Pavitra Ekadashi - A historic day

Pavitra Ekadashi is a very important day for the followers of Pushtimarg. Vallabacharya came into this world in order to free the world from misery. The greatest misery occurs at the time when the common man forgets to remember that he should forever think of Lord Krishna. Shri Mahaprabhuji (Shri Vallabhacharya) was ever keen to reunite the souls with Shri Thakurji (Lord Krishna). It happened to be the Shukla Paksha Ekadashi of the Shravan month at Shrimad Gokul. Shri Vallabhacharya was resting under the Chonnkar tree at Govind Ghat and he was under deep contemplation.

Shri Vallabhacharya was keen to sort out the challenge that was in front of him. He also knew that the souls were full of flaws and shortcomings but Shri Thakurji was pure and divine. How could this union take place was the concern now. But the all pervading and benevolent Lord Krishna had the answer. He appeared in front of Shri Mahaprabhuji and this became an answer to the worries faced by him. Lord Krishna stated that if a Jeev ( soul ) was brought to him through the process of Brahmasambandh by Shri Mahaprabhuji, he would accept the soul along with all the flaws. Shri Thakurji assured Shri Mahaprabhuji that the Jeev would be made free from flaws and would therefore be able to perform Seva to him. He was also assured that such a Jeev would always belong to him.

The time was midnight and Shri Mahaprabhuji was in a state of ecstasy. His joy was two fold for he could get the details of the blissful course that happened through the presence of Lord Krishna. Shri Thakurji was offered a Soot Pavitra made with 360 rounds of cotton thread, Mishri Bhog , and sang his praises with the Madhurashtakam. Thus Pavitra Ekadashi was the time when the birth of Pushtimarg seva - prakar where the Jeev full of flaws could reunite with the ever blissful and pure Lord Krishna through his seva.

The disciple of Shri Mahaprabhuji, Damodardas Harsani was lying nearby and therefore was fortunate to witness the divine incident. Shri Mahaprabhuji queried if Damodardas Harsani heard something. However, the humble Damodardas stated that he could not understand what was heard by him. He had shown the perfect humility that existed in a normal mentor protege relationship. One has to understand that the Gurudev would definitely know more with regard to the dissemination of knowledge and wisdom.

Shri Mahaprabhuji narrated the entire incident to Damodardas Harsani through the Siddhant Rahasya Granth (one of the Shodash Granth). On the very next day (Dwadashi) , Damla (as he was fondly called) offered a Pavitra to Shri Mahaprabhuji. Thereafter, devotees offer Pavitra to Shri Thakurji on Ekadashi and on Dwadashi to Gurudev. The day blesses the devotee with two fold joy - the first joy is because Shri Thakurji has blessed the devotee with the boon which enables him to serve Lord Krishna. They are enabled to interact with him just as how the Vrjabhaktas would and could fondle and pamper him like Shri Yashodaji. Of course it was possible to love him like Gopikas. The second joy was getting to be grateful to Shri Gurudev through whose grace one gets to be called a Brahmasambandhi Pushtimargiya Vaishnav. This makes the Bhagavat eligible to serve Lord Krishna and receive eternal joy.

Now let us look into the ' Pavitra ' that is offered. Pavitra literally means sacred. It is a cotton mala made up of 360 threads which are knotted together. It is not necessary that all the Pavitras offered to Lord Krishna must have 360 threads. Shri Hariraji Mahaprabhu has written a treatise named ' Pavitra Bandhan ' according to which in a 360 thread cotton Pavitra, 180 knots are tied. It is similar to the 108 knots present in a man kamala (Japmala). This Japmala is used for perfecting the Bhajan and bhava.

We must get to know about the different types of Pavitra:

* The 360 threaded ones made of cotton are known as Kesari Pavitras.

* Reshami , which are silk Pavitras made of different colors - yellow, blue, red and kesari.

* Badlani Pavitra - this is made from threads of gold and silver. It is especially offered to Lord Shri Dwaradadhish Prabhu (Kankroli).

It is also important to understand why 360 threads are required ? Lord Krishna, the Poorna Purushottam is an ocean of 16 divine qualities. The Leelas of Apshris span 6 seasons. Therefore we get the number 96 (16* 6 = 96). This has to be multiplied by 3 and this represents the 3 types of devotees who have the rajas, tamas and satvik gunas. Thus we get the number 288 and we have to add 12 months. This will give the number 300. One has to add 60 minutes of an hour to 300 and this would result in the divine number 360. Therefore the 360 thread Pavitra is offered.

The day ' Pavitra Ekadashi ' is thus very important and its observance blesses devotees with the grace of Shri Thakurji due to the mercy of Shri Vallabhacharya.

Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of The Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.

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