(7) VIJAYA EKADASI (or) Phalguna-Krishna Ekadasi
(From the Skanda Purana)
Yudhistra said, “Bhagwan Shri Krishna, 0 glorious son of Vasudev, please be merciful to me and describe the Ekadashi that occurs during Phalgun Krishna Paksh”.
Bhagwan Shri Krishna replied, “Yudhisthir, gladly shall I tell you about this great fast, known as Vijaya Ekadashi. Whoever observes it certainly achieves success in both this life and the next. All the sins of one who fasts on this Ekadashi and hears its sublime glories are eradicated”
Narad Muni once asked Brahmaji, who sits on a lotus, about Vijaya Ekadashi? Narad said, “Sarvah-Shresth Dev, kindly tell me the merit one can achieve by faithfully observing Vijaya Ekadashi”.
Narad’s great father replied, ”My dear son, this oldest of fasting days, is pure, and it nullifies all sins. I have never revealed this to anyone until today, but you can understand beyond any doubt that this Ekadashi bestows the result indicated by its name. (Vijaya means victory.)”
“When Bhagwan Ramchandraji was exiled to the forest for fourteen years, He, along with Sita Mata, and His divine brother Laksman stayed at Panchvati as mendicants. Ravan kidnapped Sita maiya, and Ram ji seemingly became bewildered by distress. While searching for His beloved, Bhagwan came upon the dying Jatayu and thereafter killed His enemy Kabandha. The great devotee, vulture Jatayu returned to Vaikunt Dham after telling Ramchandra how Ravan had abducted His dear Sita.
“Later, Bhagwan Ram and Sugriv, the king of the monkeys, became friends. Together they amassed a grand army of monkeys and bears and sent Hanumanji to Lanka, where he was able to see Janakiji, (Sita devi), in an ashok-vatika (garden). He delivered Ram’s message to Her and then returned to Ram with Her message to Him, thus rendering great service to Bhagwan”.
“With the help of Sugriva, Bhagwan Ram proceeded toward Lanka. Upon arriving at the shore of the ocean with the army of monkeys, He could understand that the water was uncommonly deep. Thus He said to Laksman, ‘Sumitra Nandhan, how can We earn enough merit to be able to cross this vast ocean, the unfathomable abode of Varuna? I can see no easy way to cross it, teeming as it is with sharks and other ferocious fish’.
Laksman replied, “Hai Param Prush, hai Prushotam, the great sage Bakadalbhya lives on an island just four miles from here. Hai Raghav he has seen many Brahmas come and go, so aged and wise is he. Let us ask him how We can safely reach Our goal”.
Therefore, Ram and Laksman proceeded to the humble ashram of the incomparable Bakadalbhya Muni. Approaching him, the two paid Their respectful obeisance to him as if he were a second Visnu. Bakadalbhya could understand, however, that Ram was actually Purna Prushotam Bhagwan, who for His own reasons had appeared on earth as a human being.
“Shri Ram”, said Bakadalbhya, “O best of human beings, why have You come to my lowly abode”?
Bhagwan replied, “0 great Brahmin, I have come here to the ocean shore with My phalanx of monkeys and bears in order to cross the sea and conquer Lanka and its demon horde. 0 greatest of sages, please be merciful to Me and tell Me how I can cross this vast ocean. That is why I have come to you today”.
The sage said, “Shri Ram, I shall tell you of the most exalted of all fasts, observing which You will surely conquer Ravan and be eternally glorified. Kindly listen with full attention”.
“On the day before Ekadashi, a Kalash (waterpot) of gold or silver, or of copper, even clay will do if these metals are unavailable. Fill the pot with pure water and then decorate it nicely with mango leaves. Cover it and place it near a holy altar upon a mound of seven grains. Now take Your morning bath, decorate the Kalash with flower garlands and sandalwood paste, and in the concave lid atop the pot place barley, pomegranate, and coconut. Now with great love and devotion worship the Kalash, and offer Him incense, sandalwood paste, flowers, a ghee lamp, and a plate of sumptuous food. Remain awake that night beside this sacred Kalash. On top of the lid filled with barley, etc., place a golden Swaroop of Bhagwan Narayan”.
“When Ekadashi dawns, take your morning bath and then decorate the Kalash with fine sandalwood paste and garlands. Then worship the Kalash with incense; sandalwood paste, and a ghee lamp, and also devotedly place many kinds of cooked food, pomegranate, and coconut before the Kalash. Then remain awake over night”.
“When Duvadasi dawns, take the Kalash to the bank of a holy river, or even to the shore of a small pond., then after worshiping it properly, Ram., offer it with all the aforementioned ingredients to a pure Brahmin expert in the Vedic science. If You and Your military commanders observe Vijaya Ekadashi in this way, You will surely be victorious in every way”.
“Bhagwan Ramchandra did just as Bakadalbhya Muni instructed, and thus He conquered all demoniac forces. Similarly, anyone who observes Vijaya Ekadashi in this way will always be victorious in this mortal world, and after leaving this world, he will reside forever in Vaikunt-dham”.
“Narad, my son, from this history you can understand why one should observe this Ekadashi fast properly, strictly following the rules and regulations. This vrat is powerful enough to eradicate all one’s sinful reactions, even the most abominable ones”.
Shri Krishna said “Yudhistra, anyone who reads or hears this history will attain the same great merit as that earned by performing an Asvamagh yaga”.
(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.