Feb - Mar
Yudhisthira Maharaja said, “O Sri Krishna, please describe the Ekadashi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna (February/March).”
Lord Sri Krishna replied,
“O Yudhisthira, I shall tell you about this great fast, known as Vijaya Ekadashi. One who observes it achieves success both in this life and the next. All the sins of one who fasts on this Ekadashi and hears its sublime glories are eradicated.
Narada Muni once asked Lord Brahma about the merit one can achieve by faithfully observing Vijaya Ekadashi.
Narada’s father replied, “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 Lord Rama was exiled to the forest for fourteen years; He, Sita-Devi, and His brother Lakshmana stayed at Panchavati as mendicants. Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, and Rama was distressed. While searching for His beloved consort, He came upon the dying Jatayu -the great devotee-vulture Jatayu returned to Vaikuntha after telling Rama how Sita-Devi had been abducted by Ravana.
Later, Rama and Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, became friends. Together they amassed an army of monkeys and bears and sent Hanuman to Sri Lanka, where he was able to see Sita-Devi. He delivered Rama’s message to Her and then returned to Rama with Her message to Him.
With the help of Sugriva, Lord Rama proceeded towards Sri Lanka. Upon arriving at the shore of the ocean with the army of monkeys, He said to Lakshmana, “I can see no easy way to cross it.”
Lakshmana replied, “The great sage Bakadalbhya lives on an island nearby. He is aged and wise. Let us ask him how We can safely reach Our goal.”
So Rama and Lakshmana proceeded to the ashrama of sage Bakadalbhya who could understand, however, that Rama was actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who for His own reasons had appeared on earth as a human being.
The sage said,
“O Lord Rama, I shall tell you of the most exalted of all fasts, observing which You will surely conquer Ravana and be eternally glorified.”
“On the day before Ekadashi, fashion a water pot of gold or silver or even 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 water pot 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 water pot-deity and offer Him incense, sandalwood paste, flowers, a ghee lamp, and a plate of sumptuous food. Remain awake that night beside this sacred pot. On top of the lid filled with barley, etc., place a golden murti of Lord Narayana.”
“When Ekadashi dawns, take Your morning bath and then decorate the water pot with fine sandalwood paste and garlands. Then worship the pot with first-class incense; sandalwood paste, and a ghee lamp, and also devotedly place many kinds of cooked food, pomegranate, and coconut before the water pot. Then remain awake overnight.”
“When Dvadashi dawns, take the water pot to the bank of a holy river, or even to the shore of a small pond. After worshiping it properly, offer it with all the aforementioned ingredients to a pure brahmana. If You and Your military commanders observe Vijaya Ekadashi in this way, You will surely be victorious in every way.”
Lord Ramachandra did just as sage Bakadalbhya instructed, and thus He conquered all demoniac forces. Similarly, anyone who observes Vijaya Ekadashi will always be victorious in this mortal world, and after leaving this world he will reside forever in the kingdom of God.
“O Narada, my son, from this you can understand why one should observe this Ekadashi fast properly. This fast is powerful enough to eradicate all of one’s sinful reactions, even the most abominable ones.”
Sri Krishna concluded, “O Yudhisthira, anyone who reads or hears this story will attain the same merit as that earned by performing a horse sacrifice.”