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Śayana Ekādaśī

The topics of Śayana or Devaśayanī or Padma ekādaśī is
described in Bhaviśyottara Purāṇa in the conversation
between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.

Once Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said O Keśava! What is the
name of the ekādaśī that occurs during the waxing moon in the
month of June/July. Who is the worshipable deity for this
sacred day and what are the rules and regulation for
observing this ekādaśī. Please explain this to me in detail.

Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, ‘ O maintainer of this world! This
question was once asked by Śrī Nārada Muni to Lord Brahmā.
Now please hear from me the wonderful history which Lord
Brahmā narrated to Nārada Muni in his reply.
Once the great orator and best of the sages Nārada said to
Lord Brahmā, O Father! What is the name of the ekādaśī that
occurs during the waxing moon in the month of June-July.
Kindly explain to me how should I observe this ekādaśī in
order to please the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.

Lord Brahmā replied, ‘There is no other vow in this
material world which is as sacred as the vow of ekādaśī.’ It is
extremely necessary for one to observe the vow of ekādaśī in
order to nullify all his sinful reactions. A person who does not
observe ekādaśī in this world certainly goes to hell. The ekādaśī
which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of June-
July is called Devaśayanī or Padmā ekādaśī.

In order to please
the Supreme Lord Hṛṣikeśa one should follow this ekādaśī.
It is stated in the Purāṇa there was a saintly emperor
named Māndhātā who ruled the entire world. He was born in
the dynasty of Sun God, extremely powerful and always stood
up for the truth. This King maintained his subjects piously
and affectionately like his own children. In the kingdom of
this pious king there was no famine, drought or any kind of
decease. All his subjects lived peacefully without any anxiety
and they were very prosperous. There was no wealth in the
treasury of the king which was unlawfully earned. In this way
the and his subjects happily spend their days.

After many years due to providence and some sinful
activities there was no rainfall in his kingdom for three
consecutive years. As a result people became afflicted with
hunger due to lack of food and became full of anxiety. As a
result of suffering from lack of food the performance of
various sacrifices and study of the Vedas came to a standstill.
Then all the subjects came before the King and appealed O
King! Please hear our words which will alternately benefit us.

The water is addressed in the scriptures as ‘nāra’. The
Supreme Lord resides (‘ayana’) in ‘nāra’. That is why the
another name of the Supreme Lord is Nārāyaṇa. The Supreme
Lord Viṣṇu is all pervading in His form as clouds. He alone
causes the rain fall. The food grains are produced from rain
and the living entities subsist on rain. At present due to lack of
this food grains your subjects are suffering and decreasing.
O best of the Kings! Please find some remedy for our
miserable condition and restore peace and prosperity among
us.

The King replied, ‘ What ever you all have said is truth.
The food grains are considered like Brahman. Everything is
sustained by food grains. The entire world and the living
entities subsists on food grains. It is clearly stated in the
Purāṇas and other scriptures that due to the sinful activities
committed by the king he and his subjects suffer. Although I
cannot ascertain my fault through my own consideration and
intelligence nevertheless I will try my best for the benefit of
my subjects.

After speaking in this way the King Māndhātā gathered
some of his principal armies and after offering obeisances to
Brahmā he entered the forest. Within the forest he regularly
visited the āśramas of great sages and ascetics. While
wondering in the forest in this way one day by providence the
king met with the great sage Aṅgirā the son of Brahmā. Sage
Aṅgirā was as effulgent as Brahmā and all the four direction
were illuminated by his effulgent. As soon as the selfcontrolled
king saw him he immediately got down from his
carrier and offered his respectful obeisances at the feet of the
sage. Then the King folded his hand and offered prayers. The
sage reciprocated and blessed the king.

Thereafter the sage inquired from the King about the cause
of his arrival and the well being of his kingdom. The King
replied O Lord! I have been ruling my kingdom according to
religious principals still there is no rainfall in my kingdom for
last three years; As a result my subjects are suffering from
various miseries. I have not been able to ascertain its cause in
order to remove this cause. Today I have come to your lotus
feet. Kindly tell me the way by which my subjects can live
peacefully and thus attain auspiciousness.

The sage Aṅgirā replied, “O King! This present age of
Satya-yuga is the best of all the yugas. In this yuga people
worship the supreme Brahman. The fourfold religious
principal are manifest in this Yuga. No one except the
Brāhmaṇas are supposed to perform austerity in this Yuga. In
spite of this standard a śūdra in your Kingdom is undergoing
this austerity. As a result of this unlawful conduct you are
facing its consequences in the form of drought. Therefore you
should try to kill him and bring peace and prosperity into
your Kingdom.

The King said, “O great sage it will be impossible for me to
kill an innocent person who is engaged in performing
austerity. Therefore please instruct me about some easy
solution.”

Then the sage replied, “O King, if this is the case then
observe the sacred ekādaśī known as Padmā or Devaśayanī
which occurs during the waxing moon in the month of June-
July. By the influence of this vow there will certainly be rain
fall in your kingdom. This ekādaśī awards one all
auspiciousness and perfection. It destroys all obstacles on the
path to perfection. O King! You along with your subjects
should observe this ekādaśī.”

After hearing these assuring words of the great sage the
king offered his obeisances and returned to his palace.
Thereafter in the month of Āṣāḍha or June-July the king along
his family members and subjects properly observed this
auspicious Padma or Śayana ekādaśī. By the influence of this
observance the rain poured in all over his Kingdom. This
scarcity of water remained no longer and soon the entire
world became filled with food grains by the mercy of the
Supreme Lord Hṛṣīkeśa everyone lived happily. Therefore it is
the duty of everyone to observe this sacred ekādaśī. This
ekādaśī awards everyone the happiness and liberation. By
hearing and reading the glories of this ekādaśī all ones sinful
reactions are destroyed.

This ekādaśī is also known as Viṣṇu-śayanī ekādaśī. In order
to please Lord Viṣṇu the devotees observe this ekādaśī with
special devotion. They do not endeavor for material
enjoyments or liberation rather they pray for the pure
devotional service to the Lord. The famous vow of
Cāturmāsya begins from this ekādaśī. The devotees observe
this vow of Cāturmāsya by hearing and chanting the topics of
Lord for four months beginning from the day when Lord Hari
goes to bed up to the day He wakes up. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira
said to Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Kṛṣṇa! Please tell me how one should
observe this Śrī Viṣṇu-śayana-vrata or Cāturmāsya-vrata.

Lord Kṛṣṇa replied, “O King! When the sun remains in the
sign of Cancer then Śrī Madhusūdana the Lord of the entire
universe goes to bed and when the sun goes to the sign of
Libra the Lord wakes up. The vow of Cāturmāsya commences
from the day of Śayana ekādaśī. O King Yudhiṣṭhira! After
taking bath one should dress up Lord Viṣṇu with yellow
garments. Then he should make a bed and cover it with white
sheets to put the Lord on it to rest. First one should bath the
Lord with five ingredients such as yoghurt, milk, ghee, honey
and sugar water by the qualified brāhmaṇas. Thereafter one
should wipe the lords body with a cloth and apply fragrant
sandal wood paste. Then he should worship the Lord by
offering incense, ghee lamp and flowers with devotion.”

“One can also begin observing the vow of Cāturmāsya
either from the day of ekādaśī, dvādaśī, Pūrṇimā, aṣṭamī or
Saṅkrānti (when the sun enters into the sign of Cancer) The
vow of Cāturmāsya ends on the day of dvādaśī which falls the
day after Utthāna ekādaśī in the month of Kārtika. A person
who observes the vow of Cāturmāsya while remembering
Lord Hari goes back to the abode of Lord Viṣṇu sitting on an
airplane as effulgent as the sun. Any one who cleanses the
temple and the courtyard of the Lord, decorates them with
flowers and creepers and feeds the brāhmaṇas according to
his capacity at the end of the vow obtains inexhaustible
happiness for seven life times. By offering ghee lamps to the
Lord during t his vow one can become fortunate and
prosperous.

One who chants Gāyatrī mantra one hundred and
eight times in the temple of the Lord in three different times
morning, noon and evening no longer have to indulge in
sinful activities. Lord Vyāsadeva become pleased with such a
person and the practitioner returns to the abode of Viṣṇu. Any
one who donates twenty-eight or hundred and eight pots of
sesame seeds to the intelligent brāhmaṇas at the end of the
vow become freed from this sinful reaction accumulated by
his body mind and speech. He becomes freed from all diseases
and obtains intelligent children.”

“A practitioner of devotional service should not sleep on a
bedstead for four months during which Lord Janārdana takes
place. It is prohibited to have sex during Cāturmāsya only
except after of the days of mensuration. One should observe
this vow with fasting eating only supper, eating only once a
day or eating that which come without asking for it. One who
chants and sings before Lord Viṣṇu during Cāturmāsya goes
to the planet of the Gandharvas. A person who give up eating
Gur or Jaggery is blessed with sons and grand sons. By giving
up oil one becomes beautiful and his enemies are destroyed.

By giving up the taste of bitter, pungent, sour, sweet and salty
preparations ones ugliness and bodily odor Is vanquished.
Those who give up the enjoyment of flowers go to the
heavenly planets and become Vidyādharas. By giving up the
chewing of butternuts and immediately becomes diseaseless.
If one eats out of the bare floor he attains the heaven the abode
of Indra. If one gives up milk and yoghurt for the pleasure of
Kṛṣṇa he goes back to the supreme abode of Goloka. One who
does not cut his nails and shaves his head attains the good
fortune of touching the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. One who
circumambulates the temple of the Lord returns to the abode
of Lord riding on an airplane carried by the swans.

Ekādaśī is the mother of Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti, love and affection. If you do not follow ekādaśī, Kṛṣṇa- Bhakti will never come.