Ekadasi: Main Focus Is Service

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
9 October 2019, Kolkata, part 7

 

We always observe Ekadasi. One time, when somebody asked Gurudev about the glorification of Ekadasi, Gurudev replied, "I do not know. Tirtha Maharaj knows it." It means he showed that it is not necessary to hear the explanation or glorification of Ekadasi—Gurudev tells you to follow Ekadasi, and we must do that. What is it necessary to follow Ekadasi mahatmya (glorification) for? We do not think, "Oh, if I follow this Ekadasi, my sins will go away," "If I follow Ekadasi, I will get some punya (piety)," "If I follow Ekadasi, some good things will to come to me, etc." We do not have any desires like this.

Moreover, our Srila Sridhar Maharaj did not compose anything on Ekadasi mahatmya. Other temples have some books on Ekadasi mahatmya—for example, this book here is from Srila Madhav Maharaj's temple. Sometimes Indian people come to me confused and ask me, "What is the meaning of this Ekadasi? What is this Ekadasi? What is that Ekadasi?" That is why I have to read some books and see what is the result of some Ekadasis, but we do not think about the result—we think about service. Our main goal is to serve our Gurudev.

There are some devotees who fast on Ekadasi full day, who do nirjal Ekadasi (dry fasting—without any water or food during all day). Just three-four days ago one such devotee from one of our temples who always does full nirjal Ekadasi asked me about this. I told her that you can do dry fasting on Ekadasi, but when you become sick and your health deteriorates as a result, you will not be able to do service because of all that fasting. And that devotee fasts on all days. For example, it was Madhva Acharya's appearance day yesterday—she was fasting on this day too. If you do like this, then you will have to start eating air—if you start following all appearance days, all disappearance days, you will not take any prasadam. You honour Madhva Acharya's day, you respect Madhva Acharya, it is all right; even if you are fasting, it is all right, but the problem is that if you start following like his, you will end up doing dry fasting (nirjal) every day! How many acharyas are there? There is Nimbarka Acharya, Vishnu Swami, Ramanuja Acharya, then there are also so many acharyas in the Gaudiya sampradaya—Srila Prabhupad has so many disciples. If you follow all appearance days and all disappearance days by doing dry fasting, you will end up fasting every day! The main thing is service to the Guru, service to Vaishnavs.

Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur even told that it is not necessary to do dry fasting (nirjal) even on Ekadasi day—he said that we could take anukalpa (non-grain prasadam) on Ekadasi. That is why Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj wrote about Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur in his pranam mantra, "Sithilita vidhi." It means Srila Prabhupad made some rules and regulations a little less strict...

 

 

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Pray and Practise
'There are twenty-four hours in a day, how many hours are you busy eating, sleeping, enjoying, and how many hours are you busy serving? You must give more time to service. Your mind, your heart must think about the Lord, about Gurudev's service.'

 

Nitai gunamani amara
'Nitai brought a flood of divine love to the land of Gauda. The devotees immersed themselves in it, but the unfortunate floated on its surface.'
নিতাই গুণমণি আমার

I may be in India physically, but I am always with the devotees—mentally,
and heart and soul.

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