Putrada Ekadashi today (1/22)

Hare Krsna dear devotees,
Dandvat pranam, Jai Srila Prabhupad.

Today is Putrada Ekadashi. I am pasting the glories of today’s Ekadashi below in the email. Since today is Putrada Ekadashi, I am sharing a nice article by Sri Urmila devi dasi. Urmila Devi Dasi was initiated in 1973 and has been involved in ISKCON education since 1983. She, her husband, and their three children live at the ISKCON community in Hillsborough, North Carolina, where she runs a school for children aged 5-18. She is the main author/compiler of Vaikuntha Children, a classroom guidebook.

Training Through The Stages of Childhood
By Urmila Devi Dasi

WHAT WE CALL "a child" is simply a soul in a particular type of physical and mental dress. And by understanding the stages of material growth through which the child progresses, we can help the soul attain ultimate freedom.

The sage Canakya saw these stages in terms of how a child can accept responsibility. He wrote that until age five little responsibility can be expected and so the child should be treated with leniency. From five to ten the child’s responsibility should gradually increase, and with it the discipline with which the child is treated. From ten to sixteen the adolescent should be treated "as strictly as a tiger," so that he or she doesn’t even think of being irresponsible. At sixteen, the young adult should be treated as a friend. Besides discipline and responsibility, many other things change as a child develops. A child builds his understanding of reality somewhat as a person builds a house. In infancy the land is clear for development. Then the child assembles facts, ideas, and modes of behavior as a builder might collect piles of brick, glass, and wood. An adolescent tries to put childhood understanding into a sensible whole with the tools of maturing intelligence the way a builder creates a structure with the materials he has collected. And a young adult integrates his life with his world view the
way a resident finally moves into a completed building, making it suitable for his use. How can we make sure our child’s spiritual and material training match his changing needs and strengths?
Cleared Land and Foundation
(Birth to Age Five)
When we read that Canakya advocates leniency from birth to age five, we might think he wants young children to be spoiled tyrants. Not so. Rather, children should be free from too much care and responsibility. They benefit from, and should learn, basic skills of eating, cleanliness, and respect for the Lord’s temple. Young children can also take on small responsibilities at home. In Bringing Up Kids Without Tearing Them Down, Dr. Kevin Leman
suggests that two- and three-year-olds can have such tasks as setting up for meals and cleaning their own messes, and four-year-olds can put groceries away or get the mail. I have found that most children by the age of two or two and a half can learn to sit quietly through a lecture and eat Krsna-prasadam with respect. It may seem odd that the ages for the lightest discipline is when some physical punishment (often wrongly thought synonymous with discipline) can be most effective. But from about age two to age six or seven a child may, for example, need physical punishment for breaking safety rules to understand the seriousness of a busy street. Because a child at this age is free from academic learning and practical responsibilities, he or she can use that freedom to think of Krsna’s qualities and pastimes. The child’s main business is to prepare the foundation for his life. He has forgotten his past lives and activities and now identifies with his present body. But the mystery of the material creation is that the world is meant simultaneously for bondage and liberation. So the same forgetfulness that allows the derelict to forget his former life as a king also gives an ideal opportunity for a child to forget material desires altogether. Prabhupada tells us that the ignorance, or innocence, of a child allows the child to easily accept any training. So if an innocent child is properly trained from the beginning of life to love God, that love will never deteriorate into lust. And for the baby or toddler to love Krsna is so easy! The tiny child loves to see Krsna’s picture, hear stories of His activities, and discuss simple philosophy.
Gathering Building Materials
(Ages Five Through Ten)
Training is the keystone of ages five to ten, when children traditionally get their primary education, in the Vedic system at the school known as gurukula. During these years, Canakya tells us, we should put aside physical punishment but gradually increase discipline. When children don’t fulfill their responsibilities, they should certainly suffer the consequences, which may involve physical discomforts or deprivations, such as standing in a corner for a few minutes or missing some play time. But now the child can understand that good and bad reactions are natural results of his own decisions, rather than punishments or rewards authorities impose on
him. Now in school, the child is forming lifelong habits and points of view. The child’s life should be so ordered that he or she won’t even think of waking late, being dirty or rude, or failing to worship and hear about Krsna. A child should feel that doing everything for Krsna, in a life full of goodness, is an essential and valuable piece of existence. How does the child benefit from this order? It becomes a basic material for the life the child
will build. Unlike a house builder, the child cannot fully know the end product. Parents and teachers, therefore, must carefully choose what examples and facts they show the elementary school child. And a child at this age can learn an amazing amount of information! This is the age for memorizing and investigating. Children between the ages of five and ten often seem to have a comprehensive philosophical understanding. But generally they are simply repeating stories, analogies, or explanations they have memorized.
Building the Structure
(Ages Ten Through Sixteen)
Canakya advises the strictest discipline for children ages ten through sixteen. Srila Prabhupada calls this period the turning point of life, the most critical time. Now the child should be held greatly accountable for his work, words, and behavior. Prabhupada instructs us not to spoil young people with our Western ideas of freedom. We give a young person responsibility for completing schoolwork and duties on time, but we do not give him or her the freedom to serious moral mistakes that can have a lifetime of miserable consequences. For example, at age ten, if at all possible, boys and girls should be taught separately. If that’s not practical, then at least contact between boys and girls should be minimized. And they should understand the importance of separating the sexes. The adolescent moves from memorization to synthesis. Not that a twelve-year-old has stopped taking in new information, but he or she is most concerned with evaluating the materials acquired in childhood and fitting them together to see if an integrated view of reality emerges. Adolescents often have difficulty knowing how facts, ideals, morals, a way of life, and understanding God fit together sensibly. Prabhupada tells us, therefore, that this stage of development demands regular detailed study of philosophy and its application. An intensive course in the Bhagavad-gita, the study of logic, and looking at the world through spiritual vision are some means by which parents and teachers can help their growing children understand an integrated world view.
Moving In
(Age Sixteen and Beyond)
At age sixteen, when our children have learned self-control and self-discipline, we can gradually treat our children as friends. The young adult, with the help of a disciplined life and adult guidance, has taken the prepared ground, the foundation, and the building materials of childhood to build a structure of meaning and function. The young adult can now move in and use his building in his own way—he can see his place in relationship to Krsna and Krsna’s creation.

Glories of Sri Putrada Ekadashi –

Yudhisthira Maharaja said, "0 Lord, You have so nicely explained the glories of the auspicious Saphala Ekadashi which occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Pausa [December-January]. Now please be merciful to me and explain the Ekadashi of the light fortnight of this month. What is its name, and what Deity should be worshiped on that sacred day? 0 Purusottama, 0 Hrsikesa, please also tell me how You can be pleased on this day."

Lord Shri Krishna replied, "0 king, for the benefit of all humanity I shall tell you how to observe fasting on Pausa-sukla Ekadashi.

"As I previously explained, everyone should observe the rules and regulations of Ekadashi to the best of his ability. This injunction also applies to the Ekadashi named Putrada, which destroys all sins and elevates one to the spiritual abode. Shri Narayana, the Supreme Lord and original personality, is the worshipable Deity of this Ekadashi, and for His faithful devotee He happily fulfills all desires and awards full perfection. Thus among all the animate and inanimate beings in the three worlds, there is no better personality than Lord Narayana.

"0 king, now I will narrate to you the history of Putrada Ekadashi, which removes all kinds of sins and makes one famous and learned.

"There was once a kingdom named Bhadravati, which was ruled by King Suketuman. His queen was the famous Saibya. Because he had no son, he spent a long time in anxiety, thinking, ‘If I have no son, who will carry on my dynasty?’ In this way the king meditated in a religious attitude for a long time, thinking, ‘Where should I go? What should I do? How can I get a son?’ King Suketuman could find no happiness anywhere in his kingdom, even in his own palace, and soon he was spending more and more time inside his wife’s palace, gloomily thinking only of how he could get a son.

"Thus both King Suketuman and Queen Saibya were in great distress. Even when they offered tarpana [oblations
of water to their forefathers], their mutual misery made them think that it was as undrinkable as boiling water. They thought that they would have no descendants to offer tarpana to them when they died. The king and queen were especially upset to learn that their forefathers were worried that soon there would be no one to offer them tarpana.

"After learning of their forefathers’ unhappiness, the king and queen became more and more miserable, and neither ministers, friends, nor even loved ones could cheer them up. To the king, his elephants and horses and infantry were no solace, and at last he became practically inert and helpless.

"The king thought, ‘It is said that without a son, marriage is wasted. Indeed, for a family man with no son, both his heart and his splendid house remain vacant and miserable. Bereft of a son, a man cannot liquidate the debt he owes his forefathers, the demigods, and other human beings. Therefore every married man should endeavor to beget a son; thus he will become famous within this world and at last attain the auspicious celestial realms. A son is proof of the pious activities a man performed in his past one hundred lifetimes, and such a person achieves a long duration of life in this world, along with good health and great wealth. Possessing sons and grandsons in this life proves that one has worshiped Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the past. The great blessings of sons, wealth, and sharp intelligence can be achieved only by worshiping the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna That is my opinion.’

"Thinking thus, the king had no peace. He remained in anxiety day and night, from morning to evening, and from the time he lay down to sleep at night until the sun rose in the morning, his dreams were equally full of great anxiety. Suffering such constant anxiety and apprehension, King Suketuman decided to end his misery by committing suicide. But he realized that suicide throws a person into hellish conditions of rebirth, and so he abandoned that idea. Seeing that he was gradually destroying himself by his allconsuming anxiety over the lack of a son, the king at last mounted his horse and left for the dense forest alone. No one, not even the priests and brdhmanas of the palace, knew where he had gone.

"In that forest, which was filled with deer and birds and other animals, King Suketumiin wandered aimlessly, noting all the different kinds of trees and shrubs, such as the fig, bel fruit, date, palm, jackfruit, bakula, saptaparna, tinduka, and tilaka, as well as the sala, talc, tamala, sarala, hingota, arjuna, labhera, baheda, sallaki, karonda, patala, khaira, saka, and palasa trees. All were beautifully decorated with fruits and flowers. He saw deer, tigers, wild boar, lions, monkeys, snakes, huge bull elephants in rut, cow elephants with their calves, and four-tusked elephants with their mates close by. There were cows, jackals, rabbits, leopards, and hippopotamuses. Beholding all these animals accompanied by their mates and offspring, the king remembered his own menagerie, especially his palace elephants, and became so sad that he absentmindedly wandered into their very midst.

"Suddenly the king heard a jackal howl in the distance. Startled, he began wandering about, looking around in all directions. Soon it was midday, and the king started to tire. He was tormented by hunger and thirst. He thought, ‘What sinful deed could I possibly have done so that I am now forced to suffer like this, with my throat parched and burning? I have pleased the demigods with numerous fire sacrifices and abundant devotional worship. I have given many gifts and delicious sweets in charity to all the worthy brdhmanas. And I have taken care of my subjects as though they were my very own children. Why am I suffering so? What unknown sins have come to torment me in this dreadful way?’

"Absorbed in these thoughts, King Suketuman struggled forward, and eventually, due to his pious credit, he came upon a beautiful pond that resembled the famous Lake Manasarovara. It was filled with aquatics, including crocodiles and many varieties of fish, and graced with lilies. Beautiful lotuses had opened to the sun, and swans, cranes, and ducks swam happily in its waters. Nearby were many attractive asramas, where there resided many saints and sages who could fulfill the desires of anyone. Indeed, they wished everyone well. When the king saw all this, his right arm and eye began to quiver, a sign that something auspicious was about to happen.

"As the king dismounted his horse and stood before the sages, who sat on the shore of the pond, he saw that they were chanting the holy names of God on japa beads. The king paid his obeisances and, joining his palms, glorified them. He was overjoyed to be in their presence. Observing the respect the king offered them, the sages said, ‘We are very pleased with you, O king. Kindly tell us why you have come here. What is on your mind? Please tell us what you desire.’

"The king replied, ‘0 great sages, who are you? What are your names, O auspicious saints? Why have you come to this beautiful place? Please tell me everything.’

"The sages replied, ‘O king, we are the Visvedevas; we have come here to this lovely pond to bathe. The month of Magha will be here in five days, and today is the famous Putrada Ekadashi. One who desires a son should strictly observe this Ekadashi.’

"The king said, ‘I have tried so hard to have a son. If you great sages are pleased with me, kindly grant me a good son.’

" ‘The very meaning of Putrada,’ the sages replied, ‘is "giver of a son." So please observe a complete fast on this Ekadashi day. If you do, then by our blessings-and by the mercy of Lord Kesava-you will surely obtain a son.’

"On the advice of the Visvedevas, the king observed the auspicious fast day of Putrada Ekadashi according to all the established rules and regulations, and on Dvadasi, after breaking his fast, he paid his obeisances again and again to them all.

"Soon after Suketuman returned to his palace, Queen Saibya became pregnant, and exactly as the Visvedeva sages had predicted, a brightfaced, beautiful son was born to them. In due course he became famous as a heroic prince, and the king gladly pleased his noble son by making him his successor. The son of Suketuman took care of his subjects very conscientiously, just as if they were his own children.

"In conclusion, O Yudhisthira, one who wishes to fulfill his desires should strictly observe Putrada Ekadashi While on this planet, one who strictly observes this Ekadashi will surely obtain a son, and after death he will achieve liberation. Anyone who even reads or hears the glories of Putrada Ekadashi obtains the merit earned by performing a horse sacrifice. It is to benefit all humanity that I have explained all this to you."

your servant,
Padmanabh das

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