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Ekadasi Alert: Wed, 21 Dec 2011

Saphala Ekadasi
from Bhavisya-uttara Purana
Date of fasting: Wed, 21 Dec 2011
Breakfast  :  06:41 AM – 10:29 AM Next day ***
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Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "O my Dear Lord Sri Krishna, what is the
name of that Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the
month of Pausha (December-January)? How is it observed, and which
Deity is to be worshipped on that sacred day? Please narrate these
details to me fully, so that I may understand Oh Janardana."  The
Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna then replied, "O best of
kings, because you desire to hear, I shall fully describe to you the
glories of the Pausha-krishna Ekadasi.

"I do not become as pleased by sacrifice or charity as I do by My
devotee's observance of a full fast on Ekadasi. To the best of one's
ability, therefore, one should fast on Ekadasi, the day of Lord Hari.

"O Yudhisthira, I urge you to hear with undivided intelligence the
glories of Pausha-krishna Ekadasi, which falls on a Dwadasi. As I
explained previously, one should not differentiate among the many
Ekadasis. O king, to benefit humanity at large I shall now describe to
you the process of observing Pausha-krishna Ekadasi.

"Pausha-krishna Ekadasi is also known as Saphalaa Ekadasi. On this
sacred day one should worship Lord Narayana, for He is its ruling
Deity. One should do so by follow the previously described method of
fasting. Just as among snakes Shesha-naga is the best, and among birds
Garuda is the best, among sacrifices the Ashvamedha-yajna is the best,
among rivers Mother Ganges is the best, among gods Lord Vishnu is
best, and among two-legged beings the brahmins are the best, so among
all fasting days Ekadasi is by far the best. O foremost of kings who
took your birth in the Bharata dynasty, whoever strictly observes
Ekadasi becomes very dear to Me and indeed worshipable by Me in every
way. Now please listen as I describe the process for observing
Saphalaa Ekadasi.  "On Saphalaa Ekadasi My devotee should worship Me
by offering Me fresh fruits according to time, place and circumstance,
and by meditating on Me as the all-auspicious Supreme Personality of
Godhead. He should offer Me jaambira fruit, pomegranate, betal nuts
and leaves, coconut, guava, varieties of nuts, cloves, mangoes, and
different kinds of aromatic spices. He should also offer Me incense
and bright ghee lamps, for such an offering of lamps on Saphalaa
Ekadasi is especially glorious. The devotee should try to stay awake
the Ekadasi night.

"Now please hear with undivided attention as I tell you how much merit
one gets if he fasts and remains awake throughout the entire night
singing and chanting the glories of Narayana. O best of kings, there
is no sacrifice or pilgrimage that yields merit that is equal to or
better than the merit one gains by fasting on this Saphalaa Ekadasi.
Such fasting – particularly if one can remain awake and alert the
entire night long – bestows the same merit upon the faithful devotee
as the performance of austerity for five thousand earthly years. O
lion among kings, please hear from Me the glorious history that made
this Divine Ekadasi famous.

"Once there was a City called Champaavati, which was ruled by the
saintly King Maahishmata. He had four sons, the eldest of whom,
Lumpaka, always engaged in all manner of very sinful activities –
illicit sexual encounters with the wives of others, gambling, and
continual association with known prostitutes. His evil deeds gradually
reduced the wealth of his father, King Maahishmata. Lumpaka also
became very critical of the numerous devas, the empowered universal
attendants of the Lord, as well as toward the brahmins, and every day
he would go out of his way to blaspheme the Vaishnavas. At last King
Maahishmata, seeing the unrepentant brazen fallen condition of his
son, exiled him to the forest. Out of fear of the king, even
compassionate relatives didn't come to Lumpaka's defense, so angry was
the king toward his son, and so sinful was this Lumpaka.

"Bewildered in his exile, the fallen and rejected Lumpaka thought to
himself, 'My father has sent me away, and even my kinsmen do not raise
but a finger in objection. What am I to do now?' He schemed sinfully
and thought, 'I shall sneak back to the city under cover of darkness
and plunder its wealth. During the day I shall stay in the forest, and
as night returns, so shall I to the city.'  So thinking, the sinful
Lumpaka entered the darkness of the forest. He killed many animals by
day, and by night he stole all manner of valuable items from the city.
The city-dwelling folk apprehended him several times, but out of fear
of the king they left him alone. They thought to themselves that it
must have been the accumulated sins of Lumpaka's previous births that
had forced him to act in such a way that he lost his royal facilities
and became to act so sinfully like a common selfish thief.

"Though a meat-eater, Lumpaka would also eat fruits every day. He
resided under an old banyan tree that unknown to him happened to be
very dear to Lord Vaasudeva. Indeed, many worshipped as the demi-god
(representative departmental head) of all the trees in the forest. In
due course of time, while Lumpaka was doing so many sinful and
condemnable activities, the Saphalaa Ekadasi arrived. On the eve of
the Ekadasi (Dasami) Lumpaka had to pass the entire night without
sleep because of severe cold that he felt due to his scanty bedclothes
(bedding). The cold not only robbed him of all peace but almost of his
very life. By the time the sun rose, near dead, his teeth chattering
and near comatose. In fact all that Ekadasi morning, he remained in
that stupor and could not awaken out of his near comatose condition.

"When midday of the Saphalaa Ekadasi arrived, the sinful Lumpaka
finally came to and managed to rise up from his place under that
banyan tree. But with every step he took, he stumbled and fell to the
ground. Like a lame man, he walked slowly and hesitantly, suffering
greatly from hunger and thirst in the midst of the jungle. So weak was
Lumpaka that he couldn't even concentrate to nor muster strength to go
and kill even a single animal that whole day. Instead, he was reduced
to collecting whatever fruits had fallen to the ground of their own
accord. By the time he returned to his banyan tree home, the sun had
set.

"Placing the fruits on the ground next to him (at the base of the
sacred banyan tree), Lumpaka began to cry out, 'O, woe is me ! What
should I do ? Dear father, what is to become of me? O Sri Hari, please
be merciful to me and accept these fruits as an offering !'  Again he
was forced to lie awake the whole night without sleep, but in the
meantime the all merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord
Madhusudana, had become pleased with Lumpaka's humble offering of
forest fruits, and He accepted them. Lumpaka had unwittingly observed
a full Ekadasi fast, and by the merit he reaped on that day he
regained his kingdom with no further obstacles.  "Listen, O
Yudhisthira, to what happened to the son of King Maahishmata when but
a fragment of the merit spouted up within his heart.

"As the Sun beautifully rose in the sky on the day following Ekadasi,
a handsome horse approached Lumpaka as if seeking him out, and stood
next to him. At the same time, a voice suddenly boomed out from the
clear blue sky saying, 'This horse is for you, Lumpaka! Mount it and
ride swiftly out of this forest to greet you family! O son of King
Maahishmata, by the mercy of the Supreme lord Vaasudeva and the
strength of the merit you acquired by observing Saphalaa Ekadasi, your
kingdom will be returned to you without any further hindrances. Such
is the benefit you have gained by fasting on this most auspicious of
days. Go now, to you father and enjoy your rightful place in the
dynasty.'  "Upon hearing these celestial words resounding from above,
Lumpaka mounted the horse and rode back to the city of Champaavati. By
the merit he had accrued by fasting on Saphalaa Ekadasi, he had become
a handsome prince once more and was able to absorb his mind in the
lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari. In other
words, he had become My pure devotee.

"Lumpaka offered his father, King Maahishmata, his humble obeisances
and once more accepted his princely responsibilities. Seeing his son
so decorated with Vaishnava ornaments and tilak (udhvara pundra) King
Maahishmata gave him the kingdom, and Lumpaka ruled unopposed for
many, many years. Whenever the Ekadasi came, he worshipped the Supreme
Lord Narayana with great devotion. And by the mercy of Sri Krishna he
obtained a beautiful wife and a fine son. In old age Lumpaka handed
his kingdom over to his son – just as his own father, King
Maahishmata, had handed it over to him. Lumpaka then went to the
forest to dedicate his concentrate attention to gratefully serve the
Supreme Lord with controlled mind and senses. Purified of all material
desires, he left his old material body and returned back to home, back
to Godhead, attaining a place near the lotus feet of his worshipful
Lord, Sri Krishna.

"O Yudhisthira, one who approaches Me as Lumpaka did will become
completely free of lamentation and anxiety. Indeed, anyone who
properly observes this glorious Saphalaa Ekadasi – even unknowingly,
like Lumpaka – will become famous in this world. He will become
perfectly liberated at death and return to the spiritual abode of
Vaikuntha. Of this there is no doubt. Moreover, one who simply hears
the glories of Saphalaa Ekadasi obtains the same merit derived by one
who performs a Rajasurya-yajna, and at the very least he goes to
heaven in his next birth, so where is the loss?"

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Pausha-krishna Ekadasi, or
Saphalaa Ekadasi, from the Bhavishya-uttara Purana.
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*** Date and breakfast timing is mentioned for Bangalore city (India).
Please visit  http://vaisnavacalendar.com/  for other places

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