(17) KAMIKA EKADASI (or) SHRAVANA-KRISHNA EKADASI
(From the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana – as told by Sri Krishna to Dharmaraja Yudhisthira )
The saintly king Yudhisthira maharaj said, “Oh Supreme Lord, I would like to hear from You the glories of the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight (Krishna paksha) of the month of Shravana (July –August). Oh Govinda deva, please be merciful to me and explain its glories.”
Shri Krishna, replied, “Oh King, please listen attentively as I describe the auspicious influence of this Holy fast (vrata) day, which removes all sins. Narada Muni once asked Lord Brahma about this same topic. ‘Oh you who sit upon a water born lotus throne, please tell me the names of the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the sacred month of Shravana. Please also tell me which Deity is to be worshipped on that Holy day, the process one must follow to observe it, and the merit it awards.’
Lord Brahma replied, ‘My dear son Narada, for the benefit of all humanity I shall happily tell you everything you wish to know, for just hearing the glories of the Kamika Ekadashi bestows merit equal to that obtained by one who performs a horse sacrifice.
Certainly, great merit is attained by one who worships, and who also meditates on the lotus feet of the four-armed Lord Gadadhara, who holds conch shell, disc, club and lotus in His hands and who is also known as Sridhara, Hari, Vishnu, Madhava, and Madhusudana. And the blessings achieved by such a person / devotee, who worships Lord Vishnu exclusively are far greater than those achieved by one who takes a sacred bath in the Ganges at Kashi (Varanasi), in the forest of Naimisharanya, or at Pushkara, which is the only place on the planet where I am formally worshipped. But one who observes this Kamika Ekadashi and also worships Lord Shri Krishna achieves greater merit than one who has darshana of Lord Kedaranatha in the Himalayas, or one who bathes at Kurukshetra during a solar eclipse, or one who donates the whole Earth in charity, including its forests and oceans, or one who bathes in the Gandaki River (where the sacred Saligrams are found) or the Godavari River on a full moon (purnima) day that falls on a Monday when Leo (Simha) and Jupiter (Guru) are conjoined (conjunct).
’Observing Kamika Ekadashi bestows the same merit as donating a milk-cow and her auspicious calf, along with their feed. On this all auspicious day, whosoever worships Lord Sri Sridhara-deva, Vishnu, is glorified by all the devas, Gandharvas, Pannagas, and Nagas.
‘Those who are afraid of their past sins and completely immersed in sinful materialistic life should at least observe this best of Ekadashis according to their ability and thus attain liberation. This Ekadashi is the purest of all days and the most powerful for removing sins of the native. Oh Narada, Lord Shri Hari Himself once said about this Ekadashi, “One who fasts on Kamika Ekadashi attains much more merit than one who studies all the spiritual literatures.”
‘Anyone who fasts on this particular day remains awake throughout the night will never experience the anger of Yamaraja, the king of death personified. It has been seen that whoever observes Kamika Ekadashi will not have to suffer future births, and in the past too, many Yogis of devotion who fasted on this day went to the spiritual world. One should therefore follow in their auspicious footsteps and strictly observe a fast on this most auspicious of Ekadashis.’
‘Whosoever worships Lord Shri Hari with Tulasi leaves is freed from all implication of sin. Indeed, he lives untouched by sin, as the lotus leaf, although in the water, is untouched by it. Whosoever offers Lord Shri Hari but a single leaf from the sacred Tulasi tree attains as much merit as one who gives away in charity two hundred grams of gold and eight hundred grams of silver. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is more pleased by one who offers Him a single Tulasi leaf than by one who worships Him with pearls, rubies, diamonds, etc. One who offers Lord Keshava newly grown manjari buds from the Tulasi plant gets rid of all the sins he has committed during this or any other lifetime. Indeed, mere darshana of Tulasi on Kamika Ekadashi removes all sins, and merely touching her and praying to her removes all kinds of disease. One who waters Tulasi devi need never fear the Lord of death, Yamaraja. One who plants or transplants Tulasi on this day will eventually reside with Lord Shri Krishna in His own abode. To Srimati Tulasi devi, who awards liberation in devotional service, one should therefore daily offer one’s full obeisances.’
‘Even Chitragupta, Yamaraja’s secretary, cannot calculate the merit obtained by one who offers Srimati Tulasi-devi a perpetually burning ghee lamp. So dear is this sacred Ekadashi to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that all the forefathers of one who offers a bright ghee lamp to Lord Shri Krishna on this day ascend to the heavenly planets and drink the celestial nectar there. Whoever offers a ghee or sesame oil lamp to Shri Krishna on this day is freed from all his sins and enters the abode of Surya, the Sun-god, with a body as bright as ten million lamps. This Ekadashi is so powerful that if one who is unable to fast simply follows the practices as mentioned herein, he / she is elevated to the heavenly planets, along with all their forefathers.’
Oh Maharaj Yudhisthira, Lord Shri Krishna concluded, “…these were the words of Prajapati Brahma to his son Narada Muni concerning the incalculable glories of this Kamika Ekadashi, which removes all sins. This sacred day nullifies even the sin of killing a brahmana or the sin of killing an unborn child in the womb, and it promotes one to the spiritual world by making one supremely meritorious.”
Kamika Ekadasi is observed during the waning phase of moon in the month July or early August. The importance of this Ekadashi was narrated by Lord Krishna to Yudhisthira and is found in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Originally, it was narrated by Lord Brahma to Narada Maharishi. It is believed that observing this Ekadashi is equal to bathing in sacred rivers on auspicious days.
Offering Tulsi leaves to Lord Vishnu on this day is considered highly auspicious. Another important offering made is lighting ghee or sesame oil filled lamps at Sri Krishna Temples. Observing this Ekadasi is also equal to reading all the scriptures dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
It is believed that all the sins and remorse will be washed away if a devotee strictly observes the Kamika Ekadashi fast. It is mentioned in scriptures that those devotees fasting on this day wins the favor of Yamraj, the lord of death. For fasting the usual method is followed.
One who kills the innocent, i.e., a brahmin (brahmana), a child in the womb, a pious and spotless woman, etc., and then later hears about the glories of Kamika Ekadashi will be relieved of the reaction to one’s sins. However, one should NOT think beforehand that one can kill a brahmin or other innocent folk and then go unpunished simply by hearing of this Ekadashi. Such knowing commission of sin is an abomination.
Whosoever hears these glories of the Kamika Ekadashi with faith becomes free of all sins and returns home, back to Godhead, – Vaikuntha.
(1) EKADASI RECEIPS – THE FOODS TO BE PREPARED ON EKADASI CAN BE READ HERE
(2) THE LIST AND LINKS OF 26 EKADASIS IN SEQUENCE CAN BE READ HERE
(3) How to offer worship and prayers on Ekadasi? Read Here.
(4) A-Z Tips on Ekadasi Fasting with practical considerations can be read here.