The Ekadashi date of Krishna Pakchya in the month of Paush is called Safala Ekadashi. There is a mythological context of the Mahabharata period, where Lord Krishna explained the importance of Safala Ekadashi while calming the curiosity of Maharaj Yudhisthir. In the story mentioned in the Padma Puran, Lord Krishna has revealed the secret of attaining nearness to Lord Narayana through the ritual of Ekadashi Fast performed methodically which is more fruitful than performing big Yagyas (fire worships).
The Krishna Pakchya of the month of Paush includes the very beneficial Ekadashi known as Safala Ekadashi. Any Ekadashi is considered the best of all Bratas, i.e fastings. On this day, Shrihari should be worshiped by chanting his names, reciting mantras, and by offering various kinds of fruits, etc. Incense is offered to God and lamps are donated in his name. During the night, one should stay awake (Jagaram) chanting the name of Sri Hari Narayan together with other beloved devotees of God. When one stays awake like this on the night of Ekadashi, it yields far better fruits than doing penance for thousands of years.
God has also explained the fasting method of Ekadashi. Brati, the one who is observing fasting should take pure and sattvic food from the day of Dashmi Tithi. On this day, living in pure and sattvic conduct, one should abandon the desire for pleasure and greed. Being selfless one should remember the god in the mind and serve him continuously. On Ekadashi, after bathing in the morning, wearing clean clothes, wearing Shrikhand (sandalwood paste) or Gopi sandalwood on the forehead, Lakshmi-Narayan should be offered with lotus or Vajrayanti flowers (canna lily), fruits, Ganga-jal, Panchamrit, incense, lamps, etc. Satvik fruit can be consumed in the evening after donating the lamp. On the day of Ekadashi, one should not consume food made out of grains. It is said that on Ekadashi, various sins reside in the grain.
On the day of Dwadashi, special worship of God should be performed. One should consume food only after offering food, Dakshina, alms with Janai and donate purnapatro to the Satvik Brahmins who have knowledge of Vedic rituals and bid them goodbye. The Brati, fasting on this Ekadashi, staying awake at night, chanting hymns, by performing a successful Ekadashi fast obtain more special and more fruitful results which compared is much greater than obtained by performing the best of the Yagya.
After Lord Krishna had explained so, Maharaj Yudhisthir inquired more about the Ekadashi of Paush Krishna Pakchya Ekadashi, and in reply the Lord said: O Dharmaraj Yudhisthir, I very lovingly will tell you a secret element, listen. Apart from Ekadashi fast, I am not very happy even from or with the Yagya that I get the most of Dakshina. Therefore, the fast of Ekadashi should be taken only with utmost devotion and reverence. O Rajan, listen carefully with full concentration. The name of this Ekadashi is Safala Ekadashi. The deity of this Ekadashi is obviously lord Sri Narayan. Therefore, during this fast special observance of the fasting method should be followed. Just as Sheshnag is superior to snakes, eagle to birds, moon to planets, Ashwamegh to Yagyas, in the same way, Lord Bishnu is superior to all gods, Similarly, the fast of Ekadashi is the best of all other fasts. The people and individuals who always fast on Ekadashi are very beloved to me.
O Rajan, now listen to the greatness of Ekadashi fast. There was a city of Champawati ruled by a king named Mahishman. He had four sons and the eldest son’s name was Lumpak. He was a great sinner and an adulterer always looking out for others’ wives etc. He used to visit prostitutes and spend his father’s money on various other heinous sins. He always condemned deities, Brahmins, and other dear devotees of God. When the king found out about his eldest son’s behavior, he became very sad. And, he expelled Lumpak, his son from his kingdom.
After being deported, he considered various measures and ideas for his livelihood and in the end decided to make his living by stealing. During the day he used to hide in the forest and at night he would break into his father’s city, to steal and if there were any retaliation, he would even resort to the point of crime as killing people after torturing them. Because of this, the townspeople were terrified by his heinous act. In the forest also, he started killing and eating the animals. The people and security officials used to arrest him but out of fear of the king they used to release him.
In the forest where Lumpak lives, there was a huge Peepal tree (Ficus Religiosa) that people had been worshiping since ancient times as the form of Lord Narayan himself. Even the gods used to visit that place from time to time. The great sinner Lumpak began to live at the base of the same sacred tree. One night, during the winter Lumpak was naked at the base of the peepal and he could not sleep all night. The winter cold was so severe that he fainted several times before sunrise. That day was Paush Krishna Pakchya Ekadashi. At noon on this Ekadashi, he ceases to faint and wakes up because of the heat of the sun.
As his body was very weak due to hunger, he went out in search of food with great difficulty. Because of his weakness, he was unable to kill animals. So he gathered the fruits fallen from the trees, which were at the base of trees, and returned to the shade of the same peepal tree. By that time, the sun had already set and evening had fallen. While he placed the fruits collected, at the base of the peepal tree, he suddenly remembered the name of God and began to say, O God, now I offer these fruits to you. O God, Please be satisfied with these fruits. He was not able to sleep the whole night because of the cold and discomfort. Thus, unknowingly, Lumpak observed the Ekadashi fast and completed it, staying awake all night long, therefore, God was very pleased. And, because of the effect of Ekadashi fasting that he observed all his sins were destroyed.
The next morning a very beautiful horse, adorned with various objects, came and stood before Lumpak. Then came the voice from the sky and heaven: O prince, by the grace of Lord Sri Narayan all your sins are destroyed. Now go to your father and ask for his forgiveness for your past misdeeds, repent and receive the kingdom. Lumpak was very much pleased to hear such words and dressed in beautiful clothes, bowing to God he praised the lord and then went to his father’s court.
His father who was already aged and old was overjoyed at Lumpak’s arrival, leaving him in charge of the entire kingdom the king retired into the forest. Lumpak began to rule the country according to the religious instruction of scriptures. His wife, son, entire family, and people of his kingdom became the ultimate devotees of Lord Narayan. After enjoying the rule of the kingdom for many years, he passed the kingdom to his son and went to the forest to do penance, and finally, Lumpak attained Baikuntha lok. Therefore, O Yudhisthir, the person who fasts on this holiest and pure Safala Ekadashi ultimately gets liberated. Even a person who reads or just listens to the greatness of this Safala Ekadashi shall also get the fruits of Ashwamegh Yagya. Narayan Hari ।। To Read this article in the Nepali Language please click here.