Lord Vamanadeva

Parsva Ekadashi and the Appearance of Lord Vamanadeva

 

[Hari-katha inspired by the Guruvarga]

 

Today is Parsva Ekadasi and the Appreance Day of Lord Vamanadeva. For many years, these two auspicious occasions have coincided in one day. Sayana Ekadasi is the day when Lord Hari takes rest and then Caturmasya starts. Hari doesn’t really take rest, He only rests from His universal duties and goes to Vrindavana. He doesn’t stay in Dvaraka or Mathura. Despite the people of Mathura and Dvaraka remembering Him, Krishna takes a stance and tells them, “For four months I will stay in Vrindavana. I will not come back before Catusmasya; this is My vacation time. These are My holidays and I will not work during this time. While taking a holiday from My official work I will celebrate many festivals in Vrindavana. I will immerse Myself in the joyous celebrations of festivals like Guru-Purnima, Jhulan-Yathra, Baladeva Purnima, Janmastami, Radhastami, and Visvarupa Mahotsava.”

 

Today is Parsva Ekadasi-devi’s appearance day. Some people tell us that from Sayana Ekadasi up until this time, Visnu was sleeping on one side. On Parsva Ekadasi, Lord Visnu turned to His other side while He rested. In Vaikuntapuram, the deities of Visnu are mostly lying down on one side. In South India, it is rare to find a sitting or standing deity of Visnu. Most of the deities recline on their serpent bed, Ananta Sesa. The sleeping deities of Visnu are mostly seen in Vaikuntapuram, South India. Now, Krishna Himself is in Vraja-mandala.

 

The demons and demigods are always fighting with each other. Why do they incessantly fight each other? The guru of the demons is Sukracharya; he has Mrityu-sanjivani and Visayala-karini. The guru of the demigods is Brihaspati. Sukracharya and Brihaspati protected the clan of the demons and demigods respectively. Under the guidance of Brihaspati, the demigods perform all their activities. And the demons follow the instructions of Sukracharya. The demons have much guru-bhakti; their guru-bhakti is stronger than that of the demigods. They do not do anything without the permission of their guru. If there is any problem, guru protects them. Why do the demigods fight with the demons? They are half- brothers belonging to different mothers. The mother of the demigods is Aditi and the mother of the demons is Diti; but the father of the demigods and demons is Kashyapa. They fight only because of their desire to possess the nectar of immortality. After the milk-ocean was churned, Mohini emerged with the nectar and gave it to the demigods, but not to the demons. She cheated the demons. From that time, the demons were very angry with the demigods.

 

The demons’ guru Sukracharya said, “Don’t worry. This amrita, nectar is not so important. I have more powerful, potent substances. If you are injured, then by the simple touch of Mrityu-sanjivani, you will get a new body. The demigods can’t get this. They drink amrita, but their bodies are subjected to pains and many forms of suffering. If they are wounded or hurt, they cannot leave their bodies. But if any of you die, I can give you renewed life by supplying you with a strong, beautiful body. I possess Mrityu-sanjivani and Visalaya-karini. Don’t worry, you are all my followers and I have great mantra-sakti.”

 

Brihaspati helped the demigods defeat the demons. By drinking nectar, the demigods became proud. This is the nature of this amrita. By drinking this nectar, the demigods’ young age will never pass. By the potency of this nectar, the demigods can enjoy ten times, twenty times, or even a thousand times more than what they would normally enjoy. They would also not lose any energy. But, the demigods became very proud.

 

If anyone takes your wife or girlfriend, you will be very angry. In America, you will always see people fighting and competing over their lovers. The nature of the demons is very strong. They will not break etiquette. The demigods have no rules and regulations; they are always enjoying. Once, when Arjuna went to heaven, many heavenly damsels like Urvasi and Menaka beseeched him to enjoy with them in the gardens of the heavenly realm. But Arjuna would not go with them; he was firm in his resolve. They asked him why he would not like to enjoy with them.

 

Urvasi in particular told Arjuna, “You are young; I am young. Let us enjoy.” She asked him again and again, but Arjuna refused.

 

She asked, “Why won’t you come?”

 

He replied, “You are my mother because my father is Indra. So, you are like my mother.”

 

Urvasi retorted, “There are no mothers or sisters in heaven. Everyone is fit to unrestrictedly enjoy. If you don’t enjoy with me, I will curse you!” Then she cursed him to become a eunuch, because he refused her advances every single time. Rather than breaking etiquette, Arjuna was ready to accept the curse. He had no attachment. The demigods are always proud and continuously engaged in sense enjoyment. Because of this, they lose their good sense and abandon all forms of etiquette. Despite their shortcomings, Guru Brihaspati always helps them.

 

When the demons and demigods fought, the demons defeated the demigods. But, Brihaspati did a fire sacrifice and blessed the demigods. The demigods fought with the demons again and this time, the demigods won and all the demons were defeated. Indra entered the heavenly assembly where he was worshiped by everyone. The assemble audience told him, “Oh you are so great! You have given us victory!” Then Guru Brihaspati entered the assembly of the demigods. Indra was sitting on his royal seat and on seeing Brihaspati, he thought, “Oh my Gurudeva has come! I will have to get down from the seat and offer the seat to him instead. I will also have to worship him; this is not good. I won’t do it!”

 

Brihaspati understood Indra’s intentions. He thought, “Oh now you are neglecting me! You don’t want me?” Thinking as such, he left. After he disappeared, Sukracharya told the demons, “Oh the demigods have disobeyed and disrespected their guru! Go and attack them!” The demons went and attacked heaven. They defeated all the demigods and kicked Indra out of his post. And the demons acquired the royal seat of heaven. All the demigods vacated the heavenly realm. The mother of the demons called Diti was very happy. Contrarily, the mother of the demigods, Aditi was very unhappy. She went and asked Kashyapa for help. At the same time, Sukracharya’s great disciple Bali Maharaja, the king of the demons appropriately worshiped his guru, Sukracharya.

 

Indra went to Brahma and asked for help, but Brahma said, “You disrespected your Gurudeva. Don’t come to me. I will not help you! You do not respect your Guru Maharaja. Get out of here!”

 

Indra went to Siva, but he received a similar answer from him also. Everywhere he went, he was chastised for disobeying his Gurudeva. Greatly aggrieved, he returned to his abode. With a heart filled with worry for her languishing sons, Aditi prayed to Kashyapa.

 

Kashyapa asked her, “What do you want?”

 

“I want a very powerful son,” she said. “I want someone who will always help the demigods, my sons. The demons are always beating and disturbing them.”

 

Kashyapa said, “Go and do Payo-vrata. Don’t eat anything; only drink milk. Make khira with milk and offer it to Lord Visnu. Visnu will be pleased and will give you a son who is very powerful.”

 

Aditi then engaged in a payo-vrata. She subsisted on only milk for a long time. Kashyapa told her, “Your heart will be cleansed and will become pure like milk. Then Lord Visnu will enter the milk ocean of your heart. When He comes, you can ask Him for any boon.”

 

During the vrata, she would not eat throughout the day. In the evening, she would make khira from cow’s milk and offer it to Visnu. While everyone was engaged in kirtana, she distributed the remnants to all the Rsis and Bhaktas of the assembly. She finally took the last portion of what was left as her meal for the day. At the end of the yajna, Hari came pleased.

 

He asked Aditi, “What boon would you like?”

 

“I would like a son just like You,” she said.

 

“How can there be a son just like Me? I am God. Would you like to have Me as your son?”

 

“Absolutely!”

 

Then Visnu appeared as Lord Vamana. He asked His mother, “Why are you always sad?”

 

“My sons are always suffering. No one is helping them. What should I do? My sons have no place to live now.”

 

Vamanadeva said, “What should I do? How can I help you?”

 

Aditi replied, “Oh You know what to do. You are the Lord.”

 

“Yes. I can help you but on one condition. Bali Maharaja has guru-bhakti; he is very strong in his bhakti to his guru. He never breaks any etiquette. Without the permission of his guru, he doesn’t do anything. He daily gives enormous charity and he has all power with him. My brothers disobeyed our Guru. Unless, Brihaspati forgives the demigods, they cannot be saved. Everything they do will be useless.”

 

Varuna, Candra, Indra, and the other demigods met with Vamanadeva and discussed what to do. They asked Vamanadeva, “How can we get our guru-bhakti back? Where will this power to get guru-bhakti come from? We became very proud and careless. Where will the priceless treasure of guru-bhakti come from?”

 

Vamanadeva replied, “Wherever someone is who has guru-bhakti, you should go to that person. If they give it, you can get it.”

 

The demigods said, “Oh Prabhu! We cannot beg.”

 

Indra said, “I am Devendra, the lord of Heaven! How can I possibly beg something? I would rather fight, steal, and kill someone to acquire what I wish for. But under no circumstances will I beg.”

Vamanadeva said, “If you don’t beg for it, how will you get guru-bhakti? Whoever has guru-bhakti can give it.”

 

Indra said, “Oh Prabhu please help me!”

 

Then, at the ceremony of His brahmana thread, Vamanadeva said, “I will Myself beg from Bali Maharaja.”

 

He went to the palace of Bali Maharaja during the morning. At that time, Bali Maharaja was giving charity to his citizens. Many people would come to Bali Maharaja, and he would give them whatever they would ask for. Vamanadeva sat at the back of the assembly. He was of a small stature and was very beautiful. He wore wooden shoes, carried an umbrella over His head, His head was shaven with a tuft of hair decorating the back of His head. A Brahmin thread extended over His small chest; His attire was most enchanting! A tilaka embellished His forehead. Although He was small, His effulgence was like that of the sun. He stood waiting for His chance.

 

After Bali Maharaja gave everyone else charity, asked Him, “Do You need anything? Please tell me what You need.”

 

“Oh I am a brahmacari. I don’t need anything much.”

 

“But there must be something that You want?” Bali Maharaja asked Vamanadeva.

 

Vamanadeva gravely said, “First promise that you will give what I ask for.”

 

“Yes. I vow that I will give whatever You ask for.”

 

“A mere promise will not do. Make a sankalpa, a vow,” Vamanadeva said.

 

Bali Maharaja replied, “Yes. I will do as You like.”

 

Bali Maharaja prepared to take a vow with holy water, when suddenly, Bali Maharaja’s Gurudeva Sukracharya came. He told Bali Maharaja, “Don’t give Him anything. He is a cheater! He is Visnu Himself. He has come to beg everything away from you. Don’t give Him anything!”

 

Bali Maharaja replied, “But Gurudeva, I have already promised to do so.”

 

“Don’t worry about the promise. Just say that you have forgotten what you said. Tell Him that you cannot give the charity now; you will give it later. Hence, you can delay fulfilling your promise. And after some time, He will leave of His own volition or He will stay away. Follow my order.”

 

Bali Maharaja said, “Oh Gurudeva! Visnu has come and He is begging something from me. How can I not give what He asks? It is my good fortune that He has come. Indeed, everything is Visnu’s property, but still, He has come to beg from me. This is my good fortune. If I don’t give anything, then how can I take anything with me? Everything is God’s property already.”

 

Sukracharya, “Don’t worry. I will protect you. Just say you won’t give anything in charity.”

 

But Bali Maharaja resisted his guru, Sukracharya. Sukracharya said, “I curse you.”

 

“No problem,” Bali Maharaja said.

 

Bali Maharaja was cursed by Sukracharya to lose all his wealth. He said, “You will lose everything you possess and you will suffer because you have disobeyed me.” Speaking these words, Sukracharya left. When Bali Maharaja went to make the sankalpa, Sukracharya hid inside the spout of the water pot so no water would come out.

 

Vamana said, “I have some kusha grass.”

 

Vamana gave a blade of grass to Bali and Bali poked it through the spout of the water pot. On being poked, blood shot forth from the spout. On looking inside, they saw Sukracharya’s eye bleeding. Inside, Sukracharya had assumed a minute form. By this history, we can see how much love Guru has for his disciple. Even if the disciple disobeys, Guru still tries to help him. After being poked, Sukracharya went away. Water then flowed through from the spout. From that time, Sukracharya lost one eye.

 

Before Sukracharya went away, he asked the Lord, “Why do You only like the demigods and not the demons? Both are Your expansions.”

 

The Lord said, “Demons are in the mode of ignorance and the demigods are in the mode of goodness. They always fight with each other; sometimes the demigods are victorious and sometimes the demons are. But I am neutral.”

 

Vamana told Bali, “Give Me three footsteps of land.”

 

Bali said astonished, “Three footsteps of land! You are small and Your brain is also small. Therefore, You only ask for three footsteps of land.”

 

“Three footsteps of land is enough for Me,” Vamana said. “I am just going to do bhajana. I don’t need much more. A Brahmana shouldn’t be greedy and ask for more. They should maintain their lives by simple means without being greedy. I don’t want to leave the proper nature of a Brahmana.”

 

If you take charity from a person, you become indebted to that person four, five, or a hundred times more. They will take away your sukriti, your pious activities, wealth, health, and everything.

 

Visnu therefore, as Vamana said, “Just give Me three footsteps of land.”

 

But Bali Maharaja said, “No! I will give You an entire country or even the entire earthly realm.”

 

Vamanadeva said, “I will not take wealth or property.”

 

“Do you want a wife then?”

 

“No! I am a brahmacari. Just give Me three footsteps of land.”

 

Bali then made a vow and gave Vamanadeva three footsteps of land. Vamanadeva then assumed a colossal form and with His first foot step, He placed His foot through the upper covering of the universe. His leg went past the abode of Brahma and pierced the covering of the universe. With that step, He took away all the piety and sukriti of Bali Maharaja. Bali Maharaja had become very powerful because of all the austerities and charities he had done. Therefore, his sukriti had extended to Brahmaloka. But Vamanadeva took that all in His first step. He took all the seven planetary systems above Earth.

 

On His second step, Vamanadeva took all the lower planetary systems where people who have committed sinful activities reside. In this way, He took all of Bali Maharaja’s sin. He had nowhere to put His third footstep and He said, “Bali! Where should I place My third foot?”

 

Bowing on his knees, Bali Maharaja said, “Oh Prabhu! You took everything, but You didn’t take me Prabhu.” He then bowed and offered his head as the resting place for the Lord’s third footstep.

 

The Lord said, “You have much guru-bhakti. Please give Me that.”

 

He took this guru-bhakti and gave it to Indra as bhiksa. After the brahmana-thread ceremony, according to tradition, the boy must give daksina to his superiors for the pleasure of his guru. Hence, after Vamanadeva’s brahmana-thread ceremony, Vamanadeva offered all the demigods Bali Maharaja’s guru-bhakti as daksina. The demigods received guru-bhakti and became spiritually healthy. They inquired from one another how they could find their Guru Maharaja. They started a festival to celebrate his glories and to pray for him to return. Then Brihaspati returned and the demigods could reconquer heaven.

 

On the other side, Bali Maharaja had lost everything he had possessed. Visnu had taken everything from him. Visnu then had Bali bound by the coils of Ananta-Sesa. When a snake has you bound to its embrace, the trauma experienced is very painful. Bali Maharaja’s daughter Vidyavali had earlier thought, “Oh this boy is very beautiful! If He was my son, I would be so happy and I would give Him my breast milk.”

 

But after Bali Maharaja was bound by the coils of Ananta-Sesa, Vidyavali thought, “If He was my son, I would give Him poison.” Then, in her next life, she became Putana.

 

Bali Maharaja and his entire family were upset. Prahlada Maharaja and Brahma intervened on Bali Maharaja’s behalf. Prahlada Maharaja said, “Oh Lord! Simply by remembering Your name, one gets liberation. Bali has given everything to You, but now, You have bound him up like a criminal. You are punishing him and giving him so much pain! Is this just? Oh Lord, I cannot understand Your activities.”

 

Vamanadeva replied, “Oh Prahlada! Bali is mine. I have bound him and given him punishment for a certain reason. He is my responsibility; I know what to do to help him. Why do you think I unjustly punish him?”

 

Prahlada Maharaja was satisfied by the Lord’s answer. Prahlada Maharaja and Brahma however, prayed again and again to the Lord. Vamanadeva asked Bali Maharaja if he needed anything.

 

Bali Maharaja said, “Oh Prabhu, I do need something.”

 

“What do you want?”

 

“Oh Lord, I have offered myself to You. However, please never leave Me; promise this.”

 

“Yes. I will never leave you,” the Lord said.

 

“If You return to Vaikuntha, I will be alone. I want You to always be here with me. Please don’t ever leave me, my dear Lord.”

 

“Okay, I will never go.”

 

“Will You stay with me permanently?”

 

“Yes,” the Lord said.

 

“I will be near you and you will be near Me. We will always be together.”

 

Bali Maharaja said, “There is one thing more. Whatever You want, I will do. I will not act independently. Please accept me.” Bali Maharaja offered himself to the Lord and the Lord Himself also offered Himself to Bali Maharaja. Such is their bond of love or bhakti.

 

Lord Hari said He was going on a vacation for four months during Caturmasya and would not give darsana to anyone. Aditi continuously cried to Kashyapa for an answer to her sons’ troubles. He told her to observe an vrata and to chant certain mantras, by which Hari will wake. Hari was sleeping; He had stated that He wouldn’t give darsana or do any work during these four months. Aditi prayed and said, “Why don’t You come on Your birthday Janmastami? Why don’t You appear on Baladeva Purnima and Guru Purnima? Why won’t You come on Visvarupa Mahotsava? These holy festivals beckon Your presence, so You must come and help us.” Aditi requested the Lord to advent many times. Acceding to her request, the Lord decided to come. The Lord was pretending to sleep; but He turned over to His other side on this day of Parsva Ekadasi. The Lord turned over to His other side on this day to signal to Aditi that He is paying some attention to her requests. His incarnation Vamanadeva came today.

 

At the time of Caturmasya, Vamanadeva went on bhiksa and returned guru-bhakti to the demigods. On Parsva Ekadasi, there is one another pastime. I have tried to explain the pastime previously, but I will say something more this time. Krishna was very sad because His marriage to Srimati Radharani was cancelled. Vrsabhanu Maharaja said, “I will not give Radharani in marriage to Nanda-nandana because He is very rich. All His nine lakh of cows are decorated with pearls. I gave Him one pearl necklace, but He decorated one of His cows with it. The hooves, horns, and necks of Krishna’s cows are decorated with the brightest of pearls. I gave Him a pearl necklace, but through His cows, He tells me, ‘I am so much wealthier than you are.”

 

Vrsabhanu Maharaja then decided to marry Radharani to a poor family. Krishna was very sad and Nanda-Yasoda were also very sad. Today is Parsva Ekadasi and tomorrow is the marriage anniversary of Lalita-devi. Krishna was invited to the wedding along with Radharani. Tonight, everything was arranged for the wedding. On the next morning, Krishna appeared disguised as Vamanadeva. On one side, Vamanadeva appeared as a small boy. He went for bhiksa to Bali Maharaja and took away his heart and all his possessions.

 

While on His way to the marriage, Krishna enacted an enchanting pastime. He took an umbrella, mekhala, kamandalu, and a kusasana. He went and said, “Bhiksam dehi!”

 

The gopis and Srimati Radhika saw that Vamanadeva had appeared. They were surprised that He had appeared in Vraja. Lalita-devi said, “Oh Radharani, give Him some bhiksa. After He has taken the brahmana-thread, He has come for bhiksa, so You must give Him something.”

 

Each of the many sakhis also said, “I will also give bhiksa! I will also give bhiksa!” Lalita and all the sakhis gave bhiksa to this boy, Vamanadeva, who was really Krishna in disguise. From Bali, He begged three footsteps of land. But here in Vraja, what did He beg for? He is very clever; scratching His head, He said, “If you want to give bhiksa, then give yourselves.” Then the gopis became very shy. Lalita said, “What is the problem? What did He ask for?”

 

When Radharani went to give bhiksa, Krishna said, “Give Me Yourself! Promise You will give Yourself. Before You gave bhiksa, You promised to give what I asked for; so I ask that You give Yourself.” On listening to Krishna speak in Vamanadeva’s disguise, Radharani became very shy. Radharani pushed Lalita forward and said, “You give yourself.”

 

Unassumingly, Lalita said, “Yes. I will give myself as bhiksa.”

 

Krishna said, “My bag is big. I will not take only one offering. I want many!”

 

Another gopi said, “I will give myself.”

 

Another gopi also said, “I will give myself.” This way, the different gopis gave themselves. The asta-sakhis, asta-manjaris, and everyone gave themselves. Srimati Radharani was the only gopi who hadn’t given Herself. The rest of the gopis asked Radharani, “Why don’t You give Yourself also?” Radharani was very shy. She said, “I like someone else. I don’t like this boy. I am chaste.”

 

Krishna was hiding His face behind the umbrella. He also had a brahmana thread draped around His chest. His head was shaved and He was in the guise of a brahmana. Then He revealed Himself as Krishna to Srimati Radharani and the gopis. With the flute adorning His lips, He stood in a threefold bending form as Natavara-Nandakisora. Seeing Her beloved, Radharani offered Herself to Him. Tomorrow night, at Unchagaon in Sakhi-giri, the marriage ceremony is completed. Vamana-lila is also followed every year at Unchagaon, Lalita-devi’s village. Krishna wears the dress of Vamanadeva and asks for bhiksa. On the pretext of begging for bhiksa, He takes the gopis as His own.

 

Before, Bali Maharaja kept Vamanadeva with him and Lakshmi-devi was upset at her husband’s prolonged absence. Narada went and asked Lakshmi, “Where is your Narayana? He hasn’t come back for a long time.”

 

Lakshmi said, “Yes. He went somewhere and never returned.”

 

Narada said, “Oh He went to cheat Bali Maharaja, but Bali Maharaja tricked Him and took Him.”

 

Maha-Lakshmi immediately departed for Bali Maharaja’s abode. She assumed the form of an old lady and stood behind the other people who had come to ask for charity from the king. After everyone had left, she was the last person to ask for charity. She asked Bali Maharaja, “Will you give me something?” Bali Maharaja asked what she wanted.

 

She said, “First promise you will give.”

 

Bali Maharaja replied, “Oh someone like you came before and asked me to promise to give what He wanted. I didn’t have a problem then and I don’t have a problem now. So, I will give what you ask for.”

 

She said, “Oh give me that person who made you make a promise.”

 

Then, Bali Maharaja was very sad. He said, “He is not mine, I am His. Ask Him what He wants to do.”

 

Lord Vamanadeva said, “In one part I will stay here, and in another part, I will go to My abode with Lakshmi.”

 

Today, Krishna wears the dress of Vamanadeva and with an umbrella, He will go on bhiksa. He says, “Bhiksam dehi! Bhiksam dehi!” Many people give Him laddus, kachoris, and many items they cook on Dvadasi. They give these preparations to Vamanadeva. But Krishna in His form as Vamanadeva refused to take their offerings. He said, “I will take the bhiksa I choose.” Finally, He took each of the gopis as His bhiksa. To signal the offering of their selves to Krishna, the gopis had red-dye painted on their hands and feet, like what is done at the time of marriage. They made an impression of their hands and feet on the stone. The conscious stone said, “I will give witness. If anyone asks, I will show that your marriage to Krishna has been completed.” This is like a signature or a thumb-print. Not only was a thumb-print made, but a whole hand print and foot print was made on the stone. Lalita-devi’s, Radharani’s, and the different gopis’ hand prints and foot prints were made on the stone.

 

After Deva-utthana Ekadasi, the last Ekadasi of Kartika, Salagrama-sila and Tulasi-devi are married. That ceremony is celebrated the following day. In Varsana, a particular day was fixed for the marriage of Radharani and Krishna. But the marriage was annulled and Krishna was very upset. Vrishabhanu Maharaja cancelled the marriage of his daughter with Krishna. Tomorrow, the residents of Uccagaon celebrate this marriage. And this pastime is still celebrated every year. There, at Pili-Pokhara, Radharani washed Her hands and the kunda became yellow.

 

To celebrate the appearance of Krishna in Vraja, Yasoda Mata would give all the brahmanas, rishis, and everyone prasadam. She would always serve all the guests, sages, and devotees. She would also follow Ekadasi and Dvadasi. Yasoda Mata would always follow these holy occasions. After the vrata was finished, many Bhaktas, Brahmins, and Vrajavasis would come to Nanda-bhavana and she would sumptuously feed them prasadam.

 

Krishna is a small baby now. The Vraja-devis daily bring dresses, fruits, sweets, and give them to Krishna. Krishna takes these offerings and dances in ecstasy. Today, Krishna had a desire. Every night, Yasoda Mata would tell Krishna a story. While putting Him to sleep, she would stroke His head; otherwise, the restless nature of Krishna would keep Him awake. He would jump from one bed to another and would play many games with His sakhas. Yasoda Mata would then tell Him a story while stroking His head and He would gradually go to sleep. Today, Yasoda Mata stroked Krishna and softly chanted, “Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Sri Rama. Sita-Rama Sita-Rama Sita-Rama.” She then started to tell the pastimes of Sri Sita-Rama.

 

Excited, Krishna asked, “Who is this Sita-Rama?”

 

Yasoda Mata replied, “Dasaratha had four sons, the eldest of whom was Rama. When Rama was young, He got married to Sita.”

 

“And then?” Krishna asked.

 

“Some days after, Rama went to the forest accompanied by His wife and younger brother.”

 

“What else?”

 

“Ravana came and stole Sita!”

 

Listening to Maiya speak this statement, Krishna jumped up on His bed and said, “Oh Laksmana! Bring My bow and arrows! I will go and kill Ravana at once!”

 

Alarmed, Yasoda Mata asked, “What happened? What happened?”

 

With the mood of Rama, Krishna jumped upright and called for Baladeva Prabhu. He said, “Baladeva! Dau! Come! We must go and save Sita! Don’t You know? Mother said Ravana stole Sita.”

 

Dau stumbled in to the room, awoken from His sleep, and asked, “What happened?”

 

Yasoda said, “Oh I was putting Lala to sleep and telling Him about Sita-Rama. But then, He became very angry on listening to Sita being kidnapped. He asked for His arrows and bow.”

 

Baladeva smiled and after some time, Krishna-Balarama went to sleep. Today, the Vrajavasis came to Yasoda Mata and said, “Today is Vamana-Dvadasi.”

 

Krishna heard the Vrajavasis speak. On Vamana-Dvadasi, the rule is that Vamanadeva is worshiped and charity of items like an umbrella, wooden shoes, water-pot, mekhala, asana, Brahmin-thread, and so forth, is given. This is called bhiksa for Vamanadeva. The Vraja-devis and Vrajavasis worshiped Vamanadeva and Yasoda Mata did also. Then Krishna went and took the umbrella, kaupins, Brahmin-thread, asana, and went away walking. Why? He knows all kinds of clever, crafty tricks. He was always very naughty. He is very happy causing mayhem. He said, “I am going! I am going!” And He walked away with His wooden shoes. When He exited the gate of Nandagrama, the Vrajavasis thought, “Oh if He leaves, He will not come back!” They ran and brought back Krishna.

 

They asked Krishna, “Oh Lala, where were You going?”

 

“I am going to beg bhiksa. I am bound to do bhiksa, as no one gives Me anything. I need some bhiksa.”

 

But, where would Krishna go? He went to His grandfather Parjanya Rsi. Parjanya Rsi had a straw hut in a garden where he would meditate. Krishna went and said, “Baba! Please give Me something.”

 

“Yes oh Lala! What is it that You want on this Vamana-dvadasi vrata?”

 

Krishna asked, “In Vraja-bhumi, everyone has so much love. I want them to give Me that love.”

 

“How can I tell them what to do?” Parjanya said. “Ask whoever has it and see if they will give it You.”

 

Then Krishna went and prayed to all the Vrajavasis for their love. He said, “Your hearts are full of love; please give this love to Me.”

 

On listening to Krishna speak, everyone started crying. With tears in their eyes, the Vrajavasis said, “Oh Krishna! Why are You begging from us? Everything we have is for You.”

 

All the jivas have spontaneous love for Krishna present in their souls. But they divide and share this love with others and use it in the wrong places. Therefore they suffer. Today, Krishna begged for this selfless love. This day is called Parsva Ekadasi. Whoever gives their love to Krishna will find themselves engaged in a loving, reciprocal relationship with Krishna. Krishna will give so much love back in return. This is His bhiksa. Krishna only wants this love as His bhiksa. He doesn’t want rice, capatti, dal, money, opulence, intelligence, or anything. He only wants your love. Give your love to Krishna.

 

He also took the love of Bali Maharaja. Now, in Vraja-bhumi, Krishna performed this pastime of begging for the Vrajavasis’ love. Lila-Purusottama Krishna said, “Whoever offers their love and affection to Ekadasi-devi, will realize that Ekadasi-devi has offered all their love to Me.”

 

Ekadasi-devi tells Krishna, “Krishna! You are kripa-murti.” Ekadasi-devi is the kripa-murti, the embodiment of mercy of Krishna. On this Parsva Ekadasi, she takes the jivas’ love and offers it to Krishna. Krishna is with the Vrajavasis on one side and on another side, He is with the jivas. Whatever the jivas collect and give to Ekadasi-devi will be offered to Krishna by Ekadasi-devi herself.

 

Our Guruvarga seriously follows Ekadasi. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings and people follow Ekadasi on the wrong day. I follow the Guruvarga; I check the calendars and see when our Guruvarga is following Ekadasi. We follow according to the calendar of Mayapura and the standard of Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura. Some people follow Ekadasi on other days; they follow everything according to their own speculation, considering themselves to be scholars. They follow Ekadasi according to their own whims and instruct others to do the same. But I only follow the Guruvarga. I follow in their footsteps.

 

Parsva Ekadasi and Vamana-dvadasi are intertwined. On this day, Krishna begs for love. Bali Maharaja had serious love for his Gurudeva, Sukracharya. When his Gurudeva became angry and left, Krishna stole this love of Bali Maharaja directed towards Sukracharya and He kept it Himself.

 

He told Bali Maharaja, “Your guru-seva is successful. Therefore, I have come and accepted your love.”

 

Even though Bali Maharaja’s guru resisted, Krishna took this love. If someone has guru-bhakti, Krishna will go to him and accept that person’s love. He will share that love with others also. Do not think that Bali Maharaja was a demon; he was a devotee. Whoever has guru-bhakti is a devotee. Krishna showed this glory of Bali Maharaja and accepted him as his very own. Therefore, Vamanadeva appeared only for this purpose. In this world, it is very rare to find guru-bhakti. Gurudeva has taught us that guru-bhakti is the backbone of bhakti. Gurudeva makes devotees senior and strong. But if they neglect and reject Gurudeva, their lives will be destroyed. Guru-pada-padma is our life and soul. Never distance yourselves from Guru-pada-padma. Krishna came because of the guru-bhakti of Bali and accepted him as His very own. He showed the example of Bali Maharaja to the demigods and gave them guru-bhakti. Today, on Parsva Ekadasi, on one side I have spoken of the history of Bali Maharaja. On the other side, I have spoken of the pastimes of Vraja. If anyone prays today to Lord Krishna and Ekadasi-devi for guru-bhakti and that their guru-bhakti is never lost or stolen, then their life will be successful. Therefore, pray to Krishna and Ekadasi-devi for guru-bhakti. But, if you have no guru-bhakti, then your life will be wasted. These are the glories of Parsva Ekadasi.

 

Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!