Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva.
Today is the most auspicious days for us who are all aspiring vaishnavas. This Ekadasi is well-known as Vaikunta Ekadasi. On this day, devotees and even common people all over India stay awake all night and try to remember the Lord through kirtans and reading shastras.
On Ekadasi days we have to follow two things strictly,
1. We should try to keep our bodily needs like eating and sleeping to a very minimum. More importantly we should avoid grains and beans because on this day "Sin personified" resides in these substances inducing those who take them, to perform more and more sins.
2. We should absorb ourselves in remembrance of the Lord (govinda smaranam) all day through hearing and chanting His names and pastimes.
These two activities are intimately connected because as long as we perform sinful activities we cannot relish the taste of devotional service. Lord Sri Krishna says in Gita 7.28,
yeshaam tv anta-gatam paapam / janaanaam punya-karmanaam
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktaa / bhajante maam drdha-vrataah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination."
Hence it is very clear from Lord Sri Krishna's words above that we cannot be determined in our bhakti as long as our sinful activities are not eradicated. How do we get rid of sinful activities?
To start with, we should train ourselves to take only prasadam (food that is offered to the Lord and is prepared in the mode of goodness). This will lead us to get taste for hearing and chanting the Lord's glories (sravanam kirtanam). Gradually, we will get trained to absorbed ourselves in the remembrance of the Lord (smaranam). This point is very succinctly stated in the Vedas,
aahaara-shuddhau sattva-shuddhih sattva-shuddhau
dhruvaa smrtih smrti-lambhe sarvagranthinaam vipramokshah
"By performance of yajna one's eatables become sanctified, and by eating sanctified foodstuffs one's very existence becomes purified; by the purification of existence finer tissues in the memory become sanctified, and when memory is sanctified one can think of the path of liberation, and all these combined together lead to Krsna consciousness, the great necessity of present-day society."
One may again question, in the normal world, we have to travel to many places. How can we ascertain taking prasadam wherever we go? It is a matter of training our minds and body to survive on simple and energetic food like fruits, milk, nuts taking only when we feel hungry rather than stuffing our stomach will all sorts of food all the time. And as it is said above, we have to offer everything to the Lord before we take because "by performance of yajna, one's eatables become sanctified."
Sankirtana yajna through sravanam, kirtanam and smaranam is the best and simplest yajna for this age and this yajna purifies everything in this universe (jagat pavitram) when we do it with a simple and pure heart solely for the purpose of glorification of the Lord. Let us do this yajna to the best of our ability on this auspicious day. This will please the Lord and our spiritual master greatly.
Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva
Kalacakra Krsna das
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