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Ekādaśī-kathā (ekādaśī story)

eka dina mātṛ-pade kariyā praṇāma
prabhu kahe–mātā, mohe deha eka dāna

One day Śrī Gaurasundara offered obeisances at the feet of Mother Śacī and requested, “Mother, please grant Me a wish.”

mātā bale–tāhi diba, tumi yā māṅgibe
prabhu kahe–ekādaśīte anna nā khāibe

Mother Śacī replied, “I will give You just what You ask  for.” The Lord said, “Mother, do not eat grains on ekādaśī.”

śacī kahe–nā khāiba, bhāla kahilā
sei haite ekādaśī karite lāgilā

Mother Śacī replied, “You have spoken very nicely. I shall not eat grains on that day.” From that day onwards, Mother Śacī observed ekādaśī.
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 15.8,9,10)

By this incident with His mother, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is instructing every living entity to observe the vow of ekādaśī. Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (12.7) states: ekādaśī vrata nāma viṣṇu prīti kāraṇam, which means that one develops love and affection for Śrī Viṣṇu by following this vow. Therefore, another name for ekādaśī is hari-vāsara, or ‘the day of Lord Hari’. As far as fruitive vows, one may observe them and receive the desired results, and one does not incur any sin or offense by not observing such a vow. On the other hand, by following ekādaśī one achieves devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and if one does not follow it, one commits an offense and thus
devotion for Śrī Kṛṣṇa will not manifest in one’s heart.

Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said:

mādhava tithi bhakti-jananī yatane pālana kari
kṛṣṇa vasati, vasati bali parama ādara vari

Knowing that Mādhava-tithi (ekādaśī) gives birth to devotion and Kṛṣṇa directly resides in this day, I carefully accept and observe this day with great respect.

“For Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the day of ekādaśī is superior to even Janmāṣtamī. The Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of all auspiciousness, manifests in this world in the form of Mādhava-tithi or ekādaśī. The potency of Viṣṇu, which takes innumerable forms, has appeared as the most auspicious day of ekādaśī in order to bestow all types of auspiciousness on the living entities.” (from a lecture by Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīmad- Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja)

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes how Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s father, Śrī Nanda Mahārāja, used to fast on ekādaśī.

ekādaśyāṁ nirāhāraḥ samabhyarcya janārdanam
snātuṁ nandas tu kālindyāṁ dvādaśyāṁ jalam āviśat

Śrī Śukadeva said, “O Parīkṣit, Nanda Mahārāja fasted on the day of ekādaśī in the bright fortnight of Kārtika month and
worshiped Bhagavān Janāradana, and then he entered the water of Yamunā to take bath during the dvādaśī-tithi.”

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