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Occasionally, a heart warming email comes into your inbox that you really want to share. Last week such an email came reporting the installation of the FIRST Radha Krishna deities in Russia and the CNS (formerly known as the USSR). Also the pictures attached were of very a very gorgeous Radha Govinda. Of course this is exciting as it represents the continued expansion of Srila Prabhupada's movement and Mahaprabhu's sankirtan movement. 

This email also brought with it Radha Govinda's mercy all the way to Toronto. Before just over a year ago, I had never heard of a place called Omsk, let alone thought that Srila Prabhupada's causeless mercy would come from so far away. However a dear Godbrother, HH Gopal Krishna Goswami made a request out of the blue to sponsor deities for Omsk. I did not know how to spell or pronounce the city name but I readily agreed. Only later did I find out that these were the first Radha Krishna deities in Russia and somehow a useless servant like me could play a small part in this glorious sankirtan movement. 

In Toronto, we have a growing contingent of Russian devotees and last year when Gopal Krishna Maharaja mentioned Radha Krishna coming to Omsk their eyes lit up and they knew exactly where it is. For some reason we suspect that if these devotees were not serving in Toronto, they would have been along side the hundreds of devotees in Omsk for this grand occasion. 

So in this way Radha Govinda now has a special connection to Toronto, Canada and although we could not make it to the installation we do hope to see Them very soon and will finally figure out where this place called "Omsk" actually  is. 

Of course all of this is with the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada who has reeled us in and kept us all connected to Mahaprabhu's sankirtan movement. I am fortunate to be able to call Srila Prabhupada's loyal disciples as Godbrothers. HH Gopal Krisnna Goswami, HH Bhakti Vijana Goswami, HH BB Govinda Swami, HH Niranjana Swami as well as countless other devotees have worked so hard to establish centres throughout Russian and CNS and their efforts continue. We are humbled by the mercy they have given us...

The fruition of these efforts can be seen in the installation of Sri Sri Radha Govinda.  

The nice email from Siksastaka Prabhu and a breif description of the installation can be found below....

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Sri Sri Radha Govinda ki Jaya! 
ISKCON Omsk ki Jaya!  


--------------------
Text PAMHO:22271026 (22 lines)
From:      "Siksastaka das"
Date:      23-Sep-11 07:25 +0200
To:        Subhavilasa (das) ACBSP (Toronto - CA) [815]
            (received: 23-Sep-11 14:00 +0000)
Subject:   Sri Sri Radha Govinda
------------------------------------------------------------
Hare Krishna dear Subhavilas prabhu!
Please accept my humble obeisances.  All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In Radhdshtami, we have established Deities Sri Sri Radha Govinda in Omsk.
(you have paid for murti)
It is first Deities Radha Krishna in Russia or CNS.(before USSR)
On ceremony were present HH BB Govinda Swami, HH Bhakti Vijana Goswami, HH 
Dayananda Swami (before Abhay prabhu), and HM Sriman Prithu prabhu. These 
raised  vaisnavas did pranapratishtha.
Supervised over installation skilled pudjari from Almaty (Kazahstan) Sriman 
Kishori Mohan prabhu.
On the fesival came abhout 300 devotes, more than 20 cityes Ural, Siberia 
and another parts of Russia and Kazahstan. All on a holiday was 600 devotes 
abhout.
In Omsk we have 10 brahmanas for preparation,  5 brahmanas for dressing, and 
4 brahmanas for worsip.
I sent to you fifth darshan in attach. After some time,  it be posible, to 
take daily darshan here:
http://www.radhagovinda.ru
Thank you for help!
Your servant Siksastakam das 

(Text PAMHO:22271026) 
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The blog schedule has been busy with a lot of posts on festivals, happenings and thoughts....so after a long break here is another favourite personal memory with Srila Prabhupada...

Detroit 1976
Srila Prabhupada was visiting Detroit, so we took the opportunity to  visit the Detroit temple. Due to Srila Prabhupada's health and demanding schedule, Pusta Krishna Prabhu was trying to keep everyone out. I pleaded with him to see Srila Prabhupada but he refused to budge. 

So disappointed I was made my exit when I saw a familiar face, Satsvarupa Maharaja who had parked his trailer and stayed with us in Toronto before. I explained my predicament and he assured me that everyone was in the same boat. However he had a brilliant suggestion. Maharaja told me that no one can block Srila Prabhupada's letters and suggested I write a note.

The note effectively said that Ashalata devi dasi and I have come to take darshan of your lotus feet but they won't let me see you... 

So I quickly scribbled a note to Srila Prabhupada and marched back to Pusta Krishna Prabhu and asked him to give the note to Srila Prabhupada. Satsvarupa Maharaja told me to come and wait in his trailer. 

in a few minutes we all heard Pusta Krishna das yelling "Subhavilasa, Subhavilasa das, has anyone seen Subhavilasa?". Satsvarupa Maharaja gave me a big smile and I grabbed Ashalata and rushed to see Srila Prabhupada. 

We went upstairs and took Srila Prabhupada's darshan. As usual Srila Prabhupada was magnanimous and after some nectarean conversation and patient guidance, Ashalata devi dasi requests Srila Prabhupada to 'please always keep us in your lotus feet...'

Srila Prabhupada turns to her and says, "you already are"...

Jaya Gurudeva!Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for accepting worthless servants like us at your lotus feet. 
 
 
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This is a repost from a few weeks back...A follow through b A REPOST FROM A FEW WEEKS BACK...A FOLLOW THROUGH BLOG POST WILL ACTUALLY APPEAR THIS TIME :-)

In the coming weeks the weekly series of sharing memories of Srila Prabhupada will continue. 

But before sharing these memories I wanted to share why I think it is important to share our memories about Srila Prabhupada. 

A few weeks ago I was asked by some Toronto youth to speak about memories of Srila Prabhupada and in the process I pondered what to share and the purpose. The most obvious purpose of sharing is to glorify my spirtual master and our Founder Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. 

But is also to bring devotees closer to Srila Prabhupada. To understand his mood and instructions. 

And beyond that to make others realize that Srila Prabhupada is still available to all of his spirtual children, grand children and great grand children, etc. through his books, vani, teachings and media. 

It also dawned on me and became even clearer during recent festivals that there are new glorious memories being created within the Hare Krishna movement which Srila Prabhupada is at the centre of and thus old and new memories meld to inspire devotees to continue to expand Srila Prabhupada's movement. 

So as you read new articles that get published with these memories, I hope that glorification of Srila Prabhupada as well as realizations and inspiration is taken away.  These memories are not exclusive to me but just a mere representation of Srila Prabhupada's wonderful nature, instructions, vani and pastimes and I will make an humble attempt to continue to share them.

Stay tuned for the nectar...
 
 
There is reciprocal love between Srila Prabhupada's disciples and their eternal spiritual father. This love is demonstrated in various ways. In one case it is demonstrated with service to Srila Prabhupada until the last day. By constantly preaching, mentoring, writing all the while maintaining sadhana and renunciation. Such is the  love of Gopiparanadhana Prabhu. 

There is sometimes a misconception that a bunch of hippies joined Srila Prabhupada in the 60's and 70's and it was just the "right time" for "alternative religions". However this is not the case. These devotees were sent to help Srila Prabhupada and their course and departure are part of that "lila". In Gopi Prabhu's case he was a scholar. Not just someone that could preach or repeat but a genuine scholar of sanskit and vedic texts. These are the type of bright, dedicated and selfless devotees sent to assist Srila Prabhupada in establishing ISKCON and making it flourish. 

Today Gopi Prabhu has departed his earthly pastimes. It serves as a reminder that we need to serve, value and learn all that we can from the honorable sons of Srila Prabhupada before it is too late to get their association. It also serves to remind all Godbrothers and Sisters that Srila Prabhupada has done so much for us and although we cannot all be scholars or as dedicated and renounced as Gopi Prabhu, now in our final years it is time to step up and do what we can to serve. 

Hare Krishna Gopiparanadhana Prabhu. 
 
 
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As anyone involved in ISKCON for any period of time can attest, along with bhakti, bliss and devotional service sometimes a dose of politics or bickering also comes. We are not oblivious to hearing about these issues but of course these talks are discouraged since it does nothing to promote Krishna Consciousness. I imagine every centre has its "huffy-puffy" that does the "stompy-bompy" that makes the temple floor shake as he walks. If you have been around since the 70's and 80's you can only help to be amused as you watch the drama...been there...seen that. A manoeuvre here, a back stab there, a flirt somewhere, a comment meant to go nowhere but that actually goes everywhere. 

To my surprise many of the new batch of mid-age devotees are very perceptive and despite maintaining dignity, they "get it". They realize that advancement is to SERVE. Management is to SERVE. One young man had an interesting observation when he stated that some have egos thinking they achieved something in the temple....if they want material success, power and ego they should try to get it in the outside world. (But alas in many cases their temple alter-ego outstrips their outside world capabilities.)

As most readers know when we launched this blog close to a year ago we promised to keep it positive and personally I believe the politics and bickering is not only a waste of valuable time and energy but detrimental to devotional service. However this post is a positive one since it was triggered by an intriguing Srila Prabhupada letter that was quoted in an email we received earlier this week. although read before, this letter written by Srila Prabhupada on December 22, 1972 to Karandhara Prabhu blows me away in terms of Srila Prabhupada's directives, clarity and management. 

Towards the end of the letter, as Srila Prabhupada is wrapping it up, he states "...our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service, which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary."  This one statement is so important. Srila Prabhupada goes on to say "That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna." So this is why this post is positive since if we listen to these words by Srila Prabhupada not only will we reduce the "churn" of devotees, congregants, donors and well-wishers but we may actually attract back many of the souls touched by Srila Prabhupada. 

Thus I will end this post with Srila Prabhupada's words from this letter.  

So the future of this Krishna Consciousness movement is very bright, so long the managers remain vigilant that 16 rounds are being chanted by everyone without fail, that they are all rising before four morning, attending mangal arati—our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service, which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary. They should try always to generate some atmosphere of fresh challenge to the devotees, so that they will agree enthusiastically to rise and meet it. That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna.

The full letter can be found below...
 
 
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Like most people, we were shocked and dismayed 10 years ago with the 9-11 attack on American soil. The same city that Srila Prabhupada came to deliver the fallen souls by spreading the LOVE of God was the scene of terror. 

On a regular basis we recite, 
"vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca  kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca  patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo  vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ" which means "I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiṣṇava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and THEY ARE FULL OF COMPASSION FOR THE FALLEN CONDITIONED SOULS."

So of course devotees naturally feel this compassion. Compassion for all the conditioned souls that attained this rare human birth and had it wasted without the chance to receive Gauranga's mercy.

It also reminds us how fortunate we are. Our spiritual leader based his teachings on vedic scriptures and backed it up. He thought us to think, question and understand. In fact he even spoke and wrote about fanaticism. Of course one of the more popular quotes is "Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation." 

However in a purport of Srimad Bhagavatam Srila Prabhupada also warns about fanaticism and when speaking about those taking birth in "violent non-vedic societies", Srila Prabhupada states " As a result, they fall into fanaticism, embracing merely sectarian, dogmatic views of religion. Such unfortunate persons are completely out of touch with their own eternal function in life and consider things to be vastly different than they are in reality.

So compassion was and remains the order of the day and for the decade past and the decade ahead. It also serves as a warning to fanaticism and the only shelter in this age of kali yuga is the holy name. September 11th falls within the World Holy Name week and with renewed purpose and compassion for the fallen conditioned souls we must perform nama yajna. 

HARE KRISHNA    HARE KRISHNA    KRISHNA KRISHNA    HARE HARE
HARE RAMA   HARE RAMA   RAMA RAMA  HARE HARE 
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“One night, Abhay had an unusual dream. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta appeared before him, beckoning. He was asking Abhay to leave home and take sannyasa. Abhay awoke in an intensely emotional state, “How horrible!” He thought. He knew it was not an ordinary dream, yet the request seemed so difficult and unlikely. Take sannyasa! At least it was not something he could do immediately. Now he had to improve the business, and with the profits he would print books. He went on with his duties, but remained shaken by the dream.” (Prabhupada Lilamrta. Page 118.)

In 1948, Abhay closed his Lucknow factory. He had fallen behind in employees’ salaries, and since 1946 he had been paying past rent in installments. But when sales dropped off, continuing the factory became impossible. He lost everything.

Srila Prabhupada: I started a big factory in Lucknow. Those were golden days. My business flourished like anything. Everything in the chemical business knew. But then, gradually, everything dwindled.
With the help of some acquaintances in Allahabad, he opened a small factory there, in the same city where his PrayagPharmacy had failed fifteen years before. He moved to Allahabad with his son Brindaban and continued manufacturing medicines. While the rest of the family remained at Banerjee Lane in Calcutta, Abhay continued his travelling; but now he was often away for months at a time.


And then he had the dream a second time. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared before him; again he was beckoning, indicating that Abhay should take sannyasa. And again Abhay had to put the dream aside. He was a householder with many responsibilities. To take sannyasa would mean to give up everything. He had to earn money. He now had five children. “Why is Guru Maharaj asking me to take sannyasa?” he thought. It is not possible now.

The Allahabad business was unsuccessful. “At present, the condition of our business is not good,” he wrote his servant Gouranga, who had asked to rejoin him. “When the condition gets better and if you are free at that time I will call for you.” He worked earnestly, but results were meagre.
As with everything else, Abhay saw his present circumstances through the eyes of scripture. And he could not help but think of the verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, which translates to 


“When I feel especially merciful towards someone, I gradually take away all his material possessions. His friends and relatives then reject this poverty-stricken and most wretched fellow”.

He had heard Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati quote this verse, and now he thought of it often. He took it that his present circumstances were controlled by Lord Sri Krishna, who was forcing him into a helpless position, freeing him for preaching Krishna consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada: Somehow or other, my intention for preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu increased, and the other side decreased. I was not disinclined, but Krishna forced me: “You must give it up.” The history is known – how it decreased, decreased, decreased.

Srila Prabhupada: So in 1950 I retired, practically. Not retired, but a little in touch with business – whatever is going on. Then almost it became nil. Whatever was there, all right. You do whatever you like. (Prabhupada Lilamrta. Pages 140-141.)

One night Abhay had a striking dream, the same dream he had had several times before, during his days as a householder. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared, just as Abhay had known him, the tall, scholarly sannyasi, coming directly from the spiritual world, from Krishna’s personal entourage. He called to Abhay and indicated that he should follow. Repeatedly he called and motioned. He was asking Abhay to take sannyasa. Come, he urged, become a sannyasi.

Abhay awoke in a state of wonder. He thought of this instruction as another feature of the original instruction Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had given him at their first meeting in Calcutta, the same instruction that his spiritual master had later solidified in a letter; become an English preacher and spread Krishna consciousness throughout the Western world. Sannyasa was for that end; otherwise, why would his spiritual master have asked him to accept it? Abhay reasoned that his spiritual master was saying, “Now take sannyasa and you will actually be able to accomplish this mission. Formerly the time was not right.”

It was time...
After careful consideration that this was the best way to carry out his guru maharaj's instructions and to preach, Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa and received his sannyasa dhanda 52 years ago on September 17, 1959 (today on the vaishnva calendar)


Srila Prabhupada went on to become the biggest proponent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism by spreading Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's glorious sankirtan movement around the globe through millions of publications distributed, thousands of disciples and hundreds of temples and centres.  


All glories....all glories...all glories to Srila Prabhupada! 
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The third month of Caturmasya has begun. Please see an earlier post titled "Caturmasya begins tomorrow...now what?" for some background information by clicking [here]

This month means fasting from milk. For many this is the most difficult month of fasting. Keep in mind if milk is required for dietary and health reasons than it can still be consumed by mixing a some lemon with the milk. Also some do not follow the Caturmasya restrictions on festival days where elaborate foodstuffs are offered and consumed. Other dairy products remain consumable and as Srila Prabhupada indicated "This is not very difficult" since after all we are only removing one item from the diet per month. 

As Srila Prabhupada states, keep in mind, "The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimize the quantity of sense gratification."
 
 
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Parsva Ekadasi

Sri Yudhishthira Maharaja asked of Lord Sri Krishna, "What is the name of that Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight (shukla paksha) of the month of Bhadrapada? Who is the worshipable Deity for this Ekadasi, and what merit does one attain in observing it? Kindly reveal all of this to me my Lord."

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna addressed His devoted Yudhishthira as follows, "This Ekadasi, Oh Yudhishthira, is called Vamana Ekadasi, and it bestows upon those who observe it both great merit and ultimate liberation from material bondage. Therefore, because it removes all one's sinful reactions, it is also called Jayanti Ekadasi. Just hearing of its glories frees one from all his past misdeeds. So auspicious is this fast that observing it bestows the same merit as that earned by performing a horse sacrifice. There is no better Ekadasi than this, because it awards liberation so easily. Thus if one truly desires freedom from the punishing material world, one should fast on Vamana Ekadasi.

"While observing this holy fast, a Vaishnava should lovingly worship the Supreme Lord in His form as Vamandev, the dwarf incarnation, whose eyes are like lotus petals. By doing so, he worships all other Deities as well, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and at death he undoubtedly goes to that abode of Sri Hari. In all the three worlds there is no fast that is more important to observe. The reason this Ekadasi is so auspicious is that it celebrates the day when the sleeping Lord Vishnu turns over on His other side; thus it is also known as Parivartinii Ekadasi."

Maharaja Yudhishthira then asked of the Lord, "Oh Janardana, please clear up a question I have. How is it that the Supreme Lord sleeps and then turns over on His side? Oh Lord, when You are asleep what happens to all the other living entities? Please also tell me how You bound the king of the demons, Bali Daityaraj (Bali Maharaja), as well as how one may please the brahmanas. How does one observe Chaturmasya, which You mention in the Chaturmasya-mahatmya of the Bhavishya Purana? Kindly be merciful to me and answer these questions."

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna replied, "Oh Yudhishthira, lion among Kings, I will gladly narrate to you an historical event that, simply by hearing, eradicates all one's sinful reactions. "In the TretA-yuga there once was a king of the name Bali. Though born in a family dynasty of demons (daityas), he was very devoted to Me. He sang many Vedic hymns to Me and performed the homa rituals (fire sacrifices) just to satisfy Me. He respected the twice-born brahmins and engaged them in performing sacrifices daily. This great soul had a quarrel with Indra, however, and eventually defeated him in battle. Bali took over his entire celestial kingdom, which I Myself had given to Indra. Therefore Indra and all the other devas (demigods), along with many great sages, approached Me and complained about Bali Maharaja. Bowing their heads to the ground and offering many sacred prayers from the Vedas, they worshipped Me along with their spiritual master, Brihaspati. Thus I agreed to appear on their behalf as a dwarf Vamanadev, My fifth incarnation."

King Yudhishthira further enquired, "Oh Lord, how was it possible for You to conquer such a powerful demon, and only by coming in the form of a dwarf brahmin? Please explain this clearly, for I am Your faithful devotee." The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna replied, "Though a dwarf, I was a brahmana, and I approached that pious king Bali to ask him for alms in the form of land. I said, 'Oh Daityraj Bali, please give Me just three steps of land in charity. Such a small piece of land will be good as all the three worlds for Me.' Bali agreed to grant My request without lengthy consideration. But as soon as he vowed to give Me the land, My body began to expand into a gigantic transcendental form. I covered the entire Earth with My feet, all the Bhuvarloka with My thighs, the Swarga heavens with My waist, Maharloka with My stomach, Janaloka with My chest, Tapoloka with My neck, and Satyaloka with My head and face. I covered the entire material creation. Indeed, all the planets of the universe, including the Sun and the Moon, were encompassed by My gigantic form."

"Seeing this astonishing pastime of Mine, all the demigods, including Indra and Shesha, the king of the snakes, began to sing Vedic hymns and offer prayers to Me. Then I took Bali by the hand and said to him, 'Oh sinless one, I have covered the whole Earth with one step and all the heavenly planets with the second. Now where shall I place My foot to measure the third step of land you promised Me?'

"Upon hearing this, Bali Maharaja bowed down in humility and offered Me his head to place My third step. Oh Yudhishthira, I placed My foot on his head and sent him all the way to Patalaloka. Seeing him thus humbled, I became very pleased and told Bali that henceforth I would permanently reside in his palace. Thereafter, on Parivartinii Ekadasi, which occurs during the light part of the month of Bhadra (August-September), Bali, the son of Virochana, grandson of Prahlad, installed a Deity form of Me in his residence. "Oh king, until Haribodhini Ekadasi, which occurs during the light part of the month of Kartika, I continue to sleep in the ocean of milk. The merit one accumulates during this period is particularly powerful. One should therefore observe Parivartini Ekadasi carefully. Indeed, it is especially purifying and thus cleanses one of all sinful reactions.

On this day the faithful devotee should worship Lord Trivikrama, Vamanadeva, who is the supreme father, because on this day I turn over to sleep on My other side. "If possible, on this day one should give a qualified person some yogurt mixed with rice, as well as some silver, and then remain awake throughout the night. This simple observance will free one of all material conditioning. One who observes this sacred Parivartinii Ekadasi in the way I have described will surely attain all kinds of happiness in this world and the kingdom of God in the hereafter. One who simply hears this narration with devotion will go to the abode of the demigods and shine there like the Moon itself, so powerful is observance of this Ekadasi. Indeed, this observance is as powerful as the performance of a thousand horse sacrifices."

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Parivartini Ekadasi, or Vamana Ekadasi, which occurs during the light part of the month of Bhadrapada, from the Brahma-vaivarta Pura

 
 
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Today is Ekadasi. It is actually Parsva Ekadasi. However before posting the glories of today's ekasasi, we want to post the glories of Annada ekadasi which took place a fortnight ago. During that week we did not have time to post however to "catch up" and maintain the archive of all the ekadasis that come up during the year, we still wanted to honour Annada Ekadasi by posting the glories of this particular ekadasi...


Sri Yudhisthira Maharaja said, "Oh Janardana, protector of all living entities, please tell me the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September)."

The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, then replied, "Oh King, hear Me attentively. The name of this sin-removing, sacred Ekadasi is Aja. Any person who fasts completely on this day and worships Hrishikesha, the master of the senses, becomes free of all reactions to his sins. Even one who simply hears about this Ekadasi is freed from his past sins. Oh King, there is no better day than this in all the earthly and heavenly worlds. This is true without a doubt.

"There once lived a famous king named Harishchandra, who was the emperor of the world and a person of great truth and integrity. His wife's name was Chandramati, and he had a son named Lohitashva. By the force of destiny, however, Harishchandra lost his great kingdom and sold his wife and son. The pious king himself became a menial servant of a dog-eater, who made him guard a crematorium. Yet even while doing such menial service, he did not forsake his truthfulness and good character, just as soma-rasa, even when mixed with some other liquid, does not lose its ability to bestow immortality.

"The king passed many years in this condition. Then one day he sadly thought, 'What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can I be delivered from this plight?' In this way he drowned in an ocean of anxiety and sorrow.

"One day a great sage happened by, and when the king saw him he happily thought, 'Ah, Lord Brahma has created brahmins just to help others.' Harishchandra paid his respectful obeisances to the sage, whose name was Gautama Muni. With joined palms the king stood before Gautama Muni and narrated his pitiful story. Gautama Muni was astonished to hear the king's tale of woe. He thought, 'How has this mighty king been reduced to collecting clothes from the dead?' Gautama Muni became very much compassionate toward Harishchandra and instructed him on the process of fasting for purification.

"Gautama Muni said, 'Oh king, during the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada there occurs an especially meritorious Ekadasi named Aja (Annada), which removes all sins. Indeed, this Ekadasi is so auspicious that if you simply fast on that day and perform no other austerity, all your sins will be nullified. By your good fortune it is coming in just seven days. So I urge you to fast on this day and remain awake through the night. If you do so, all the reactions of your past sins will come to an end. Oh Harishchandra, I have come here because of your past pious deeds. Now, all good fortune to you in the future!' So saying, the great sage Sri Gautama Muni immediately disappeared from his vision.

"King Harishchandra followed Gautama Muni's instructions concerning fasting on the sacred day of Aja Ekadasi. Oh Maharaja Yudhisthira, because the king fasted on that day, the reactions to his previous sins were completely destroyed at once. Oh lion among kings, just see the influence of this Ekadasi fast! It immediately vanquishes whatever miseries one may be suffering as a result of past karmic sinful activities.

Thus all Harishchandra's miseries were relieved. Just by the power of this wonderful Ekadasi, he was reunited with his wife and son, who had died but were now revived. In the heavenly regions the devas began beating on their celestial kettledrums and showering down flowers upon Harishchandra, his queen, and their son. By the blessings of the Ekadasi fast, he regained his kingdom without difficulty. Moreover, when King Harishchandra left the planet, his relatives and all his subjects too, went with him to the spiritual world.

"Oh Pandava, whoever fasts on Aja Ekadasi is surely freed from all his sins and ascends to the spiritual world. And whosoever hears and studies the glories of this Ekadasi achieves the merit gained by performing a horse sacrifice."

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Bhadrapada-krishna Ekadasi, or Aja Ekadasi, from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana.