12.07.19 ۞ Padmā Ekādaśī ۞

Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja said, "O Keśava, what is the name of that Ekādaśī that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July)? Who is the worshipable Deity for the auspicious day, and what is the process for observing this event?

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied, "O caretaker of this Earthly planet, I shall gladly tell you a wonderful historical event that the deva Lord Brahmā once narrated to his son Nāradaji.

"One day Nārada asked his father, „What is the name of the Ekādaśī that comes during the light part of the month of Āṣāḍha? „Kindly tell me how I should observe this Ekādaśī and thus please the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.‟

"Lord Brahmā replied, „O great saintly orator, O best of all sages, O purest devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, your question is as usual excellent for all mankind. There is nothing better than Ekādaśī, the day of Lord Śrī Hari, in this or any other world. It nullifies even the worst sins if observed properly. For this reason I shall tell you about this Āṣāḍha-śukla Ekādaśī.

„Fasting on this Ekādaśī purifies one of all sins and fulfills all ones desires. Therefore, whoever neglects to observe this sacred fast day is a good candidate for entering into hell. Āṣāḍha-śukla Ekādaśī is also famous as Padmā Ekādaśī. Just to please Hṛṣīkeśa, the master of the senses, one should fast on this day. Listen carefully, O Nārada, as I relate to you a wonderful historical event that was recorded in the scriptures regarding this Ekādaśī. Just hearing this account destroys all kinds of sins, along with all obstacles on the path to spiritual perfection.

„O son, there was once a saintly king in the Sun dynasty whose name was Māndhātā. Because he always stood up for the truth, he was appointed emperor. He took care of his subjects as though they were his very own family members and children. On account of his piety and great religiosity, there was no pestilence, drought, or disease of any kind in his entire kingdom. All his subjects were not only free of all kinds of disturbances but also were very wealthy. The king‟s own treasury was free of any ill-gotten moneys, and thus he ruled happily for many years.

„Once, however, because of some sin in his kingdom, there was a drought for three years. The subjects found themselves beset by famine also. The lack of food grains made it impossible for them to perform the prescribed Vedic sacrifices, offer oblations to their forefathers and to the devas, engage in any ritualistic worship, or even study the Vedic literatures. Finally, they all came before their beloved king in a great assembly and addressed him thus, „O king, you always see to our welfare, so we humbly beg your assistance now. Everyone and everything in this world needs water. Without water, almost everything is rendered useless or dead. The Vedas call water nāra, and because the Supreme Personality of God sleeps upon water, His another name is Nārāyaṇa. God makes His own abode on water and takes His rest there. In His form as the clouds, the Supreme Lord is present throughout the sky and pours forth rains, from which grow the grains that maintain every living entity.

“ „O king, the severe drought has caused a great lack of valuable grains; thus we are all miserable, and the population is decreasing as people die off or leave your kingdom. O best ruler on Earth, please find some solutions to this problem and bring us to peace and prosperity once again.”

“ „The king replied, "You speak the truth, for grains are like Brahman, the Absolute Truth, who lives within grains and thereby sustains all beings. Indeed, it is because of grains that the entire world lives. Now, why is there a terrible drought in our kingdom? The holy scriptures discuss this subject very thoroughly. If a king (or head of the country) is irreligious, both he and his subjects suffer. I have meditated upon the cause of our problem for a long time, but after searching my past and present character I can honestly say that I find no sin. Still, for the good of all you subjects, I shall try to remedy the situation.”

Thinking in this way, King Māndhātā assembled his army and entourage. Paid his obeisances to me, and then entered the forest. He wandered here and there, seeking great sages in their āśramas and inquiring about how to resolve the crisis in his kingdom. At last he came upon the āśrama of one of my other sons, Aṅgirā Muni, whose effulgence lit up all directions. Seated in his hermitage, Aṅgirā looked like a second Brahmā. King Māndhātā was very pleased to see that exalted sages, whose senses were completely under control.

„The king immediately dismounted his horse and offered his respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of Aṅgirā Ṛṣi. Then the king joined his palms and prayed for the Muni‟s blessings. That saintly person reciprocated by blessing the king with sacred mantras; then he asked him about the welfare of the seven limbs of his kingdom.

„After telling the sage how the seven limbs of his kingdom were situated, King Māndhātā asked the sage about his own situation, and if he was happy. Then Aṅgirā Ṛṣi asked the king why he had undertaken such a difficult journey into the forest, and the king told him of the affliction his kingdom was suffering. The king said, "O great sage, I am ruling and maintaining my kingdom while following the Vedic injunctions, and thus I do not know the reason for the drought. To solve this mystery, I have approached you for help. Please help me relieve the suffering of my subjects.

„Aṅgirā Ṛṣi said to the king, „The present age, Satya yuga, is the best of all ages, for in this age Dharma stands on all four legs. In this age everyone respects brāhmaṇas as the topmost members of society. Also, everyone fulfills his occupational duties, and only twice-born brāhmaṇas are allowed to perform Vedic austerities and penances. Although this is a standard, O lion among kings, there is one śudra who is unlawfully performing the rites of austerity and penance in your kingdom. This is why there is no rain in your land. You should therefore punish this laborer with death, for by so doing you will remove the contamination inflicted by his actions and restore peace to your subjects.

“ „The king then replied, "How can I kill an offense-less performer of austerity and sacrifice? Please give me some spiritual solution.”

„The great sage Aṅgirā said, "O king, you should observe a fast on the Ekādaśī that occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Āṣāḍha. This auspicious day is named Padmā Ekādaśī, and by its influence plentiful rains and thus grains and other foodstuffs will surely return to your kingdom. This Ekādaśī bestows perfection upon its faithful observers, removes all kinds of bad elements, and destroys all obstacles on the path to perfection. O king, you, your relatives, and your subjects should all observe this sacred Ekādaśī fast. Then everything in your kingdom will undoubtedly return to normal.”

„Upon hearing these words, the king offered his obeisances and then returned to his palace.

When the Padmā Ekādaśī arrived, King Māndhātā assembled all the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiṣyas and śudras in his kingdom and instructed them to strictly observe this important fast day. After they had observed it, the rains fell, just as the sage had predicted, and in due course of time there were abundant crops and a rich harvest of grain. By the mercy of the Supreme Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the master of the senses, all the subjects of King Māndhātā became extremely happy and prosperous.

„Therefore, O Nārada, everyone should observe this Ekādaśī fast very strictly, for it bestows all kinds of happiness, as well as ultimate liberation, upon the faithful devotee‟

Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa concluded, "My dear Yudhiṣṭhira, Padmā Ekādaśī is so powerful that one who simply reads or hears its glories becomes completely sinless. O Pāṇḍava, one who wishes to please Me should strictly observe this Ekādaśī, which is also known as Deva-sayani Ekādaśī. O lion among kings, Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, whoever wants liberation should regularly observe a fast on this Ekādaśī which is also the day when the Cāturmāsya fast begins.”

Thus ends the Vṛjavāsī narration of the glories of the Āṣāḍha-śukla Ekādaśī - also known as Padmā Ekādaśī or Deva-śayanī Ekādaśī - from the Bhaviṣya-uttara Purāṇa.

It is said that three things cannot exist without water; pearls, human beings, and flour. The essential quality of a pearl is its luster, and that is due to water. The essence of a man is his semen, whose main constituent is water. And without water, flour cannot be made into dough and then be cooked into various forms of bread, offered and eaten. Sometimes water is called jala-nArAyaNa, the Supreme Lord in the form of this life sustaining substance - water.

The seven limbs of a king‟s domain are the king himself; the ministers; his treasury; his military forces; his allies; the brāhmaṇas; the sacrificial performances performed in the kingdom and the needs of the subjects under his care.

The four legs of dharma are Truthfulness, Austerity, Mercy, and Cleanliness.

Deva-sayani, or Viṣṇu-sayani, indicates the day when Lord Viṣṇu goes to sleep with all the devas (demigods). It is said that after this day one should not perform any new auspicious ceremonies until DevotthAni Ekādaśī (Haribodhinī (Probodhini) Devotthāni (Utthana) Ekādaśī), which occurs during the month of KArtika (October - November), because the devas (demigods), being asleep, cannot be invited to the sacrificial arena and because the Sun is traveling along its Southern course (Dakshinayanam).

Text taken from Ekādaśī - The Day of Lord Hari, Mahāmandelswar Mahant, Kṛṣṇa Balarām Swāmi