Sayana Ekadashi Katha – Lord Hari Takes Rest with His Own Intimate Friends and Family
Today is Sayana Ekadashi. God Himself announces, “Now, I am going to the khira-samudra. There I will rest and sleep. I cannot walk or work anymore.”
It is said, “mahajano yena gatha sa pantha.” If any great person or a higher authority goes to rest, then all the workers and followers think, “Wah! Today is a holiday, no more duty. We are free of everything.” The subordinates are now careless. On listening that Hari rests, everyone also wants to rest. On a Sunday, all the schools and tutorials are closed. The students are carefree and think, “Today, there is no need for us to wake in the morning. Don’t disturb me. I will only wake after afternoon has passed; not before. For a long time, I have been waking early. But today is a holiday. I cannot wake early. Don’t tell anything.”
Today, karma, jnana, yoga, vrata, sraddha, tapa, and any other programs are stopped. No more of any auspicious work. Everything finishes. Now, at this time, there is a good chance to engage in bhakti. Sri Vyasadeva told Bhakti-devi, “Karma, jnana, and yoga will not disturb us anymore. They are gone; they are resting. They are on vacation. They will no longer disturb.” Otherwise, if anyone tries to follow bhakti, then karma, jnana, yoga, vrata, tapa, sraddha, and other actions will disturb him. Bhakti-devi is very disturbed by these actions; she suffers.
But now, Bhakti-devi says, “I have no tension. They have all gone to sleep.”
For instance, after waking in the early morning, you make a nice breakfast. Many people partake of the breakfast and immediately go to bed. Until late afternoon and evening, they are not affected by any tension. So, Krishna is very clever. He says, “Yes. I am now inducing everyone to rest. I don’t make them rest for one or two days. I make them rest for four months. They don’t have to work or engage in any kind of business for these four months. They don’t have to engage in any form of yajna, vrata, tapa, or other forms of austerity. Therefore, if God is sleeping, then for whom will yajnas be formed? For whom will ahuti offered? Everything is stopped for these four holy months.
Bhakti-devi says, “My followers, come with me.” By observing the nine limbs of bhakti, you should start the program of unbroken devotional service. Now, there are no more problems, therefore she calls the incarnation of Godhead, Lord Vishnu. This incarnation of Vishnu is called Vyasadeva. After descending in this world, Vyasadeva thought, “I must help all to follow bhakti-yoga.”
He opened a gurukula and taught the sastras to his disciples—Jaimini, Vaisampayana, Paila, and Sumanta. He then started Bhakti-devi’s program.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam…
Sukadeva Gosvami appeared from the womb of Vyasadeva’s wife, Vitika-devi. Vyasadeva explained the pastimes of Krishna and His incarnations to Sukadeva Gosvami who in turn meticulously heard and distributed the pastimes by speaking on them to everyone. This formed the basis of Bhakti yoga. He started all programs to follow Bhakti yoga. During the four months of the rainy season, all the brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas, and sannyasis will be happy and pleased. During the rainy season, all souls are by their own karma trapped in the sky and air. When it rains, the water acts as an intermediary for the descent of all souls. They get birth through the rain water. Therefore, you shouldn’t drink the rain water. Many plants and crops are cultivated by the rain water. Only eat fruits and roots. You may cook many preparations with pure ghee. Once a time, once a day, offer your preparation to Lord Vishnu. And then Vishnu will take and we will honor Vishnu-prasadam.
All the Rsis and Maharsis announced, “Today, we will start our observance of the four months of Caturmasya-Vrata.” All of them went to solitary places like caves and remote forests to follow Harisayana and Bhakti’s program. They started harikatha and harikirtana. Thousands and thousands of brahmacaris had assembled. The Rsis and Maharsis stopped their observance of yajnas for four months. They were only engaged in harikirtana and harikatha. They were completely absorbed in remembering and praying to the glories of God.
Many, many brahmacaris were near their Gurudeva from the morning. Gurudeva would tell them, “We should take Visnu prasadam for only once a day for these four months. We will also boil and drink water only once a day. And we will not use a mat or a bed to sleep on. We will eat like how cows eats grass. We will not disturb anybody. We will only follow Bhakti yoga.”
Many new brahmacaris came to join the Gurukula. These new brahmacaris were very hungry and thirsty. New people don’t follow any etiquette. They only eat from early morning to evening like goats that continuously eat and pass stool. Their uncontrolled senses are bound by these rules. Gurudeva told the brahmacaris, “Take care of the cows from morning to evening after listening to harikatha.” They would return in the evening and milk the cows. They would then make some khira (sweet rice) for Lord Visnu. After they had finished their services, they would take prasadam.
But, the Gurukula boys thought, “Gurudeva ordered us, so this is very good.” There was a lot of milk now and they started to make a lot of khira. But they did not offer everything for bhoga. When Maha-Visnu would rest on the Khira-sagara, Maha-Lakshmi would offer khira to Him every day. The brahmacaris would make khira, but they would hide half of it for themselves in secret places. They would give the other half to their Gurudeva. Gurudeva would offer this khira as bhoga. When he would offer bhoga every day, Maha-Lakshmi would herself come and accept the offering. She would then offer it Lord Visnu. The many forms of Maha-Lakshmi would also offer the khira to the incarnations of Visnu like Ananta-Padmanabha, Sesasayi Visnu, and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. Why did she offer to all the incarnations? God and all His incarnations only accept this amrta from this world, this khira. They don’t accept other things. For instance, in Gokula or Nanda-bhavana, what would Krishna eat? He would only take butter, milk, and many milk preparations. He wouldn’t take anything else.
Today, Maha-Laksmi did not come to accept the offering of Gurudeva. Hence, Gurudeva was very disturbed. Gurudeva asked some of his brahmacaris, “Today Maha-Laksmi didn’t come. What is the problem?” He called all the Gurukula brahmacaris, Rsis, and Tapasvis.
They said, “Gurudeva, what is our fault? We milk the cows, cooking khira, and giving it to you.”
Gurudeva replied, “But, why didn’t Maha-Laksmi come accept the offering? What was the fault? Definitely, you have done something wrong!”
“No Gurudeva, we have done no wrong. We bathe, clean ourselves, and chant the gayatri three times a day. We listen to your harikatha. We perform kirtana. And during the evening, we bathe and chant the gayatri. Then we cook nicely and offer the preparation to you.”
Gurudeva then did dhyana, to find out the reason for Maha-Laksmi’s absence. In his samadhi, he saw that the brahmacaris would cook khira very nicely. But they would hide half of the khira for themselves. Why did they hide half for themselves? Gurudeva would offer the entire quantity of khira to Maha-Laksmi, and she would offer it to Lord Visnu. Sometimes, she would give the remnants and sometimes not. She would say, “Gurudeva give this prasadam to all. Lord Narayana has accepted this offering.”
But, this was a problem. Because the remnants weren’t enough for everyone. But even a little bit of God’s prasadam is enough to maintain the body. But the brahmacaris had no belief or faith in Mahaprasadam. They thought, “We need a lot of khira. Or else, how will we maintain our bodies?”
Now, Gurudeva understood this program of deceit carried out by the brahmacaris. Gurudeva called all his Gurukula brahmacaris.
Some of the senior brahmacaris said, “Gurudeva, I milk the cows.”
Some others said, “I clean the pots.”
“I bring firewood and cook.”
But what did Gurudeva say after he listened to all the brahmacaris speak out on their services?
He said, “Okay. Let me find out for myself.”
The brahmacaris had no shelves, room, or refrigerators to hide the kheer. They dug in some discreet places and using a stone as a covering, they placed the clay pots containing khira in the holes they had dug. Gurudeva unearthed the dugout and found many pots of khira.
He asked the brahmacaris, “Who has done this?”
The brahmacaris were scared and didn’t answer. Just when Gurudeva was about to curse them, Lord Visnu came.
The Lord told the brahmacaris, “Guru-puja means not just merely offering flowers, wealth, and respect. But by not following Guru’s order and by cheating him, you will cheat yourself of My grace also. You are not cheating Gurudeva, you are only cheating yourself.”
Just before mounting his bird-carrier Garuda, Lord Visnu told the brahmacaris, “Okay if you do anything without Gurudeva’s permission, then your service will be like karma. This karma will give you fruits. There will be no one to relieve you of the burden of karma. By yourself, you will not be able to relieve yourself. Rather, the fruit of karma will come near you very soon and when you taste the fruit, you will realize how bitter it is.”
Gurudeva prayed on behalf of all his brahmacaris, Rsis, and Maharsis to Lord Visnu. He told the Lord, “You please forgive them. They are bound by ignorance because they have no intelligence. They were only thinking, ‘If I eat a lot, I will be happy and pleased.’ Their tongue has destroyed them.”
If you give this body any food that is not Mahaprasadam, then as a reaction, the body will turn against us. As a result, many, many punishments will come. While cooking grains and vegetables, you kill many living entities that you cannot see. Souls are present in vegetables like pumpkins, cucumbers, potatoes, lady-fingers or any other ingredients like rice and wheat. While cooking these vegetables or rice, you kill these living entities. Therefore, you incur sin. Many souls will attract you. The souls don’t go here and there. They don’t fly in the sky. Instead, they accompany rainfall. When the water from the rain is drunk, these souls enter one’s body. Consequently, boils are produced; the stomach will be disturbed; and one will suffer from diarrhea and vomiting. They cause a lot of pain. By staying inside one’s body, they dig into the internal organs of the body and do many other frightening things.
To rectify the faults of his disciples, Gurudeva arrived at a solution. He told his disciples, “Anything you have or have arranged for yourself; offer them to me. I will offer them to Lord Visnu. Subsequently, all the souls that are disturbed and cause pain to you will also be offered to Lord Visnu. You must offer the food that is in the mode of goodness; not in the mode of passion or ignorance. You must clean the food and make them capable of rendering service to the Lord by offering them to Him. You must offer the souls in this manner. Then Lord Visnu will be pleased. He will think, ‘Oh after a long time, My jivas are taking birth in fruits like apples, oranges, in other various kinds of fruits and roots and in many other types of food. But, they have been offered to Me now. Being offered to Me, they are engaged in My service. Thus, they are now serving and following Me. Previously, they had forgotten Me for a long time.’ Hence, God will be very happy and He will give you His blessings for having engaged many souls and yourself in His service. He will not curse you. Also, the jivas have returned to God’s lotus feet after a long time.”
On being offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, the jivas think, “I was suffering here and there for a long time. But today, I have entered Vaikuntha and find myself serving the Lord.” Then those jivas will also bless you. But, it is not possible to offer food that is in the mode of ignorance and passion. Among us, there is one tamasik boy, who is always sleeping, fighting, and disturbing everybody. But if a very nice sattvika boy comes, then he will not disturb anybody. He will always be serving. He will always be happy and pleased. Similarly, Sastra and Guru recommend that you offer good things to God. By offering fruits, the souls present in the apple will be happy and the Supreme soul will also be happy. By receiving blessings from the individual souls and the Super soul, the jivas will get immense benefit.
Now, during this Caturmasya time, Srila Gurudeva is making a program. One should stop eating certain green vegetables and leaves for this one month. For the next month, one should not take yoghurt. One must avoid drinking milk for the month that follows. For the fourth month, one must avoid everything that has been stated in the scriptures. One should only take roots, fruits, milk, and milk preparations. The brahmacaris would always go with Srila Gurudeva to bathe in the river, lakes, or ponds. Every day, they would start kirtana and harikatha. For more than a million lives, the conditioned souls have been hungry, thirsty, and involved in maintaining their material bodies. By practicing Caturmasya, Bhakti devi’s mercy will be obtained. Jnana and vairagya—realized knowledge and renunciation will appear in the devotee’s heart. Pure knowledge stemming from samvit-sakti, of whom Krishna is the predominating deity will be had. What is vairagya? It is anuraga. Anuraga is the deep desire, attachment, faith, and love for Krishna. From where does this anuraga come? Who gives anuraga? Srila Gurudeva says, “This anuraga, love, comes from Svarupa-sakti.” Gurudeva gives advice, and it is necessary to follow his advice. Guru Purnima is especially celebrated in Vraja-mandala, Mathura, and Krishnanga-ghata where Sri Vyasadeva appeared. He appeared as the son of Satyavati and Parasara Rsi. In front of them, he appeared.
After Vyasadeva appeared, Parasara Rsi told his son, “Now you go engage in tapa and vrata. Don’t stop your tapa and japa. Hari-sankirtana is especially necessary during Caturmasya. Without hari-kirtana, nothing is helpful.”
“How can I engage in hari-kirtana? Please help me.”
Parasara Rsi told Vyasadeva, “To engage in kirtana, pray to Bhakti-devi’s lotus feet.”
Caitanya Mahaprabhu first held Guru Puja in Srivasa-angana during Asada Guru Purnima. Even after Guru Purnima, Mahaprabhu continuously engaged in kirtana with His associates. The day before Guru Purnima is called Mangala adivasa. After adivasa is Guru Purnima. After Guru Puja on Guru Purnima, on the next day, Mahaprabhu started kirtana. Mahaprabhu did not perform kirtana with His associates for only four months; for one complete year, He was engaged in kirtana. During this Caturmasya period, and especially during the Hari-sayana time, try to please God. Then Gurudeva and Vyasadeva will appear in your heart. Vyasadeva comes on this day to help all the souls.
Krishna, the Lord Himself, says, “I rest and sleep during these four months. For eight months, I give everyone the fruits and results of their actions. I check and look into everything they have done. But for these four months, I rest.”
During these four months, the Lord comes to Vrindavana, Vraja-mandala. Why does Krishna act in such a tricky manner? Before, Krishna called the Vrajavasis to Kuruksetra. The Vrajavasis came to Kuruksetra; but Nanda Baba said, “Without Krishna, we are not going back.” Nanda Baba was very strong in his stance, as were all the Vrajavasis. Seeing the conviction of the Vrajavasis, the Dvarakavasis were scared.
To pacify the Vrajavasis, Krishna told them, “I will return to Dvaraka for a short time and I will come back.”
Nanda Baba and the Vrajavasis replied, “Then we will also go with You. You are not going alone.”
Therefore, during the return Ratha-Yatra, the Vrajavasis accompany Krishna and wait outside. At that time, a large assembly and meeting is organized for three continuous days. The Vrajavasis tell Krishna, “Go to Dvaraka and return. We will wait for You.”
Krishna replied, “Okay. Now the Dvarakavasis and Myself will go to Prabhasa. We will not return to Dvaraka.”
Thus, all the Dvarakavasis went to Prabhasa. Krishna is very tricky. He arranged for the Yadavas to fight with each other. This led to all the members of the Yadava family killing each other. An announcement was made that after seven days, Dvaraka will be destroyed. All the Dvarakavasis were told to make arrangements for their well-being and shelter.
Krishna Himself said, “Now, I can’t stay here any longer. I am now going.”
People generally think that a hunter shot Krishna’s foot with an arrow and that Krishna was ready to depart from this mortal realm. But in reality, there was no hunter or any arrow. Krishna returned to Vrindavana with the Vrajavasis. There, Dhola-lila and Jhulan-lila started.
Now, Krishna was very happy. It was the rainy season. There was greenery everywhere, the kunja-kutiras regained their beauty. Before, Vrindavana was dry. But everything changed on Krishna’s arrival. A wonderful Jhulan-lila also took place. After Raksa-bandana, Baladeva Prabhu’s appearance day, on Baladeva Purnima; Jhulan-lila ends. On this day, all the Vraja-devis came with Subhadra and told Baladeva Prabhu, “You are our elder brother. You will protect us.” Raksa-kavaca, Raksa-bandana; the gopis told Baladeva Prabhu, “Please give Your hand, we will tie the rakhi around it. You never left and made us disturbed. You didn’t steal Krishna away from us. In Krishna’s absence, we are all suffering.”
Millions of gopis came near Baladeva Prabhu and said, “You are our elder brother. You will always protect us.”
Then Baladeva Prabhu promised the gopis of how He will always be their elder brother. The gopis tied the raksha-sutra around His hand. This raksa-sutra contains a mantra.
Baladeva Prabhu then assured the gopis and the Vrajavasis of Krishna’s presence in their midst. He told them, “Krishna will always be in Vraja-mandala. He will never go out of Vraja-mandala.” Hence, Krishna is now in Vrindavana.
After some days, we will observe the festival of Janmastami, Krishna’s birthday. How should we follow this day? All the Vrajavasis arrange this festival. After Janmastami, comes Srimati Radharani’s birthday. In Ananda Vrindavana Campu and other granthas, a wonderful description of how Vrshabhanu Maharaja observed the appearance of his dear daughter is described. All the sakhis birthdays are also coming. Lalita-devi’s birthday, and the birthdays of other sakhis like Visakha, Citra, Campakalatha, Sudevi, Rangadevi, and Bhudevi are coming.
Krishna is very clever. On the appearance day of Srimati Radharani and Her sakhis, Krishna Himself arranges the programs. Now the Vrajavasis have forgotten that Krishna was separated from them for many years.
If anybody would ask them, “Is Krishna at a distance from you?”
They would reply, “No. Krishna is always near us. Krishna’s Dvaraka-lila was like a drama that was enacted for a few days. But, Krishna is always permanently with us. Krishna never left us. Krishna is not a liar. He never cheats us.” The Vrajavasis have unflinching faith in Krishna and His words.
On Sarad Purnima, Krishna started a wondrous dance and music festival. For one continuous month, many festivals are held. The puja of Giriraja Govardhana—the Annakuta mahotsava, Dipavali, and many other festivals are followed by the Vrajavasis and Krishna. On the day of Rasa Purnima, Krishna disappears. The Vrajavasis and the gopis especially feel separation from Krishna when He disappears from the rasa arena. Krishna disappears for a few hours and He helps the karmis, jnanis, yogis, and other people. He helps them and returns to the rasa arena. During this disappearance time, all the Vrajavasis feel intense pangs of separation. At that time, a moment of separation seems like a millennia, as Mahaprabhu said:
sunyayitam jagat sarvam
–Sri Siksastakam 7
[O sakhi, in separation from Govinda, even a moment seems like a millennium. Tears begin to shower from my eyes like rain from the clouds, and this entire world seems void.”
gayite govinda naam…yamuna puline….
Govinda viraha seito na pare—the Gopis cannot tolerate the separation from Krishna. When Mahaprabhu resided in Jagannatha Puri, for four months, Mahaprabhu and His associates would be continuously engaged in hari-kirtana and harikatha. They would follow all the limbs of devotion with great care and enthusiasm. After Catusmasya, Mahaprabhu would request many of His associates to return to Bengal. Then for eight months, Mahaprabhu would hide in the Gambira, experiencing intense and deep pangs of separation from Krishna. The Bhaktas and Mahaprabhu would not be able to tolerate this separation. In this world, this separation lasted for eight months, but in that world, the separation would last for only a few minutes. This separation would only be experienced for a few minutes or hours.
During those brief moments of separation, Krishna would enact His Mathura and Dvaraka pastimes. In the lower realms of the spiritual sky, Vaikunta-lila is always being exhibited and performed. On this Sayana Ekadashi, all the devotees come to the other side. On Sayana Ekadashi, bhaktas are engaged in bhajana. They work very hard for eight months. During the Ratha Yatra time, many devotees come to the Jagannatha Ratha Yatra festival. The devotees always follow in the footsteps of the Vraja-devis.
Then Krishna looks to see who has come. On seeing the devotees, He thinks, “Oh the devotees have come for My Ratha Yatra festival. Along with the Vraja-devis, they want to bring Me back to Vrindavana. I am not going alone. I am taking all My followers with Me to Vrindavana, Vraja-mandala.”
The sadhakas should renounce their anarthas, prarabdha-karma, and aprarabdha-karma; but it is not possible on their own. The conditioned souls have their own ideas, mentalities, and understandings. The anarthas catch and grab hold of the sadhaka. They drag and paste him.
On seeing the plight of the sadhaka, Krishna says, “For four months, the anarthas will not disturb you. If you are with Me, none of the anarthas will dare to come near you and drag you away.”
The anarthas always tell the conditioned soul to engage in illicit relationships. By subduing this enjoying nature, the conditioned souls are relieved of their misery. Krishna reassures and tells them, “You are with Me in Vrindavana.” The anarthas the conditioned souls have collected for than a million lives cannot disturb them during these four months.
Krishna declares, “I am officially giving a letter to all the authorities that states none of them should disturb the conditioned souls. Yama Maharaja, Citragupta; the both must not disturb the jivas during these four months. Nobody should disturb any of the souls who are with Me.”
For those souls who are in close proximity with the Lord, Srimad Bhagavatam states:
jihva na vakti bhagavad-guna-namadheyam
cetas ca na smarati tac-caranaravindam
krsnaya no namati yac-chira ekadapi
tan anayadhvam asato ’krta-visnu-krtyan
–Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.29
[My dear servants, please bring to me only those sinful persons who do not use their tongues to chant the holy name and qualities of Krsna, whose hearts do not remember the lotus feet of Krsna even once, and whose heads do not bow down even once before Lord Krsna. Send me those who do not perform their duties toward Visnu, which are the only duties in human life. Please bring me all such fools and rascals.]
Yama Maharaja called his entire army and told the soldiers, “During these four months, during this time of Hari Sayana, don’t touch or disturb anyone.”
Whom did Yama Maharaja especially refer to? He referred to those devotees whose tongue always chants harinama and Krishna-nama. Yama Maharaja told his soldiers, “These devotees always bow their head before the Lord. They offer pranama when His cart passes in front of them and to the place where kirtana is being performed. Cetas ca na smarati tac-caranaravindam—by their hearts, they always remember the louts feet of the Lord. They always pray and weep in front of the Lord. Anybody who hears them chant, should not disturb them. They themselves chant and make everyone chant, ‘Radhe Radhe,’ the holy name of Svarupa Sakti. Or they chant the name of the Supreme Lord, ‘Krishna Krishna!’ You should not disturb anybody who chants the holy names of the Supreme Lord and His potency.”
This way Yama Maharaja conveyed the strong order of Krishna to his servants.
Therefore in Caturmasya a very deep protection is offered to the conditioned souls. This period of four months is very helpful for bhajan and bhakti. When Krishna goes to sleep, all the bhaktas start a nice performance of dance and kirtana. Then Krishna is also involved in this performance. The sakhas also start their own joyous performance. Therefore, in Vrindavana, Jhulan-lila appears first. During the month of sravan, when there is greenery and lush vegetation everywhere, a big program is arranged. Even to this day, many festivals are arranged in Vrindavana during this month. These festivals are held in unmanifest Vrindavana in the spiritual sky and in the manifest Vrindavana in the earthly realm.
During these four months, various kunja-kutiras are made for Hari. In these kunja-kutiras, kirtana is performed from early morning to evening. At night, the fragrance of kasturi, incense, and the scent of various kinds of perfumes and flowers pervade the kunja-kutira for the pleasure of Hari. In our Sampradaya, Nityananda Prabhu’s associates like the Dvadasa Gopala, Asta Kaviraja, Causatti Mahanta, and Sad Gosvami make many kunja-kutiras. Srimati Radharani and Her associates also make and decorate many kunja-kutiras. These services are very interesting. Shortly after, kunja seva begins. Seva-kunja and many kunjas now start manifesting themselves in Vrindavana. Many Kadamba flowers start blossoming now in Vrindavana. Many kinds of flowers like beli, chameli, juhi, mallika, and jasmine start blooming. Trees bearing green leaves and succulent fruits serve to further embellish this enchanting scene. Krishna is astonished by looking at the beauty of Vrindavana. After being trained for these four months, the sadhana-siddhas join the nitya-siddha Vraja-devis to render their eternal services to the Divine Couple—Sri Radha and Krishna.
Sastra has many quotations that glorify the specialty of Sayana Ekadashi. During these four months, some devotees adopt mauna-vrata; they adopt the vow of silence. They completely stop talking to people. They start manasi-seva; their internal services to their Lordships. Every day, they arrange a nice seat, water, and abhiseka for Hari. They offer delightful bhoga for Hari every day and distribute His remnants. Newer and newer performances and festivals are arranged for Krishna. The two demigods Nalakuvera and Manigriva have their eternal forms in Goloka Vrindavana, in Gokula. They are Snigdhakanta and Madhukanta respectively. In the early morning from six to nine; for three hours, they speak on the pastimes of Krishna. The Vrajavasis assemble at Nanda-bhavana and are completely enraptured by this recital and performance of Krishna’s pastimes. There are not just one or two Vrajavasis; they are in the millions. Old, senior, junior, and all Vrajavasis belonging to their respective groups listen to this wonderful exposition of Krishna’s pastimes. Snigdhakanta and Madhukanta speak the pastimes of Krishna in an enthralling manner. Sometimes, Rsis like Durvasa, Angira, Gautama, Yajnavalkya, Bhaguri, Sandilya, and many Rsis-Maharsis come to this assembly. They would never Vraja-mandala during Catusmasya. They would stay in one place. They especially felt happy, content, and peaceful in Vraja-mandala.
Yasoda Matha would feed the Rsis-Maharsis every day. During the time of Caturmasya, one should not cross the river or engage in prajalpa, idle gossip. By staying in one holy place, the sadhaka will achieve siddhi, perfection. But by moving from one place to another, the desired fruit will not be obtained.
Sastra and Puranas describe many incidents that extol the glories of Caturmasya. There is a history from Lord Ramacandra’s life that concerns Caturmasya. In Treta Yuga, Lord Ramacandra entered the Dandakaranya forest. There He saw many Brahmin threads and bones. He asked a resident of an asrama, “What is this?”
The resident replied, “The Brahmins were engaged in bhajan here. But the demons came, killed, and ate the flesh of the Brahmins, Rsis, Mahrsis.”
Ramacandra became very disturbed. He went to the asrama of Agastya Rsi and asked the Rsi on why the Brahmins and others were killed.
Agastya Rsi told Lord Ramacandra, “They acted independently. They didn’t follow Caturmasya vrata. Then from where will protection and power come?”
The tongue is quite uncontrolled. It is very greedy to taste green vegetables. Demons are inside these vegetables. Many ill-intentioned souls are present in these vegetables. When you eat these vegetables, these souls enter your body.
Agastya Rsi told Ramacandra, “O Maharaja Ramacandra, please take your seat. I will speak of a history. There were two demon brothers called Illal and Bathare***. The Rsi-Maharsis would stay in one place during the rainy season and engage in bhajan-kirtana. The two brothers would invite these unassuming Rsi-Maharsis to their dwelling. On one day, they changed their dresses and came to invite the Rsis. They told the Rsis, ‘Today, we are offering fruits and roots. Please partake of them.”
Then all the Rsi-Maharsis went to their house. There, the two demon brothers cut large sized fruits like watermelon, pineapples, and many other sweet fruits they had collected from the forest. They offered bhoga and offered the fruits to the Rsi-Maharsis. After the Rsis had taken their seats and finished eating, the demons would offer obeisance and give daksina. As a daksina to the Rsi-Maharsis, they would give tree skin, leaves, firewood for sacrifice, dry fruits, and some instruments for kirtana. After partaking of the meal, the Rsis rested and went on their way to their asrama.
At an opportune time, Bathare called out to his brother and said, “Oh my dear brother Illal. Where are you? Please come. Please come. I am waiting and crying for you.”
After chanting a mantra, he started to eat all the Rsis. The other demon had entered the Rsis’ stomachs in the form of the fruits they had just eaten. He cut the Rsis from the inside and distributed the remains of their bodies to his demon brother. This was the result of eating certain forbidden fruits during Caturmasya. The demon who had entered the Rsis’ stomachs in the form of fruits, expanded himself while being situated in their stomachs in different forms. He grew in size and exploded out of their stomachs. All the Rsis died immediately. Then the two brothers stocked the flesh of their victims, dried them out, and ate the flesh of the Rsis’s bodies every month after month. The bodies of the Rsis are very tasteful, as they are clean, pure, and sattvik bodies. These bodies were very tasteful to the demon brothers. They ate the flesh of their victims for a long time.”
While continuing his conversation with Ramacandra, Agastya Rsi said, “These two demon brothers even invited me on one occasion.
I, replied, ‘I am not going.’
They requested me time and again to visit them. they said, ‘Oh please. This is the time of Catusmasya. Sadhu-seva is good. Guru-seva is good. You must please come and attend this very nice program.’
I went with many followers and started kirtana. After kirtana ended, they offered me fruits; just like they did to their victims. I knew of their inner intentions as I am aware of the past, present, and future. Before I ate the fruits, I offered them to God. After I had eaten the fruits, Bathare called his brother, ‘Illal! Illal! I am your brother Bathare, come out of this Rsi’s stomach.’
I replied to him, ‘From where will your brother come? He has been digested now. Your brother is dead now.’”
Agastya Rsi has power. He gave the demon liberation. He offered his soul to God. Now his soul was not in the fruit anymore. He got liberated.
Bathare was inconsolable. He repeatedly cried and said, “I lost my brother!” Then Agastya Rsi accepted him also and told him, “Okay. You will also get liberation. Now you will not disturb anyone anymore.” Thus, he offered him to the Lord also. Thus, the demons are always disturbing the devotees. Therefore, during Caturmasya, don’t accept any anonymous invitations. Don’t go!
Agastya Rsi then related another history to Maharaja Ramacandra. There was a demon who was like a brahmacari and a Rsi. He would invite many Rsis and offer them cooked roots.
When the Rsis ate the roots, they shrieked out in disgust and said, “These are not roots. They are the remains of dead animals. Don’t eat or else you will lose everything.”
So when you follow Caturmasya vrata many invitations will come near you. Many people will invite you; but know that what they offer is deadlier than poison. Poison will kill one and make him lose one life. Our vrata, tapa, japa, niyama, rules and regulations; indeed, everything will be lost by accepting this poison. Therefore, Rsis and Maharsis don’t accept any invitations. They never attend any suspicious programs. They only engage in hari-kirtana. In our lifetime, when we would go on bhiksa in Mathura, we would collect wheat flour and vegetables. We would make capattis and a little sabji from what we had collected. We would boil the vegetables we had collected from the market and eat them once a day. Srila Gurudeva and all the Vaisnava bhaktas would honor Mahaprasada this way. If people would give us more than what we needed, Gurudeva would tell us, “Give the rest to the Brahmins.” He would also give the rest to sweepers and workers. Baba! He would give away pure ghee and grains. He would tell us, “No. You are not going to eat this. Don’t touch!” Srila Gurudeva would be very strong with us.
Srila Gurudeva would warn and tell us, “If you take this food, then demoniac beings will enter inside you and make your mind agitated.”
You will then think, “What should I do? I cannot control my senses. I want to get married. I like this lady. I like this man.” Then your mind will be restless and you will run here and there. You will lose sleep and the power to digest what you eat. You will lose all taste and you will only cry and weep. You will suffer from a big headache! Hence, this disturbance is caused by the demons who have entered inside you.
Therefore, Agastya Rsi tells everyone to strongly follow this Caturmasya vrata. Gurudeva would tell someone, “Don’t take any tomatoes for these four months.”
They would say, “What is wrong with the tomatoes? What is inside them?”
Speaking this way, they would remain stubborn.
We tell people to not eat eggplants.
But they say, “No. We will eat them.”
“Don’t eat loki and paramal.”
The reply will be, “What is the meaning of this restriction of certain vegetables?”
“Don’t eat leafy greens.”
“What is the problem in eating them?”
Don’t behave this way. Whatever Gurudeva and the Sastras tell us is right. So don’t touch or take certain vegetables that have been forbidden for these four months. During the rainy season, many living entities take birth. In still water, many toads and fish take birth. Where do these living entities come from? They are souls who have taken birth from the rainfall. Many living entities like snakes, green grasses, and other forms of life take their birth during Caturmasya.
Hence, be very serious during Caturmasya. Then Ramacandra told Agastya Rsi, “Anyone who is under the control of Guru, a powerful Acarya, a Vaisnava, or a bhakta will be protected. But, if they are independent, then demons will take their chances and enter their bodies. They will attract, defeat and kill them.”
Otherwise, we will be enjoyed either ways and we will end up in the hospital. The body will be sick and the brain will not work. Heart will be divided among many persons. Many disciples fight with Gurudeva and Vaisnavas. They will not fight with ordinary people; rather, they will be disturbed with Guru and Vaisnavas. They will say, “This Guru is not good. This Vaisnava is not good.”
They will go near family men and tell them, “You are good.”
Even if the family men beat them with shoes and abuse them; certain disciples will think, “This is much better!”
But, they will not serve Gurudeva and Vaisnavas. This Caturmasya vrata is most important. Sukadeva Gosvami and our Vyasadeva tell us, “Read Srimad Bhagavat Mahapurana. Classes should be held on this spotless literature every day. Kirtana, Harinama-Sankirtana should also be held every day. Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the essence of Veda, Vedanta, Puranas, and Upanisads should also be studied and perused. Honor Tulasi-devi, Ganga, and Vaisnavas; then you will be protected. Otherwise, there is no protection.”
Today is Hari Sayana Ekadashi. This is a very special time. These four months are worthy of our greatest regard. By strictly following Caturmasya vrata, we will be protected and our lives will completely change. Mayavadis follow, all grhastas also follow. But some people say, “For ekantika, one-pointed Vaisnavas, there is no need to follow Caturmasya vrata; only following the month of Kartika is enough.”
Srila Param Gurudeva would tell Gurudeva and many Vaisnavas, “Take my photograph. My beard should be shown. Otherwise, some disciples may say, ‘Why should we not shave our beard? Why we should we not cut our hair and nails? What is the problem in acting otherwise?’”
Such people have no relation with bhakti. They will also say, “What is the problem in eating restricted foodstuffs?”
If one even breaks some rules and regulations of bhakti, he will be defeated by demons. The demons will destroy him. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and all our Acharyas have written many glorifications on the results obtained by properly following Caturmasya vrata. During Hari Sayana time, Hari is with His own intimate friends and own family. At that time, He rests. This is His best time. He only talks, discusses, hears, eats, and plays with His associates for these four months. If you are close to God for these four months, then you will never distance yourself from God and you will never lose yourself.