’s abode to consult with the Grandsire. Yama Maharaja told Brahma, “This world is a place of death, mrtya-loka; here everyone is ultimately going to die. But in this world Maharaja RukmangalaRukmangad is a very noble king; he has engaged everyone in the service of Sri Hari. Now no one is collecting any sin. Our duty of helping people by reckoning and punishment is not needed here any longer. You have given me service; but now I find myself to be deprived of my service. Now there is no more work to be done; hell is empty. Nobody is coming to hell. Just by following Ekadasi all of them have controlled and offered their senses to Sri Hari. Now that they have become Sri Hari’s servants, they are not committing any wrong. They are not cheating others, or doing anything outside of dharma. So why should we control them or discipline them? Now they have become great reservoirs of faith. They have all qualifications now; they don’t have any lust or bad qualities inside them.”
Ordinary people drag another to hell along with themselves. They tell an unfortunate person, “Hello! Come with me.” They then give him bad advice and pave a path for both their journeys to hell. But the citizens of Rukmangad Maharaja didn’t practice such inappropriate behavior. Their relationship was only with God. Being completely absorbed in the service of God, they had no time to engage themselves in any harmful acts. Hence, how could they go to hell?
The demigods are very envious. They cannot tolerate anyone’s spiritual advancement. For example, among the sevakas who are serving Sri Guru and Gauranga, the demigods will plot, “Oh, I will make him fall down. I will chase him away from here.” But why will they do this? Because they are also baddha-jivas. A conditioned soul is very envious. Demigods are also like this. Thinking in this way, the demigods called Mohini devi. A sadhu comes to do bhajan and bhakti, but the demigods are very restless. They say, “Why should this sadhu advance? Why should he go on the path of spiritual wellbeing? He’s going to bypass us. We should not let the sadhu do this.” So all the demigods conspired together for RukmangalaRukmangad’s downfall. Brahma created Mohini-devi from Maha-Maya, and the demigods called her, “Mohini devi, come here, we have a task for you. Poison RukmangalaRukmangad Maharaja’s intelligence.”
Listening to Yama Maharaja’s dilemma, Brahma thought for a while. Then he himself made a deity. On being brought to life, the deity asked Brahma, “What is my duty?”
Brahma said, “I will direct you to a particular hill station. Go there and reside near a waterfall. You must sing enchantingly. When Rukmangad Maharaja comes near you, you must cheat him.”
On being told to act as such, the deity went on her way. Brahma named her Mohini.
Rukmangad Maharaja was now an aged king. The king had noticed how his responsibility in worldly samsara was always causing great obstacles in to his devotion. He thus gave his noble son, Dharmangad, all responsibility for the kingdom.
He told his son, “I am pleased with you, and I know you will manage this kingdom nicely, looking after all citizens as your own children. I am now above sixty years of age; it is time for me to engage in bhajan.” Thus the King renounced his royal position and opulence and traveled to the very pure environment of the Himalayas to concentrate his mind on the lotus feet of Sri Hari. He went past the asramas of many Rsis and rested in the asrama of Bamadeva. Surrounded by the freshness and tranquility of the mountains, trees, and ponds, he became easily absorbed in meditation. He started a discussion with Bamadeva.
The Rsi told the king, “Ekadasi is the highest vrata. This vrata is topmost; the other vratas pale in comparison. You are very lucky to have followed Ekadasi-vrata your entire life.”
As he deepened his tapasya and spiritual practices, Rukmangad was suddenly brought out of his trance by the sound of sweet singing in a nearby garden on a hill where Mohini was residing.
Enchanted by some songs, the king went to the hill station where Mohini resided. He very soon became restless and left his meditation in search for the lady with this melodious voice. He strongly desired to see her. Upon discovering her amidst the picturesque landscape of the waterfalls and surrounding garden, he was enchanted by her beauty, which enhanced the attractiveness of the many flowers surrounding her. The sight of this young lady then became the focus of his attention, capturing his mind. She was worshiping Siva.
He spoke to her, “You are all alone. What are you doing here as a lady? Who are you?”
The lady replied coyly, “I am waiting for Maharaja Rukmangad. I am very happy to see you, O king. Siva has arranged for your association. Indeed, I am very lucky. If you like, you can marry me.”
“Indeed, I like you. You are very nice,” the King fawned. Forgetting his former vow of renunciation, he invited the young lady, “Come with me to my kingdom.”
“Yes, I do want to go with you to your kingdom. Make me your own and I will come with you. But I have one condition: you should not do anything against my desire.”
“Certainly. I will do whatever you want,” Rukmangad easily agreed. He was completely enchanted by Mohini. He was in moha – illusion – and he forgot himself, and forgot everything.
The King sent a message to his son Dharmanga informing him, “My son, I am now returning to the kingdom. I will bring a new wife.”
Receiving this news, Dharmanga dutifully decorated the kingdom very ornately to receive his father. He also told his mother, the queen, “My father has married another lady. It is our dharma to serve her. It is our duty. So you should serve her, and I will also serve her. We will also worship Maharaja.”
When Maharaja came he was very happy to see how the kingdom was decorated. Everyone offered many gifts to him to welcome his arrival. When the younger queen, Mohini, entered the palace however, she didn’t care for anyone, or their gifts or gestures of welcome, she only knew the king.
Dharmangad told his father, “I am yuvaraja, the prince, but you are the king. I will do as you like.”
The king would follow all vratas like Kartika-vrata and the other vratas. The lady made the king promise to follow her orders. She sternly told him, “If you don’t follow my order, I will leave you at once. I will reject you.”
When Kartika-vrata came, the king as always decided to follow the vrata. But, Mohini told the king, “No. There is no need for you to follow the vrata; your previous wife can follow the vrata instead.” The king relented.
As Ekadasi drew near, on the 10th day of Dasami Dharmangad had the servants beat kettledrums and announce throughout the kingdom the upcoming appearance of Ekadasi-devi. “Tomorrow is Ekadasi. All of you should follow Ekadasi. Don’t eat rice. Only engage in Bhagavan’s nama-kirtana and follow the limbs of bhakti. Starting from 3 am in the morning, all should follow this Ekadasi-vrata; day and night engage yourselves in hari-kirtana, hari-seva, and hari-smarana. Perform yajna. This is the order of your king.”
Mohini devi asked her king, “Why are the drums being beaten?”
The King replied, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi.”
“You are also following Ekadasi?” She questioned.
“I should also follow Ekadasi then?” She probed.
“No. I cannot do so,” she said.
“Why?” Rukmangad asked.
“Oh really there is no need for a King and Queen to follow Ekadasi,” she complained. “This Ekadasi is not part of the regulations mentioned within the scriptures. Those who are married should never follow Ekadasi. Their only vrata is to serve their husbands. But if one becomes old and widowed, then she can follow Ekadasi. A king should also not follow Ekadasi or else he will become weak from fasting. At such a time any other kingdom may come and conquer such a weak king. Besides a king is a part of Visnu. If a king does a vrata, then Visnu shall be disrespected.”
“Don’t speak nonsense,” King RukmangalaRukmangad rebuked her, “just listen to what I say.”
Mohini told Rukmangad and his son, “You should not follow Ekadasi. You should eat grains.”
Rukmangad said, “No. This is not possible.”
“How can you not follow my words? You have promised to do so. If you break your promise and do not follow my order, you will go to hell.”
“No problem. I will follow Ekadasi if it means that I will have to go to hell.”
Mohini told Rukmangad Maharaja, “You must call all the Brahmins and act according to their instructions. A King must follow their orders.”
The king said, “Then they must all be called.”
Having bribed the greedy Brahmins, Mohini told them, “You must tell the king to not follow Ekadasi. You must tell him that married people need not follow Ekadasi. You must tell the Rukmangad, ‘If the king follows Ekadasi, he will become weak. How can he then protect the kingdom? Married ladies should also not follow Ekadasi. If they do so, how can they serve their husbands? Only widows and old people should follow Ekadasi.’”
On being told to speak as such, the Brahmins assembled before the king and said, “Maharaja, you should not follow Ekadasi.”
Infuriated, the king said, “Are you really Brahmins? You yourselves don’t follow Ekadasi and you dare tell me to do the same! Because of your deceitful nature, you will lose all your power and mantra-sakti.”
Incensed and desperate, Mohini cried, “If you don’t listen to me,” she threatened, “I will leave you immediately. You have forgotten my condition.”
In a fit, she began to leave the palace, but the young Prince Dharmanga caught hold of her feet saying, “Dear mother, where are you going? Why are you leaving us?”
The elder queen also came, and said, “Don’t go, my sister. Don’t make the elder King sad. You can take anything you want, but don’t force him to abandon Ekadasi-vrata. This is very bad.”
“The king promised to do as I would tell him to. But he has broken his promise, he chooses to not follow me.”
The king’s first wife then requested Mohini to stay. She said, “In exchange for Maharaja following Ekadasi, you may ask anything else.”
Mohini said, “Yes, I will ask for something else. The king must cut the head of his son Dharmangad, and then I will understand that he is really my follower. He must immediately sever his son’s head from his body.”
Dharmangad then brought a sword and told his father, “Maharaja, it is good that you follow dharma. Your devotion to dharma must be unhindered, even if means that you have to cut my head. Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow; one day, I must leave this body. It is much better that I leave my body for dharma’s sake.”
Supporting her son, the king’s first wife also agreed, “Yes, there is no harm in our son dying a righteous death.”
Mohini was very happy. The king was old and would die anytime soon. Dharmangad was young, so if he would die, everyone in the kingdom would stop following Ekadasi. If one person sets an example and strongly follows all the rules and regulations, then following in his footsteps, everyone will also follow all rules and regulations. Everyone will act under his guidance. But if a strong person departs, everyone will be free to act of their own accord. They will eventually become weak and fall prey to sense enjoyment.
On listening to Mohini’s words, Maharaja Rukmangad thought with great anguish, “Should I follow Ekadasi or cut the head of Dharmangad?”
At that moment, seated on Garuda, Lord Visnu came and took the sword away from Rukmangad’s hands. Also Yama Maharaja, Lord Brahma, and many others also appeared there. An earthquake occurred and Mohini fell senseless to the ground. She was terrified. What could she do? She became very shy. Falling at the feet of Rukmangad, she pleaded, “I did wrong. Please forgive me.”
Bitterly weeping, Mohini told the Lord, “Brahma created me. I came to check and test the king’s devotion to Ekadasi. I wanted to determine if the citizens and the king really followed Ekadasi purely, for bhakti alone, or if they were using this holy day as karmis do, hoping for material fruits as and increased sense gratification. I wanted to see if the king’s followers and the king himself had nistha, firm belief in Ekadasi. But now that I have been proven wrong, where can I possibly go? Please tell me where I can seek refuge.”
Brahma said, “You may go near those Brahmins in the smarta-marga who, acting against scripture, mistakenly follow Ekadasi on the day that coincides with Dasami. You should also reside in grains during the day of Ekadasi. You must make people who eat grains on Ekadasi lose all their pious merits. You may use your moha in this way.”
Seeing how Mohini had bribed the Brahmins, Lord Visnu said, “These Brahmins are enjoyers and against Ekadasi-devi. Hence, they will never get bhakti. They will be smartas, they will only cheat people. They have no nistha.”
Sastra states that we must follow the suddha-Ekadasi-tithis, where Ekadasi is not touched by the day of Dvadasi; otherwise we must follow on the day that coincides with Dvadasi. You must not follow Ekadasi on any other day except the designated day. On having her cheating nature revealed, Mohini was very shy. Except for the places that Brahma told her to reside, where could she stay?
After Rukmangad, Dharmangad became the king and he made sure that everyone in his kingdom followed the holy day of Ekadasi. Where did Mohini go? She went to the Smarta-Brahmins. The smartas persuade those who have been following Ekadasi for their complete lives, and who are ready to follow Ekadasi even to the last moment of their lives to break their Ekadasi-vrata. They tell them, “You should stop following the Ekadasi-vrata. You need not follow anymore. You may take grains. Otherwise, you will leave your body.” Never give Ekadasi-devi up. You must also always follow Urja-vrata every year.
Therefore, up to this day the smartas give instructions contrary to the conclusions of the scriptures; this is Mohini’s program. But all of you devotees must never stop following Ekadasi; you must follow Ekadasi up to the last moment of your lives. These are the rules. Ekadasi-devi is bhakti-janani.
Visnu told to Mohini, “You should not disturb those who follow suddha Ekadasi-vrata, or those who want suddha bhakti.”
Mohini gives wealth and so many material benedictions to these people who don’t follow Ekadasi purely. The smarta Brahmins stopped following suddha Ekadasi and many became followers of adharma because they took shelter of Mohini Devi. However, while RukmangalaRukmangad and Dharmanga were present ruling the kingdom, everyone followed the pure line of Ekadasi vrata.
On one side, Mohini cheats the jivas and on another, she feeds, nourishes and protects the jivas. How?
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya—krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’
krsnera ‘tatastha-sakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasa’
Svarupe sabara hoya golokera stiti.
Where have all the jivas come from? They are the eternal servants of Krsna, nitya-krsna-dasa. They have come from Krsna. By attaining svarupa-siddhi, the devotees will go to Vraja-mandala and stay there eternally. Mohini gives jivas power to come into the eternal reality, or remain bound in illusion.
Krsna gives all the souls permission to follow Ekadasi on a particular day. But depending on their laptops, the conditioned souls tell each other, “Today is not Ekadasi.” They speculate on Ekadasi-devi’s appearance day. Mohini cheats them and they announce, “Tomorrow is Ekadasi; American Ekadasi is tomorrow. The Russian Ekadasi is the day before. Italian Ekadasi is at midnight.” Now, there is a difference of opinion everywhere regarding Ekadasi-devi’s appearance. The computer calculates and determines the appearance day of Ekadasi-devi. Now most people are computer das, or a laptop das. They rather depend on their computers than the scriptures and sadhus.
’Krsna-nitya-dasa’—jiva taha bhuli’ gela
ei dose maya tara galaya bandhila
[The living entity is bound around the neck by the chain of maya because he has forgotten that he is eternally a servant of Krsna.]
Rather than being Krsna das, the jivas prefer being Maya dasa and Mohini dasa. During Ekadasi, Mohini-devi cheats and bewilders the intelligence of certain devotees. Hence, they speculate and based on their mundane calculations, they say, “No, no. How can Ekadasi appear on Sunday, 1st January at all places?” If Ekadasi-devi comes to you on a particular day, how can it be possible for her to appear at different times in different places? Is this calculation logical?” Many are bewelidered and think like this.
This is Mohini-devi’s bogus program. The laptops and computers contain Mohini-devi’s program. But, does Mahaprabhu have no intelligence? Does Ekadasi-devi have no intelligence? It is the duty of the residents of different countries to properly observe Ekadasi. [As a transcendental personality empowered to appear from the will of God,] Ekadasi-devi moves all over the world every fifteen days; indeed she appears in not only this brahmanda, she appears in many brahmandas. [And sastra gives the rules and regulations as to how to properly observe her appearance. She is a servant of Krsna and Gauranga Mahaprabhu. She is not at the will of any mundane computer program. Realize that you are also servants of God. Say to yourself], “I am Krsna das; I am not Maya das. I am Gauranga das. My svarupa-stithi is in Goloka Vrindavan and Mayapura. I will follow any form of vrata, tapa, japa, and niyam only according to the Mayapura calendar, [from the place where Gaurahari Himself, and all His followers are themselves performing bhakti.] Otherwise, by following the calendars of Russian das and American das, will I be helped? [How can I follow Ekadasi purely but neglect her original appearance in God’s own dhama?”]
Now, I will relate some glories of transcendental Mohini. When the ocean was churned, Mohini-devi appeared to distribute the pot of nectar. [of immortality, soma? What is the nectar’s quality?]. She distributed the nectar to only the demigods. She didn’t spare even a drop for the demons. But, two demons, Rahu and Ketu, managed to cleverly take some of this nectar by hiding between the sun god, Surya, and the moon god, Chandra, when the nectar was being distributed to the demigods. Although Chakra Sudarsana immediately separated their heads from their bodies, they didn’t die for they had already drunk the nectar. Despite drinking nectar, the fire of anger and jealousy scorched their hearts. Driven by feelings of enviousness, they are always attracted to the proposition of consuming the sun and the moon. They ominously tell the sun and the moon, “Why did you complain against us?”
Mohini gives good things to good people. Once, Siva Thakura asked the Lord, “Oh Prabhu, will You give me darsana of Your Mohini-svarupa?”
The Lord said, “No.”
“By looking at Me in My Mohini form, you will be cheated.”
“No, no. I assure You that I will have no problem. I am Siva, bearing the different names of Sankara, Bholanatha, and Ashutosh. I am beyond the control of the senses and mind. I am not bound to Your illusory potency; I am a liberated soul.
But the Lord was adamant. He told Siva, “No, no. You cannot tolerate the form of Mohini.”
Siva was relentless. He repeatedly requested, so the Lord was bound to accede to his request.
Mohini manifested; twirling a lotus gracefully in her alluring hands, she began a captivating dance. Siva Thakura gasped. When the Lord displayed His Mohini-svarupa, Siva became pagal, mad. He also started to dance, as he does at the time of universal devastation. After seeing Mohini, Siva’s cloth of tiger skin fell from his body. The many snakes encircling his neck also fell to the ground. Suddenly, Mohini-devi ran away, enticing the dancing Siva to run behind her. He forgot where he was. Now he was naked. As he uncontrollably ran behind Mohini-devi, completely enthralled by her beauty, he did an entire parikrama of the earth. Totally absorbed in her, Siva lost his composure.
Siva’s dear wife, Sati-devi, saw the compromised condition of her husband and tried her very best to avert him from Mohini, but Siva Thakur could not be stopped. He ran and ran, but did not become the least bit tired. He became fully mad after Mohini. Eventually as Siva was chasing behind Mohini, he released an abundance of semen. Much of Siva Thakur’s vital energy was stored in the Himalayas, from which Kartikeya was born; the rest was kept in water, which began to boil. These are known as the Himalayana hot springs. Gold, silver and many other elements manifested from these places. Siva could not compose himself or become satisfied; in the course of his agitated chase, two lingas formed. Siva Thakur, the greatest of Vaisnavas, could not control himself in Mohini’s presence; he became so attracted. Thus her name is Mohini, the svarupa of moha, illusion.
When Mohini finally disappeared, Sivaji became unconscious. At that time Siva prayed to Bhagavan, “Oh Prabhu, never again manifest this svarupa before me.” Regaining consciousness, Siva Thakur became absorbed in meditation and prayer, and he took shelter of Ekadasi-devi. He prayed, “Ekadasi-devi, please make me free from this illusion.” Bhagavan Himself then appeared and told Siva to follow this Ekadasi, and upon heeding this advice Siva became free from moha. Thus this particular Ekadasi came to be called Mohini Ekadasi. There is no other solution to become free from moha than by taking shelter of Mohini Ekadasi. Ekadasi-devi herself came and made Siva Thakur free, so she will also help all jivas who take shelter of her today to become free from illusion. This is the great benediction of the Mohini Ekadasi.
Hence, this Mohini-svarupa is very dangerous. But, she always helps the followers of bhakti, the bhaktas. She doesn’t cheat them; but she cheats the deserving. On this Ekadasi day, she appears and promises to aid the sincere devotees. She states, “Anyone who follows pure Ekadasi will have me descend from Goloka Vrndavana to help them.” How will she help? By following vratas, many demigods from the heavenly realms like Tapaloka, Janarloka, and Maharloka will come to bestow the fruits of your vratas. In exchange for the performance of vratas, they promise enjoyment in Svarga-loka. The demigods will tell you, “We will give you health and wealth. We will make you enjoy. I will steal all your diseases away. I will give you many things.” Then what will you do? Mohini-devi will protect you from the advancing demigods and their attractive presentations. She will protect those who wish to only have devotion. She bewilders those who are insincere and non-devotees by her illusion.
Siva Thakura blessed Bhasmasura with a boon. Bhasmasura told Lord Siva, “I want a boon that if I place my hand upon anyone’s head, they will be burnt to ashes.”
Siva Thakura said, “Yes. So be it.”
The demon then approached Siva and said, “I want to place my hand on your head first.” Siva became afraid and ran from the demon.
Lord Siva thought, “Who can protect me?”
He ran to Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu asked, “What is the problem?”
“A demon is trying to kill me!”
“I gave him a boon.”
“What kind of boon?”
“I gave him a boon that if he places his hand on anyone’s head they will be burnt to ashes. Hence, he says, ‘I will test to see if your boon is true. So, I will place my hand on your head.’”
Lord Visnu said, “Do you know why he wants to kill you?”
Lord Siva replied, “I don’t know.”
“He wants to kill you, just so he can have Parvati for himself.”
“Oh I never knew of his real intentions. How did You know? Please fight with this demon.”
Lord Visnu then assumed His Mohini-svarupa and approached the demon. She danced enchantingly and caught the attention of Bhasmasura.
Bhasmasura told Mohini, “I like you.”
“I like you too.”
Bhasmasura was completely bewildered by Mohini-devi’s dance. He told her, “I like your dancing.”
She said, “Yes. I will teach you how to dance. Then you can also dance alongside me.”
“Yes, please teach me.”
“But why are you running around disturbed?”
The demon replied, “Siva Thakura, Bholanatha, gave me a certain boon. By his boon, anyone’s head on which I put my hand will be burnt to ashes.”
Mohini said beguilingly, “Siva Thakura is crazy. But are you crazy as well? Do you not have a head yourself? Yes? Then why don’t you test to see if Siva’s boon is true by touching your own head?”
“Yes, I do have a head. I will act accordingly.”
Saying thus, the demon touched his head and his head burnt to ashes. Therefore, Mohini places those who are against God and His devotees in illusion. She helps those who tread the transcendental path of devotion. In another form, she steals, cheats, and kills the wicked. Therefore, she is called Mohini.
Visnu’s external potency, bahiranga-sakti, bribes the jivas and cheats them by offering them her gifts. She steals their good fortune away. But, Mohini-devi says, “I will not cheat the devotees; I will always protect them. I will cheat others, but I will never cheat Ekadasi-devi’s followers. I will never cheat the Lord’s bhaktas. I will protect His dependents from the influence of His external potency.” An instance of her able protection is when she protected Lord Siva from Bhasmasura.
On this Ekadasi-day, if a person desiring to serve God follows bhakti’s rules, then it will not be possible for anyone to come near him and cheat him. Mohini Maya protects the devotees. She cheats others, but she will not cheat the followers of Ekadasi; this is her promise to God.
As soon as the individual soul enters this body of nine gates, the soul neglects Paramatma and looks toward this material world. And when he looks toward this world, he becomes absorbed in moha, bound and attached. Now he cannot find any means by which to become free. Only by taking shelter of Bhagavan and especially of Ekadasi-devi, he becomes pure – free from this moha and surrendered in Bhagavan’s seva.
In the sastras, many different instructions are given for the karmis, smartas, and bhaktas. We must not think that everything is the same for everyone, that the instructions are the same for everyone. This Ekadasi-vrata is being followed by the karmis and smartas also, but bears different fruits according to one’s desires.
One who wants to enter the path of pure bhajana, who wants to do asta-yama-sadhana, who wants to do manasi-seva, must offer his mind in the service of Sri Hari. Unfortunately, this understanding has been abandoned and forgotten.
In the name of Ekadasi some say, “Of course we will not eat rice, but we will eat fruits and roots and drink water and milk,” and on that excuse they make so many other preparations. On Ekadasi do we perform Bhagavat-sravana and kirtana? Do we engage in Bhagavad-seva? Many only eat and sleep.
Ekadasi-devi comes to offer our senses in Sri Hari’s service. How much have we offered ourselves? How much have we chanted the whole day? How much have we engaged all of our senses in the service of Sri Hari? Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has given these considerations for following Ekadasi purely for the purpose of attaining bhakti. Therefore we should do parikrama, chant harinama, follow the limbs of pure bhakti.
But if the mind is not engaged in Bhagavan’s seva, then all of it is of no use. How will you make your mind engage constantly? The mind is in great illusion. We want to remember Sri Hari but our mind is running here and there. We cannot bring our mind back to us. This is moha. We aspire, “I will not think of anyone, I will only do harinama, kirtana, read the Gita and Bhagavatam, and remember Bhagavan,” but what does Mohini do? She comes and takes us to many different mundane places. Lost in moha, we say “this is yours; this is mine.” We want to serve, but our mind defeats us and we run after Mohini. Our malas are in our hands, the bell is ringing, but we are somewhere else. We are cooking and everything is being burned, because we are somewhere else. Some other bell is ringing in our minds. On our own strength we cannot become free from this moha.
Therefore we should follow Ekadasi purely and pray, “O Mohini Ekadasi-devi, make me free from moha. Make me free from my mind.” We have become entangled by this mind life after life. We have to leave this moha behind. Pray, “O Ekadasi devi, engage my senses in the service of Sri Hari. Sri Hari has given these senses to me but I have ruined them. I have ruined myself. Now wash me – please! – I have wasted so much of my time. Now at least offer them unto Sri Hari. I cannot do so on my own, but you can make me offer myself unto Sri Hari. These senses are so strong, they don’t listen to me. Please, you offer me unto the lotus feet of Sri Hari. Make me pure. Suddha bhakata, carana renu, may I follow these suddha bhakatas. Bhakata seva parama siddhi, may I render service to the bhaktas, then I can go toward rendering service to Bhagavan.” Ekadasi-devi will engage a sincere sadhaka in Bhagavan’s seva if one prays to her like this.
Siva Thakura follows Ekadasi; Parvati follows Ekadasi. Nanda Baba and Yasoda Mata also follow Ekadasi. The Vraja-devis follow Ekadasi. Indeed, everyone inclined to the service of the Lord follows Ekadasi. Ekadasi-devi cheats the smartas in her Mohini-svarupa. She cheats the pandits, but she never cheats the bhaktas. Hence, Ekadasi-devi always protects us. In her Mohini-svarupa, she never cheats or steals us away from the service of the Lord. You must know that this life is very valuable; you must be very serious. It is not possible to follow this vrata for many lives, because very quickly one will gain entrance into Goloka Vrindavana.