Glories of Saphala Ekadasi

Igor - December 26, 2005 11:22 am

"On Saphala 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. He should offer Me jambira fruit, pomegranate, betel, coconut, guava, 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 Saphala Ekadasi. is especially glorious. The devotee should try to stay awake all 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. 0 best of kings, there is no sacrifice or pilgrimage that yields merit equal to or better than the merit one gains by fasting on Saphala Ekadasi. Such fasting-particularly if one can remain awake and alert all night longbestows the same merit upon the faithful devotee as the performance of austerity for five thousand years. 0 lion among kings, please hear the glorious history of this Ekadasi.


"Once there was a city called Campavati, which was ruled by the saintly King Mahismata. He had four sons, the eldest of whom, Lumpaka, always engaged in very sinful activities-illicit sex with the wives of others, gambling, and continual association with known prostitutes. His evil deeds gradually reduced the wealth of his father, King Mahismata. Lumpaka also became very critical of the demigods and brahmanas, and every day he would blaspheme Vaisnavas. At last King Mahismata, seeing the condition of his son, exiled him to the forest. Out of fear of the king, even compassionate relatives did not come to Lumpaka's defense, so angry was the king and so sinful was Lumpaka.


"Bewildered in his exile, Lumpaka thought to himself, 'My father has sent me away, and even my kinsmen do not raise any objection. What should I 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 at night I'll return to city.' So thinking, Lumpaka entered the dark forest. He killed many animals by day, and by night he stole valuable items from the city. The city-dwellers apprehended him several times, but out of fear of the king they left him alone. They thought that it must have been the sins of his previous births that had made him lose his royal facilities and act so sinfully.


"Though a meat-eater, Lumpaka would also eat fruits every day. He resided under an old banyan tree that happened to be very dear to Lord Vasudeva. Indeed, many worshiped it as the god of all the trees in the forest. In due course of time, while Lumpaka was doing so many sinful and condemnable activities, Saphala Ekadasi arrived. On the eve of Ekadasi, Lumpaka had to pass the entire night without sleep because of the severe cold and his scanty bedclothes. The cold not only robbed him of all peace but almost killed him. By the time the sun rose, his teeth were chattering and he was almost comatose, and all during the morning of that day, Ekadasi, he could not awaken from his stupor.


"When midday of Saphala Ekadasi, arrived, the sinful Lumpaka finally came to and managed to rise up from his place under the banyan tree. But with every step he stumbled 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 could not kill a single animal that day. Instead, he was reduced to collecting whatever fruits had fallen to the ground. By the time he returned to the banyan tree, the sun had set.


"Placing the fruits on the ground next to him, Lumpaka began to cry, 'Oh, 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!' Again he was forced to lie awake the whole night without sleep, but in the meantime the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Madhusudana, had become pleased with Lumpaka's offering of the 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, 0 Yudhisthira, to what happened to the son of .King Mahismata when but a fragment of merit sprouted up within his heart.


"As the sun rose beautifully on the day following Ekadasi, a handsome horse approached Lumpaka and stood next to him. At the same time, a voice suddenly spoke from out of the clear blue sky: 'This horse is for you, Lumpaka! Mount it and swiftly ride out to greet your family! 0 son of King Mahismata, by the mercy of Lord Vasudeva and the strength of the merit you acquired by observing Saphala Ekadasi, your kingdom will be returned to you without any further hindrances. Such is the benefit you have gained by fasting on this auspicious day. Go now to your father and enjoy your rightful place in the dynasty.'


"Upon hearing these celestial words, Lumpaka mounted the horse and rode back to the city of Campavati. By the merit he had accrued by fasting on Saphala 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 Mahismata, his humble obeisances and once more accepted his princely responsibilities. Seeing his son decorated with Vaisnava ornaments and tilaka, King Mahismata gave him the kingdom, and Lumpaka ruled unopposed for many, many years. Whenever Ekadasi came, he worshiped the Supreme Lord with great devotion. And by the mercy of Sri Krsna he obtained a beautiful wife and a fine son. In old age Lumpaka handed his kingdom over to his sonjust as his own father, King Mahismata, had handed it over to him-and then went into the forest to serve the Supreme Lord with controlled mind and senses. Purified of all material desire, he left his body and returned home, back to Godhead, attaining a place near the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna.


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