Vijaya Ekadashi Lecture ( Kishori Kunj Ekadashi Satsang) (05/03/2016)
108 Sri Sri Pran Krishna Babaji
On the auspicious day of Vijaya Ekadashi (05/03/2016) Gurudev had answered questions from devotees and explained at length using simple analogies the right course of action for all devotees.
What happens after death?
Gurudev says: Contemplate about 'parakal', (life after death), we all will have to die one day and our soul may go either to heaven or to hell depending on the actions we pursue during our lifetime. He says, 'Sab upar nahi jate, kanthi hai to upar me jaye, kanthi nai wo neech me jaye'.
Only those who wear ‘Tulasi mala’ (kanthi) around the neck ascend to higher planets after death. Gurudev reflects on heaven and hell as pleasure and pain in mortal life. Every living entity in this material world is hankering for happiness, even animals and plants have understanding of pain and pleasure. If you plant a sapling in an earthen pot it will grow and turn in the direction of sunlight, even if you forcibly reverse its direction it will turn in the direction where it gets sunlight and fresh air, it will never remain in darkness. In the same way all living entities have a propensity to seek happiness.
What is the source of that real happiness?
Bhajan kore to sob sukh pay, dhan daulat koi kaam na aaye
One who immerses himself in Harinaam sankirtan finds everlasting happiness and peace but one who is busy accumulating wealth derives none. According to the Shastras, constant engagement in Harinaam Sankirtan is the only source of real happiness in this mortal world. Observing Ekadashi is important as it increases one’s potential of performing bhajan and kirtan, thereby opening the ways of finding real happiness.
What is the significance of Ekadashi?
"Haribasar aaj, Harir bash, Hari chara kono kotha nai, Hari chara kono kaj nai, Krishno katha bolo, Krishno katha shono, Krishno kirtan koro, songshari katha bolo na, bhebo na".
Today is Ekadashi, the day of Lord Hari, do not think about mundane worldly affairs, immerse yourself in thinking, speaking, listening, chanting and serving the Supreme Lord Krishna and perform austere penances in accordance to the regulative principles of the Shastras. The night of Ekadashi is also called ‘Haribasar ’, during which a steadfast devotee would chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra throughout the night. One does not need any qualification to observe Ekadashi, he may be the most fallen soul, a drunkard, a cheater, an impostor, one may be engaged in myriad of evil deeds but if he observes this single vrata of Ekadashi, more appropriately ‘Suddha Ekadashi’ he is freed from all sinful reactions.
What is Suddha Ekadashi?
One, who incessantly chants the holy name of Lord Krishna with unalloyed devotion, engages in Krishna kirtan, speaks, thinks and serves only Krishna, abstains from drinking even a drop of water on the day of Ekadashi, remains awake the entire night chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra, is said to observe Suddha Ekadashi.
No matter how great crimes one commits during the past 15 days, if one performs Suddha Ekadashi, he will be freed from all his accumulated sins. Just like fire devours anything that comes in its contact, similarly Suddha Ekadashi burns all sins of one who observes this vrata stringently and sincerely. Such is the glory is Suddha Ekadashi.
However observing Suddha Ekadashi is not an easy task. Just as the sun light is soft at dawn and dusk, but at mid-day one can barely look at the scorching sun, similarly both children and the elderly are unable to engage themselves in ‘bhajan sadhan’ or observe austere meditation, sacrifice, fasts and penances like ‘Suddha Ekadasi’. It is not possible for children to understand the importance of chanting or kirtan while elderly people find it difficult because they do not have the physical strength required to endure austerity.
Gaye shakti hoy to bhajan kora jay, shakti nai to hoy na, somoy thakte Horibol, osomoy hoy na
Gurudev emphasises that one should start early. He compares youth with the scorching mid-day sun brimming with energy and urges young devotees to channelize their strength and energy to perform ‘bhajan and kirtan’ ceaselessly. Till the time one remains active and has the physical potential one should make the most of it. However most of us do not realize the importance of youth and spoils it in frivolous pursuits.
What is the right path for the youth to follow?
Youth is of paramount importance as it is the best period of our lives to make ‘bhajan kirtan’ the single-most important activity of our lives. However just after people step out of adolescence they are trapped in the allurements of the material world. Making money becomes the prime concern and soon after marriage. Slowly he becomes burdened by family responsibilities and as a consequence finds no time to engage in Harinaam sankirtan.
Gurudev explains that marriage for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. According to the Shastras, only devotees of high birth should marry for the purpose of advancement in their spiritual lives. Such divine marriages are highly recommendable.
Just as a large congregation of devotees ensures a lively and loud sankirtan similarly at one’s home if a householder is accompanied by his wife children and other relatives in performing ‘bhajan kirtan’ of the Lord, it is better than performing bhajan alone. However such devotee Vaishnava families, whose sole purpose is spiritual advancement, are rare in today’s society.
Death is approaching, so be alert. Just as, hearing the school bell ring all the students become alert in the very same way, we should also become alert, drag ourselves out of material bondage and realise that the ultimate goal of our lives is to detach ourselves from the clutches of Maya and attain liberation.
Jyontunang Manava Srestha
According to the Shastras, man is the best among animal, blessed with unique potencies that other animals do not have. We should realise that we are not born to lead a life similar to that of an animal and that the only way to achieve liberation in this age of Kali is to participate in Harinaam Sankirtan Movement.
A burglar can enter a house when the owner of the house is in deep slumber, but if the owner remains alert he can prevent the theft from occurring. Similarly men remain asleep in the slumber of ignorance losing his precious life time in pursuit of materialistic pleasures. He should wake up, become alert and dispel the enchantment of ‘Maya’ by engaging in Harinaam Sankirtan.
How do we realise that the world we are living in is illusory and the Supreme truth is Krishna alone?
Gurudev explains that according to the Shastras humans are superior to all other forms of life. Therefore we should not waste our priceless human birth in leading a life which is no different from those of animals. He urges everyone to remain vigilant, to be aware that the association of friends and family around him is transient, nothing is going to remain.
Gurudev here uses the analogy of a movie theatre. Hundreds of people watch a movie in utter darkness considering the characters and the sequence of events occurring in front of themselves as real. However when the movie ends and the darkness of the theatre is dispelled by the lights they realise that all this while they were staring at a white curtain. Similarly we mortals enact different roles as father, son, and husband wife brother sister and go through trials and tribulations all through our lives and consider our families to be the Supreme truth.
But when the darkness of ignorance is dispelled by the lights of transcendental knowledge, one realises that everything around him is illusory.
Why should we consider the world to be illusory and Lord Krishna to be the Supreme truth?
Gurudev narrates the story of Sakshi Gopala
This deity of Gopala had originally been installed by King Vajra, the grandson of Lord Krishna in Vrindavan long ago. Later the Deity walked all the way from Vrindavan to a place called Vidyanagara in Odissa to end a dispute between two brahmanas by being a witness. Thus He came to be known as Sakshi (witness) Gopala. The story of this wonderful historic incident is as follows.
There were two brahmanas, one old and one young, in a village called Vidyanagara in Odisha.
Once they decided to set out on a pilgrimage and after a long journey visiting many holy places and bearing many hardships they finally arrived in Vrindavan. All along the way, the young brahmana assisted the elderly brahmana. The old man was very pleased with the service of the youth and wanted to reward him suitably.
They entered Govinda temple in Vrindavan and had darshan of Lord Gopala. Before the Deity of the Lord, the old man revealed his mind before the youth about giving him a reward. But the young brahmana did not agree to accept any reward. But the old man insisted and promised to give his youngest daughter to the young man in marriage. He resisted saying you are a high caste brahmana and I am a poor orphan low caste brahmana, your family will never approve this wedding. But the old man would not give up his decision in spite of the efforts of the youth to convince him. Finally the young brahmana told the old man to vow in front of Gopala, and asked the Lord to be the witness of his promise.
After returning home from Vrindavana, the old man informed his eldest son about having selected the poor orphan brahmana youth as the husband for his sister. His son and wife strongly objected to this proposal, he became perplexed. After a few days, the young brahmana came to the old man and reminded him of his promise before the Lord.
While the old man was in a dilemma and praying to the Lord, his son came out and shouted abuses at the youth, accusing him of plundering his father in the place of pilgrimage.
Shri Sakshi Gopal
Now it was obvious to the youth that the old man was facing opposition from his family. He explained to all the people who had gathered there about the old man’s promise before Gopala. Then the eldest son of the old brahmana said that he would agree for the marriage only if the Lord came and bore witness to the promise of his father. The youth who was confident of the Lord’s help, accepted the challenge and went back to Vrindavan and urged Gopala to come with him. It was his unflinching faith that compelled the Supreme Lord to respond. Suddenly Gopala spoke to him: “How do you think that I can go with you? I am a deity. I can’t go anywhere.”
“Well, if you can speak, you can walk too,” the boy replied. Finally Gopala agreed to go with him on the condition that the young brahmana should not look back while He follows him. Gopala told the youth, “You will know that I am following you, by the jingling sound of my anklets.”
The youth agreed, and they began their journey. Finally when they reached the border of his home village, the youth could no longer hear the sound of the anklets. He looked back with anxiety, and Gopala stood still without moving any further.
The youth then immediately ran into the village and informed the people about Gopala’s arrival as the witness, following which the old brahmana had to give his daughter in marriage to the youth.
Astonished by this uncommon pastime of the Lord, the villagers built a temple on the spot for the deity of Lord Gopala who came to be known as Sakshi-Gopala. The descendants of the young Brahmana serve the deity of Lord Gopala till date. This unique pastime shows that the deity is identical with the Lord in all respects and He responds in proportion to one’s degree of devotion and faith. Those who have this firm, persistent conviction and unwavering faith in the deity as the Supreme Lord himself, only to those devotees the Lord reveals himself and reciprocates accordingly.
Gurudev laments that most of us regard deities to be lifeless, we do not have the conviction that the young brahmana had in the Lord. We regard our families to be the ultimate truth. We lack the faith that Radha Krishna, Gaur Nitai can also reciprocate, perform ‘leelas’ in spite of being present in the form of deities.
Gurudev urges everyone to develop unflinching faith in Him and assures His constant support. For those who have unwavering faith and perform pious deeds throughout one’s life, has no need to worry about ‘parakal’ or life after death.
Gurudev reiterates that the ways to achieve happiness in this material world is to have undaunted faith in Gaur Nitai, Radha Krishna, to constantly engage oneself in Harinaam Sankirtan, to surrender oneself completely to the lotus feet of Guru and Vaishnavas and to strictly abide by the injunctions of the Shastras, under the guidance of Sadhus and Guru.
The age of Kali is full of sins and sorrows. All living entities born in the age of Kali are sinful. No matter how many times you wash coal with water it remains dark. Only when it is completely consumed by fire it turns into white ash. Similarly in this age of Kali only the fire of Harinaam Sankirtan can burn all our sins and purify us.
Gurudev advises everyone to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra, remain in the association of Krishna devotees and engage in Harinaam Sankirtan. This process of constant chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord incessantly is the only way of liberation from material bondage. The Holy names of the Lord are non-different from the Lord himself.
"Harer-nama Harer-nama Harer-namaiva kevalam kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha"
Harinama, Harinama, Harinama is the only and foremost means to achieve emancipation. There is no other way, no other way, and no other way in this age of Kali.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Donation of millions of cows to pious brahmanas, residing in Kashi also known as the door of Moksha, donation of gold and silver in a measure as high as that of the Sumeru Mountain cannot be equated with uttering the name of Lord Govinda just once. Therefore in this age of Kali the only pious deed is chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Gurudev concludes the Ekadashi Satsang with the following verses from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
“Jake dekho tare koro Krishno upodesh, amar agyay Guru hoye taro sorbo desh”
Gurudev instructs his disciples to spread the Harinaam Sankirtan movement in every nook and corner of the world. The spiritual activities of a devotee should not be limited to listening to lectures and studying scriptures. He should preach and spread the knowledge among masses. A true devotee should earnestly request everyone he comes across to start chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, fall to their feet and urge them to become devotees. In this way devotees should reach out to all those who are unaware of the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and become preachers of the Sankirtan movement.
Gurudev also requests his disciples to apply ‘tilak’ and wear ‘kanthi’ always. He explains that one who regularly wears ‘tilak’ and is adorned with the ‘kanthi’ around his neck is very dear to the Lord and receives his causeless mercy. Devotees who wear ‘kanthi’ need not be worried about parakal/’life after death’.
Bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 9.41)
‘Para-upakara’ literally means welfare of others. The whole world does not know about the message of Lord Kṛiṣhṇa, therefore it is the greatest welfare activity to carry this message and spread the glories of chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. This is especially important for those who are born in this country. They should strive to pull people out of the clutches of ignorance and in this way render the highest form of para-upakara to humanity.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Thank you very much to our Gurubhai Kaushik Neel Ray dada for his seva of translation of Sri Gurudeva kathas.