Suta Goswami said, "O learned brahmanas, long ago Lord
Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explained the auspicious
glories of Sri Ekadasi and the rules and regulations governing each observance
of fasting on that holy day. O best of the brahmins, whosoever hears about
the origins and glories of these sacred fasts on the Ekadasi days goes
directly to the abode of Lord Vishnu after enjoying many different kinds
of happiness in this material world.
"Arjuna, the son of Prithaa, asked
the Lord, 'O Janardana, what are the pious benefits of complete fasting,
eating only supper, or eating but once at midday on Ekadasi, and what are
the regulations for observing the various Ekadasi days? Kindly narrate
all this to me'.
"The Supreme Lord Krishna replied,
'O Arjuna, in the beginning of winter (northern hemisphere), on the Ekadasi
that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Margasirsha (November-December),
a novice should begin his practice of observing a fast on Ekadasi. On Dasami,
the day before Ekadasi, he should clean his teeth nicely. Then during the
eight portion of Dasami, just as the Sun is about to set, he should eat
" '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, thsat 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! O 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
Ekadasi, one must purify oneself by looking directly at the sun.
"'Then the devotee should respectfully worship
Lord Govinda with first-class 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 worshipper should give charity to qualified brahmanas and offer his
humble obeisances unto them, begging their forgiveness for his offences.
"'Those who are serious about devotional service
should consider the Ekadasis that occur during dark fortnights to be as
good as those that occur during bright fortnights. O king, one should
never discriminate between these two kinds of Ekadasi.
Please listen as I now describe the results obtained
by one who observes Ekadasi 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 Ekadasi. 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 Ekadasi one obtains
all these pious results, as well as whatever pious results one gets at
Kurukshetra during an eclipse of the sun or moon. Furthermore, the
faithful soul who observes complete fasting on Ekadasi achieves a hundred
times more merit than one who performs an Asvamedha-yajna (horse sacrifice).
One who observes Ekadasi just once earns ten times more merit than
a person who gives a thousand cows in charity to a brahmana learned in
"'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 the needy and respectable brahmana, and
a thousand time 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. O 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 Ekadasi cannot be measured. O 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 Ekadasi.
"'One should therefore observe fasting on Lord
Hari's day either by eating only once at midday, 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 Ekadasi has not arrived. Therefore anyone afraid
of the miseries of material existence should observe Ekadasi. On
Ekadasi one should not drink water from a conch-shell, kill living entities
such as fish or pigs, or 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.'
"Arjuna then asked, 'O Lord, according to You,
a thousand Vedic sacrifices do not equal even one Ekadasi fast. How
can this be? How has Ekadasi become the most meritorious of all days?'
"Lord Sri Krishan replied, 'I will tell you why
Ekadasi is the most purifying of all days. In the Satya-Yuga there
once lived an amazingly fearsome demon called Mura. 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 Shiva and said,
"We have all fallen from our planets and are now wandering helplessly on
the earth. O lord, how can we find relief from this affliction?
What will be the fate of us demigods?'
"'Lord Shiva replied, "O 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, 'O Arjuna, winner of
wealth, after Lord Indra heard these words of Lord Shiva'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,
recite the following prayers:
"'"O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all obeisances
to You. O Lord of lords, O You who are praised by the foremost demigods,
O enemy of all demons, O lotus-eyed Lord, O Madhusudana (killer of the
Madhu demon), please protect us. Afraid of the demon Mura, we demigods
have come to take shelter of You. O 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 Shiva, 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 moveable or immovable, can exist independent
of You. O Supreme Lord, Lord of lords, You are the protector of those
who take shelter of You. O 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
"Lord Krsna continued, 'Having heard Indra and
the other demigods speak these words, Sri 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, "O Supreme Godhead, O Lord
of lords, O You who vanquish the fear in Your pure devotees' hearts, O
You who are so kind to your faithful servants, there was once a powerful
demon of the Brahma 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 Chandravati.
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; Isha, or Lord Shiva; Soma, the moon-god; Nairrti, the lord
of the directions; and Pasi, or Varuna, the water-god. 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. O Lord Vishnu, please kill tis demon and make the demigods victorious."
"'Hearing these words from Indra, Lord Janardana
became very angry and said, "O powerful demigods, all together you may
now advance on Mura's capital city of Chandravati." Encouraged thus,
the assembled demigods proceeded to Chandravati with Lord Hari leading
"'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 Hrsikesha,
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 hundred 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 weapons - whether 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 Badarikashrama. There Lord Yogeshvara, 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 attacker 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
"'Then the Supreme Lord woke up and saw the dead
demo 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, O 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 this freed all the demigods from fear. I am Your
great maha-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, O 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 of 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, O 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 by Ekadasi.
If a person fasts on Ekadasi, 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: Tritiya (the third day), Ashthami (the eighth
day), Navami (the ninth day), Chaturdasi (the fourteenth day), and especially
Ekadasi (the eleventh day).
"'"The merit one attains by fasting on Ekadasi
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 brahmanas. I tell you most emphatically that this
"'Having thus given the maiden His benediction,
the Supreme Lord suddenly disappeared. From that time onward the
Ekadasi day became most meritorious and famous all over the universe.
O Arjuna, if a person strictly observes Ekadasi, I kill all his enemies
and grant him the highest destination. Indeed, if a person observes
this great Ekadasi fast in any of the prescribed way, 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 Ekadasi. 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.
"'One should not discriminate between the Ekadasis
of the waxing and waning moons; both must be observed, O Partha, and they
should not be differentiated from Maha-Dvadasi. Everyone who
fasts of Ekadasi should recognise that there is no difference between these
two Ekadasis, for they comprise the same tithi.
"'Whoever completely fasts on Ekadasi, 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 rime studying the glories of Ekadasi.
One who vows not to eat anything on Ekadasi 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 Ekadasi, one should
pray, "O Pundarikaksha, 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 form
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. O best of kings, from
noon on Ekadasi until dawn on Dvadasi, one should engage himself in taking
baths, worshipping 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 Ekadasi
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 Ekadasi 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 Ekadasi.'"
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Margasirsa-krsna
Ekadasi, or Utpanna Ekadasi, from the Bhavisya-uttara Purana.
These stories are to be found in the celebrated book, "Ekadasi: The
Day of Lord Hari" 1986. pages 13 - 22. HH Krishna Balaram Swami.
Bhaktivedanta Institute Press.
(the above excerpt is used with permission)
The Ekadashi Book is now available in its entirety -free to download
with our blessing at http://www.krsna.org
Entire book acknowledged to Mahamandelswar Mahant Krsna Balaram Swami
Dr. Vijay K. Parmar
Bhagavat Dharma Samaj
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