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The managers have oft had many realizations that Lord Caitanya in Navadvip And Puri personally did- and encouraged his devotees to all night Ekadasi.

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Chapter 18

Sri Ekadasi

ONE DAY, LORD GAURAHARI went from Gundica mandira to the Jagannatha-vallabha  gardens and sat amongst the flowers. The day was ekadasi. He celebrated this auspicious occasion by chanting the holy name incessantly, day and night. Present with Him were Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, Vakresvara Pandita and the other resident Vaisnavas of Sri Purusottama-ksetra, Puri.

The Lord said, "Today, all of you should refrain from eating and sleeping, and constantly chant Krsna's name. Some of you should chant japa, some of you should circumambulate the temple with prostrated obeisances and others should discuss the pastimes of Lord Balarama and Lord Krsna." Everyone became spiritually surcharged by the Lord' instructions and busied themselves with different activities, chanting, "Govinda, Govinda!" They felt intoxicated with prema.

Ekadasi in Puri

"Sri Harivasara ekadasi, is considered to be the most important vrata vow of fasting. It is to be observed by maintaining complete fast and without sleeping at night. We also know that Lord Jagannatha's maha-prasadam must be respected at all times in Purusottama-ksetra. It should be honoured by eating it immediately upon receiving it. Therefore, we find ourselves in a dilemma as to how to honour prasadam on ekadasi.

Please tell us unequivocally the conclusions of the scriptures on this subject in a manner that would convince even spiritual stalwarts like Lord Siva and Lord Brahma. This will dispel our disquietude."

Lord Caitanya's conclusion

Lord Caitanya replied, "To not observe complete fasting on ekadasi will greatly endanger one's spiritual life. Honour prasadam on ekadasi only by offering it obeisances and eating it the next day. In this way, one can easily cross this material ocean. The fast is any way over on the following day.

"All Vaisnavas, beloved associates of the Supreme Lord, are very pleased when ekadasi is properly observed by simply relishing the nectar of Lord Krsna's holy name. One should not taste anything nor should any mundane topics be discussed on Ekadasi. All physical pleasures should be proscribed.

It is a Vaisnava's duty to daily honour and eat only prasadam, for he never consumes unoffered food. On ekadasi he observes complete fasting, and the next day he breaks his fast with maha-prasadam. and if, for some reason, one has to eat on ekadasi, then let the Vaisnavas take anukalpa, a light meal consisting of merely fruits, roots and milk, without grains or beans or other prohibited vegetables. 

"The non-Vaisnavas gormandise without control, offering only lame excuses that they are honouring maha-prasadam. They do this on ekadasi, because they are engrossed day and night in sense enjoyment. They enjoy grains and rice on ekadasi and thereby eat the sins that enter grains on such days, disregarding the sanctity of ekadasi-vrata. You must diligently execute devotional service and respect the process of devotion. You will then surely receive the blessings of Bhakti-devi Herself. Avoid the association of non-devotees and properly observe the ekadasi-vrata by constantly chanting the holy name.

"Try to realise in your heart that there is no offence or contradiction in refusing maha-prasadam on ekadasi or any other important fast day. It is inane to observe certain spiritual disciplines and vows while neglecting others. Earnestly observe prescribed vows on designated days and timings and in an appropriate devotional manner. Sri Vrajendra-nandana, Krsna, is the Lord and ultimate goal of all vows and devotional activities, so observe all spiritual vows for His pleasure and satisfaction alone. Therefore, remember to abstain from eating, drinking and sleeping on ekadasi, and so the next day honour prasadam with full relish."

The devotees present, both from Bengal and Orissa were experiencing intense joy upon hearing the Lord speak. They chanted, "Govinda! Govinda!" in blissful appreciation. Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya and other stalwarts felt ineffable exultation.

O my dear brothers! Lord Gauranga is the most valuable treasure of my heart. Worship His lotus feet, freeing yourself from duplicity. This can help you to easily cross this insurmountable ocean of nescience and experience everlasting peace, beyond anxiety and death. 

Chanting the holy name and observing ekadasi-vrata are both eternal spiritual activities, hence they are on the same devotional platform. Therefore, become sincerely fixed in executing these activities.

How to organize all night Ekadasi festival Yes, I know that it's not an Iskcon thing these days, and that people will be tired the next day, but practice makes perfect really. In my total days in Iskcon I never got Hrdayanath (the paramatma lord of the heart) to reciprocate by the standard Iskcon minimum (eat no grains and beans and still sleep the same) as much as I got from Him on Dvadasi day by doing an all-nighter ekadasi.The 86 year old HG Fakir Mohan dasa 3 years ago in Vraja on Govardhana Puja day in November (kartika month) described how one does 'Jagran' all night vigil as done in the olden days.

The more one sets up and organizes all night ekadasi's the easier one has one's festival manpower organized, those who do jagran will likely be the one's who can be depended on for all functions and appearance day festivals for the Lord etc.
Also it's a good 'new bhakta program' that makes and mobilizes new devotees like anything you've ever seen!
  1.  At the gate is 2 male-female gate keepers well-known in the community who's function is:

    1. Greet the guest better then they've ever been greeted before
    2. Give to all who come in-a pocket-purse-sized gift (i.e. deity photo, dry prasad, dust from dhama, tilak ball, upcoming festival flyer etc etc) the optional gifts are all in rotation-not all at once. they should be practical advertise-al messages that the management want the congregation to know mixed with practical devotional gifts that 100% the congregation will use.
    3. Encourages people to stay (i.e. 10 pm 12, midnight or longer as below mentioned) or even all night long.
     
  2. In days of old that the Kind of Puri personally would lead the function (I.e.the local leader should lead it up. (set the example).
  3. Those who end up staying all night will be the ones that the managers can depend on for the success of all their festivals.

  4. Don't count the people who are there at 11 pm (as some will leave) you count them at 2 am. Those will be the one's who likely stay with you the rest of the ekadasi night. 
  5. As sitting in a dark room with the lights off encourages the participants to sleep which the organizers want to avoid-encouraging.
  6. Any reason the leaving public gives for leaving i.e. 'We have to go to work tomorrow' or 'the kids have to go to school' (Whatever is said-simply they want to go home and sleep (which can be done later on Triodasi which are lame excuses-as if one has determination then one can either tell Their boss that you will be a few hours late -ask a co-worker to cover for them or simply take off on vacation for two days. I.e. Gujarati's who have wives, Kids, Jobs etc still observe Mahashivaratri festival even if it happens during the middle of the week. If there's a will (indefatigable determination) one will find a way to do all night vigil-If there's no will-they'll find excuses and there will be mostly no way to get them to do all night vigil on ekadasi's or appearance days of the Lord.

    One reason to do all night vigil is for the benefit of others (i.e. 'xyz' your grand parents, Aunty Uncle, Teenage children who don't listen to you anymore. You stay up all night then the next morning state to the Lord. "We did this austerity for Your pleasure. If your lordship is pleased-could You bring 'xyz' to Your Lotus Feet in the future?

    If 'xyz' doesn't improve within some few months-years etc (short time) it simply means the Lord wants you to do a little more for Him and His dear ones.

    All night Vigil (like Ekadasi's) can be done on the appearance day of the Lord like Janmastami according to Brahma Vaivarta Purana chapter 8. 

    The Author opines like Janmastami one can thus do all night Vigil for any Vishnu Tattva lord's appearance day.

  7. Some ladies on rotation, she deserves her sanity as unless she loves children- to tolerate a lot. Those children will likely drive Her crazy.
    Take care of all the restless young children who go to another adjacent room to play there, (thus freeing up the parents for power point educational programs).
  8. Power point programs should be finished latest by 10-11 pm.
  9. Abhishek is done 1.5 hours before the exact arrival of the Dvadasi tithi which can come on the Ekadasi day or if Ekadasi is mixed with the 10th day Fasting is observed on the 12th day (Dvadasi) See HBV Ekadasi verses (appended). See Gcal Ipad version to know when to conduct the Abhishek.

    Caranamrta is bottled up to distribute to the devotees by the organizers mostly the next morning as one does not distribute or take any offered prasadam on Ekadasi. 'Anna'=Grain, but also means "That which sustains" (i.e. Food) so vrati's don't eat anything on Ekadasi's as preachers are only 1 % and fasting purifies even the preachers (great souls). (BG 18.5). Also in Ayurvedic medicinal literatures it is stated' unwanted guests and diseases-if you don't feed them-they go away". Thus fasting for 1-3-5-10-30 days or the story was there of a wheelchair bound lady who had some crystal acid joints fasted for 107 days on a specific fast and at the end of 107 days got out of the wheelchair and walked! One day fast is absolutely nothing for those that are determined and Lord Caitanya in Prema Vivarta chapter 18 mentioned that ideally one should not take any food on Ekadasi and if one must take something one could offer and take Kalpa vasa (i.e. milk products fruits-roots etc). See SB 7.15.22 Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's commentary in this regard. "One can offer so much food to the supreme Lord on fasting days, yet if one is determined to fast-such seeing of food does not waver one's determination.

  10. When the public tries to leave post power point presentation, the gatekeepers say "You're not trying to abandon us and deprive us of your good association are you?" (the leavers will likely stay an extra 2 hours by those sweet words).
  11. At Midnight many times the people who want to leave will collect their small Children and wife's and rush to the exit, Wherein the gate keepers say (the message at 10 PM will not work and shouldn't be repeated) "If one has to leave or eat something on Ekadasi's Sri Hari Bhakti Vilasa advices one to offer a Tulasi Garland to the neck of the Lord, HBV states that if one has to eat or sleep something on ekadasi day (meaning for those who are not practiced for staying up all night-it takes about 4 such ekadasi's to get used to it really) those trying to leave at midnight etc, if they bring a Tulasi Garland for the Lords neck. The Lord will be so pleased with them as to award the full benefits of that ekadasi anyway.So post midnight the gate keepers ask the leavers: "Did you bring a Tulasi garland for the lords neck? Did you get a slip of paper from the pujari attesting that you gave them a tulasi garland?". if they didn't, then let them go-but silently write their name down on a paper so that in the future one can contact them asking them to don't forget to bring a Tulasi garland if you can't stay up all night or have to eat something on Ekadasi.

  12. Post power point presentation 10-11 pm there is only kirtan. Like any 24 hour kirtan performance the detailed roster of kirtaniers can be listed. With the best kirtaniers kept for the wee hours of the night so that people see, "Oh my favorite kirtan leader is leading now _I must be there!"
  13. HBV 13.232-235 states that if you bathe the Lord during the Dvadasi morning that 2 weeks of your puja piety results go to the Demon vaskala. Thus the Pujari's calculate who is likely to attend and make a public at night abhisheka of some Vishnu Tattva deity (keeps the pujari's awake and busy). Abhishek is done @ 1 hour 1.5 hours= before the dvadasi timing arrives-if Ekadasi is contaminated by dasami (the 10th day) and one fasts on dvadasi day-the Dvadasi timing can start same day as one is observing the ekadasi Vrata. If one does nirjala fasting there is so much toxins rushing out of the body, therefore on Dvadasi  about 1 litre of yoghurt has to be taken during breakfast as the 1st meal of the day,  this will prevent intestinal explosion. Otherwise one usually has 2-3 loose motions if one doesn't drink enough yoghurt. Thus the total amount of abhisheka quantity (inclusive of water offered) should be at least 1/2 yoghurt, this should be bottled up and given to the departing guests to take home with them post 3 am-dvadasi parana time.
  14. At the appearance of Dvadasi tithi the devotees assemble before the Lords and beg them "I have done this ekadasi to please your Lordship, if you are pleased to do so- could you please bring XYZ to your lotus feet in the future?" In HBV Srila Sanatana pad, says that for one who does Ekadasi vrata fasting on behalf of someone else get's 100 times the benefit then if they fasted for themselves. 'XYZ' = one's elderly relatives, non-devotee relatives, rebellious teenagers. etc.. Everyone is worried about them. According to SB 10.32.20. (sara-artha darshini commentary by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti is better then this SB BBT-look there) Krsna tells the Gopis that: "naham tu sakhyo bhajato 'pi jantun bhajamy amisam anuvrtti-vrttaye yathadhano labdha-dhane vinaste tac-cintayanyan nibhrto na veda". But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopis, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else. PURPORT: Lord Krsna states in Bhagavad-gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: [Bg. 4.11] "As people approach Me, I reciprocate with them accordingly." Yet even if the Lord is approached by someone with devotion, to intensify the devotee's love the Lord may not immediately reciprocate fully. In fact, the Lord is truly reciprocating. After all, a sincere devotee always prays to the Lord, "Please help me to love You purely." Therefore the Lord's so-called neglect is actually the fulfillment of the devotee's prayer. Lord Krsna intensifies our love for Him by apparently separating Himself from us, and the result is that we achieve what we really wanted and prayed for: intense love for the Absolute Truth, Krsna. Thus Lord Krsna's apparent negligence is actually His thoughtful reciprocation and the fulfillment of our deepest and purest desire. According to the acaryas, as Lord Krsna began to speak this verse the gopis looked at one another with squinting eyes, trying to hide the smiles breaking out on their faces. Even as Lord Krsnaa was speaking, the gopis had begun to realize that He was bringing them to the highest perfection of loving service. 
  15. The next day Dvadasi one simply remains busy doing all the non-devotional items that one had not time to do on Ekadasi. Thus avoiding one's bed. (Out of sight out of mind)
  16. If one feels that they MUST sleep at all, one sleeps like cows do, they crouch /lay down anywhere,keeping a friend notified who'll rouse them after 10 minutes or so.
  17. Bhakti Sandarbha Annucched 299-300 describes this in detail.
    "During ekadasis of both paksas one should not eat. At that time one should keep an all-night vigil and one should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
  18. In the Visnu-yamala, in the discussion of the dig-viddha ekadasi, it is said: "One should not act impiously on either the sukla or the krsna ekadasis, without distinction. In the same way, on ekadasi one should not, if one is able, eat fruits or other foods. One should not perform a sraddha ceremony on ekadasi. On dvadasi on should not sleep during the day and one should not pick tulasi leaves."
  19. During dvadasi one should not bathe Lord Visnu during the daytime. In the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, in the description of Vaisnava-dharma, it is said: "One should observe the vow of dvadasi".
  20. In the Skanda Purana, Kasi-khanda, Sauparna-dvaraka-mahatmya, Candrasarma recounts the following vow of devotional service:
  21. "O Lord Krsna, please hear my vow. For this day on I will never eat during ekadasi. On every ekadasi I will observe an all-night vigil. "With great devotion I will worship You every day. I will not observe the viddha-ekadasis. To please You I will observe the eight maha-dvadasis. This is my vow."
  22. In the Agni Purana it is said: "On ekadasi one should not eat. That is the great vow of the Vaisnavas."
  23. In the Gautamiya Tantra it is said: "If a Vaisnava foolishly eats during ekadasi, he worships Lord Visnu in vain. He will go to a terrible hell."
  24. In the Matsya and Bhavisya Puranas it is said: "One should fast on the sukla and krsna ekadasis and break the fast on dvadasi. That is the great vow of the Vaisnavas."
  25. In the Skanda Purana it is said: "He who eats during ekadasi murders his mother, father, brother and spiritual master. He falls from the path that leads to Visnuloka. The Vaisnavas always fast on ekadasi. On ekadasi they will not even eat maha-prasadam, what to speak of other foods, which they are forbidden to eat at any time."
  26. In the Narada-pancaratra it is said:"O Narada, one must always accept the remnants of food offered to the Lord. However, on ekadasi one must not accept them. Even Goddess Laksmi, and her peers observe ekadasi. What, then, can be said of other persons?"
  27. In the Brahmanda Purana it is said: "Without first offering them to Lord Visnu, one should not enjoy or consume any leaf, flower, fruit, water, food, drink, or medicine. They who do enjoy or consume these things without offering them first should perform atonement. One should always offer all of these things first to Lord Visnu before one consumes or enjoys them oneself."
  28. Now will be discussed the importance of always observing an all-night vigil on ekadasi. In the Skanda Purana, Lord Siva tells Goddess Uma: "They who do not observe an all-night vigil on ekadasi are rebuked by the Vaisnavas and their piety is destroyed. They who never consider observing an all-night vigil on dvadasi are not qualified to worship Lord Krsna."
  29. By observing ekadasi and dvadasi one pleases Lord Visnu. This is explained in the following words of the Padma Purana, Uttara khanda: "O goddess, now I will describe the observance of dvadasi. Simply by hearing these words one pleases Lord Krsna." 
  30. In the Bhavisya Purana it is said: "Sacred ekadasi destroys all sins. It is a lamp that lights that path of devotion to Lord Visnu. It leads one to the highest goal of life."
  31. By showing how ekadasi is observed by Sri Ambarisa and other great souls who have faith in devotional service alone and who eat only maha prasadam offered to the Lord, Srimad Bhagavatam affirms that the observance of ekadasi is an important part of devotional service to Lord Visnu.
  32. In the Padma Purana, Karttika-mahatmya, is told the story of how by observing ekadasi during the month of karttika a brahmana's daughter became Lord Krsna's dear Satyabhama. What more need be said?
  33. Now the month of Magha will be discussed. In the Garuda Purana it is said: "O leader of the demigods, O husband of Saci, the rare month of Magha is very dear to the Vaisnavas, devas, rsis and munis. It is especially dear to Lord Madhava."
  34. In the Skanda Purana, in a conversation of Brahma and Narada, it is said: "O Narada, year after year one should regularly bathe during the month of Magha. One should do this to please Lord Krsna and to destroy all one's past sins."
  35. In the Bhavisya Purana, Uttara-khanda it is said: "A person who renounces sense pleasures and bathes at dawn during the month of Magha goes to Visnuloka with twenty one generations of his kinsmen."
  36. Many other vows beginning with Sri Rama-navami and Vaisakha-vrata should also be understood here. All are included as pious deeds.
  37. Pious deeds are described in these words of Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.1.19):  "While so traversing the earth, he simply performed duties to please the Supreme Lord Hari. His occupation was pure and independent. He was constantly sanctified by taking his bath in holy places, although he was in the dress of a mendicant and had no hair dressing nor a bed on which to lie. Thus he was always unseen by his various relatives."
  38. Here the word "vratani" means "many vows, beginning with ekadasi". This verse describes the activities of Vidura. This verse was spoken by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami."
 
 
 
yes, people who have concerns and work will mostly want to leave late and some do leave @ 2 am or so, but In Moscow they have 300 people doing ekadasi when it falls in the middle of the week and have been doing all night ekadasi for the last 10 years and have been growing strength to strength in the 4th most expensive city to live in the world, so it's an idea to sms-email that for those who want to come to it, that they'll be hosting an all nighter on thursday June 14th for whoever wants to come to it.


at least in our private capacity one can strive to increase ekadasi vrata's.


yours in the service of Krsna BalarAma,


 TridaNDi BhikSu, Bhakti Visrambha MAdhava
 
 
 

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