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Kamada Ekadashi

Mar - Apr

Sri Suta Gosvami said, “O sages, by the mercy of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, I can describe the fasting day that removes all kinds of sins. It was to the devoted Yudhishthira that Lord Krishna glorified the twenty-four primary Ekadashis, which destroy sin, and now I shall recount one of those narrations to you.”

Great learned sages have selected the twenty-four narrations from the eighteen Puranas. The narration for this Ekadashi is taken from the Varaha Purana.

Yudhishthira Maharaja said, “O Lord Krishna, please describe to me the Ekadashi that occurs during the light part of the month of Chaitra.” (March-April).

Lord Sri Krishna replied,

“I shall narrate the ancient history of this sacred Ekadashi, a history which Vasishtha Muni once related to King Dilipa, the great-grandfather of Lord Ramachandra.

King Dilipa asked the great sage Vasishtha, ‘I wish to hear about the Ekadashi that comes during the light part of the month of Chaitra. Please describe it to me.’

Vasishtha Muni replied,

“O king, the Ekadashi that occurs during the light fortnight of Chaitra is named Kamada Ekadashi. It consumes all sins. It is very purifying, and it bestows the highest merit upon one who faithfully observes it. Now hear an ancient history, which is so meritorious that it removes all of one’s sins simply by being heard.

‘Long ago, there existed a kingdom named Ratnapura, which was decorated with gold and jewels and in which sharp-fanged snakes would enjoy intoxication. King Pundarika was the ruler of this most beautiful kingdom, which had many Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and Apsaras among its citizens.

Among the Gandharvas were Lalita and his wife Lalitā, who was an exceptional dancer. Lalitā loved her husband dearly, and likewise, he constantly thought of her.

Once at the court of King Pundarika, many Gandharvas were dancing and Lalita was singing alone, without his wife. He could not help thinking about her as he sang, and because of this distraction, he lost track of the song’s melody. One of the envious snakes complained to the king that Lalita was absorbed in thinking of his wife instead of his sovereign. The king became furious upon hearing this, and he shouted, ‘Because you were lustfully thinking of a woman instead of reverently thinking of your king as you performed your court duties, I curse you to at once become a cannibal!’

Lalita immediately became a fearful cannibal, a great man-eating demon whose appearance terrified everyone. Thus poor Lalita, the loving Gandharva singer, had to suffer the reaction of his offense against King Pundarika. Seeing her husband suffering as a horrible cannibal, Lalitā became overwhelmed with grief. Instead of enjoying life as a Gandharva’s wife, she had to wander everywhere in the thick jungle with her monstrous husband.

However, by good fortune, Lalitā came upon the sage Sringi one day. He was sitting on the peak of the famous Vindhyachala Hill. Noticing her, the sage asked, ‘Whose daughter are you, and why have you come here?’

She replied, ‘I am the daughter of the great Gandharva Viradhanva, and my name is Lalitā. I roam the forests and plains with my dear husband, whom King Pundarika has cursed to become a man-eating demon. Please tell me how I can perform some act of atonement on behalf of my husband to free him from this demonic form?’

The sage replied, ‘There is an Ekadashi named Kamada that occurs in the light fortnight of the month of Chaitra. If you observe this Ekadashi fast according to its rules and regulations and give the merit you thus earn to your husband, he will be freed from the curse at once.’

Lalitā faithfully observed the fast of Kamada Ekadashi according to the instructions of sage Sringi, and on Dvadashi she appeared before him and the Deity of Lord Vasudeva and said, ‘I have faithfully observed the fast of Kamada Ekadashi. May the merit I have gained thus free my husband from his misery.’

As Lalitā finished speaking, her husband was at once freed from the king’s curse. He immediately regained his original form as the Gandharva Lalita. Now, with his wife Lalitā, he could enjoy even more opulence than before. All this was accomplished by the power and glory of Kamada Ekadashi.

Lord Sri Krishna continued,

‘O Yudhishthira, anyone who hears this wonderful narration should certainly observe this Ekadashi to the best of his ability. I have therefore described its glories to you for the benefit of all humanity. There is no better Ekadashi than Kamada Ekadashi. It can nullify curses and cleanse the consciousness. In all the three worlds, among movable and immovable living entities, there is no better day.’

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