“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)
अवजानन्ति मां मूढा
मानुषीं तनुम् आश्रितम्
परं भावम् अजानन्तो
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
Friend1: Have you ever heard a presentation on yoga that mentions Ekadashi?
Friend2: What do you mean? What kind of presentation? Is this in the context of bhakti-yoga and devotion?
Friend1: That’s the thing…it’s not. The context is maintaining good health.
Friend2: I have heard something about a physical change related to that specific day in the cycle of the moon.
Friend1: It’s a few days before the full moon or new moon. Ekadashi occurs twice in a month. The literal translation is “eleventh day.”
Friend2: Within the cycle, when using the lunar calendar.
Friend1: As you were referencing, there is something about added difficulty in digestion. The force of gravity or what have you, something is different on that day.
Friend2: I have heard acharyas explain how you will find more people in the hospital on that day. It is because of digestion issues.
Friend1: That is well and good. I don’t mind people talking about health. We should try to help others. We should give tips on improving digestion, if we are in knowledge.
Friend2: What is the issue, then?
Friend1: You will not hear one word about Vishnu. Ekadashi particularly relates to Him. Today, the general practice is to refrain from grains and beans on that day, but in the classic sense you are supposed to not eat anything at all.
Friend2: Because of health reasons?
Friend1: Maybe that is one of the added benefits, but the main purpose is to better focus on devotion to Vishnu. That is the ultimate purpose of religion, to come closer to God.
Friend2: You’re absolutely right about that. Yajna is the Sanskrit word for sacrifice and it is also another way to address Vishnu.
Friend1: Getting back to what I started on, how can you talk about Ekadashi and not mention Vishnu?
Friend2: I don’t know. Maybe that was not in the context of the discussion.
Friend1: No mention of God. I get it that you might not want to offend people, especially if they are dogmatic in their ways. But at least give proper credit.
Friend2: In academic circles, published papers are full of citations. Sometimes, to the extent that the length of the footnotes is overwhelming.
Friend1: I know what you are talking about. It is like the authors are afraid to speak anything from their mind. They will only gain acceptance if they cite as many external sources as they can.
Friend1: It’s not just the Ekadashi thing. I have seen presentations on the science of the soul, explaining reincarnation and such.
Friend2: What is their reference material?
Friend1: Again, nothing. They act as if they created everything. It was through Divine intervention or something. It’s such nonsense.
Friend2: You are able to recognize what they are teaching?
Friend1: Yes, because they lift the principles directly from Bhagavad-gita. How do you quote from Bhagavad-gita and not give proper credit?
Friend2: That is the cheating mentality within this world. That is one of the aspects to being a conditioned soul. One of the conditions is cheating.
Friend1: This is so blatant, though. Have they no shame? At least put in a reference.
Friend2: They won’t do it because then someone might consult the full text. They will then learn that the speaker of Bhagavad-gita is Bhagavan. That has actual meaning. The visual explanation is in the virata-rupa, shown to Arjuna.
इहैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं पश्याद्य सचराचरम् ।
मम देहे गुडाकेश यच्चान्यद्द्रष्टुमिच्छसि ॥
ihaika-sthaṁ jagat kṛtsnaṁ
mama dehe guḍākeśa
yac cānyad draṣṭum icchasi
“Whatever you wish to see can be seen all at once in this body. This universal form can show you all that you now desire, as well as whatever you may desire in the future. Everything is here completely.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.7)
Friend1: What is the harm if people learn about Krishna?
Friend2: Then they might become devoted to Him. Why do I need the cheating yoga teacher if I can learn about the master of all mystic power, Yogeshvara? Why be concerned with a small issue like digestion based on the cycle of the moon when I can focus every day on worshiping, serving, and loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He gave Ekadashi to us as a gift, to help us find transcendence. His guidance means more than what anyone else might happen to say.
Friend1: Especially if they are a competitor.
Friend2: Of which there were many even during Krishna’s manifest lila. Fools could not understand His true position. They were bewildered by the image, but Arjuna was not. The image and the message taken together make for perfection in spiritual life.
Image and message take,
For perfection to make.
From Bhagavad-gita to learn,
Knowledge of spirit and body to earn.
But the messenger important too,
Source of everything who.
Otherwise yourself and others cheating,
And purpose of such knowledge defeating.