“Ekadashi vratam mama sarva kama phala pradam
Kartabyam sarvada viprair Vishnu prinana karanam”
“It is said that the brahmanas should always observe the vow of Ekadashi to please the Lord and to fulfil his desires.”It is stated in the Brihad Naradia Puran that if everyone including Brahman, kshatriya, vaisya, sudra and women observe the vow of Ekadashi then they will certainly attain liberation. Srila Rupa Goswami an associate of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has described the devotional services. Among sixtyfour limbs of devotional services, following the vow of Ekadashi is an very important limb.
Another name of Ekadashi is Hari-vasara. The main purpose of observing the vow of Ekadashi is to please the Supreme Lord Krishna (Hari) with ones all senses. On the day of Ekadashi one should remain aloof from all kinds of sense gratification, sinful activities, give up all kinds of household activities and live near the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy name, getting knowledge about Him, hearing about His pastimes, singing His prayers and bhajans for the whole day.
A description about the following the vow of Ekadashi is given by Srila Jagadananda Pandit an associate of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in his book Prem Vivarta –once Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said,”if one disregards the vow of Ekadashi he brings ruination in his life, one should simply respect the grain Prasad on the day of Ekadashi and save it for the next day. The pious vaisnavas are simply satisfied by drinking the nectar of Lord Krishna’s holy name. They don’t indulge in any kind of sense gratification, they don’t speak about any useless topic and abundone all kinds of material enjoyment. Honouring Prasad is an eternal activity of the pure vaisnavas and they never eat anything that is not offered first to the Supreme Lord. The devotees should fast totally on the Ekadashi day and eat only the remnants of the Lord on the next day. In a special case a devotee can take non-grain remnants of the Lord. Cultivate the limbs of the devotional services with respect then you will attain the mercy of Bhaktidevi. Give up the assotion of non-devotees(those who don’t follow the discipline of pleasing the Supreme Lord) and strictly follow the vow of Ekadashi by engaging yourself in chanting the holy name of the Lord.
There are twentysix names of the auspicious Ekadashi days-
1. Utpanna Ekadashi 2. Moksada Ekadashi
3.Saphala Ekadashi 4.Putrada Ekadashi
5.Sat-tila Ekadashi 6.Jay Ekadashi
7.Vijay Ekadashi 8.Amaloki Ekadashi
9.Papmochni Ekadashi 10.Kamada Ekadashi
11.Varuthini Ekadashi 12.Mohini Ekadashi
13.Apara Ekadashi 14.Nirjala Ekadashi
15. Yogini Ekadashi 16.Sayana Ekadashi
17. Kamika Ekadashi 18.Pavitra Ekadashi
19.Annada Ekadashi 20.Parswa Ekadashi
21.Indira Ekadashi 22.Pasankusha Ekadashi
23.Ram Ekadashi 24.Uththana Ekadashi
25.Padmini Ekadashi 26.Parama Ekadashi
24 Ekadashis occur during one complete year, apart from them there are two more Ekadashi days namely Padmini and Parama Ekadashis which occur during the extra days of a leap year.
Once in Vrindavan gopis asked Shrimati Radharani, O Radhe! You are directly the ocean of every knowledge, please describe us particularly the names of those who have previously observed the vow of Ekadashi and was benifited.
Shrimati Radharani replied them ,-
O gopies! In order to regain their lost kingdome the demigods observed the vow of Ekadashi long, long ago.
King Vaishanta observed the vow of Ekadashi in order to deliver his forefathers from the abode of Yamraj.
The sinful king Lumpaka who was rejected by his subjects, observed the vow of Ekadashi and regained his lost kingdome.
King Ketuman of Bhadravati who had no son, by observing the vow of Ekadashi according to the instruction of learned brahmanas the king was blessed with a son.
Once the wives of demigods instructed a wife of a Brahman to observe the vow of Ekadashi ,being an ordinary human being the wife of the Brahman achieved prosperity and the heavenly pleasure.
Pushpadanta and Malyavan both became ghosts being cursed by their enemies but by observing the vow of Ekadashi they regained their Gandharva form.
In order to build a bridge on the ocean and to kill Ravana the famous demon, Lord Ramchandra observed the vow of Ekadashi.
At the end of the annihilation all the demigods observed the vow of Ekadashi under an Amaloki tree for the benefit of the whole world.
Sage Medhavi observed the vow of Ekadashi according to the instruction of his father and become freed from the bad association of the apsaras and became fully effulgent.
A Gandharva named Lalit become demon by the curse of Kuber but by observing the vow of Ekadashi he regained his position as a Gandharva.
By observing the vow of the Ekadashi many great kings like Mandata, Sagar, Kakutstha, Muchkunda, Dhundhumar went back to the spiritual world.
By observing the vow of Ekadashi Shivji became free from the curse of Brahmaji.
A vaisyas son named as Dhristabudhdhi returned to Vaikuntha by observing the vow of Ekadashi.
King Rukumangad also observed the vow of Ekadashi and enjoyed the whole world as his kingdom and at the end of his life went back to the Vaikuntha with his subjects.
King Ambarish observed the vow of Ekadashi,as a result even the inevitable curse of Brahmaji couldnot touch him.
A Yaksha named Hema-mali became afflicted by white leprosy as he was cursed by Kuber, became as good as moon only by observing the vow of Ekadashi.
By observing the vow of Ekadashi king Mahijit was blessed with a son and at the end of the life he returned to Vaikuntha.
In Satya yuga there was a king Shobhna who became the son-in-law of king Muchkunda. He observed the vow of Ekadashi and attained a beautiful place among the demigods in Mandar mountain.
Shrimati Radharani also said, O gopis! Know for certain that the vow of Ekadashi is the highest of all , there is no tithi as auspicious as the tithi of Ekadashi.”
The descriptions about the glorification of Lord Hari on the Ekadashi day in Chaitanya Bhagbat Madhya khanda,
The devotees limbs shown with garlands and sandalwood paste. Testing the nectar of blissfully singing about Lord Krishna, they forget everything else.(ch. 8 text- 187).
The sound of the holy name filled and made it break in two, all that was inauspicious fled in the four directions.(ch. 8, text- 189).
Lord Chaitanya danced with Lord Nityananda,I can hear the chanting sound that is coming from their feet as they are dancing,(ch. 8,text – 200).
One Ekadashi day after visiting Gundicha temple Lord Chaitanya came and sat down at Jagannath Ballabh garden,the Lord spent the entire day by chanting the holy names of Lord Krishna.Lord was accompanied by many resident devotees like Swaroop Damodar,Ramananda Rai, Vakreshwar Pandit and others.The Lord said,”today all of you should chant the holy name of Lord Krishna with prescribed numbers of rounds, some of you should offer the obeiscences, some of you should discuss the topics of Lord Krishna and Lord Balaram. Stay anywhere and constantly chant the name of Govinda and always be intoxicated with love of the Lord.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna HareHare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare “