23 July 2018 — Sayana Ekadashi
The topics of Sayana or Devasayani or Padma Ekadashi is described in Bhavishyottara Purana in the conversation between Lord Krishna and Maharaj Yudhisthira.
Once Maharaj Yudhisthira said, "O, Keshava! What is the name of the Ekadashi that occures during the waxing moon in the month of June/July. Who is the worshipable deity for this sacred day and what are the rules and regulation for observing this Ekadashi. Please, explain this to me in detail".
Lord Krishna replied, "O, maintainer of this world! This question was once asked by Shri Narada Muni to Lord Brahma. Now, please, hear from me the wonderful history which Lord Brahma narrated to Narada Muni in his reply.
Once the great orator and best of the sages Narada said to Lord Brahma, "O, Father! What is the name of the Ekadashi that occures during the waxing moon in the month of June/July. Kindly explain to me how should I observe this Ekadashi in order to please the supreme Lord Vishnu".
Lord Brahma replied, "There is no other vow in this material world which is as sacred as the vow of Ekadashi. It is extremely necessary for one to observe the vow of Ekadashi in order to nullyfy all his sinful reactions. A person who does not observe Ekadashi in this world certainly goes to hell. The Ekadashi which occures during the waxing moon in the month of June/July is called Devasayani or Padma Ekadashi. In order to please the supreme Lord Hrishikesh one should follow this Ekadashi.
It is stated in the Purana there was a saintly emperor named Mandata who ruled the entire world. He was born in the dynasty of Sun God, extremely powerful and always stood up for the truth. This King maintained his subjects piously and effectionately like his own children. In the kingdom of this pious king there was no femine, drought or any kind of decease. All his subjects lived peacefully without any anxiety and they were very prosperous. There was no wealth in the treasury of the king which was unlawfully earned. In this way the and his subjects happily spend their days.
After many years due to providence and some sinful activities there was no rainfall in his kingdom for three consequtive years. As a result people became afflicted with hunger due to lack of food and became full of anxiety. As a result of suffering from lack of food the performance of various sacrifices and study of the vedas came to a standstill. Then all the subjects came before the King and appealed, "O, King! Please, hear our words which will altemately benefit ous. The water is addressed in the scriptures as ‘Nara’. The Supreme Lord resides in ‘ayana’. That is why the another name of the Supreme Lord is Narayana. The Supreme Lord Vishnu is all pervading in His form as clouds. He alone causes the rain fall. The food grains are produced from rain and the living entities subsist on rain. At present due to lack of this food grains your subjects are suffering and decreasing. O, best of the Kings! Please, find some remady for our meserable condition and restore peace and prosperity among us".
The King replied, "What ever you all have said is truth. The food grains are considered like Brahman. Everthing is sustained by food grains. The entire world and the living entities subsists on food grains. It is clearly stated in the Puranas and other scriptures that due to the sinful activities commited by the king he and his subjects suffer. Although I cannot ascertain my fault through my own consideration and intelligence never theless I will try my best for the benefit of my subjects".
After speaking in this way the King Mandata gathered some of his principal armies and after offering obeisances to Brahma he entered the forest. Within the forest he regularly visited the ashramas of great sages and asetics. While wondering in the forest in this way one day by providence the king met with the great sage Angira the son of Brahma. Sage Angira was as effulgent as Brahma and all the four direction were illuminated by his effulgent. As soon as the self controled king saw him he immediately got down from his carrier and offered his respectful obeisances at the feet of the sage. Then the King folded his hand and offered prayers. The sage resiprocated and blessed the king.
Thereafter the sage inquired from the King about the cause of his arrival and the well being of his kingdom. The King replied, "O, Lord! I have been rulling my kingdom according to religious principals still there is no rainfall in my kingdom for last three years; As a result my subjects are suffering from various meseries. I have not been able to ascertain its cause inorder to remove this cause. Today I have come to your lotus feet. Kindly tell me the way by which my subjects can live peacefully and thus attain auspiciousness".
The sage Angira replied, "O, King! This present age of Satya Yuga is the best of all the Yugas. In this Yuga people worship the supreme Brahman. The fourfold religious principal are manifest in this Yuga. No one except the Brahmanas are supposed to perform austerity in this Yuga. Inspite of this standard a Sudra in your Kingdom is undergoing this austerity. As a result of this unlawfull conduct you are faceing its consequences in the form of drought. Therefore you should try to kill him and bring peace and prosperity into your Kingdom".
The King said, "O, great sage, it will be impossible for me to kill an innocent person who is engaged in performing austerity. Therefore, please, instruct me about some easy solution".
Then the sage replied, "O, King, if this is the case then observe the sacred Ekadashi known as Padma or Devasayani which occures during the waxing moon in the month of June/July. By the influence of this vow there will certainly be rain fall in your kingdom. This Ekadashi awards one all auspiciousness and perfection. It destroyes all obstacles on the path to perfection. O, King! You along with your subjects should obseve this Ekadashi".
After hearing these asuring words of the great sage the king offered his obeisances and returned to his palace. Thereafter in the month of Asadha or June/July the king along his family members and subjects properly observed this auspicious Padma or Sayana Ekadashi. By the influence of this observance the rain poured in all over his Kingdom. This scarcity of water remained no longer and soon the entire world became filled with food grains by the mercy of the supreme lord Hrishikesha everyone lived happily. Therefore it is the duty of everyone to observe this sacred Ekadashi. This Ekadashi awards everyone the happiness and liberation. By hearing and reading the glories of this Ekadashi all ones sinful reactions are destroied.
This Ekadashi is also known as Vishnu Sayani Ekadashi. In order to please Lord Vishnu the devotees observe this Ekadashi with special devotion. They donot endeavour for material enjoyments or lieration rather they pray for the pure devotional service to the lord. The famous vow of Chaturmasya begins from this Ekadashi. The devotees observe this vow of Chaturmasya by hearing and chanting the topics of Lord for four months begining from the day when lord Hari goes to bed up to the day He wakes up. Maharaj Yudhisthira said to Lord Krishna, "O, Krishna! Please, tell me how one should observe this Shri Vishnu Sayana Vrata or Chaturmasya Vrata".
Lord Krishna replied, "O, King! When the sun remains in the sign of Cancer then Shri Madhusudan, the lord of the entire universe, goes to bed and when the sun goes to the sign of Libra the Lord wakes up. The vow of Chaturmasya commences from the day of Sayana Ekadashi. O, King Yudhisthira! After taking bath one should dress up Lord Vishnu with yellow garnments. Then he should make a bed and cover it with white sheets to put the lord on it to rest. First one should bath the lord with five ingredients such as youghrt, milk, ghee, honey and sugar water by the qualified brahmins. Thereafter, one should wipe the lords body with a cloth and apply pragrant sandal wood paste. Then he should worship the lord by offering insence, ghee lamp and flowers with devotion.
One can also begin observing the vow of Chaturmasya either from the day of Ekadashi, Dvadasi, Purnima, Astami or Sankranti (when the sun enters into the sign of Cancer). The vow of Chaturmasya ends on the day of Dvadasi which falls the day after Utthana Ekadashi in the month of Kartika. A person who observes the vow of Chaturmasya while remembering Lord Hari goes back to the abode of Lord Vishnu sitting on an airoplane as efulgent as the sun. Any one who clinces the temple and the courtyard of the Lord, decorates them with flowers and creepers and feeds the brahmins according to his capacity at the end of the vow obtains inexhaustible happiness for seven life times. By offering ghee lamps to the lord during it his vow one can become fortunate and prosperous. One who chants Gayatri mantra one hundred and eight times in the temple of the Lord in three different times morning, noon and evening no longer have to indulge in sinful activities. Lord Vyasa deva become pleased with such a person and the practitioner returns to the abode of Vishnu. Any one who donates twenty-eight or hundred and eight pots of sesame seeds to the intelligent brahmins at the end of the vow become freed from this sinful reaction accumulateeded by his body mind and speach. He becomes freed from all diseases and obtains intelligent children.
A practioner of devotional service should not sleep on a bedstead for four months during which Lord Janardhan takes place. It is prohibited to have sex during Chaturmasya. One should observe this vow with fastings eating only supper, eating only once a day or eating that which come without asking for it. One who chants and sings before Lord Vishnu during chaturmasya goes to the planet of the Gandharvas. A person who give up eating Gur or Juggery is blessed with sons and grand sons. By giving up oil one becomes beautiful and his enemies are dietroyed. By giving up the taste of bitter, pungent, sour, sweet and salty preparations ones uglyness and bodily odor Is vanquished. Those who give up the enjoyment of flowers go to the heavenly planets and become Vidyadharas. By giving up the chewing of bitelnuts and immediately becomes diseaseless. If one eats out of the bare flower he attains the heaven the abode of Indra. If one gives up milk and yoghurt for the pleasure of Krishna he goes back to the supreme abode of Goloka. One who does not cut his nails and shaves his head attains the good fortune of touching the lotus feet of lord Vishnu. One who circumumbulate the temple of the lord returns to the abode of lord riding on a aeroplane carried by the swans.
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