Ekadasi stories say that my karma will be cleared if I fast. But, I am still struggling even after fasting regularly. Why?
Actual Question from a male devotee (Requested anonymity):
“Hare Krishna my dearest prabhu…I have one question…i am a student my exams are next month and syllabus is vast….so i i left chanting… but regarding karma u mentioned that… once u get spiritually advance in bhakti dat means ur bad karma’s are over….yes i am a very bad person.. but i take ekadashi fast… in ekadashi varath katha it is mentioned dat all ur karma’s not only of dis life but last life also will be vanished if u take fast on ekadashi…but in spite of taking fast m still not spiritually advance in bhakti (my bad karma’s are not over)… i am very alternative in chanting also….Please adivse.. Your humble servant.”
The stories of ekadasi are related to the Karma Kanta portion of vedic scriptures. It may be useful for the beginners in devotion who may expect some benefits from God. Therefore these stories may encourage them to fast. Stage by stage, they will come to the position of not expecting any benefits from Krishna.
Therefore, if you have any prayers to Krishna, you can use the ekadasi fast.
But, For the advanced devotees, you need not pray anything to Krishna because He knows all your needs.
Read this also: Is violating the karma possible?
We are aiming for a permanent relief from the births and deaths. Therefore, we have no demands to Krishna.
The basic purpose of fasting on ekadasi is that we are doing a penance for Krishna by sacrificing our comforts that takes us towards the material detachment stage by stage. By sacrificing the food for two days a month, we lose some material attachments stage by stage and also spend the whole day of ekadasi thinking of Krishna. This also develops gradual attachment to Krishna.
This will gradually take us towards perfection and purity in our consciousness.
Then, should not we read these stories?
Not so. They are real stories and these stories are useful for making the devotees to start fasting.
Because, there are problems in the families of devotees also. Since the devotees have no other ‘care takers’ except Krishna, they will have to surrender to Krishna alone for all their needs.
These stories will make them to START EKADASI FASTS ATLEAST TO GET RELIEF FROM THEIR DISTRESS. Then, the fasting will become their regular practice.
Similarly, ‘Gita Mahathmiya’ says that even if you read a single chapter of Bhagavad Gita, you become relieved from births and deaths.
What this means? Can we stop births just by reading a single chapter of Gita only once?
No. The actual meaning is: When we read atleast a single chapter of Bhagavad Gita, we will develop an interest to read all the chapters. Then, after reading entire Gita, we will get an attachment with Krishna. Then, we will look for the association of devotees. Then, we will develop in devotion and finally we will get Krishna Himself. That is why, it was advised to read atleast a single chapter of Bhagavad Gita.
Even a big tree comes from a very small seed. Similarly, reading just a single chapter of Bhagavad Gita will give Krishna Himself stage by stage.
However, you should not expect any miracles after fasting. The real miracle is that the fasting purifies you from material attachments stage by stage.
We should not take the meanings of certain stories and their contents as it is.
Also read: HOW KRISHNA CLEARS OUR KARMA?
For example, we have heard: “If you need to go to Goloka, worship Krishna and have Krishna Prasadam. If you need material comforts, worship Durga devi.”
How will you understand this?
You will understand: “I will go to Krishna temple daily and get the Prasadam. I will get life in Goloka soon.”
But, I am fasting thinking like this:
“When a person likes to run fast, his legs must be free from any bondages. If someone has tied a rope around his leg and is pulling him back, how can that person run forward? Similarly, if we need to go to Goloka, we need to cut all our material attachments that are pulling us back from our forward movement towards Krishna. So, I will evaluate my devotion based on my level of detachment from material affairs. I will fast on ekadasis only as a penance for Krishna, but without any expectations. Krishna has said that every ekadasi offers certain benefits. It is for those who feel that they are distressed. He has said that such distressed people are also His devotees. But, He has also said that those who worship Him without any expectations are very dear to Him. So, I will just fast to show my love on Krishna. But, I am aware that Krishna offers anything to me ONLY AFTER allowing me to clear my karma fast. So, if I fast regularly, Krishna will clear my karma fast and help me to go back to His kingdom fast. Since I have no demands from Krishna, He has right to decide whether to give anything to me or not. I have left that choice to Krishna Himself. So, let me just fast sincerely. Krishna knows what, how and when to give me anything.”
Thus, we should have this maturity while fasting. If an Ekadasi story says that you will get a child if you fast for this ekadasi, that means, Krishna will clear the bunch of karma you have that is preventing your getting a child, and then gives you a child after clearing your karma fast. You have to wait till that and continue your devotional practices including fasting non-stop though it is delayed.
After fasting just one ekadasi, you should not ask your wife whether she has become pregnant or not next month itself. Who knows how much of karma you have from your past births? Krishna alone knows that. So, He has to clear them by giving the reactions through some incidences to you fast.
You may ask: Why can’t Krishna clear my karma instantly showing special interest in me?
If Krishna clears all the karma of all the persons instantly, every person will commit serious offences and clear them by fasting only once. Therefore, the people will lose interest in devotional practices. They will stop the devotional practices once their needs are achieved and they become happy.
Only in rare cases of very sincere devotees, Krishna wipes off the karma of a person suddenly. For others, He follows the regular process of clearing karma by allowing them to face the reactions fast. However, Krishna ensures that all his devotees who did penances like ekadasi fasting get FINAL SUCCESS. Atheists do not have this guarantee of final success. The process may be slow or fast depending on the storage of karma.
However, if the need is really urgent, Krishna does not hesitate to solve it immediately.
If you clean the house daily, the cleaning will be faster within a few minutes every day. But, if you clean the house once a week, the cleaning will take more time because there will be more dusts. When we clean more dusts, the removed dusts will come again and get deposited on the floor again. So, we have to clean the floor twice or thrice to get full cleanliness.
Similarly, you may have plenty of past karma. So, Krishna may be clearing them as fast as possible now. After fasting once or for a few times, you should not tell: “Why I have not yet become pure even after 10 ekadasi fasts?”
Since you have a bunch of karma, it will take some time to purify you. So, you have to wait for more period.
When I was a school student, our family was struggling even for one time food because my family was very poor. Only after my school studies, our family situation became comfortable even for eating.
However, Krishna has been protecting me till date and has given some inputs to serve all of you.
If He had deserted me, I would have died even in my school period. Krishna gave me patience and knowledge to wait till He clears part of my bundle of past karma to get sufficient food. I too was waiting, and now, I feel improvement in my living. So, Krishna did not make me fall. He will never allow His devotees fall.
Also read this: How to offer worship and prayers on Ekadasi?
I started business with borrowed funds and was paying heavy interest. But, before the due date, the lenders started to claim their money. I faced a situation on a day that unless I repay a part of my loan of around Rs.5 lakhs within a week to the three lenders, I will have to commit suicide, because I had been given the final date for repayment and they will go to court if I do not repay on date.
For me, it will take atleast 3 months to mobilize that Rs.5 lakhs at that time from my company’s own resources. So, I had no other way to commit suicide.
However, I did not pressurize Krishna to help me because, my relation with Krishna is like a Siksha Guru and disciple and only after reading Bhagavad Gita, I became a responsible guy.
A disciple should show pure love to his guru without expectations and calculations. And, a guru knows what are the needs of his disciples. So, we need not ask Krishna anything in return for our devotional practices. We have to just perform our devotional pratices and develop pure love on Krishna. That’s all. Then, we have to accept whatever happens in our life as the will of Krishna.
What happened then? Krishna will never desert His devotees. So, He entered into action.
This time, Krishna did not wait even for a week because the deadline was the just 4-5 days to repay the loan of a heavy amount. Of course, I would have cleared my karma of loan by facing the mental agony given by the lenders. He evaluated my sincere efforts in devotional path even during this tight corner situation of loans for my business.
Then, He sent an old man within 2 days who gave me exactly the amount required by me as a payment for me under a business agreement that does not need to be repaid. I could not expect that person to make such an agreement and instantly pay the amount as cash that was my exact need to save my image and life too.
Read this also: A-Z Tips on Ekadasi Fasting with practical considerations.
The person who made that business aagreement with me looked like a 75 years old farmer / worker with dhoti and cotton shirt on his body. I did not believe that he will have that much of amount with him. But, that simple man called me to his home and handed over the money on a plate with a set of bananas, betel nuts and betel leaves that is considered as auspicious by Hindus.
I saw Krishna on his old face. Tears came out of my eyes. I got that cash and went to my Puja room and placed it under the feet of KRISHNA. Because, I knew that this was the special arrangement of Krishna.
When he gave that money before his puja room, I saw the pictures. A big picture of Krishna was there and it looked as if He was smiling at me with a meaning.
Thus, Krishna knows what your genuine needs are. If it is a genuine need and If it will affect the image of His sincere devotees, Krishna will never hesitate to instantly interfere to save His devotee.
So, you too start to show devotion to Lord and fast for ekadasi WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING FROM KRISHNA IN RETURN. Krishna will take care of your needs whenever He feels He must interfere.
One thing is Guaranteed: KRISHNA’S DEVOTEES NEITHER FAILS NOR FALLS. This is Sure. I am the immediate example for you.
All you need to have is: PATIENCE and ACCEPTANCE OF HAPPENINGS IN YOUR LIFE AS DESERVED BY YOU AS PER YOUR KARMA.
Everything will be alright. All the best.