31 October 2021 — Rama Ekadashi
The glories of Rama Ekadashi is described in the Brahmavaivartha Purana in the conversation between Lord Krishna and Maharaj Yudhisthira.
Maharaj Yudhisthira said, "O, Janardhan! What is the name of the Ekadashi that occures during the wanning moon in the month of October/November. Please explain this to me".
Lord Krishna replied, "O, Lion among Kings! The name of this Ekadashi is Rama Ekadashi and it vanquishes all ones sinful reactions. Now please hear about the glories of this sacred Ekadashi.
Long, long ago there was a famous King named Muchukunda. He was a good friend of Indra, the King of Heaven. He also had friendship with the personalities like Yamaraj, Varuna, Kubera and Vibhisana. This King was very truthful and always attached to the devotional service of Lord Vishnu. He ruled his Kingdom with proper code of conduct.
In due course of time King Muchukunda begot a daughter. According to the name of a best river Chandrabhaga she was given the name Chandrabhaga. She was married to a handsome person named Shobhana who was the son of Chandrasena. One day Shobhana came to the house of his father-in-law on the day of the Ekadashi. Chandrabhaga became greatly worried and contemplated, "O, my Lord! What will happen now? My husband is very weak and he cannot tolerate hunger. Morever my father is also very strict. On the day before Ekadashi my father useually sends his servant to announce that no one can eat on the day of Ekadashi".
When Shobhana heard about this custom he said to his dear wife, "O, dearone! What should I do now? What can I do so that my life is protected and the order of the King is not transgressed". Chandrabhaga replied, "O, my Lord! What to speak of the human being even the elephants, horses and other animals in the kingdom of my father will not be allowed to eat anything today. O, husband, then how can the human beings possibily eat? O, respected huband! If you must eat today then you will have to go back to your house. Therefore consider carefully and take a decision".
After hearing the words of his wife Shobhana said, "What you have said is indeed true but I wish to observe this Ekadashi. Whatever is destined to me will certainly happen". Considering in this way Shobhana decided to observe this sacred Ekadashi. He became overwhelmed with hunger and thirst. When the sun had set all the vaishnavas and pious human being became very happy. O, Lion among Kings! They happily spent the entire night chanting and worshiping the supreme Lord. But it was intolerable for Shobana to pass that night and thus he died just before the sunrise. King Muchukunda completed Shobhans funeral rites with royal prestige by buring him with fragrant sandal wood. According to the order of her father Chandrabhaga did not burn herself in the funeral fire in other words she did not die with her husband. Chandrabhaga, after completing her husbands Sraddha ceremony, continued to live at the house of her father.
O, King! Meanwhilke by the infulence of observing Rama Ekadashi Shobhana became the King of the beautiful ciuty of Devapura which was situated at the peak of Mandara mountain. He began to live in an appulent residence whose pillars were made of gold and bedecked with jeweel and whose walls were decorated with Jems and crystals. A beautiful white umbrella was held over his head which was decorated with a golden crown bedeck with jewells. His ears were decorated with earings, his neck was decorated with a neckless and his arms were decorated with a golden armlets. Decorated in this way Shobhana sat on the royal thrown. He was always served by the gandharvas and apsaras and appeared just like Indra the King of the heaven.
One day a brahmin named Somasharma who was a resident of Muchukundapur arrived in the kingdom of Shobhana in the course of travelling to the holy places. Considering Shobhana as the son-in-law of King Muchkunda the brahmin approached him. As soon as the King saw him he stood up with folded hands and then offered his respectful obeisances to the King. Thereafter Shobhana inquired from the brahamin about his welbeing as well as the well beings of his father-in-law Muchukund, wife Chandrabhaga and all the reseidents of Muchukundapur. He also informed the King that everyone was living in peace and harmony. With great amazement the brahmin said to the King, "O, King! I have never seen such a beautiful city like this before. Please tell me how have you obtained such a kingdom?"
The King replied, "By the influence of observing Rama Ekadashi which occures during the wanning moon in the month of October/November I have received this temporary kingdom. O, best of the brahmanas, please advice me in such a way that my kingdom can remain permanently. I think because I observed the Ekadashi without faith hence I have received this unstudy kingdom. Please explain these topics to Chandrabhaga the beautiful daughter of King Muchukunda. I think she is capable of making it study".
After hearing this words of king Shobhana the brahmin returned to Muchukundapur and told everything to Chandrabhaga in detail. When Chandrabhaga heard the whole incident she became extremely joyful and said to the brahmin, "O, great brahmin! Your statements are appearing to me just like a dream". Then the brahmin Somasharma said, "O, daughter! I have personally seen your husband at Devpuri. I have also seen his entire kingdom which is as bright as the sun but he told me that his kingdom was not study. Therefore you should try to make his kingdom study by any means". Chandrabhaga said, "O, respected Brahmana, please take me there because I have developed an intence desire to see my husband. I will make his kingdom study on the strength of my piety. O twice born! Please make some arrangement so that I can meet him for by helping the seperated to meet one occumulates peity".
There after Somasharma took Chandrabhaga and went to the ashrama of Bamadev which was situated near Mandara Mountain. After hearing the whole story from the bright faced Chandrabhaga Bamadev initiated her with vedic mantras. By the influence of the mantras received from sage Bamadev and by the piety accumulated as a result of observing Ekadashi Chandrabhaga obtained a spiritual body. Thereafter Chandrabhaga happily went before her husband.
Upon seeing his wife Shobana became extremely pleased and satisfied. Chandrabhaga said, "O, my respected husband! Please hear my benefitial words. I have been strictly observing Ekadashi from the age of eight at the house of my father. May that occumulated peity make your kingdom study and let it continue o prosper until the time of enahilation". Thereafter having received divine body and decorated with opulant ornaments she began to enjoy the association of her husband. By the influence of Rama Ekadashi Shobana also received a divine body and began to enjoy with his wife at the peak of Mandara Mountain. Therefore, O, King, this Rama Ekadashi is just like the wishful filling cow or a touched stone".
Lord Krisha continued, "O, King! I have thus explained to you the glories of auspicious Rama Ekadashi. A person who strictly observes the vow of this Ekadashi he is undoubtedly freed from the sin of killing a brahamin. Just as black cows and white cows both give white milk similarly Ekadashis of wanning moon and Ekadashis of waxing moon both award liberation to the followers. Any one who hears the glories of this Ekadashi becomes liberated from all sinful reactions and happily resides in the abode of Lord Vishnu".
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