Suta Gosvami said, "O learned brahmanas, long ago Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explained the auspicious glories of Shri Ekadashi and the rules and regulations governing each observance of fasting on that holy day. O best of the brahmanas, whoever hears about the origins and glories of these sacred fasts on the Ekadashi days goes directly to the abode of Lord Vishnu after enjoying many different kinds of happiness in this material world.
"Arjuna, the son of Prtha, asked the Lord, 'O Janardana, what are the pious benefits of complete fasting, eating only supper, or eating but once at midday on Ekadashi, and what are the regulations for observing the various Ekadashi days? Kindly narrate all this to me.
"The Supreme Lord, Krishna, replied, 'O Arjuna, in the beginning of winter, on the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Margasirsa [November-December], a novice should begin his practice of observing a fast on Ekadashi. On Dasami, the day before Ekadashi. he should clean his teeth nicely. Then, during the eighth portion of Dasami, just as the sun is about to set, he should eat supper.
"'The next morning the devotee should make a vow, according to the rules and regulations, to observe fasting. At midday he should bathe properly in a river, lake, or small pond. A bath in a river is most purifying, that taken in a lake is less so, and a bath in a small pond is the least purifying. If neither a river, lake, nor pond is accessible, he may bathe with well-water.
" 'The devotee should chant this prayer containing the names of Mother Earth: "O Asvakrante! O Rathakrante! O Vishnukrante! O Vasundhare! 0 Mrttike! O Mother Earth! Kindly remove all the sins I have accumulated throughout my many past lives so that I may enter the sacred abode of the Supreme Lord." As the devotee chants, he should smear mud over his body.
"'During the day of fasting the devotee should not speak to those who are fallen from their religious duties, to dog-eaters, to thieves, or to hypocrites. He should also avoid speaking with slanderers; with those who abuse the demigods, the Vedic literatures, or brahmanas; or with any other wicked personalities, such as those who have sex with forbidden women,' those who are known plunderers, or those who rob temples. If any such person is spoken to or even seen during Ekadashi, one must purify oneself by looking directly at the sun.
"'Then the devotee should respectfully worship Lord Govinda with firstclass food, flowers, and so forth. In his home he should offer the Lord a lamp in pure devotional consciousness. He should also avoid sleeping during the daytime and should completely abstain from sex. Fasting from all food and water, he should joyfully sing the Lord's glories and play musical instruments for His pleasure throughout the night. After remaining awake all night in pure consciousness, the worshiper should give charity to qualified brahmanas and offer his humble obeisances unto them, begging their forgiveness for his offenses.
" 'Those who are serious about devotional service should consider the Ekadashis that occur during dark fortnights to be as good as those that occur during bright fortnights. 0 king, one should never discriminate between these two kinds of Ekadashi.
" 'Please listen as I now describe the results obtained by one who observes Ekadashi. in this way. Neither the merit one receives by taking a bath in the sacred place of pilgrimage known as Sankhoddhara where the Lord killed the Sankhasura demon, nor the merit one receives upon seeing Lord Gadadhara directly is equal to one sixteenth of the merit one obtains by fasting on Ekadashi. It is said that by giving charity on a Monday when the moon is full, one obtains a hundred thousand times the results of ordinary charity. O winner of wealth, one who gives charity on the day of the sankranti [equinox] attains four hundred thousand times the ordinary result. Yet simply by fasting on Ekadashi one obtains all these pious results, as well as whatever pious results one gets at Kuruksetra during an eclipse of the sun or moon. Furthermore, the faithful soul who observes complete fasting on Ekadashi achieves a hundred times more merit than one who performs an Asvamedha-yajna [horse sacrifice]. One who observes just a single Ekadashi fast perfectly earns the same merit as one who feeds a hundred thousand mendicants each day for sixty thousand years. And a person who properly observes Ekadashi just once earns ten times more merit than a person who gives a thousand cows in charity to a brahmana learned in the Vedas.
" 'A person who feeds just one brahmacari earns ten times more merit than one who feeds ten good brahmanas in his own house. But a thousand times more merit than is earned by feeding a brahmacari is achieved by donating land to a needy and respectable brahmana, and a thousand times more than that is earned by giving away a virgin girl in marriage to a young, well-educated, responsible man. Ten times more beneficial than this is educating children properly on the spiritual path, without expecting any reward in return. Ten times better than this, however, is giving food grains to the hungry. Indeed, giving charity to those in need is the best of all, and there never has been or ever will be a better charity than this .2 0 son of Kunti, all the forefathers and demigods in heaven become very satisfied when one gives food grains in charity. But the merit one obtains by observing a complete fast on Ekadashi cannot be measured. 0 Arjuna, best of all Kurus, the powerful effect of this merit is inconceivable even to the demigods, and half this merit is attained by one who eats only supper on Ekadashi.
"'One should therefore observe fasting on Lord Hari's day either by eating only once at midday, abstaining from grains and beans; by eating only once in the evening, abstaining from grains and beans; or by fasting completely. The processes of staying in places of pilgrimage, giving charity, and performing fire sacrifices may boast only as long as Ekadashi has not arrived. Therefore anyone afraid of the miseries of material existence should observe Ekadashi. On Ekadashi one should not drink water from a conchshell, kill living entities such as fish or pigs, Dr eat any grains or beans. Thus I have described to you, O Arjuna, the best of all methods of fasting, as you have inquired from Me.'
** When to start Ekadasi Fasting?
Lord Krishna advices Arjuna to begin the Ekadasi fasting in the autumn season with Utpanna or Utpatti Ekadasi occurring during the waning phase of the moon in Margasirsa ( November – December). A novice should begin his practice of observing a fast on Ekadashi.
* Wake up early in the morning and take a bath.
* After cleaning up the house, pure water is drizzled.
* Use Yamuna Ganga or Yamuna water.
* After that, worship lord Vishnu.
* After this, offer yellow-colored clothes to lord Vishnu or donate it.
* Read or listen to the saga related to the fast.
* Along with this, also worship lord Vishnu.
* Incense sticks, lotus flower,Tulsi leaves, Dhoop and Deep are used in the worship.
* Besides this, Vishnu Strota and Vishnu Sahstranama are recited.
* In the end, sweets offered during Aarti are distributed.
* The person observing Ekadashi fast gets more auspicious fruits in comparison to the fruits of Havana and Yajna.
* He also gets Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
* avoid rice, pulses and grains (wheat etc.) on Ekadashi.
* avoid salt.
* avoid non-vegetarian and food items made from beans, pulses and grains, especially rice.
* avoid onion and garlic.
*fresh and dried fruits,
*Drink lots of water
*The most preferred Ekadasi fasting food in western parts of India is Sabudana Khichadi with potatoes and ground nut .
* If possible, one should stay on water. Drinking luke warm water or lemon-mishri (crystalized sugar) water is very good as it cleanses the hidden undigested food in the body.
* If one feels hungry, then one can take milk or fruit.
* One should think that he/she is keeping this vrat to please God & to progress further in "sadhana".
* One should observe self-control.
* One should do more of maun-japa (repeating the name of God in mind) in the day time.
* One should do more of Dhyan & Bhajan by keeping awake for a longer time in the night.
* In Hinduism, Upvaas is meant to bring a person close to Brahman. So forget about the rules and regulations and what you are going to gain from the Ekadashi fast. Spend the day in purifying the mind and body.
Here we are presenting all the Ekadashis in detail :--
(1) Utpanna / Utpatti Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksha - Margashirsha)
Utpanna Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Fast Story)
( As told by Lord Krishna to Arjuna) :--
"The Supreme Lord, Krishna, said, 'O Arjuna, in the beginning of winter, on the Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Margashirsha , a novice should begin his practice of observing a fast on Ekadashi.
"Lord Shri Krishna said to Arjuna, 'I will tell you why Ekadashi is the most purifying of all days. In the Satya-yuga there once lived an amazingly fearsome demon called Mura (Murasura). Always very angry, he terrified all the demigods, defeating even Indra, the king of heaven; Vivasvan, the sun-god; the eight Vasus; Lord Brahma; Vayu, the wind-god; and Agni, the fire-god. With his terrible power he brought them all under his control.
" 'Lord Indra then approached Lord Siva and said, "We have all fallen from our planets and are now wandering helplessly on the earth. 0 lord, how can we find relief from this affliction? What will be the fate of us demigods?"
"'Lord Siva replied, "0 best of the demigods, go to that place where Lord Vishnu, the rider of Garuda, resides. He is Jagannatha, the master of all the universes and their shelter as well. He is devoted to protecting all souls surrendered to Him."'
"Lord Krishna continued, '0 Arjuna, winner of wealth, after Lord Indra heard these words of Lord Siva's, he proceeded with all the demigods to the place where Lord Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe, the protector of all souls, was resting.
Seeing the Lord sleeping upon the water, the demigods joined their palms and, led by Indra, recited the following prayers:
" O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all obeisances to You. 0 Lord of lords, 0 You who are praised by the foremost demigods, 0 enemy of all demons, 0 lotus-eyed Lord, 0 Madhusudana [killer of the Madhu demon], please protect us. Afraid of the demon Mura, we demigods have come to take shelter of You. 0 Jagannatha, You are the doer of everything and the creator of everything. You are the mother and the father of all universes. You are the creator, the maintainer, and the destroyer of all. You are the supreme helper of all the demigods, and You alone can bring peace to them. You alone are the earth, the sky, and the universal benefactor.
" ' "You are Siva, Brahma, and also Vishnu, the maintainer of the three worlds. You are the gods of the sun, moon, and fire. You are the clarified butter, the oblation, the sacred fire, the mantras, the rituals, the priests, and the silent chanting of japa. You are the sacrifice itself, its sponsor, and the enjoyer of its results, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nothing within these three worlds, whether movable or immovable, can exist independent of You. 0 Supreme Lord, Lord of lords, You are the protector of those who take shelter of You. 0 supreme mystic, O shelter of the fearful, please rescue and protect us. We demigods have been defeated by the demons and have thus fallen from the heavenly realm. Deprived of our positions, O Lord of the universe, we are now wandering about this earthly planet."'
"Lord Krishna continued, 'Having heard Indra and the other demigods speak these words, Shri Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, replied, "What demon possesses such great powers of delusion that he has been able to defeat all the demigods? What is his name, and where does he live? Where does he get his strength and shelter? Tell Me everything, O Indra, and do not fear."
" 'Lord Indra replied, "0 Supreme Godhead, 0 Lord of lords, 0 You who vanquish the fear in Your pure devotees' hearts, 0 You who are so kind to Your faithful servants, there was once a powerful demon of the Brahman dynasty whose name was Nadijangha. He was extraordinarily fearsome and wholly dedicated to destroying the demigods, and he begot an infamous son named Mura.
""'Mura's great capital city is Candravati. From that base the terribly evil and powerful Mura demon has conquered the whole world and brought all the demigods under his control, driving them out of their heavenly kingdom. He has assumed the roles of Indra, the king of heaven; Agni, the fire-god; Yama, the lord of death; Vayu, the wind-god; Isa or Lord Siva Soma, the moon-god; Nairrti, the lord of the directions; and Pa§i, or Varuna, the watergod. He has also begun emanating light in the role of the sun-god and has turned himself into the clouds as well. It is impossible for the demigods to defeat him. 0 Lord Vishnu, please kill this demon and make the demigods victorious."
" 'Hearing these words from Indra, Lord Janardana became very angry and said, "0 powerful demigods, all together you may now advance on Mura's capital city of Candravati." Encouraged thus, the assembled demigods proceeded to Candravati with Lord Hari leading the way.
"'When Mura saw the demigods, that foremost of demons started roaring very loudly in the company of countless thousands of other demons, who were all holding brilliantly shining weapons. The mighty-armed demons struck the demigods, who began abandoning the battlefield and fleeing in the ten directions. Seeing the Supreme Lord Hrsikesa, the master of the senses, present on the battlefield, the furious demons rushed toward Him with various weapons in their hands. As they charged the Lord, who holds a sword, disk, and club, He immediately pierced all their limbs with His sharp, poisonous arrows. Thus many hundreds of demons died by the Lord's hand.
"'At last the chief demon, Mura, began fighting with the Lord. Mura used his mystic power to render useless whatever weapons the Supreme Lord Hrsikesa unleashed. Indeed, to the demon the weapons felt just like flowers striking him. When the Lord could not defeat the demon even with various kinds of weaponswhether those that are thrown or those that are held-He began fighting with His bare hands, which were as strong as iron-studded clubs. The Lord wrestled with Mura for one thousand celestial years and then, apparently fatigued, left for Badarikasrama. There Lord Yogesvara, the greatest of all yogis, the Lord of the universe, entered a very beautiful cave named Himavati to rest. O Dhananjaya winner of wealth, that cave was ninety-six miles in diameter and had only one entrance. I went there out of fear, and also to sleep There is no doubt about this, O son of Pandu, for the great fight made Me very tired. The demon followed Me into that cave and, seeing Me asleep, started thinking within his heart, "Today I will kill this slayer of all demons, Hari."
"'While the wicked-minded Mura was making plans in this way, from My body there manifested a young girl who had a very bright complexion. O son of Pandu, Mura saw that she was equipped with various brilliant weapons and was ready to fight. Challenged by that female to do battle, Mura prepared himself and then fought with her, but he became very astonished when he saw that she fought him without cessation. The king of the demons then said, "Who has created this angry, fearsome girl who is fighting me so powerfully, just like a thunderbolt falling upon me?" After saying this, the demon continued to fight with the girl.
"'Suddenly that effulgent goddess shattered all of Mura's weapons and in a moment deprived him of his chariot. He ran toward her to attack her with his bare hands, but when she saw him coming she angrily cut off his head. Thus the demon at once fell to the ground and went to the abode of Yamaraja. The rest of the Lord's enemies, out of fear and helplessness, entered the subterranean Patala region.
"'Then the Supreme Lord woke up and saw the dead demon before Him, as well as the maiden bowing down to Him with joined palms. His face expressing His astonishment, the Lord of the universe said, "Who has killed this vicious demon? He easily defeated all the demigods, Gandharvas, and even Indra himself, along with Indra's companions, the Maruts, and he also defeated the Nagas [snakes], the rulers of the lower planets. He even defeated Me, making Me hide in this cave out of fear. Who is it that has so mercifully protected Me after I ran from the battlefield and went to sleep in this cave?"
"'The maiden said, "It is I who have killed this demon after appearing from Your transcendental body. Indeed, 0 Lord Hari, when he saw You sleeping he wanted to kill You. Understanding the intention of this thorn in the side of the three worlds, I killed the evil rascal and thus freed all the demigods from fear. I am Your great mahd-sakti, Your internal potency, who strikes fear into the hearts of all Your enemies. I have killed this universally terrifying demon to protect the three worlds. Please tell me why You are surprised to see that this demon has been killed,O Lord."
"'The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, "O sinless one, I am very satisfied to see that it is you who have killed this king of the demons. In this way you have made the demigods happy, prosperous, and full of bliss. Because you have given pleasure to all the demigods in the three worlds, I am very pleased with you. Ask any boon you may desire, 0 auspicious one. I will give it to you without a doubt, though it be very rare among the demigods."
"'The maiden said, "O Lord, if You are pleased with me and wish to give me a boon, then give me the power to deliver from the greatest sins that person who fasts on this day. I wish that half the pious credit obtained by one who fasts will accrue to one who eats only in the evening [abstaining from grains and beans], and that half of this pious credit will be earned by one who eats only at midday. Also, may one who strictly observes a complete fast on my appearance day, with controlled senses, go to the abode of Lord Vishnu for one billion kalpas after he has enjoyed all kinds of pleasures in this world. This is the boon I desire to attain by Your mercy, my Lord. 0 Lord Janardana, whether a person observes complete fasting, eats only in the evening, or eats only at midday, please grant him a religious attitude, wealth, and at last liberation."
"'The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, "O most auspicious lady, what you have requested is granted. All My devotees in this world will surely fast on your day, and thus they will become famous throughout the three worlds and finally come and stay with Me in My abode. Because you, My transcendental potency, have appeared on the eleventh day of the waning moon, let your name be Ekadashi. If a person fasts on Ekadashi, I will burn up all his sins and bestow upon him My transcendental abode."
"These are the days of the waxing and waning moon that are most dear to Me: Trtiya [the third day], Astami [the eighth day], Navami [the ninth day], Caturdasi [the fourteenth day], and especially Ekadashi [the eleventh day]."
"The merit one attains by fasting on Ekadashi is greater than that achieved by observing any other kind of fast or by going to a place of pilgrimage, and even greater than that achieved by giving charity to brdhmanas. I tell you most emphatically that this is true."
"Having thus given the maiden His benediction, the Supreme Lord suddenly disappeared. From that time onward the Ekadashi day became most meritorious and famous all over the universe. 0 Arjuna, if a person strictly observes Ekadashi, I kill all his enemies and grant him the highest destination. Indeed, if a person observes this great Ekadashi fast in any of the prescribed ways,' I remove all obstacles to his spiritual progress and grant him the perfection of life."
"Thus, O son of Prtha, I have described to you the origin of Ekadashi. This one day removes all sins eternally. Indeed, it is the most meritorious day for destroying all kinds of sins, and it has appeared in order to benefit everyone in the universe by bestowing all varieties of perfection.
« cone should not discriminate between the Ekadashis of the waxing and waning moons; both must be observed, O Naha, and they should not be differentiated from Maha-dvadasi. Everyone who fasts on Ekadashi should recognize that there is no difference between these two Ekadashis, for they comprise the same tithi."
"Whoever completely fasts on Ekadashi, following the rules and regulations, will achieve the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, who rides upon Garuda. They are glorious who devote themselves to Lord Vishnu and spend all their time studying the glories of Ekadashi, One who vows not to eat anything on Ekadashi, but to eat only on the next day achieves the same merit as one who executes a horse sacrifice. Of this there is no doubt."
"On Dvadasi, the day after Ekadashi, one should pray, "O Pundarikaksa, O lotus-eyed Lord, now I will eat. Please shelter me." After saying this, the wise devotee should offer some flowers and water at the Lord's lotus feet and invite the Lord to eat by chanting the eight-syllable mantra thrice.' If the devotee wants to gain the fruit of his fast, he should then drink water taken from the sanctified vessel in which he offered water at the Lord's lotus feet."
"On Dvadasi, one must avoid sleeping during the day, eating in another's home, eating more than once, having sex, eating honey, eating from a bell-metal plate, eating urad dal, and rubbing oil on one's body. The devotee must give up these eight things on Dvadasi. If he wants to speak to an outcaste on that day, he must purify himself by eating a tulasi leaf or an amalaki fruit. 0 best of kings, from noon on Ekadashi, until dawn on Dvadasi, one should engage himself in taking baths, worshiping the Lord, and executing devotional activities, including the giving of charity and the performance of fire sacrifices. If one finds himself in difficult circumstances and cannot break the Ekadashi fast properly on Dvadasi, one can break it by drinking water, and then one is not at fault if he eats again after that."
"A devotee of Lord Vishnu who day and night hears these all-auspicious topics concerning the Lord from the mouth of another devotee will be elevated to the Lord's planet and reside there for ten million kalpas. And one who hears even one sentence about the glories of Ekadashi is freed from the reactions to such sins as killing a brahmana. There is no doubt of this. For all eternity there will be no better way of worshiping Lord Vishnu than observing a fast on Ekadashi."
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Margasirsa-krsna Ekadasi, or Utpanna Ekadasi, from the Bhavisya-uttara Purana.
While in North India, Utpatti / Utpanna Ekadashi falls in the month of Margashirsh, it occurs in the Kartik month according to the Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat calendars. In the Tamil calendar, the month is Aippasi or Karthigai Masam while it is Thulam or Vrischika Masam in the Malayalam calendar. Furthermore, this Ekadashi falls in the month of Margashar in the Orissa calendar. All devotees practicing this fast start their vrat from sunrise on the Ekadashi day and break it only on the next day, that is, Dwadashi day. Along with Lord Vishnu, Ekadashi Mata is also worshipped on this day.
(2) Mokshda / Vaikuntha Ekadashi (Geeta Jayanti)
(Shukla Paksh - Margshirsha)
Mokshda / Vaikuntha Ekadashi (Geeta Jayanti) Vrat Katha
(As told by Shri Krishna to Yudhisthir Maharaj):-
Yudhisthir Maharaj said, “Hey Baghwan Vishnu, Hey Swami, Hey Trilokinath, Hey Vishwa ke Swami, hey Sarva-sresth Pursh, I offer my most respectful obeisances unto You. Hey Devo ke Dev, for the benefit of all living entities, kindly answer some questions I have. What is the name of the Ekadashi that occurs during the sukla paksh of Margasirsh and how it helps in removing all sins? How does one observe it properly, and which Swaroop of your's is worshiped on that holy day? Hey Bhagwan, please fully explain this to me”.
Servasresth Rajan, please listen as I narrate to you the old and auspicious history of this Ekadashi, simply by hearing this history one can attain the merit earned by performing a Aksha-wa-megh Yaghya (horse sacrifice). By the influence of this merit, one's ancestors, mothers, sons, and other relatives who have gone to hell can go to heaven. For this reason alone, Rajan, you should listen carefully to this narration”.
Shri Krishna continued, “There was once a beautiful city named Champak-nagar, which was decorated with devoted Vaishnavas. There the best of saintly king, Maharaj Vaikhanas, ruled his subjects as if they were his own sons and daughters. The Brahmins in that capital city were all expert in four kinds of Vedic knowledge. The king, while ruling properly, had a dream one night in which his father was suffering the pangs of torture in a hellish planet. The king was overwhelmed with compassion and shed tears”.
The next morning, Maharaj Vaikhanas described his dream to his council of twice-born Brahmins, the king said, in a dream last night I saw my father suffering on a hellish planet. He was crying out, ‘O son, please deliver me from the torment of this hell! Now I have no peace, and even this beautiful kingdom has become unbearable to me. Not even my horses, elephants, and chariots give me any joy, and my vast treasury gives me no pleasure at all’.
‘Everything, O best of the Brahmins, even my own wife and sons, has become a source of unhappiness since I beheld my dear father suffering the tortures of hell. Where can I go, and what can I do, Brahmins, to alleviate this misery? My body is burning with fear and sorrow! Please tell me what kind of charity, what mode of fasting, what austerity, or what deep meditation I may perform to deliver my father from his agony and bestow liberation upon my ancestors. O best of Brahmins, what is the use of one's being a powerful son if one's father must suffer on a hellish planet? Truly, such a son's life is utterly useless’!
The twice-born Brahmins replied, “Rajan, in the mountainous forest not far from here is the asram where the great sage Parvata Muni resides. Please go to him, for he knows the past, present and future of everything and everyone and he can for sure help you in your misery”.
Upon hearing this advice, the distressed king immediately set out on a journey to the ashram of the famous sage Parvata Muni. The ashram was very big and housed many learned sages expert in chanting the sacred hymns of the four Veds. Approaching the holy ashram, the king beheld Parvata Muni seated among the sages like another Brahma, the unborn creator.
Maharaj Vaikhanas offered his humble obeisances to the muni, bowing his head and then prostrating his entire body. After the king had seated himself, Parvata Muni asked him about the welfare of the seven limbs of his extensive kingdom. The Muni also asked him if in his kingdom everyone was peaceful and happy and was free of troubles. To the inquiries the king replied, “By your mercy, O glorious sage, all seven limbs of my kingdom are doing very well. Yet there is a problem that has recently arisen, and to solve it I have come to you, Munni-ver, for your expert guidance”.
Then Parvata Muni, the best of all sages, closed his eyes and meditated on the king's past, present and future. After a few moments he opened his eyes and said, “Your father is suffering the results of committing a great sin, and I have discovered what it is. In his previous life, he quarreled with his wife when he enjoyed her sexually during her menstrual period. She tried to resist his advances and yelled out, someone please save me! Please, husband, do not interrupt my monthly period! Still he did not leave her alone. It is on account of this grievous sin that your father has fallen into such a hellish condition”.
"King Vaikhanasa then said, 'O greatest of sages, by what process of fasting or charity may I liberate my dear father from such a condition? Please tell me how I can remove the burden of his sinful reactions, which are a great obstacle to his progress toward ultimate liberation.'
"Parvata Muni replied, 'During the light fortnight of the month of Margasirsa there occurs an Ekadashi called Moksada. If you observe this sacred Ekadashi strictly, with a full fast, and give directly to your suffering father the merit you thus obtain, he will be freed from his pain and instantly liberated.'
"Hearing this, Maharaja Vaikhanasa profusely thanked the great sage and then returned to his palace. 0 Yudhisthira, when the light part of the month of Margasirsa at last arrived, Maharaja Vaikhanasa faithfully and perfectly observed the Ekadashi fast with his wife, children, and other relatives. He dutifully gave the merit from this fast to his father, and as he made the offering, beautiful flowers showered down from the sky. The king's father was then praised by the messengers of the demigods and escorted to the celestial regions. As he passed his son, the father said to the king, 'My dear son, all auspiciousness unto you!' At last he reached the heavenly realm.
O son of Pandu, whoever strictly observes the sacred Moksada Ekadashi, following the established rules and regulations, achieves full and perfect liberation after death. There is no better fasting day than this Ekadashi of the light fortnight of the month of Margasirsa, O Yudhisthira, for it is a crystal-clear and sinless day. Whoever faithfully observes this Ekadashi fast, which is like cintamini [a gem that yields all desires], obtains special merit that is very hard to calculate, for this day can elevate one to the heavenly planets and beyond-to perfect liberation."
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Mokshda / Vaikuntha Ekadasi from the Brahmanda Purana.
This is also known as the Vaikuntha Ekadashi. It is believed the vaikunta dwaram is opened on this day. By doing this ekadashi one attains moksha equivalent phala, hence this is also known as as the "mokshda" ekadashi. on the margashirsha shuddha ekadashi day we worship Damodara roopi Sri Hari, with Tulsi leaflets, flowerlets along with dhoopa, deepa, Naivedya and other pooja procedures. In the night during jagar, recite/listen Puran, nritya, geeta etc., in the glory of Damodara.
This also marks the begining of Dhanurmasa. Huggi (mixture of moong daal and rice ) becomes the staple diet during this time. Dhanurmasa lasts till makara sankranthi. This is also celebrated as Geeta Jayanti. On this day Sri Krishna rendered Bhgavad Geeta to Arjuna.
(3) Safala Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksha - Paush)
Once there lived a very powerful and famous king named Mahishmati. He had four sons but the eldest son Lumpaka was arrogant and was indulged in all sort of bad activities including harming the citizens. The king was not ready to tolerate the behavior of his eldest son and exiled him.
He lived like this for several years and once a couple of days before Safala Ekadasi he fell ill and became very weak. Due to illness, he became unconscious and woke up on Safala Ekadashi day but as he was weak he could not hunt or rob travelers. Unable to move, he prayed to Lord Vishnu idol under the peepal tree for recovery from illness and offered some fruits that had fallen from the banyan tree, which were eaten by birds.
He fasted the whole day and remained awake at night. Thus unknowingly Lumpaka performed the Saphala Ekadasi Vrat.
The next day morning he felt some kind of renewed energy. He felt sad about his wanton life and tears started trickling down from his eyes. He wept before the Vishnu idol and suddenly he heard a voice from the sky. The voice said that he had performed the Safala Ekadasi Vrat and Lord Vishnu has washed away all his sins and he should return to his father and start a new life.
As directed by the voice from the sky, Lumpaka reached the kingdom and started leading a good life and showed interest in the welfare of the people and in the course of time he became the king and was noted for his just and kind rule.
The moral of the legend is that even if one loses his health, wealth, belongings, honour, affection, and love, he will get it back if he observes Safala Ekadashi with devotion.
(4) Paush Putrada Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Paush)
Putrada Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhisthira )
Shri Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “Oh Madhusudana, Oh killer of the Madhu demon, please be merciful to me and describe to me the Ekadashi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Shravana (July-August).” The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, replied, “Yes, Oh king, I shall happily narrate its glories to you, for just by hearing about this sacred Ekadashi one attains the merit of performing a horse sacrifice.
“Hearing this, the king’s Brahman advisers discussed the subject among themselves, and with the aim of benefiting the king they visited the various ashrams of the great sages. At last they came upon a sage who was austere, pure, and self-satisfied, and who was strictly observing a vow of fasting. His senses were completely under control, he had conquered his anger, and he was expert at performing his occupational duty. Indeed, this great sage was expert in all the conclusions of the Vedas, and he had extended his life span to that of Lord Brahma himself. His name was Lomasa Rishi, and he knew part, present, and future. After each kalpa passed, one hair would fall out of his body. All the king’s Brahman advisers very happily approached him one by one to offer their humble respects. “Captivated by this great soul, King Mahijita’s advisers offered obeisance's to him and said very respectfully, ‘Only because of our great good fortune, Oh sage, have we been allowed to see you.
“Lomasa Rishi saw them bowing down to him and replied, ‘Kindly let me know why you have come here. Why are you praising me? I must do all I can to solve your problems, for sages like me have only one interest: to help others. Do not doubt this.’ “The king’s representatives said, ‘We have come to you, Oh exalted sage, to ask for your help in solving a very serious problem. Oh sage, you are like Lord Brahma. Indeed, there is no better sage in the entire world. Our king, Mahijita, is without a son, though he has sustained and protected us as if we were his sons. Seeing him so unhappy on account of being sonless, we have become very sad, Oh sage, and therefore we have entered the forest to perform severe austerities. By our good fortune we happened upon you. Everyone’s desires and activities become successful just by your darshana. Thus we humble ask that you tell us how our kind can obtain a son.
“Hearing their sincere plea, Lomasa Rishi absorbed himself in deep meditation for a moment and at once understood the king’s previous life. Then he said, ‘Your ruler was a merchant in his past life, and feeling his wealth insufficient, he committed sinful deeds. He traveled to many villages to trade his goods. Once, at noon on the day after the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha , he became thirsty while traveling from place to place. He came upon a beautiful pond on the outskirts of a village, but just as he was about to drink at the pond a cow arrived there with her new-born calf. These two creatures were also very thirsty because of the heat, but when the cow and calf started to drink, the merchant rudely shoved them aside and selfishly slaked his own thirst. This offense against a cow and her calf has resulted in your king’s being without a son now. But the good deeds he performed in his previous life have given him ruler ship over an undisturbed kingdom.
“Hearing this, the king’s advisers replied, ‘Oh renowned rishi, we have heard that the Vedas say one can nullify the effects of one’s past sins by acquiring merit. Be so kind as to give us some instruction by which our king’s sins can be destroyed; please give him your mercy so that a prince will take birth in his family.
“Lomasa Rishi said, ‘There is an Ekadashi called Putrada, which comes during the light fortnight of the month of Shravan. On this day all of you, including your king, should fast and stay awake all night, strictly following the rules and regulations. Then you should give the king whatever merit you gain by this fast. If you follow these instructions of mine, he will surely be blessed with a fine son.
“All the king’s advisers became very pleased to hear these words from Lomasa Rishi, and they all offered him their grateful obeisance's. Then, their eyes bright with happiness, they returned home.
“When the month of Shravan arrived, the king’s advisers remembered the advice of Lomasa Rishi, and under their direction all the citizens of Mahismati-puri, as well as the king, fasted on Ekadashi. And on the next day, DvAdasi, the citizens dutifully offered their accrued merit to him. By the strength of all this merit, the queen became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a most beautiful son.
“O Yudhisthira,” Lord Krishna concluded, “the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Shravan has thus rightfully become famous as Putrada . Whoever desires happiness in this world and the next should certainly fast from all grains and legumes on this holy day. Indeed, whoever simply hears the glories of Putrada Ekadashi becomes completely free of all sins, is blessed with a good son, and surely ascends to heaven after death.”
This way the person who observes this fast, all his obstacles in having a child are removed and gets blessed with a son. A person who hears and follows the greatness of this vrata achieves salvation after his death.
According to the Hindu calendar, Putrada Ekadashi vrata is observed every year on Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha, Paush month. This day Lord Narayana is worshiped. After taking bath early in the morning and completing daily work, clean clothes are worn and Lord Hari is worshiped. First of all, Lord Narayana is worshiped with incense stick and small lamp(deepak). After this, a person, as per his capacity, offers flowers, fruits, coconut, betel leaf, betel nut, clove, berries, Amla etc. to the Lord. After observing fast for the whole day, Katha is heard in the evening and fruits are eaten. Gifting lamps(deep) on this day is considered auspicious.
The fruits of this fast is according to its name. This vrata is beneficial for people having problems in conceiving a child or for those who wish to have a boy child. Henceforth, the people who wish to have a child should observe this vrata and get his wish fulfilled.
(5) Shattila / Tilda Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Magh)
Shattila /Tilda Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
A long time ago in the ages of satya yug there lived a Brahmin female. She was pure and very religious spending most of her time in devotion of God. She made donations and contributed huge amounts of clothes, jewellery and various other items to the poor. But she had never donated food and grains at all. Once the Lord took a form of a rishi and came to her house to receive alms. On that occasion the Brahmin female must have been in one of her angry moods and gave a rolled ball of clay in the bowl of the Lord. The Lord accepted it, blessed her and departed back to His divine abode.
As the month of Paush came by the Brahmin devotee was visited by the wives of the devtas and she followed the instructions given. Upon listening and learning the vrat of this Ekadashi, she received blessings from the devis and on the day of Ekadashi, performed the full vrat and as per the Lord’s wish, was rewarded duly in return.
Shatila Ekadashi (also known as Tilda Ekadashi) takes place on the eleventh day of Krishna Paksh in the month of Paush. “Til” means sesame seeds (commonly known as “Tal”). “Da” means to donate. Hence on this day, one has to donate seeds and clothes to the Brahmins and the needy.
On this day of Ekadashi, one must donate “Tal” seeds to God and the needy. One should go through the day by observing fast and constant devotion to God. In return, one will achieve good health and everlasting happiness in this life and the next.
(6) Jaya / Bheeshma Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Magh)
This year Jaya Ekadashi falls on Thurs, 18 Feb, 2016.:--
Jaya Ekadasi Vrat Katha (Story)
Once in the gathering of God Indra, a demigod (Gandharva) Malyavan was singing a song. But, his mind was remembering his beloved Pushpwati. So, while singing his rhythm went out of the path. On this, God Indra cursed him saying “The girl in whose memories you are lost will become a monster.”
Listening this, demigod asked for forgiveness from Lord Indra and pleaded him to take back these words. But, Lord Indra was unmoved. God moved him out of that gathering. When Gandharva returned home, he saw his wife had turned to a demon.
Bheeshma Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
The Bheeshma Ekadasi falls in the Uttarayana Punyakalam which has many auspicious days dedicated to Bheeshma like the Bheeshma Ashtami and Bhishma Dwadasi. It is widely acknowledged that Bhishma chose this period of Uttarayana Punyakalam to leave his mortal coil and unite with the Supreme Soul. In the northern states of India on this particular day Jaya Ekadashi is observed.
** Jaya Ekadashi
Jaya Ekadasi fast is celebrated on Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha, Magh month. Lord Keshav is worshipped whith flowers, water, Akshat, Roli and sweet smelling materials on this day. On Jaya Ekadasi, Aarti of Lord Krishna is performed after observing fast. Pasaad offered to God is distributed and then eaten.
Lord Vishnu is worshipped in Ekadashi fast. But in Jaya Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu is also worshipped with Lord Krishna. Person observing this fast should mentally prepare himself a day before fast. After taking meal in evening on 10th day (one day before Ekadasi) the resolution of fast should be taken in the morning of Ekadashi. Then, Lord Krishna should be worshipped with incense stick, lamp, fruits. Now, Lord Vishnu should be worshipped with Panchamrit.
Fast is observed the whole day and Jagran is performed at night. Reading Vishnu Sahastranaam and doing Jagran for the whole night is considered favorable. If it is not possible to observe the fast at night, in such a case one can have fruits. In the morning of Dvadashi, after bathing, Brahmans are gifted food and alms as per the capacity of an individual. By this, a person gets free from all his sins.
Jaya Ekadashi fast is celebrated on Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha, Magh month. This Ekadashi removes all sorts of sin and is considered favorable. Observing this fast every year increases the virtuous works of a person and help him get salvation. A person can get free from evil works life Brahma Hatya
** Bheeshma Ekadashi
Devotees believe that listening to the Vishnu Sahastranama Stotram leads to Moksha, i.e. freedom from the cycle of life. Staunch followers fast on the day of Bheeshma Ekadasi. In the Hindu religion Ekadasi has come to signify a day to fasting. The auspicious Upavaas (fasting) of Bheeshma Ekadasi is important as it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Devotees abstain from food completely on this day.
(7) Vijaya Ekadashi
Vijaya Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
According to the story, Lord Ram reached the sea cost to invade in Lanka, on the day of Vijaya Ekadashi. Lord Ram saw the vast sea infront of him. His wife Sita was in Ravan’s prison. So, Lord Ram requested Sea God (Samundra Devta) to give him way. But, Samundra did not gave Lord the way of going to Lanka. Then, God Ram asked the Rishi Vakdalabhya for the solution.
To observe the fast, feel a pitcher of mud with seven types of cereals. On top of this, leaves of pipal, mango, Gular (wild fig tree) and Banyan tree are placed. Also, in a separate urn, barley is kept. In this urn a picture of Lakshmi Narayan is placed and worshipped. Observe fast on the day of Ekadashi and perform Jagran at night. Offer the urn with water to Samundra, next day.
This Vrat will help you get the way to Lanka from sea and make you win over Ravana.” So, Lord Ram Observed the fast as explained by Rishi Vakdalabhya. This incident gave the Name Vijaya Ekasashi to this fast of Ekadashi.
On the day of Vijaya Ekadashi, seven cereals are placed. The seven cereals include wheat, Urad, Moong, gram, rice, barley, lentils. On this, idol of Lord Vishnu is established. A person should observe this fast for the whole day and perform Jagran at night by reading Vishnu Path, Vishnu Sahasranama.
A night before the fast day, Satvik Bhojan (simple food with no garlic and onions) should be eaten. After the night meal nothing else should be eaten. This Vrat is observed for 24 hours. Fast is concluded on Dvadashi (next day of Ekadasi) morning by gifting a pitcher full of cereal to Brahman. Observing this fast removes grief and problems. As per the name, Vijaya Ekadashi gives success to a person in difficult circumstances of life.
(8) Amalaki Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh– Phalgun)
Brahmanda Puran Amalaki Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
(As told by Vasishtha Muni to King Mandhata)
King Mandhata once said to Vasishtha Muni, "O great sage, kindly be merciful to me and tell me of a holy fast that will benefit me eternally."
Vasishtha Muni replied. "O king, kindly listen as I describe the best of all fast days, Amalaki Ekadashi. He who faithfully observes a fast on this Ekadashi obtains enormous wealth, gets free of the effects of all kinds of sins, and attains liberation. Fasting on this Ekadashi is more purifying than donating one thousand cows in charity to a pure brahmana. So please hear me attentively as I tell you the story of a hunter who, though daily engaged in killing innocent animals for his living, achieved liberation by observing a fast on Amalaki Ekadashi following the prescribed rules and regulations of worship.
"During the reign of Maharaja Chitraratha, not a single person in his kingdom attempted to practice another's dharma (duty) so perfectly engaged in their own dharmas were all the brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras. Neither miser nor pauper was to be seen throughout the land, not was there ever a drought or flood. Indeed, the kingdom was free of disease, and everyone enjoyed good health. The people rendered loving devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, as did the king, who also rendered special service to Lord Shiva. Moreover, twice a month everyone fasted on Ekadashi."
"In this way, O best of kings, the citizens of Vaidisha lived many long years in great happiness and prosperity. Giving up all varieties of materialistic religion, they completely dedicated themselves to the loving service of the Supreme Lord, Hari."
"Once, in the month of Phalguna (February - March), the holy fast of Amalaki Ekadashi arrived, conjoined with Dvadasi. King Chitraratha realised that this particular fast would bestow especially great benefit, and thus he and all the citizens of Vaidisha observed this sacred Ekadashi very strictly, carefully following all the rules and regulations."
"After bathing in the river, the king and all his subjects went to the temple of Lord Vishnu, where an Amalaki tree grew. First the king and his leading sages offered the tree a pot filled with water, as well as a fine canopy, shoes, gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls, sapphires, and aromatic incense. Then they worshiped Lord Parashurama with these prayers: 'Oh Lord Parashurama, Oh son of Renuka, Oh all-pleasing one, Oh liberator of the worlds, kindly come beneath this holy Amalaki tree and accept our humble obeisances."
Then they prayed to the Amalaki tree: "Oh Amalaki, Oh offspring of Lord Brahma, you can destroy all kinds of sinful reactions. Please accept our respectful obeisances and these bumble gifts. O Amalaki, you are actually the form of Brahman, and you were once worshiped by Lord Ramachandra Himself. Whoever circumambulates you is therefore immediately freed of all his sins."
"After offering these excellent prayers, King Chitraratha and his subjects remained awake throughout the night, praying and worshiping according to the regulations governing a sacred Ekadashi fast. It was during this auspicious time of fasting and prayer that a very irreligious man approached the assembly, a man who maintained himself and his family by killing animals. Burdened with both fatigue and sin, the hunter saw the king and the citizens of Vaidisha observing Amalaki Ekadashi by performing an all-night vigil, fasting, and worshiping Lord Vishnu in the beautiful forest setting, which was brilliantly illuminated by many lamps. The hunter hid nearby, wondering what this extraordinary sight before him was.
"What is going on here?" he thought. What he saw in that lovely forest beneath the holy Amalaki tree was the Deity of Lord Damodara being worshiped upon the Asana of a waterpot, and what he heard were devotees singing sacred songs describing Lord Krishna's transcendental forms and pastimes. Despite himself, that staunchly irreligious killer of innocent birds and animals spent the entire night in great amazement as he watched the Ekadashi celebration and listened to the glorification of the Lord.
"Soon after sunrise, the king and his royal retinue - including the court sages and all the citizens - completed their observance of Ekadashi and returned to the city of Vaidisha. The hunter then returned to his hut and happily ate his meal. In due time the hunter died, but the merit he had gained by fasting on Amalaki Ekadashi and hearing the glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as by being forced to stay awake all night, made him eligible to be reborn as a great king endowed with may chariots, elephants, horses, and soldiers. His name was Vasuratha, the son of King Viduratha, and he ruled over the kingdom of Jayanti.
"King Vasuratha was strong and fearless, as effulgent as the Sun, and as handsome as the Moon. In strength he was like Sri Vishnu, and in forgiveness like the Earth itself. Very charitable and every truthful, King Vasuratha always rendered loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu. He therefore became very well versed in Vedic knowledge. Always active in the affairs of state, he enjoyed taking excellent care of his subjects, as though they were his own children. He disliked pride in anyone and would smash it when he saw it. He performed many kinds of sacrifices, and he always made certain that the needy in his kingdom received enough charity.
"One day, while hunting in the jungle, King Vasuratha strayed from the footpath and lost his way. Wandering for some time and eventually growing weary, he paused beneath a tree and, using his arms as a pillow, fell asleep. As he slept, some barbarian tribesmen came upon him and, remembering their longstanding enmity toward the king, began discussing among themselves various ways to kill him. 'It is because he killed our fathers, mothers, brothers-in-law, grandsons, nephews, and uncles that we are forced to aimlessly wander like so many madmen in the forest.' So saying, they prepared to kill King Vasuratha with various weapons, including spears, swords, arrows, and mystic ropes.
"But none of these deadly weapons could even touch the sleeping king, and soon the uncivilised, dog-eating tribesmen grew frightened. Their fear sapped their strength, and before long they lost what little intelligence they had and became almost unconscious with bewilderment and weakness. Suddenly a beautiful woman appeared from the king's body, startling the aborigines. Decorated with many ornaments, emitting a wonderful fragrance, wearing an excellent garland around her neck, her eyebrows drawn in a mood of fierce anger, and her fiery red eyes ablaze, she looked like death personified. With her blazing chakra discus she quickly killed all the tribal hunters, who had tried to slay the sleeping king.
"Just then the king awoke, and seeing all the dead tribesmen lying around him, he was astonished. He wondered, 'These are all great enemies of mine! Who has slain them so violently? Who is my great benefactor?'
"At that very moment he heard a voice from the sky: 'You ask who helped you. Well, who is that person who alone can help anyone is distress? He is none other than Sri Keshava, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He who saves all who take shelter of Him without any selfish motive.'
"Upon hearing these words, King VasUratha became over-whelmed with love for the Personality of Godhead Shri Keshava (Krishna). He returned to his capital city and ruled there like a second lord Indra (king of the heavenly regions), without any obstacles at all.
"Therefore, Oh King Mandhata," the venerable Vasishtha Muni concluded, "...anyone who observes this holy Amalaki Ekadashi will undoubtedly attain the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, so great is the religious merit earned from the observance of this most sacred fast day."
Amalaki Ekadashi falls in the month of Phalgun (feb-mar). It is also known as 'Phalgun Shukla Ekadashi'. Amalaki Ekadashi is considered very auspicious for worshipping lord Vishnu with the Amalas and taking food made of amalas only. Anyone who observes this holy Amalaki Ekadashi will undoubtedly attain the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, so great is the religious merit earned from the observance of this most sacred fast day.
(9) Papmochani Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Chaitra)
Papmochani Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
In the Lok of Swarag, there is a beautiful garden in the name of Chaitrarath. Nearly all devtas go to the garden and spend most of their time for relaxation. The Rishis spent their time performing penance in order to please the Supreme Almighty God. Once Kamdeva, out of revenge wanted to disturb and break the continuous penance of a Rishi named as Medhavi. The path Kamdev chose was to send an attractive dancer named "Manjughosha" and encourage Medhavi Rishi into loosing concentration to God and instead focus on the dancing and falling into the cage of fantasy illusion. Upon dancing, Medhavi Rishi got entangled with the dancer and began living with her. The Rishi spent most of his time in looking after the dancer and overlooked the meditation of God. He would not let her out of his sight for even a second.
Medhavi Rishi went to his father Chavan Rishi and pleaded, “O Father, I have broken the continuous communion to God and ended up in living in sin with this dancer. Please guide me and show me how I can get released from these sins.” Chavan Rishi replied, “O Son, by keeping full vrat of Papmochni Ekadashi frees you from all sins.”
Medhavi Rishi and the dancer both performed the vrat of Papmochani Ekadashi and were ultimately freed from their sins.
The Ekadashi that fall in Krishna paksha of Fagan month is called Papmochani Ekadashi. This is the giver of wealth and the destroyer of many sins.
(10) Kamada Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Chaitra)
Kamada Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja )
Once Yudhishthira Maharaja said, 'Oh Lord Krishna, Oh Vasudeva, please accept my humble obeisance's. Please describe to me the Ekadashi that occurs during the light part of the month of Chaitra . What is its name, and what are its glories?'
Lord Shri Krishna replied, 'Oh Yudhishthira, please listen to Me attentively as I relate the ancient history of this sacred Ekadashi, a history Vasishtha Muni once related to King Dilipa, the great-grandfather of Lord Ramachandra.
Vasishtha Muni replied, "Oh king, your inquiry is glories. Gladly shall I tell you what you wish to know. The Ekadashi that occurs during the light fortnight of Chaitra is named Kamada Ekadashi. It consumes all sins. It is very purifying, and it bestows the highest merit upon one who faithfully observes it. Oh king, now hear an ancient history which is so meritorious that it removes all one's sins simply by being heard.
Once, long ago, there was a city named Ratnapura and King Pundarika was its ruler. It had mostly Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and Apsaras among its citizens.
Among the Gandharvas were Lalit and his wife Lalita, who was an lovely couple. These two were intensely attracted to each other. Lalita loved her husband dearly, and likewise he constantly thought of her within his heart. They were inseparable.
Once, in the court of King Pundarika, many Gandharvas were singing, Lalit was one among them. While singing Lalit could not help thinking about his beloved, and because of this distraction he lost track of the song's melody. Lalit sang the song improperly, and one of the envious snake named kakort who was in attendance at the king's court complained to the king that Lalit ws lost in the thought's of his wife that's because he lost track and sang improperly. The king became furious upon hearing this, and he shouted, 'Oh foolish knave, because you were lustfully thinking of a woman instead of reverently thinking of your king as you performed your court duties, I curse you to at once become a Demon !, a man-eating demon with a terrified apperance.
Lalit immediately became a fearful Demon. His arms were eight miles long, his mouth was as big as a huge cave, his eyes were as awesome as the sun and moon, his nostrils resembled enormous pits in the earth, his neck was a veritable mountain, his hips were four miles wide, and his gigantic body stood a full sixty-four miles high. Thus poor Lalit, the Gandharva singer, had to suffer the reaction of his offense against King Pundarika.
Seeing her husband suffering as a horrible monster, Lalita became overwhelmed with grief. She thought, 'Now that my dear husband is suffering the effects of the kings' curse, what is left for me? What should I do? Where should I go?' In this way Lalita grieved day and night. Instead of enjoying life as a Gandharvas wife, she wandered everywhere in the thick jungle with her husband, who had fallen completely under the spell of the king's curse. He wandered fitfully across forbidding region, a once-beautiful Gandharva now reduced to the behavior of a man-eater.
One day, while wandering in the jungle, Lalita met the sage Shringi . He was sitting on the peak of the Vindhyachala Hmountain. Approaching him, she immediately offered the ascetic her respectful obeisance's. The sage noticed her bowing down before him and said, 'Who are you and why have you come here? Why you look so gloomy. Please tell me everything in truth.'
Lalita replied, 'Oh Brahmana, my name is Lalita. I wander in the jungle with my dear husband, whom King Pundarika has cursed to become a man-eating demon. I am greatly aggrieved to see him like this. Oh Saint, please tell me how I can perform some act of atonement on behalf of my husband. How can I free him from this demonic form, please help me. The sage replied, 'There is an Ekadashi named Kamada that occurs in the light fortnight of the month of Chaitra. It is coming up soon. Whoever fasts on this day has all his desires fulfilled. If you observe this Ekadashi fast according to its rules and regulations and give the merit you thus earn from your fast to your husband, he will be freed from the curse at once.'
Lalita faithfully observed the fast of Kamada Ekadashi according to the instructions of the sage Shringi, and on Dvadasi she appeared before him and the Deity of Lord Vasudeva and said, 'I have faithfully observed the fast of Kamada Ekadashi. By the merit earned through my observance of this fast, let my husband be free from the curse that has turned him into a beast. May the merit I have gained thus free him from his misery.'
And Lalita's husband, who stood nearby, was at once freed from the king's curse. He immediately regained his original form as the Gandharva Lalit, a handsome heavenly singer adorned with many beautiful ornaments. All this was accomplished by the power and glory of Kamada Ekadashi. At last the Gandharva couple boarded a celestial airplane and ascended to heaven.
Lord Sri Krishna continued, 'Oh Yudhishthira!, anyone who hears this story should certainly observe holy Kamada Ekadashi to the best of his ability, such great merit does it bestow upon the faithful devotee. I have therefore described its glories to you for the benefit of all humanity.
The Amavasaya of Chaitra month is the last day of Hindu year and on the next day begins the new year according to Hindu calendar and the Chaitra Navratras. The ekadashi that falls after the navratras is called Kamada ekadashi or Chaitra shukla ekadashi. Chaitra Sudi Ekadashi grants all the wishes.
There is no better Ekadashi than Kamada Ekadashi. It can eradicate even the sin of killing a brahmana, and it also nullifies demoniac curses. In all the three worlds and moreover it grants all the wishes'
(11) Varuthini Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh -Vaishakh)
Varuthini Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja )
Once King Yudhisthira asked Shree Krishna - “Oh Madhusudan, Please describe to me the Ekadashi of the krishna paksha of the month of Vaisakha (April-May), including its name, specific merits and influence.”
Lord Shree Krishna replied, “Oh King, in this world and the next, the most auspicious and magnanimous Ekadashi is Varuthini Ekadashi, which occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Vaisakha.
Fasting on Varuthini Ekadashi makes even an unfortunate woman fortunate. Upon anyone who observes it, this Ekadashi bestows material enjoyment in this life and liberation after the death of this present body. It destroys the sins of all and saves people from the miseries of repeated rebirth.
“By observing this Ekadashi properly, King Mandhata was liberated." Whatever merit one obtains by performing austerities and penances for ten thousand years is achieved by a person who observes Varuthini Ekadashi. "
The merit one achieves by donating a great amount of gold during a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra is gained by one who observes this one Ekadashi with love and devotion, and certainly attains his goals in this life and the next. In short, this Ekadashi is pure and very enlivening and the destroyer of all sins.
“Better than giving horses in charity is giving elephants, and better than giving elephants is giving land. But better still than giving land is the giving of sesame seeds, and better than that is giving of gold. Still better than giving gold is giving food grains - for all the forefathers, demigods (devtas), and human beings become satisfied by eating grains. Thus there is no better gift of charity than this in the past, present or future.”
“Yet learned scholars have declared that giving away a young maiden in marriage to a worthy person is equal to giving away food grains in charity. Moreover,giving cows in charity is equal to giving food grains. Still better than all these charities is teaching spiritual knowledge to the ignorant. Yet all the merits one can attain by performing all these acts of charity are attained by one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadashi.”
“One who lives off the wealth of his daughters suffers a hellish condition until the inundation of the entire universe, therefore one should be especially careful not to use the wealth of his daughter. Oh best of kings, any householder who takes his daughter’s wealth out of greed, who tries to sell his daughter, or who takes money from the man to whom he has given his daughter in marriage – such a householder becomes a lowly cat in his next life. Therefore it is said that whoever, as a sacred act of charity, gives away in marriage a maiden i.e. does kanyadaan. That very same merit, however, can be easily achieved by one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadashi.
“The following things should be given up on the Dashami, (the tenth phase of the Moon), the day before the Ekadashi: (1) eating on bell-metal plates, (2) eating any kind of urid-dahl, (3) eating red-lentils, (4) eating chick-peas, (5) eating kondo (a grain that is primarily eaten by poor people and that resembles poppy seeds or agarpanthas seeds), (6) eating honey, (7) eating in another person’s house/home, (8) eating more than once, (9) eating Channa and (10) participating in sex of any kind.
“On the Ekadashi itself one should give up the following: gambling, sports, sleeping during the daytime, betal nuts and its leaf, brushing one’s teeth, spreading rumours, faultfinding, talking to the spiritually fallen, anger, and lying.
“On the Dwadashi the day after Ekadashi (the twelfth phase of the Moon), one should give up the following: eating on bell-metal plates, eating urad-daal, red-lentils, or honey, lying, strenuous exercise or labor, eating more than once, any sexual activity, shaving the body, face or head, smearing oils on one’s body, and eating in another’s home.”
Lord Sri Krishna continued, “Whoever observes the Varuthini Ekadashi in this way becomes free from all sinful reactions and returns to the eternal, spiritual abode. One who worships Lord Madhusudan (Krishna) on this Ekadashi by staying awake throughout the entire night, also becomes free from all his previous sins and attains to the spiritual abode. Therefore, Oh king, he who is frightened of his accumulated sins and their attendant reactions, and thus of death itself, must observe Varuthini Ekadashi by fasting very strictly.
“Finally, he who hears or reads this glorification of the sacred Varuthini Ekadashi obtains the merit earned by donating one thousand cows in charity, and at last attains heaven."
Varuthini Ekadashi falls in the month of Vaisakh (April-May). It is also known as 'Vaishakh Krishna Ekadashi'. It is believed that whosoever observes a complete fast on this sacred day has his sins completely removed, obtains continuous happiness, and achieves all good fortune. Giving the daughter away as a daan on her wedding (kanyadaan) is termed as the most absolute daan a person can give to anyone in this world. However this varuthini ekadashi vrat gives a person similar fruits to a hundred kanyadaan.
(12) Mohini Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Vaishakh)
Mohini Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
(as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthir)
Once Yudhisthira Maharaja asked Shree Krishna, "Oh Natwar Nagar! what is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight (shukla paksha) of the month of Vaisakha. What is the process for observing it properly. Kindly narrate all of these details to me.
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "Oh Kunti's son ! After Sitaji's kidnap, when lord Rama was very disturbed, he came to his guru Vasistha and said- I am going through great grief and sadness in my life. Please enlighten me and the people of this world by showing us a means of overcoming great sorrows and troubles of this life. what Vasishtha Muni once told to Lord Ramachandra I shall now describe to you. Please hear Me attentively.
Vasishtha Muni replied, “O Prabhu, just by chanting your divine name makes a person happy in this life, but yet for the benediction of mankind the vrat of Mohini Ekadashi relieves one from all troubles of life and society.”
'On the banks of the Sarasvati River there was once a beautiful city named Bhadravati, which was ruled by King Dyutiman. Oh Rama, that steadfast, truthful, and highly intelligent king was born in the dynasty of the Moon. In his kingdom was a merchant named Dhanapal, who possessed a great deal of wealth of food grains and money. He was also very pious. Dhanapal arranged for lakes to be dug, sacrificial arenas to be erected, and beautiful gardens to be cultivated for the benefit of all the citizens of Bhadravati. He was an excellent devotee of Lord Vishnu and had five sons: Sumana, Dyutiman, Medhavi, Sukirti, and Drishta Buddhi.
'Unfortunately, his son Drishta Buddhi was a great sinner and performed dreadful acts to the people of the village, such as sleeping with prostitutes and associating with similar degraded persons. He enjoyed illicit sex, gambling, and many other illegal acts. Drishta Buddhi spent up his father's wealth indiscriminately, always feasting on untouchable foods and drinking alcohol to excess.
Upon learning of his son’s misconduct, Dhanpal and his sons kicked him out of their house. After being disowned by his father and brothers Dhrishthabuddhi was left with no money to spend on prostitutes and other illegal activities, therefore his friends and prostitutes distanced themselves from him. Dhrishthabuddhi was now full of anxiety, and also hungry. He then began to steal. The king's constables arrested him, but when they learned who it was, and that his father was the famous Dhanapal, they released him. He was caught again but time the ill-mannered Dhrishthabuddhi was apprehended, handcuffed, and then beaten. After whipping him, the king's marshals warned him and threw him out of their kingdom.
Dhrishthabuddhi thereafter entered the dense forest. He wandered here and there, hungry and thirsty and suffering greatly. Eventually he began killing the jungle animals for food. Dhrishthabuddhi was always miserable and anxious, but one day, during the month of Vaisakha, by the force of some of his past merit he chanced upon the sacred Ashram of Kaundinya Muni. The great sage had just finished bathing in the Ganges River, and water was dripping from him still. Dhrishthabuddhi had the great good fortune to touch some of those droplets of water that were falling from the great sage's wet clothing. Instantly Dhrishthabuddhi was freed of his ignorance, and his sinful reactions were reduced. Offering his humble obeisance's to Kaundinya Muni, Dhrishthabuddhi prayed to him with joined palms; "Oh great brahman! I have committed so many sins in my life, please describe to me some of the atonement I may perform without too much Endeavour and expense.
The Rishi replied, “Oh Dhrishthabuddhi! you have overcome most of your suffering by just realizing your mistake. To get yourself cleansed further and achieve salvation you must perform the great vrat of Mohini Ekadashi with full reliance and devotion to God Almighty. This vrat will bestow you with a place in the heavens.”
Thereafter on the next Vaisakha, Dhrishthabuddhi performed the vrat as advised by Kaundinya Rishi. As time went by, Dhrishthabuddhi became free from sins and after his death, achieved a divine body, sat on Garud and ascended to the heavenly abode Vaikunth.”
‘Oh Rama! the fast of Mohini Ekadashi removes the darkest illusory attachments to material existence. There is thus no better fast day in all the three worlds than this. And He who hears and studies the glories of Mohini Ekadashi achieves the merit of giving away one thousand cows in charity."
Mohini Ekadashi falls in the month of Vaisakh or Shukla paksha (April-May) . Purushottam lord Rama is worshipped on this day. It is believed that whosoever observes a complete fast on this sacred day gets great benefits to live happily in this life and the next. Observing this ekadashi vrat helps achieve peace, honour and the divine pleasure of God to all mankind on this earth.
(13) Apara (Achala) Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Jyeshtha)
** This year Apara Ekadashi falls on Wed, 1 Jun, 2016.
Apara (Achala) Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
(as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthir)
Once Yudhishthira Maharaja said, 'Oh Lord Krishna, Oh Vasudeva, please accept my humble obeisance's. Please describe to me the Ekadashi that oc24
Lord Sri Krishna said, "Oh great king ! the name of this meritorious Ekadashi is Apara Ekadashi. Whoever fasts on this holy day becomes famous all over the universe. Even such sins as killing a brahman, a cow, or an embryo, blasphemy, or having sex with another man’s wife are completely eradicated by observing Apara Ekadashi. People who bear false witness, a person who falsely or sarcastically glorifies another, one who cheats while weighing something on a scale, one who invents his own scripture, one who cheats others, one who is a false astrologer, a cheating accountant, or a false Ayurvedic doctor. All these are surely as bad as persons who bears false witness, and they are all destined for hellish punishments. But simply by observing Apara Ekadashi, all such sinners become completely free of their sinful reactions. Warriors who fall from their kshatriya-dharma and flee the battlefield go to a ferocious hell. Even such a fallen kshatriya, if he observes fasting on the Apara Ekadashi, is freed of that great sinful reaction and goes to heaven. That disciple is the greatest sinner who, after receiving a proper spiritual education from his spiritual master, turns around and blasphemes him. Such a so-called disciple suffers unlimitedly. But even he simply observes Apara Ekadashi, can attain to the spiritual world.
The merit attained by one who performs all of the following acts of piety is equal to the merit achieved by one who observes Apara Ekadashi: bathing three times daily in Pushkara-kshetra during Kartika,bathing at the time of a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra, bathing at Prayag in the month of Magh when the sun is in the zodiac of Capricorn; rendering service to Lord Shiva during Shivratri, offering oblations to one’s forefathers , bathing in the sacred Gomti River when Jupiter transits Leo (Singha); and and giving cows, elephants, and gold in charity. All the merit one gets from performing these pious acts is gained by a person who observes the Apara Ekadashi fast. Also, the merit attained by one who donates a pregnant cow, along with gold and fertile land, is attained by one who fasts on this day. This Ekadashi is an axe that cuts down the fully matured forest full of trees of sinful deeds, it is a forest fire that burns sins as if they were kindling firewood, it is the sun blazing before one’s dark misdeeds. Therefore one who faithfully observes the Apara Ekadashi and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Trivikrama. One who does so is freed of all his sins and promoted to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
"Oh King ! for the benefit of all humanity I have thus described to you this the importance of the Apara Ekadashi. Anyone who hears or reads this description is freed from all kinds of sins.
Apara Ekadashi falls in the month of Jayestha (May-June). It is also known as 'Jayestha Krishna Ekadashi'. Apara Ekadashi is the giver of good deeds, destroyer of sins and one who observes the vrat with a full fast on this day attains great esteem and honor in this world.
(14) Nirjala Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Jyeshtha)
Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
Once Bhimasena, the younger brother of Maharaja Yudhisthira, asked the great sage Shrila Vyasa ji, the grandfather of the Pandavas, if it is possible to return to the spiritual world without having observed all the rules and regulations of the Ekadashi fasts.
Bhimasena then spoke as follows, "Oh greatly intelligent and learned grandfather, my brother Yudhisthira, my dear mother Kunti, and my beloved wife Draupadi, as well as Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, fast completely on each Ekadashi and strictly follow all the rules, guidelines and regulative injunctions of that sacred day. Being very religious, they always tell me that I should also fast on that day too. But, Oh learned grandfather, I tell them that I cannot live without eating, because as the son of Vayudeva - Samanaprana, hunger is unbearable to me. I can give widely in charity and worship Lord Keshava properly with all manner of wonderful upacharas (items), but I cannot be asked to fast on Ekadashi. Please tell me how I can obtain the same merits result without fasting."
Bhima replied, "Oh great saintly intelligent grandfather, please listen to my plea. Oh greatest of munis, since I cannot live if I eat only once in a day, how can I possibly live if I fast completely? Within my stomach burns a special fire named Vrika, the fire of digestion. Agni the fire-god, descends from Lord Vishnu through BrahmA, from BrahmA to Angirasa, from Angirasa to Brihaspathi, and from Brihaspathi to Samyu, who was Agni'' father. He is the gatekeeper in charge of Nairritti, the south-eastern direction. He is one of the eight material elements, and Parikshit MahArAja, he is very expert at examining things. He examined Maharaja Shibi once by turning into a dovE.
Agni is divided into three categories; Davagni, the fire in wood, JatharAgni, the fire in the digestion in the stomach, and Vadavagni, the fire that creates fog when hot and cold streams mix in for example the ocean. Another name for the fire of digestion is Vrika. It is this powerful fire that resided in Bhima's stomach.
Only when I eat to my full satisfaction does the fire in my stomach become satisfied. Oh great sage, I might possibly be able to fast only once, so I beg that you tell me of an Ekadashi that is worthy of my fasting and that includes all other Ekadashi's. I shall faithfully observe that fast and hopefully still become eligible for liberation's release."
Shri Vyasa ji replied, Oh king, you have heard from me about the various kinds of occupational duties, such as elaborate Vedic ceremonies and pujas. In the Kali-yuga, however, no one will be able to observe all these occupational & functional duties properly. I shall therefore tell you how, at practically no expense, one can endure some small austerity and achieve the greatest benefit and resultant happiness. The essence of what is written in the Vedic literatures known as the Puranas is that one should not eat on either the dark or light fortnight Ekadashi's." As stated in Srimad Bhagavatam (Mahabhagavat Puran)) the Bhagavat Puran is itself the essence or cream of all Vedanta philosophy (sara-vedanta-saram), and the Srimad Bhagavatam's unequivocal message is that of full surrender to Lord Sri Krishna and the rendering of loving devotional service to Him. Observing Ekadashi strictly is a great aid in that process, and here Shrila Vyasa ji is simply stressing to Bhima the importance of the Ekadashi vrat. "One who fasts on Ekadashi's saved from going to the hell"
Hearing Shri Vyasa ji's words, the son of Vayu, Bhimasena, the strongest of all warriors, became frightened and began to shake like a leaf on a banyan tree in a strong wind. The frightened Bhimasena then said, "Oh grandfather, what should I do? I am completely unable and ill equipped to fast twice in a month throughout the year! Please tell me of the one fasting day that will bestow the greatest benefit upon me!"
Vyasa ji replied, "Without drinking even water, you should fast on the Ekadashi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha (May-June) when the sun travels in the sign of Taurus (Vrishabh) and Gemini (Mithun), According to learned personalities, on this day one may bathe and perform Achaman for pratiprokshana purification. But while performing Achaman one may drink only that amount of water equal to a drop of gold, or that amount it takes to immerse a single mustard seed. Only this amount of water should be placed in the right palm for sipping, which one should form to resemble a cow's ear. If one drinks more water than this, he might as well have drunk wine - despite the soaring heat of summer (in the northern hemisphere and cold in the southern hemisphere).
"One must certainly not eat anything, for if he does so he breaks his fast. This rigid fast is in effect from sunrise on the Ekadashi day to sunrise on the Dwadashi day. If a person endeavors to observe this great fast very strictly, he easily achieves the result of observing all twenty-four other Ekadashi fasts throughout the entire year.
"On Dwadashi the devotee should bathe early in the morning. Then, according to the prescribed rules, guidelines and regulative injunctions, and of course depending on his ability, he should give some gold and water to worthy brAhmaNas. Finally, he should cheerfully honor prasadam with a brahmana.
"Oh Bhimasena, one who can fast on this special Ekadashi in this manner reaps the benefit of having fasted on every Ekadashi during the year. There is no doubt of this, nor should there be. Oh Bhima, now hear the specific merit one gets by fasting on this Ekadashi. The Supreme Lord Keshava, who holds a conch, discus, club and lotus, personally told me, `Everyone should take shelter of Me and follow My instructions.' Then He told me that one who fasts on this Ekadashi, without taking even drinking water or eating, becomes free of all sinful reactions, and that one who observes the difficult Nirjala fast on Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi truly reaps the benefit of all other Ekadashi fasts.
"Oh Bhimasena, in the Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, when all the principles of the Vedas will have been destroyed or greatly minimized, and when there will be no proper charity or observance of the ancient Vedik principles and ceremonies, how will there be any means of purifying the self? But there is the opportunity to fast on Ekadashi and become free of all one's past sins.
"Oh son of Vayu (air), what more can I say to you? You should not eat during the Ekadashi's that occur during the dark and light fortnights, and you should even give up drinking water (nir = no jalaa= water) on the particularly auspicious Ekadashi day of Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi. Oh Vrikodara (veracious eater), whoever fasts on this Ekadashi receives the merits of bathing in all the places of pilgrimage, giving all kinds of charities to worthy persons, and fasting on all the dark and light Ekadashi's throughout the year, in one go. Of this there is no doubt.
Oh tiger among men, whoever fasts on this Ekadashi truly becomes a great person and achieves all manner of opulence and wealth, grains, strength, and health. And at the fearful moment of death, the terrible Yamadutas, whose complexions are yellow and black and who brandish huge maces and twirl mystic pasha ropes in the air for binding their victims, will refuse to approach him. Rather, such a faithful soul will at once be taken to the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu by the Vishnu-dutas, whose transcendentally beautiful forms are clothed in gorgeous yellowish garments and who each hold a disk, club, conch and lotus in their four hands, resembling Lord Vishnu. It is to gain all these benefits that one should certainly fast on this very auspicious and important Ekadashi, even from water."
When the other Pandavas heard about the benefits to be gained by following Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi, they resolved to observe it exactly as their grandfather Srila Vyasa ji had explained it to their brother, Bhimasena. All the Pandavas observed it by refraining from eating or drinking anything, and thus this day is also known as Pandava Nirjala Dvadashii (technically it is a Maha-Dvadashii).
Shri Vyasa ji continued, Oh Bhimasen, therefore you should observe this important fast to remove all your past sinful reactions. You should pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna in this way making your sankalp declaration, `Oh Lord of all the devtas (demigods), Oh Supreme Personality of Godhead, today I shall observe Ekadashi without taking any water. Oh unlimited Anantadev, I shall break fast on the next day, DwAdashii.' Thereafter, to remove all his sins, the devotee should honour this Ekadashi fast with full faith in the Lord and with full control over his senses. Whether his sins are equal in volume to Mount Sumeru or to Mandarachala Hill, if he or she observes this Ekadashi, the sins that have been accumulated all become nullified and are burned to ashes. Such is the great power of this Ekadashi.
"Oh best of human beings, although a person should also give water and cows in charity during this Ekadashi, if for some reason or other he cannot, then he should give a qualified brahmana some cloth or a pot filled with water. Indeed, the merit achieved by giving water alone equals that gained by giving gold ten million times a day.
"Oh Bhima, Lord Sri Krishna has said that whoever observes this Ekadashi should take a Holy bath, give charity to a worthy person, chant the Lord's Holy names on a japa-mala, and perform some kind of recommended sacrifice, for by doing these things on this day one receives imperishable benefits. There is no need to perform any other kind of religious duty. Observance of this Ekadashi fast alone promotes one to the supreme abode of Sri Vishnu. Oh best of the Kurus, if one donates gold, cloth, or anything else on this day, the merit one obtains is imperishable.
"Remember, whosoever eats any grains on Ekadashi becomes contaminated by sin and verily eats only sin. In effect, he has already become a dog-eater, and after death he suffers a hellish existence. But he who observes this sacred Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi and gives something in charity certainly achieves liberation from the cycle of repeated birth and death and attains to the supreme abode. Observing this Ekadashi, which is merged with Dwadashi, frees one from the horrible sin of killing a brahmana, drinking liquor and wine, becoming envious of one's spiritual master and ignoring his instructions, and continually telling lies.
"Furthermore, Oh best of beings (Jivottama), any man or woman who observes this fast properly and worships the Supreme Lord Jalshayi (He who sleeps on the water), and who on the next day satisfies a qualified brahmana with nice sweets and a donation of cows and money - such a person certainly pleases the Supreme Lord Vasudeva, so much so that one hundred previous generations in his family undoubtedly go to the Supreme Lord's abode, even though they may have been very sinful, of bad character, and guilty of suicide, etc. Indeed, one who observes this amazing Ekadashi rides on a glorious celestial airplane (vimana) to the Lord's abode.
"One who on this day gives a brahmana a water pot, an umbrella, or shoes surely goes to the heavenly planets. Indeed, he who simply hears these glories also attains to the transcendental abode of the Supreme Lord, Shri Vishnu. Whoever performs the Shraddha ceremony to the forefathers on the dark-moon day called amavasya, particularly if it occurs at the time of a solar eclipse undoubtedly achieves great merit. But this same merit is achieved by him who simply hears this sacred narration - so powerful and so dear to the Lord is this Ekadashi.
"One should clean his teeth properly and, without eating or drinking, observe this Ekadashi to please the Supreme Lord, Keshava. On the day after Ekadashi one should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form as Trivikrama by offering Him water, flowers, incense, and a brightly burning lamp. Then the devotee should pray from the heart, `Oh God of gods, Oh deliverer of everyone, Oh Hrishikesha, master of the senses, kindly bestow upon me the gift of liberation, though I can offer you nothing greater than this humble pot filled with water.' Then the devotee should donate the water pot to a brahmana.
"Oh Bhimasena, after this Ekadashi fast and donating the recommended items according to his ability, the devotee should feed brahmanas and thereafter honour prasadam silently."
Shri Vyasa ji concluded, "I strongly urge you to fast on this auspicious, purifying, sin-devouring Dwadashi in just the way I have outlined. Thus you will be completely freed of all sins and reach the supreme abode."
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Jyeshtha-shukla Ekadashi, or Bhimaseni-Nirjala Ekadashi, from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana.
Nirjala Ekadashi falls in the month of Jyestha in the Shukla paksha (June), therefore it is also called "Jyeshtha Shukla Ekadashi" or "Bhimseni Ekadashi" (Bhim sen, the second Pandava Brother, had observed this difficult fast). Amongst the 24 Ekadashi's observed throughout the year, the fast (Vrat) observed on Jyeshtha Shukla Ekadashi is considered to be the most beneficial, if one properly observes a fast on this day it is said to give the fruits of 24 Ekadashi observed throughout the year. Complete fast is observed on this day with even water not being taken. People observe strict fast and offer pooja to Lord Vishnu to ensure happiness, prosperity and forgiveness of transgressions and sins. On the preceding day that is on the 10th lunar day, Sandhya (evening prayer) is performed and only one meal is taken.
(15) Yogini Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Aashad)
Yogini Ekadasi Vrat Katha (Story)
(as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthir)
Legend has it that Kuvera, the King of Alakapuri, was a devotee of Lord Shiva and his gardener (Mali) Hem , a Yaksha, provided the flowers for the daily Shiva puja performed by the king.
Hem used to collects flowers from the Manasarovar Lake and used to provide it to the King. Hem had a beautiful wife named Visalakshi and he was very attached to her. One day, Hem forgot to provide the flowers for the daily Shiv puja of the king and instead he stayed with his wife.
The king sent a messenger to find out why he did not receive the flowers for puja and discovered that Hem was spending time with his wife instead of collecting flowers.
Hem was thrown out of the palace and soon got afflicted with white leprosy. Hem roamed the forests for several years and finally arrived at the ashram of sage Markandeya. Hem narrated his story to the sage. Saint Markandeya advised Hema to observe Yogini Ekadasi which will help in liberating him from the curse.
Hem observed Yogini Ekadasi and got back his divine form of Yaksha and he got reunited with his wife.
Yogini Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month of June or July i.e. krishna paksha of Ashada month.
The punya of this vrat is equal to feeding eighty-eight thousand brahmins (vipras), all evil deeds ( pap-karmas) demolish and swarga is achieved in the end.
(16) Deva Shayani Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh - Aashad)
Deva Shayani Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
(as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira)
Devshayani Ekadashi Vrat Katha was first narrated by Lord Brahma to Narada. The story was later told to Yudhishthira by Lord Krishna and is found in the Bhavishyottara Purana.
Legend has it that in Satyuga once there lived a pious King named Mandhata and he ruled over a highly prosperous kingdom.
But the prosperity of the kingdom was once affected by lack of rain for three years. There was widespread famine the kingdom. No farming activity was taking place in the kingdom.
There is a popular belief that a kingdom suffers due to the sinful activity of the King. But King Mandata was not able to find what fault he had committed to invite the wrath of Narayana, who is believed to produce the rains.
The king decided to go on a journey and he met several holy men and discussed the problem but none of them offered any solutions. Finally, King Mandata met Sage Angira who said that
in Satyuga, even a small sin can also affect a lot. He further indicated that there is some person in his kingdom doing wrong prayers. The sage advised the King that if he would kill that man then his kingdom may get a relief. But the King didn’t agree to that as he did not want to kill an innocent person just because of performing wrong rituals.
King Mandata went back to the palace and he along with his family members and courtiers observed the Deva Sayani Ekadasi and soon the rains arrived. This also helped in regaining the lost glory of the Kingdom.
The ancient Hindu mythology tells - on this Ekadahi Lord Hari goes to Ksheer Sagar, the Ocean of Milk, rest there for 4 months on Shesha Naga and then returns back to Vaikunth Vas on Shukla Paksha Ekadashi in Kartik Month which is also known as the Prabodhani Ekadashi. The period between Shayani Ekadashi and Prabodhani Ekadashi is considered best for events like marriage etc. and is known as Chaturmas. This Chatur Mas period is a 4 months period of rainy season.
Usually the sages and saints worship Lord Vishnu as well as goddess Lakshmi while staying at a single place only during these four months. Due to torrential rains in most parts of India, it is considered better to travel less in the Chatur Mas period.
Keeping a fast on Hari Shayani Ekadashi is considered very pious as this vrata brings happiness and prosperity. This vrata also solves the problems which the devotees are suffering from. Devotees worship Lord Vishnu and refrain themselves from consuming cereals, grains, onion, certain spices and the non-vegetarian food.
(17) Kamika Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Shravana)
Kamika Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhisthira )
The saintly king Yudhisthira maharaj said, “Oh Supreme Lord, I would like to hear from You the glories of the Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Shravana (July –August). Oh Govinda deva, please be merciful to me and explain its glories.”
Shri Krishna, replied, “Oh King, please listen attentively as I describe the auspicious influence of this Holy fast (vrata) day, which removes all sins. Narada Muni once asked Lord Brahma about this same topic. ‘Oh you who sit upon a water born lotus throne, please tell me the names of the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the sacred month of Shravana. Please also tell me which Deity is to be worshipped on that Holy day, the process one must follow to observe it, and the merit it awards.’
’Observing Kamika Ekadashi bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her auspicious calf, along with their feed. On this all auspicious day, whosoever worships Lord Sri Sridhara-deva, Vishnu, is glorified by all the devas, Gandharvas, Pannagas, and Nagas.
‘Those who are afraid of their past sins and completely immersed in sinful materialistic life should at least observe this best of Ekadashis according to their ability and thus attain liberation. This Ekadashi is the purest of all days and the most powerful for removing sins of the native. Oh Narada, Lord Shri Hari Himself once said about this Ekadashi, “One who fasts on Kamika Ekadashi attains much more merit than one who studies all the spiritual literatures.”
‘Anyone who fasts on this particular day remains awake throughout the night will never experience the anger of Yamaraja, the king of death personified. It has been seen that whoever observes Kamika Ekadashi will not have to suffer future births, and in the past too, many Yogis of devotion who fasted on this day went to the spiritual world. One should therefore follow in their auspicious footsteps and strictly observe a fast on this most auspicious of Ekadashis.’
‘Whosoever worships Lord Shri Hari with Tulasi leaves is freed from all implication of sin. Indeed, he lives untouched by sin, as the lotus leaf, although in the water, is untouched by it. Whosoever offers Lord Shri Hari but a single leaf from the sacred Tulasi tree attains as much merit as one who gives away in charity two hundred grams of gold and eight hundred grams of silver. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is more pleased by one who offers Him a single Tulasi leaf than by one who worships Him with pearls, rubies, diamonds, etc. One who offers Lord Keshava newly grown manjari buds from the Tulasi plant gets rid of all the sins he has committed during this or any other lifetime. Indeed, mere darshana of Tulasi on Kamika Ekadashi removes all sins, and merely touching her and praying to her removes all kinds of disease. One who waters Tulasi devi need never fear the Lord of death, Yamaraja. One who plants or transplants Tulasi on this day will eventually reside with Lord Shri Krishna in His own abode. To Srimati Tulasi devi, who awards liberation in devotional service, one should therefore daily offer one’s full obeisances.’
‘Even Chitragupta, Yamaraja’s secretary, cannot calculate the merit obtained by one who offers Srimati Tulasi-devi a perpetually burning ghee lamp. So dear is this sacred Ekadashi to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that all the forefathers of one who offers a bright ghee lamp to Lord Shri Krishna on this day ascend to the heavenly planets and drink the celestial nectar there. Whoever offers a ghee or sesame oil lamp to Shri Krishna on this day is freed from all his sins and enters the abode of Surya, the Sun-god, with a body as bright as ten million lamps. This Ekadashi is so powerful that if one who is unable to fast simply follows the practices as mentioned herein, he / she is elevated to the heavenly planets, along with all their fore-fathers.’
Oh Maharaj Yudhisthira, Lord Shri Krishna concluded, “…these were the words of Prajapati Brahma to his son Narada Muni concerning the incalculable glories of this Kamika Ekadashi, which removes all sins. This sacred day nullifies even the sin of killing a brahmana or the sin of killing an unborn child in the womb, and it promotes one to the spiritual world by making one supremely meritorious.”
Kamika Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month July or early August. In 2012, the date of Kamika Ekadasi is July 14. The importance of this Ekadashi was narrated by Lord Krishna to Yudhisthira and is found in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Originally, it was narrated by Lord Brahma to Narada Maharishi. It is believed that observing this Ekadashi is equal to bathing in sacred rivers on auspicious days.
Offering Tulsi leaves to Lord Vishnu on this day is considered highly auspicious. Another important offering made is lighting ghee or sesame oil filled lamps at Sri Krishna Temples. Observing this Ekadasi is also equal to reading all the scriptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
It is believed that all the sins and remorse will be washed away if a devotee strictly observes the Kamika Ekadashi fast. It is mentioned in scriptures that those devotees fasting on this day wins the favor of Yamraj, the lord of death. For fasting the usual method is followed.
One who kills the innocent, i.e., a brahmin (brahmana), a child in the womb, a pious and spotless woman, etc., and then later hears about the glories of Kamika Ekadashi will be relieved of the reaction to one’s sins. However, one should NOT think beforehand that one can kill a brahmin or other innocent folk and then go unpunished simply by hearing of this Ekadashi. Such knowing commission of sin is an abomination.
Whosoever hears these glories of the Kamika Ekadashi with faith becomes free of all sins and returns home, back to Godhead, – Vaikuntha.
(18) Pavitropanna or Putrada Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh – Shravan)
Pavitropanna or Putrada Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhisthira )
Sri Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “Oh Madhusudana, Oh killer of the Madhu demon, please be merciful to me and describe to me the Ekadashi that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Shravana (July-August).” The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, replied, “Yes, Oh king, I shall happily narrate its glories to you, for just by hearing about this sacred Ekadashi one attains the merit of performing a horse sacrifice.
For a long time this king tried very hard to obtain an heir, but to no avail. One day he told an assembly of his advisers: 'Although I am a religious and faithful follower of the vedic standards and always performed all my duties with full sincerity still my home is without a son. Kindly tell me the reason for this.’
“Hearing this, the king’s Brahman advisers discussed the subject among themselves, and with the aim of benefiting the king they visited the various ashrams of the great sages. At last they came upon a sage who was austere, pure, and self-satisfied, and who was strictly observing a vow of fasting. Indeed, this great sage was expert in all the conclusions of the Vedas, and he had extended his life span to that of Lord Brahma himself. His name was Lomasa Rishi, and he knew part, present, and future. After each kalpa passed, one hair would fall out of his body.
The king’s representatives said,"kindly tell us how our kind can obtain a son."
“Hearing their sincere plea, Lomasa Rishi absorbed himself in deep meditation for a moment and at once understood the king’s previous life. Then he said, ‘Your ruler was a merchant in his past life, and feeling his wealth insufficient, he committed sinful deeds. He traveled to many villages to trade his goods. Once, at noon on the day after the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Jyeshtha , he became thirsty while traveling from place to place. He came upon a beautiful pond on the outskirts of a village, but just as he was about to drink at the pond a cow arrived there with her new-born calf. These two creatures were also very thirsty because of the heat, but when the cow and calf started to drink, the merchant rudely shoved them aside and selfishly slaked his own thirst. This offense against a cow and her calf has resulted in your king’s being without a son now. But the good deeds he performed in his previous life have given him ruler ship over an undisturbed kingdom.’
“Hearing this, the king’s advisers replied, ‘please give him your mercy so that a prince will take birth in his family.’
“Lomasa Rishi said, ‘There is an Ekadashi called Putrada, which comes during the light fortnight of the month of Shravan. On this day all of you, including your king, should fast and stay awake all night, strictly following the rules and regulations. Then you should give the king whatever merit you gain by this fast. If you follow these instructions of mine, he will surely be blessed with a fine son.’
All the king’s advisers became very pleased to hear these words from Lomasa Rishi, and their eyes bright with happiness, they returned home.
When the month of Shravan arrived, the king’s advisers remembered the advice of Lomasa Rishi, and under their direction all the citizens of Mahismati-puri, as well as the king, fasted on Ekadashi and observed ratri-jagaran. And on the next day, DvAdashi, the citizens dutifully offered their accrued merit to him. By the strength of all this merit, the queen became pregnant and eventually gave birth to a most beautiful son.
“O Yudhisthira,” Lord Krishna concluded, "whoever desires happiness in this world he should certainly fast from all grains and legumes on this holy day. Indeed, whoever simply hears the glories of Putrada Ekadashi becomes completely free of all sins, is blessed with a good son, and surely ascends to heaven after death.”
The Ekadasi that fall in Shukla paksha of Shravan month is called Pavitropana or Putrada Ekadashi . Whoever desires happiness in this world and the next should certainly fast from all grains and legumes on this holy day. Indeed, whoever simply hears the glories of Putrada Ekadashi becomes completely free of all sins, is blessed with a good son, and surely ascends to heaven after death.
(19) Annada / Aja Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Bhadrapad)
** This year Aja Ekadashi falls on Sun, 28 Aug, 2016..
Annada / Aja Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishtira )
The story of Annada Ekadashi is associated with the famous king Harischandra and is found in the Brahmavaivarta Purana.
King Harischandra was famous for his truthfulness and honesty. Once Sage Vashista praised the truthfulness of Raja Harischandra but Sage Vishwamitra was not ready to accept it and he decides to test King Harischandra. Vishwamitra vows to prove that Harischandra also lies.
One day the great Gautama Muni met King Harischandra and the king narrated his sad tale to him. Sage Gautama advised King Harischandra to observe Aja Ekadasi which has the power to remove all sins.
The King observed Aja Ekadasi and continued his firm faith in truthfulness.
Soon Sage Vishwamitra accepted his defeat and restored the kingdom, half of his power and all the glory to Harischandra.
Legend has it that the great King Harishchandra got back his kingdom, wife and dead son after performing the Ananda or Aja Ekadashi. The king got back all that he had lost and was able to rule his kingdom without any difficulties.
King Harischandra ruled the kingdom for several years and finally got Moksha and reached the Vaikunta all with the influence of observing Aja Ekadashi.
Aja Ekadashi falls in waning phase of the moon in the month of Bhadrapada (August – September) according to Hindi Hindu Calendar. Aja, or Annada Ekadasi, is observed during the waning phase of moon (Krishna Paksha) in the month of Bhadrapad in North India. The corresponding period in other regions is the Krishna Paksha of Shravan month.
It is said that whoever fasts on this Ekadashi is surely freed from all the sins. There are no separate rules for fasting on the day. Rice and grains are avoided on the day.
It is believed that a person who observes this Ekadashi becomes free from the reactions of his/her sinful activities.
(20) Parivartini / Parsva / Vamana Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh – Bhadrapada)
Parivartini / Parsva Ekadashi Vrat Katha (Story)
( it extols the glory of the legendary King Bali)
King Bali was popular on earth for his honesty, compassion, justice and there was all-round prosperity in his kingdom. He made the utopia a reality. Although born into a family of Demons, King Bali was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.
His glory and power made Indra (the lord of Demi Gods) weak. Soon King Bali overthrew Indra and took over the heavenly kingdom. Indra took refuge at the feet of Lord Vishnu.
King Bali thought that three steps of land was too little and asked the young Brahman to ask for something more. But Vamana was adamant and he wanted only three steps of land. King Bali agreed and asked him to take three steps of land wherever he wanted.
Suddenly, Lord Vamana grew in gigantic proportions and those stood there could no longer see the face of Vamana Deva. In one step, Lord Vamana measured the heaven and in another step earth and there was no place to keep the third step. King Bali readily bowed his head and asked Lord Vamana to place the third step on this head. King Bali was thus pushed to the netherworld.
Satisfied with King Bali’s devotion, Lord Vishnu blessed him that he will live constantly with King Bali. The popular belief is that Lord Vishnu in the form of Vamana lives in the abode of King Bali.
Parivartini Ekadashi is associated with incarnation of Lord Vamana of Lord Vishnu and also with sleep of Vishnu during Chaturmas period.
This Ekadashi happens during the Dakshinayana Punyakalam (night time of Gods). There is a popular belief that Lord Vishnu who takes rest during this period changes his position of sleep – turns from left side to right side. Therefore this Ekadashi is also known as Parsva Parivartini Ekadashi.
Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu is worshipped on this Ekadashi day. It is believed that the Vamana Avatar took place during this period and therefore, the Ekadasi is also known as Vamana Ekadashi. King Mahabali was sent to the netherworld (pathalam) on this day. Onam festival, which celebrates the return of Mahabali, takes place during this period.
It is believed that those who observe this Ekadashi will be absolved of their sins.
This Ekadashi also happens during the Chaturmas period.
Those who undertake a fast on this day avoid grains and rice.
The Parsava Parivartini Ekadasi is observed during the waxing phase of moon in Bhadra month.
(21) Indira Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksha – Ashvin)
Indira Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira)
The Indira Ekadashi Vrat Katha is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. The story of this Ekadashi fasting was narrated to Yudhishthira by Lord Krishna. This Ekadasi falls during the Pitru Paksha Shradh period and therefore observing it is considered apt for redemption of sins of one’s own and that of forefathers.
At the abode of Lord Yama, Sage Narada found the father of King Indrasena. He had not got moksha and was living in the house of Yamraj. The father of Indrasena asked Sage Narada to ask his son to observe Indira Ekadasi so that he will escape from the house of Yama and attain Moksha and reach the feet of Lord Vishnu.
Indrasena immediately agreed to observe Indira Ekadasi for his father and asked Sage Narada to guide him in observing the Ekadasi fasting. Sage Narada explained to the King on how to observe Indira Ekadasi.
The day before Ekadasi one should perform Shradh rites and rituals for dead ancestors and parents. On the day one should only take a single meal.
On the Ekadasi day it is a complete fast. At noon, one should pray for the wellbeing of the ancestors and for their souls to rest in peace. Devotees do not sleep during the night and stay awake by chanting prayers or listening to stories of Lord Vishnu. The next day after morning prayers, the fast is broken by eating with family members.
King Indrasena on Narada Muni’s advice observed Indira Ekadasi and saved his father from the remorse of sins committed during earthly life.
As a result of observing Indira Ekadasi, father of King Indrasena got Moksha and reached the abode of Lord Vishnu.
Indira Ekadashi occurs during the waning phase of moon in the month of Ashwin (September – October) in traditional North Indian calendar. It is believed that observing this Ekadasi will help in removing the sins committed by oneself and one’s forefathers. The Ekadasi falls during the Pitru Paksh Shradh period in North India. Ekadashi fasting is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Indira Ekadasi falls during the Pitru Paksh Shradh period in North India.
Prayers and rituals are performed in the name of forefathers and dead relatives on the day before Indira Ekadasi. A single meal is only eaten on the day before Ekadashi. A complete fast is observed on the Indira Ekadashi day by staunch devotees. In the afternoon on the Ekadasi day, some people perform rituals dedicated to the dead.
The fasting of Indira Ekadasi ends on the next day and is broken by having food with family members.
(22) Pashankusha /Papankusha Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksh – Ashwin)
Pashankusha Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira )
Yudhishthira Maharaj said, “Oh Madhusudana, what is the name of the Ekadashi that comes during the light fortnight of the month of Ashvina (September - October)? Please be merciful and disclose this truth to me."
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna replied, "Oh king, please listen as I explain the glories of Pashankusha Ekadashi - which removes all sins. On this day one should worship the Deity of Padmanabha, the lotus naveled Lord Vishnu, according to the rules of archana viddhi (regulations). By so doing, one achieves whatever heavenly pleasures one may want in this world, and at last attains liberation from this world thereafter. Simply by offering one's humble obeisances unto Lord Vishnu, one can achieve the same merit as is gained by performing great penances for a long time restraining and controlling the senses. Although a person might have committed unlimited and abominable sins, he can still escape hellish punishment just by paying his obeisances to Lord Sri Hari, the taker away of all sin."
"Both the Vaishnava who criticizes Lord Shiva and the Shaivite who criticizes Me certainly go to hell. The merit obtained by performing one hundred horse sacrifices and one hundred Rajasurya sacrifices is not even equal to one sixteenth of the merit a devotee is able to attain by fasting on Ekadashi. There is no higher merit one can achieve than that attained by fasting on Ekadashi. Indeed, nothing in all the three worlds is as pleasing or as able to purify one of accumulated sin as Ekadashi, the day of the lotus-naveled Lord, Padmanabha.”
"O king, until a person observes a fast on the day of Lord Padmanabha named Papankusha Ekadashi, he remains sinful, and the reactions of his past sinful activities never leave him like a chaste wife. There is no merit in all the three worlds that can match the merit that one gains by observing a fast on this Ekadashi. Whosoever observes it faithfully never has to see death personified, Lord Yamaraj. One who desires liberation, elevation to the heavens, good health, wealth, and food grains should simply fast on this Pashankusha Ekadashi. O king, neither the Ganges, Gaya, Kashi, nor Pushkara, nor even the Holy site of Kurukshetra, can grant as much auspicious merit as this Papankusha Ekadashi.
O Maharaj Yudhishthira, protector of the earth, after observing Ekadashi during the daytime, the devotee should remain awake through the night, absorbed in hearing, chanting and serving the Lord - for by so doing he easily attains to the Supreme abode of Lord Vishnu. Not only that, but ten generations of ancestors on his mother's side, ten generations on his father's side, and ten generations on his wife's side are all liberated by a single observance of a fast on this Ekadashi. All these ancestors attain their original, four armed transcendental Vaikuntha forms. Wearing yellow garments and beautiful garlands, they ride to the spiritual realm on the back of Garuda, the renowned great enemy of the snakes. This is the benediction My devotee earns simply by observing one Papankusha Ekadashi properly.
"O best of kings, whether one is a child, a youth, or in old age, fasting on Papankusha Ekadashi frees him from all sins and makes him immune to suffering a hellish rebirth. Whosoever observes a fast on the Papankusha Ekadashi becomes free of all his sins and returns to the spiritual abode of Lord Sri Hari. Whosoever donates gold, sesame seeds, fertile land, cows, grain, drinking water, an umbrella, or a pair of shoes on this most auspicious of Holy days will never have to visit the abode of Yamaraj, who always punishes the sinners. But if a resident of earth fails to perform spiritual deeds, especially the observance of a fast on days such as Ekadashi, his breathing is said to be no better, or of as much use as the breathing/puffing of a blacksmith's bellows.
O best of the kings, especially on this Papankusha Ekadashi, even the poor should first bathe and then give some charity according to their means, and perform other auspicious activities in accordance with their ability.
Whosoever performs sacrifices and benefits the people, or builds public ponds, resting places, gardens, or houses do not suffer the punishments of Yamaraj. Indeed, one should understand that a person must have performed such pious activities as these in the past life if he is long lived, wealthy, of high birth, or free from all diseases. But a person who observes Papankusha Ekadashi goes to the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of the Pashankusha Ekadashi or Papankusha Ekadashi, or Ashwina-shukla Ekadashi, from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana.
Also known as Ekadasi Papankusa, observing it is believed to destroy all the sins. Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Ananta Padmanabha on this day.
It is believed that a person who observes Pasankusa will be able to fulfill his dreams and observing it is equal to performing numerous yajnas and making several offerings. Some of the other results obtained by observing Pashankusha Ekadashi include Mokasha, freedom from vices and diseases. Doing community service and helping the poor on the day is considered to help in realizing one’s true nature.
Staunch Vishnu devotees keep vigil at night on the day. Fasting is for 24 hours and all the usual fasting rules associated with Ekadasi are followed.
(23) Rama Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh – Kartik)
Rama Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhisthir )
Yudhisthir said, “Janardhan, protector of all beings, what is the name of the Ekadasi that occurs during krishna paksha of Kartika? Please impart this sacred knowledge to me”.
Bhagwan Shri Krishna, replied, “Rajan, please listen: The Ekadasi that occurs during krishna paksha of Kartik is called Rama Ekadashi. It is most auspicious, for it at once eradicates the greatest sins and awards passage to the spiritual abode. I shall narrate its history and glories to you”.
When Shobhan heard the sound of the kettledrum, he said to his wife, “0 beautiful one, what am I to do now? Please tell me how I can save my life and obey your father's strict rule of following ekadashi at the same time”!
Candra bhagha replied, “My dear husband, in my father's kingdom and palace nobody not even the elephants and horses, what to speak of human beings; eats on Ekadashi day. Indeed, none of the animals are given their ration of grains, leaves, or straw-or even water!-on Ekadashi, the day of Bhagwan Shri Hari. So how can you escape fasting? My beloved, if you must eat something, then you should leave here at once. Now, with firm conviction decide what to do”.
Prince Shobhan replied, “I have decided to fast on the sacred Ekadashi day. Whatever my fate is, it will surely come to pass”. Deciding thus, Sobhan attempted to fast on that Ekadashi, but he became unbearably disturbed with excessive hunger and thirst. Eventually the sunset in the west, and the arrival of the auspicious night made all the Vaisnavas very happy.
Shri Krishna continued “Yudhisthir, all the devotees enjoyed worshiping Bhagwan Shri Hari and remaining awake through the night, but to Prince Shobhan that night became absolutely unbearable. Indeed, when the sun rose on Duvadashi, Sobhan starved to death. King Muchukund observed his son-in-law's funeral, ordering a large stack of wood assembled for the fire, but he instructed his daughter Chandra bhagha not to join her husband on the funeral pyre. Thus Chandra bhagha, after performing all the purificatory processes honoring her deceased husband, continued to live in her father's house".
Bhagwan Shri Krishna continued, “Dharmaraj, even though Shobhan died because of observing Rama Ekadashi the merit he accrued enabled him, after death, to become the ruler of a kingdom high on the peak of Mandarachal Mountain. This kingdom was like a city of the Devtas: very lustrous, with unlimited jewels set in the walls of its buildings. The pillars were made of rubies, and gold inlaid with diamonds shone everywhere. As King Shobhan sat upon a throne beneath a pure white canopy, servants fanned him with yak-tail whisks. A stunning crown rested upon his head, beautiful earrings adorned his ears, a necklace graced his throat, and bejeweled armlets and bracelets encircled his arms. Gandharvas (heaven’s best singers) and Apsaras (celestial dancers) served him. Verily, he resembled a second Indra”.
One day, a Brahmin named Soma sharma, who lived in Mukund's kingdom, happened upon Shobhan's kingdom while traveling to various places of pilgrimage. The Brahmin saw Shobhan in all his resplendent glory and thought he might be the son-in-law of his own king, Mucukund. When Shobhan saw the Brahmin approaching, he immediately rose from his throne and welcomed him. After Shobhan had paid his respectful obeisances, he asked the Brahmin about his wellbeing and about the health and welfare of his (Shobhan's) father-in-law, his wife, and all the residents of the city.
Soma sarma replied, “Rajan, all the subjects are well in your father-in-law's kingdom, and Chandra bhagha and your other family members are also quite well. Peace and prosperity reign throughout the land. However, Rajan, I am astonished to find you here! Please tell me about yourself. Nobody has ever seen such a beautiful city as this! Kindly tell me how you obtained it”.
King Shobhan said, “Because I observed Rama Ekadasi, I was given this splendid city to rule. However, for all its grandeur, it is only temporary. I beg you to do something to correct this deficiency. You see, this is only an ephemeral city. How may I make its beauties and glories permanent? Kindly instruct me”.
The Brahmin asked, “Why is this kingdom unstable, and how will it become stable? Please fully explain this to me, and I shall try to help you”.
Shobhan answered,”Because I fasted on Ekadashi without any faith, this kingdom is impermanent. Now hear how it can become permanent. Please return to Chandra bhagha, the beautiful daughter of King Mucukund, and tell her what you have seen and understood about this place and about me. Surely, if you tell her this, my city will soon become permanent”.
Thus, the Brahmin returned to his city and related the entire episode to Chandra bhagha, who was both surprised and overjoyed to hear this news. She said, “0 Brahmin, is this a dream you have seen, or is it actually a fact”? Soma sarma replied, “0 princess, I have indeed seen your late husband face to face in that wonderful kingdom, which resembles one of Devta’s realms. However, he says that his entire kingdom is unstable and could vanish into thin air at any moment. Therefore, he hopes you can find a way to make it permanent”.
Chandra bhagha said, “O sage among the Brahmins, please take me to my husband at once, for I greatly desire to see him again! Surely, I shall make his kingdom permanent with the merit I have acquired by fasting on every Ekadashi throughout my life. Please reunite us once again. It is said that one who reunites separated people obtains very great merit”. ”
The Brahmin Soma sarma then led Chandra bhagha to Shobhan's effulgent kingdom. Before reaching it, however, they stopped at the foot of Mount Mandarachal, at the sacred ahsram of Vamdev. Upon hearing their story, Vamdev chanted hymns from the Vedas and sprinkled holy water on Chandra bhagha. By the influence of that great Risi's rites, the merit she had accrued by fasting for so many Ekadashis made her body transcendental. Ecstatic, her eyes beaming in wonder, Chandra bhagha continued her journey. When Shobhan saw his wife approaching him high on Mandarachal Mountain, he was overwhelmed with joy and called out to her in great happiness. After she arrived, he seated her on his left, and she said to him, "O dearest one, please listen as I tell you something that will benefit you greatly. Since I was eight years old I have fasted regularly and faithfully on every Ekadashi. If I transfer to you all the merit I have thus accumulated, your kingdom will surely become permanent, and its prosperity will grow and grow until the coming of the great inundation"!
Bhagwan Shri Krishna continued, "Yudhisthir, in this way Chandra bhagha, who was beautifully decorated with the finest ornaments and had an exquisite transcendental body, at last enjoyed peace and happiness with her husband. By the potency of Rama Ekadashi, Shobhan found his kingdom on the peaks of Mandarachal Hill able to fulfill all his desires and bestow upon him everlasting happiness, like that achieved from the Kama-dhenu cow.
Rama Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month of September/October. It is said that this Ekadasi is a wish fulfilling one. Anyone who observes sacred Ekadashi during both the sukla paksh and the krishna paksh of each month is undoubtedly freed from the reactions to the sin of killing a Brahmins One should not differentiate between the Ekadashis of sukla paksh and krishna paksh of the month.
As we have seen, both can award pleasure in this world and liberate even the most sinful and fallen souls. Just as black cows and white cows give milk of equal quality, the Ekadashis of krishna paksh and sukla paksh award the same high degree of merit and eventually liberate one from the cycle of birth and death. Anyone who simply hears the glories of this sacred day, Rama Ekadashi, is freed from all kinds of sin and attains the supreme abode of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu.
24 Dev Uthani / Prabodhini Ekadashi
(Shukla Paksha – Kartika)
Dev Uthani / Prabodhini Ekadashi Vrat Katha story
Legends state that the consort of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi was unsatisfied with the way Lord Vishnu slept. Sometimes, he remained awakened for days and sometimes, he slept continuously for several days. Hence, Goddess Lakshmi visited Lord Vishnu and complained about his indiscipline followed. She also informed him that several lords, such as Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Devas and Saints, are forced to wait for many days in order to meet him. Hence, they returned disappointed without having Lord Vishnu’s Darshan. Furthermore, this neutral situation of Lord Vishnu is highly taken advantage of by the demons. They make the most of this opportunity in causing pain to human beings, thereby leading to the spread of Dharma on earth.
This sleep started from Ashadha Shuddha Ekadashi until Kartik Shuddha Ekadashi, which is also known as Prabhodhini Ekadashi or Dev Uthani Ekadashi.
The Ekadashi of Shukla Paksha, Kartik Masa is known as Devthan / Dev Uthani /Prabodhini Ekadashi. There is a popular belief about Devthan Ekadashi. Lord Vishnu concluded his rest of four months on the Ekadashi of Bhadrapada. Auspicious works of marriages etc. are conducted after this day. In the year 2012, this Ekadasi will be on 24th November.
The fruit of observing this Ekadashi is equal to the result of thousand Ashvamedha Yagya. Sins of past seven births are removed on observing this fast. It is said, the thing which is difficult to be obtained, can be achieved easily by observing this fast.
A person who systematically observe the fast of Prabodhini Ekadasi, get the auspicious fruits of this Vrat. A person should perform Jagran, in the night of Ekadashi. This way, his next ten generations receive Vishnu Lok after death. Also, his ancestors suffering problems in hell, reach to the heaven, through this fast.
The benefits of performing Jagran in the night of this Ekadashi is equal to the fruits of visiting all pilgrims, or donating cow, gold, land etc. Only the person who observe the fast of Prabodhini Ekadashi is successful in this world. By observing this fast, a person becomes rich, a great devotee, Yogi etc. He becomes very dear to Lord Vishnu, by keeping this fast.
Prabodhini Ekadashi Fast Method
Person observing this fast should not eat meat, onion, Masoor dal etc. on Dashmi (a day before Ekadashi). He should follow Brahmacharya on the night of Dashmi. Datun, made of twigs should not be used in the morning. Leaves of lemon, mango or berries can be chewed and throat can be cleaned using finger. Plucking of leaves from a tree is also considered inauspicious. For chewing, leaves which are already broken must be used. Then, the person should take bath and go to the temple. Geeta Path should be read or heard. The resolution is taken, of observing fast with full devotion and faith, infront of Lord. On the day of fast, the mantra " Om Namo Bhagwate Vasudevaya " should be chanted.
On the day of Ekadasi, a person should not use broom, as small organisms are killed by it. Also, one should not cut hairs or say any lie. He should not borrow food or take any donations of cereals. He should speak less. Sweet, mango, grapes, banana and almonds are used as offerings, on this day. On the day of Dvadashi (a day after Ekadashi), Brahmans are gifted sweets and donations.
Various pujas and prayers are carried on this day dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The important Pandarpur Yatra also takes place on this day in Lord Vitthal Temple. The most popular Tulsi Vivah Festival and Shaligram Puja rituals also commence on Prabhodhini Ekadashi in some regions while in other communities, they take place on the day after Ekadashi. By observing the Prabhodhini Ekadashi vrat, devotees believe that they would be able to get rid off their sins and attain salvation, or Moksha. At some places, devotees observe a complete fast, that is, they do not eat anything or even drink water on this day.
Prabhodhini Ekadashi, also known as Dev Uthani Ekadashi, Utthana Ekadashi, Bodhini Ekadashi and Dev Utthana Ekadashi, is observed in the month of Kartik in the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. The vrat is observed on the 11th day during the waxing phase of the moon, or Shukla Paksha. The Hindu devotees believe that Lord Vishnu woke up from his Yoga Nidra (cosmic sleep) on this day, thereby marking the end of the Chaturmaas vrat. Prabhodhini Ekadashi corresponds in the month of October or November as per the Gregorian calendar. The Pandarpur Yatra is performed in Lord Vithal Temple in Pandarpur on this day. People also observe a vrat in order to be relieved from the various sins and evil actions committed.
Mal Maas or Adhi (Adhik) Masa or Purushottam Maas
The month which does not include Surya Sankranti is called Mal Maas or Adhi Masa. In whole of Mal Maas, Lord Shiva is specially worshipped. No auspicious work should be performed in this month. There is a tradition of worshiping the Ashiva imcarnation of Lord Shiva. In the Adhi Masa, Shiva Linga is offered water, Bel-leaves, Dhatura and flowers.
(25) Mal Masa (Padmini) Ekadasi Vrat
(Shukla Paksh - Aashad Purushottam Maas)
( Mal Masa) Padmini Ekadasi Vrat Katha (Story)
The story of Padmini Ekadashi is related of Ravan, the king of Lanka. Once, Ravan went for Digvijay (getting victories in all directions). In this journey of victory, he got defeated by Kartavirya Sahastrarjun. On getting defeated, he had to stay in prison of that king for many years. Finally he got free by the grace of Agastya Rishi. God Narad was very happy by the imprisonment of Ravan and he asked Rishi the reason behind Ravan’s defeat.
Then, Rishi said that Kartavirya Arjun can be defeated only by Lord Vishnu, Because, his mother Padmini and father Kartavirya performed strong meditation in wish of a child. And, as told by Mahasati Anusuiya, both of them observed the fast of Padmini Ekadashi. Pleased by their devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared before them. And, blessed them with a heroic son, Arjun. That is why, Ravan also got defeated by Arjun.
The Ekadasi of Malmasa or Purushotam Maas (Adhimasa) is called the Padmini Ekadashi. On this day, fast is observed and Puja of Shiva-Parvati and Radha-Krishna is performed. This Ekadashi has a special significance, since it does not occur every year. Person should perform full day fasting on Padmini Ekadashi. And, performing Jagran in the night is really significant, on this day. Person observing this fast must hear the story of fast, on this day.
Padmini Ekadashi Fast Method
Fast is started on Dashmi. Person needs to mentally prepares himself for the fast, on the night of Dashmi Tithi only. After having night meal on Dashmi, nothing else should be eaten. A person should have only Satvik (food with no garlic and onion) meal on this night. Person should not eat food in utensils of bronze, he should not eat meat, masoor, gram, honey, leafy vegetables, and borrowed food, on the Dashmi. On this day, pure and Satvik meal should be eaten and use of salt should be avoided. Person observing fast should sleep on earth on the day of Dashmi and should follow Brahmacharya.
He should wake up early in the morning, on the day of Ekadashi. And, after completing the routine works, he should do the Datun and rinse his mouth 12 times. Mud, Til, Kush and Amla should be used for bathing. While bathing, first of all , mud is applied and a prayer is performed- “O! mud, make me pure like yourself, by which a shall become capable to worship God.“ Bath can be taken at home, if not possible to go to a spiritual place.
Then a person should wear clean and good clothes. In the evening, Tarpan should be done and Puja should be performed by going to temple. Idol of Parvati- Shiva and Radha- Krishna is prepared and worshiped. An urn made of mud or copper is placed on the cereals. The urn is decorated with a cloth and on its mouth a dish of copper, silver or gold is placed.
On this utensil, idol of God is placed and worshipped with incense stick, lamp, navedy, saffron etc. After that, Bhajans are performed. Avoid speaking lie and saying bad about master should be avoided.On the day of fast, the story of fast should be read or heard. Jagran should be performed at night and Lord Shiva should be worshipped.
(26) Mal maasa (Parama / Kamla) Ekadashi
(Krishna Paksh - Aashad Purushottam Maas)
Mal maasa (Parama / Kamla) Ekadashi Vrat Katha (story)
( as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhishthira )
Sri Yudhishthira Maharaja said, "Oh Supreme Lord, what is the name and character of that Ekadasii that occurs during the dark fortnight (krishna paksha) of the extra, leap year month of Purushottama.
Also, Oh master of all the universes, what is the process for observing it properly?
Kindly narrate all of this to me?"
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, replied, "Oh Yudhishthira, this meritorious day is called Parama Ekadasi.
It bestows the great benediction of an enjoyable life and ultimate liberation, release from birth and death.
The process for observing it is similar to that for observing the Ekadasii that occurs during the light part of this month of Kartika.
That is to say, on this Ekadasi one should worship Me, the best of all living beings, with full love and devotion.
In this connection I will now tell you a wonderful history, just as I heard it from the great sage in the city of Kampilya.
"Once a very pious brahmin named Sumedha resided in Kampilya with his wife, Pavitra, who was extremely chaste and devoted to her husband.
On account of having committed some sin in his previous life, Sumedha was without any money or food grains, and even though he begged many people for food, he could not obtain any substantial amount.
He hardly had adequate food, clothing, or shelter for himself and his beautiful young wife, who was of such excellent character that she continued to serve Sumedha faithfully despite their poverty.
When guests would come to their home, Pavitra mataji would give them her own food, and although she often went hungry, her beautiful, lotuslike face never faded.
This fasting made her weak, but her affection for Sumedha remained unbreakable.
"Seeing all this, and lamenting his bad luck, Sumedha one day said to Pavitra, 'My dear wife, Oh most beautiful one, I beg alms from the rich but receive scarcely a scrap.
What am I to do? What possible relief is there for our plight?
Where should I go for relief? Oh most obedient and loving wife, without enough wealth, household affairs are never successful, - na vandhu madhye dhanahina jivanam.
Therefore please permit me to go abroad and attain some wealth.
Without making some endeavour a person cannot satisfy his desires or meet his needs.
Thus wise men have said that enthusiastic endeavour is always auspicious.'
The revealed scriptures declare, udyoginah siNgham upaiti laxmi daivena deyati ka purushah vadantii: "One who endeavours enthusiastically will certainly attain success, but one who merely says, 'I accept my lot in life is a lazy man".
"Upon hearing this from her husband as he spoke these words, Pavitra joined her palms and, her eyes brimming with tears, spoke to him with great respect and affection: 'I think there is no one greater or more learned than you, my dear.
One who, though in misery, is interested in the welfare of others speaks just as you have.
However, the scriptures state that whatever wealth a person attains in his life is due to his having given charity in previous lives, and that if one has not given charity in previous lives, then even though he may sit a top a mound of gold as big as Mount Sumeru, he will still remain poor.
purva-janmarjitam vidya purva-janmarjitam dhanam purva-janmarjitam kanya agre dhavati dhavatih
"Transcendental knowledge, spiritual education, satisfying wealth, and pleasing family members are acquired by a person who has given profuse charity.
Whatever good a person does returns to him many fold."
In Manu-nitii, Manu Maharaja says, bhagyam phalanti sarvatra na cha vidya na cha paurusham:
"Whatever is predestined by Viddhata, the fortune-maker, will surely happen.
One's so called good education, skill, and enthusiasm will not necessarily guarantee to bring one success."
Whatever charity a person gives in the form of education, money, fertile land, and the like is returned to him in a future lifetime.
We gain what we have given, when given with a good heart.
Indeed, whatever the Lord of destiny, the creator, has written as one's fortune will certainly come to pass.
No one attains any wealth without having given in charity in his previous life.
Oh best of the brahmins, since we are now poor, in our previous lives neither you nor I must have given any/sufficient charity to worthy persons.
Therefore, Oh gracious husband, you should remain here with me.
Without you I cannot live even a moment.
"'Bereft of her husband, a woman is not welcomed by her father, mother, brother, father-in-law, or any other family members.
Everyone will say, "You have lost your husband; you are bad luck/fortune personified!"
In this way I shall be criticised severely!
The Nitii-shastras says, vinaashraye na tishthanti panditah vanita latah:
"Without proper shelter and support, the following three things cannot survive; a learned man/brahmin, a woman, and a creeper."
Therefore the modern women's liberation movement is a total failure.
Furthermore, the GaruDa Purana states, pati dharma pati sargah pati hi paramam tapah patiri pritim Apanne priiyante sarva devata
"A chaste woman always thinks that pleasing her spiritually situated husband is her heavenly pleasure, utmost duty, and greatest austerity.
If her husband is pleased (as Kulottama, Vishnu personified), she thinks the Supreme lord and all the demigods are pleased.
The Supreme Lord includes all the devatas (demigods)."
Pavitra continued, 'Please, therefore, stay with me and be satisfied with whatever wealth we get.
Whatever is destined, we shall obtain in due course of time and enjoy here in perfect happiness.'
"Hearing these plaintive words from his wife, Sumedha decided to remain in their native village.
One day the great sage Kaundinya arrived at their place, and upon seeing him the brahmin Sumedha and his wife stood up before him and then offered him their respectful obeisances.
With his head bowed, Sumedha welcomed him: 'We are very fortunate to behold you here today, Oh wisest of sages.
My life has become successful, and I am much obliged to you.'
"Sumedha offered Kaumdinya Muni a comfortable seat and highly praised his austerities and learning.
''Just by having your darshan today,' said Sumedha, 'I have become very fortunate.'
The poor brahmin couple fed the sage as sumptuously as they could afford to according to their means, and afterwards Pavitra asked the mendicant, 'Oh most learned one, what process can we follow to be relieved of our poverty?
How can a person who has not given anything in charity in his previous life get a good family, much wealth, and a fine education in this life?
My husband wants to leave me here and go abroad to beg alms, but I have earnestly prayed to him to stay here with me.
I humbly told him that if one lacks wealth in the present life, it is because of not having given sufficient charity in previous life times.
And so he has consented to remain here.
It is only due to my great fortune that you have so mercifully come here today.
Now we are certain to see the end of our poverty very soon.
"Oh best of the brahmanas, please tell us how we can be free of this perpetual misery brought on by poverty.
Oh merciful one, kindly describe some means - a place of pilgrimage we may visit, a day of fasting we may observe, or an austerity we may perform - by which our ill fortune will end forever.'
"Hearing this sincere supplication from the patient lady, the great sage Kaundinya reflected silently for a moment and then said, 'There is a fast day very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari.
Fasting on this day nullifies all kinds of sins and removes all miseries caused by poverty.
This fast day, which occurs during the dark part (krishna paksha) of the extra, leap-year month, is known as Parama Ekadasi.
It is the topmost day of Lord Vishnu, hence the name Parama.
This extra month (Purushottam Mase), dark fortnight Ekadasi bestows all the necessities of life, such as money and food grains, and at last gives liberation/release.
When the evening of this day comes, one should begin singing the glories of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy, and one should continue through the entire night.
This holy fast was once observed faithfully by Lord Kuvera (the treasurer of the devas).
When Lord Shiva saw how strictly he had fasted, Shiva became very pleased and made Kuvera the treasurer of heaven.
Also, king Harishchandra fasted on this Ekadasi after his dear wife and son had been sold, and the king was able to get them back.
Thereafter he ruled his kingdom with no further impediments.
Therefore, Oh broad-eyed lady, you also should observe the sacred fast of Parama Ekadasi, following all the appropriate rules and regulations and remaining awake all night.'"
Lord Sri Krishna continued, "Oh Yudhishthira, son of Pandu, in this way Kaundinya Muni mercifully and affectionately instructed PavitrA about the Parama Ekadasi fast.
Then he said to Sumedha, 'On the Dvadashi, the day after Ekadasi, you should vow to observe Pancharatriki fasting according to all the rules and regulations.
After taking a bath early in the morning, you and your good wife, along with both your parents and hers, should fast for five days according to your ability.
Then you will all become eligible to return home, to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
'A person who simply makes use of only one seat during these five days goes to the heavenly planets.
Whoever feeds qualified brahmins nicely on these five days has in effect fed all the demigods, all human beings, and even all the demons.
Whoever donates a pot of drinking water to a twice born brahmin during this five-day period will gain merit equal to that gained by donating the entire planet in charity.
Anyone who gives a learned person a pot filled with sesame seeds resides in heaven for as many years as there are seeds in the pot.
One who donates a pot filled with golden ghee will surely go to the abode of the sun god after fully enjoying the pleasures of this earthly planet.
Whoever remains celibate during these five-days will attain celestial happiness and enjoy with the maidens of Indraloka.
Therefore both of you - Sumedha and Pavitra - should fast during these five days of Pancharatrika in order to be rewarded with ample grains and wealth for the rest of your lives on this planet.
The spiritual world will be your abode thereafter.'
Hearing this sublime advice, the brahmin couple, Sumedha and Pavitra, properly observed the Parama Ekadasi and the fast of Pancharatrika, and very soon thereafter they beheld a handsome prince approaching them from the royal palace.
On the orders of Lord Brahma, the prince gave them a beautiful, exquisitely furnished house and invited them to live in it.
Praising their austerity and patience, he also gave them an entire village for their livelihood.
Then he returned to the palace.
Thus Sumedha and his wife enjoyed all kinds of facilities in this world and at last went to the abode of Lord Vishnu.
Anyone who observes a fast on Parama Ekadasi and also the fast of Pancharatrika is freed from all his sins, and after enjoying life he returns to Vishnuloka, as did the brahmin Sumedha and his faithful wife, Pavitra.
It is impossible, Oh Yudhishthira, to calculate the extent of the merit one obtains by fasting on Parama Ekadasi, for such an observance is equal to bathing in places of pilgrimage such as Pushkara Lake and the Ganges river, giving cows in charity, and performing all sorts of other religious activities.
One who fasts on this day has also completed the offerings of oblations to his forefathers in Gaya.
He has, in effect, fasted on all other auspicious days.
"As in the social order the brahmin are considered the best, as amongst four-legged creatures the cow is best, and as among demigods Lord Indradev is the best, so among all months the extra month of leap-year is the best.
The Pancharatrika fast - the fast of five days (panch = five, ratri = nights) in the extra, leap year month - is said to remove all kinds of abominable sins.
But the Pancharatriki fast, together with the fasts of Parama and Paramai Ekadasi, destroys all a person's sins.
If a person is unable to fast on these days, he should observe the fasts during the extra month according to his ability.
A person who, having received a human birth, does not take a proper bath during this extra month and then observes these Ekadashis, which are very dear to Lord Hari, commits suicide and suffers in the cycle of 8,400,000 species.
The rare human birth is meant for accumulating merit and at last achieving liberating release from this material world.
Therefore one should by all means observe fasting on this auspicious Parama Ekadasi."
Lord Sri Krishna concluded, "Oh sinless Yudhishthira, as you have requested, I have described to you the wonderful merit one can attain by fasting on the Ekadasi named Parama, which occurs during the dark part of the extra, leap-year month.
You should observe this fast if at all possible."
King Yudhishthira did exactly as Lord Krishna had instructed, and so did all his brothers and their wife, Draupadi.
After enjoying pleasures rarely achieved in the material world, they returned home, back to Godhead.
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Parama Ekadashi, the Ekdashi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the extra, leap-year month, from the Skanda Purana.
Whoever, after taking a proper bath, observes a fast on these two extra-month Ekadasis will go to heaven and finally attain to the abode of Sri Vishnu, and as he travels there he will be praised and prayed to by all the demigods.
SHRI VISHNU STUTI
shaanta-kaaram bhujaga-shayanam padma-naabham suresham
vishwa-dhaaram gagana-sadrisham megha-varanam shubhaangam.
lakshmi-kaantam kamala-nayanam yogi-bhi-dhyaana-agamyam
vande vishnum bhava-bhaya-haram sarva-lokaika-naatham.
श्री विष्णु स्तुति
शांताकारं भुजगशयनं पद्यनाभं सुरेशम् । विश्वा धारं गगन सदृशं मेघवर्णं शुभांगम् ।
लक्ष्मीकांतं कमलनयनं योगिभिर्ज्ञानगम्यम् । वंदे विष्णुं भवभयहरं सर्वलोकैक नाथम् ॥