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Padma Purāṇa describes a conversation between Śrī Vyāsadeva and Jaiminī Ṛṣi. Śrī Vyāsadeva explained that once, Puruṣottama Śrī Bhagavān rode His carrier Garuḍa to Yamarāja, Śrī Bhagavān heard crying and asked for an explanation. Yamarāja replied, “O Lord, the sinful mortal living entities are crying out and suffering in hell due to their sinful activities.”Śrī Kṛṣṇa approached those living entities, and His heart melted with compassion upon seeing them. He thought, “I created these living entities, so I must devise a way
to remove their sins.” Thinking in this way, He personally assumed the form of the day of ekādaśī. He made all of those sinful personalities observe the vow of ekādaśī. As a result, they became free from their sins and they went to the transcendental abode of Vaikuṇṭha.

Śrī Vyāsadeva told Jaiminī that he should certainly know ekādaśī to be a manifestation of Viṣṇu, and that ekādaśī is the best among all
pious activities and vows.

Once, the merciful Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa thought, “Having forgotten Me, the living entities are suffering from distress and afflictions; they are fallen and helpless. How can I save them?” Thinking like this, He personally accepted the form ofthe day of ekādaśī, which became known as Mādhava-tithi.

On ekādaśī, Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes to the Earth and bestows special mercy upon the living entities who follow this vow.

After some time, the pāpa-puruṣa (personification of sin) went to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and humbly prayed with folded hands:“Since You created ekādaśī, which destroys all sins, I have become weak because I cannot influence those who follow this vow. Who will give me shelter now so that I can survive? O Keśava, please protect me from fear of this day of ekādaśī!”

Śrī Bhagavān laughed and replied, “On the day of ekādaśī, which purifies the three worlds, you should reside in the five types of grains (wheat, barley, paddy or rice, uḍada and other types of lentils or pulses, mustard, sesame, etc.). This will be your shelter.”

People who eat grains on ekādaśī ingest horrible sins such as brahma-hatyā, and they must go to hell along with their forefathers.

One should not give grains in charity on ekādaśī, nor should one encourage others to eat grains on that day; otherwise, one becomes a partner in that sin.

The vow of ekādaśī is eternal and should always be followed. One should not accept that vow sometimes and not at other times because observing it gives happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda explained that observing ekādaśī is an essential limb of devotional service.

ekādaśī falls on the eleventh day of the dark and bright fortnights of every month. In addition, two ekādaśīs occur during the period of adhika or puruṣottama, which comes every two-and-a-half years. On special occasions Mahā-dvādaśī occurs. In this case, one should observe Mahā-dvādaśī in place of ekādaśī.

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