How and why anukalpa is honoured on Sri Ekadasi.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: You’ll accept some anukalpa here?
Student: Well, today is Ekadasi.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: You will not accept any anukalpa on Ekadasi?
Student: I’ve been trying to fast.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: You will fast the whole day and not take any anukalpa? All right.
Student: I was thinking that because I am a sannyasi I should try to be a little renounced.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Oh. Because you are a sannyasi.
Student: But you are always saying, “Beware of renunciation.” So, do you think this is good?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: “Between Scylla and Charybdis.” Do you know this expression? Near Italy in the Mediterranean, there is hidden rock named Scylla near a whirlpool named Charybdis. When a ship goes between them, if it is too near Scylla, it will strike against the rock and be ruined, and if it is too near Charybdis, it will come under the course of the whirlpool and go down.
So, this is like bhoga and tyag. On one side is bhoga—exploitation, selfish enjoyment—and on the other side is renunciation. Both renunciation and exploitation are dangerous, but renunciation is more dangerous than exploitation. It is a more powerful enemy to devotion to Krishna than the weak, though chief enemy of exploitation.
Student: So how can I know how strict I should be with myself?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: You should devote the maximum amount of your energy to Krishna, and you should accept whatever is favourable to that. The service of Krishna is more important that fasting, and you should do whatever is helpful for that.
Once on Janmastami day, Prabhupad had to go to Mathura, perhaps to observe the month of Purusottam or something, and he selected Madhav Maharaj to go one day earlier and hire a suitable house. He was Hayagriva Brahmachari at that time, and when he was to go, Prabhupad asked his own cook, “Feed him rice on Janmastami day. He will have a tedious journey and his energy will be wasted, but he has to do the important duty to fixing that house there. So, prepare rice for him.” That was his order, but Hayagriva hesitated, and his cook also hesitated. Anyhow, sagu [tapioca], plantain, and curd—he took on all these things together on Janmastami day.
Student: And rice also?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Not rice.
Student: He didn’t take. He wouldn’t take.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: If Professor Sannyal was in such a position, he must have taken rice. He was so much adherent—extremely submissive—to Prabhupad’s order. He would have said, “Oh, Prabhupad has asked me to take rice. Then I must take rice.” That was his contention, his line of thought. But Hayagriva hesitated, “No, no. It is not necessary. I am strong enough, and I shall do the duty. If Prabhupad wants me to eat something on this fasting day, then let me have some anukalpa.” And he went on. So, for the purpose of kirtan, he took something.
There was a devotee who came here by train from Vrndavan on the day of Ekadasi, and when he reached here in the evening, he went to take bath in the Ganges and then participated in the kirtan, dancing, and circumambulation, all these things. Then, I asked him whether he would take any anukalpa. He replied, “Generally, I don’t, but if you like, then of course I must take anukalpa. Your will is greater than fasting.” That was his decision.
Student: Yes. That is my decision also because I always want your mercy.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Hare Krishna.
Student: If you desire that I take some prasad, I’ll do that.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: My Guru Maharaj’s maxim was: “Take good food and do good service.” He said, “Krishna is not a liquidated party. Take full prasadam and do full service, maximum service. Whatever is necessary, you take it, and for the cause of Krishna, you are to take, not for your own cause. You are Krishna’s. So, if you grow weak, that will hamper your service. Then you will be the loser, and I will also be the loser. My soldiers will be well fed and well working.” That was his principle. Napoleon also said, “One fully fed soldier is equal to ten half fed soldiers.”
Spoken on 2 March 1981.