WHO IS EKADASI ?
In the Satya-yuga there once lived an amazing 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.
Then the demigods approached Lord Visnu, and prayed to Him for help.
Hearing the prayers and request from Indra, Lord Visnu became very angry and said:
"O 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.
Then there was a big fight between the soldiers of Mura and the demigods.
Many hundreds of demons were killed by the Lord's hand.
At last the chief demon, Mura, began fighting with the Lord, first with weapons, then with bare hands.
The Lord wrested with Mura for one thousand celestial years and then, apparently fatigued, left for Badarika-asrama.
There He entered a very beautiful cave, named Himavati, to rest.
The demon followed Him into the cave, and, seeing Him asleep, started thinking within his heart:
"Today I will kill this slayer of all demons, Hari."
While the wicked demon Mura was making plans in this way, from Lord Visnu's body there manifested a young girl who had a very bright complexion.
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 with him without cessation.
The king of 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.
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.
The Lord, being pleased with the girl, offered to give her a boon.
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 acrue 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, one who strictly observes a complete fast on my appearance day, with controlled senses, goes to the abode of Lord Visnu 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, 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 pious 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 Ekadasi.
If a person fasts on Ekadasi, I will burn up all his sins and bestow upon him My transcendental abode."
Prabhupada's Lectures, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1969.
So, paravare brahmani dharmato vrataih.
So one should execute Krsna consciousness, dharmato, in right path, and vrataih.
Bhajante mam drdha-vratah. Just like today,#
This ekadasi-vrata is required. Just see. Here it is that
have performed all the vratas.'
The purpose of ekadasi-vrata is that today we should not eat much usual food, grains.
prescription is fasting.
Nirjala ekadasi. Nirjala means there are many devotees who does not take even water.
Water, drinking water,
according to sastra, it is taking food... It is drinking of food or no food.
We can take both ways. So sometimes drinking of water is
excused as upavasa also.
But there are many devotees who even..., drink even a drop of water.
Whole day and night they fast and
And the night is called harivasa.
Harivasa means the whole night they would chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna,
Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama... This is called vrata. Drdha-vrata.
Drdha-vrata.Drdha means very firm, steady.
Krsna is so kind that He has given us so many concession.
But we should be... Because there are some concession, better we should
not take advantage of the concession, but we should be very steady and strong in our conviction and perform devotional service
strictly. That is nice. Vrataih.
Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 9: Chapter Four, Text 29
To observe Ekadasi-vrata and Dvadasi-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Those interested in advancing in Krsna consciousness must observe Ekadasi-vrata regularly.
The Story of Ekadasi
(This article was originally written in 1956 by Sri
Navincandra Cakravarti, a disciple of Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and in 1979
translated into English by Vyenkata dasa brahmacari.)
Many devotees are very inquisitive about the
appearance of Sri Ekadasi and about her special
Therefore I am presenting this
description from the fourteenth chapter of the Padma
Purana, from the section entitled "Kriya-sagara-sara."
Once the great sage Jaimini Rsi said to his spiritual
master Srila Vyasadeva, "Oh Gurudeva! Previously, by
your mercy, you described to me the history of the
glories of the Ganga river, the benefits of
worshipping Vishnu, the giving of grains in charity,
the giving of water in charity, and the magnanimity of
drinking the water that has washed the feet of the
O best of the sages, Sri Gurudeva, now,
with great enthusiasm, I desire to hear the benefits
of fasting on Ekadasi and the appearance of Ekadasi.
kasmad ekadasi jata tasyah ko va vidhir dvija
kada va kriyate kim va phalam kim va vadasva me
ka va pujyatama tatra devata sad-gunarnava
akurvatah syat ko dosa etan me vaktum arhasi
"Oh Gurudeva! When did Ekadasi take birth and from
whom did she appear?
What are the rules of fasting on
Please describe the benefits of following
this vow and when it should be followed.
Who is the
utmost worshippable presiding deity of Sri Ekadasi?
What are the faults in not following Ekadasi properly?
Please bestow your mercy upon me and tell about these
subjects, as you are the only personality able to do
Srila Vyasadeva, upon hearing this enquiry of Jaimini
Rsi, became situated in transcendental bliss.
brahmana sage Jaimini! The results of following
Ekadasi can only be perfectly described by the Supreme
Lord, Narayana, because Sri Narayana is the only
personality capable of describing them in full.
will give a very brief description in answer to your
"At the beginning of the material creation, the
Supreme Lord created the moving and nonmoving living
entities within this world made of five gross material
Simultaneously, for the purpose of punishing
the humans beings, He created a personality whose form
was the embodiment of sin (Papapurusha).
limbs of this personality were constructed of the
various sinful activities.
His head was made of
the sin of murdering a brahmana, his two eyes were the
form of the sin of drinking intoxicants, his mouth was
made of the sin of stealing gold, his ears were the
form of the sin of having illicit connection with the
spiritual master's wife, his nose of the sin of
killing one's wife, his arms the form of the sin of
killing a cow, his neck made of the sin of stealing
accumulated wealth, his chest of the sin of abortion,
his lower chest of the sin of having sex with
another's wife, his stomach of the sin of killing
one's relatives, his navel of the sin of killing those
who are dependent on him, his waist of the sin of self
appraisal, his thighs of the sin of offending the
guru, his genital of the sin of selling one's
daughter, his buttocks of the sin of telling
confidential matters, his feet of the sin of killing
one's father, and his hair the form of lesser, less
severe sinful activities.
In this way, a horrible
personality embodying all the sinful activities and
vices was created.
His bodily colour is black, and his
eyes are yellow.
He inflicts extreme misery upon
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu,
upon seeing this personality of sin, began to think to
Himself as follows:
'I am the creator of the miseries
and happiness for the living entities.
I am their
master because I have created this personality of sin,
who gives distress to all dishonest, deceitful, and
Now I must create someone who will
control this personality.'
At this time Sri Bhagavan
created the personality known as Yamaraj and the
different hellish planetary systems.
entities who are very sinful will be sent after death
to Yamaraj, who will in turn, according to their sins,
send them to a hellish region to suffer.
"After these adjustments had been made, the Supreme
Lord, who is the giver of distress and happiness to
the living entities, went to the house of Yamaraj,
with the help of Garuda, the king of birds.
Yamaraj saw that Lord Vishnu had arrived, he
immediately washed His feet and made an offering unto
He then had Him sit upon a golden throne.
Supreme Lord, Vishnu, became seated on the throne,
Where upon He heard very loud crying sounds coming from
the southern direction.
He became surprised by this
and thus enquired from Yamaraj, 'From where is this
loud crying coming?'
"Yamaraj in reply said, 'Oh Deva! The different
living entities of the earthly planetary systems have
fallen into the hellish regions.
They are suffering
extremely for their misdeeds.
The horrible crying is
because of suffering from the inflictions of their
past bad karma (actions).'
"After hearing this the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, went to
the hellish region to the south.
When the inhabitants
saw who had come they began to cry even louder.
heart of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, became filled with
Lord Vishnu thought to Himself, 'I have
created all this progeny, and it is because of Me
that they are suffering.'"
Srila Vyasadeva continued:
"Oh Jaimini, just listen
to what the Supreme Lord did next.
etac canyac ca viprarse
babhuva sahasa tatra
svayam ekadasi tithih
'After the merciful Supreme Lord thought over what He
had previously considered, He suddenly manifested from
His own form the deity of the lunar day Ekadasi.'
Afterwards the different sinful living entities began
to follow the vow of Ekadasi and were then elevated
quickly to the abode of Vaikuntha.
Oh my child
Jaimini, therefore the lunar day of Ekadasi is the
selfsame form of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and the
Supersoul within the heart of the living entities.
Ekadasi is the utmost pios activity and is situated as
the haed among all vows.
"Following the ascension of Sri Ekadasi, that
personality who is the form of the sinful activity
gradually saw the influence she had.
Lord Vishnu with doubts in his heart and began
offering many prayers, whereupon Lord Vishnu became
very pleased and said, ' I have become very pleased by
your nice offerings. What boon is it that you want?'
"The Papapurusha replied, 'I am your created
progeny, and it is through me that you wanted distress
given to the living entities who are very sinful.
now, by the influence of Sri Ekadasi, I have become
all but destroyed.
Oh Prabhu! After I die all of Your
parts and parcels who have accepted material bodies
will become liberated and therefore return to the
abode of Vaikuntha.
If this liberation of all living
entities takes place, then who will carry on Your
There will be no one to enact the pastimes
in the earthly planetary systems!
Oh Keshava! If You
want these eternal pastimes to carry on, then You
please save me from the fear of Ekadasi.
No type of
pious activity can bind me.
But Ekadasi only, being
Your own manifested form, can impede me.
Out of fear of
Sri Ekadasi I have fled and taken shelter of men;
animals; insects; hills; trees; moving and nonmoving
living entities; rivers; oceans; forests; heavenly,
earthly, and hellish planetary systems; demigods; and
I cannot find a place where I can be
free from fear of Sri Ekadasi.
Oh my Master! I am a
product of Your creation, so therefore very mercifully
direct me to a place where I can reside fearlessly.'
Srila Vyasadeva then said to Jaimini, "After saying
this, the embodiment of all sinful activities
(Papapurusha) fell down at the feet of the Supreme
Lord, Vishnu, who is the destroyer of all miseries and
began to cry.
"After this, Lord Vishnu, observing the condition of
the Papapurusha with laughter, began to speak thus:
'Oh Papapurusha! Rise up! Don't lament any longer.
Just listen, and I'll tell you where you can stay on
the auspicious lunar day of Ekadasi. On the day of
Ekadasi, which is the benefactor of the three worlds,
you can take shelter of foodstuff in the form of
There is no reason to worry about this any
more, because My form as Sri Ekadasi Devi will no
longer impede you.'
After giving direction to the
Papapurusha, the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, disappeared and
the Papapurusha returned to the performance of his own
"Therefore those persons who are serious about the
ultimate benefit for the soul will never eat grains on
the Ekadasi tithi.
According to the instructions of
Lord Vishnu, every kind of sinful activity that can be
found in the material world takes its residence in
this place of foodstuff (grain).
Ekadasi is freed from all sins and never enters into
If one doesn't follow Ekadasi because
of illusion, he is still considered the utmost sinner.
For every mouthful of grain that is eaten by a
resident of the earthly region, one receives the
effect of kiling millions of brahmanas.
definately necessary that one give up eating grains on
I very strongly say again and again, 'On
Ekadasi, don't eat grains, don't eat grains, don't eat
Whether one be a ksatriya, vaisya, shudra, or
of any family, he should follow the lunar day of
From this the perfection of varna and ashram
will be attained.
Especially since even if one by
trickery follows Ekadasi, all of his sin become
destroyed and he very easily attains the supreme goal,
the abode of Vaikuntha."