Padmini Ekadashi Katha and the Heart of Lord Jagannatha
Every year there are 24 or 25 Ekadashis. But during Adhika-masa in a lunar leapmonth year, when Purusottama-vrata appears, there are two extra Ekadashis. This Ekadashi’s name is Padmini Ekadashi. In some places it is written that it is called Kamala Ekadashi. The next Ekadashi in this month is Parama Ekadashi. This Ekadashi day is very special and helpful. The Guru-varga and sastra describes this. It is very secret and hidden.
Krsna stayed with the Vrajavasis for ten years in Vraja-dhama. He was very pleased and He pleased everyone there. But we all know how Akrura came. He told Krsna that His parents were Devaki and Vasudeva. But how was this possible, Krsna asked. Agreed, Baladeva was the son of Vasudeva and Rohini, but Krsna was certainly the son of Nanda and Yasoda. Regardless, Akrura convinced Krsna that He should go to help the Yadavas, free Vasudeva and Devaki from their imprisonment, and deal with Kamsa. Krsna reluctantly accepted. However, Nanda Baba, the sakhas, and all the Vrajavasis also wanted to go with Krsna, if Baladeva and He must travel to Mathura. Finally, the sakhas and Nanda Baba went with Krsna and Baladeva to Mathura. We know how Kamsa was killed, along with his demonic followers. Ugrasena became king. But he was aged. Vasudeva and Devaki and other imprisoned Yadavas were brought out of prison.
The Yadavas worried that Krsna would again leave to Vraja. They discussed amongst themselves, saying, “It is our good fortune that Krsna has come back to Mathura; let us not let Him leave again.” They met together and conspired what to do. Vasudeva requested Krsna, taking Him in his lap, and saying, “You are our protector, our everything. Kamsa disturbed us Yadavas and Vrsnis so much. And Your aunt, Kunti, and her sons, the Pandavas, have been mistreated by the Kurus and outcasted from their rightful kingdom. You should help and protect the Pandavas. You are always playing in Vraja and caring for the cows and animals of Vraja, but what about us? Are we not Your relatives? Please stay here with us. Forget Vraja. Your cousins the Pandavas are suffering so much, and so many people are suffering from demons in this world. Please stay and take care of us, and destroy the demons.”
The Yadavas Perform a Strong Vrat
The other Yadavas also requested Krsna and Baladeva to stay and told Them how They were born, were transferred to Vraja to be hidden from Kamsa, and so forth. In this way, the Yadavas tried to arrest Krsna and keep Him with them. They knew all sastra. During this Purusottama month, they performed a strong vrata. For twenty years, Devaki and Vasudeva were in jail doing austerity. Purusottama-vrata came during this time. Nava-kalevara of Lord Jagannatha is performed during Purusottama month every twenty years. This is the time Krsna appeared in Mathura. Before, Krsna was in Vraja-dhama, but then He came to Mathura, and liberated Devaki and Vasudeva from their imprisonment of twenty years. Krsna appeared at this time for the benefit of everyone. Before His appearance was very hidden. Now, everyone came and took shelter of Krsna. Krsna declared that He would or could not reject anyone who took shelter of Him. But what of the Vrajavasis?
The Yadavas said, “The Vrajavasis have no problem. The wealth of the Vrajavasis is their cows; there is plenty of green grass for them. Nanda Maharaja and his followers have no problem. The gopis and gopas work very hard and have no difficulty. If you protect the Vrsnis and Yadavas, this will be pleasing to the Vrajavasis. They are very kind and always help us in the time of our difficulties.” Thus the Yadavas spoke to Krsna.
Devaki and Vasudeva are Released
During this Purusottama month, Devaki and Vasudeva were always thinking about Krsna in their cells. Krsna then appeared and freed them. Krsna protected Mathura from the demons, but again and again, Jarasandha attacked, with more and more demons, and Kala-yavana, the final time. At night, Krsna took all the Mathuravasis to Dvaraka and they all began to stay there. Dvaraka became the Yadava’s capital city on an island in the ocean.
Before, some news of Krsna went from Vrndavan to Mathura and Mathura to Vrndavana; these places being nearby one another. Lalita had sent a swan with Radharani’s message to Krsna; sometimes gopas or gopis would come to the Mathura market to hear news of Krsna. But now, Krsna was very far away from the Vrajavasis. News of Krsna rarely reached Vraja. However, Radharani and the gopis heard of Krsna’s marriages. Krsna married so many queens, not only one or two, but 16,108, that hearing this, the gopis concluded that Krsna was never coming back to Vraja.
Radharani’s Condition is Dire
What was Radharani’s condition then? She was not alone. She was not only with Lalita and Visakha. Candravali, Bhadra, Syama, and all the other gopis came to Radharani to console Her, because She was suffering so intensely, and appeared to be on the brink of death. Seeing Her position, the other gopis lamented and fell on to the ground in grief. Radharani breathed only once after many minutes, and the air She breathed out was hot like fire. Sometimes She remained senseless for many hours. She appeared somewhat relieved at these times. Her face sometimes showed a smile, as if in Her dreams She was joking with Krsna. Sometimes She murmured in Her sleep, as if She was talking with Krsna. But when She would come from internal awareness to external, alas, this time was unbearable. She restlessly rolled on Her bed of rose petals, which was withered from the heat of Her separation, and wept incessantly. The gopis tried to cool Radharani; it appeared She was burning in a raging fever. But nothing the gopis did seemed to help.
On the other side, Krsna was in Dvaraka, suffering from the agony of separation from Radharani. In the meantime, Narada Rsi came to Dvaraka. He had just been to Hastinapura, for he was searching for the best and most glorious city. The Pandavas advised him to go see the glory of Dvaraka, so he proceeded there. Arriving in Dvaraka, Narada Rsi was received by Krsna and His queens. Narada Rsi glorified the splendor and beauty of Krsna’s queens, especially Rukmini, Satyabhama, and Jambhavati. But they replied, “We are not fortunate. We have never pleased Krsna. Krsna is never happy with us. Somehow, by our good fortune, we are nearby Krsna, but Krsna is not nearby us. He hardly shows any attention to us. He barely speaks to us or eats our cooking. The whole day and night He acts indifferent to everything. At night, when He comes to sleep in His bed, He only weeps and weeps and calls out, ‘Hey Lalite, Visakhe, Radhe!’ He is agitated for many hours before He finally falls senseless. And even in His dreams, we can hear Him speaking the names of the gopis. In the morning, His pillow and sheet are all wet with His tears. We cannot pacify or satisfy Him by any means. He only calls out, ‘Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe,’ nothing more. Sometimes, in the middle of His sleep, He will sit bolt upright and call out to His friends, the cowherd boys, and to His parents, Nanda and Yasoda, and will lament, saying, ‘Why did I ever leave you! I was such a fool! How can I ever return?’”
Krsna Faints in Dwaraka
As the queens were speaking like this, Krsna suddenly fainted on to the marble palace floor. The queens surrounded Him anxiously and, unable to wake Him, requested Narada Rsi, “You are renowned as an excellent singer. Please sing the glories of the Vrajavasis—Nanda and Yasoda, the gopas and gopis, sakhis and manjaris—only then He will return to external awareness.”
“How can I do this?” Narada Rsi replied. “If He hears this and returns to His senses, then He will run back to Vrndavana and will never return to Dvaraka. I won’t do this.”
Narada Rsi favors Vaikuntha and Dvaraka; he respects the Vrajavasis, but doesn’t want Krsna to remain in Vraja-dhama. There, Krsna is always engaged in His loving pastimes with the Vrajavasis and forgets about the rest of the world. Vraja-dhama is a very hidden, secret place for Krsna.
Now, in Vrndavana, Radharani’s position was very dangerous. It appeared She would give up Her life at any moment. Candravali and Her previous rivals, as well as Her own group of gopis, Her friends, indeed, all the gopis of the four different groups in Vraja: tatastha (neutral), svapaksa (Her own followers), suhrt (friends and well-wishers), and vipaksa (rivals), all were suffering to see Her condition. “What can we do to help?” they asked.
Narada Rsi Devises a Plan
In Dvaraka, Narada Rsi understood the heart of Krsna, but still, was reluctant to encourage Him to go back to Vraja. Uddhava, Krsna’s dearest friend amongst the Yadavas, arrived in the palace and saw Krsna lying senseless. Narada Rsi requested Uddhava, “Please go to Vraja-dhama and tell the Vrajavasis not to lament and suffer so much. Because when they do, it only makes Krsna lament and suffer here. He feels their tension and pain. He is related by heart to them and is not satisfied here.”
“I know the Vrajavasis and Vraja-bhumi,” Uddhava said, “but I won’t go. They will not listen to me. I have been there before, but my efforts at helping them were ineffectual.”
“The Vrajavasis condition is dire,” Narada Rsi said. “Radharani will soon give up Her life, and then all the gopis and the rest of the Vrajavasis will also depart. Vraja-bhumi will become desolate. And if that happens, Krsna will also depart this world, along with Dvaraka and all His associates.”
Baladeva Prabhu was called and asked by Narada Rsi to go to Vraja. But He declined, saying, “I have been to Vraja also after Krsna left. I stayed there for six months consoling them, and I promised I would bring Krsna home with Me soon, that He had promised Himself He would soon come. But then many, many years passed, without even a message sent. Now if I go, the Vrajavasis will have no faith in Me. Krsna is very cruel. He is heartless. He knows how much the Vrajavasis are suffering in His absence, but still does not return. Therefore I will not go.”
Subhadra, Krsna and Baladeva’s sister, then came and Narada Rsi requested her to go to Vraja. She agreed, saying, “If no one else will go, then I will. I will sit in the lap of Yasoda Mata and console her. I will beg the gopis to sustain their lives, telling them that my brother will soon come.”
When Krsna came to Dvaraka and Mathura then everyone requested Him never to return to Vraja, saying that they would give up their lives if He did. Thus He was in a difficult position. The Mathuravasis said, “If You want to kill us, then return to Vraja.” The Yadavas told Krsna, “Your real parents, Devaki and Vasudeva, suffered for twenty years in jail. How can you leave them to go back to Your foster parents in Vraja?”
Krsna had thought, “What can I do? I have become bound here.” On one side, there was Vraja-dhama, and the other, Dvaraka. Baladeva Prabhu agreed to go to Vraja, if Subhadra came with Him, as well as Krsna.
Narada Rsi compromised, saying, “We will take Krsna to Vraja for sometime to pacify the Vrajavasis. I will sing the glories of the Vrajavasis. When He returns to senses, we will depart.”
Krsna’s chariot driver, Daruka, prepared His chariot. Subhadra and Baladeva also prepared to depart on their respective chariots.
Narada Rsi then began to sing the glories of Radharani and the prominent sakhis. Krsna slowly woke up and looked about Him in confusion. In His trance, He had been in Vraja, playing with the gopis, and now, waking to the sound of the gopis’ names, He considered Himself to still be in Vraja, and He began feeling in His waist belt, as if He was searching for something. “Where is My flute?” He said. “Who stole My flute? Lalita must have taken it. Where is she? My flute! Radharani must have conspired with Her friends to take it. But only Lalita would be so daring as to attempt it.”
Krsna Leaves Dwaraka and Returns to Vrindavan
Krsna looked to either side. Seeing Baladeva Prabhu next to His chariot with Subhadra, He said, “Why are You here as if prepared for a journey?”
“We are going to Vrndavan,” Baladeva said, “and so are You.”
Krsna was so absorbed in Vrndavan that He had thought He was in Vrndavan.
“Prabhu,” Narada Rsi said, “You are in Dvaraka. See the ocean; not the Yamuna; the palaces, not Your village.”
Krsna in His contemplation of Vrndavan had assumed the form of Natavara-Nanda-Kisora, the youthful son of the King of Vraja, standing in the attractive pose of a dancer. The queens became surprised to see this aspect of Krsna; so beautiful and so happy.
Baladeva and Subhadra sat in their chariots and said, “We will go first and will say that You are coming right behind.”
Krsna then also got in His chariot and the three siblings departed for Vrndavan.
In Vrndavan, Srimati Radharani now appeared to be taking Her last breaths.
“If Krsna doesn’t come soon, Radharani will certainly perish,” the Vraja-devis said.
Baladeva’s and Subhadra’s chariots quickly drove towards Vrndavan; however, Krsna was very shy. He thought, “I cheated the Vrajavasis! I promised to return after one or two days when I left, but now, a hundred years have passed. Before, I disappeared from the Rasa-lila, and the gopis almost gave up their lives in separation from Me. Now, I have been gone for so long, so far away, and they have only maintained their lives with the hope of seeing Me again and knowing that I would be disconsolate if they departed.”
Radha and Krsna Meet After 100 Years of Separation
As Krsna thought in this way, Daruka, His charioteer, quickly proceeded towards Vrndavan. The Vrajavasis saw the dust rising from the wheels of Krsna’s chariot as He entered Vraja and remembered how they would daily watch Krsna returning from the forest with the cows and calves for so many years. When Krsna reached Nandagrama, He slowly got down from the chariot and walked forward towards the astonished Vrajavasis. As He met with them all, He heard of the condition of Radharani, and then immediately ran to where She was in the forest at Uddhava-kyari. Baladeva and Subhadra had arrived a short time before Krsna. They joyfully met with Nanda and Yasoda. However, before going to Nanda-bhavan, Krsna went directly to see Radharani. Seeing Her condition, Krsna melted. He said, “I neglected Her. This is all My fault.” His eyes, hands, legs, everything melted. Subhadra and Baladeva came to where Krsna was standing and they also melted in the ecstasy of divine love. Narada Rsi arrived and seeing the state of Krsna, Baladeva, and Subhadra, he began singing and chanting. Gradually, Krsna, Baladeva, and Subhadra returned to their original forms.
Lalita then whispered in Radharani’s ear, “Krsna has come. He is here.” She slowly opened Her eyes and Lalita helped Her sit up. It then seemed to Her like a dream that Krsna had ever gone. Radharani said, “I don’t want to stay separate from You any longer.”
Radharani then hid in Krsna’s heart. He then felt well after so long in separation. When They were separate, there were many problems. But now They became Rasaraja-Mahabhava. All the sakhis and manjaris also then entered Radha-Krsna’s hearts. The sakhas all entered Baladeva Prabhu’s heart and the other Vrajavasis entered Yogamaya-Paurnamasi’s, or Subhadra Devi’s hearts.
They then prepared to go to the eternal world, aprakrta Vraja-mandala. When Krsna and His siblings first returned to Vraja-bhumi, this is signified during the time of Jagannatha’s ratha-yatra from the Sri Mandir to the Gundicha Mandira, and when Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra returned on the chariots to the Sri Mandira from Gundicha, this is representing how They went together with all the Vrajavasis to the eternal, transcendental world—Goloka Vrndavana.
Padmini is Disturbed
Padmini means Laksmi, or Rukmini—Krsna’s principal queen. She was disturbed and thought, “I have lost Krsna, my life and soul.” She went to find Krsna but could not find Him. After some time, Dvaraka Puri disappeared; nothing remained.
Brahma, Visnu, and Mahesa went to Anusuya to test her and became her infant babies. At that time, Laksmi, the consort of Visnu, Sarasvati, the consort of Brahma, and Rudrani, the consort of Mahadeva, went to try and bring back their husbands. But they couldn’t find them at the asrama of Anusuya; there were only three small baby boys, being breastfed by Anusuya. Similarly, now Padmini Rukmini searched for Krsna. She thought, “Where did He go?”
Padmini Prays to Ekadashi Devi
She heard from Narada Rsi that Purusottama Deva, the Supreme Person, had appeared with His own svarupa with the eternal Vrajavasis, in Goloka Vrndavan. Outside of Vrndavan, at Baelvan, Maha Laksmi Rukmini Devi began doing austerities. When people come to her, she is prepared to give anything. She is very eager to meet with Krsna and the Vrajavasis and to go to Goloka Vrndavana. She prayed for a chance to serve the Vrajavasis, Krsna’s dearmost beloveds. She prayed, “May Krsna accept me and give me a chance to serve in Vraja.” Padmini Laksmi fasted. She heard that during Purusottama month, Purusottama Deva was pleased with anyone who followed Purusottama-vrata. Today, Padmini Ekadashi-devi appears. Padmini, Rukmini, Kamala, or Laksmi took a vow to serve and help anyone who came with a desire to attain Vraja and the Vrajavasis’ service. She prayed to them, “Take me with you to Vrndavan. Wherever a bhakta, devotee, is following Radharani’s and the Vraja-devis’ footsteps, I will serve them and arrange everything for them. Before, I gave ordinary people many things, but Krsna was not happy with me, because I did not serve the Vrajavasis. I was always disturbed with them. But now I understand and will serve them. I will never neglect them.”
Therefore, it is described:
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Millions of Laksmis are present serving in Vraja-bhumi. Before, Laksmi was serving everyone, but not directly the Vrajavasis. She did not desire to do this. She was disturbed and envious of their close relationship with Krsna. Now, she saw that Vraja-dhama was cintamani-prakara-sadmasu—all the particles of dust were wish-fulfilling gemstones. “How can I serve? Everything here is more qualified than I.”
For example, Sanatana Gosvami showed the Vatsa King from Delhi who came to Vrndavana to meet with him, and who said to him, “I have come to meet you. I desire to help you build and repair the temples of Vrndavana.”
“Very well. First repair one part of a stair of a ghata by the Yamuna.”
“This is a very small service,” the Vatsa said.
“Go and see and then you can say what you think.”
He went and saw that the bank of the Yamuna, where the ghata was, each step of this place was composed of priceless jewels, which he couldn’t pay to replace for even with the entire worth of India.
“I cannot repair even one part of this stair on the ghata,” he said to Sanatana Gosvami, after returning. “You are so merciful that you have given me a chance to glimpse the real nature of Vrndavana-dhama.”
Padmini Sees the Glory of Vrindavana
Today, Rukmini, otherwise known as Kamala, Padmini, or Laksmi, saw the glory of Vrndavana, by the mercy of Ekadashi-devi, and saw how everything was comprised of touchstones.
“Cintamani maya radha kunda tata.”
Foolish people look at Vrndavana with mundane vision and consider the dhama to be ordinary. Maha Laksmi thought, “Krsna has cheated me. I only took and distributed mundane things, wealth, fortune, and property, but I never came near the transcendental glory of Vrndavana. Krsna only gave me ordinary things.”
She understood that all of Vaikuntha could not compare with a dust particle in Vraja. So those who follow Purusottama-vrata in the dhama are very fortunate. If they seriously follow then very soon they will reach Goloka-Vrndavana, along with Krsna, Baladeva, and Subhadra. There they will achieve Vraja-seva under the guidance of the Vraja-devis, or the parents, sakhas, or servants. They will then perceive Vraja-dhama. Without Purusottama-vrata, people cannot easily enter Vraja-dhama. Purusottama-deva appears in the world, outside of Vraja, to help others, to teach them and finally bring them back with Him to Vraja-dhama. Krsna left Dvaraka. Dvaraka disappeared. Krsna destroyed it. And then He returned to Vraja.
Krsna Returns To Vrindavana and Narada Prays for Jagannatha to Manifest
During this month He came back to Vraja-dhama. He had promised to stay with Vasudeva and Devaki throughout the whole year, but this month is not within the year, it is the extra month, presided over by Purusottama Himself and thus is beyond the influence of material time.
Narada Rsi said, “This Nava-kalevara (meaning, new form) You melted into, when You witnessed the condition of Srimati Radharani and the Vraja-devis in their separation from You, this is supremely beneficial for the world, and shall be known as Jagannatha. Please manifest this form as a wooden murti for the welfare of all living entities.”
Krsna agreed to the request of His devotee, Narada Rsi.
“Where will I stay?” Krsna asked. “You can stay in Nilanchal-dhama—under the blue shawl (nila-anchala) of Srimati Radharani.”
“Yes. There I will stay only with Srimati Radharani. In Dvaraka no one loved Me completely, therefore I could not give Myself fully to them. But the Vraja-devis love Me unconditionally and singlemindedly. I will stay with them.”
Krsna went from there, very far away, along with Baladeva and Subhadra, in one new form, Nava-kalevara, to Nilanchala-dhama. The city of where He stayed became known as Jagannatha-Puri.
Svami Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva took Lord Jagannatha all over the world. Wherever Jagannatha is present, Radharani is present along with Her mercy, for She resides in the heart of Krsna.
nilachala-nivasaya nityaya paramatmane
jagannatha-balabhadra-subhadraya iti te namah
Krsna, Baladeva, and Subhadra resided in Nilanchala, Ksetra-dhama. Coming here and doing sadhana, one can attain Vraja-bhumi. One can learn to follow the footsteps of the Vrajavasis and Vraja-devis in separation from Krsna.
Kamala, Maha-Laksmi, Padmini, realized the glories of the Vrajavasis. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami says:
kasyanubhavo sva deva vidmahe
tavanghri renu sparasadhikara
Laksmi did austerity to achieve the mercy of Krsna, which was easily attained by Kaliya. She thought, “You did not do any great austerity, Kaliya. You are poisonous. How did you receive the footprints of Krsna on your hoods? How did you receive the fortune of Krsna dancing on your hoods? How were you able to embrace Krsna with all your coils?”
She prayed to Ekadashi-devi on this day, saying, “I wish to enter the service of the Vrajavasis in Vraja. Please help me. I will sweep the pathways of Vraja and will decorate the forests. Please accept me.”
Padmini Ekadashi Helps one Enter Vrindavana
If anyone has sincere desire to enter Vrndavana and serve there, Maha-Laksmi will help him. This day is special, called Padmini-Ekadashi.
Narada Rsi began to play on his vina, and forgetting Narayana, Narayana, Hari, Hari, Rama, Sita, and the incarnations of Visnu, he just chanted: “Radhe, Radhe, Radhe Radhe.”
These powerful names not only helped him, but they cooled the hearts of everyone who heard his singing or came in contact with him. This Ekadashi day distributes the mercy of the Vraja-devis to Laksmi and sincere sadhakas.
[Hari-katha inspired by the Gaudiya Guru-varga]