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 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, 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.”