One time, rāja-guru Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha (Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Gaurava
Vaikhānasa Gosvāmī Mahārāja) was returning home after selling the season’s
harvest from the fields he leased to farmers, when he ran
into a fierce typhoon-like storm. The torrential rain and punishing hail kept
him from continuing on, and so he took shelter at a pān shop in the nearby
village. There, he asked the shopkeeper if he could stay the night.
The shopkeeper asked, “Do you have your own bedding?”
“Yes, indeed I do,” he said.
“Then you can stay in the empty house out front.”
The shopkeeper showed him the house and left. A short while after Śrī
Ujjvaleśvara Ratha had fallen asleep, an evil spirit inhabiting the house began
to cause a commotion. Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha woke up and found a gigantic
ghost standing in front of him. He asked the ghost in Sanskrit, “Who are you?”
The ghost replied, “I am a brahma-daitya.” (The ghost of a brāhmaṇa who has died prematurely after his upanayana-saṁskāra*).
“Why have you come here?” Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha asked.
“I live here. You are the one who has come here.”
“Well, what do you want?”
“I want to devour you.”
The ghost was taken aback. “What kind of question is this? I make a meal
of whoever dares step into this house.”
Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha said, “But I am a brāhmaṇa. Are you not afraid of
killing a brāhmaṇa? How is eating me going to benefit you? You will be stuck
in this form of a ghost.”
“What is there to fear in killing a brāhmaṇa? I am a brahma-daitya; I was
once a brāhmaṇa myself. I am destined to remain a ghost no matter what, so I
may as well gain some satisfaction by eating you.”
“Why are you unconcerned with delivering yourself from your current
“Where am I supposed to find someone qualified enough to deliver me?”
“I will deliver you,” Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha assured him.
“Look,” the ghost said, “not just anyone can deliver me. Only an
exceptional person who observes Ekādaśī the way Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has
described Śrī Ambarīṣa Mahārāja observed it can deliver me by offering me
the fruit of observing one such Ekādaśī. (Eating only once the day before Ekādaśī, fasting from everything including water on the day of Ekādaśī, performing hari-saṅkīrtana through the night, and eating only once the following day)
But like I said, where will I find such an exalted person?”
Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha said, “I follow all Ekādaśīs in this manner. I will
deliver you.” Saying this, he took water in his hand, vowed to offer the fruit of
one of his Ekādaśī fasts, and threw the water on the ghost. The ghost was
immediately delivered, and he disappeared with a sharp hissing sound like that
of soda bottle being opened.
As this encounter was quite lengthy, Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha did not fall
asleep until late in the night. The next morning, when the shopkeeper observed
that the house was still bolted from inside, he gathered his fellow villagers to
investigate what had happened inside the house. Hearing the noise of the
villagers outside the door, Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha opened it. The villagers were
awestruck. “Are you okay?” they asked. “Has nothing happened to you?”
“What was supposed to happen?” he asked.
The villagers said, “Some sort of monster lives here. No one survives a
night in this house. That shopkeeper is a fool for telling you to stay here. We
are extremely grateful to God that you are safe. Did the ghost say anything to
“He said what he had to say, and I said what I had to say. I delivered him by
giving him the fruit of observing just one Ekādaśī. Now he has left this place.
From now on, no one will have any problem staying here.”
When the villagers found out that he was Śrī Ujjvaleśvara Ratha, the king’s
guru, they told the shopkeeper he was lucky nothing happened to Śrī
Ujjvaleśvara Ratha, otherwise who knows what punishment the king might
have inflicted on not only him, but all the villagers as well.
*(sacred thread ceremony)
— Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja (My Beloved Masters)