Sri Suta Goswami said, "Oh sages, let me offer my humble and respectful
obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Hari, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the son of Devaki
and Vasudeva, by whose mercy I can describe the fast day that removes all kinds
of sins. It was to the devoted Yudhisthira that Lord Krishna glorified the
twenty-four primary Ekadasis, which destroy sin, and now I shall recount one of
those narrations to you.
Great-learned sages have selected these twenty-four narrations from the eighteen
Puranas, for they are truly sublime.
Yudhishthira Maharaja said, "Oh Lord Krishna, Oh Vasudeva, please accept my
humble obeisances. Please describe to me the Ekadasi that occurs during the
light part of the month of Chaitra [March-April].
What is its name, and what are its glories?"
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "Oh Yudhishthira, please listen to Me attentively as I
relate the ancient history of this sacred Ekadasi, a history Vasishtha Muni once
related to King Dilipa, the great-grandfather of Lord Ramachandra.
King Dilipa asked the great sage Vasishtha, "Oh wise brahmana, I wish to hear
about the Ekadasi that comes during the light part of the month of Chaitra.
Please describe it to me."
Vasishtha Muni replied, "Oh king, your inquiry is glories. Gladly shall I tell
you what you wish to know. The Ekadasi that occurs during the light fortnight of
Chaitra is named Kamada Ekadasi. It consumes all sins, as a forest fire consumes
a supply of dry firewood. It is very purifying, and it bestows the highest merit
upon one who faithfully observes it.
Oh king, now hear an ancient history which is so meritorious that it removes all
one's sins simply by being heard. Once, long ago, there existed a city-state
named Ratnapura, which was decorated with gold and jewels and in which
sharp-fanged snakes would enjoy intoxication. King Pundarika was the ruler of
this most beautiful kingdom, which numbered many Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and
Apsaras among its citizens. Among the Gandharvas were Lalit and his wife Lalita,
who was an especially lovely dancer. These two were intensely attracted to each
other, and their home was full of great wealth and fine food.
Lalita loved her husband dearly, and likewise Lalit constantly thought of her
within his heart.
Once, at the court of King Pundarika, many Gandharvas were dancing and Lalit was
singing alone, without his wife. He could not help thinking about her as he
sang, and because of this distraction he lost track of the song's meter and
melody. Indeed, Lalit sang the ending of his song improperly, and one of the
envious snakes who was in attendance at the king's court complained to the king
that Lalit was absorbed in thinking of his wife instead of his sovereign. The
king became furious upon hearing this, and his eyes turned crimson with rage.
Suddenly he shouted, 'Oh foolish knave, because you were lustfully thinking of a
woman instead of reverently thinking of your king as you performed your court
duties, I curse you to at once become a cannibal! Oh king, Lalit immediately
became a fearful cannibal, a great man-eating demon whose appearance terrified
everyone. His arms were eight miles long, his mouth was as big as a huge cave,
his eyes were as awesome as the sun and moon, his nostrils resembled enormous
pits in the earth, his neck was a veritable mountain, his hips were four miles
wide, and his gigantic body stood a full sixty-four miles high. Thus poor Lalit,
the loving Gandharva singer, had to suffer the reaction of his offense against
Seeing her husband suffering as a horrible cannibal, Lalita became overwhelmed
with grief. She thought, 'Now that my dear husband is suffering the effects of
the kings' curse, what is to be my lot?
What should I do? Where should I go?'
In this way Lalita grieved day and night. Instead of enjoying life as a
Gandharvas wife, she had to wander everywhere in the thick jungle with her
monstrous husband, who had fallen completely under the spell of the king's curse
and was wholly engaged in terrible sinful activities.
He wandered fitfully across forbidding region, a once-beautiful Gandharva now
reduced to the ghastly behaviour of a man-eater. Utterly distraught to see her
dear husband suffer so much in his dreadful condition, Lalita began to cry as
she followed his mad journeying.
By good fortune, however, Lalita came upon the sage Shringi one day. He was
sitting on the peak of the famous Vindhyachala Hill. Approaching him, she
immediately offered the ascetic her respectful obeisances.
The sage noticed her bowing down before him and said, 'Oh most beautiful one,
who are you?
Whose daughter are you, and why have you come here? Please tell me everything in
Lalita replied, "Oh great age, I am the daughter of the great Gandharva
Viradhanva, and my name is Lalita. I roam the forests and plains with my dear
husband, whom King Pundarika has cursed to become a man-eating demon. Oh
brahmana, I am greatly aggrieved to see his ferocious form and terribly sinful
activities. Oh master, please tell me how I can perform some act of atonement on
behalf of my husband.
What pious act can I perform to free him from this demonic form, Oh best of
The sage replied, "Oh heavenly maiden, there is an Ekadasi named Kamada that
occurs in the light fortnight of the month of Chaitra. It is coming up soon.
Whoever fasts on this day has all his desires fulfilled. If you observe this
Ekadasi fast according to its rules and regulations and give the merit you thus
earn to your husband, he will be freed from the curse at once."
Lalita was overjoyed to hear these words from the sage. Lalita faithfully
observed the fast of Kamada Ekadasi according to the instructions of the sage
Shringi, and on Dvadasi she appeared before him and the Deity of Lord Vasudeva
and said, "I have faithfully observed the fast of Kamada Ekadasi. By the merit
earned through my observance of this fast, let my husband be free from the curse
that has turned him into a demoniac cannibal. May the merit I have gained thus
free him from misery."
As soon as Lalita finished speaking, her husband, who stood nearby, was at once
freed from the king's curse. He immediately regained his original form as the
Gandharva Lalit, a handsome heavenly singer adorned with many beautiful
ornaments. Now, with his wife Lalita, he could enjoy even more opulence than
before. All this was accomplished by the power and glory of Kamada Ekadasi. At
last the Gandharva couple boarded a celestial airplane and ascended to heaven."
Lord Sri Krishna continued, "Oh Yudhishthira, best of kings, anyone who hears
this wonderful narration should certainly observe holy Kamada Ekadasi to the
best of his ability, such great merit does it bestow upon the faithful devotee.
I have therefore described its glories to you for the benefit of all humanity.
There is no better Ekadasi than Kamada Ekadasi. It can eradicate even the sin of
killing a brhmana, and it also nullifies demoniac curses and cleanses the
consciousness. In all the three worlds, among movable and immovable living
entities, there is no better day."
Sri Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "Oh Vasudeva, I offer my most humble obeisances
unto You. Please now describe to me the Ekadasi of the dark fortnight (Krishna
paksha) of the month of Vaisakha (April-May), including its specific merits and
Lord Sri Krishna replied, "Oh King, in this world and the next, the most
auspicious and magnanimous Ekadasi is Varathini Ekadasi, which occurs during the
dark fortnight of the month of Vaisakha. Whosoever observes a complete fast on
this sacred day has his sins completely removed, obtains continuous happiness,
and achieves all good fortune. Fasting on Varathini Ekadasi makes even an
unfortunate woman fortunate. Upon anyone who observes it, this Ekadasi bestows
material enjoyment in this life and liberation after the death of this present
body. It destroys the sins of all and saves people from the miseries of repeated
By observing this Ekadasi properly, King Mandhata was liberated. Many other
kings also benefited from observing it, kings such as Maharaja Dhundhumara, in
the Ikshvaku dynasty, who became free from leprosy resulting from the curse that
Lord Shiva had imposed upon him as a punishment. Whatever merit one obtains by
performing austerities and penances for ten thousand years is achieved by a
person who observes Varuthinii Ekadasi. The merit one achieves by donating a
great amount of gold during a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra is gained by one who
observes this one Ekadasi with love and devotion, and certainly attains his
goals in this life and the next. In short, this Ekadasi is pure and very
enlivening and the destroyer of all sins. Better than giving horses in charity
is giving elephants, and better than giving elephants is giving land. But better
still than giving land is the giving of sesame seeds, and better than that is
giving of gold. Still better than giving gold is giving food grains for all the
forefathers, demigods (devas), and human beings become satisfied by eating
grains. Thus there is no better gift of charity than this in the past, present
or future. Yet learned scholars have declared that giving away a young maiden in
marriage to a worthy person is equal to giving away food grains in charity."
Moreover, Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has said that
giving cows in charity is equal to giving food grains. Still better than all
these charities is teaching spiritual knowledge to the ignorant. Yet all the
merits one can attain by performing all these acts of charity are attained by
one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadasi. One who lives off the wealth of his
daughters suffers a hellish condition until the inundation of the entire
universe, Oh Bharata. Therefore one should be especially careful not to use the
wealth of his daughter.
"Oh best of kings, any householder who takes his daughter's wealth out of greed,
who tries to sell his daughter, or who takes money from the man to whom he has
given his daughter in marriage such a householder becomes a lowly cat in his
next life. Therefore it is said that whoever, as a sacred act of charity, gives
away in marriage a maiden decorated with various ornaments, and who also gives a
dowry with her, obtains merit that cannot be described even by Chitragupta, the
chief secretary of Yamaraja in the heavenly planets. That very same merit,
however, can be easily achieved by one who fasts on the Varuthini Ekadasi. The
following things should be given up on the Dashami, (the tenth phase of the
Moon), the day before the Ekadasi:
Eating on bell-metal plates, eating any kind of urad-dahl, eating red-lentils,
eating chick-peas, eating kondo (a grain that is primarily eaten by poor people
and that resembles poppy seeds or agarpanthas seeds), eating spinach, eating
honey, eating in another person's house/home, eating more than once, and
participating in sex of any kind.
On the Ekadasi itself one should give up the following: gambling, sports,
sleeping during the daytime, betal nuts and its leaf, brushing one's teeth,
spreading rumours, faultfinding, talking to the spiritually fallen, anger, and
On the Dwadasi the day after Ekadasi (the twelfth phase of the Moon), one should
give up the following: eating on bell-metal plates, eating urad-dahl,
red-lentils, or honey, lying, strenuous exercise or labour, eating more than
once, any sexual activity, shaving the body, face or head, smearing oils on
one's body, and eating in another's home."
Lord Sri Krishna continued, "Whoever observes the Varuthini Ekadasi in this way
becomes free from all sinful reactions and returns to the eternal, spiritual
abode. One who worships Lord Janardana (Krishna) on this Ekadasi by staying
awake throughout the entire night, also becomes free from all his previous sins
and attains to the spiritual abode. Therefore, Oh king, he who is frightened of
his accumulated sins and their attendant reactions, and thus of death itself,
must observe Varuthini Ekadasi by fasting very strictly.
Finally, Oh noble Yudhisthira, he who hears or reads this glorification of the
sacred Varuthini Ekadasi obtains the merit earned by donating one thousand cows
in charity, and at last he returns home, to the Supreme abode of Lord Vishnu in