Monday, 5 June 2017

Nirjala Ekadashi Special Instructions

There are following 3 deviations from the original teachings of Srila Prabhupada in a video on Nirjala ekadashi which some devotees are propagating. Just clarifying them so that innocent devotees do not get cheated.

Deviation 1 - Drinking or distributing water on nirjala ekadashi is sin, against the teachings of Sanatana dharma etc. etc. 

Answer 1 - With every ekadashi there is a pastime of Lord Krishna which is also indicated by the name that ekadashi also. Just like on Mohini Ekadashi, the pastime of Mohini took place, on Mokshada ekadashi the pastime of Bhagavad Gita being spoken to Arjuna took place. Similarly on Nirjala Ekadashi the pastime that since Bhima was unable to obeserve every ekadashi so Vyasadeva gave him this special concession that he can observe this one ekadashi without taking even water and it will be considered as fasting for all ekadashis. This concesssion was given by Vyasadeva for Bhima,  not for us. For us all ekadashis are same as will be confirmed by Srila Prabhupada later on in this message.  If we want we can do nirjala on any or all ekadashis depending on our capacities. 

Deviation 2 - Overstressing on fasting without water without referring to preaching which is not in line with Srila Prabhupada's mood.

Answer 2 - Moreover if somebody can fast and go out for preaching that is very good but out of the other 2 classes of devotees one who is fasting and unable to go out for preaching and one who takes ekadashi prasadam and goes out to preach the second is better. This is applicable for all ekadashis,  not just for nirjala. 

Deviation 3 - If someone has missed some ekadashi and if he observes nirjala ekadashi without taking water then he will be excused for the mistake of missing that ekadashi or if someone observes nirjala ekadashi without water he will get the benefit of all ekadashis.

Answer 3 - This is nowhere mentioned by Srila Prabhupada and hence unauthorized.

All the above points can be verified by the following conversations with Srila Prabhupada. 
Rāmeśvara: On the calendar it says it is Bhīma-ekādaśī.

Prabhupāda: Bhīma-ekādaśī, yes.

Rāmeśvara: So I've been told that if one fasts on Bhīma-ekādaśī, that it is like fasting on all the ekādaśīs. Is that true?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Ekādaśī is meant for fasting, either Bhīma or Arjuna. But we cannot fast, therefore we have to take little fruits and.... Otherwise, ekādaśī means fasting.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: If it is possible, should we go without eating at all?

Prabhupāda: Yes. But don't lie down and sleep.

Mahendra: Eating mahā-prasādam is also fasting.

Prabhupāda: Who says?

Mahendra: You said that to Paramahaṁsa Swami once.

Prabhupāda: And you heard from Paramahaṁsa.

Mahendra: No, I was in the room. It was when he was trying to observe Caturmāsya.

Prabhupāda: I never said that.

Mahendra: Oh, okay, I must have heard wrong.

Prabhupāda: If there is service and, on my fasting, service will be stopped, then I can take. First consideration, service. Now if somebody feels weak, he can take mahā-prasāda, render service.

Morning Walk -- June 7, 1976, Los Angeles

Note the point made by Srila Prabhupada in the above conversation that for us all ekadashis are same. 

Srila Prabhupada is saying "Yes. Ekadashi is meant for fasting either Bhima or Arjuna"
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I remember you were instructing once that all of your initiated disciples should chant twenty-five rounds...

Prabhupāda: Minimum.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Minimum on this day. Is that a rule that we should all follow in our temples?

Prabhupāda: We are sixteen rounds.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No, I mean on ekādaśī.

Prabhupāda: Oh yes. Ekādaśī, simply you should chant. No other business. Nirjala.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No preaching work? Should they go out for preaching?

Prabhupāda: No, those who are preaching, not for them. Those who are sitting idle, or they... (laughter) [break] ...has no other regulation, simply preaching. A preacher is so exalted. He hasn't got to follow any regulation. But don't take it. (laughter) And actually if one is busy in preaching work, that is first-class. [break] ...not my manufactured word, my Guru Mahārāja, that the... That Mādhava Mahārāja, when he was a brahmacārī, his name was Hayagrīva. So he was to go somewhere. So but he was sick. Guru Mahārāja was informed that he was sick and "Today is ekādaśī. He cannot take his regular meals." So Guru Mahārāja said, "No. Let him take immediately meals and go."

Revatīnandana: For preaching. [break]

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa:  ...Mahārāja would sacrifice everything for preaching.

Morning Walk -- July 5, 1975, Chicago
So the conclusion is that Srila Prabhupada is not laying any special stress on Nirjala Ekadashi for us . If we can we should fast with or without water or ekadashi prasadam according to our capacities on all ekadashis but our service should not stop under any circumstances. Same we should teach others. 

So everything should be understood in the light of our eternal spiritual master Srila Prabhupada's teaching and not by somebody's mental speculation.
Hare Krishna!

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